This afternoon I was down in the west village and stopped into Citarella Gourmet Market on 6th Avenue. The place was packed to the gefilte fish with midday shoppers who seemed to be mostly shopping for tomorrow evening’s Passover dinner. I was surprised to see that they were selling prepared Seder Plates complete with hard-boiled egg, lamb shank bone, haroseth, horseradish, parsley, and watercress. Just goes to show that I learn a lot when I leave my apartment and go on little adventures in the city.
Everything From Apple Sauce To Tzimmes!
For a Sensational Seder you’ll want to have these traditional Passover dishes on hand.
Coconut Macaroons (You’ll Go Coco-Loco For Coconut Macaroons!)
Haroseth (For A Sweet Seder)
Matzo Ball Soup (Keep Your Eye On the Matzo Ball)
Potato Kugel (When Life Gives You Potatoes, Have Kugel)
Apple Sauce (Passover’s Special Sauce For Latkes & More)
Chopped Chicken Liver (What Am I? A Great Topper For Matzo!)
Kosher Passover Soups (A.K.A. Jewish Penicillin)
Karpas (That’s Parsley, For The Gentiles)
Matzo (You Gotsa Have Lotsa Matzo On Passover)
Root Vegetable Tzimmes (Get In Touch With Your Roots!)
Honey Glazed Carrots (Yummy)
Gefilte Fish (Just Like Your Grandmother Used To Make)
Kedem Concord Grape Juice (Tasty Enough For All Four Cups)
Raspberry Jelly Ring (If It’s Kosher, You Shoulda Put A Jelly Ring On It!)
Honey (Make A Nod To The Land Of Milk & Honey)
Beitzah (Don’t Forget The Eggs!)
Whole Kosher Brisket (Braise With Onions & Make Your Bubbe Proud)
Leg Of Lamb (Get A Leg Up On Seder Dinner)
Flourless Cake With Chocolate Glaze (Because 8 Days Without Cake Is A Long Time)
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2016 All Rights Reserved
New Year’s Eve is about celebration, which most definitely calls for caviar and champagne. If you’re having a party or small get-together here are a few important tips about caviar.
Keep it simple! When serving caviar, keep it simple. You certainly don’t want to spring for something so speak jut to cover up the flavor with a lot of overkill. Caviar is intensely flavorful, and it goes well with crème fraiche or sour cream and blini. Try it with small boiled potatoes, seafood, soft or hard boiled eggs, or buttered pasta. Caviar can be used almost like a precious garnish, which can also be a great way to stretch out a small amount of it.
Keep it cool! When you bring caviar home, place in the refrigerator immediately in its tin. Place in the coldest part of your fridge, which is usually in the back of the deli drawer. If you’re making hors d’oeuvres, make sure to work quickly and serve immediately or place the completed snacks back in the fridge so that the eggs are sitting out on the table or counter. If you plan on serving the caviar straight up, place the tin or place in another bowl over crushed ice. The caviar doesn’t need to be freezing cold, but should be kept cool so the eggs hold their shape and freshness.
No metal please! Probably the most important rule with caviar is making sure it doesn’t come into contact with reactive metal. You certainly don’t want your precious caviar tasking like metal. This also goes for that beautiful tiny metal spoon you’ve been dying to use. Traditionally, a mother-of-pearl spoon is used to serve caviar. If you don’t have a mother-of-pearl spoon then don’t fret. Wood, ceramic, and glass utensils all work. Just make sure whatever non-metal spoon you use is a dainty little thing.
Leftovers you say? Holy moly, if you’re lucky enough to have leftover caviar please don’t throw it out or freeze it. Eat some more the next day and go out and buy yourself a lottery ticket. Leftover caviar is like seeing a unicorn. There are a number of ways to enjoy it by tossing it with buttered pasta or top your scrambled eggs with it. The good news is that your leftover caviar should last in your refrigerator for about a week.
Happy New Year’s Eve!
"Work With What You Got!"
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen
Baking can be tricky when you throw gluten-free into the mix, even the most skilled cooks can be challenged. Here are some tips that can make Gluten-Free Baking less challenging.
Gluten-Free flour mixes can generally replace wheat flour cup for cup. Nut and bean flours may need extra experimentation to find the exact amounts to use.
Consider using smaller pans when baking gluten-free. It’s easier to get the center cooked without the edges burning as can happen with larger pans.
Keep a close watch on baking times. Some gluten-free recipes may take longer to bake than their wheat-containing counterparts.
To help gluten-free recipes taste their best, consider boosting flavor with extra nuts, herbs, spices, and flavor extracts such as vanilla and almond.
If converting a recipe to gluten-free, increase the egg amount by one extra egg to help ingredients bind together.
Gluten-free flours can be dry. You may need to increase a recipe’s liquids.
Xanthan gum keeps gluten-free baked goods moister and less prone to crumbling. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum for each cup of gluten-free flour.
"Work With What You Got!"
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen
Food is the fuel for your day's activities, so it makes no sense at all to eat your biggest meal at night when it's all behind you. – Laurel's Kitchen
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…