Breads

Versatile Rhubarb

May 20, 2020

Rhubarb is a fabulous spring crop. The sour sweetness of rhubarb is absolutely nice in cakes, breads, pies, cobblers and jams, as well as sweet and savory compotes, chutneys, and sauces. Savory rhubarb chutney, cooked with onions and hot pepper is an exciting accompaniment to grilled pork, chicken, or shrimp. Sweeter versions employing brown sugar and lemon peel are superb served with pancakes, French toast, waffles or pound cake. Ladled atop frozen yogurt or ice cream, sweet rhubarb sauce is perfect for a spring sundae when the sun burns bright. This same sauce can be strained to yield a perfectly pink syrup. Combine with cold sparkling water or seltzer for a refreshing mocktail, or add to prosecco for a beautiful brunch beverage.

Rich in fiber, protein, vitamin C, potassium and calcium, rhubarb provides many valuable nutrients. A natural laxative, rhubarb may help east constipation. In fact, it is written that rhubarb was utilized in ancient Chinese medicine for treating stomach ailments. The vitamin K found in rhubarb may help strengthen bones, as well as possibly inhibiting inflammation in the brain. Rhubarb also supplies the body with vitamin A, which may help diminish signs of aging, particularly skin damage.

When choosing rhubarb at the supermarket or farm markets, look for glossy, firm stalks. Trim the leaves off when you bring your rhubarb home, as they are toxic. Store the stalks wrapped in a paper towel in your vegetable drawer. Wash before using. Rhubarb freezes beautifully, place chopped stalks on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and place in the freezer. When the chunks are frozen, store them in freezer bags and use within one year.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Gluten-Free Baking

November 24, 2018

Tips & Tricks
While many foods are naturally gluten-free, gluten can be especially difficult to avoid in baked goods. Gluten is a complex protein found in wheat (and other grains) that functions like glue in baked goods and pastas. Gluten’s elastic structure helps baked goods rise and become light and fluffy by trapping gas produced by yeast. It’s the key ingredient that makes breads, pizza crusts, and quick breads tender and chewy. But gluten-free enthusiasts and savvy bakers are reaching new heights by getting creative in the kitchen.

Measure By Weight
In most recipes, a blend of gluten-free ingredients is necessary to create baked goods with a conventional shape and texture. For this reason, most health food stores and many grocers sell blended, all-purpose gluten-free flour mixes that simplify gluten-free baking. There are some notable differences when baking with gluten-free substitutes, including a few that break the conventional rules of baking. Gluten-free flours are, in general, milled finer than wheat-based flours. The fine grind helps gluten-free flours blend better with other ingredients and prevents your baked goods from becoming gritty. On the other hand, the fine flour is more difficult to evenly pack into measuring cups and dense gluten-free flours have different weight to volume ratios than conventional wheat flours. In short, you can’t always substitute a cup of gluten-free flour for a cup of wheat flour, and you’re better off using a kitchen scale to measure gluten-free flour for accurate measurements. The labels on most gluten-free flours feature a cup-to-grams conversion to ensure accuracy.

Consistency & Shape
Even with the right flour mix and measurements, a gluten-free batter or dough won’t usually handle exactly like a conventional dough. For example, gluten-free pie crust tends to be more crumbly and is more apt to split when you try to fold it. To keep the dough in one piece, roll it between two sheets of wax or parchment paper, which also makes it easier to transfer the dough to a pie plate. Be sure to use and egg wash on pie dough, instead of a milk wash, as a milk wash will more easily soak into the dough instead of resting on its surface. With gluten free breads, be sure to use a pan with sides, because the dough typically won’t stand easily on its own.

Moisture Matters
The strong and sticky bonds formed by gluten play many roles in baking, including moisture retention. While gluten-free flours typically include gums and starches to hold moisture, the resulting dough still tends to dry out faster. To avoid a tough texture or crummy edge on cakes and cookies, consider adding things like egg yolks, yogurt, and fruits (where appropriate) to increase moisture and add flavor. After baking, you can freeze gluten-free baked goods (tightly wrapped in freezer-safe bags) to prevent them from drying out.

Times & Temps
Traditional doneness indicators, such as a clean, dry toothpick in a cake or the hollow sounds when thumping a loaf of bread, are not always accurate for gluten-free baked goods. In fact, some gluten-free baked goods might feel soft to the touch and look wet inside even though they’re completely cooked – requiring a cool-down time to firm up. Follow the time and temperature recommendations in gluten-free recipes closely, because the traditional visual cues aren’t the same as wheat-based goods. Oftentimes, gluten-free recipes feature lower oven temperatures and extended baking times to drive out excess moisture.

Try It
If you’re new to gluten-free baking, don’t be intimidated, but do follow reliable recipes closely – as gluten-free recipes don’t always take well to adjustments, swaps, and add-ins. There are some good gluten-free cookbooks out to help with finding good recipes. I suggest, Gluten-Free Baking Classics, by Annalise Roberts for beginners, who know they need (or just want) to switch over to gluten-free or alternative flours when baking, but aren’t totally sure how to make the conversion. Gluten-Free Baking With the Culinary Institute of America: 150 Flavorful Recipes From The World’s Premier Culinary Collage, by Richard J Coppedge Jr.is geared toward professional bakers or those with an interest in the food-science side of things.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Pumpkins

October 28, 2017

Pumpkins range in size from small, creamy white specimens to giant orange globes. Ever so useful as autumnal décor, pumpkins are a versatile and vital source of healthy nutrition.

This festive fall fruit offers a rich source of vitamin C and potassium, both of which may be effective at lowering the risk of heart disease, as well as normalizing blood pressure. The brilliant orange hue of many pumpkin varieties is the result of an abundance of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that transforms into vitamin A in the body. This vitamin may have an effect on boosting the efficiency of immune systems, as well as helping to repair free radical damage to cells.

Pumpkin adds a fabulous, smooth, silky texture and unique flavor to risotto, soup, muffins, cakes, breads, stews, chili, pasta, shakes and so much more. Fresh pumpkin is delightfully delicious and contains an added bonus; pumpkin seeds! Also known as pepitas, roasted pumpkin seeds are lightly crunchy, little gems that are a potent source of zinc, which may be helpful in promoting prostate health.

Pumpkin seeds also offer a significant amount of magnesium, phosphorous, copper, iron, manganese, and omega-3 fatty acids, which may help relieve symptoms of high cholesterol, depression, high blood pressure, and arthritis.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2017 All Rights Reserved

Breads

December 3, 2016

Bread can be either leavened or unleavened. Leavened breads are made with rising agents, like yeast or baking powder, which allows the dough to release gases and expand. Unleavened bread contains no yeast, baking soda, baking powder or other leavening agents that allows dough to rise.

Leavened and unleavened bread are nutritionally similar.

It is generally, not a good idea to refrigerate bread. Although bread will last longer when refrigerated, it tends to dry out faster and to lose its soft texture.

As a general rule, bread should be kept in a somewhat air-tight and dry container or area.

Hot bread should not be put in a sealed container until it cools since the steam will cause dampness, which in turn can cause mold to grow more rapidly.

Storing bread on top of the refrigerator is not recommended. Refrigerator tops are usually very warm and this could either cause your bread to dry out more rapidly or cause condensation in the bag.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2016 All Rights Reserved

Saffron

October 29, 2016

Saffron

Highly prized as a dye, medication and culinary spice since Greek and Roman times, saffron is the stigma of a type of crocus, Crocus sativus, which was once grown all over Europe, including in England. It has a distinctive and lasting aroma, and a pleasant pungency if used sparingly. Because of its striking color, as well as its distinctive flavor, saffron is frequently added to celebration dishes; for example, pilaus from India, Spanish paella and Italian risotto Milanese. Bouillabaisse, the famous French fish and shellfish soup-stew, is flavored with saffron. The spice is also widely used in sweet recipes, including milky rice and sweet custard-like desserts. Baked goods flavored with saffron include breads and cakes.

Saffron threads can be infused (steeped) in a little warm water or milk until the color of the liquid is even. Add the liquid and the threads to the dish, usually towards the end of the cooking process. Saffron powder can be added to food without soaking, but not to hot oil.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2016 All Rights Reserved

Rosh Hashanah

October 1, 2016

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year (the first day of the Jewish High Holy Days) and is also known as the Feast of Trumpets. The holiday , which is also a day of remembrance, is at once solemn and festive. Joy comes not only from trust in God’s compassion, but also the anticipation of renewal and fresh starts.

The Rosh Hashanah meal becomes more than mere rejoicing as it is also a form of prayer. The table is transformed into an altar to supplicate God, partaking of symbolic foods: honeyed and sugared treats for a sweet year; round foods for a fulfilled year, unbroken broken by tragedy; foods that grow in profusion at this season and those eaten in abundance, such as rice, signifying hopes for fecundity, prosperity, and a wealth of merits.

Dinner begins with a prayer for a sweet year, dipping challah, or other sweet bread, and apples into fragrant honey. Some start with sugared pomegranates, dates, figs, or quince in rose petal syrup.

It is customary for the first course to be fish, which symbolizes fertility and God’s blessings. Seasonal vegetables like leeks, Swiss chard, black-eyed peas, and pumpkins appear throughout the meal in major and supporting roles. Delicious main dishes follow, and usually two or more sweet desserts (such as a plum tart, honey cake, or noodle kugel) conclude the meal.

A few foods, however, are unwelcome at the Rosh Hashanah table. Many Ashkenazi Jews do not eat nuts (because the numerical value of the Hebrew word for nuts is equal to the value of the word for sin). Others do not eat pickles, horseradish, or other sour foods, while Moroccans avoid foods that are black, like olives and grapes (which are considered bad omens).

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2016 All Rights Reserved

Paleo Diet

January 18, 2016

Paleo Diet

The Paleo Diet (short for Paleolithic) is fashioned around the eating habits and available foods of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. These ancestors had to nourish themselves with the meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fats available to them in nature. With the benefit of large supermarkets, it’s easy today to mimic these foods in wider variety. Specific recommendations for eating Paleo will vary; however, the main ideas are the same: Reduce the risk of debilitating diseases and optimize health by eating whole, fresh, unprocessed foods and avoid foods that were not available prior to the advent of modern agriculture.

Research studies looking at the Paleo Diet have noted that eating a Paleo Diet for a short term improved the glucose control and lipid profiles in people with type 2 diabetes, compared to eating a diet containing low-fat dairy, moderate salt intake, whole grains, and legumes. Additional research indicates similar results may be possible in people without type 2 diabetes as well. The Paleo diet may result in higher levels of satiety (fullness) throughout the day when compared with a low-fat, low-calorie diet.

Paleo Do’s
Eat plenty of non-starchy vegetables and fruits.

Make fresh meat, poultry, fish, and seafood your primary sources calories.

Avoid highly processed meats that contain preservatives, artificial flavors, and sugar, such as some sausages, bacon, deli meats, and smoked fish products.

Consume nuts and seeds.

Use coconut oil, grass-fed butter, olive oil, avocado oil, nut and seed oils, and animal fats, such as goose fat or duck fat, for cooking and eating.

Balance the intake of acid-producing foods (meats, fish, salt, and cheese) with base-producing foods (fruits and vegetables) for optimal health.

Use sea salt to season foods, but try to decrease sodium intake in general.

Paleo Don’ts
Consume highly processed packaged foods.

Get heavy handed with the salt shaker.

Eat grains of any kinds. Quinoa, bulgur, rice, wheat, bread, pasta, etc., are all out.

Consume sugar (including honey and maple syrup), sweets, candy, or desserts.

Use artificial sweeteners, such as monk fruit extract, stevia, NutraSweet or Equal (aspartame), Splenda (sucralose), or sugar alcohols, such as xylitol, sorbitol, or maltitol.

Eat legumes, beans, peas, lentils, or soy, or foods make from soybeans.

Use canola or soybean oils or consume hydrogenated oils (trans fats).

Consume dairy, with the exception of fermented dairy or raw milk cheese on occasion.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2016 All Rights Reserved

Bartlett Pears

October 11, 2015

Bartlett Pears

Bartlett pears are the only pears that change color when they’re ripe. Eat them out of hand like an apple, slice them onto a salad, or present on a platter with cheese & nuts. Poach them in fruit juice, or bake them into tarts, quick breads, or muffins.

In 17th century England, a schoolmaster named John Stair sold some pear tree cuttings to a grower named Williams, who quite narcissistically named the variety after himself. The Williams Pear became a staple variety, and when brought to the New World at the end of the 18th century, one Enoch Bartlett of Massachusetts planted it on his farm. Mr. Bartlett named it after himself and, from then on, throughout the United States, the Williams Pear became known as the Bartlett Pear.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

Perplexing Foodstuffs

Perplexing Foodstuffs

February 10, 2015

Perplexing Foodstuffs

There are those foods that can be rather difficult to figure out how to eat without looking like you were born in a cave. Here are some useful tips for properly eating perplexing foodstuffs.

Artichokes
Pluck off artichoke leaves and scrape the tender part (not the prickly point) between your teeth (preferably after dipping in melted butter). Work your way to the delicate inner leaves, and then use a knife to cut off the remaining small leaves and feathery innards. Cut the artichoke “heart” into bite-sized pieces and eat with a fork.

Asparagus
Eat asparagus with your fingers if served raw as crudités. Eat with a fork and knife if served with dinner.

Bread
Break bread into bite-sized pieces, and butter it or dip it into olive oil just one piece at a time.

Crab (Soft-Shelled)
Eat entire crab, including shell, either in sandwich form or using a fork and knife. Remove inedible pieces from your mouth with a fork.

Fajitas
Place meats, vegetables, and other fillings on a flat tortilla. Roll up and use your fingers to eat fajitas from one end.

Fondue
Spear bread, vegetables, or fruit with a fondue spear and dip into cheese or sauce. Remove food from spear using a dinner fork, and eat from a plate. DO NOT double dip. Spear uncooked meat cubes and place spear into fondue broth or sauce. When cooked, transfer meat to a plate using a dinner fork and cut into smaller pieces to eat.

Lobster
Wear a lobster bib to avoid fishy splatters, Crack shells with shellfish crackers and extract meat with a small fork or pick. Cut larger pieces with a knife, and eat with a fork after dipping in melted butter. Clean your hands by dipping fingers into finger bowls, and use lemon (if provided) to cut extra grease. Dry your hands with your napkin.

Peas
Use a knife to push peas onto a fork. Do not mash peas before eating, or eat peas from a knife.

Raw Shellfish
Use a small fork to extract mussels, clams, or oysters from the half-shell. Season with fresh lemon or cocktail sauce. In informal settings, you may quietly slurp shellfish from shells.

Soup
Using a soup spoon, spoon soup away from your body and then quietly sip from side of spoon. Tilt bowl away from you to spoon up remaining drops.

Spaghetti
Twirl pasta with fork tines into bite-sized portions, and allow any dangling pieces to fall back onto your fork. You may also rest fork tines against the bowl of a spoon while you twirl pasta.

Steamers
Extract clam from shell using a small fork, and use a fork and knife to remove inedible neck. In informal settings, it is permissible to use fingers.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

How To Eat More Protein On A Meat-Free Diet

February 3, 2015

How To Eat More Protein On A Meat-Free Diet

If you’re new to a meat-free diet or you struggle with ways to get the protein you need here are some important tips that may help you. It really isn’t as hard as you might think.

Snack on protein rich munchies and skip the carbs. Eat roasted chickpeas, edamame, roasted peanuts, or raw nuts. Keep away from heavily salted nuts.

If you’re looking for a frozen treat then purée coconut milk, almond butter, cashew butter, honey, and cocoa powder. Freeze in an ice cream maker for a protein rich frozen treat.

Make an easy cream sauce by whisking cashew butter with vegetable stock, garlic, and minced parsley. Toss with cooked pasta.

Crumble tempeh (fermented soybean protein) into pasta sauce or soups, or wherever you might use hamburger meat.

Purée cooked black beans and add to brownies. For blondies or light colored muffins or cakes, use cooked, puréed chickpeas.

Sprout sunflower seeds and add them to salads. Just soak raw seeds overnight in water to cover. Drain and let sprout for 24 to 48 hours.

Add ground flaxseeds to muffins, waffles, breads, or cookies for a protein boast and added omega 3 fats.

Make a protein packed pudding. Purée silken tofu with cocoa powder, honey, and vanilla extract.

Use hemp or rice protein powder instead of flour to make waffles, pancakes, and baked goods. Instead of eggs, use flax as a binder.

Lentils are awesome! Eat lentils more often. They are fast cooking and easy to use. Add to soups, toss in salads, and stir in cooked rice.

Spread sandwiches and wraps with hummus instead of mayonnaise. I do this all the time. Purée hummus with roasted red peppers or chipotle peppers for an added zing.

If you can tolerate gluten, seitan (wheat protein) is a great substitute for sliced deli meat. Use it in wraps or sandwiches for an easy lunch.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

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