It’s a new year, the holiday cookies and leftovers are almost gone, the gifts that just weren’t what you wanted have been exchanged and, for many, the Christmas tree is in the street waiting to be picked up.
So, what’s next on the agenda?
Some are contemplating how they are going to get through the winter, many are planning a winter vacation (I’ll share with you in another column a getaway to a warm hidden gem) and others are solidifying their New Year’s resolutions. Me? It is that time of year I think about the food trends we will see in 2020. Of course, I am also looking forward to another great year of exploring the food scene and sharing it with you here. My best wishes for a healthy and happy new year filled with good food.
I thought I would share a couple of recipes from “How to Cocktail: Recipes and Techniques for Building the best drinks,” by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen (2019, $24.99). The recipes are below.
As an attendee at several food trade shows each year, I observe the innovative products that I feel will be trending in the coming year. My conversations with chefs I meet from all over the country also give me insight.
My food “crystal ball” shows:
Specialty waters such as those with a high pH level and protein enhanced will become more available in traditional supermarkets.
Fish will join the jerky craze.
We will see more refrigerated plant-based meat and milk alternatives in both the supermarket and on restaurant menus.
Better tasting and a wider variety of gluten-free products will hit the market.
More people will favor locally produced food.
Online grocery purchases and delivery will increase.
Reduced packaging of food and consumers focused on food-waste reduction.
Consumers will increasingly demand sustainable-driven food products.
An interest in making better quality cocktails in the comfort of home.
Food containing cannabis will be more accessible and acceptable.
More edible cookie dough shops opening.
Brussels sprouts will become the new kale.
Pho, banh mi sandwiches and kimchi will increase in popularity.
More consumers will add bone broth to their diet because of its health benefits.
I recently sat down with Priscilla Martel of “All About Food” and co-author of the award winning culinary textbooks, “On Baking: A Textbook of Baking and Pastry Fundamentals, and On-cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals,” to find out what her thoughts on trends for 2020 are. First a bit about Martel, who will be back to teach the food writing course (HSP 249) at Gateway Community College during the spring semester.
Some of you might remember that she and Charlie van Over were chef/owners of Restaurant du Village in Chester, which they opened in 1979.
After selling the restaurant, she was executive chef at the Norwich Inn and Spa, where she trained the staff in the principles of healthful cooking. Through her consulting company, “All About Food,” she has worked in product development, creating a new line of international seafood chowders and Italian regional soups for Borden.
Her work includes spokesperson and recipe developer for Absolut Vodka and J.M. Smucker, among other popular brands. She is an expert in artisan baking, confectionery, sous vide and spa cooking techniques.
Martel was president of American Almond Products, and continues to work with the almond industry.
She enjoys foraging in the woods and at the Chester Sunday Market looking for great ingredients. Then, she scours her hopelessly out-of-control cookbook collection (sound familiar?) for recipe inspiration.
Martel said, “Everyone has their own flavorful story to tell. You don’t have to have years of experience to write about food, who is cooking it, how it is being served and what food means. Food Writing (HSP 249) is open to anyone who has a particular passion about food and wants to find a voice and mode of expression for writing about it. Aspiring restaurant critics, food bloggers, people looking to break into the non-fiction market and those with a yearning to explore a particular food are welcome to enroll in this class.” The 15 week, 3-credit class covers blogging, memoir writing, restaurant reviewing, recipe writing and service articles. Martel’s food writing colleagues will be guest speakers who will share their valuable tips on career success. “Bring your willingness to write,” says Martel to a class appealing to chefs, home cooks, consumers and students studying hospitality, business, entrepreneurship and liberal arts, as well as the general public.
Martel is looking forward to sharing her vast experience with you at Gateway Community College, 20 Church St., New Haven, from 5:55-8:25 p.m. Wednesdays beginning Jan. 22. For more information, contact me at email@example.com; for more about Martel. go to www.priscillamartel.com.
Here’s what’s on Priscilla’s radar regarding food trends for 2020.
She said, “As we enter a new decade with the inspiring date 2020, we’re likely to encounter unanticipated changes in the way we eat, shop and socialize. Some may be revolutionary — cricket burgers at fast-food chains — others gradual shifts — vegetarian options everywhere.”
She asked if I have seen the packages of “meatless” burgers, “meat” balls and ground “meat” in the local markets. I have tried the vegetable-based burgers and sausages and was amazed how the texture and taste of these meat substitutes resemble meat. She thinks we all might try it, but she predicts we won’t rely of “faux food” to improve our diet, especially after reading the list of ingredients, including a mouthful of additives.
She continued our discussion with some thoughts she has on what she expects and would like to see on the table in the coming months:
Out with avocado. Kick the cauliflower. Squash it. “Kale took us by storm a few year back,” she said. “The avocado toast became a sensation. Consumer packaged goods experts say cauliflower has had it moment. What’s next? Rich, colorful winter squashes lend themselves to almost any preparation. If you’re looking to add more vegetables to your weekly diet, think squash.”
A few ideas she wanted to share: roast a butternut with warm aromatic spices and some hot paprika. Top it off with a tangy yogurt sauce and roasted red peppers or, stuff a Delicata and eat it, skin and all. Simmer cubed kabocha squash in your favorite broth or stock, puree it for a quick dairy-free soup. Check out Priscilla’s Roasted Squash Rings Stuffed with Quinoa Mushroom Salad recipe at https://bit.ly/2ZsxYBF.
Smoke: Have you noticed home smokers, barbecue restaurants and smoked items on menus are the craze? Martel foresees more people embracing the woodsy flavor in their cooking this year. This cooking technique also tenderizes food. She mentioned typical smoked items, brisket and pork shoulder, but what about lightly smoking chicken or fatty fish? It seems as if she gives her stovetop Cameron Smoker a good workout cooking filets of wild salmon. My mouth was watering as she described the cold-smoked trout she makes. Other food to smoke: cheese, tubers, peppers and nuts. You don’t have to spend a fortune for a smoker. Martel mentioned that you can rig one up. For serious smoked-food lovers, Swanky’s Cookout Supply in Essex is the place to check out.
New in the condiments aisle: ajvar, roasted red pepper and eggplant relish. I was not familiar with ajvar, until Martel mentioned it to me. This item, popular in Serbia and the Balkan countries, is made with red peppers, garlic, olive oil and sometimes eggplant. She told me she had purchased a jar of ajvar (pronounced aye var) and was hooked from the first bite of the smoky, garlicky spread. Martel said, “it’s time to make room for ajvar on your grazing table.” Perhaps it will be the “new” sriracha?
The Fireside, perfectly named for this time of year, is a spiced version of a brandy old-fashioned or a more subtle version of a whiskey-based cocktail. Did you know, according to the recipe’s headnote, “the brandy old-fashioned is the unofficial cocktail of Wisconsin and Minnesota, making those states the two top consumers of brandy in the nation.”
Spread sugar, if using, into an even layer on a small saucer. Moisten about 1/2 inch of a chilled old-fashioned glass rim by running orange wedge around outer edge; dry any excess juice with paper towel. Roll moistened rim in sugar to coat. Remove any excess sugar that falls into glass; set aside. Add brandy, spiced syrup and bitters to mixing glass, then fill 3/4 full with ice. Stir until mixture is fully combined and well chilled, about 30 seconds. Fill prepared glass half-full with ice or add 1 large cube. Strain cocktail into glass. Garnish with apple slice and serve. Makes 1 cocktail.
The headnote sets the stage, “Bubbling away on the stovetop, mulled cider has a fantastic aroma. Our version tastes even better than it smells, with the rounded. Sweet-and-tart apple flavor prominent, complemented by brandy, brown sugar, and spices.”
Toast cinnamon stick pieces, peppercorns, coriander seeds, and cloves in a large saucepan over medium heat, shaking saucepan occasionally, until fragrant, 1-3 minutes. Add cider, orange zest, and sugar. Bring to a simmer and cook until flavors meld, about 30 minutes, using a wide shallow spoon to skim off any foam that rises to surface. Line a fine-mesh strainer with a coffee filter and set over a large bowl. Strain cider mixture through prepared strainer; discard solids. Return cider mixture to now-empty saucepan and stir in brandy. (Mulled cider can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; bring to brief simmer before servings.) Serve in warmed mugs, garnishing individual portions with an orange slice. Makes 12 cocktails.
Taste of Middlesex County Jan. 13-19, fixed-price three-course dinners priced at $20.20 and $30.20. Participating restaurants and menus at https://bit.ly/39fpLVR.
Consiglio’s Demonstration Cooking Class: Jan.,15 6:30 p.m., Consiglio’s Restaurant, 165 Wooster St., New Haven, 203-865-4489 (reservations required), $75 (beverages, tax and gratuity not included), Menu: Spicy Shrimp and Sausage Bruschetta, Iceberg Wedge, Gorgonzola, Bacon & Tomato Pepeso , Tuscan Pepper Beef Stew over Creamy Polenta, Chocolate and Pistachio Biscotti. https://bit.ly/2Nd0xAg
Fire & Ice Outdoor Winter Festival Jan. 17, 7-11 p.m., Saybrook Point Inn, 2 Bridge St., Old Saybrook; $69.95 plus tax. Cash bar. Adults-only (21-plus) event features winter fun on the terrace, music by Java Groove, ice carving demonstrations, a photo booth and unique specialty cocktails. Food stations offer raw bar, chowders and chili, seafood, smoked chicken, barbecue beef sliders and desserts. An overnight stay package is available. Call 860-339-0555, info and tickets at https://bit.ly/35Z5MsF.