Parsley

Build An Affordable Cheese Board

December 3, 2020

Cheese Boards are a no-cook, sure-to-please option for any holiday celebration. Build a cheeseboard that’s affordable yet special. Then toast the season with festive cocktails.

A few inexpensive ingredients and simple homemade touches are all you need for a spectacular, special occasion-worthy spread. Here are some smart tips to deck your board with festivity and flavor without breaking the bank.

For a classic, colorful centerpiece, make your own cranberry and herb cheeseball. Start with a container of spreadable cheese and form into a ball. Use a sheet of plastic wrap to avoid messy hands. Roll the ball in a combination of finely chopped dried cranberries, parsley, and chives until thoroughly coated. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

No need to buy expensive cheeses. Inexpensive cheddar is always a crowd pleaser. Skip the pre-cut cubes and cut the block yourself. Orange or white, mild or extra sharp. Cheddar is always a favorite.

Upgrade affordable goat cheese by rolling the log in herbs and spices, like dried thyme, dried oregano, or crushed rainbow peppercorns for a beautiful, flavorful crust. You could also keep it plain and top with jarred pepper jelly or mango chutney.

Instead of mixed nuts, opt for crunchy snack mixes, which are often less expensive and just as delicious. For the board, look for one with little or no seasoning.

Give a budget-friendly feta or mini mozzarella balls a flavor boost by marinating cubes in olive oil with herbs like parsley, oregano, or rosemary, and other seasonings like sliced chilis, crushed garlic, or lemon zest. Refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days.

Round out your cheese board with other delicious items like fresh or dried fruit (dried apricots, figs, grapes, and sliced pears), pitted olives, and plain crackers.

Pair your cheese board with a festive holiday beverage and enjoy!

©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

Tabouli

May 14, 2020

Tabouli (.تبولة‎ also tabbouleh, tabouleh, tabbouli, taboulah) is a Levantine vegetarian dish made mostly of finely chopped parsley with tomatoes, mint, onions, bulgur (that is soaked not cooked), and seasoned with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and sweet pepper. Some variations add cucumbers, lettuce, or use semolina instead of bulgur. Tabouli is traditionally served as part of a mezze (small dishes served as appetizers) in the Arab world, but its popularity has grown tremendously in Western cultures.

Originally from the mountains of Lebanon and Syria, tabouli has become one of the most popular salads in the Middle East. The wheat variety salamouni was cultivated in the Beqaa Valley region in Lebanon and was considered, in the mid-19th century) as well-suited for making bulgur, a basic ingredient of tabouli.

In the Middle East, particularly Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq, it is usually served as part of a meze. The Syrian and the Lebanese use more parsley than bulgur wheat in their dish. A Turkish variation of the dish known as kisir and a similar Armenian dish known as eetch use far more bulgur than parsley. Another ancient variant is called terchots. In Cyprus, where the dish was introduced by the Lebanese, it is known as tambouli. In the Dominican Republic, a local version introduced by Syrian and Lebanese immigrants is called Tipile.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 All Rights Reserved

Chives

April 23, 2020

As gardens begin to grow, one of the first perennial herbs to appear are chives. Chives are quite resilient and are particularly easy to grow both in garden beds or in pots. They can stand a bit of shade, tolerate drought, and grow well in any type of garden soil. For first time gardeners, this is an excellent plant that will yield a reliable source of flavorful nutrition.

Chives belong to the lily family and are part of a large genus of over 500 species of perennials that contain bulbs or underground stems. Known for their strong scent and distinct flavor, chives, along with garlic, onions, scallions and leeks are known as allium herbs. Allium species have been cultivated around the world for centuries and are valued both medicinally ad for their fabulous flavor.

If you grow your own chives, you can continually cut them back so the crop will continue into early fall. If you let happen to let them go you will get lovely purple-pink globe shaped chive flowers that make a beautiful garnish as well as a bright addition to spring or summer salads.

Chives are best when used fresh. Rinse and dry them well, then snip with scissors or cut with a very sharp knife. Snipped chives can be placed in freezer bags and frozen for later use, but will not maintain the texture of fresh shoots.

This is an herb that will elevate so many dishes, including soups, stews, salads, sauces, marinades, dressings, and dips. Adding a few tablespoons of chopped chives to cottage cheese will add a pleasing punch to a super simple snack. Make an easy supper of baked potatoes or sweet potatoes topped with Greek yogurt and chives. Mixing chives into cream cheese, along with lemon zest, and a grinding of black pepper will make an excellent spread for sandwiches or crackers. Omelets prepared with chives, parsley, and dill are a nice choice for any meal.

Chives contain valuable vitamin and mineral content. Vitamins K, A, and C are found in chives, as well as calcium, an important mineral. Chives also contain small amounts of magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Purported to be anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral, eating more chives may boost your immune system and assist in maintaining superior levels of health.

If you buy your own chives at the grocery store, look for a bright green color with no sign of yellowing or wilting. Chives will keep in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for several days. Before using, rinse and dry well and trim the ends before using.

Enjoy this light and bright spring herb.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2020 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

Reducing Sodium In Your Diet

April 5, 2018

Let’s face it; most of us eat way too much salt. A high-sodium diet can increase risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), which can lead to cardiovascular and kidney disease. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day, which is about 1 teaspoon of salt. The good news is that reducing the amount of salt you use will retrain your taste buds to sense other flavors. You won’t even miss it.

Bland food is such a bore, but how can we keep sodium in check without sacrificing flavor?

Here are some suggestions to reduce salt in your diet:

Remove the salt shaker from the table when you eat.

Limit process foods, including cured, pickled, salted, or brined products.

Focus on fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables without sauces or seasonings.

When choosing canned options, look for “no salt added” or “low sodium.”

Cook at home so you have control over how much salt you add.

Flavored vinegar, onions, garlic, and citrus also add tons of flavor without the sodium.

Herbs and spices are the key to flavor. Add dried varieties during cooking and fresh herbs at the end of cooking or when plating a dish. Thyme, mint, lemongrass, dill, basil, oregano, chives, and parsley are great herbs to use. Spices like pepper, ginger, chili powder, and cinnamon are excellent spices to flavor your food.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

A Favorite St. Patrick’s Day Dish

March 17, 2018

It’s that time of year again, in America, when the beer turns green and the aroma of corned beef and cabbage fills the air. The dish is so comforting, but just what is corned beef? The term has nothing to do with corn, but was the English term for a small granule, such as a grain of salt. In days before modern refrigeration, salting meat was a way to preserve it and keep it from spoiling.

Corned beef is an Americanized addition to the traditional Irish diet. While colcannon (boiled potatoes, cabbage, and leeks in buttermilk flavored with wild garlic) was a common Irish dish, as was brown soda bread, corned beef was produced primarily for export to England. Upon arriving in America, however, it’s thought the Irish chose to celebrate their holiday with food that was typically not available to them in their home country, so corned beef was added to the menu, as was white soda bread studded with currants and caraway.

Corned beef is typically made from beef brisket, which is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest, but the rump, bottom round, and even tongue, can be used. In America, the term “corned beef” is used to describe both the cured meat and the canned stuff found on grocery store shelves. In Britain, they call the canned stuff “salt beef.”

To make corned beef the meat is simmered in a blend of corned beef spices that usually include peppercorns, garlic, mustard, tarragon, thyme, parsley, cloves, and nutmeg.

In New England, you most often see corned beef served as a St. Patrick’s Day main dish or in a sandwich. As the main ingredient in New England Boiled Dinner, corned beef often pairs with potatoes, carrots, turnips, and cabbage in a hearty, savory, brothy bowl of goodness. When used in a sandwich, the most popular corned beef sandwich is the Reuben. Considered the quintessential Jewish deli sandwich, a Reuben is toasted rye bread stuffed with hot slices of corned beef, usually piled high, and topped with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and either Russian or Thousand Island dressing.

In New England, a frequent point of interest is also whether you prefer red vs. gray corned beef. The difference is “Red” brisket is cured with nitrite, which gives the meat its signature color. “Gray” corned beef, which is considered the authentic New England variety, is not cured with nitrate, so color forms naturally as it brines.

If you have corned beef leftovers a New England favorite is corned beef hash, which is typically served for breakfast.

“Work With What You Got!”

©Tiny New York Kitchen © 2018 All Rights Reserved

Freezing Herbs

April 26, 2017

Make prep a snap with herb ice cubes, ready to toss in the pan.

Freezing herbs is an excellent way of preserving fresh delicate herbs that cannot be successfully dried. They will lose their fresh appearance and texture, but are still suitable for use in cooking. They should keep for up to 3 months.

To freeze chopped herbs, half-fill ice cube trays with chopped herbs and top up with water. Freeze, and then remove the cubes from the tray and place in freezer bags.

To use, add the appropriate number of frozen cubes to soups, stews, and stocks. Heat until melted. A standard sized ice cube tray will hold about 1 tablespoon chopped herbs.

Alternately, pack chopped herbs in plastic containers and freeze. Sprinkle them directly into soups and stews.

To freeze whole sprigs or leaves, place in freezer bags, expel any air, tightly seal and freeze.

Alternately, open freeze whole sprigs or leaves on trays. When the herbs are frozen, transfer them carefully to freezer bags, expel any air, seal tightly and return to the freezer until ready to use.

Delicate herbs that cannot be dried successfully, but that are suitable for freezing, include: basil, chives, tarragon, chervil, coriander (cilantro), dill and parsley.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Cannellini Beans

December 7, 2016

Cannellini beans, which are widely used in Italian cooking, actually originate from Argentina.

These creamy white Italian beans are slightly larger and fatter than the white haricot beans and are more like a kidney in shape. They are related to the larger French Soissons and, like them, have a fluffy texture when cooked. They are a popular addition to classic minestrone and a variety of other soups. Cannellini beans are an essential ingredient for tonno e fagioli (tuna and bean salad) and Florentine fagioli all’uccelletto, where the beans are stewed with sage, tomatoes, and garlic. They are also delicious cooked with olive oil, onion ring slices, garlic, and parsley.

I prefer to cook with dried beans rather than canned beans. I do keep a few cans of beans in my pantry, however, as they’re useful in short notice circumstances. When you purchase canned beans make sure that the ingredients do not include sugar or salt.

To cook Cannellini Beans: Sort and rinse 3/4 cup Cannellini Beans. Place in a medium-size pot with 3 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a medium-low and cook 60 to 90 minutes until beans are soft. Add more water as needed while cooking to keep beans covered. Makes about 2 cups/4 servings.

To reduce cooking time, soak beans in water overnight in the refrigerator. Drain and throw away soaking water before proceeding.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

Turkey

November 22, 2016

The turkey came originally from America and was first domesticated by the Aztecs in Mexico. The Spanish introduced turkeys into Europe and they soon became a popular choice in France, Italy and Britain.

When early settlers from Britain, France and Holland crossed the Atlantic to North America, the vast flocks of turkey that roamed wild provided them with sustenance. They were plentiful and so easy to trap or shoot that the older children of the family were given the responsibility of catching them. The Native Americans meanwhile taught the new settlers the rudiments of farming, and in November 1621, on the first anniversary of their arrival, the Pilgrims entertained the locals to a feast, at the center of which was the turkey. Ever since, this has been the traditional bird served at Thanksgiving.

Turkeys are available fresh, chilled, or frozen all year round. When buying a whole bird, look for a plump well-rounded breast and legs and clear, soft and evenly colored skin. Avoid birds that are bruised, with blemishes or torn skin or any that have been badly or unevenly plucked. Turkeys vary enormously in weight.

When you’re ready to purchase your turkey it’s easy to get confused on what size to get. A good guild to go by is to figure approximately 1 1/4 pounds per person. This makes enough for the meal and provides a decent amount of leftovers.

To store your turkey place it in a large, deep dish and cover it completely with plastic wrap. Store it in the coolest part of the refrigerator; making sure that it does not come in contact with other foods.

Thaw a frozen turkey in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 days. Estimate 24 hours for every 5 pounds, so 2 days for a 10 pounder, 3 days for a 15 pounder, etc.

And then there is always the frozen turkey emergency that goes like this, “Help, help, it’s Wednesday, and my turkey is still frozen!!!” It’s been a long time, but I’ve been in this predicament. What you do is leave the turkey in its wrapper and put it in a large-size container. A lobster pot works well. Fill the container with cold tap water and let it sit for 30 minutes. Dump out the water and refill. Let it sit another 30 minutes. Repeat until the turkey is thawed, then roast immediately or transfer to the refrigerator.

The good news is that you can brine or dry cure your turkey while it defrosts in the refrigerator. What a Godsend that is! Use a lighter brine solution, which is about 1/2 cup kosher salt per gallon of water, plus sugar and spices). If you’re dry curing, use the standard recipe. You’re turkey should stay below 40 degrees while brining. You don’t need to brine or cure a kosher or butterball type supermarket frozen turkey. These come pre-brined. If you want to be able to put your own flavor stamp on your meal, then get a natural or untreated bird and do it yourself. If you plan on brining for 2 days use the weaker solution that I just mentioned. If you plan to brine for 24 hours or less, then bump it up to 1 cup kosher salt per gallon of water. Then add an equal amount of sugar. I don’t always brine, but when I do I’ve been known to throw an assortment of flavorings in the brine. Flavorings that you could add to your brine could be: apples, lemons, oranges, onions, garlic, shallots, peppercorns, bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice berries, juniper berries, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, rosemary, sage, thyme, savory, parsley, or oregano. You can also replace half the water with sweet cider, hard cider, vegetable stock, turkey stock, chicken stock, beer, white wine, or red wine. If you want to dry cure then use about 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt for every pound of turkey. Then add spices to your taste.

Stuffing your turkey is a personal preference. I always stuff the bird because I love how it tastes when cooked inside the turkey. It does slow down the cooking process, however. Never stuff the turkey in advance of cooking. The stuffing can be made in advance, but the turkey should not be stuffed until just before it is placed in the oven. Weigh the stuffing and add this to the weight of the bird before calculating the cooking time. Thoroughly rinse the body cavity of the bird under cold running water, and then drain it well. Wipe the turkey, inside and out, with paper towels. Press the stuffing inside the shallow neck cavity. Make sure not to pack it in too tightly. Turn the bird over and pull the neck skin over the stuffing. Now it’s time for a little turkey bondage and truss the bird (tuck the wing tips under the breast and tie the legs together) and then cook for the calculated time. Never shorten the cooking time because although the meat may appear cooked, extra time must be allowed for cooking the stuffing thoroughly.

If you choose not to stuff your turkey then place aromatics in the body cavity of the bird. Cut a large onion in half and stud each half with 4 to 6 cloves. Place this in the body cavity of the bird. Cut an orange and a lemon into quarters and add these, together with 3 or 4 bay leaves, 4 to 6 fresh sage sprigs, and 2 to 3 fresh thyme sprigs. Add 1 cinnamon stick or 1 blade of mace for a festive hint of warm spice.

Turkeys are super easy to roast, but require a little more attention than smaller birds. Check to make sure the oven shelves are in the correct position before heating the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the prepared bird on a rack in a large-size roasting pan. Smear the turkey breast generously with butter, season with salt & pepper and place in the oven. Baste the turkey from time to time during cooking. When the breast has browned, cover with foil to protect it and continue cooking. Remove the covering foil for the final 20 minutes of cooking. To check if the meat is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear and the meat is white, it is cooked. If the juices are pink and the meat is soft and pink, the turkey is not ready. Return it to the oven and check again after 20 minutes. Cooking times will differ depending on whether your bird was purchased fresh or frozen. Plan on 20 minutes per pound in a 350 degree oven for a defrosted turkey and 10 to 15 minutes per pound for fresh. Remember to add more time if you’re turkey is stuffed. You should have an instant-read thermometer in your kitchen drawer. Insert the thermometer into the breast (all the way to the bone) and if it reads 160 degrees you’re good to go. You may also measure the thigh by inserting the thermometer into the thickest part, but not touching the bone, and it should read 165 degrees.

Remove the turkey from the oven and cover it closely with foil. Leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes. This will even out the temperature and make it easier to carve. I know some chefs who let it rest for 2 hours, but I don’t think that one needs to wait that long. If you wish to make gravy in the roasting pan, transfer the bird to a carving plate.

When you’ve let your bird rest awhile remove the trussing string. Hold the bird steady in position with a carving fork. Cut off the legs, then cut these in half or carve the meat from the bones. Make a horizontal cut across the breast above the wing. Carve neat and even vertical slices off the breast. Repeat on the other side of the bird. Arrange slices on a warmed platter. Add the turkey legs or sliced meat to the platter or set them aside for serving separately. Scoop out the stuffing and serve with the meat.

“Work With What You Got!”

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

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