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Friday, 30 December 2016 12:48

Food trends spice up a new year

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It’s always fun to look back to what we thought was going to be the hot new trend before we look forward to predicting the next new thing in food. Last year, some of the predictions included Poke, a Hawaiian salad made with raw fish, fruits and vegetables. Well, it might have been big on the West Coast, but it didn’t make it to the Midwest.

The no-waste kitchen movement began, but I’ve been doing that for years. Waste not, want not.

Bread is back — but did it ever really leave?

Kale is out, but is seaweed really in??

This just in

Fermented foods were predicted to be in, and they are. If you like sauerkraut, it’s always been in, but now you can add kimchee, a fermented Korean cabbage sidedish, to the list. When food is fermented, the carbohydrates and sugars are converted into healthy bacteria. Fermented beverages, like kombucha, are popular and can be purchased like soda now.

Fast food is trying to go healthy. Culver’s experimented with sweet potato fries. Panera Bread pledged to remove all artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservations by the end of the year. McDonald’s says it is committed to using antibiotic-free chicken.

Gourmet sauces were supposed to be hot, and they are. And I’m not talking only about Sriracha, though that is hot. Fermented chili paste and spicy black bean sauce are easy to find and popular with chefs and home cooks alike.

Hit or miss

What did the prognosticators miss? The popularity and fast growth of the boxed meal kits such as HelloFresh, Blue Apron, Home Chef, Purple Carrot, Peach Dish and Plated took a lot of people by surprise. You get all the ingredients for a meal shipped to you to assemble. The cost starts at about $10 a meal. This is convenient if you want good food and you don’t keep anything stocked in your cupboard.

Looking forward

So, what can we look forward to in 2017? Predictions from the National Restaurant Association and Food Business News include:?

• Root to leaf — making the most of the whole vegetable. Chef Steven Satterfield wrote the book on it.

• Nose to tail — making the most of the whole animal. Chefs April Bloomfield and Fergus Henderson helped popularize this trend.

• Spice it up with turmeric, cumin and cardamom

• More vegetarian, including comfort foods such as lasagna and Stroganoff.

• Kale is still out, but in a nod to the no-waste kitchen concept, there will be offerings of beet greens, turnip greens and carrot tops.

• More heirloom fruits and vegetables

• The rise of turmeric has led foodies to investigate Ayurveda, a type of complementary or alternative medicine, and the Indian concept of “dosha,” your body’s set constitution.

• More multicultural foods, particularly African and Middle Eastern

More predictions

Whole Foods also makes predictions for the year, and I think these will be right on the money:?

• More purple foods —?like cauliflower, asparagus, carrots and corn

• Oven-ready meal kits

• Alternative pasta made from quinoa, lentils and chickpeas

• Coconut everything, from ice cream to chips

Moroccan lentil soup

Serves 6

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup chopped carrots

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. each cumin, coriander

1 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

4 cups vegetable broth

1 cup chopped cauliflower

3/4 cup lentils

1 can (19-oz.) diced tomatoes

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 cup chopped, fresh spinach

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 Tbsps. honey

Heat oil in a soup pot or Dutch oven over medium heat; add onions and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon and pepper; cook, stirring until fragrant, about one minute. Add broth, water, cauliflower, lentils, tomatoes and tomato paste; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally until the lentils are tender but not mushy, 45 to 55 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook until wilted, five minutes. Just before serving, stir in lemon juice and honey.



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