The Perfect Pantry

I'm a Rhode Island-based food writer who lives and cooks in a log house in the woods. The Perfect Pantry® (www.theperfectpantry.com) features 250+ favorite ingredients, with recipes for how to use them. Soup Chick® (www.soupchick.com) is a curated collection of the best soup, stew and chili recipes on the web. Lydia Likes It tells you everything else about me. I also publish e-cookbooks: find out more on my Amazon author page.

Sometimes I post about Log House Life, and you can check out my daily photo diary on Seeing in Color.

Most recently, I'm the co-author of Rhode Island Recipes: Creative, healthy cooking with iconic local foods.

Pan-fried tuna croquettes

My material grandmother, the only real cook in our family, used to make salmon croquettes for me when I was a little girl, and I thought they were the best thing ever. She started with canned salmon, and mashed in some frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, corn), plus bread crumbs to hold everything together. And an egg ....more

Basil: like or dislike?

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell. Do you remember when pesto was exotic, or when caprese was not a household word? ...more

Burgers, burgers, burgers! The Perfect Pantry's favorites for summer grilling

Nothing tops a juicy cheeseburger cooked to perfection on the grill. Nothing. I'm pretty sure I'd opt for a burger over my favorite jambalaya or garlic chicken skewers for my last meal ....more

Slow cooker Greek chicken roll-ups with tomato, olives and feta cheese

For the past three months, I've made a batch of this slow cooker Greek chicken at least once a week. From the first bite, it's been a family favorite, used for filling pitas, mixing in salads, or topping a pizza. The method is simple: start building flavor with Greek seasoning (my favorite Greektown "Billygoat" Seasoning comes from The Spice House) and then add more of each of the individual ingredients like oregano, lemon zest, and pepper to bump up it up even more ....more

Quinoa: like or dislike?

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell. Are you keen on quinoa? ...more

Sesame ginger red cabbage salad {vegan, gluten-free}

A single ingredient can morph into an entire salad if you have the right dressing. In this case, red cabbage does the honors. No matter what I make, I always seem to use exactly half of a head of red cabbage, leaving me exactly half a head in the refrigerator ....more

Quick and easy chicken and corn chowder

Here in the Northeast, we love our chowder all year long. I'm partial to traditional New England clam chowder, packed with fresh clams and chopped potatoes swimming in a creamy base, and I love a fish variation, with chunks of cod and whatever is fresh at the market. (I've heard there is a red chowder, made with tomatoes, from a very large city southwest of Boston with a rival baseball team ....more

Capers: like or dislike?

Welcome to Like or Dislike, where you get to share how you really feel about ingredients from the pantry, ingredients I'm thinking about adding to my pantry, other seasonal foods, and favorite cooking gear. The things you like are sure to find their way to the recipes here on The Perfect Pantry, so do tell. A few weeks ago, I tossed out a Friday night post on Facebook, reminding everyone of the next day's Like or Dislike, and asking, playfully, "What could it be?" A friend replied, "Capers ....more

Chayote squash, avocado and strawberry salsa {vegan, gluten-free}

After fifteen years at the log house, which was surrounded by goat farms but miles from a grocery store, it's nice to be back in the city. Within blocks of our house, we have an Asian supermarket, a Middle Eastern market, a fromagerie,...more

Smoky egg salad lettuce boats with caramelized onions {vegetarian}

When it comes to egg salad, I'm a straight-up gal. Hard-boiled eggs, really good mayonnaise, black pepper, and nothing more. Oh, occasionally I'll toss in a bit of celery ....more