Oil

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

Basic Ingredient Swaps

April 30, 2020

Have you ever found yourself making a recipe and realize that you don’t have an ingredient that it’s calling for? Here are a few ingredient alternatives that you might have on hand instead.

Mayonnaise
For 1 cup of mayonnaise use 1 cup sour cream or 1 cup plain yogurt with a pinch of salt.

Honey
For 1/4 cup of honey use 1/4 cup maple syrup or light corn syrup.

Buttermilk
For 1 cup of buttermilk use 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice mixed with enough milk or plant-based milk to reach 1 cup.

Butter
If butter is used for baking or in a solid form, solid coconut oil is a good 1 to 1 substitution. If it’s melted or for cooking use olive oil.

Oil
When it comes to oil for baking, applesauce is a great substitute. For 1 cup of oil, use 3/4 cup applesauce mixed with 1/4 cup melted butter. In cooking, any neutral refined oils like canola, olive, vegetable, corn, and peanut oils are interchangeable.

Breadcrumbs
For 1 cup of breadcrumbs use 1 cup of cracker crumbs, finely crushed potato chips, tortilla chips, or pretzels pulsed in your food processor.

Brown Sugar
For 1 cup of light brown sugar, use 1 cup white sugar plus 1 tablespoon molasses. For 1 cup of dark brown sugar, use 2 tablespoons molasses. The sugar and molasses should be mixed together thoroughly.

Baking Powder
For 1 teaspoon baking powder, stir or sift together 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 5/8 teaspoon cream of tartar.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Cast Iron Pans

April 13, 2018

Chefs love cast iron’s durability and its ability to evenly retain heat. What’s old is new again. Cast iron comes in all sizes from pans that hold a single fried egg to 20-inch giants that weigh 25 pounds and take up two burners. You can pick up a cast iron pan for $25 to $300. I like 10-inch skillets for everyday cooking, which are between four to six pounds and can comfortably accommodate a pack of chicken thighs. Remember that a bigger pan is a heavier pan, which limits how easily you can maneuver it as you cook.

Make sure to season your cast iron pan. Use a paper towel to rub your pan all over with a very light coat of neutral oil like grapeseed or vegetable oil and then place in a 500-degree oven for an hour. You want your pan to have a matte dark finish. Remove from the oven and let cool. Rub another very light coat of oil all over before storing. The very best thing that you can do to maintain that new seasoning is to get cooking. Each time you cook a steak or chicken thighs, the fat adds another coat to the pan’s surface, which will create a glassy finish over time. Re-season when your pan starts to look dry and dull or if you can’t remember the last time you cooked in it. Always rub you pan down with a thin coat of neutral oil before storing.

Just because you can cook it in cast iron doesn’t mean that you should! There are some foods that you definitely should not cook in your cast iron. Fish is not something that I would cook in cast iron unless I want to infuse next day’s pancakes with the essence of fish. Tomato sauce’s high acidity reacts with cast iron, which creates an unpleasant metallic flavor. I’d skip cooking scrambled eggs in cast iron unless I want to be on dish duty for an hour or two after breakfast.

Wash your pan! Yes, you do need to wash your pan. Each time you cook with cast iron a few burnt and crusty food bits inevitably seem to stick to the pan. If you don’t scrub it clean between uses, those bits will fossilize under subsequent layers of seasoning, which create an irregular surface that will never become truly nonstick (the opposite of what you want). Wash your pan with hot water and a drop of dish soap while it’s still warm. Take care not to let the pan soak in water. Wipe down the pan and then set it over a low flame for a few minutes to fully dry. Rub all over with a very light coat of neutral oil before storing (just like you would after seasoning it). These steps are crucial for keeping your pan in fighting form against Public Enemy Number One – RUST! If you ever do have spot rust just use and old toothbrush dipped in distilled vinegar to scrub it off, let it dry, and then rub in a drop of oil. If you make a regular habit of cleaning your cast iron you’ll have a faithful companion for life.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Orzo

August 27, 2017

Orzo is the Italian word for barley; however, orzo is not made from barley at all, but rather from semolina, which is a course ground flour made from durum wheat. With its shape reminiscent of slivered almonds, orzo cooks up in about half the time of rice, making it a speedy standby to have on hand to add heartiness to meals.

Just bring 3 quarts of lightly salted water to a boil. Add 8 ounces ( 1 1/2 cups) dried orzo and boil about 10 minutes until it has a firm, chewy texture. Stir occasionally to prevent it from sticking together. Drain orzo in colander and serve immediately.

Rinse orzo only if it will be baked or served cold in a salad. Otherwise, do not rinse as rinsing removes a light coating of starch that helps sauces and seasonings cling to the pasta.

For the best texture and flavor serve orzo immediately after cooking. If your orzo gets done before the rest of the meal, you can keep it warm by returning the cooked drained pasta to the warm cooking pan. Stir in a little butter or olive oil to prevent it from sticking together. Cover the pasta with a lid and let it stand no more than 14 minutes.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Frying Fish

March 6, 2017

Frying fish in fat gives fish a delicious crust and cooking is fairly fast.

Sautéing is one of the most useful methods for cooking fish, which has become considerably easier in the recent past, due to the ongoing improvement of nonstick skillets. As a matter of fact, the first rule of sautéing fish is to go purchase a 12-inch nonstick skillet.

When cooking fish in fat measure in teaspoons or tablespoons rather than in cups. You only use the amount that you need to crisp up the fish, give it a nice color, and improve the flavor. The key to sautéing fish is to get the skillet hot before adding anything to it. Place your skillet on the stove over a low heat and let it sit there for awhile or five minutes before you’re ready to being sautéing, preheat the pan over a medium to high heat, depending on your burner. Just before sautéing should you add the fat and then wait a minute. When the fat is hot you may add the fish. When you add the first piece of fish the pan’s temperature may subside a bit, so turn the heat up to full blast as you add the other pieces. Regulate the heat so that the fat is sizzling nicely, but not burning.

Most fish sauté so quickly that as soon as one side is nicely browned, you may turn the fish and brown the other side. You may check the fish by peeking into the interior by using a thin bladed knife. Thick steaks or fish thicker than an inch may need the heat lowered at some point to prevent burning while the inside continues to cook.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

How To Interpret Package Information

January 17, 2017

While the Nutrition Fact label can tell you a lot about a food, you need to check the ingredients list to see what you’re really eating. Is your breakfast cereal made with whole grains or does your favorite salad dressing contain oil that is high in saturated fat, for example.

By law, ingredients lists must be ordered by weight. The heaviest ingredient goes first, followed by the next heaviest, and so on. It is not a good sign if sugar is the first ingredient in a cereal or when bad fats like partially hydrogenated soybean and cottonseed oils are the third ingredient listed on a can of biscuit dough.

Below is a list of common phrases found on many food packages:

Cholesterol Free or No Cholesterol: Don’t be fooled by the words No Cholesterol written across the label of a jar of peanut butter or bottle of canola oil. If you turn to the Nutrition Facts label, you’ll see that no brand of either food has cholesterol – and never did! Only foods of animal origin contain cholesterol. But manufacturers hope you don’t know that.

Light: This word is used to describe fat content, taste, or color. If the manufacturer is describing the fat content as “light,” the product has at least 50 percent less fat than the original. The label must also say “50% less fat than our regular product.” “Light” olive oil, on the other hand, describes the oil’s color. The oil is as caloric as regular olive oil, but has been processed to remove some of its flavor. A muffin mix can say “light and fluffy” as a way to describe its texture or consistency.

Low-Fat or Fat-Free: Low-fat products must contain 3 grams or less fat per serving and fat-free products must have less than 0.5 grams of fat per serving. But check the number of calories – that number could be very high. It is easy to gain lots of weight eating fat-free cookies because they are loaded with sugar.

Low Sodium or Light In Sodium: This means that the sodium was cut by at least 50 percent over the original product. Be careful when using a “low” version of a super-high-sodium food such as soy sauce or soup. You can still end up consuming a lot of sodium. Check the numbers on the Nutrition Fact Label.

Sugar-Free, No Added Sugars, Without Added Sugars: A sugar-free chocolate candy may not contain a speck of sugar, but it’s still got plenty of fat and calories. Be sure to check out the Nutrition Facts label to know how many calories and grams of saturated fat you’re consuming.

Sweetened With Fruit Juice, Fruit Juice Sweetener, or Fruit Juice Concentrate: These sweeteners are made by reducing fruit juice (usually grape juice) into a sticky sweetener. These sweeteners are not nutritious. They are just like sugar.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Keep It Light

January 7, 2017

Generally animal products are higher in fat than plant foods, but it’s not necessary to cut out all meat and dairy products to keep your fat intake reasonable. Low-fat dairy foods, lean and well trimmed meat, and skinless poultry provide the same amounts of vitamins and minerals as their fattier counterparts. Skinless poultry, fish, dry beans, and split peas are the “slimmest” foods in this category. By removing the skin from poultry, you reduce the fat by almost one half. Most seafood is low in fat and also contains beneficial omega-3 oils, which have been linked to lowering blood cholesterol. Dry beans also provide the body with fiber, which is necessary for digestion.

You can enjoy red meat if you choose lean cuts and trim away all the visible fat (marbled fat cannot be trimmed away). Here are some good choices:

*Beef eye round, top round, tenderloin, top sirloin, flank steak, top loin, and ground beef. Choose ground sirloin; it’s 90 to 93 percent lean.

*Veal cutlets (from the leg) and loin chops.

*Pork tenderloin, boneless top loin roast, loin chops, and boneless sirloin chops.

*Lamb, boneless leg (shank portions), loin roast, loin chops, and leg cubes for kabobs.

Here are some suggestions to make trimming excess fat from your diet easier:

*Choose lean cuts of meat and trim off all the visible fat before cooking. Remove skin from poultry before or after cooking.

*Broil meat on a rack so the fat can drop away.

*Substitute ground chicken or ground turkey for ground beef. Look for ground turkey breast or chicken breast; otherwise, it may contain skin and therefore have as much fat as ground beef.

*Substitute protein-packed dried legumes, like beans and lentils, for meat in casseroles.

*Chill soups and stews overnight so you can remove all the hardened fat from the surface.

*Be skimpy with fat. Use nonstick pans and nonstick cooking spray, or sauté in a small amount of broth or water. Don’t just pour oil into a skillet; it’s easy to add too much. Measure or use a pastry brush to coat pans with a thin layer of oil. When baking, coat pans with a spritz of nonstick cooking spray instead of oils or fats. Kitchenware shops carry oil sprayers you can fill with your favorite oil.

*Experiment with low fat or skim milk, low fat sour cream and cheese, and nonfat yogurt. They provide the same amounts of calcium and protein as the whole milk varieties, but with less fat or none at all.

*When making dips, substitute nonfat plain yogurt for sour cream.

*Use fresh herbs and zesty seasonings literally.

*Choose angel food cake instead of pound cake, especially when making cake-based desserts like trifle.

*To reduce fat and cholesterol, you can substitute 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg in recipes, but don’t substitute egg whites for all the whole eggs when baking. The dessert will have better texture and flavor if you retain a cold or two.

*Replace sour cream with buttermilk or yogurt in recipes for baked goods.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Brussels Sprouts

November 23, 2016

Brussels sprouts have a pronounced and sweet nutty flavor, quite unlike cabbage, although the two are closely related. They are traditionally served at Thanksgiving and Christmas and have an affinity with certain nuts, such as almonds, pistachios, and chestnuts. Brussels sprouts taste great with onions, and ginger, or with nuts.

Brussels sprouts should be small and hard with tightly wrapped leaves. Avoid any that are turning yellow or have loose leaves. They will keep in a cool place or in the salad drawer of a refrigerator for several days.

When preparing and cooking Brussels sprouts trim away the base of the stalk and remove the outer leaves. If the sprouts are large, cut them in half or quarters, or slice thinly for stir-frying. Cook very briefly in small amounts of fast-boiling water. Alternatively, stir-fry with onions and ginger, in a little oil and butter.

“Work With What You Got!”

© Victoria Hart Glavin Tiny New York Kitchen © 2016 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

Black Garlic

April 12, 2016

Black Garlic

Black Garlic has been around for quite awhile and is an ingredient that chefs have been using across the country. Think of it as “sweet meets savory.” Black garlic is made when heads of garlic are aged under very specialized conditions until the cloves turn black and have a sticky date-like texture. The taste is delicious and unique with a sweet and earthy umami flavor that intensifies nearly any dish you’re creating.

Garlic bulbs are kept for weeks at low temperatures in a humid environment. The enzymes that give fresh garlic its sharpness break down. These conditions also facilitate the Maillard reaction, the chemical process that produces wild new flavor compounds responsible for the deep taste of seared meat and fried onions.

Black garlic’s flavor is described as tasting like aged balsamic, prunes, licorice, molasses, caramel, and tamarind. Use the cloves as you would roasted garlic. Purée with olive oil for a dense and sweet flavor all its own that compliments steaks, chicken, fish and seafood. Smear the paste on crostini or incorporate it into dressings. Use in a braise to intensify the umami-rich flavor of spare ribs. Add to soups, risotto, noodle and rice dishes, and cheese dips. Black garlic also pairs well with blue cheese.

Black garlic also comes in a dehydrated powder that is considered an umami pixie dust. Just sprinkle a bit of it on anything that begs for depth and earthiness.

Most likely you won’t find black garlic at your local neighborhood market, but some Whole Foods will carry it. I’m lucky enough to get mine at Kalustyan’s in New York City. You can certainly get it online at Amazon or other specialty online food sources.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

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