Posts Tagged ‘Oil’

As we embark on a new year, we look back on the previous year to learn and make progress for the upcoming year. Day by day, people live their lives, some by a set routine, others by thriving on new discoveries and expansions. The human race always seeks to progress culture by devising and adapting new approaches to existing methods. While not all humans share the same interests, all humans at least bear knowledge about food, as everyone has eaten food their entire lives. From the early days of basic meats, vegetables, and grains, food has evolved into a vast range of ingredients, tastes, cooking methods, and presentation. Innovative foods often make headlines as a new discovery, so as a result, many modern chefs tend to experiment more rather than stick to basics. Over time, many food trends surface, giving way to entrepreneurs to capitalize on those growing trends, such as cupcakes, frozen yogurt, and gourmet food trucks. However, many food trends remain relatively undisturbed, known only to the true food fans. Last year saw a few food trends touched on, yet they still have not flourished. Read on to find out five food trends to pay attention to this year.

5. Fancy Bread

This food trend surfaced midway through last year, and appears to continue to rise as a trend marching into 2015. Last year’s dietary trend shied away from most carbs, opting for diets higher in meats and vegetables to maximize protein and vitamins while minimizing carbs from bread and other starchy foods. Not wanting to omit bread altogether, some crafty chefs have devised new methods of serving up fancy bread. Everyone recognizes a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A hip chef would take that and create an almond butter and fig jelly sandwich with artisanal marbled rye bread. Pictured above, we have the Catalan Tomato Toast from Social List – garlic-rubbed artisan bread brushed with fresh tomato, drizzled olive oil, and sea salt, topped with 7-year aged Manchego. Leave it to hip chefs to take something trivial and create works of art with them.

4. Green Beans/Peas/Soybeans

I felt that I had to lump these all together, as I often see them interchangeably at different restaurants. Every year, one particular vegetable comes into the spotlight as the year’s top trending vegetable. In 2012, we had the Brussels sprout. In 2013, we had kale. In 2014, we had cauliflower. Now in 2015, we will find that stringy greens will stand in the spotlight, such as green beans, peas, soybeans, and edamame. What we once thought of as a side has slowly come up the food ladder to land in front of us as potential entrées. Sure we may enjoy edamame on its own with no other ingredient or cooking, but for others like green beans or peas, we love them cooked. Sautéed with caramelized onions, bacon bits, and bacon fat (pictured above), you have the ultimate shared appetizer, or an awesome entrée just for yourself.

3. Fats/Oils/Butters

Recent studies have shown that foods full in natural fats have more benefit to your body than so-called low-fat foods with artificial ingredients or preservatives. For example, Europeans often drink whole milk and still appear thin, while Americans drink low-fat or skim milk, yet can build up the chub. Cheeses full of fat not only taste better, but process easier by your body. By this notion, chefs have started to look into utilizing all sorts of fats, oils, and butters in their cooking. Traditionally we have seen lard, vegetable oil, and butter in cooking, especially fried or crispy foods. Creative cooks now look into available alternates, such as coconut oil, bacon fat, duck fat (a 2013 trend), flavored butters, and more. These fats contain enough flavor on its own that cooks do not need to actually cook with it – they add it after the entrée has finished cooking. By doing so, customers receive more of the original taste rather than something that can burn, and burnt oils turn into trans fats, which we want to avoid.

2. More Local/Sustainable Products

You know a food trend has exhausted its duration as a trend when corporate fast food starts to incorporate it into their menus. Jack-In-The-Box, the guiltiest of all, now has croissant donuts and Sriracha foods on their menu, effectively killing off its status as hip, trendy foods. Carl’s Jr. has recently added grass-fed beef to their menu, but this move did not kill off the trend. People desire their local and sustainable products now more than ever, and like the craft beer movement, the demand and popularity of local/sustainable products has grown exponentially in the past few years. Does a different exist between regular food and sustainable food? In regards to taste, little to no difference exists – you get the satisfaction of knowing that the animal did not die because of murder. But hey, people buy into it, creating a market that businesses will try to capitalize on.

1. Southeast Asian Cuisine/Influence

Certain types of regional cuisines have their ups and downs as far as trends go. For a while, people really got into Japanese fusion foods, incorporating Ramen into almost everything, such as burgers and pizza. For a short time then, Peruvian cuisine soared in popularity, then went back into obscurity. This year, expect to see a lot of Southeast Asian cuisine/influence in restaurants. Cuisine from countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and even India has started to rise up, leading the way for chefs to incorporate those flavors in western foods. Last year, the east met the west when foods like the Ramen burger or cheeseburger sushi came into the food scene, along with other wacky food inventions. This year, we can start to savor the flavors of Southeast Asia, such as curry or harissa, a Moroccan hot sauce (pictured above on a burger). Keep an eye out for foods containing ingredients that originate from Southeast Asia.