Garlic

A Favorite St. Patrick’s Day Dish

March 17, 2018

It’s that time of year again, in America, when the beer turns green and the aroma of corned beef and cabbage fills the air. The dish is so comforting, but just what is corned beef? The term has nothing to do with corn, but was the English term for a small granule, such as a grain of salt. In days before modern refrigeration, salting meat was a way to preserve it and keep it from spoiling.

Corned beef is an Americanized addition to the traditional Irish diet. While colcannon (boiled potatoes, cabbage, and leeks in buttermilk flavored with wild garlic) was a common Irish dish, as was brown soda bread, corned beef was produced primarily for export to England. Upon arriving in America, however, it’s thought the Irish chose to celebrate their holiday with food that was typically not available to them in their home country, so corned beef was added to the menu, as was white soda bread studded with currants and caraway.

Corned beef is typically made from beef brisket, which is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest, but the rump, bottom round, and even tongue, can be used. In America, the term “corned beef” is used to describe both the cured meat and the canned stuff found on grocery store shelves. In Britain, they call the canned stuff “salt beef.”

To make corned beef the meat is simmered in a blend of corned beef spices that usually include peppercorns, garlic, mustard, tarragon, thyme, parsley, cloves, and nutmeg.

In New England, you most often see corned beef served as a St. Patrick’s Day main dish or in a sandwich. As the main ingredient in New England Boiled Dinner, corned beef often pairs with potatoes, carrots, turnips, and cabbage in a hearty, savory, brothy bowl of goodness. When used in a sandwich, the most popular corned beef sandwich is the Reuben. Considered the quintessential Jewish deli sandwich, a Reuben is toasted rye bread stuffed with hot slices of corned beef, usually piled high, and topped with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and either Russian or Thousand Island dressing.

In New England, a frequent point of interest is also whether you prefer red vs. gray corned beef. The difference is “Red” brisket is cured with nitrite, which gives the meat its signature color. “Gray” corned beef, which is considered the authentic New England variety, is not cured with nitrate, so color forms naturally as it brines.

If you have corned beef leftovers a New England favorite is corned beef hash, which is typically served for breakfast.

“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

Brussels Sprouts

October 16, 2017

I like to eat seasonal fruits and vegetables. Brussels sprouts are a hearty winter vegetable and are sweetest and most tender after a hard frost. They are a good source of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C. Look for young, small green sprouts that have tightly formed buds. Avoid any yellowing, which means that the sprouts will be bitter, sulfurous, and tough. Use fresh sprouts within a few days after purchasing. Sprouts sold on the stalk tend to keep longer. Brussels sprouts can be boiled, braised, or steamed. Cut an X at the base of each sprout to allow for a more even cooking. Add a bit of butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, onions, or herbs of your choice. Brussels sprouts also make a nice addition to stir fry, noodles, and other dishes. As always, be creative and “work with what you got!”

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Herb Oils

August 9, 2017

One of the best ways to preserve the abundance of fresh herbs from your garden is by making flavored oils. Herb oils can be enjoyed so many ways – drizzled over salads, vegetables, pastas, sandwiches, or grilled items, hot or cold or at room temperature. Not only are they flavorful, but they also add dramatic color when drizzled on plates. If you want to add more flavor add half a clove of smashed garlic and 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper to the blender with the other ingredients, which makes a great dipping oil for chunks of rustic bread.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Cannellini Beans

December 7, 2016

Cannellini beans, which are widely used in Italian cooking, actually originate from Argentina.

These creamy white Italian beans are slightly larger and fatter than the white haricot beans and are more like a kidney in shape. They are related to the larger French Soissons and, like them, have a fluffy texture when cooked. They are a popular addition to classic minestrone and a variety of other soups. Cannellini beans are an essential ingredient for tonno e fagioli (tuna and bean salad) and Florentine fagioli all’uccelletto, where the beans are stewed with sage, tomatoes, and garlic. They are also delicious cooked with olive oil, onion ring slices, garlic, and parsley.

I prefer to cook with dried beans rather than canned beans. I do keep a few cans of beans in my pantry, however, as they’re useful in short notice circumstances. When you purchase canned beans make sure that the ingredients do not include sugar or salt.

To cook Cannellini Beans: Sort and rinse 3/4 cup Cannellini Beans. Place in a medium-size pot with 3 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a medium-low and cook 60 to 90 minutes until beans are soft. Add more water as needed while cooking to keep beans covered. Makes about 2 cups/4 servings.

To reduce cooking time, soak beans in water overnight in the refrigerator. Drain and throw away soaking water before proceeding.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Turkey

November 22, 2016

The turkey came originally from America and was first domesticated by the Aztecs in Mexico. The Spanish introduced turkeys into Europe and they soon became a popular choice in France, Italy and Britain.

When early settlers from Britain, France and Holland crossed the Atlantic to North America, the vast flocks of turkey that roamed wild provided them with sustenance. They were plentiful and so easy to trap or shoot that the older children of the family were given the responsibility of catching them. The Native Americans meanwhile taught the new settlers the rudiments of farming, and in November 1621, on the first anniversary of their arrival, the Pilgrims entertained the locals to a feast, at the center of which was the turkey. Ever since, this has been the traditional bird served at Thanksgiving.

Turkeys are available fresh, chilled, or frozen all year round. When buying a whole bird, look for a plump well-rounded breast and legs and clear, soft and evenly colored skin. Avoid birds that are bruised, with blemishes or torn skin or any that have been badly or unevenly plucked. Turkeys vary enormously in weight.

When you’re ready to purchase your turkey it’s easy to get confused on what size to get. A good guild to go by is to figure approximately 1 1/4 pounds per person. This makes enough for the meal and provides a decent amount of leftovers.

To store your turkey place it in a large, deep dish and cover it completely with plastic wrap. Store it in the coolest part of the refrigerator; making sure that it does not come in contact with other foods.

Thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 days. Estimate 24 hours for every 5 pounds, so 2 days for a 10 pounder, 3 days for a 15 pounder, etc.

And then there is always the frozen turkey emergency that goes like this, “Help, help, it’s Wednesday, and my turkey is still frozen!!!” It’s been a long time, but I’ve been in this predicament. What you do is leave the turkey in its wrapper and put it in a large-size container. A lobster pot works well. Fill the container with cold tap water and let it sit for 30 minutes. Dump out the water and refill. Let it sit another 30 minutes. Repeat until the turkey is thawed, then roast immediately or transfer to the refrigerator.

The good news is that you can brine or dry cure your turkey while it defrosts in the refrigerator. What a Godsend that is! Use a lighter brine solution, which is about 1/2 cup kosher salt per gallon of water, plus sugar and spices). If you’re dry curing, use the standard recipe. You’re turkey should stay below 40 degrees while brining. You don’t need to brine or cure a kosher or butterball type supermarket frozen turkey. These come pre-brined. If you want to be able to put your own flavor stamp on your meal, then get a natural or untreated bird and do it yourself. If you plan on brining for 2 days use the weaker solution that I just mentioned. If you plan to brine for 24 hours or less, then bump it up to 1 cup kosher salt per gallon of water. Then add an equal amount of sugar. I don’t always brine, but when I do I’ve been known to throw an assortment of flavorings in the brine. Flavorings that you could add to your brine could be: apples, lemons, oranges, onions, garlic, shallots, peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, juniper berries, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, rosemary, sage, thyme, savory, parsley, or oregano. You can also replace half the water with sweet cider, hard cider, vegetable stock, turkey stock, chicken stock, beer, white wine, or red wine. If you want to dry cure then use about 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt for every pound of turkey. Then add spices to your taste.

Stuffing your turkey is a personal preference. I always stuff the bird because I love how it tastes when cooked inside the turkey. It does slow down the cooking process, however. Never stuff the turkey in advance of cooking. The stuffing can be made in advance, but the turkey should not be stuffed until just before it is placed in the oven. Weigh the stuffing and add this to the weight of the bird before calculating the cooking time. Thoroughly rinse the body cavity of the bird under cold running water, and then drain it well. Wipe the turkey, inside and out, with paper towels. Press the stuffing inside the shallow neck cavity. Make sure not to pack it in too tightly. Turn the bird over and pull the neck skin over the stuffing. Now it’s time for a little turkey bondage and truss the bird (tuck the wing tips under the breast and tie the legs together) and then cook for the calculated time. Never shorten the cooking time because although the meat may appear cooked, extra time must be allowed for cooking the stuffing thoroughly.

If you choose not to stuff your turkey then place aromatics in the body cavity of the bird. Cut a large onion in half and stud each half with 4 to 6 cloves. Place this in the body cavity of the bird. Cut an orange and a lemon into quarters and add these, together with 3 or 4 bay leaves, 4 to 6 fresh sage sprigs, and 2 to 3 fresh thyme sprigs. Add 1 cinnamon stick or 1 blade of mace for a festive hint of warm spice.

Turkeys are super easy to roast, but require a little more attention than smaller birds. Check to make sure the oven shelves are in the correct position before heating the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the prepared bird on a rack in a large-size roasting pan. Smear the turkey breast generously with butter, season with salt & pepper and place in the oven. Baste the turkey from time to time during cooking. When the breast has browned, cover with foil to protect it and continue cooking. Remove the covering foil for the final 20 minutes of cooking. To check if the meat is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear and the meat is white, it is cooked. If the juices are pink and the meat is soft and pink, the turkey is not ready. Return it to the oven and check again after 20 minutes. Cooking times will differ depending on whether your bird was purchased fresh or frozen. Plan on 20 minutes per pound in a 350 degree oven for a defrosted turkey and 10 to 15 minutes per pound for fresh. Remember to add more time if you’re turkey is stuffed. You should have an instant-read thermometer in your kitchen drawer. Insert the thermometer into the breast (all the way to the bone) and if it reads 160 degrees you’re good to go. You may also measure the thigh by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part, but not touching the bone, and it should read 165 degrees.

Remove the turkey from the oven and cover it closely with foil. Leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes. This will even out the temperature and make it easier to carve. I know some chefs who let it rest for 2 hours, but I don’t think that one needs to wait that long. If you wish to make gravy in the roasting pan, transfer the bird to a carving plate.

When you’ve let your bird rest awhile remove the trussing string. Hold the bird steady in position with a carving fork. Cut off the legs, then cut these in half or carve the meat from the bones. Make a horizontal cut across the breast above the wing. Carve neat and even vertical slices off the breast. Repeat on the other side of the bird. Arrange slices on a warmed platter. Add the turkey legs or sliced meat to the platter or set them aside for serving separately. Scoop out the stuffing and serve with the meat.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Red Split Lentils

October 15, 2016

Red Split Lentils

The lentil is one of our oldest foods and a staple in many countries around the world. It originated in Asia and North Africa, and continues to be cultivated in those regions, as well as in France and Italy. Lentils are hard even when fresh, so they are always sold dried.

Lentils are a good source of complex carbohydrates and plant protein. They also contain a range of vitamins and essential minerals, including iron, selenium, folate, manganese, zinc, phosphorus and some B vitamins.

Orange-colored red split lentils, sometimes known as Egyptian lentils, are the most familiar variety. They cook relatively quickly, in just 20 to 30 minutes, eventually disintegrating into a wonderful thick, rich purée. They are ideal for thickening soups and casseroles. When cooked with spices, garlic, and onions they make a hot and delicious dhal, a richly flavored purée served as an accompaniment to meat or vegetable curries. In the Middle East, red or yellow lentils are cooked and mixed with spices and vegetables to form balls known as kofte, which are then fried.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Make The Most Of Mushrooms

September 22, 2016

Make The Most Of Mushrooms

Keep fresh mushrooms in perfect condition after purchase. Here is what to do to make these gems last.

Keep The Original Store Packaging
You can’t see it, but the wrap on packaged mushrooms actually has tiny holes that prevent damaging condensation and gases from building up. You can, and should, store commercially grown mushrooms (presliced or whole) in their original container and wrap in the refrigerator, they will keep up to one week.

Keep Moisture At Bay, Wrap Loose Mushrooms In Dry Packaging
Storing mushrooms in a damp towel will shorten the length of time they stay fresh. Instead, refrigerator loose mushrooms in a brown paper bag; it will absorb any moisture and allow them to breathe. A partially opened ziplock plastic bag will also work.

Avoid The Crisper
The refrigerator’s vegetable bin is a moist place, not a friendly area for mushrooms. Instead, keep them in a spot where air can circulate, like an open shelf.

Keep Mushrooms Away From Pungent Foods
Mushrooms can take on the flavors of strong foods that are stored nearby. Keep them away from onions, garlic, and other foods with strong odors.

Rinse With Water
Clean mushrooms under cool, running water right before you’re ready to use them; then pat dry. It’s a myth that mushrooms easily absorb water, but if they’re rinsed too far in advance, they will discolor and deteriorate from the moisture. Cultivated mushrooms grow in sterilized compost, so you can also clean them by simply brushing any bits of dirt with a clean damp towel.

www.tinynewyorkkitchen.com

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Black Garlic

April 12, 2016

Black Garlic

Black Garlic has been around for quite awhile and is an ingredient that chefs have been using across the country. Think of it as “sweet meets savory.” Black garlic is made when heads of garlic are aged under very specialized conditions until the cloves turn black and have a sticky date-like texture. The taste is delicious and unique with a sweet and earthy umami flavor that intensifies nearly any dish you’re creating.

Garlic bulbs are kept for weeks at low temperatures in a humid environment. The enzymes that give fresh garlic its sharpness break down. These conditions also facilitate the Maillard reaction, the chemical process that produces wild new flavor compounds responsible for the deep taste of seared meat and fried onions.

Black garlic’s flavor is described as tasting like aged balsamic, prunes, licorice, molasses, caramel, and tamarind. Use the cloves as you would roasted garlic. Purée with olive oil for a dense and sweet flavor all its own that compliments steaks, chicken, fish and seafood. Smear the paste on crostini or incorporate it into dressings. Use in a braise to intensify the umami-rich flavor of spare ribs. Add to soups, risotto, noodle and rice dishes, and cheese dips. Black garlic also pairs well with blue cheese.

Black garlic also comes in a dehydrated powder that is considered an umami pixie dust. Just sprinkle a bit of it on anything that begs for depth and earthiness.

Most likely you won’t find black garlic at your local neighborhood market, but some Whole Foods will carry it. I’m lucky enough to get mine at Kalustyan’s in New York City. You can certainly get it online at Amazon or other specialty online food sources.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Last Night’s Standing Rib Roast

October 26, 2015

Now that the weather has begun to get cooler it’s time for roasts. Standing rib roast is my all-time favorite minus the price tag.

So easy to make, too. Turn oven to roast at 350 degrees. Thyme and basil on top along with garlic and olive oil. Place uncovered in oven until it’s how you like to eat it. Remember to let it stand for a bit when removed from the oven as it will continue to cook while it’s resting.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

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