Sauces

Autumn Apples

October 2, 2020

Autumn’s bounty is vibrant, varied, and delicious. Apples of all varieties are now available at farmers’ markets and supermarkets, including crunchy, sweet Honeycrisp, gorgeous Galas, MacIntosh mottled with both green and red, pale yellow Ginger Golds, and dark, dusky Paula Reds.

Apples are the perfect snack, satisfying and sweet. Try slicing an apple, place the slices in a plastic baggie, sprinkle liberally with cinnamon, close the bag, and shake until the slices are well coated with cinnamon. The apple slices will stay crisp and white for several days in the refrigerator. Perfect for grab and go school lunches, picnics or work from home snack breaks.

A versatile cooking ingredient, apples go well with both sweet and savory components. Combing apples with plums, cranberries, figs, raspberries or blueberries will yield particularly pleasing desserts, such as pies, puddings, tarts, cobblers, and crisps. Whether baked, poached or sautéed, apples lend marvelous layers of flavor to breads, sauces, slaws, salads, stuffing, coleslaw, chutney, and relishes.

As the weather turns cooler, what could be more comforting than the scent of apples roasting in the oven, mingling with spicy cinnamon. Apples enjoy an easy association with all manner of spices, including allspice, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

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

Versatile Rhubarb

May 20, 2020

Rhubarb is a fabulous spring crop. The sour sweetness of rhubarb is absolutely nice in cakes, breads, pies, cobblers and jams, as well as sweet and savory compotes, chutneys, and sauces. Savory rhubarb chutney, cooked with onions and hot pepper is an exciting accompaniment to grilled pork, chicken, or shrimp. Sweeter versions employing brown sugar and lemon peel are superb served with pancakes, French toast, waffles or pound cake. Ladled atop frozen yogurt or ice cream, sweet rhubarb sauce is perfect for a spring sundae when the sun burns bright. This same sauce can be strained to yield a perfectly pink syrup. Combine with cold sparkling water or seltzer for a refreshing mocktail, or add to prosecco for a beautiful brunch beverage.

Rich in fiber, protein, vitamin C, potassium and calcium, rhubarb provides many valuable nutrients. A natural laxative, rhubarb may help east constipation. In fact, it is written that rhubarb was utilized in ancient Chinese medicine for treating stomach ailments. The vitamin K found in rhubarb may help strengthen bones, as well as possibly inhibiting inflammation in the brain. Rhubarb also supplies the body with vitamin A, which may help diminish signs of aging, particularly skin damage.

When choosing rhubarb at the supermarket or farm markets, look for glossy, firm stalks. Trim the leaves off when you bring your rhubarb home, as they are toxic. Store the stalks wrapped in a paper towel in your vegetable drawer. Wash before using. Rhubarb freezes beautifully, place chopped stalks on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and place in the freezer. When the chunks are frozen, store them in freezer bags and use within one year.

“Work With What You Got!”

©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

Freezing Basil

June 13, 2019

Fresh basil can be dried, but freezing holds the flavor better, and there are two easy methods.

1. Freeze Whole Leaves: Blanch basil leaves in boiling water for two seconds and immediately place in an ice bath. Dry the leaves completely, then place in a freezer-safe container, layered with parchment paper or wax paper, and freeze up to four months. For the best flavor, do not thaw before using.
2. Purée And Freeze: Remove the leaves from the stems and wash and dry them. In a food processor, purée the leaves with olive oil (use about a tablespoon of oil per cup of basil). Freeze the purée in ice cube trays, then transfer to a resealable plastic bag and freeze up to four months. To purée works best in soups, stews, and sauces.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2019 All Rights Reserved

Reducing Sodium In Your Diet

April 5, 2018

Let’s face it; most of us eat way too much salt. A high-sodium diet can increase risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), which can lead to cardiovascular and kidney disease. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day, which is about 1 teaspoon of salt. The good news is that reducing the amount of salt you use will retrain your taste buds to sense other flavors. You won’t even miss it.

Bland food is such a bore, but how can we keep sodium in check without sacrificing flavor?

Here are some suggestions to reduce salt in your diet:

Remove the salt shaker from the table when you eat.

Limit process foods, including cured, pickled, salted, or brined products.

Focus on fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables without sauces or seasonings.

When choosing canned options, look for “no salt added” or “low sodium.”

Cook at home so you have control over how much salt you add.

Flavored vinegar, onions, garlic, and citrus also add tons of flavor without the sodium.

Herbs and spices are the key to flavor. Add dried varieties during cooking and fresh herbs at the end of cooking or when plating a dish. Thyme, mint, lemongrass, dill, basil, oregano, chives, and parsley are great herbs to use. Spices like pepper, ginger, chili powder, and cinnamon are excellent spices to flavor your food.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Better Choices You’ll Barely Notice

January 25, 2018

These little tweaks really do add up to lighter and more nutritious meals.

CUT CARBS
All types of vegetable noodles, from beet to squash, are available in the produce aisle or make your own. Serve in place of pasta or mix with whole-wheat spaghetti to bump up the fiber and cut calories.

SAY YES TO YOGURT
Creamy and delicious, yogurt is a great way to add calcium and probiotics to dishes that require cream or mayonnaise. Enjoy it baked into muffins, stirred into sauces, or whisked into dressings.

GO GREEN
Greens like kale, collards, and Swiss chard bring color and nutrients to your plate. Stir them into soups, sauté them for a side, or add them to sandwiches.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Cooking With Coffee

February 23, 2017

There’s nothing like the smell of freshly brewed morning coffee whether it’s perked, dripped or pressed, it’s the most favorite part of my day. Coffee is my morning ritual, but coffee is not just for mornings. If you have a bit of extra brewed coffee or grounds lying around then you can “perk” up the flavor of pretty much anything. The earthy flavor works in everything from meat marinades, sweet syrups, and many savory and sweet recipes using coffee as an ingredient, from tangy sauces for a tender filet mignon to a few teaspoons flavoring your favorite cakes or cookies. When added to a chocolate cake or a cookie, coffee brings out the flavor especially in chocolate. When the recipe calls for water just use what’s leftover in the pot. In many recipes you can just add a teaspoon of instant coffee or even espresso powder.

Add flavor fast to a roast by using that leftover coffee in your marinade, which also helps tenderize the meat. You can also use it to the braising liquid for beef short ribs. As the liquid cooks down, the coffee caramelized adds a delicious bittersweet dimension to the dish. I also like to stir a bit of coffee into barbecue sauce for grilled chicken or add some to homemade chili to round out the flavor.

Add coffee grounds to your spice shelf! The combination of ground coffee, kosher salt, and paprika will add flavor to your dishes. Use it to make a crusted pork or brisket dish. Rub the coffee ground spice combination to burgers before grilling them.

I like using instant espresso powder in my desserts. Unlike coffee grounds, espresso powder dissolves completely in hot water, eliminating grittiness that you may not want in most baked goods. Keep in mind that it packs a powerful punch, so a little goes a long way. Add a small amount to brownies or cakes. Freeze it with sugar for an easy granita or reduce it with sugar and cream to create a rich glaze.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Parmesan Cheese Rinds

October 24, 2016

Parmesan Cheese Rinds

I tend to use a lot of good quality Parmesan cheese that I grate myself all the way down to the rind. I used to just toss the rinds until one day a chef friend told me all of the ways to use them. I think of them as the bay leaves of the cheese world. Add them when you’re cooking a dish and make sure to remove them at the end of cooking. Seriously, you’ll discover a while new world of flavor.

Throw into sauces, stews, and soups. Adding a Parmesan rind to sauces, stews, and soups will definitely add a nice rich flavor. Add to Italian dishes (both red and white pasta sauces).

Put them in a jar and pour olive oil over them. This makes Parmesan infused olive oil. You could add garlic cloves as well. This is excellent for dipping bread.

Grill them if your rinds are pure cheese with no waxy coating. They’ll become soft and chewy that is delicious on crusty bread.

Make Parmesan broth for cooking with. It’s so easy. Just add a few rinds with some herbs to a pot of water. Simmer for a couple of hours and after the broth has reduced some strain it and use to cook with.

Use them when you’re cooking vegetables.

Put a rind in the pot when you’re cooking rice or risotto.

The great news is that Parmesan rinds freeze well. You don’t need to use them right away and keep for a few months in the refrigerator. They keep for years in the freezer, however. If you don’t have any rinds on hand you may also purchase them from high-end grocers and cheese shops, where they’re super inexpensive.

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“Work With What You Got!”

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

Cooking With Lemons

January 9, 2016

Cooking With Lemons

Lemons are a chef’s secret ingredient. Most chefs will tell you that acidity elevates any dish. There is no need to get all fancy by using twenty year old balsamic vinegar. Just finish most of your dishes with a humble squeeze of lemon juice. Most line cooks have quart containers of wedges at their stations for juicing in the moment. Why lemon? Aside from the fact that you can always find one, you’ll taste what it does to the food, not the lemon itself. Along with salt and pepper, it’s all you need to season everything from simple pastas to grilled fish, roasted meats, and sautéed vegetables, as well as pan sauces, grain salads, and even run of the mill lentil soup. In your own kitchen cut lemon wedges ahead of time, then squeeze as you cook for the brightest flavor.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

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