Lemon Zest

Build An Affordable Cheese Board

December 3, 2020

Cheese Boards are a no-cook, sure-to-please option for any holiday celebration. Build a cheeseboard that’s affordable yet special. Then toast the season with festive cocktails.

A few inexpensive ingredients and simple homemade touches are all you need for a spectacular, special occasion-worthy spread. Here are some smart tips to deck your board with festivity and flavor without breaking the bank.

For a classic, colorful centerpiece, make your own cranberry and herb cheeseball. Start with a container of spreadable cheese and form into a ball. Use a sheet of plastic wrap to avoid messy hands. Roll the ball in a combination of finely chopped dried cranberries, parsley, and chives until thoroughly coated. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

No need to buy expensive cheeses. Inexpensive cheddar is always a crowd pleaser. Skip the pre-cut cubes and cut the block yourself. Orange or white, mild or extra sharp. Cheddar is always a favorite.

Upgrade affordable goat cheese by rolling the log in herbs and spices, like dried thyme, dried oregano, or crushed rainbow peppercorns for a beautiful, flavorful crust. You could also keep it plain and top with jarred pepper jelly or mango chutney.

Instead of mixed nuts, opt for crunchy snack mixes, which are often less expensive and just as delicious. For the board, look for one with little or no seasoning.

Give a budget-friendly feta or mini mozzarella balls a flavor boost by marinating cubes in olive oil with herbs like parsley, oregano, or rosemary, and other seasonings like sliced chilis, crushed garlic, or lemon zest. Refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.

Round out your cheese board with other delicious items like fresh or dried fruit (dried apricots, figs, grapes, and sliced pears), pitted olives, and plain crackers.

Pair your cheese board with a festive holiday beverage and enjoy!

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Chives

April 23, 2020

As gardens begin to grow, one of the first perennial herbs to appear are chives. Chives are quite resilient and are particularly easy to grow both in garden beds or in pots. They can stand a bit of shade, tolerate drought, and grow well in any type of garden soil. For first time gardeners, this is an excellent plant that will yield a reliable source of flavorful nutrition.

Chives belong to the lily family and are part of a large genus of over 500 species of perennials that contain bulbs or underground stems. Known for their strong scent and distinct flavor, chives, along with garlic, onions, scallions and leeks are known as allium herbs. Allium species have been cultivated around the world for centuries and are valued both medicinally ad for their fabulous flavor.

If you grow your own chives, you can continually cut them back so the crop will continue into early fall. If you let happen to let them go you will get lovely purple-pink globe shaped chive flowers that make a beautiful garnish as well as a bright addition to spring or summer salads.

Chives are best when used fresh. Rinse and dry them well, then snip with scissors or cut with a very sharp knife. Snipped chives can be placed in freezer bags and frozen for later use, but will not maintain the texture of fresh shoots.

This is an herb that will elevate so many dishes, including soups, stews, salads, sauces, marinades, dressings, and dips. Adding a few tablespoons of chopped chives to cottage cheese will add a pleasing punch to a super simple snack. Make an easy supper of baked potatoes or sweet potatoes topped with Greek yogurt and chives. Mixing chives into cream cheese, along with lemon zest, and a grinding of black pepper will make an excellent spread for sandwiches or crackers. Omelets prepared with chives, parsley, and dill are a nice choice for any meal.

Chives contain valuable vitamin and mineral content. Vitamins K, A, and C are found in chives, as well as calcium, an important mineral. Chives also contain small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Purported to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral, eating more chives may boost your immune system and assist in maintaining superior levels of health.

If you buy your own chives at the grocery store, look for a bright green color with no sign of yellowing or wilting. Chives will keep in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for several days. Before using, rinse and dry well and trim the ends before using.

Enjoy this light and bright spring herb.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

French Toast Toppings

April 2, 2016

French Toast Toppings

Ok, most of us love maple syrup on our pancakes and French toast, but sometimes it’s fun to change it up a bit. Here are some interesting alternatives that just may become your new favorites.

Apples & Thyme
Sauté 2 large Gala apples (cut into 1/2 inch thick pieces(, 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves and 1/4 teaspoon sugar in 2 tablespoons unsalted butter for 6 minutes until just tender.

Sweet & Spicy Bacon
Cook 1 pound bacon (cut into 1/2 inch pieces) in large-size skillet over a medium heat 10 minutes until nearly crisp. Using a slotted spoon transfer bacon to plate lined with paper towels. Wipe out skillet. Return bacon to skillet and cook 1 minute. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and cook, tossing, until sugar melts. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons maple syrup and sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon cayenne. Toss to coat.

Herbed Goat Cheese
In bowl combine 4 ounces goat cheese (at room temperature), 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon and 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Spring Ravioli

May 14, 2015

Spring Ravioli

Capture springtime on the plate with fresh ravioli enveloping a purée of sweet English peas that is bolstered with a touch of cheese and herbs. Simmer these ravioli for just a few minutes, drain (but not too thoroughly) and add a couple of tablespoons of butter to the pan. Once the butter melts, return the ravioli to the pan, add a bright toss of lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Some grated Parmesan and slivers of fresh mint or a handful of pea shoots are worthy embellishments.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen All Rights Reserved

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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