It's that time of year...when we look at what was hot in the last 12 months and will be in the dozen to come. After reviewing my list of 10 top predictions in food for 2012, I'm happy to say, I went 10 for 10. Every single prophecy from pickles to slow cooking came true. What should you expect to be seeing on menus, in supermarkets, and trying at home in 2013? Here's what I'm seeing in my crystal ball.
Carrots Move over kale and Brussels sprouts. Some of New York City's trendiest and priciest restaurants are already giving carrots pride of place on their menus. At the uber chic, super-expensive, four-star Eleven Madison Park, carrot tartare is prepared to order tableside. Empellón Cocina on the hip lower east side serves roasted carrots with mole poblano and yogurt to die for. Also up and coming: cauliflower and parsnips!
Juice, Juicing, and Juicers They're back and more popular than ever! While here at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute, we believe in filling up on fiber-rich whole fruits and veggies, the world at large seems convinced that juices concocted of everything from apple to beets to parsley and fortified with healthy doses of kale and wheat grass, will help us all stay healthier and feel better. A juice emporium is bound to spring up at a shopping center near you.
Family Style Dining When you eat out with with foodies, as I often do, everyone passes their plates around the table so everyone can taste everything...it's a practice I abhor as by the time a dish has gone half way round it's no longer recognizable or appealing. So I usually buck the crowd, to everyone's dismay, and say, "I'm not sharing". Well these days restaurants are serving dishes that are meant to be served family style so once your tablemate dishes out some short ribs, the plate's still appetizing and you get to try a little of a lot.
Chicken Is it because it's cheaper, healthier, easier to share, comforting, or just plain delicious? Whatever the reason, look to poultry to surpass beef as the got-to-order, buy, serve, and eat item on menus, at butchers and supermarkets, and on buffets and dining tables. You'll find lots of new ways to serve chicken in our January issue.
Underground Restaurants They're popping up all over-in abandoned stores, private homes, farms, even in subway cars. Huh? Talented chefs without zillions to open their own places are cooking what they want when they want where they can. In order to know the where and when, you need to be on an email-mailing list, have a friend in the know, or check Facebook or Twitter posts regularly. This trend's for you if you like to make new friends and have an adventurous palate and big bucks to shell out as these experiences in dining usually cost $100 or much more. One relatively mainstream one to try that shows up at farms, shorelines, and museums nationwide: Outstanding in the Field.
No Stir Risotto Quinoa, barley, farro, Israeli couscous are all ultra delicious when they're cooked risotto-style with broth, tomato sauce, or even seasoned water until the grains are plump, swollen and chock full of flavor. But unlike arborio rice, these good-for-you whole grains don't require constant stirring...just an occasional swipe with a wooden spoon.
Ash Not a typo. We've all long loved the way smoke complements food....hence the popularity of bacon, sausage, and barbecue. But ash is a new way to give food the primal taste of fire. Chefs are burning vegetables and grains, then pulverizing them into a dust and sprinkling it on plates and food. Chicken's trendy..even more so topped with a layer of hay ash.
Artisanal Cocktails A glass of white wine is so-so yesterday. And even cosmos are old hat. When you step out this year, try an Earl Gray tea-spiked gin, scotch with blood orange and cherries, rum punch that packs the heat of Thai peppers, or an after-dinner coffee and cognac in a single glass. At many bars, the tender's doing the infusing as well as the mixmastering right on the premises.
Related: Our Favorite Cooking Tools of 2012
Better Kids' Menus Restaurants may help us wean kids off of nuggets, pizza, and plain buttered pasta. You'll be seeing more fruits, vegetables, whole grain bread and pasta, and mini portions of what's on the grown-ups' menu offered to junior diners.
Not-so-sweet desserts Yes, you read right. Last year it was sweet and salty. This year it's less sugar..so instead of let's say cookies with pretzel nuggets mixed in or brownies topped with a pinch of sea salt, you'll be eating a chocolate dessert that might make you wonder, did the pastry chef mismeasure?
Interested in looking back? See Sherry Rujikarn's post on restaurant trends in 2012.
-by Sharon Franke
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