Greenwich Free Press

Peas

March 23, 2015

Peas

There are several types of fresh peas, all of which are available nearly year round these days, but they are at their peak during the spring and early summer months. Like corn, the natural sugar in peas converts quickly to starch, so make sure to buy peas fresh, store them in the refrigerator, and use them within a day or two.

English shell peas are the familiar round green pea. Frozen tiny tender green peas, while enjoyable and convenient throughout the winter months, bear little resemblance to the texture and bright flavor of fresh peas. The springtime ritual of shelling peas is just as satisfying as shucking summer corn, and their flavor and texture are worth every minute.

When shopping for English peas, look for bright green smooth, succulent pods filled with evenly plump, round seeds. The freshness of the pods is an indication of the freshness of the peas. For the most reliable test, pop open a pod and taste a pea. Fresh peas should taste sweet and grassy. A pound of English shell peas in their pods yields about 2 cups of shelled peas, which translates into 2 to 3 servings.

Both sugar snaps and snow peas are edible pod peas. There is no shelling required. As their name implies, sugar snaps are delightfully sweet. Sugar snaps are delicious raw, but their flavor is enhanced with a brief cooking. As with all other peas, look for bright, smooth, succulent, tender green pods with fresh looking stems.

Happy Spring!

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Black Dog Donuts

March 22, 2015

What a wonderful time on Martha’s Vineyard this week. What could be better than stopping at Black Dog Bakery for a batch of fresh pastries?!

Saint Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2015

On Saint Patrick’s Day There Is Magic In The Air! Tiny New York Kitchen Wishes You A Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

Lentils

March 13, 2015

Lentils

The lentil is a Eurasian herb grown for its small, flat, edible seeds and are considered a legume. They are lens shaped (the word comes from the Latin lens, “lentil”), variously colored on the outside, and yellow/orange on the inside. The earliest written mention of lentils is in the book of Genesis: Esau sold his birthright in exchange for a dish of lentils. Lentils are high in fiber, vegetable proteins, and complex carbohydrates and fairly rich in iron and protein; they are low in sodium and fat-free.

Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Broccoli

March 12, 2015

Broccoli

Broccoli is a plant in the cabbage family with tight heads of green, purple, or white flower buds that are cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Broccoli comes from the Latin brachium, “strong arm/strong branch,” and comes from a reference to its shape. Broccoli is the Italian plural of broccoli, “cabbage sprout/head,” and literally means “little shoots.”

When shopping for broccoli look for heads that are dark green or purplish and tightly clustered. The stalks should be fresh looking and not tough or woody.

Refrigerate broccoli for up to five days in a perforated bag. Broccoli can be blanched and frozen for up to 1 year.

To remove dirt simply soak a head of broccoli upside down in a bowl of cold water for 20 minutes. Cut or peel off any stalk parts that are tough. Cut into spears. Broccoli can be precooked by blanching or parboiling.

Eat more broccoli!

Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Tips For Deep-Frying

March 11, 2015

Tips For Deep-Frying

Deep-frying is such a guilty pleasure because no cooking technique gives food that irresistible crunchiness. Because it is also one of the least frequently used cooking methods, here are some important tips to help you achieve Deep-frying nirvana.

Choose the right pot. To deep-fry properly, the food should cook in 2 to 3 inches of hot oil. Choose a pot that is at least 6 inches deep to allow for bubbling without bubbling over. Cast iron (enameled or not) holds the heat well, which makes a good choice.

Use reasonably priced cooking oil. Canola, cottonseed, safflower, or a generic vegetable oil blend will all do. Much is made of the smoke point of oil (the temperature where the oil starts to smoke and break down) for deep-frying, and expensive peanut oil is often singled out as being especially desirable (watch those peanut allergies). Food should not be deep fried at temperatures above 400-degrees because it will burn before it has a chance to cook through. Most refined clear cooking oils have a smoke point of about 425-degrees (except for olive oil), so if you are deep frying at the correct temperature, the oil’s smoke point is not an issue.

Don’t reuse deep frying oil. This is another reason to use reasonably priced oil. Although you can strain the cooled oil for another round or two of deep-frying, this is a sure way of transferring unwanted flavors to your food, and the freshness of the oil obviously is reduced with storage. You don’t want to cook your tortilla chips in the same oil you used for cooking fish and chips. Just budget the price of the oil into the cost of the recipe, throw away after using, and leave it at that.

Use a deep-frying thermometer. It’s the only way to get an accurate reading of the oil temperature. Be sure the end of the thermometer is totally submerged in the oil. Keep the heat on high to maintain the correct oil temperature.

To reduce deep-frying odors, cook outside if possible. There is no reliable way to avoid the odors caused by deep-frying inside. But when the weather is cooperating, plug in an electric kettle and do your frying on your porch or patio.

Let the oil return to its correct frying temperature between batches. In most cases, you may add the food to 375-degree oil, but the temperature will drop to 335-degrees or so for the actual cooking. After removing the food, be sure to reheat the oil over high heat to its original starting temperature.

Use a wire skimmer to remove food from the oil. Also called a spider, these wide-mesh skimmers do a better job of draining away oil than a slotted spoon or slotted skimmer. They are commonly used in Asian cooking, so look for them at kitchenware stores near the woks.

Don’t drain fried foods on paper. Most people use paper towels or brown paper bags to absorb the fat from drained foods. A crunchy coating can soften where it comes into contact with the paper because the steam builds up at the contact point and has nowhere to go but into the coating. For the crispiest result, drain the food on a wire cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, so the food comes into contact only with thin wires.

Keep deep-fried foods warm in the oven before serving. Deep-fried food is best served piping hot right out of the pot, which isn’t always possible when cooking multiple batches. Once you have put the food on the wire rack and baking sheet setup, slip the whole thing into a preheated 200-degree oven for up to 10 minutes.

Add salt JUST before serving. Salt can soften homemade potato chips and other fried foods, so to keep them from losing their crunch, sprinkle on the salt at the last minute.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Winning

March 10, 2015

“The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.” – Walt Disney

Miso

March 8, 2015

Miso

Miso is a highly concentrated fermented soybean paste, made from a combination of soybeans and grains such as rice or barley, miso is widely used in Japanese cooking – from sauces and soups to main dishes – and is made in different strengths, varying by color. Red miso has the strongest flavor, golden miso is fairly mild, and white miso is mellow and slightly sweet. Look for miso in health food stores and Asian markets.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

People Who Influence You

March 8, 2015

“The people who influence you are the people who believe in you.” – Henry Drummond

Baby Zucchini

March 5, 2015

Baby Zucchini

Baby zucchini are very tender, tasty simple vegetables that have more flavor than the larger Italian zucchini as well as being very easy to prepare and enjoy. Archeologists think that they are indigenous to Central America. They are very nutritious and are a good source of Vitamin A, C B6, thiamin, niacin, and Pantothenic acid. Baby zucchini are also a very good source of fiber, protein, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and copper.

Quick Roast: Cut lengthwise and roast with sliced onions for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Blanching: Drop zucchini into boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes. Then remove to an ice bath. Zucchini are now ready to cut lengthwise and add to salads, sauté with mushrooms, onions, and garlic.

Grilling: Brush zucchini with olive oil, sprinkle with fresh herbs or spices, and either grill on BBQ or grill in a grill pan for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side.

Microwave: Place zucchini in ziplock bag. Cut corner of bag and microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes.

For Salads: Baby zucchini makes a great salad addition. Shred or grate raw and add to salads, or cut lengthwise and add to vegetable platters.

Raw: To eat raw make sure to wash before eating.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

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