30 December 2014

Food Trends for 2015 ... Personal Prognostications

That business over cocktails the other evening got me thinking about the food trends that will be coming our way in 2015. It seems that every year restaurant chefs, food writers, and bloggers catch on to a few select spices, vegetables, meats, fruits, or techniques that become a fad. So I got to wondering what some trends for 2015 might be ...

1. Fritters - Both sweet and savory make wonderful little desserts, tea time bites, and platforms for all sorts of savory sauces or delicate meat and/or vegetable accompaniments. I was recently looking at one of  Diana Henry's cook books and when I saw her recipe for ricotta fritters, I thought them perfect for a food trend jumping off point.

2. Ramen Noodle Bowls - The possibilities are endless for additions to a bowl of noodles. Making a cheap bowl of pasta healthy and tasty is surely a challenge that the foodie world should embrace ... right? Besides, getting interest in more ramen stands and food trucks would be a public service, so a food trend is def called for here.

2. Escarole - This leafy green has much to offer in main dish presentations and salad and vegetable side dish recipes. Let's go, chefs! Serve up the escarole!

4. Honey - Using honey as a small sweetener and as a main ingredient is just the right thing to do. If we're ever to turn around the plight of the honey bee, it will be directly tied to the market force of 'supply and demand' so we need to use more honey. Period. Time to trend!

5. Rabbit Meat - It's lean and healthy. It's a meat source that small producers can humanely raise without shoving corn and junk into the little creatures. Certain species of rabbit and hare are smaller and more realistic in portion per piece. In a time when, meat consumption is becoming less a daily thing and more considered, rabbit's time has come.

6. Sandwich Cookies - Now that cup cakes are off the trendy list of sweet treats for the urban hipster coffee crawl, I'm thinking that a good sandwich cookie could be the next big thing. I recently saw a recipe for oatmeal cookies with a creamy filling that made me think that the world could use at least a hundred more creative ways to knosh two cookies at a time! Sandwich cookies! Yes!

7. Tempura - There must be a zillion ways to prepare and spice a tempura batter. I'm thinking tempura veggies, tempura fruits as embellishments for main dishes, tempura meats and seafood bites.
The tempura technique is ripe for experimentation. It's a food trend just waiting to happen!

8. Grains - Getting good grains that are not full of chemical residue is a pretty important thing, so I'm hoping that smaller organic grain producers get their due in 2015. A trend is called for ...

9. Airline Food 'Alternative Caterers' - Small packs prepared right in the terminal for folks to grab on the go before they hit security and pack away for consumption on the planes (that refuse to step up to the foodie challenge) could make for happier travelers. Just saying ... there's a foodie opp here, if only someone would develop the idea! Or ... has it already been developed. It's been so long since I've been able to AFFORD to travel !!!!! I may just be out of the airline terminal loop.

10. ..... hmmm.

I could probably go on for a bit, but I'm wondering what followers and creepy blog stalkers might think ... feel free to let me know in comment section. What will be the next big foodie thing in 2015?

29 December 2014

Let Them Eat Kale - The Cook Book's Minestrone with Quinoa Soup

Nom, nom ... with added chicken meatballs. 

Okay, so this New Hampshire hick is settling in for the winter months with her stash of Christmas cook books and her every present bouquet of  ... kale. Yup. Kale. It's what's for dinner during the winter up here in the wilds of New England - green, cheap, plentiful, healthy, and ever present, mounded up in the produce section at the local markets.

16 December 2014

One Sick Mama, Risotto, and the Tree ...

Well, I could make one more cookie cutter Christmas. I'm good at that ... making cookies, pulling all the same stuff out of the closet and sorting through it meticulously. This year, though, things are a bit different. The kids will be making Christmas Eve dinner. We are attending a different church. I am sick with a horrid cold and don't feel great. I need comfort food, a slow approach to all the decorating and hub-bub. I have been doing a series of home made gifts that I really want to concentrate on and damn the commercial end of things. Thank goodness, I got most of the foodie gifts made before I turned into Typhoid Mary ... now I can sit around on my ass and stitch the rest of the presents ... and hopefully, ditch this sickness!

09 December 2014

An Aside ...

This week the elves have been busy! There is so much baking, sewing, and puttering with design here in the grey cottage!  I've been experimenting with a spelt flour crust - something that will hold up to very wet fillings like quiches or gravy-based meat pies.

The result is a nutty flavoured crunchy crust, not at all like the typical, flaky, light white flour pie crust, but rustic enough that I think it would work with meat pies. The floppy crust looked cool, but it got far too crunchy hanging out in that hot oven. Next time, I'll trim it right up. The ham and spinach quiche was very tasty, though. Just loaded with stringy caramelized onions and plenty of Jarlsberg cheese.

Sigh ...

Making another batch of Christmas cookies was positively therapeutic. There's something about rolling warm cookies in sugar that makes me feel like a kid. Looking at them all lined up in the Christmas cookie tin made my afternoon complete!

German Sandkeks , the traditional shortbread cookie that always graces the cookie tins at the grey cottage! perfect with a glass of milk or better yet, a hot cup of tea!

Finally, the apricots that were left over from my chutney-making session got soaked with some prunes and turned into a sweet gooey sauce with Asian flair. After thickening up in the oven, it was poured over pork scallopine that had been pan-seared and rested to a perfect pink center. Fast and easy dinner for this Christmas elf!

Are you managing to get your Christmas projects done while juggling regular chores or is your house going to smithereens like mine? I'm cooking, but cleaning and laundry have gone by the boards for a few days. Might be time to do a major sweep ... or maybe I should wait until the tree gets dragged though and set up. Yeah ... I should wait.

Okay! Glad we got that settled! 

06 December 2014

Gifting Homemade Moroccan Spiced Apricot Chutney - IHCC

Apricots, tomatoes, apples, golden sultanas, purple onion, citrus juices, ginger, cayenne pepper, and honey ... simmer and stir and you will have a spicy slurry of gold ... a worthy gift for foodie friends

01 December 2014

A Baker's Dozen Foodie Finds for Christmas 2014


Thanksgiving comes and goes ... and while we relish holding on to the memories and Thanksgiving Day leftovers for a few days, there's no denying that Christmas preparations kick into high gear within days of the carving of the turkey and the brief pause to reflect on our blessings! That being said, here is a fun selection of gifts that you just might find fun for giving to the favorite foodie in your life. Wrapping things up in creative fashion is always part of the fun too ... check out Charm Bracelet Diva's website for a fun Christmas post on wrapping and decorating!

I had such fun scoping the Internet for some of these ... and of course, you KNOW that most of them fit my interests. I'm only hoping that my taste reflects just a bit what others in the blogging world think is fun and worthwhile...