Lucky Foods To Ring In The New Year
Many cultures believe that some foods are lucky and prepare them on New Year’s to ensure good fortune throughout the upcoming year.
Bagels & Doughnuts. Round foods, like bagels and doughnuts, are a great way to start the day and also symbolize coming full circle. As the year is coming to an end, it’s a good reminder that the New Year is about to begin.
Noodles. In China and Japan, long noodles represent longevity, BUT only if you don’t cut or break the noodles. You may want to make some soba noodles in a nice broth for a New Year’s lunch.
Lentils. Lentils resemble coins and plump when you cook them, which symbolizes growing wealth. Pork sausage cooked with lentils (Cotechino Con Lenticchie) Is a traditional New Year’s dish in Italy.
Fish. Whole fish (head to tail) is said to give you good luck from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year. Roasting a whole fish not only keeps it moist, but also adds extra flavor.
Pork. Pigs typically root forward while planting their feet in the ground. This signifies moving forward. In Spain it is traditional to prepare pork chops with grapes. It is customary to eat 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight in order to bring prosperity in each of the coming months.
Corn. The color of gold, which indicates a year of riches. You may want to make a cornbread to go with your New Year’s meal.
Collard Greens & Black Eyed Peas. This is a traditional Southern combination. The greens look like paper money and the black-eyed peas resemble coins. This dish is not only delicious, but also healthy.
Bundt Cake. Like bagels and doughnuts, a round Bundt cake is a delicious reminder that every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
Don’t Be Greedy. While it’s tempting to eat as much of these “lucky” foods that are thought to give you the most prosperous year yet, it’s important not get too greedy. Leaving food on your plate after midnight is associated with a fully stocked pantry in the New Year.
Tiny New York Kitchen Wishes You And Your Family A Very Healthy & Happy New Year!
“Work With What You Got!”
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2015 All Rights Reserved
Slow-Cooker Meat Cuts
It’s winter and there’s nothing quite like coming home to a hot meal. You count on your slow-cooker for delicious, almost no effort dinners and it can be tempting to throw just about any ingredients into these amazing appliances. BUT for the tastiest results, you need to know which meats do best in it. Delivering low, even heat over a long period of time, slow-cookers break down the connective tissue in typically tough cuts of meat, making them extremely tender. Here is a quick guide to great cuts of meat for your slow-cooker. The good news is that these cuts are often less expensive which, along with saving you time and energy, will also save you money.
Beef: Slowly cooked brisket becomes incredibly tender. Look for marbling. The white steaks of fat are what adds flavor. Beef chuck is another favorite for long braises.
Chicken: Go with dark meat. Thighs and drumsticks are cheaper and richer in flavor than white meat and stand out in soups and stews. Brown or remove the skin before cooking for the best results.
Lamb: Cooked low and slow, lamb shanks become rich and complex flavors. Have your butcher slice them crosswise to fit into your slow-cooker. Lamb shoulder is also a great choice for slow-cooking.
Pork: Always a classic, pork shoulder is a tough cut that becomes silky and flavorful after hours spent simmering in its own juices.
For most of us, it’s cold outside so bring out your slow-cooker and let it work its magic while you’re busy doing other things.
"Work With What You Got!"
© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen
Tacos Your Way!
There are many ways to make tacos depending on your taste and mood. From fish tacos to pork spare-rib tacos the possibilities are endless. I have to say that I was certainly spoiled with outstanding Mexican food while living on the West Coast for many years. More and more I am finding better Mexican food here in the Northeast, but as you know I like to cook up my own food more often than not. Here are some ways to stuff your tacos (hard or soft) and by all means experiment yourself. The bonus is that making tacos can also be a great way to use up those leftovers staring at you when you open the fridge.
Cod Tacos: Baked or Sautéed Cod, Grated Red Cabbage & Salsa
Smoked Salmon Tacos: Smoked Salmon, Grated Red Cabbage & Salsa
Catfish Tacos: Sautéed Catfish, Romaine Lettuce, Salsa & Sour Cream
Fried Oyster Tacos: Fried Oysters, Romaine Lettuce & Salsa
Marlin Tacos: Sautéed or Baked Marlin, Mangos & Salsa
Lobster Tacos: Lobster, Mangos, Jalapenos & Guacamole
Fried Chicken Tacos: Shredded Fried Chicken Breasts, Jalapenos, Lime Juice & Shredded Lettuce
BBQ Carnitas Tacos: Smoked or Roasted Pork, Barbeque Sauce, Sautéed Onions & Fried Pickles
Indian Tacos: Shredded Buffalo, Seared Green Chiles & Salsa
Brisket Tacos: Shredded Brisket, Jalapenos, Shredded Green Cabbage, Lime Juice & Salsa
Many people ask me how long they can keep fresh meat and poultry. You can refrigerate whole meat cuts for 2 to 3 days and raw ground meats for 1 to 2 days. Raw poultry for 1 to 2 days. If you’re not cooking your meat or poultry within these time frames, freeze it. We never want to risk getting food poisoning.
How do you know when your particular meat is done cooking? The safest way is to use a meat thermometer, inserting into the thickest part of the meat, but never touching bone.
Meat Cooking Terms
Braise: Moist cooking in a pot with a lid and a small amount of liquid. This method works well either on the stove top or in the oven, rendering tougher cuts moist and extremely tender by melting the tough collagen between fibers, but allowing the fibers themselves to retain moisture. Examples: Pot Roast, Boeuf Bourguignon, Cacciatore, Most Curries.
Brine: Similar to marinating, meat or poultry is soaked in a salt-water mixture prior to cooking to enhance flavor, moisture and tenderness. Examples: Brined Turkey, Chicken or Pork.
Broil: Dry cooking under intense direct heat, sort of like grilling from the top down. Great for tender steaks and chops, boneless chicken, kabobs. Example: London Broil.
Deep Fry: Cooking pieces of meat, often coated with batter or crumbs, submerged in very hot oil. Example: Southern Fried Chicken.
Grill: Cooking over direct heat, usually outdoors. Grill pans and electric grills don’t require much additional oil, and create nice looking char marks, but lack the crust and smoky flavor of outdoor grilling. Grilling can be fast or slow. Examples: Grilled Steaks, Barbecued Chicken, You Name It!
Pan-Roast or Pan-Fry: A technique that begins on the stove top and often ends under the broiler or in the oven. Combination cooking creates a flavorful browned exterior and allows for finer control of doneness. Great for thick chops and steaks or larger pieces of poultry. Examples: Filet Mignon, Pork Tenderloin, Pan-Roasted Veal Chops.
Poach: Simmer at a point less than boiling to produce just a slight movement in the liquid. Examples: Poached Chicken Breasts.
Roast: Dry cooking in ambient oven heat. Creates a flavorful, browned outside and a tender, juicy interior. Ideal for larger tender roasts, whole poultry, most stuffed roasts. Examples: Roast Beef, Thanksgiving Turkey, Crown Roast.
Sauté: Quick stove-top cooking in a skim of oil in a heavy, low-sided skillet, frying pan or sauté pan. Great for tender steakhouse cuts and chops, chicken or duck breast, boneless cutlets. Examples: Sandwich Steaks, Wiener Schnitzel, Chicken Cutlets.
Smoke: Food is cooked or flavored before cooking by exposure to smoldering wood, herbs or tea. Examples: Tea-Smoked Chicken, Mesquite-Smoked Pork Chops.
Stir Fry: An Asian technique of cooking small pieces of food over very high heat, usually with oil, using constant stirring and tossing motion to prevent burning. Examples: A Profusion of Meat, Seafood and Poultry Dishes From China, Thailand and Vietnam.
Simmer: See Braise & Also See Stew
Stew: Slow cooking, Submerged in flavorful liquid, usually after browning on the surface. Stewing is similar to braising except that stews usually have more liquid, which is an important part of the finished dish. Best for cubes coming from tougher cuts. Examples: Beef Stew, Chili, Gumbo.
Sous-vide: A method of cooking food sealed in airtight plastic bags in a water bath for longer than normal cooking times (72 hours in some cases). The temperature is regulated and much lower than normally used for cooking, typically around 55° F to 60° F for meats. The intention is to cook the item evenly, and not to overcook the outside while still keeping the inside at the same doneness, keeping the food juicier. Examples: Beef Brisket and Short Ribs.