Citrus

Winterize Your Cocktails

December 10, 2018

Now that the colder weather is here and you’ve put away your beach towel it’s time to winterize your cocktails. One way to achieve this is by using amari, the rich, bitter, herbal European-style liqueurs-before–dinner aperitifs and after-dinner digestifs-that have become more popular and widely available. Amari can add structure and backbone to cocktails and is often the secret behind some of the most iconic classic drinks. Amaro is perfect for colder months, to pair with flavors like honey, citrus, and spices. Adding it is like seasoning food because it enhances flavors and gives the drink more character.

This season bartenders are combining them with brown spirits like dark rum, bourbon, rye, and Scotch for autumn and winter drinks. You could make a variation on the Brooklyn cocktail with bourbon, amaro, maraschino liqueur, dry vermouth, blood orange liqueur, and bitters.

Some add amaro and bourbon to mulled wine or change up that Irish Coffee by using single-malt whiskey, two kinds of amaro, coffee, simple syrup, and topped with whipped cream. Change up the Negroni by keeping the gin, but replacing the Campari with amari and adding amontillado sherry.

Be inventive and try adding amari to your holiday cocktails. You may just create a new classic.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Reducing Sodium In Your Diet

April 5, 2018

Let’s face it; most of us eat way too much salt. A high-sodium diet can increase risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), which can lead to cardiovascular and kidney disease. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day, which is about 1 teaspoon of salt. The good news is that reducing the amount of salt you use will retrain your taste buds to sense other flavors. You won’t even miss it.

Bland food is such a bore, but how can we keep sodium in check without sacrificing flavor?

Here are some suggestions to reduce salt in your diet:

Remove the salt shaker from the table when you eat.

Limit process foods, including cured, pickled, salted, or brined products.

Focus on fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables without sauces or seasonings.

When choosing canned options, look for “no salt added” or “low sodium.”

Cook at home so you have control over how much salt you add.

Flavored vinegar, onions, garlic, and citrus also add tons of flavor without the sodium.

Herbs and spices are the key to flavor. Add dried varieties during cooking and fresh herbs at the end of cooking or when plating a dish. Thyme, mint, lemongrass, dill, basil, oregano, chives, and parsley are great herbs to use. Spices like pepper, ginger, chili powder, and cinnamon are excellent spices to flavor your food.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Winter Produce

February 8, 2018

The colder months are when a rainbow of fruits and vegetables reach their peak, from dark green kale to sunny citrus.

Jicama
Pronounced hee-cah-ma, this winter vegetable is crunchy and refreshing. Its mild flavor makes it perfect for salads, salsa, or as crudités for your favorite dip. Use a vegetable peeler to remove its tough skin. When chopping, pick the ones with taut skin and firm flesh.

Turnips
This phytonutrient-rich root vegetable becomes sweeter as you cook it, shedding any bitterness along the way. The greens are particularly good for you and make an easy side sautéed with some garlic in olive oil.

Beets
Putt off by the long cooking time for beets? Reach for conveniently precooked packages in the produce section, or enjoy them raw. Peel them and grate them into salads or smoothies.

Parsnips
Earthy, sweet parsnips are loaded with fiber and minerals like folate and potassium. Older parsnips can have a somewhat fibrous core, which you can cut out before cooking if you prefer a softer texture.

Red Cabbage
High In antioxidants, red cabbage is great for slaws, but unlock a whole new world of flavor by sautéing, roasting or even grilling it.

Citrus
This category of fruit is at its peak right now, so take full advantage. The beauty of citrus is that it can swing from sweet to savory. These fruits stay fresh for weeks in the fridge, so keep a variety on hand to brighten up breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Lemons, limes, and grapefruit are easy-to-find mainstays, but don’t be afraid to experiment with blood oranges, key limes, Meyer lemons, kumquats, pomelos, and clementines.

Brussels Sprouts
Full of fiber and vitamins K and C, this once-maligned cruciferous vegetable (from the same family as cauliflower and cabbage) is way more versatile than you think. Try it raw, roasted, fried, steamed, or sautéed.

Kale
This leafy green has gone from tossed-aside garnish to hot trend to salad staple. Whether you choose the curly or lacinato type, kale is high in vitamins K, C, and A, as well as carotenoids like lutein to promote eye health.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Winter Citrus Fruit

February 1, 2018

Winter Citrus Fruit is a beautiful natural ingredient that will perk up the winter table with generous juiciness and vibrant vivacious hues. Citrus fruit have a beauty that cooks can incorporate into their winter meals. As an added bonus they are an excellent snack for that nagging sweet tooth. They can bring a bit of glamor to a winter fruit salad. Arrange oranges, clementine, mandarin, pomelo or grapefruit slices and you will have a sunny rainbow of goodness for breakfast or brunch. Nothing more is needed than perhaps a scattering of fresh mint or basil. These citrus also combine well with cranberries, raspberries and strawberries, adding burst of sunshine to yogurt bowls and smoothies.

Green salads love a bit of sunshine, too. Add citrus slices to a mixture of arugula, radicchio, endive and baby kale; add minced fresh herbs, such as basil, tarragon and chill. Add a bit of creamy goat cheese and dress it all up with a vinaigrette.

The versatility of citrus makes them a superstar winter ingredient. These beautiful fruits are low in calories, have a significant amount of dietary fiber and are a nice source of folate. Rich in vitamin A and C, Citrus provides healing, soothing benefits for eyes, skin, hair, and nails and many positively impact the aging process. Consuming citrus may possibly lower the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and macular degeneration.

Let the sunshine in!

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Citrus

February 9, 2017

Oranges and lemons were first brought to the Americas by Spanish explorers. Today the United States is among the world’s top citrus growers and consumers. To choose the best citrus select fruit that is heavy and not too soft. When selecting oranges don’t worry about the color, as it is not a good indicator of how tasty the orange will be. For lemons and limes the juiciest fruit gives a little when you gently squeeze them. I like to roll lemons and limes around on the counter with the palm of my hand to loosen up the juice before cutting into them.

Oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes are the most commonly found citrus fruits. Lemons, limes, and oranges come into season just when we need them the most, when days are short and the weather is cold. Rich in vitamin C and fiber, they add a zesty boost to almost any meal. During the winter months, look for other varieties, such as blood oranges, Key limes, and Meyer lemons, as well as grapefruit-like pomelos and tiny kumquats.

We need vitamin C to stay healthy and citrus fruit is a delicious way to add lots of this vital nutrient to your diet. Start the day with orange juice, add a squeeze of lemon to warm water later in the day, or pack grapefruit sections to enjoy as a snack at work or school.

Citrus stars in everything from sweet and savory dishes to non-food uses. Simmer slices of lemons, limes, and oranges in water to use as a natural air freshener, use lemon juice as a gentle alternative to laundry bleach, or combine lemon juice with olive oil to use as furniture polish.

Much of the citrus flavor is in the zest. Finely grate the peel and add to anything that needs a punch of citrus flavor. To get perfectly grated zest without bitter white pith, use a fine zester.

Make your own flavored salt by processing coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, and citrus zest in a food processor. Add this mix to soups, stews, meats and pasta dishes.

Use a vegetable peeler to remove large strips of peel and add to hot tea, mulled wine, soups, and stews to add bold flavor.

To segment citrus like a pro cut a thin slice from either end of the fruit to make a base. Pare away the peel and white part of the rind. Cut into the fruit center between one section and the membrane. Cut along the other side, between section and membrane. Repeat.

www.tinynewyorkkitchen.com

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Less Stress Holidays

December 19, 2015

Less Stress Holidays

Holiday time is a wonderful time of year, but let’s face it, there is plenty of stress that comes with it. During the holidays, it’s better to keep things as simple as possible.

Appetizers & Hors D’Oeuvres: Keep it simple. Serve a simple, but beautiful cheese platter. Add bowls of dried fruit and nuts, as they’re always very festive. I like to set up a small snack table set with bowls of olives, savory popcorn, and Marcona almonds. I also like to serve a crudité platter for guests who may not want to eat rich foods or are perhaps trying to eat a bit healthier around the holidays.

Plan Your Menu: If you’re having a sit-down dinner, try to make a menu that can be prepared somewhat in advance. Some great options might be a beef Bourguignon, braised short ribs, coq au vin or any other main dish that can be made the day before. I am a big proponent of choosing things to cook that can be prepped ahead of time. I like to start off a dinner party with a nice salad that incorporates some seasonal ingredients like pomegranates, pears, citrus or candied nuts. A winter squash soup is also a nice way to begin a meal. Dessert can be a simple winter fruit crisp or a spice cake served with ice cream.

Get A Head Count: When it comes to a holiday meal, any time of year, depending on the number of guests, a simple yet broad menu works best. For buffet holiday parties with over a dozen people, you might want to offer a couple of different entrees. Add a vegetable and perhaps roasted potatoes or roasted root vegetables. Offering a nice crisp green salad always rounds out the menu as well. Add some delicious small rolls or a sliced baguette and you’re good to go.

Serving A Nice Beverage: Then there are the beverages. Having a festive specialty drink is always welcomed by your guests. If you’re mixing the drinks yourself, keep it simple. Please don’t spend all of your time being a bartender at your own party. That’s no fun! You could mix a nice holiday punch bowl with an adult kick ahead of time. A splash of pomegranate liqueur or elderflower liqueur is a nice addition to prosecco or champagne. A white Christmas cosmo (made with white cranberry juice) is a holiday favorite. Make it in advance and when you’re ready to serve just shake with ice and serve.

Make In Advance: Many things can be done days before the party. Shopping for non-perishable foods like spices, flour, sugar can all be purchased many days before your party. You can also make your holiday cookie dough or pie crusts in advance. All you need to do is to make sure you freeze them until you’re ready to use them.

Keep Calm & Have Fun: The most important thing is to keep calm and have fun. A holiday party of any kind should be a time of joy for everyone, even the host. If you find yourself working way too hard to throw and plan a party then ask friends or family members for help. Perhaps a few good friends could bring a dish or two to help ease the stress on your kitchen. The goal is to have a good time with family and friends.

Happy Holidays From Tiny New York Kitchen!

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Fruit Essentials

August 8, 2013

Fruit mosaicFruit Essentials

Have you ever come home from the market after purchasing fruit to find that you spent money for nothing?  I have plenty of times and it ticks me off every time.  Here are some Fruit Essentials that may help you have more fruit shopping success.

Did you know that many plants that are botanically fruits are not sweet?  We think of them as vegetables or non-fruits.  Avocados, beans, coconuts, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, green peppers, okra, peas, pumpkins, sugar peas, string beans and tomatoes all fall in the fruit category.  Some cookbooks make a distinction between fruit, vegetables and fruit vegetables.  Fruit vegetables are foods that are botanically fruits, but are most often prepared and served like vegetables.  These fruits are considered fruit vegetables: Aubergine, autumn squash, avocado, bitter melon, cantaloupe, chayote, chile, courgette, cucumber, eggplant, gherkin, green bean, green sweet pepper, hot pepper, marrow, muskmelon, okra, olive, pumpkin, red sweet pepper, seedless cucumber, squash, sweet pepper, tomatillo, tomato, watermelon, wax gourd, yellow sweet pepper and zucchini.

Pectin is a substance contained in some fruit which is used for making jams and jellies thicker.  High pectin fruits are apples, cranberries, currants, lemons, oranges, plums and quinces.  Low pectin fruits are bananas, cherries, grapes, mangos, peaches, pineapples and strawberries.

Low pectin fruits seem to discolor quicker than high pectin fruits ( bananas and eggplants).  Lemon juice or vinegar slows the discoloring process.  Other fruits and vegetables that discolor quickly are avocados, cauliflower, celery, cherries, figs, Jerusalem artichokes, mushrooms, nectarines, parsnips, peaches, pears, potatoes, rutabaga and yams.

Bruising:  When a fruit is bruised the cell walls break down and discoloration begins.  The process can be slowed down by refrigeration.

Cleaning:  It is important to clean our fruit and vegetables.  Rinse fruit in cold running water and scrub as needed before cooking or eating.  Soaking fruit in water for more than a few minutes can leach out water soluble vitamins.

Peeling:  The fruit skin usually contains a lot of important nutrients, but if you need to peel a thick-skinned fruit cut a small amount of the peel from the top and bottom.  Then on a cutting board cut off the peel in strips from top to bottom.  A good way to peel thin skinned fruit is to place the fruit in a bowl with boiling water and let stand for about 1 minute.  Remove and cool in an ice water bath.  You could also spear the fruit with a fork and hold over a gas flame until the skin cracks OR quarter the fruit and peel with a sharp paring knife or potato peeler.

Wax:  Oh those beautiful waxed apples that wink at us at the market.  They are beautiful because they are waxed.  I don’t know about you, but I would rather not eat wax.  Wax can be removed from the surface of fruits by washing them with a mild dishwashing soap and then thoroughly rinsing them.  This will remove most of the wax, but probably not all of it.

Purchasing Ripe:  Purchase these fruits fully ripe:  Berries, cherries, citrus, grapes and watermelon.  All of the fruits in this list, except berries, can be refrigerated without losing flavor.

Purchasing Not-So-Ripe:  Apricots, figs, melons, nectarines, peaches and plums develop more complex flavors after picking.  Store these fruits at room temperature until they are as ripe as you would like them.

Refrigeration:  You can refrigerate apples,ripe mangos and ripe pears as soon as you get them.  Do not refrigerat bananas.

Seasonal Fruit:  Winter is the season for citrus.  Fall is the season for apples and pears.  Late spring is the season for strawberries and pineapples.  Summer is perfect for blueberries, melons, peaches and plums.

Washing:  Dry fruit with paper towels or kitchen towels and then use a blow dryer on the cool setting to completely dry fruit.

Squeezing:  A microwave can be used to get more juice from citrus fruits.  Microwave citrus fruits for about 20 seconds before squeezing the fruit for juice.

 

 

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