By Marsha Fottler –
Many of the culinary experiments conducted in kitchens of restaurants around the world are destined to end up on your home table. When a few chefs get creative with ingredients, it generally generates a buzz which leads to imitation. Then the food marketing industry kicks in and before you know it, you’re picking up recipe cards at the supermarket. Here are some ingredients and trends that are already here or right around the corner. Prime your taste buds because this is what you’re going to be eating.
Fermented and pickled foods. Things such as pickled corn are going to be big. Fermentation is nothing new, it’s how grains end up as beer or cabbage is transformed into kimchi or sauerkraut. And almost all of us eat dill pickles or yogurt. Farm families used to routinely ferment and pickle part of their crops so they’d have winter vegetables in a tasty
preserved version. But, today health experts are touting the virtues of fermented fruits and vegetables for their probiotics, making fermented foods highly sought after. Fermenting vegetables at home can be a long and stinky process and unless you have lots of time and off-site work and storage space, most homeowners don’t attempt large quantities on a regular basis. So, look for restaurants to start offering more fermented and pickled items on their menus. And you’ll soon seeing fermented favorites offered at the deli counter and as packaged take-away meal options. And, of course, there are lots of fermented foods that you buy everyday in the supermarket that qualify as having healthy microorganisms such as cheese, fish sauce or soy sauce. Food fairs and farmers’ markets are recognizing and exploiting the trend too. Recently, the city of Reedsburg, Wisconsin, held a week-long festival dedicated to “Fermenting a Revolution of Human Health.” If you want to embrace the fermentation movement at home, start by reading Sandor Katz’s excellent book The Art of Fermentation.
Almond Milk.Thank the vegans for this one. Almond milk now makes up 46 percent of the nondairy milk market and, of course, really isn’t milk at all. Almond milk is made by soaking ground almonds in water and then making a puree of the nuts and then straining them and sometimes adding additional flavorings. Almond milk was popular in Medieval times and then sort of got lost. Now it’s popular again. Restaurants are offering almond milk as an option for oatmeal or granola or in smoothies. The product is readily available in supermarkets and there are recipes galore for this non-milk lovely liquid.
Wood Sorrel: It’s a tart-lemony fragrant herb that looks like clover and not like traditional sorrel. Restaurant chefs are using wood sorrel as a flavoring ingredient in entree preparations such as baked seafood. Other chefs are chopping up wood sorrel to use in sauces for raw oysters. Wood sorrel also works in a salad dressing or as a garnish. Will wood sorrel replace cilantro or Italian flat-leaf parsley? Maybe for a while.
Asiago Cheese. Lately it’s everywhere. It’s a somewhat sharp cow’s milk cheese a little like Parmesan. Maybe the name makes it sound exotic. You’re seeing it used as a pizza cheese or added to sub sandwiches in eateries. At home, use it the way you would Parmesan and there are lots of recipes that call for it.
Red Onions are having a moment. They give great color to burgers or salads so restaurants are loving them right now for visual pop and because raw red onions have a milder more sophisticated flavor than the common yellow onion.
Red Onion Salsa
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 orange, segmented and cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup avocado, small bite-size cubes
2 teaspoons minced red jalapeño
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chopped cilantro
2 teaspoons olive oil
Using a sharp paring knife and working over a bowl to catch the juice, peel and cut the orange into small bite-size pieces. Add avocado, onion, jalapeño, cilantro and lime juice to oranges in bowl; stir gently to blend. Season salsa to taste with salt.