Posts Tagged ‘root vegetables’

Crystal Ball: Food Edition

December 22, 2014

Crystal ball

This week, we are gazing into our crystal ball to predict what food trends we will see in 2015.

katydid and shadow on leaf

Don’t bug me:

Insects are creating a buzz as a new source of sustainable protein. While many countries have been eating insects for centuries, Americans are yet to embrace the concept.  Not only are insects protein rich, they pack 15% more iron than spinach, double that of beef and have as much vitamin B12 as salmon. They are also low in fat and cholesterol. Even more importantly, insects thrive on very little water and consume agricultural byproducts, such as corn husks and broccoli stalks, thereby creating a much smaller negative impact on the environment. Chupal is already selling protein bars made from crickets, that are available in dark chocolate, coffee and cayenne, peanut butter and chocolate and a coconut, lime ginger flavor. Watch for insects to become more accepted in the food world in the coming year.

Savory yogurt:

Last year, Blue Hill released it’s savory yogurts in flavors such as beet, carrot and tomato, made locally from grass fed cows. Greenwich Village staple Murrays Cheese has set up an in store yogurt bar, featuring tomato and kimchee flavored varieties. A new shop in New York’s famed Chelsea Market called Sohha Savory Yogurt, is also getting in on the action, with flavors such as Zaatar’ and Everything Bagel. India, Greece and many Arab countries frequently use yogurt in their cuisines, so mixing it with herbs, spices and vegetables seems almost intuitive. Haagen Daz has already introduced it’s line of savory frozen yogurts in Japan, so they should be making their way stateside soon.

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Ugly root vegetables:

Farmer’s markets and CSA boxes are always filled with random, ugly root vegetables that perplex consumers over how to prepare them. Chefs are not deterred, and kohlrabi, parsnips and celery roots are among the vegetables showing up on high end restaurant menus. Whether fried, gratineed, or pureed, these humble vegetables are replacing the potato for a flavorful and trendy new twist on classic fare that everyone will be talking about next year.

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Cauliflower is the new kale:

Move over kale, there is a new kid in town. Cauliflower, the latest wonder-veg, is a master of disguise. While we love it just roasted with a little olive oil and parmesan cheese, it’s also the perfect stand in for its less health conscious counterparts. Puree it into mock mashed potatoes, or use it to create a stand in for a pizza crust. Coat it,bake it and slather it in hot sauce for a vegetarian take on buffalo wings. Puree it into a rich, creamy soup without the cream.  High end restaurants are beginning to offer cauliflower steak as a main dish alternative to meat. Roasting the entire head whole has also taken off, with chefs putting their own twists on seasonings and sauces.

New takes on hummus:

Hummus has already gained popularity with the masses, out trending salsa on Google search. The Middle Eastern chickpea spread is so popular, that every grocery store features a variety, and Subway is experimenting with using it on their fast food sandwiches. Foodies are taking their favorite spread to the next level, infusing it with other international flavors, such as Thai chili, and cilantro and chimichurri. Others have used the same concept with alternative ingredients, substituting Japanese edamame or lentils in place of the traditional chickpeas. Watch for a flavor explosion of new riffs on hummus to develop this year.

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Punch:

Dust off your grandmother’s punchbowl, because the old mainstay of social gatherings is coming back and this time it’s spiked! Mixologists in upscale venues are pulling out the punches, creating communal cocktails with unique ingredients.

Rickhouse in San Fransisco serves a bowl of aged rum, lemon juice, Peychaud’s bitters, ginger beer and an herbal liqueur called Amaro CioCaro for $50. New York’s NoMad Hotel Bar offers a $110 concoction of cognac, Royal Combier liqueur, lemon juice, demerara syrup, lemons, mint and lots of ice. It’s only a matter of time before everyone else gets in on the act. We are already seeing lots of upscale food and beverage websites touting alcohol laced punch recipes for holiday entertaining at home.

Tickets to high end restaurants: Frustrated by “no-shows,” restaurants are exploring selling tickets for dinner, enabling chefs and restauranteurs to ensure a full house and preplan their food orders with more exactness. A prefixed menu with a set price including tip can be booked online, just as one might book theatre tickets or air travel.Discounts are often offered to those who book early. Highly acclaimed restaurant Alinea is among the pioneers of this new system. For hot spots, plan to set the alarm to jump on line as soon as reservations open, just as we do to book bikes at fitness studios.

Restaurants creating “Instagramable” moments:

We are doing it anyways. It has been the bane of many restauranteur’s existence. People are photographing their meals and often asking the waiter to get into the act, which delays service to others. In the spirit of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, chefs are whipping up Instagram and Pinterest worthy tidbits that are delivered ready for their photo op. Watch for unique plating and latte art to go mainstream, and novel adaptations of classics appearing. We have to admit we are already in on this one, with our handmade,whimsical treats on indigo jones eats, which we think are pretty pin-able , if we say so ourselves.

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Broth is the new juice:

Detoxing, juice cleansing, and green juices are the holy grail of the health conscious trendsetter. This year, juice bars and juice brands started popping up everywhere, and even Starbucks got into the action. Next year, souping could replace juicing, with soup cleanses emerging on the diet scene, and bone broth becoming the latest healthy fad.

Bone broth has already been having a moment in the wellness community, with nutritionists and fitness professionals touting its benefits. The broth, made from organic, grass fed animal bones boiled over a long period of time, is rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium and collagen. New York City chef Marco Canora has recently opened his outpost Brodo in a takeout window at his restaurant Hearth, selling, (you guessed it) broth. In California, newcomers Soupure is banking on their soup cleanses replacing cold, filtered juices. Developed in conjunction with a team of nutritionists and chefs, Soupure founders believe that soup is a more nourishing and satisfying way to cleanse than cold pressed juices, saying “Throwing away the vital fiber matrix reduces most fruits to simple sugars that could leave your liver overworked and kidneys imbalanced, and without the benefits of macro-nutrients like protein and good fats, many of the vitamins and minerals featured in some juice combinations are simply rendered unusable.”

Look for bone broth and soup cleanses to expand their visibility,with healthy soups and broths popping up on restaurant menus, and freestanding shops.

Photos: Glasshouse Images

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Unrecipe of the Week

November 26, 2012

My produce bin was filled with an eclectic array of root vegetables. I had turnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions and radishes. I also had some fresh herbs leftover from Thanksgiving. As a much needed break from the sweetness and heaviness of holiday side dishes,this one was a winner. So easy, and so clean, I ended up eating this as my meal!

Roasted Root Vegetables:

Use any combination of root vegetables including: potatoes,sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, radishes, onions, garlic, shallots etc.

I used fresh thyme, but any herbs would work as well.

Cut root vegetables into chunks. Toss with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with fresh herbs.
Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Stir once after about 25 minutes or so.

The vegetables will get a brown, slightly caramelized tinge to them.

Enjoy!!!

Eat Your Vegetables

July 20, 2012

It’s no secret that I am a big fan of the Union Square Greenmarket.

I tend to go on Saturday mornings, after a particularly grueling cycling class down the street, and pick up whatever strikes my fancy.

While the greenmarket goodies tend to last longer than their supermarket purchased counterparts, fresh produce only lasts so long.

I was thrilled to stumble upon some tips in the New York Times Dining section this week, on how to prolong the freshness of summer’s vegetable bounty.

Here are a few key tricks to preserving the produce of the season:

Greens, like lettuce, are best washed in advance, dried and stored.

Soft herbs such as basil and soft produce such as mushrooms and berries should be washed when used, as the water will speed spoilage. I find that putting basil in a glass of filtered water that comes a few inches up the stems, keeps it fresh for several days. Frequent readers will note that I am also a big proponent of making pesto, and basil oil while it’s still green and “perky”.

Anything that comes in bunches, should be released from it’s binding, as the closer the vegetables are packed, the faster they will rot.

Leafy tops of root vegetables, such as carrots and beets should be trimmed to 1” long to prolong freshness but prevent them from drying out.

Fruits and vegetables should be stored separately, as the ripening fruit emits ethylene, which damages vegetables.

Some produce will continue to ripen on the counter: stone fruits, melons, mangoes, apples, pears, tomatoes and avocados.  Bell peppers, citrus fruits, and berries will only deteriorate.

Bananas ripen quickly, and will speed the ripening of anything they are stored with.

If you can, cut and simply cook vegetables, as they will last longer in the refrigerator that way. Prepare them separately, to allow more flexibility in their use.

Intimidated by the skills needed to slice and dice vegetables? Have no fear.

The specialty market Eataly, just north of Union Square employs a fulltime vegetable butcher who will peel and cut your produce to order.

Photo: Glasshouse Images


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