Beets

Beets

February 27, 2021

Heart healthy beets are packed with nutrients and are perfect for late winter meals. You will love them for their vibrant color, sweet flavor, and versatility.

There are just 60 calories in 1 cup of beets. While low calorie, beets are also packed with potassium, iron, vitamin C, and heart healthy nitrates. The greens are rich in vitamins A and K. Try using beets in soups and sautés.

While red beets are the most common variety, other varieties of beets do exist. Golden beets, as their name implies, are a golden yellow color. Chioggia beets contain red and white stripes on the inside, which is why they are often referred to by their nickname – candy cane beets.

To store fresh beets, separate the leaves from the root and place in separate plastic bags in the refrigerator. The greens should be used within a few days while the roots can last up to two to three weeks.

To peel uncooked beets, use a vegetable peeler to remove the thin skin. For roasted beets, use a paper towel to gently rub off the skins. This gives you a better grip and helps keep beet juice from staining your hands.

Beet juice has been used as far back as the 16th century for makeup, hair dye, and fabric dye. It’s still used commercially as a natural food coloring and clothing dye.

To remove beet juice stains from your cutting board, sprinkle with salt and rub with a lemon half before rinsing. You can remove stains from your hands by rubbing them with a little baking soda, then washing with soap.

Beets are high in nitrates, natural compounds that may help lower your blood pressure and help your body use oxygen more efficiently. Many pro athletes and Olympians drink beet juice to improve their performance.

Beets get their deep red color from compounds called betalains, which have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

37% of the recommended daily intake of folate for adults is in 1 cup of raw beets. Folate needs increase during pregnancy, as this vitamin helps babies develop in the womb, making beets a great addition to a pregnant woman’s diet.

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2021 All Rights Reserved

Root Vegetables

October 31, 2018

This fall Tiny New York Kitchen celebrates sweet parsnips, earthy beets, and mild turnips. These root vegetables offer flavor, nutrition, and versatility.

Look for root vegetables that are firm to the touch with smooth, blemish-free skin. If there are any greens attached, make sure they look fresh, not wilted.

Before storing parsnips, beets, and turnips, remove any greens and brush off any dirt. Wrap in a damp paper towel, place in a plastic bag, and store in the refrigerator crisper; most roots will last up to two weeks.

Root vegetables absorb nutrients from the soil they grow in, including antioxidants, iron, and vitamins A, B, and C. They also provide fiber, which helps you feel fuller longer. To maximize your fiber intake, leave the skin on and give parsnips and carrots a good scrub instead.

Parsnips: These pale, carrot-like root vegetables are sweet and earthy. They can be roasted, sautéed, mashed, and puréed. Choose small to medium parsnips, since larger ones can be woody.

Beets: Beets can be red, golden, or striped. Whether roasted, boiled, or steamed, they’re slow to cook, but packaged precooked versions are also an option. You can even enjoy beets raw. Simply peel and grate or thinly slice.

Turnips: Creamy white with pinkish-purple tops, turnips turn mellow and tender when cooked. Try them roasted, sautéed, mashed, or added to soups and stews.

Greens: If you’re lucky, your beets and turnips will have greens attached. These edible, nutritious, and delicious greens should always be removed for storage, as they pull moisture from the root ends. Wash the greens and use to make pesto, or sauté with garlic and oil for a quick side dish or simple pasta.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Beautiful Autumn

October 16, 2018

Beautiful autumn! The tapestry of autumn is tinged with splendor, as nature sheds its robe of green and garbs itself in the richly textured colors of fall. As leaves begin to turn deep shades of burnt orange, russet, gold, umber burgundy, cooks seek out lavish and luscious seasonal ingredients.

Apples
Pears
Cranberries
Persimmons
Pomegranates
Cabbage
Rutabaga
Turnips
Cauliflower
Beets
Sweet potatoes
Pumpkins
Squash

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Ways To Use The Whole Vegetable

February 16, 2018

Use The Leaves
The leafy green stems of beets or radishes make a tasty side dish when sautéed with garlic and olive oil. Try blending carrot greens with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and a squeeze of lemon for a tasty pesto.

Slice The Stems
Broccoli stalks are the perfect size for spiralizing and make a crunchy addition to salads.

Zest The Rind
Citrus peels are packed with sweetness. Their flavorful zest will elevate any marinade, vinaigrette, or dessert.

Vegetable Stock
And, of course, you can make homemade vegetable stock.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Better Choices You’ll Barely Notice

January 25, 2018

These little tweaks really do add up to lighter and more nutritious meals.

CUT CARBS
All types of vegetable noodles, from beet to squash, are available in the produce aisle or make your own. Serve in place of pasta or mix with whole-wheat spaghetti to bump up the fiber and cut calories.

SAY YES TO YOGURT
Creamy and delicious, yogurt is a great way to add calcium and probiotics to dishes that require cream or mayonnaise. Enjoy it baked into muffins, stirred into sauces, or whisked into dressings.

GO GREEN
Greens like kale, collards, and Swiss chard bring color and nutrients to your plate. Stir them into soups, sauté them for a side, or add them to sandwiches.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Thanksgiving Menu Guide

November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Menu Guide

In the spirit of getting organized here is a Thanksgiving Menu guide that can help you plan according.  Print this list out and add your own notes.  Remember that the key to a successful Thanksgiving dinner is organization. 

Soups & Starters

Italian Wedding Soup (Tiny Meatballs, Tortellini & Escarole)

Creamy Mushroom Soup (Rich Mushroom Broth With Sliced Mushrooms)

Sweet Potato Kale Soup (Sweet Potatoes, Corn & Peppers Simmered in Broth, Topped With Kale)

Butternut Squash Soup (Sweet Butternut Squash Simmered in a Light Vegetable Broth With Ginger & Mace)

Chicken Stock (Chicken Bones & Fresh Vegetables Simmered For Hours)

Wild Mushroom Strudel (Portabello, Shitake & Button Mushrooms Cooked With Garlic & Herbs Finished With a Mix of Goat, Mozzarella, Gruyere & Cream Cheese Wrapped In a Crispy Puff Pastry Shell

Bacon Wrapped Scallops (Sea Scallops Wrapped in Smoked Bacon)

Sides

Garlicky Greens (Steamed Kale & Chard Seasoned with Roasted Garlic)

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (Roasted Brings Out Their Natural Sweetness)

Green Beans With Almonds (Fresh Green Beans With Sliced Crisp Almonds With a Touch of Tarragon)

Creamed Spinach With Roasted Garlic (Spinach Seasoned With Nutmeg & Tossed With Cream & Garlic)

Roasted Corn Pudding (A Savory American Classic)

Roasted Butternut Squash With Dried Cranberries (Squash, Roasted With Onions & Herbs)

Cornbread Stuffing With Sausage & Spinach (Sausage In Rustic Stuffing)

Traditional New England Stuffing (Moist Bread Stuffing With Herbs & Spices)

Classic Mashed Potatoes (Velvety Smooth Made With Cream & Butter)

Maple Bourbon Sweet Potatoes (Mashed Sweet Potatoes Sweetened With a Bourbon Maple Syrup

Home-style Green Beans (Fresh Green Beans With Cherry Tomatoes)

Apple Fennel Slaw (Granny Smith Apples, Horseradish & Fennel)

Green Salad (Mixed Green Salad With Cider Dressing)

Sweet & Sour Cabbage (Red Cabbage Braised in Duck Fat)

Peas With Pearl Onions (3 Types of Peas With Pearl Onions)

Autumn Vegetable Ragout With Soft Polenta (Vegetables & Polenta)

Roasted Beets With Orange Vinaigrette (Warm Roasted Beets With Orange Dressing)

Celery Root Salad

Warm Spinach Salad With Goat Cheese & Apples

Sweet Potato & Banana Puree

Apple Bacon Cornbread Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes And Parsnips With Crisp Root Vegetable Strips

Roasted Cauliflower And Shallots With Chard & Dukkah

Brussels Sprouts and Wheat Berry Slaw With Smoked Paprika Dressing

Rich Turkey Gravy (Smooth With Deep Roasted Flavor)

Vegan Wild Mushroom Gravy (Deep, Robust Flavor From Wild Mushrooms and a Splash of White Wine)

Organic Cranberry Orange Relish (Organic Whole Berry Relish With Orange & a Touch of Cinnamon)

Brandied Cranberry Sauce With Pecans (Whole Cranberries Cooked With Pecans, Brandy & Sugar)

Main Attraction

Organic Whole Turkey (Brined or Un-brined)

Roast Turkey With Sage Butter

Cherry Glazed Turkey

Turkey Breast

Orange Pecan Cornish Hens

Vegetarian Eggplant Parmesan

Breads

Family Style Cornbread

Parker House Rolls

Boston Brown Bread

Parmesan Garlic Biscuits

Popovers

Desserts

Pumpkin Pie

Apple Pie

Blueberry Pie

Cherry Pie

Pecan Pie

Apple Crumb Pie

Carrot Cake

Pumpkin Cake

Maple Bread Pudding

Cranberry Pear Crisp

Black Mission Fig Tart

Assorted Cookies

Make Ahead Items

Many Thanksgiving dishes or parts of dishes can be made in advance which is a big help. After writing out your menu and shopping lists look to see what can be done ahead of time. 

Most soups can be made 1 or 2 days before serving.

Most appetizers (or parts of them) can be made 1 day before serving.

Roux for gravy can be made several hours before using.  Just mix butter and flour together, reheat and add stock and pan drippings when time to make gravy.

Vegetables can be chopped 1 or 2 days before using.

Grate cheese or spices 1 to 2 days before using.

Wash, dry, and wrap lettuce in paper towels, and store in a ziplock bag. Place in the refrigerator until ready to toss 1 day before serving. 

Most salad dressings can be made 1 to 2 days before serving.

Have turkey as prepped as possible (salted, spiced and rubbed with butter, in its pan) and ready to go in the oven.

Stuffing items such as onions, celery, mushrooms, etc can be cooked 1 day before combining with bread and stuffed into the turkey.

Bread for stuffing can be cut up the day ahead and stored in a paper bag. Dried out bread is the best for stuffing.

Desserts or parts of desserts can often be made 1 to 2 days ahead such as sauces, crusts, pie filings or toppings.

 

 

Constitution Week – Foods of Our Forefathers Part V

September 21, 2013

 

Constitution Week

Constitution Week – Foods of Our Forefathers Part V

In her food preparation and preservation, the early American housewife was tied tightly to the calendar and the clock – much more tightly than today’s homemaker is.  Local availability of foodstuffs and the limitations of existing food preservation techniques meant that nature largely called the shots on timing.  Fruits and vegetables had to be picked at the right moment and processed quickly.  Animals had to be slaughtered at their peak to keep best, and the peak varied from animal to animal.  Even cheese and butter had a better likelihood of successful preservation depending on the season of the year in which they were processed. 

Weather conditions played a major role: herbs had to be picked on a dry day to retain color and flavor; slaughter had to be done in cold weather to allow the carcass to cool rapidly; milk winters produced little ice for the following summer.

Also, once begun, preservation techniques sometimes had to be carried uninterruptedly through a long and tedious series of steps.  There was no turning back – or time for vacations.  Hams being cured had to be turned regularly, fish being dried had to be restacked four times a day, pickles had to have their brine skimmed and changed – or the product would be lost. 

The labor involved in such food preservation was frequently heavy, but the routine of the rest of the house went on as usual.  Organizational ability and endurance were essential, and woe betide the housewife who didn’t “keep up appearances” with her neighbors. 

Just as the make-up of the early American’s diet varied with his geographic location, so did his needs – and abilities – in food preservation. 

For example, the southern areas had access to a more varied food supply over the course of the year and consequently had less need to provide stores for the hard winter.  At the same time, it was more difficult and expensive to get ice for short-term protection against the warmer climate. Ice was actually shipped from Massachusetts to the Southern states and to Cuba and Jamaica in the early 19th century, but it was obviously only available to the wealthier residents.  The ice-box itself didn’t become popular until the mid 1800’s.

The shorter growing season in the North reduced the variety of produce available, but it also made cold storage in root cellars practical in small towns and rural areas.  Above-ground ice houses and ice-saws, invented in the mid-nineteenth century, drastically reduced the cost of storing ice into the summer, and simplified storage of dairy products, fish and meat. 

In many respects, the northern colonies had the greatest difficulty in providing a nutritious, varied diet throughout the year.  Although fruits, berries, and summer vegetables were plentiful from the midsummer to early fall, proving vitamin-rich foodstuffs, during the winter and spring took special care. Many food items, of course, could be stored in relatively simple root cellars – where winter temperatures hovered between 30 and 40 degrees.  In especially cold weather, a large tub of water was placed on the floor.  This water gave off heat as it froze, which kept the vegetables safe.  Turnips, beets and squash were kept in the driest areas.  Carrots would keep anywhere.  Cabbages and celery were buried in sand, cauliflower was set in holes and covered with straw, while cranberries were floated in water in a tub.  Other crops were arranged loosely on slatted shelves for free air circulation, sometimes lying on straw. 

Some vegetables, such as summer squash and potatoes, kept better at somewhat higher temperatures, and these were usually stored in the dark basement of the home.  Temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees were ideal. 

Eggs could also be stored in the root cellar, or in the basement of the house.  Two methods were common.  In one, the eggs (which the housewife was instructed to collect “in fine weather”) were dipped in boiling water for 20 seconds, then coated all over with butter or “sweet oil” (glycerin) and packed in sawdust.  They would keep this way for some two to three weeks.  Other housewives kept their eggs in crocks, submerged in “water glass” (sodium silicate).  In this technique, it was important not to wash the eggs first, since their shells possess a natural coating which prevented the water glass from penetrating through the shell and ruining the egg.  Even stored at room temperature, such eggs would keep for several months, while the hens sulked through the dark winter days. 

If a family didn’t have room for a root cellar, it could accomplish somewhat the same effect with a pit, with the vegetables in layers separated by straw, and the whole covered with earth.  Obviously, retrieving vegetables thus buried was a messy chore, and needed careful planning. 

Under either type of storage, frequent examination was necessary, in order to detect spoilage and eliminate those items of fruit or vegetables which had gone rotten.  The proverb about “one rotten apple spoiling the barrel” was not taken lightly!  In fact, many housewives wouldn’t put apples in barrels, but spread them out, in order to “pick them over” more easily as the winter progressed.  Spoiling apples were cut up, and the good parts made into applesauce as the winter progressed.  Early cookbooks instructed the housewife to add a teaspoon of tartaric acid to the apples when making sauce late in the winter, as the apples lost their flavor.  New Englanders even had a name for the period after the vegetables had spoiled or been used up, but before the dandelion greens appeared.  They called it “the six weeks want.”

In the South, storage of this sort was less necessary, and the typical New England vegetables such as Hubbard squash and turnips were rarely seen on Southern menus. 

To Be Continued…

Yom Kippur Menu Ideas

September 13, 2013

synagogue

Yom Kippur Menu Ideas

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar.  Jews refrain from all food and drink, including water. It is no coincidence that the solemn day of Yom Kippur occurs in the midst of the autumn bounty, just before the most exuberant of the harvest festivals, Sukkot, the Jewish Thanksgiving.  In Temple times, Yom Kippur was the day that the priests purified the Temple and expiated the sins of all of the Israelites in anticipation of the Sukkot festivals.  The fast cleanses not only the body, but the soul as well.  It is not just an act of contrition, but an affirmation of sincerity.  It focuses concentration on the spiritual.  I have put together a Yom Kippur menu to break the fast. 

Menu Ideas

Starters

Pomegranate-Orange Sunsets

Almond Challah Bread

Smoked Whitefish and Fennel Salad

Cream Cheese and Assorted Cheeses

Fresh Red Pepper Rings and Black Olives

Main Dishes

Smoked Fish: Sliced Smoked Salmon, Whole Whitefish, Baked Salmon, and Sable

Smoked Salmon With Hummus, Baba Ghanoush, Tabouli, Tzatziki, Feta, Grape Leaves, Olives, Pita Chips and Fresh Pita Bread

Poached Salmon Served With Dill-Mustard Sauce

Gefilte Fish Trio Served With Horseradish and Carrots

Herring In a Wine Sauce

Tuna and Egg Salad

Domestic Sliced Cheese: Cheddar, Havarti, Muenster and Swiss

Sides

Classic Salads

Orzo, Spinach and Feta Salad

Cous Cous and Vegetable Pilaf

Penne With Tomatoes and Corn

Salad of Sliced Baked Beets, Boston Lettuce, and Fresh Chopped Dill With Walnut Vinaigrette

Homemade Applesauce

Potato Blintzes

Cheese Blintzes

Hummus, Tabouli and Baba Ghanoush

Desserts

Plain Cheesecake

Cheesecake Topped With Strawberries, Blueberries, Mango and Kiwi

Traditional Honey Cake

Cranberry Honey Cake

Applesauce Honey Cake

Chocolate Babka

Cinnamon Babka

Mini Pastries and Tartlets

Tiramisu

Rainbow Cookies

Rugelach

Black and White Cookies

Whoopie Pies

Pecan Shortbread

Blueberry Blintzes

Cherry Blitnztes

Custard Challah Bread Pudding

Fresh Fruit Platter

 

 

Preparing The Seder Plate

March 22, 2013

Preparing The Seder Plate

Passover is almost here and if you are Jewish then it’s time to think about preparing the Seder plate.  The foods are symbolic and are arranged on a specific Seder plate which is called k’arah in Hebrew.  Some of these symbolic foods are eaten and some are not.  Throughout the years these plates have been made from silver, pewter, brass, painted porcelain and glass with specific indented compartments for the ceremonial foods.  If you don’t have a Seder plate then you can display the foods on a pretty tray or platter with decorations of fresh spring blossoms or herbs.  If you are having quite a few quests then you may want to have a second Seder plate for the other end of the table. 

The traditional Seder plate items include:

Karpas:  A vegetable to celebrate spring and rebirth.  This vegetable usually is a green vegetable such as celery, sweet lettuce or a spring herb such as parsley or chervil which symbolizes the beginning of new life.  Some use a boiled potato as a reminder of a harsh early spring. 

Maror:  This symbolizes the misery of the Israelites’ slavery and oppression.  This is a bitter herb that varies from community to community or even from one family to another.  Ashekenazim like to use either ground or sliced fresh horseradish root or romaine lettuce.  Sephardim like to use bitter greens such as endive, escarole, chicory, sorrel, arugula, dandelion, purslane, celery leaves or watercress.  Maror is eaten by all at the table so you may want to put extra in a separate bowl. 

Haroset:  Haroset is the fruit and nut dip that is symbolic of clay or mortar that the Israelites used to construct the pyramids.  Kids like to sculpt it into pyramid shapes if the haroset is stiff enough.  Some people like to serve two or three different types of harosets symbolizing the diverse Jewish communities. Haroset usually consists of quartered, grated or chopped apples, walnuts or almonds, ground cinnamon and kosher grape wine or grape juice.  The consistency tends to be more like a paste. 

Hazeret:  Many Seder plates have a second place for another bitter herb in addition to the maror.  This additional bitter herb is to be used in the traditional Hillel sandwich which is a matzoh with a filling of haroset and bitter herbs.

Zeroa (Forearm):  This is a roasted lamb shankbone that symbolizes the ancient Paschal lamb sacrifice in the Temple.  It also symbolizes the protective arm of God.  The Israelites marked their doorposts with blood from the lamb that was slaughtered on the eve of the Exodus.  Seeing this sign, the Angel of Death “passed over” their homes, keeping them from God’s tenth and final plague (the slaying of the firstborn males).  Some use a poultry wing or neck.  Vegetarians may use a beet.  A friend of mine, who is not a meat eater, told me that last year she cut out a picture of a shankbone and placed it in the proper place on the Seder plate.  Zeroa is typically not eaten at the Sedar. The shankbone is roasted and scorched to symbolize the burnt sacrificial offering. 

Beitzah:  This is a roasted egg which is the symbol of the festival sacrifice of each Jew brought to the ancient Temple.  It is also a symbol of spring, mourning and rebirth.  The egg is also not eaten during the Seder service. Hard boil an egg and then wrap it, still in the shell, in a foil.  Place it in a hot oven until it is lightly charred.  Make sure to hard boil the egg first or you will have quite a mess on your hands.

Another symbolic item on the Seder table, not on the Seder plate, is a plate of three whole matzot, which are stacked and separated from one another by cloths or napkins.  The middle matzah is broken and half of it put aside for the afikoman (after the meal or dessert).  The top and other half of the middle matzot is used for hamotzi (blessing over the bread).  The bottom matzah is used for the Hillel sandwich.

A bowl of salt water is used for the first “dipping” of the Seder.  It is not traditionally part of the Seder plate, but it is placed next to it.  Sometimes the bowl of salt water is used as one of the six items, omitting haroset. 

Potato Peels:  Survivors of the Holocaust and their children began including potato peels as a symbol of the Holocaust and today’s hunger and famines.  It was a blessing to have a potato peel as it could mean the difference between life and death in the concentration camps.  For many Jews who fled the famines of Ethiopia it was the potato that was the first food tasted when they immigrated to Israel. 

Orange:  Some new Seder plates have an additional place for an orange.  Theologian Susannah Heschel, “Orange on the Seder Plate,” talks about the ritual that she created based on a story that she had read in a feminist Haggadah.  She asked everyone to take a tangerine segment, say the blessing over it and eat it to symbolize solidarity with Jewish lesbians and gay men as well as others who are marginalized within the Jewish community. 

 

New Canaan Farmers’ Market

July 8, 2012

New Canaan Farmers’ Market

I love going to farmers' markets, especially good ones. It's the closest to "farm to table" that I can get without growing my own fruits and vegetables.  Yesterday was my first visit to the New Canaan farmer’s market.  It’s a good one!  I picked up beets, radishes, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peaches and plums.  Everything looked great and even though the vendors were busy they were very friendly and seemed happy to be there.

New Canaan Farmers’ Market

Saturday 10am to 2pm

May 12th Through October

Old Center School Parking Lot

South Avenue & Maple Street

www.newcanaanfarmersmarket.net

 

 

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