Cakes

5 Ways To Use A Vegetable Peeler

September 13, 2016

5 Ways To Use A Vegetable Peeler

The humble vegetable peeler has hidden talents.

Easily Peel Fruit: To peel soft fruits and vegetables, like tomatoes and peaches, you usually have to briefly dunk them into boiling water. Using a good vegetable peeler is so much easier and faster. Look for peelers with serrated blades for the best results and select not-too-ripe fruit.

Shaved Cheese: Give salads, pastas and roasted vegetables a restaurant-style finish by garnishing with generous amounts of shaved Parmesan or pecorino romano cheese.

Vegetable Pasta: Shave long strips of zucchini, carrots (even sweet potatoes and squash) to transform them into pasta substitutes. Serve raw or briefly steamed with your favorite sauce, or toss with a vinaigrette for a fresh and nutritious salad.

Spreadable Butter: Is there anything worse than trying to butter toast or bread with rock hard butter straight from the fridge? Use a vegetable peeler to scrape off thin and perfectly spreadable butter ribbons.

Chocolate Curls: Peel the edge of a slightly softened chunk of chocolate to create curls, or the flat surface of very cold chocolate to make shavings. Keep your creations in the freezer and use to garnish cakes, pies, puddings and seasonal fruit.

www.tinynewyorkkitchen.com

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Quick Breads

September 9, 2016

Quick Breads

For mouth-watering breads that don’t require a lot of time, turn to quick breads. By using baking powder, baking soda, steam, or air instead of yeast to leaven dough. An advantage of quick breads is their ability to be prepared quickly and reliably, without requiring time-consuming skilled labor and the climate control needed for traditional yeast breads. Quick breads include banana bread, beer bread, biscuits, cornbread, cookies, muffins, cakes, pancakes, brownies, scones, and soda bread.

Almost all quick breads have the same basic ingredients: Flour, leavening, eggs, fat (butter, margarine, shortening, or oil) and a liquid such as milk. Ingredients beyond these basics are added for variations of flavor and texture. The type of bread produced varies based predominantly on the method of mixing, the major flavoring, and the ratio of liquid in the batter. Some batters are thin enough to pour and others are thick enough to mold into lumps.

There are four main types of quick bread batter:
Pour Batters: Such as pancake batter, have a liquid to dry ration of about 1:1 and so pours in a steady stream – also called a “low-ratio” baked good.

Drop Batters: Such as cornbread and muffin batters, have a liquid to dry ratio of about 1:2.

Soft Doughs: Such as many chocolate chip cookie doughs, have a liquid to dry ratio of about 1:3. Soft doughs stick significantly to work surfaces.

Stiff Doughs: Such as pie crust and sugar cookie doughs, have a liquid to dry ratio of 1:8. Stiff doughs are easy to work in that they only minimally stick to work surfaces, including tools and hands – also called “high-ratio” baked goods.

Preparing a quick bread generally involves two mixing containers. On contains all dry ingredients (including chemical leavening agents or agent) and one contains all wet ingredients (possibly including liquid ingredients that are slightly acidic in order to initiate the leavening process). In some variations, the dry ingredients are in a bowl and the wet ingredients are heated sauces in a saucepan off-heat and cooled.

During the chemical leavening process, agents (one or more food-grade chemicals – usually a weak acid and a weak base) are added into the dough during mixing. These agents undergo a chemical reaction to produce carbon dioxide, which increases the baked good’s volume and produces a porous structure and lighter texture. Yeast breads often take hours to rise, and the resulting baked good’s texture can vary greatly based on external factors such as temperature and humidity. By contrast, breads made with chemical leavening agents are relatively uniform, reliable, and quick. Usually, the resulting baked good is softer and lighter than traditional yeast breads.

Chemical leavening agents include a weak base, such as baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) plus a weak acid, such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, or cultured buttermilk, to create an acid-base reaction that releases carbon dioxide. Quick bread leavened specifically with baking soda is often called “soda bread.” Baking powder contains both an acid and a base in dry powdered form, and simply needs a liquid medium in which to react. Other alternative leavening agents are egg whites mechanically beaten to form stiff peaks, as in the case of many waffle recipes, or steam, in the case of cream puffs.

There are three basic methods for making quick breads, which may combine the “rise” of the chemical leavener with advantageous “lift” from other ingredients.

The Stirring Method: Also known as the quick-bread method, blending method, or muffin method is used for pancakes, muffins, corn bread, dumplings, and fritters. This method calls for measurement of dry and wet ingredients separately, then quickly mixing the two. Often the wet ingredients include beaten eggs, which have trapped air that helps the product to rise. In these recipes, the fats are liquid, such as cooking oil. Using mixing is done using a tool with a wide head such as a spoon or spatula to prevent the dough from becoming over-beaten, which would break down the egg’s lift.

The Creaming Method: Frequently used for cake batters. The butter and sugar are “creamed” or beaten together until smooth and fluffy. Eggs and liquid flavorings are mixed in, and finally dry and liquid ingredients are added in. The creaming method combines rise gained from air bubbles in the creamed butter with the rise from the chemical leaveners. Gentle folding in of the final ingredients avoids destroying these air pockets.

The Shortening Method: Also known as the biscuit method, is used for biscuits and scones. This method cuts solid fat (whether lard, butter, or vegetable shortening) into flour and other dry ingredients using a food processor, pastry blender, or two hand-held forks. The layering from this process gives rise and adds flakiness as the fold of fat melts during baking. This technique is said to produce “shortened” cakes and breads, regardless of whether or not the chosen fat is vegetable shortening.

Quick bread originated in the United States at the end of the 18th century. Before the creation of quick bread, baked goods were leavened with either yeast or by mixing dough with eggs. The discovery of chemical leavening agents and their widespread military, commercial, and home utilization in the United States dates back to 1846 with the introduction of commercial baking soda in New York by Church and Dwight of “Arm & Hammer” fame. This development was extended in 1956 by the introduction of commercial baking powder in Massachusetts, although the best known form of baking powder is “Calumet”, which was first introduced in West Hammond and Hammond, Indiana (later Calumet City, Illinois) in 1889. Both forms of food-grade chemical leaveners are still being produced under their original names.

During the American Civil War (1861-1865) the demand for portable and quickly made food was high, while skilled labor for traditional bread making was scarce. This encouraged the adoption of bread, which was rapidly made and leavened with baking soda, instead of yeast. The shortage of chemical leaveners in the American South during the Civil War contributed to a food crisis.

As the Industrial Revolution accelerated, the marketing of mass-produced prepackaged foods was eased by the use of chemical leaveners, which could produce consistent products regardless of variations in source ingredients, time of year, geographical location, weather conditions, and many other factors that could cause problems with environmentally sensitive, temperamental yeast formulations. These factors were traded off against the loss of traditional yeast flavor, nutrition, and texture.

www.tinynewyorkkitchen.com

“Work With What You Got!”

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

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

Blueberry Basics

June 2, 2013

BlueberriesBlueberry Basics

Select blueberries that are plump and juicy.  You will want to make sure that they have NO trace of mold or discoloration.  Look for firm and uniformly sized blueberries that are deep in color.

Store your blueberries in the refrigerator in a moisture-proof container for up to 3 days.  If you will be eating your blueberries within 24 hours of picking then store them at room temperature.  If you would like to use them at a later date then just pop them in the freezer.  Make sure NOT to wash them before freezing.

Prepare your berries by washing just before using them.

Uses for blueberries are virtually endless. They can be eaten out of hand, in pies, pancakes, salads, salsa, jams, jellies and cakes.  Be creative and create your own blueberry dishes!

Blueberry Pancakes

Newport, Rhode Island’s Aquidneck Farmers’ Market

August 29, 2012

Newport, Rhode Island’s Aquidneck Farmers’ Market

Last Wednesday I spent the afternoon at the Aquidneck Growers' Wednesday Farmers Market, in Newport, Rhode Island and had such a great time.  I was impressed at how nicely laid out the market was as well as having such a nice variety of vendors.  I had a wonderful slice of wood oven pizza.  Bravo Wood Fired Pizza actually brings an actual wood oven to the market and bakes pizzas all afternoon long.  Here is the link for Bravo Wood Fired Pizza http://www.bravowoodfiredpizza.com/Pages/default.aspx

What I was most impressed with, however, was Olga’s Cup & Saucer.  Olga had an amazing selection of baked goods that is better than most famous bakeries that I have visited.  Olga’s booth was constantly jammed with people buying bagfuls of delicious treats.  I had a chocolate cookie and a macaroon. Both were superb!  Olga’s Cup & Saucer is out of Providence and has her deliciousness in my favorite Providence restaurant, La Laiterie/Farmstead Cheese.  Here is where you can find Olga’s Cup & Saucer online http://olgascupandsaucer.blogspot.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Olgas-Cup-and-Saucer/200452426644338

If you find yourself in Newport on a Wednesday I highly suggest that you make a stop into the farmers’ market.  Parking is tight, but not impossible. http://www.farmfresh.org/food/farmersmarkets_details.php?market=2  Aquidneck Growers' Wednesday Farmers Market

Wednesday: 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

June 6 to October 31, 2012

Along the shaded walk

Memorial Blvd And Chapel St

Newport, RI

Serving & Storing Cake

August 13, 2012

Serving & Storing Cake

To enjoy cakes at their best, follow these tips:

 

*Allow cakes with butter type frosting to stand for about an hour before slicing. 

This allows the frosting to set. 

 

*For cakes that are filled or frosted with whipped cream make sure to assemble

Them no more than 2 hours before serving.  This will prevent them from

Getting soggy.

 

*To cut your cakes use a thin bladed knife cut pieces.  Run the knife under hot

Water and make sure to wipe the knife dry before cutting the first piece

And in between subsequent cuts.

 

*For storing cakes most cakes can be covered and stored at room temperature

For 2 to 3 days.  It is good to have a cake cover, but if you don’t have

A cake cover then just invert a large bowl over your cake.  If you directly

Cover the cake with plastic wrap then it will for sure make a mess of the

Frosting.

 

*For those cakes that have a filling or a frosting that contains eggs, whipped

Cream or cream cheese it is best to store your cake covered in the fridge.

 

*If you want to freeze your cake then you should put your cooled and unfrosted

Cake layers on a baking sheet.  Freeze them until they are nice and firm.

After the layers are frozen then transfer them to large freezer bags or wrap

Them and seal them in freezer wrap.  They will keep in the freezer for up to

4 months.  Thaw them before frosting.

 

*If you are serving your cake directly from the pan then cover them and freeze

Them in the pan.  Make sure to thaw them before frosting them.

 

A Word About Baking Powder

August 4, 2012

A Word About Baking Powder

Baking powder is a leavening agent that reacts to liquid and heat and creates carbon dioxide gas, which expands the bubbles created by the creaming process, causing the cake to rise.  Baking powder loses its effectiveness after six months to a year.  Be sure to check the date on the can when you buy it or mark it yourself. 

Feast of Saint John The Baptist June 24th

June 24, 2012

Feast of Saint John The Baptist June 24th

One of the many unique things that we could say in describing St. John the Baptist is that he is truly the "Saint of Summer."  Saint John the  Baptist is one of the most important saints.  Other than the Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, John the Baptist is the only saint who is honored on the Church calendar with more than one Feast Day (the other is August 29th, the day of his martyrdom).  As we can see, both these Feast Days occur at the opposite ends of the Summer season.  John the Baptist saw and lived very clearly his purpose in life and carried it out in the midst of challenges.  He had two important qualities of his life that should inspire us each day.These two qualities are humility and a sense of purpose. 

Son of Elizabeth and Zacharias, both already advanced in years and childless, John was born about 6 months before Jesus.  This birth had been announced by the archangel Gabriel to Zacharias, who was struck dumb by the message.  8 days after the birth, having to be circumcised, the child needed a name, and Zacharias succeeded in writing “John,” following indications of the angel; his tongue loosened in the hymn of the Benedictus.  In representations of the birth o the Baptist, Mary is usually also present, assist her cousin Elizabeth, while Zacharias is most often shown in the act of writing.  The name John is from a Hebrew name meaning “Yahweh is gracious.”

This is a great feast of June that is common to countries and has been celebrated since early times, is the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, also known as Midsummer.  In lots of places bonfires are lighted in honor of Saint John.  This day is to celebrate the summer solstice.  In Ireland and in England these bonfires had their origin in the Druidic fires lighted in honor of the god of the sacred wood. Today they are known as the Fires of Saint John although a few pagan customs remain in connection with the celebration.

In France the bonfires are built as close as possible to one of Saint John’s own chapels.  It is important to have a boy named Jean or a girl named Jeanne provides a wreath to throw into the fire.  When vesper services are over the priest kindles the blaze and the evening begins with singing and dancing which will last far into the night.

In Mexico Saint John’s feast is a big affair.  Saint John is the Mexicans dearly beloved saint, especially the saint of the waters.  On this day wells and fountains are decorated bright with ribbons and flowers.  At midnight on the eve, everyone bathes: in the country in lakes or pools or rivers; in large cities the festivities center around the fashionable bath houses where swimming contests and exhibitions of diving skill take place. 

Saint John’s Day in Mexico is definitely also a day of feasting.  Everyone brings food to the bathing places.  Cakes, sweets, chicken tamales, stuffed peppers, pork tacos and empanadas. 

Tatte Bakery & Cafe

June 9, 2012

Tatte Bakery & Café

 

Yesterday I was on foot from my hotel to the M.I.T. graduation ceremony at Killian Court.  It was early in the morning and I hadn’t eaten a thing although I had managed to choke down a couple cups of lousy hotel coffee.  I ended up walking past a bakery that smelled divine, and stopped dead in my tracks.  Some backpacked students briskly walked past me and shouted out, “that place is super expensive, but tastes great!”  I thought to myself, “my kind of place,” and ventured in.  What a place!  The displays were unbelievable and the smells even better.  I picked up an almond croissant and an apricot brioche and carried them to the graduation ceremony.  I figured that I would be sitting there awhile and needed something to nibble on.  Each bite was heaven. 

Apparently, Tatte Bakery & Café is brand new with its grand opening a month ago.  They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and take-out cookies, cakes and pastries.  You can check them out at www.tattecookies.com.

 

Tatte Bakery & Café

318 Third Street

Cambridge, MA  02142

617-354-4200

Hours:

M-F   7am to 10pm

Sat    8am to 10pm

Sun   9am to 6pm

 

A Note About Zest

June 1, 2012

A Note About Zest

 

The intense flavor and aroma of citrus zest adds great flavor to so many foods from soup to sauces to cookies and cakes.  The real trick in using lemon, lime or orange zest is to remove only the outer, colored layer of the peel.  Avoid the bitter white pith underneath.  Scrub the citrus well with a vegetable brush or coarse sponge to clean off any dirt or markings.  Next grate the zest, using a zester or the smallest holes on a conventional box grater.  You can also slice the zest off with a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler and then finely mince it.   

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