Avocados

Jicama

April 22, 2021

Crunchy, juicy, nutrient packed jicama is an unsung hero of the produce aisle. Technically a cousin to green beans, jicama is a root vegetable from Mexico available year-round that is delicious cooked or raw. With a mild, earthy, slightly sweet flavor and an apple like consistency. It’s a great addition to salads, salsas, slaws, and grazing boards. Jicama also works as lighter swap for potatoes in baked and air fried recipes, and it’s delicious sautéed or boiled, too.

If you’ve never tried jicama, don’t be intimidated. Start by choosing one with a smooth, unblemished surface and thin brown skin. The skin should be thin enough to scrape with your thumbnail to reveal the white flesh inside. Avoid thick skinned, bruised, or shriveled jicama, which are signs of aging.

Once you’re ready to prep, start by trimming off the ends of the jicama and slice in half. Then, use a knife to gently peel away the skin.

For Jicama Sticks:
Step 1: Carefully slice off the rounded parts of the jicama, creating a flat surface.
Step 2: Cut each half into 1/4-inch slices.
Step 3: Stack slices and cut evenly into sticks.

Fresh, raw jicama sticks are a great addition to lunchboxes or served on a vegetable platter with your favorite dip. They can also add unexpected, satisfying crunch to cooked dishes, like a noodle salad with jicama and a miso vinaigrette.

Jicama sticks are delicious roasted, too. Their firm texture can withstand the heat, while the edges get golden brown and tender. Toss together with sweet peppers and spices for a simple, satisfying sheet pan side that pairs well with all kinds of meat and fish.

For Diced Jicama:
Step 1: Follow the steps above to create jicama sticks
Step 2: Line up sticks or stack into a pile, then evenly cut into cubes.

Diced jicama is a vitamin and fiber-rich way to add bulk to all kinds of green, grain, and protein-based salads. I love the combination of crunchy jicama with creamy avocado served with grilled chicken.

Moist and mild flavored jicama also plays well with fruit, especially melon. A refreshing combination of watermelon, jicama, and fresh mint falls somewhere between salad and salsa, delicious scooped onto tortilla chips or just spooned straight from the bowl.

Next time you’re at your local grocery store or market pick up jicama and experiment with ways to incorporate it into your recipes.

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2021 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

Fruit Essentials

August 8, 2013

Fruit mosaicFruit Essentials

Have you ever come home from the market after purchasing fruit to find that you spent money for nothing?  I have plenty of times and it ticks me off every time.  Here are some Fruit Essentials that may help you have more fruit shopping success.

Did you know that many plants that are botanically fruits are not sweet?  We think of them as vegetables or non-fruits.  Avocados, beans, coconuts, corn, cucumbers, eggplants, green peppers, okra, peas, pumpkins, sugar peas, string beans and tomatoes all fall in the fruit category.  Some cookbooks make a distinction between fruit, vegetables and fruit vegetables.  Fruit vegetables are foods that are botanically fruits, but are most often prepared and served like vegetables.  These fruits are considered fruit vegetables: Aubergine, autumn squash, avocado, bitter melon, cantaloupe, chayote, chile, courgette, cucumber, eggplant, gherkin, green bean, green sweet pepper, hot pepper, marrow, muskmelon, okra, olive, pumpkin, red sweet pepper, seedless cucumber, squash, sweet pepper, tomatillo, tomato, watermelon, wax gourd, yellow sweet pepper and zucchini.

Pectin is a substance contained in some fruit which is used for making jams and jellies thicker.  High pectin fruits are apples, cranberries, currants, lemons, oranges, plums and quinces.  Low pectin fruits are bananas, cherries, grapes, mangos, peaches, pineapples and strawberries.

Low pectin fruits seem to discolor quicker than high pectin fruits ( bananas and eggplants).  Lemon juice or vinegar slows the discoloring process.  Other fruits and vegetables that discolor quickly are avocados, cauliflower, celery, cherries, figs, Jerusalem artichokes, mushrooms, nectarines, parsnips, peaches, pears, potatoes, rutabaga and yams.

Bruising:  When a fruit is bruised the cell walls break down and discoloration begins.  The process can be slowed down by refrigeration.

Cleaning:  It is important to clean our fruit and vegetables.  Rinse fruit in cold running water and scrub as needed before cooking or eating.  Soaking fruit in water for more than a few minutes can leach out water soluble vitamins.

Peeling:  The fruit skin usually contains a lot of important nutrients, but if you need to peel a thick-skinned fruit cut a small amount of the peel from the top and bottom.  Then on a cutting board cut off the peel in strips from top to bottom.  A good way to peel thin skinned fruit is to place the fruit in a bowl with boiling water and let stand for about 1 minute.  Remove and cool in an ice water bath.  You could also spear the fruit with a fork and hold over a gas flame until the skin cracks OR quarter the fruit and peel with a sharp paring knife or potato peeler.

Wax:  Oh those beautiful waxed apples that wink at us at the market.  They are beautiful because they are waxed.  I don’t know about you, but I would rather not eat wax.  Wax can be removed from the surface of fruits by washing them with a mild dishwashing soap and then thoroughly rinsing them.  This will remove most of the wax, but probably not all of it.

Purchasing Ripe:  Purchase these fruits fully ripe:  Berries, cherries, citrus, grapes and watermelon.  All of the fruits in this list, except berries, can be refrigerated without losing flavor.

Purchasing Not-So-Ripe:  Apricots, figs, melons, nectarines, peaches and plums develop more complex flavors after picking.  Store these fruits at room temperature until they are as ripe as you would like them.

Refrigeration:  You can refrigerate apples,ripe mangos and ripe pears as soon as you get them.  Do not refrigerat bananas.

Seasonal Fruit:  Winter is the season for citrus.  Fall is the season for apples and pears.  Late spring is the season for strawberries and pineapples.  Summer is perfect for blueberries, melons, peaches and plums.

Washing:  Dry fruit with paper towels or kitchen towels and then use a blow dryer on the cool setting to completely dry fruit.

Squeezing:  A microwave can be used to get more juice from citrus fruits.  Microwave citrus fruits for about 20 seconds before squeezing the fruit for juice.

 

 

Why Buy Organic?

February 11, 2013

“Food, one assumes, provides nourishment; but Americans eat it fully aware that small amounts of poison have been added to improve its appearance and delay its putrefaction.” – John Cage

There has been quite a bit of controversy these days about eating organic.  Recent studies state that it really doesn’t matter if you eat organic foods or not.  When something is labeled organic, it usually means that a farm has not used pesticides and has taken considerable care to avoid any cross-contamination.  Producing organic food undoubtedly costs more money which is passed on to the consumer.  Buying organic tends to be quite a bit more expensive than buying non-organic. 

Honestly, I don’t care what the studies are saying about eating organic versus eating non-organic.  I would rather not put pesticides into my body as well as wanting to support farmers and food companies that are not using pesticides. I love going to farmers’ markets during the spring, summer and fall and when I am shopping in the grocery store I am willing to pay a bit more for organic food.

If you have decided not to buy organic here is a list of foods that have found to be the most and least contaminated.

Most Contaminated

Apples

Bell Peppers

Celery

Cherries

Grapes

Lettuce

Nectarines

Peaches

Pears

Potatoes

Spinach

Strawberries

 

Least Contaminated

Asparagus

Avocados

Bananas

Broccoli

Cabbage

Corn

Kiwis

Mangos

Onions

Papayas

Peas

Pineapples

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