Tips/Tricks

If there’s a recipe for success, it starts with selecting the perfect ingredients!

Storing Baked Goods

April 9, 2015

Storing Baked Goods

Always allow baked goods to cool completely (preferably on a wire rack) before wrapping and storing. If they are wrapped before they are thoroughly cooled, pastries will steam, turning their nice crisp surfaces soggy and limp. The texture and flavor of most baked goods fare best when stored, well wrapped, in a cool dry location for a couple of days. However, those that are particularly high in moisture will be safest stored in the refrigerator.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Ramps

April 8, 2015

Ramps

If you can’t find any of those oh-so-fleeting ramps at your local farmers’ market then have no fear, as there are plenty of other onion options available this time of year. Turn to Tiny New York Kitchen’s favorites.

Scallions: A supermarket staple. They have a peppery bite that isn’t overpowering. Scallions (Green Onions) are best used chopped raw or charred in salads or as a garnish.

Leeks: Leeks have a slight garlic flavor that mellows when cooked. Braised to an almost creamy texture, they are one of the best side dishes.

Spring Onions: Spring onions are a more mature scallion with large, sweet bulbs and pungent, spicy green tops. They are excellent for roasting whole and finished with sea salt and s bit of lime juice.

Flowering Chives: These mature chives are bursting with gorgeous purple flowers that taste just like wonderful chives. Use both flowers and finely cut stems in salads.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Cooking Ham

April 4, 2015

Cooking Ham

Ham is a great choice for spring gatherings. It’s simple, feeds a crowd and provides wonderful leftovers.

Keep Servings In Mind. Allow for 1/2 to 3/4 pound per serving for bone-in ham, and 1/4 to 1/2 pound per serving for boneless ham.

Before Cooking make sure to let ham sit at room temperature for approximately 1 hour.

Scoring The Skin adds to a beautiful presentation. Cut 1/4 inch deep crosswise into 1 to 2 inch squares to create classic diamond shapes.

Glaze The Ham during the final hour of cooking to avoid burning.

Keep The Flavor Going. Buying bone-in ham leaves you with the ham bone, which is great for flavoring soups and beans.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Cooking Lamb

April 3, 2015

Cooking Lamb

Lamb is versatile and can be prepared quickly for a spur-of-the-moment gathering or roasted to perfection and served with a range of accompaniments.

Let The Cut Determine The Cooking Technique. For tender cuts like a rack, chops, loin, sirloin, or leg it’s best to broil, roast, grill, pan fry or sauté. For less tender cuts like shank or shoulder roast it’s best to braise or stew.

Store Lamb For 1-2 Days In The Refrigerator. Or you may freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw slowly in the refrigerator for a day or two before cooking.

Get Creative With Spice Rubs. Mix garlic, ginger, cardamom, cloves, chili pepper, and fenugreek for an Ethiopian style spice rub. Or create your own custom blend.

Always Test Doneness With A Meat Thermometer. Cook ground lamb to at least 160 degrees and other cuts to at least 145 degrees.

Make “Spring Burgers” With Ground Lamb. Season with dill, mint, or rosemary. Top with chopped fresh tomatoes and feta cheese.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Passover Menu Ideas

April 3, 2015

Passover Menu Ideas

If you’re wondering what to serve for Passover here are some handy menu ideas.

Soups & Appetizers
Matzo Ball Soup
Matzo Balls
Chopped Chicken Liver

Side Dishes
Quinoa Salad (Avocado, Mandarin Oranges, Toasted Walnuts, Citrus Vinaigrette)
Spiced Applesauce
Potato Kugel
Potato, Carrot & Prune Tzimmes
Walnut, Fig & Apple Haroset
Potato Latkes
Haricots Verts With Wild Mushrooms
Mélange Of Asparagus, English Peas, Carrots & Pearl Onions
Honey Roasted Baby Carrots

Main Courses
Black Angus Brisket With Caramelized Pearl Onions & Dried Apricots
Roasted Salmon With Mango Pineapple Salsa
Brined & Roasted Turkey Breast With Peach Cranberry Chutney
Roasted Chicken Breast With Apricot Ginger Glaze

Desserts
Baked Apples Stuffed With Walnuts & Dried Cranberries
Individual Pavlovas (Flourless Meringue Shells Filled With Lemon Curd & Fresh Berries)
Chocolate Truffle Cake
Apple Walnut Honey Cake With Matzo Crust
Chocolate Covered Matzos
Flourless Assorted Macarons (Lemon, Raspberry & Peach)

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Asparagus

March 25, 2015

Asparagus

Nothing quite says spring like asparagus, which has a rather short season, which is typically from February to June.

Thickness really has nothing to do with quality. Asparagus is a perennial; more mature plantings tend to yield thicker stalks, and any size will be tender as long as it’s freshly cut. Look for bright apple green spears and tightly closed purplish heads; the stalks should be glossy, firm, and unwrinkled, with just a little white toward the base.

The question that many people have about Asparagus is whether to peel or not to peel. I believe it is quite unnecessary, and for the effort, it just doesn’t make noticeably more asparagus flesh available for eating. Instead, bend the cut end of each spear, snapping off the woody part where it breaks naturally (usually about two-thirds of the way down the stalk). The balance of the spear will be tender to the bite.

Extend the freshness of asparagus by keeping the spears hydrated. When you get the asparagus home from the market, trim the bottom 1/2 inch or so from each stem, and stand the bunch upright in a large coffee cup. Add water just to cover the ends of the stems, and then cover the top of the bunch with a plastic bag. Or you could trim 1/2 inch off the base of the stalks, wrap the bottoms in a damp paper towel, and slip the spears into a plastic bag, leaving the bag open. In either case, make sure to refrigerate the asparagus, adding more water to the cup or dampening the paper towel as needed. The asparagus should stay fresh for up to 3 days.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Peas

March 23, 2015

Peas

There are several types of fresh peas, all of which are available nearly year round these days, but they are at their peak during the spring and early summer months. Like corn, the natural sugar in peas converts quickly to starch, so make sure to buy peas fresh, store them in the refrigerator, and use them within a day or two.

English shell peas are the familiar round green pea. Frozen tiny tender green peas, while enjoyable and convenient throughout the winter months, bear little resemblance to the texture and bright flavor of fresh peas. The springtime ritual of shelling peas is just as satisfying as shucking summer corn, and their flavor and texture are worth every minute.

When shopping for English peas, look for bright green smooth, succulent pods filled with evenly plump, round seeds. The freshness of the pods is an indication of the freshness of the peas. For the most reliable test, pop open a pod and taste a pea. Fresh peas should taste sweet and grassy. A pound of English shell peas in their pods yields about 2 cups of shelled peas, which translates into 2 to 3 servings.

Both sugar snaps and snow peas are edible pod peas. There is no shelling required. As their name implies, sugar snaps are delightfully sweet. Sugar snaps are delicious raw, but their flavor is enhanced with a brief cooking. As with all other peas, look for bright, smooth, succulent, tender green pods with fresh looking stems.

Happy Spring!

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Lentils

March 13, 2015

Lentils

The lentil is a Eurasian herb grown for its small, flat, edible seeds and are considered a legume. They are lens shaped (the word comes from the Latin lens, “lentil”), variously colored on the outside, and yellow/orange on the inside. The earliest written mention of lentils is in the book of Genesis: Esau sold his birthright in exchange for a dish of lentils. Lentils are high in fiber, vegetable proteins, and complex carbohydrates and fairly rich in iron and protein; they are low in sodium and fat-free.

Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Broccoli

March 12, 2015

Broccoli

Broccoli is a plant in the cabbage family with tight heads of green, purple, or white flower buds that are cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Broccoli comes from the Latin brachium, “strong arm/strong branch,” and comes from a reference to its shape. Broccoli is the Italian plural of broccoli, “cabbage sprout/head,” and literally means “little shoots.”

When shopping for broccoli look for heads that are dark green or purplish and tightly clustered. The stalks should be fresh looking and not tough or woody.

Refrigerate broccoli for up to five days in a perforated bag. Broccoli can be blanched and frozen for up to 1 year.

To remove dirt simply soak a head of broccoli upside down in a bowl of cold water for 20 minutes. Cut or peel off any stalk parts that are tough. Cut into spears. Broccoli can be precooked by blanching or parboiling.

Eat more broccoli!

Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Tips For Deep-Frying

March 11, 2015

Tips For Deep-Frying

Deep-frying is such a guilty pleasure because no cooking technique gives food that irresistible crunchiness. Because it is also one of the least frequently used cooking methods, here are some important tips to help you achieve Deep-frying nirvana.

Choose the right pot. To deep-fry properly, the food should cook in 2 to 3 inches of hot oil. Choose a pot that is at least 6 inches deep to allow for bubbling without bubbling over. Cast iron (enameled or not) holds the heat well, which makes a good choice.

Use reasonably priced cooking oil. Canola, cottonseed, safflower, or a generic vegetable oil blend will all do. Much is made of the smoke point of oil (the temperature where the oil starts to smoke and break down) for deep-frying, and expensive peanut oil is often singled out as being especially desirable (watch those peanut allergies). Food should not be deep fried at temperatures above 400-degrees because it will burn before it has a chance to cook through. Most refined clear cooking oils have a smoke point of about 425-degrees (except for olive oil), so if you are deep frying at the correct temperature, the oil’s smoke point is not an issue.

Don’t reuse deep frying oil. This is another reason to use reasonably priced oil. Although you can strain the cooled oil for another round or two of deep-frying, this is a sure way of transferring unwanted flavors to your food, and the freshness of the oil obviously is reduced with storage. You don’t want to cook your tortilla chips in the same oil you used for cooking fish and chips. Just budget the price of the oil into the cost of the recipe, throw away after using, and leave it at that.

Use a deep-frying thermometer. It’s the only way to get an accurate reading of the oil temperature. Be sure the end of the thermometer is totally submerged in the oil. Keep the heat on high to maintain the correct oil temperature.

To reduce deep-frying odors, cook outside if possible. There is no reliable way to avoid the odors caused by deep-frying inside. But when the weather is cooperating, plug in an electric kettle and do your frying on your porch or patio.

Let the oil return to its correct frying temperature between batches. In most cases, you may add the food to 375-degree oil, but the temperature will drop to 335-degrees or so for the actual cooking. After removing the food, be sure to reheat the oil over high heat to its original starting temperature.

Use a wire skimmer to remove food from the oil. Also called a spider, these wide-mesh skimmers do a better job of draining away oil than a slotted spoon or slotted skimmer. They are commonly used in Asian cooking, so look for them at kitchenware stores near the woks.

Don’t drain fried foods on paper. Most people use paper towels or brown paper bags to absorb the fat from drained foods. A crunchy coating can soften where it comes into contact with the paper because the steam builds up at the contact point and has nowhere to go but into the coating. For the crispiest result, drain the food on a wire cooling rack set over a rimmed baking sheet, so the food comes into contact only with thin wires.

Keep deep-fried foods warm in the oven before serving. Deep-fried food is best served piping hot right out of the pot, which isn’t always possible when cooking multiple batches. Once you have put the food on the wire rack and baking sheet setup, slip the whole thing into a preheated 200-degree oven for up to 10 minutes.

Add salt JUST before serving. Salt can soften homemade potato chips and other fried foods, so to keep them from losing their crunch, sprinkle on the salt at the last minute.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

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