What We’ll Eat and How We’ll Eat in 2010

By Chef Judi Gallagher.

My contemplations for this new year start with—where else?—my stomach. In the spirit of welcoming a new year, and a new decade, here are five food trends that will rise like soufflé in 2010.

Getting back to our roots. Forget prepackaged, over-processed, boxed foods—2010 is about getting back to our roots and cooking authentically with simple, pure, high-quality ingredients. Make food from scratch. Fifty years ago, we didn’t need the terms “organic” or “natural” to describe our food—now that’s something to chew on.

Cooking at home. If there’s one thing the current recession has taught us, it’s that eating at home with our loved ones is a precious thing. Not just for holidays anymore, it’s fun to gather around the dinner table—whether with your whole family or just your spouse or partner—and get back to what really matters. Tuna casserole is back and the year of the hamburger continues with decadent toppings such as warmed goat cheese and balsamic onions.

Mobile dining. Who would have ever thought a taco truck would become a culinary institution? From New York City’s and San Francisco’s popular street-food culture to various mobile food stations in Florida, North Carolina and Texas, the idea of “fast food” is changing. Mobile dining just isn’t about hot dog stands on the corners of bustling intersections anymore—now it’s just as common that the truck you go to might serve up Balinese lamb satay or Japanese rice balls. Street food is a huge trend.

Food blogs. Julie & Julia, this year’s popular movie about Julia Child and blogger Julie Powell, drew enormous attention to the power of the blogosphere and the fact that foodies are going online to get everything from recipes to opinions on how best to prepare bouef bourguignon. Blogs like Alinea at Home, 101 Cookbooks, Smitten Kitchen and Orangette are intensely popular, and don’t seem destined to become less so anytime soon, especially as readers rely more and more on real-time information.

Cookies. The cousin to 2008 and 2009’s extremely popular cupcake, cookies are the baked good du jour. Capitalizing on diners’ desires for individually-sized portions, cookies are just the right size, texture and taste to be palate pleasers—and it’s easy to sneak your hand back into the jar for more. Be a 2010 Culinary trendsetting host by creating a simple back-to-basics dinner party. Start with a homey appetizer such as Swedish meatballs or yes, the classic cheese ball. Tell your guests to come in casual attire and to be ready to experience reliable comfort food with a 2010 twist.

Tuna Noodle Casserole
My mom had about four casseroles in her repertoire. Since I ate almost nothing but tuna sandwiches with potato chips inside toasted rye bread, mom introduced peas in a way I’d eat them with a simple casserole that included my favorites. She used canned cream of mushroom soup instead of making her own white sauce, but I loved it just the same. For a comfort-food dinner party menu, I make the slightly more gourmet version today.

1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped celery
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ red onion, minced (optional)
1 pound white button mushrooms, ends trimmed, sliced
1 cup frozen peas thawed but not cooked
1 1/2 teaspoons blend of paprika, kosher salt, black pepper, celery salt and
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 cup chicken stock
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
12 ounces wide egg noodles
3 (6-ounce) cans solid white tuna, drained and broken up
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup sour cream
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 (5 1/2-ounce) bag potato chips, crushed

Sauté the onions and celery in 6 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over high heat until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, seasoning and thyme and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are soft and have released their liquid, about 6 minutes. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and chicken stock and cook, stirring, until smooth and thick, about 2 minutes. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until
the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and very flavorful, 15 to 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the egg noodles until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and set aside. Butter a 9 by 13-inch casserole or baking dish with the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside.

When the sauce has thickened, add the noodles, tuna, parsley, salt, black pepper, peas, sour cream and Parmesan to the skillet and stir until thoroughly combined. Transfer to the prepared casserole and top with the potato chips. Bake uncovered until bubbly and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve right out of the oven.

Espresso Cookies
A friend made me a batch of these mocha-braced dreams just in time for hot chocolate season.
If you don’t have a silicone baking mat, use parchment paper. These cookies are very soft due to the pudding so they will be easier to remove when you use the paper.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 ounce pack)
3 tablespoons instant espresso
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter- softened
½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar (packed tightly)
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoons high quality pure vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate bits
Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Blend flour, pudding mix, espresso powder, baking powder and baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, blend the butter with shortening and sugars. Add vanilla and whip for about 2 minutes until very fluffy. Add one egg at a time and blend. Scrape bowl as you add ingredients to make sure they are well blended.

Gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until blended but do not whip. Drop batter by the teaspoon on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool by sliding parchment paper onto cooling rack. Serve with a cold glass of milk or hot chocolate.

Flavors and More Magazine – January 2010

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