Cakes

Choosing The Right Flour

March 8, 2018

Have you ever wondered what the difference between cake flour, bread flour, and pastry flour is? Is it ok to substitute all-purpose flour that call for a specific flour type? These are questions that I get asked often.

Choosing the correct flour is about controlling the amount of gluten in your dough. Gluten is a protein structure that makes dough both firm and elastic. Bread flour comes from “hard” flour, which has a higher protein content (produces more gluten) making it perfect for bread, pizza dough, and any recipe that needs a little more elasticity and cohesion.

Pastry flour is made with “soft” flour, which has a much less protein content and produces less gluten. Dough made with pastry flour is tender, flaky and doesn’t hold together firmly. That’s a good thing because no one wants a rubbery piecrust! Cake flour has even less protein content than pastry flour, but not by much. It has just enough protein to give the cake a little structure, but not enough to make it tough.

All-purpose flour is a blend of “hard” and “soft” flours, which falls in the middle of the gluten spectrum, and works well in most baked goods. Your cakes might not be quite as tender, but in most cases they’ll still come out beautifully. It’s all a matter of degree. Cookies, piecrusts, muffins, quick breads, and scones all do well with all-purpose flour.

Gluten development is also the reason why recipes instruct you not to over mix your dough. Once you add water or any other low-fat liquid to flour, gluten bands start forming and the more you knead or stir the dough, the more these elastic bands start connecting. If you are using all-purpose flour in a cake or piecrust, make sure to stop mixing just when everything comes together.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Date Night At Home

February 13, 2018

Going out for dinner on Valentine’s Day is a risky affair. Even the best restaurants can have “overload difficulties” on such a busy night where couples have expectations of restaurant perfection. A better way to manage expectations is to take control of them yourself. Food is a language of love. You know what you like and what your loved one likes. No need to worry about cheesy love songs or a perfumed soaked lady sitting next to you. Nothing says I love you more than taking the time to make a special meal for the person you love. Visit the local farmers’ market, butcher, or seafood shop to buy their favorite seasonal ingredients. Come up with a meal that celebrates love. Turn off the lights, fire up all the candles and put on your favorite music.
Keep it easy and made make it special. Plan out the meal from beginning to end to get organized and make sure you have a solid menu. If you’re not a seasoned cook make sure to keep it simple and I recommend not trying to make complicated dishes that you’ve never made before. Make it easy with three courses. Begin with a beautiful cheese plate. Embrace easy, big impact dishes. Start off with prosciutto-wrapped scallops finished with a squeeze of lemon. Warm things up with braised short ribs or steaks finished off with butter and herbs. Keep desserts simple, but sweet. Decorate bakery cakes with fresh fruit or edible flowers or warm up slices of pie and top with caramel sauce and a gourmet ice cream or try your hand at an easy dessert of chocolate pots de crème. Don’t forget that nice bottle of wine or champagne.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Baking Season

November 1, 2017

I like to bake all year long, but baking season is officially here!

Pumpkins

October 28, 2017

Pumpkins range in size from small, creamy white specimens to giant orange globes. Ever so useful as autumnal décor, pumpkins are a versatile and vital source of healthy nutrition.

This festive fall fruit offers a rich source of vitamin C and potassium, both of which may be effective at lowering the risk of heart disease, as well as normalizing blood pressure. The brilliant orange hue of many pumpkin varieties is the result of an abundance of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that transforms into vitamin A in the body. This vitamin may have an effect on boosting the efficiency of immune systems, as well as helping to repair free radical damage to cells.

Pumpkin adds a fabulous, smooth, silky texture and unique flavor to risotto, soup, muffins, cakes, breads, stews, chili, pasta, shakes and so much more. Fresh pumpkin is delightfully delicious and contains an added bonus; pumpkin seeds! Also known as pepitas, roasted pumpkin seeds are lightly crunchy, little gems that are a potent source of zinc, which may be helpful in promoting prostate health.

Pumpkin seeds also offer a significant amount of magnesium, phosphorous, copper, iron, manganese, and omega-3 fatty acids, which may help relieve symptoms of high cholesterol, depression, high blood pressure, and arthritis.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2017 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

High Altitude Cooking

January 25, 2017

Most recipes have been perfected for use at seal level. At higher altitudes, adjustments in the cooking time, temperature, and ingredients could be necessary.

At sea level, water boils at 212 degrees. With each additional 500 feet of altitude, the boiling point drops 1 degree. Even though the boiling point is lower, it takes longer to generate the heat required to cook food. Therefore, at high altitudes, foods boiled in water (such as pasta and beans) will take longer to come to a boil and will require longer cooking times than recipes suggest. The processing times for canning foods and the blanching times for freezing vegetables will vary, too.

At high altitudes, cake recipes may need slight adjustments in the proportions of flour, leavening, liquid, eggs, etc. These adjustments will vary from recipe to recipe, and not set guidelines can be given. Many cake mixes now carry special directions on the label for high-altitude preparation.

High altitudes can also affect the rising of doughs and batters, deep-frying, candy making, and other aspects of food preparation. For complete information and special recipes for your area, call or write to the home agent at your county cooperative extension office or to the home economics department of your local utility company or state university.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Holiday Menu Ideas

December 20, 2016

Everyone who’s cooking for the holidays wonders what he or she should make for the holidays. I like to keep it simple and typically follow the “don’t experiment on your guests” rule.

Hors D’oeuvres
Mini Crab Cakes With Remoulade Sauce
Cold Seafood Platter (Lobster Tails, Jumbo Shrimp, Jumbo Lump Crab Meat)
Stuffed Mushrooms (Crab, Sausage, Cheese Stuffing)
Chicken Tenders With Honey Mustard Sauce
Chicken & Beef Satay With Asian Dipping Sauces
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail Platter With Cocktail Sauce
Grilled Shrimp With Aioli
Mini Southwest Chicken Quesadillas With Salsa
Beef Franks In a Blanket With Whole Grain Mustard Sauce
Antipasto Platter With Imported Meats, Cheese, Peppers, And Olives
Assorted Mini Quiche
Bacon Wrapped Sea Scallops
Grilled Citrus Shrimp With Mango Aioli
Tenderloin Of Beef On Crostini With Horseradish Sauce

Salads
Mesclun Salad With Goat Cheese, Maple Candied Walnuts, Dried Cranberries And Balsamic Vinaigrette
Traditional Caesar Salad With Croutons & Shaved Parmesan Cheese
Traditional Caesar Salad With Shrimp Or Chicken

Dinner
Chicken Or Veal Marsala (Sautéed With Fresh Mushrooms & Red Roasted Peppers With Marsala Wine)
Chicken Or Veal Francese (Bathed In Light Egg Batter & Sautéed With White Wine & Lemon Sauce)
Chicken Or Veal Picata (Sautéed With Artichoke Hearts With Lemon Caper & White Wine Sauce)
Chicken Or Veal Parmigiana (Breaded & Sautéed Crispy, Topped With Marinara Sauce, Mozzarella & Parmesan Cheese)
Poached Salmon With Dijon Dill Sauce
Stuffed Filet Of Sole (Stuffed With Crabmeat & Baked With Lemon, Butter & White Wine)
Roasted Tenderloin Of Beef (Serve With Mushroom Sauce Or Creamy Horseradish Sauce & Oven Roasted Potatoes)
Roasted Turkey Breast (Serve With Traditional Stuffing, Gravy & Mashed Potatoes)
Smoked Country Ham (Serve With Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Whole Grain Mustard)
Cheese Ravioli With Marinara Or Bolognese Sauce
Manicotti Stuffed With Ricotta Cheese, Spices & Parmesan Cheese (Topped With Marinara Or Bolognese Sauce)
Stuffed Shells With Ricotta & Parmesan Cheese (Topped With Marinara Or Bolognese Sauce)
Baked Rigatoni With Herb Ricotta & Topped With Mozzarella Cheese
Classic Meat Lasagna
Vegetarian Lasagna
Flour Cheese Lasagna (Ricotta, Parmesan, Romano & Mozzarella)
Eggplant Parmigiana
Eggplant Rollatini
Sausage & Peppers In Tomato Sauce
Sausage & Broccoli Rabe Sautéed In Olive Oil & Garlic
Tuscan Sausage Cook With Broccoli Rabe & Cannelloni Beans In Creamy Tomato Sauce

Desserts
Pies
Cakes
Cookies
Zabaglione

www.tinynewyorkkitchen.com

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen

Cakes

December 15, 2016

I love to bake all year long, but during the holidays I’m on “baking overdrive.” To make better cakes here are some simple tips to help you with the best outcome possible.

Don’t use cold eggs. The eggs really should be at room temperature, otherwise the mixture won’t emulsify properly. If you’re short on time place eggs in a bowl of warm water for 15 minutes.

Make sure to measure all ingredients precisely. Baking is an art form, but also a science.

Position pans as close to the center of the oven as possible. If you’re placing more than one pan in the oven, they should not touch each other or the oven walls. If your oven isn’t wide enough to put pans side by side, place them on different racks.

If a recipe calls for 1 cup of sifted flour, then first sift the flour and then measure it. If it calls for 1 cup flour sifted, measure the flour, then sift it. It may seem subtle, but it can make the difference between a light, fluffy cake and a heavy one.

Allow at least 20 minutes for your oven to preheat. It’s best to turn the oven on before you start working on your recipe.

Avoid opening the oven door. Opening the oven door too often can make a cake fall, so use the window in your oven door to check the cake’s process when possible.

Remember that each oven heats differently. Check for doneness 10 minutes before the recipe suggests. For most recipes, a cake is ready when it starts pulling away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Invest in wire cooling racks. Cakes cool faster and don’t get soggy when set out on a rack. Leave them in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes before unmolding, and then place on a rack to cool completely before frosting. Angel, chiffon and sponge cakes should be left in the pan to cool to prevent collapsing.

Unfrosted cakes can be stored, well wrapped in plastic, at room temperature for 24 hours. If storing unfrosted cakes for more than 24 hours, it is best to freeze them rather than refrigerate them. Wrap the layers in plastic wrap and then heavy-duty foil to freeze, let cake thaw in the refrigerator before frosting.

To store frosted cakes, keep at room temperature under a cake dome or large bowl unless the recipe specifies refrigeration.

For smooth and easy cake removal, prep your pans properly. When a recipe calls for greasing and flouring, place a piece of parchment or waxed paper on the bottom of a pan (trace and cut it to fit). Coat the sides and bottom with softened butter, and then dust with flour, turning the pan on its side to get full coverage and tapping out the excess. For chocolate cakes, swap in cocoa powder for flour.

Angel, chiffon, and sponge cakes should go into clean, untreated pans since they need to adhere to the sides in order to rise properly.

Happy Baking!

“Work With What You Got!”

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

German Chocolate

November 29, 2016

German Chocolate is an American creation, created in 1852 when American Samuel German developed a dark baking chocolate for the American Baker’s Chocolate Company. The brand name of the product, “Baker’s German’s Sweet Chocolate,” was named in Samuel German’s honor.

The first published recipe for German’s chocolate cake appeared in a Dallas Morning Star newspaper on June 13, 1957 as the “Recipe of the Day.” Mrs. George Calay, a Texas homemaker, created the recipe. Mrs. Caley’s creation quickly caught on and its recipe, together with the delicious photos, spread all over the country, which is how America fell in love with German Chocolate Cake. The possessive form (German’s) was dropped in subsequent publications, which created the name of German Chocolate Cake that we know today and giving the false impression of German origin.

Thank you Samuel German and Mrs. Caley!

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Saffron

October 29, 2016

Saffron

Highly prized as a dye, medication and culinary spice since Greek and Roman times, saffron is the stigma of a type of crocus, Crocus sativus, which was once grown all over Europe, including in England. It has a distinctive and lasting aroma, and a pleasant pungency if used sparingly. Because of its striking color, as well as its distinctive flavor, saffron is frequently added to celebration dishes; for example, pilaus from India, Spanish paella and Italian risotto Milanese. Bouillabaisse, the famous French fish and shellfish soup-stew, is flavored with saffron. The spice is also widely used in sweet recipes, including milky rice and sweet custard-like desserts. Baked goods flavored with saffron include breads and cakes.

Saffron threads can be infused (steeped) in a little warm water or milk until the color of the liquid is even. Add the liquid and the threads to the dish, usually towards the end of the cooking process. Saffron powder can be added to food without soaking, but not to hot oil.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

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