Tag farm to table

2013 Food Trend Predictions

We’re excited to report that the world didn’t end on December 21st! That means more gastronomical glory to unveil and savor in 2013. Hooray! As we bid farewell to 2012, we look forward to exotic ingredients, unconventional preparations, and mouthwatering dishes that will greet us in the new year. While we haven’t narrowed this down to a exact science, we’ve surveyed our sources and consulted our crystal ball to compile Parties That Cook’s Top 13 Food Trend Predictions for 2013.

1. Vegetables – Eating your vegetables just got more fun as restaurants across the country serve up veggies in cocktails, desserts, and everything between. Keep an eye out for beet-infused spirits, sauteed cauliflower entrees and roots like fennel, parsnip and celery appearing in desserts.

2. Chia Seeds – Remember America’s obsession with “cha-cha-cha-chia”? Well chia seeds are back, but not as your long-lost ceramic watering pet. With a nutty flavor and crunchy texture, these powerhouses of omega-3 are popping up everywhere — in smoothies, salads, and even in drinks found in your grocer’s refrigerator (Kombucha, anyone?).

3. Smoked Foods & Condiments – Smoking isn’t just for the barbeque anymore. Smoked olive oils, smoked cocktails, and even pasta made with smoked flour are gracing menus everywhere.

4. Brazilian – Food. Get your mind out of the gutter! Brazil’s got more to brag about than Açaí berries, Caipirinhas, and world-class steaks. As we gear up for 2014 events like the World Cup and Winter Olympics, Brazilian food is due to be hot, hot, hot!

5. Popcorn – Not just for movie watching. Popcorn will be the snack to have in 2013. Light, crispy, and (*cough* usually *cough*) lowfat with a variety of sweet and savory flavor options – can it get any better?

6. New Cuts of Meat – Move over filet mignon. Look out for new cuts of meat like pork flat iron and teres major, rendered from the shoulder of the animal. These exotic cuts prove to be delicate and tender at a fraction of the cost of more traditional cuts.

7. Stevia – Soon Stevia will join the ranks of the yellow, blue and pink packets of sweetener found on your favorite diner’s tables. Unlike many artificial sweeteners available, Stevia is a natural plant extract with twice the sweetness of sugar and none of the chemicals.

8. Prix Fixe Menus – [pronounced:pree fiks] The popularity of fixed menus is due to grow in the new year. A great way to score a complete, balanced, perfectly-paired meal, look for them in fine dining restaurants.

9. Farm to Table Dining – Pioneered by chefs like Alice Waters of Chez Panisse, the practice of local sourcing has been in high demand for a while now. Some would even say it’s “over”. Luckily, advocates for the movement have not given up! The emphasis on fresh, locally sourced, and in-season fare has some restaurants cultivating their own gardens on rooftops and in backyards.

10. Crowd Funded Restaurants – With all the new restaurants, food trucks, and pop-ups popping up, competition in the food industry is pretty stiff. Food and hospitality connoisseurs are finding news ways to gauge demand and launch their ventures with new funding platforms like Kickstart and FundMe.

11. Revamped Brunch Menus – Move over eggs benedict! Fried chicken (and waffles!), cinnamon toast pizza (with strawberries, bananas, and Nutella!!), and other kooky concoctions are here to put the fun in brunch.

12. Ramen – Once considered a dorm room staple, ramen has been given quite the make-over. Not only can you find gourmet ramen on menus of the hottest restaurants, but ramen is now making a splash with unconventional ingredients like matzo ball and Montreal-style smoked pastrami. Talk about a fusion food!

And finally…

13. Healthy living – If you can’t tell from the sudden influx of motivated gym-goers in January, the New Year often provides a much-needed rekindling of healthy lifestyles. Keep an eye out for accompanying trends like “skinny plates” and exercising to eat more, “small plates”…all continuing the pursuit of healthy living and the decadence of delicious food.

Parties That Cook Gears Up for Cooking Farm to Table: Classic Crostini Recipe

As we gear up for our first Cooking Farm to Table Class this weekend, I think it’s time we give everyone a “taste” of what’s in store. No, we cannot send you a care package of ingredients used! (Though Canvas Ranch, the family-run farm where we are hosting this class, offers a Summer Season CSA program.) What we can do is open your eyes to one of our classic recipes to be featured this Saturday: Crostini of Goat Cheese and Tomato Jam – YUM. You can find this recipe in our Appetizer Recipe Library, and can find the tomatoes at Canvas Ranch this weekend!

Crostini of Goat Cheese and Tomato Jam

Tomato Jam:
1 1/2 pounds ripe beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes, peeled and chopped, reserving any juice
3/4 cups sugar
1 orange, peeled and sectioned, roughly chopped, reserving any juice
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon (or regular) thyme, chopped

1 baguette, sliced diagonally into slices 1/4-inch thick
1/4 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
7 ounces goat cheese at room temperature

Thyme sprigs for garnish

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Make Jam: Place tomatoes, sugar, orange, lemon zest/juice (including tomato and orange juices) and salt in a food processor or blender until smooth. Pour tomato mixture into a large-sized sauté pan over moderate-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to prevent burning, until a jam-like thickness is achieved, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and add thyme. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until it is cool to the touch, about 15 minutes. Alternatively, place bowl in freezer for 5-10 minutes.

Make Crostini: Brush the bread slices on one side with olive oil. Arrange the slices on a baking sheet and cook until the slices are golden around the edges and crisp, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Rub one side of each crostini with a clove of garlic.

Assembly: Spread 1 Tablespoon of the goat cheese evenly over the toasts. Top with a dollop of tomato jam on the goat cheese. Garnish with a sprig of thyme. Serve immediately.