Pasta

Tomatoes

September 17, 2020

Red, ripe, sweetly acid tomatoes are certainly one of the most prized of the summer vegetables. Let’s face it, tomatoes are only good during the summer and off-season ones just don’t taste like anything. In season the best solution is to grow your own or to know a gardener nearby. Greenhouse tomatoes are probably your best choice out of season.

Cherry tomatoes often have better flavor than regular tomatoes, and that is usually true out of season because they are greenhouse grown. Keep them at room temperature. Wash them before using, and when cut in half for serving they are certainly easier to eat.

To peel tomatoes, blanch the whole tomatoes. Drop 2 or 3 at a time into a large pot of rapidly boiling water and boil exactly 10 seconds. Cut out the core and peel the skin down from it. You may blanch tomatoes several hours in advance and peel them later. They keep fresher when still in their skins.

Many recipes call for tomato pulp, meaning you must seed and juice your tomatoes. To do so, halve the peeled tomato crosswise (not through the core). Then holding the half over a sieve set in a bowl, gently squeeze to dislodge most of the jelly-like substance, juice, and seeds; finally, poke out the residue with your finger. Press the juices out of the residue in the sieve and use in soups or sauce, or as a refreshing drink.

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Enjoying Summer’s Abundance

July 6, 2020

July has given us bright sunny days, low humidity and cool evening temperatures and a great way to capture summer’s splendor is with a picnic. Whether you find respite under the shade of a magnificent tree, spread a blanket on a sandy beach or enjoy your own patio or yard, dining “en plein air” is a delightful diversion to current world conditions.

Simplicity is key for a pleasant picnic. With farm markets opening, stock up on fresh fruits, berries, and vegetables for the picnic basket. Luscious, seasonal asparagus can be lightly grilled, steamed or roasted, then spritzed with fresh lemon juice and adorned with fresh parmesan cheese shavings for a light and lovely picnic lunch that packs easily. Freshly picked asparagus can also be served raw. Shave each stalk using a vegetable peeler, into long strips and dress with olive oil, rice vinegar, salt and pepper. Embellish at will with goat or feta cheese, pine nuts or almonds and plenty of minced herbs.

Fresh herbs perk up picnic recipes and eliminate the need for excess sodium. Chives will add a slightly sharp bite to potato, egg or pasta salads, as well as a nice little nip of flavor to deviled eggs. Poach a nice piece of salmon and dot it with creamy dill sauce for an elegant picnic entrée. Cilantro and Thai basil elevate rice noodle salads, and the snappy tang of fresh parsley is just the right addition to grain bowls. Fresh basil with ripe tomatoes is a classic combination. For something sweet, pack fresh berries, such as native strawberries, blueberries or raspberries, sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with honey.

If your picnic involves grilling use sturdy rosemary to imbue vegetables, meat, and fish with Mediterranean flavor and flair. Marinate chunks of lamb, beef or chicken with fresh rosemary, garlic, and olive oil. Let rest for several hours, then grill as desired.

Have picnic supplies at the ready to take advantage of gorgeous weather. Stash a small roll of garbage bags, hand sanitizer, salt and pepper packets, a small cutting board and knife, bug spray, sunscreen, and a blanket in your picnic basket. Keep small ice packs in the freezer. Gather your food and drink and enjoy the healthy benefits of picnicking all summer long.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Tomatoes

June 30, 2020

Is there anything better than ripe, juicy summer tomatoes? Tomatoes shine in salads, as toast toppers, and in pasta.

Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that have been passed down through generations and are not modified in any way. They come in hundreds of varieties.

The tomato is technically a fruit because it contains seeds. Still, in 1893, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled to classify it as a vegetable since that’s how it is used in cooking.

Unripe tomatoes won’t ripen in the fridge. Keep them on your counter until they are ready to eat.

The first tomatoes to arrive in Europe were called love apples, apples of paradise and golden apples. Some were considered too pretty to eat and used as table decorations.

22 pounds of tomatoes are eats per person per year in the U.S. About half of that comes in the form of ketchup and tomato sauce.

30,000 is the number of tomatoes produced in one year by the world’s largest tomato plant. They were grown in the greenhouses at Disney World.

25% of your recommended daily amount of vitamin C is in 1 medium tomato. Tomatoes are also high in vitamin A, vitamin E, and lycopene (an antioxidant that can improve your heart health and lower your cancer risk.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Pasta

April 3, 2020

There is no salt in pasta dough, so be sure to put enough salt in the cooking water. First, use plenty of water: about 4 quarts for 1 pound of pasta. Because salt slows the rate at which water comes to a boil, don’t add salt until after water is bubbling. Use a heaping teaspoon for every quart water. No need to measure. Instead just taste the water. You should be able to detect the salt.

Always serve pasta from a warmed serving bowl. Place the bowl in the sink, and set the colander inside the bowl. Drain the pasta, letting the water drain into the bowl. Lift up the pasta in the colander, give it a good shake to drain further, and then pour the pasta into the still warm cooking pot. Add the sauce and combine. Pour out the water from the serving bowl, and dry the bowl. Transfer the pasta to the warm bowl and serve.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Freezer Essentials

March 16, 2020

These freezer essentials will help you with your weekly meal prep as well as last minute meals that you need to get on the table fast.

Bagged frozen vegetables, like mixed peppers, broccoli, and spinach.
Bagged frozen fruit, like blueberries, mangos, bananas, and strawberries.
Bagged frozen pastas, like tortellini and ravioli.
Frozen waffles and pancakes.
Frozen potatoes, like tots, fries, and breakfast potatoes.
Rice and prepared side dishes.
Pre-made dough, pie crusts, and breads.

Frozen foods are not limited to frozen dinners. You can stock your freezer with healthier ingredients to make putting dinner together easy. There are endless possibilities with what you can make with frozen ingredients. As always, be creative and “work with what you got!”

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

20 Good Health Habits

January 28, 2020

Start small, with goals that work for you and your family. These are the habits you’ll keep in the long run.

1. Add More Color To Your Plate
More color on your plate means more variety, more nutrients, and more flavor. The next time you shop, try putting the rainbow in your cart: orange citrus, yellow pineapple, and dark leafy greens.

2. Eat Seasonally
Keep a produce calendar handy so you know what to look for. In season produce is fresher and typically less expensive. January is good for root vegetables, kale, and citrus.

3. Drink More Water
Stay hydrated by infusing your water with citrus slices, herbs, berries, or cucumber. Making water more interesting will encourage you to drink more.

4. Try A Whole Grain Swap For Pasta And Bread
Once in a while replace regular pasta and bread with a whole grain alternative. These complex carbs will help you feel full. Look for whole wheat, whole grain, and multigrain alternatives.

5. Pack Your Snacks
Opt for high fiber and protein snacks like hummus and pretzels or apples and peanut butter. Unlike sugar and empty carbs, fiber ad protein will keep you full.

6. Eat Breakfast More Often
Stock up on on-the-go options. Egg muffins in the freezer, instant oatmeal in the pantry, and a bowl of fruit on the counter. The morning rush won’t be an excuse for skipping this important meal.

7. Make A Shopping List
Check your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry before making a list. Organize your list based on the layout of your store. You’ll save time at the store and won’t accidently buy what you already have.

8. Try A Plant-Based Swap For Meat
Try a meatless version of a weeknight staple like burgers, pizza, or pasta. You’ll get more nutrients into your meals by swapping meat for plant-based options.

9. Stock Your Freezer
Keep staples like frozen meatballs or chicken tenders and steam-in-bag vegetables for last minute meals. A fully stocked freezer is better than takeout. You’ll save money and get dinner on the table even on busy weeknights.

10. Reduce Your Food Waste
Use overripe fruit in smoothies and muffins. Turn leftover vegetables into stir fries and soups. Turning leftover produce into nutrient-dense meals is a win-win for your wallet and your health.

11. Make A Meal Plan
Write meals on the calendar at the start of the week. Everyone knows the menu and you won’t be scrambling for dinner ideas at 5pm.

12. Bring Your Lunch 3 Days Per Week
Instead of swearing off midday takeout, start with 3 days a week. When you pack school lunches, pack office lunches too. You’ll save time waiting in line, save money, and eat better.

13. Try A New Recipe
Shake up your dinner routine with a recipe or ingredient you haven’t use before. You’ll avoid a recipe rut and learn new kitchen skills.

14. Eat Out One Less Time Each Week
Try a speedy dinner or slow cooker meal that’s ready when you get home. Home cooked meals allow you to control the ingredients and choose more healthful options.

15. Drink Less Soda
Swap for flavored seltzer, iced tea, or sparkling fruit juice. Instead of cutting out soda try drinking 1 less can a day. Quitting cold turkey makes habits hard to break. Start with a smaller goal and eventually it will make a big difference.

16. Eat Together One More Night Each Week
Make dinner device-free, with everyone eating together. Keep it fun with a top-your-own taco, baked potato, or burger night. Enjoying a meal together as a family has been shown to encourage healthy eating habits and better communication.

17. Cook With Your Children Once A Week
Children who help choose, shop for, and prepare a recipe will be more interested in eating it.

18. Get Ahead On Sunday
Prep components instead of entire meals. Roast vegetables, cook grains, and bake extra chicken, then mix and match for quick lunches and dinners during the week. Planning ahead helps you save time, eat better, and reduce the stress of busy weeks.

19. Embrace Healthy Fats
Look for sources of unsaturated fats, like olive oil, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Good-for-you fats help regulate cholesterol, absorb vitamins, and prevent heart disease.

20. Give Plants More Plate Real Estate
Fill about half of your dinner plate with plants, then divide the rest between your starch and protein. Rebalancing your plate is an easy way to eat healthfully.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2019 All Rights Reserved

Cooking Pasta

October 7, 2019

There are a few pasta cooking rules that are important to memorize and you’ll have perfect pasta every time.

Boil your noodles in well-salted water, save that pasta liquid to make the glossiest pan sauce, do not rinse cooked pasta, and always pass extra grated parmesan cheese at the table.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2019 All Rights Reserved

Eating Vegan

January 8, 2019

Most vegan foods are quite obvious, but it’s important to check the label for ingredients like egg whites, gelatin, honey, or milk.

When in doubt at a restaurant, ask your server to confirm your order is vegan. Dishes are often enriched with non-vegan ingredients like chicken stock or fish sauce.

Rather than focus on what you can’t eat, celebrate what you can. Vegans can enjoy a wide range of foods, including all fruits and vegetables, beans and other legumes, pasta and grains, soy-based foods like tofu and tempeh, and herbs and spices.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2019 All Rights Reserved

Seasoning Suggestions

January 6, 2019

To flavor your food reach for herbs and spices rather than high-sodium table salt. Make sure to read the labels of seasoning mixes because many of them contain salt.

Seasoning Suggestions

Pasta: Basil, Fennel, Garlic, Paprika, Parsley, Sage
Potatoes: Chives, Garlic, Paprika, Parsley, Rosemary
Rice: Cumin, Marjoram, Parsley, Saffron, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric
Seafood: Chervil, Dill, Fennel, Tarragon, Parsley
Vegetables: Basil, Caraway, Chives, Dill, Marjoram, Mint, Nutmeg, Oregano, Paprika, Rosemary, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2019 All Rights Reserved

Spaghetti Casserole

October 23, 2018

Cheesy baked pasta is even more fun when you can slice it into wedges.

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