United States

Maple Syrup & Making The Grade

November 5, 2018

Prior to 2014, U.S. states and Canadian provinces each had separate systems for grading their maple syrup. The objective was to quantify the syrup’s distinct range of colors and flavors as the sugaring season progressed. Early in the season, sap tends to yield a lighter, more delicate syrup with vanilla flavor notes. As the weeks go by, darker syrup with stronger, deeper flavor is produced. Whatever the color and flavor, all pure maple syrup has a maple sugar content of 66.9%.

Where there used to be three grades (A through C), all pure maple syrup is now considered Grade A, and consumers must shift their attention to the descriptive language found after the letter grade. Those adjectives have also changed to give more detail.

Golden Color & Delicate Taste: The lightest and most delicate syrup, best enjoyed in poured-over form; formerly known as “Fancy.”

Amber Color & Rich Flavor: Amid-season syrup, darker and more robust. Good for glazes, baking, and stirring into cocktails or over hot cereal; formerly known as Dark Amber or Grade B.

Very Dark & Strong Flavor: The darkest and most intense of all the grades, it’s suited to use in recipes that call for molasses. Until recently, this syrup wasn’t sold to consumers: it went to candy and commercial food producers for maple-flavored products. Formerly known as Grade C.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Quick Breads

September 9, 2016

Quick Breads

For mouth-watering breads that don’t require a lot of time, turn to quick breads. By using baking powder, baking soda, steam, or air instead of yeast to leaven dough. An advantage of quick breads is their ability to be prepared quickly and reliably, without requiring time-consuming skilled labor and the climate control needed for traditional yeast breads. Quick breads include banana bread, beer bread, biscuits, cornbread, cookies, muffins, cakes, pancakes, brownies, scones, and soda bread.

Almost all quick breads have the same basic ingredients: Flour, leavening, eggs, fat (butter, margarine, shortening, or oil) and a liquid such as milk. Ingredients beyond these basics are added for variations of flavor and texture. The type of bread produced varies based predominantly on the method of mixing, the major flavoring, and the ratio of liquid in the batter. Some batters are thin enough to pour and others are thick enough to mold into lumps.

There are four main types of quick bread batter:
Pour Batters: Such as pancake batter, have a liquid to dry ration of about 1:1 and so pours in a steady stream – also called a “low-ratio” baked good.

Drop Batters: Such as cornbread and muffin batters, have a liquid to dry ratio of about 1:2.

Soft Doughs: Such as many chocolate chip cookie doughs, have a liquid to dry ratio of about 1:3. Soft doughs stick significantly to work surfaces.

Stiff Doughs: Such as pie crust and sugar cookie doughs, have a liquid to dry ratio of 1:8. Stiff doughs are easy to work in that they only minimally stick to work surfaces, including tools and hands – also called “high-ratio” baked goods.

Preparing a quick bread generally involves two mixing containers. On contains all dry ingredients (including chemical leavening agents or agent) and one contains all wet ingredients (possibly including liquid ingredients that are slightly acidic in order to initiate the leavening process). In some variations, the dry ingredients are in a bowl and the wet ingredients are heated sauces in a saucepan off-heat and cooled.

During the chemical leavening process, agents (one or more food-grade chemicals – usually a weak acid and a weak base) are added into the dough during mixing. These agents undergo a chemical reaction to produce carbon dioxide, which increases the baked good’s volume and produces a porous structure and lighter texture. Yeast breads often take hours to rise, and the resulting baked good’s texture can vary greatly based on external factors such as temperature and humidity. By contrast, breads made with chemical leavening agents are relatively uniform, reliable, and quick. Usually, the resulting baked good is softer and lighter than traditional yeast breads.

Chemical leavening agents include a weak base, such as baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) plus a weak acid, such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, or cultured buttermilk, to create an acid-base reaction that releases carbon dioxide. Quick bread leavened specifically with baking soda is often called “soda bread.” Baking powder contains both an acid and a base in dry powdered form, and simply needs a liquid medium in which to react. Other alternative leavening agents are egg whites mechanically beaten to form stiff peaks, as in the case of many waffle recipes, or steam, in the case of cream puffs.

There are three basic methods for making quick breads, which may combine the “rise” of the chemical leavener with advantageous “lift” from other ingredients.

The Stirring Method: Also known as the quick-bread method, blending method, or muffin method is used for pancakes, muffins, corn bread, dumplings, and fritters. This method calls for measurement of dry and wet ingredients separately, then quickly mixing the two. Often the wet ingredients include beaten eggs, which have trapped air that helps the product to rise. In these recipes, the fats are liquid, such as cooking oil. Using mixing is done using a tool with a wide head such as a spoon or spatula to prevent the dough from becoming over-beaten, which would break down the egg’s lift.

The Creaming Method: Frequently used for cake batters. The butter and sugar are “creamed” or beaten together until smooth and fluffy. Eggs and liquid flavorings are mixed in, and finally dry and liquid ingredients are added in. The creaming method combines rise gained from air bubbles in the creamed butter with the rise from the chemical leaveners. Gentle folding in of the final ingredients avoids destroying these air pockets.

The Shortening Method: Also known as the biscuit method, is used for biscuits and scones. This method cuts solid fat (whether lard, butter, or vegetable shortening) into flour and other dry ingredients using a food processor, pastry blender, or two hand-held forks. The layering from this process gives rise and adds flakiness as the fold of fat melts during baking. This technique is said to produce “shortened” cakes and breads, regardless of whether or not the chosen fat is vegetable shortening.

Quick bread originated in the United States at the end of the 18th century. Before the creation of quick bread, baked goods were leavened with either yeast or by mixing dough with eggs. The discovery of chemical leavening agents and their widespread military, commercial, and home utilization in the United States dates back to 1846 with the introduction of commercial baking soda in New York by Church and Dwight of “Arm & Hammer” fame. This development was extended in 1956 by the introduction of commercial baking powder in Massachusetts, although the best known form of baking powder is “Calumet”, which was first introduced in West Hammond and Hammond, Indiana (later Calumet City, Illinois) in 1889. Both forms of food-grade chemical leaveners are still being produced under their original names.

During the American Civil War (1861-1865) the demand for portable and quickly made food was high, while skilled labor for traditional bread making was scarce. This encouraged the adoption of bread, which was rapidly made and leavened with baking soda, instead of yeast. The shortage of chemical leaveners in the American South during the Civil War contributed to a food crisis.

As the Industrial Revolution accelerated, the marketing of mass-produced prepackaged foods was eased by the use of chemical leaveners, which could produce consistent products regardless of variations in source ingredients, time of year, geographical location, weather conditions, and many other factors that could cause problems with environmentally sensitive, temperamental yeast formulations. These factors were traded off against the loss of traditional yeast flavor, nutrition, and texture.

www.tinynewyorkkitchen.com

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo‏

May 5, 2016

Cinco de Mayo (the fifth of May) has become a lively and fun commemoration of Mexican culture. The history behind Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican war (1861-1867). Cinco de Mayo is a relatively minor holiday in Mexico. In the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage, particularly in areas with large Mexican-American populations. Cinco de Mayo traditions include parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Honoring All Veterans On This Veterans Day

November 11, 2015

HONORING ALL VETERANS ON THIS VETERANS DAY 2015 Today, and every day, we thank you. I honor my father, who was in the Air Force stationed in Morocco, which is where my parents met and my life began. I honor all of those who have served (and continue to serve) our nation and my Revolutionary War ancestors, who helped create this great nation.

Thank you all!”Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

Lambert’s Cove Cranberry Bog

September 16, 2015

The Vineyard Open Land Foundation maintains an organic cranberry bog in the hills of Lambert’s Cove. The bog is a rarity because only about 1 percent of the U.S. and Canada’s cranberries are grown organically. Old wooden machines are still used to harvest, winnow, and sort the berries.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2015 All Rights Reserved

Flag Day

June 14, 2015

Flag Day

In America, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14th. It commemorates the adoption of the United States flag, which happened on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The United States Army also celebrates the Army Birthday on this date. Congress adopted “the American continental army” after reaching a consensus position in the Committee of the Whole on June 14, 1775.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14th as Flag Day. In August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress, however Flag Day is not an official federal holiday.

On June 14, 1937, Pennsylvania became the first U.S. state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday, beginning in the town of Rennerdate.

New York Statutes designate the second Sunday in June as Flag Day, a state holiday.

Possibly the oldest continuing Flag Day parade is in Fairfield, Washington. Beginning in 1909 or 1910, Fairfield has held a parade every year since, with the possible exception of 1918, and celebrated the “Centennial” parade in 2010, along with some other commemorative events.

Quincy, Massachusetts has had an annual Flag Day parade since 1952, and claims it “is the longest-running parade of its kind in the nation.”

The largest Flag Day parade is held annually in Troy, New York, which bases its parade on the Quincy parade and typically draws at least 50,000 spectators.

The Three Oaks, Michigan Flag Day parade is held annually on the weekend of Flag Day and is a three-day event. They claim to have the largest Flag Day parade in the nation as well as the oldest.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen All Rights Reserved

Veterans Day

November 11, 2014

In Remembrance Of Those Who Protect Us!

The Origins Of Easter Symbols

March 31, 2013

Easter TraditionsThe Origins Of Easter Symbols

Easter celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, but is also associated with popular symbols such as eggs, candy, bunnies and food. Here is a look at the origins of these beloved symbols.

The Easter Lily

The white blossoms of the lily symbolizes the purity of Jesus. The trumpet-shaped flower that blooms in the spring also symbolizes new life and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. People use the flower to celebrate and enjoy the very essence of the Easter season.

Hot Cross Buns

A favorite during spring and the Easter season. Hot cross buns are a sweet, yeast leavened, spiced roll made with currants or raisins. They have long been a symbol of Good Friday. Each bun has an icing cross on top to signify the crucifixion.

The Butterfly

The butterfly’s unique life cycle is meant to symbolize the life of Jesus Christ. The first stage, the caterpillar, stands for his life on Earth. The cocoon stage portrays the crucifixion and the burial of Jesus. The final stage, the colorful butterfly, represents Jesus rising from the dead and the resurrection.

Easter Baskets

In Germany, children made nests in which the “Osterhase” or Easter Bunny could lay his colored eggs. The nests were replaced with baskets once the tradition was brought to the United States and the Easter contents were expanded to include candy and other treats.

Easter Ham

In the United States ham has become a traditional Easter dish. In the early days, meat was slaughtered in the fall. There was no refrigeration so the fresh pork that wasn’t consumed during the winter was cured for spring. This made ham a natural choice for the celebratory Easter dinner.

Easter Egg Hunts & Rolls

The first official White House egg roll took place in 1878 under the presidency of Rutherford Hayes. Egg hunts and rolls have no religious connection, but some will point out that the roll is a symbolic act for the removal of the stone blocking Jesus’ tomb.

Easter Parade

The origin of Easter parades dates back to the mid-1800’s in New York City. The wealthy used Easter as an opportunity to show off their new spring wardrobe by walking up and down Fifth Avenue after church. Soon the less fortunate started showing up to watch the spectacle and a tradition was born.

Easter Candy

Second only to Halloween in candy sales, Easter is a holiday for children and adults with a serious sweet tooth. Chocolate eggs and candy shaped like bunnies or eggs are extremely popular. Also, jelly beans are often associated with the holiday due to their egg-like shape.

The Egg

Easter eggs are likely linked to pagan traditions, but eggs have long been used to celebrate spring and the idea of renewal. It’s not unusual that in almost all ancient cultures, eggs are held as a symbol of life. At the Passover Seder, a hardboiled egg dipped in salt water symbolizes both new life and the Passover sacrifice offered at the Temple of Jerusalem.

The Easter Bunny

The cute furry creature is certainly not mentioned in the Bible, but has nonetheless become the most well-known symbol for the spring holiday. The Easter Bunny’s origins are not entirely known, but some stories date his arrival in the United States back to the 1700’s when German immigrants brought their tradition of an egg laying hare called “Osterhase” to the country. Much like children leave cookies for Santa, boys and girls leave carrots out for the Easter Bunny in case he got tired from hopping around all night.

My Birthday Picnic Basket

September 3, 2012

Birthday Picnic Basket

My Birthday Present! I have wanted a decked out picnic basket for years! One of my favorite things to do is travel around the U.S. and Europe packing little picnics. Now I can do it in style!

Today is Labor Day and I am going on a picnic with my new picnic basket.

The menu is:

Fried Chicken

https://www.tinynewyorkkitchen.com/olympic-fried-chicken/

 

Green Olives

Boston Baked Beans

https://www.tinynewyorkkitchen.com/boston-baked-beans/

 

Picnic Perfect Pasta Salad

https://www.tinynewyorkkitchen.com/picnic-perfect-pasta-salad/

 

Fresh Blueberry & Mango Cake

https://www.tinynewyorkkitchen.com/fresh-blueberry-mango-cake/

 

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