Basil

Lighten Up With Fresh Summer Meals

July 30, 2021

The heat of late summer calls for lighter meals packed with fresh produce. Fortunately, there is an abundance of delicious, seasonal produce to pick from. Not only are seasonal items packed with flavor and beneficial nutrients, they tend to be more affordable as well.

Finding unique ways to use summer favorites can help combat any recipe fatigue you may have experienced in recent months. From packing picnics for the beach to firing up the grill to assembling no-cook meals, use Tiny New York Kitchen’s search function to help you find quick and tasty meals for all to enjoy.

Mix up your meals and fuel your family throughout the long days of summer with these ideas:

Grill Seasonal Vegetables
Add some color (along with vitamins, minerals, and fiber) to your menu by tossing fresh vegetables on the grill. Zucchini and summer squash are ideal as they can be diced and cooked in foil, on skewers or cut into uniform planks and placed directly on the grates. Regardless of the method, coat them with a little bit of olive oil and your favorite herbs and spices for the tastiest result.

Enjoy Something Sweet Any Time Of The Day
Melon is the perfect summer treat. Watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew have just the right amount of sweetness this time of year, plus they have high water content, helping you to hydrate with each bite. Cut up slices for an easy snack on the go or scoop out melon balls to add to a fruit salad for a refreshing dessert.

Take Advantage Of Fresh Herbs
One of the best ways to add flavor to dishes, without added sodium, is to use herbs and spices. Basil, mint, oregano, and cilantro are excellent during warmer months as they pair perfectly with seasonal produce and light proteins such as fish.

Choose A New Fruit Or Vegetable
Pick out a new fruit or vegetable for your family to try during the remaining summer months. Kids love to choose by color! Then, plan a meal around your new produce pick.

Build A Picky Eater Snack Plate
Not only will this quick meal hack keep you out of a hot kitchen, but it is a great way to encourage picky eaters to get a bit more adventurous. Mix & match favorite fruits and vegetables with new options available this time of year. Have a strawberry lover? Put one or two blackberries next to them on the plate. Does your child devour cherry tomatoes? Try adding a few cucumber slices, too. They just may be tempted to try a bite of something new. Then, add in a no-fuss protein, like a hard-boiled egg or shredded rotisserie chicken and some easy whole grains such as crackers, popcorn or pita bread. Round it out with dairy favorites such as string cheese or yogurt. There you have a balanced plate without much hassle.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2021 All Rights Reserved

Bringing Basil Indoors For The Winter

September 25, 2020

You may try to keep basil through the winter, however, sweet basil is meant to live its life cycle within one year and then go to seed. At the end of the season, though, you may try to keep it alive by moving potted basil indoors to enjoy them for months to come.

Inspect And Transplant
Before you bring your basil indoors make sure to inspect it thoroughly for any insects. Flush the soil with water and rinse off the foliage, using a blast of water from the garden hose to chase away any pests and avoid later problems. Then, you can gently dig up your basil from the garden any time before the ground freezes.

Transfer To A Pot
Select a container large enough to accommodate your basil plus a little room for growth. Place a layer of potting mix on the bottom of the pot, then set the basil on top of that. Fill in the spaces around the roots with more potting mix. Press the soil firmly around the basil’s roots, leaving about an inch between the soil and the rim of the pot. For smaller basil plants, try placing several together in a window box that fits on a sunny sill. After settling your basil into its new container, water until it drains out the bottom of the pot.

Acclimate Your Basil
When bringing your basil indoors, it will need a little time to adjust to the new surroundings. You might notice that your basil drops a few leaves and grow more slowly. Ease your basil into life on the inside by setting them in a spot with indirect light. Don’t put them in bright sun right away. After a couple of weeks, you may move the pots to a spot that will get a least four hours of sun or bright light. If you don’t have a window that provides plenty of sunlight, you can also grow your herbs under fluorescent bulbs or with a grow light setup.

Give Your Basil Some Love
Turn pots once a week or so to help all sides of your basil get enough light. Water when the soil feels dry to a depth of 1 inch. Mist the leaves daily to boost the humidity level. You can also tilt the pots over the sink and gently rinse their foliage with tap water every once in a while, to keep them clean and deter any pests that might show up. You may want to boost the humidity around your basil by placing their pots in a pebble filled tray. Water the pot regularly, allowing excess water to over flow into the tray.

Cuttings
To make sure you always have access to fresh basil throughout the winter, places cuttings in a small vase of water and they will soon develop roots. When the roots are a couple of inches long, put the cuttings to expand you supply of fresh basil. Or you may snip sprigs whenever you need some fresh basil for your favorite dishes. Either way, this will encourage your basil to produce new growth and stay compact until you can move them outdoors again in the spring.

With a little preparation, basil can come indoors for the winter. Growing them in containers will give you a fresh supply for cooking all year long and you will be able to take them back outside and replant when spring arrives.

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Enjoying Summer’s Abundance

July 6, 2020

July has given us bright sunny days, low humidity and cool evening temperatures and a great way to capture summer’s splendor is with a picnic. Whether you find respite under the shade of a magnificent tree, spread a blanket on a sandy beach or enjoy your own patio or yard, dining “en plein air” is a delightful diversion to current world conditions.

Simplicity is key for a pleasant picnic. With farm markets opening, stock up on fresh fruits, berries, and vegetables for the picnic basket. Luscious, seasonal asparagus can be lightly grilled, steamed or roasted, then spritzed with fresh lemon juice and adorned with fresh parmesan cheese shavings for a light and lovely picnic lunch that packs easily. Freshly picked asparagus can also be served raw. Shave each stalk using a vegetable peeler, into long strips and dress with olive oil, rice vinegar, salt and pepper. Embellish at will with goat or feta cheese, pine nuts or almonds and plenty of minced herbs.

Fresh herbs perk up picnic recipes and eliminate the need for excess sodium. Chives will add a slightly sharp bite to potato, egg or pasta salads, as well as a nice little nip of flavor to deviled eggs. Poach a nice piece of salmon and dot it with creamy dill sauce for an elegant picnic entrée. Cilantro and Thai basil elevate rice noodle salads, and the snappy tang of fresh parsley is just the right addition to grain bowls. Fresh basil with ripe tomatoes is a classic combination. For something sweet, pack fresh berries, such as native strawberries, blueberries or raspberries, sprinkled with cinnamon and drizzled with honey.

If your picnic involves grilling use sturdy rosemary to imbue vegetables, meat, and fish with Mediterranean flavor and flair. Marinate chunks of lamb, beef or chicken with fresh rosemary, garlic, and olive oil. Let rest for several hours, then grill as desired.

Have picnic supplies at the ready to take advantage of gorgeous weather. Stash a small roll of garbage bags, hand sanitizer, salt and pepper packets, a small cutting board and knife, bug spray, sunscreen, and a blanket in your picnic basket. Keep small ice packs in the freezer. Gather your food and drink and enjoy the healthy benefits of picnicking all summer long.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Spring Pesto

May 27, 2020

Pesto is one of those spectacularly simple sauces that only takes minutes to make. Essentially, you just have to throw basil, oil, and garlic into a food processor and you have a fresh pesto.

The wonderful thing about pesto is that it can be used for more than a plate of pasta. You can bake it on chicken, mix it into soup, add it to bruschetta, mix it in a skillet with eggs and hash browns, add it to a grilled chicken sandwich, or add it to a quesadilla. You can also add a dollop of mayonnaise to a few tablespoons of pesto to create a quick and easy aioli to use on sandwiches.

Pesto is excellent for transforming leftovers into something quick and delightful. You can take the pesto aioli and pair it with a leftover chicken cutlet, tomato slices, and a crusty slice of baguette to create a delicious sandwich.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Cooking With Beer

March 18, 2020

Beer isn’t just for drinking. It’s also the secret ingredient in some of Tiny New York Kitchen’s favorite recipes, from stews to pasta sauce.

Depending on which brew you choose, you can add richness to stews and braises, a bright zing to sauces, and make baked goods extra tender and tasty. It’s great with chocolate. You can also pair it with your meals, just like wine, to make your dishes taste even better.

LAGER
Lager is the most popular beer for drinking. Smooth, light-bodied, and slightly floral, it goes with just about any dish, especially cheese. It’s also great to bake with. The bubbles in this beer add extra lightness and tenderness to all sorts of baked goods.

PILSNER
Clean, crisp, and slightly citrusy, this beer is refreshing on its own. Serve it with seafood or a simple tomato and basil pizza. Use it for quickly simmering shrimp because it won’t overwhelm the delicate, sweet flavor of the seafood.

STOUT
This rich dark beer has notes of coffee and caramel, great for sipping in colder weather. Pair it with heartier dishes like chili or steak and potatoes. In baking and cooking, stout makes chocolate cupcakes taste even more chocolaty and slow-cooked meats even richer.

AMBER ALE
You will know this beer by its reddish-brown color. It has a smooth, malty flavor that makes it a crowd-pleasing choice for your next party. Try this beer with grilled or roasted meats and barbecue. For cooking, it’s great in a glaze for pork or in a cheese sauce.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Tomatoes And Mozzarella

July 29, 2019

Make the most out of ripe summer tomatoes. Create delicious tomato, mozzarella, and basil salads for a fast and fresh summer side dish.

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

Seasoning Suggestions

January 6, 2019

To flavor your food reach for herbs and spices rather than high-sodium table salt. Make sure to read the labels of seasoning mixes because many of them contain salt.

Seasoning Suggestions

Pasta: Basil, Fennel, Garlic, Paprika, Parsley, Sage
Potatoes: Chives, Garlic, Paprika, Parsley, Rosemary
Rice: Cumin, Marjoram, Parsley, Saffron, Tarragon, Thyme, Turmeric
Seafood: Chervil, Dill, Fennel, Tarragon, Parsley
Vegetables: Basil, Caraway, Chives, Dill, Marjoram, Mint, Nutmeg, Oregano, Paprika, Rosemary, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2019 All Rights Reserved

Winter Citrus Fruit

February 1, 2018

Winter Citrus Fruit is a beautiful natural ingredient that will perk up the winter table with generous juiciness and vibrant vivacious hues. Citrus fruit have a beauty that cooks can incorporate into their winter meals. As an added bonus they are an excellent snack for that nagging sweet tooth. They can bring a bit of glamor to a winter fruit salad. Arrange oranges, clementine, mandarin, pomelo or grapefruit slices and you will have a sunny rainbow of goodness for breakfast or brunch. Nothing more is needed than perhaps a scattering of fresh mint or basil. These citrus also combine well with cranberries, raspberries and strawberries, adding burst of sunshine to yogurt bowls and smoothies.

Green salads love a bit of sunshine, too. Add citrus slices to a mixture of arugula, radicchio, endive and baby kale; add minced fresh herbs, such as basil, tarragon and chill. Add a bit of creamy goat cheese and dress it all up with a vinaigrette.

The versatility of citrus makes them a superstar winter ingredient. These beautiful fruits are low in calories, have a significant amount of dietary fiber and are a nice source of folate. Rich in vitamin A and C, Citrus provides healing, soothing benefits for eyes, skin, hair, and nails and many positively impact the aging process. Consuming citrus may possibly lower the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and macular degeneration.

Let the sunshine in!

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Make The Most Of Tomatoes

September 8, 2017

The end of summer is fresh produce heaven, which includes delicious vine ripened tomatoes. What do you do when you have a tomato abundance?
Here are some tips for making the most of the end of summer tomatoes.

Sliced: Incorporate into sandwiches or add to basil and mozzarella for a Caprese Salad.

Chopped: You only need a few chopped heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, chopped basil, and olive oil for a colorful no-cook pasta sauce.

Puréed: There’s nothing like an icy cold gazpacho on a warm day.

Salsa: Fresh salsa is a must have condiment for grilled steaks or shrimp, brown rice and beans, scrambled eggs, and of course, chips.

Grilled: Toss cherry tomatoes with olive oil, garlic, and herbs. Then cook in a grill basket until charred. Top fish, chicken, pasta, and charred slices of bread.

Stored: Keep tomatoes at room temperature until ripe and then use within a day or two. Don’t put them in the refrigerator as it affects their flavor and texture.

Preserved: Roasted, dehydrated, or stewed – savor the season by saving a taste of summer for later.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

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