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What will Canadians be eating in the new year?


December 28, 2012
By The Canadian Press

Dec. 28, 2012 – Trend
watchers with their taste buds on the pulse of the leading-edge
culinary trends offer up five ideas — techniques and ingredients — you
might want to experiment with in 2013.

Dec. 28, 2012, Toronto – When it comes to food, everyone is always looking for the next hot thing to try.

Trend
watchers with their taste buds on the pulse of the leading-edge
culinary trends offer up five ideas — techniques and ingredients — you
might want to experiment with in 2013.

1. Baking is in vogue.

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More
people are trying their hands at baking, inspired in part by a plethora
of shows like "Sugar Stars," "Bake with Anna Olson" and "Cupcake Wars."

Yet there are people reticent to take on the challenge.

"And
for good reason," says Dana McCauley, a judge on Food Network Canada's
reality competition show "Recipes to Riches." "You do have to measure
when you bake and so if you've not been taught the basics of measuring
and if you don't have the appropriate baking tools it's not going to
work.

"But it's not that difficult either."

People
who don't bake but want to try are turning to kits, which contain all
that's needed to make everything from cupcakes to gingerbread houses to
smores.

"It shows that baking's gone from being something you just
do because you want something sweet and into the realm of macrame and
knitting," says McCauley. "It's become project based."

Alison
Fryer, owner of The Cookbook Store in Toronto, says she's seeing fewer
general baking books. Instead, books devoted to single topics such as
marshmallows, doughnuts, cupcakes and so on are populating the shelves.

2. The lowly doughnut is elevated.

Doughnuts
aren't just the old-fashioned sugar-sprinkled or glazed pieces of
deep-fried dough with a hole in the middle any longer —though of course
those are still available. These sweet morsels are yet another iconic
food that has undergone a makeover, with unusual flavour combinations
and decorations, and are even served at upscale restaurants.

"It's
kind of ironic because Tim Hortons got out of their core business being
coffee and doughnuts to become a restaurant and now everybody wants
doughnuts," said McCauley, who is also responsible for new product
innovation for the frozen foods company Janes Family Foods.

Glory
Hole in Toronto, which advertises its doughnuts as being "handmade with
love," offers pretzel, bread and butter, and beer flavours in addition
to sweet choices.

"Doughnuts might be the new macarons," said
trend watcher Christine Couvelier of Culinary Concierge, adding they
fall into other categories she's keeping an eye on: small bites with a
big taste (people can have a tasty indulgence without consuming a large
portion) and they can be sold from food trucks, which are popping up
everywhere.

Macarons, the pretty pastel confectionery with a
crunchy meringue shell and a soft centre, didn't take off as much as
people thought they would.

"They're certainly here, but they are
more sophisticated and they almost always contain nuts, so that again
makes them less mainstream," McCauley says. "Plus they're harder to
make. They're much more labour intensive than rolling out some dough,
cutting a hole in it and tossing it in a deep fryer."

Cupcakes have mainstreamed. "You literally can't avoid a cupcake shop these days," McCauley says.

3. Kale and hearty

Nutrient-rich kale is hip and getting hipper, say several trend watchers.

The
vegetable appears on blogs and is even the sole subject of a cookbook,
"The Book of Kale: The Easy-to-Grow Superfood" by Sharon Hanna (Harbour
Publishing).

Dana Speers, executive chef for President's Choice
test kitchen in Brampton, Ont., says the company is looking at selling
baby kale. "It's a tender version of the big leafy green kale. It looks
like baby arugula and it's great in salads."

Until then, she
offers a tip for preparing large kale leaves for use in salads: Massage
the entire leaf with a little oil, then chop it. "It is so delicious."

4. Sauce it up

The
fermented Korean red sauce known as gochujang that goes on the dish
bibimbap could be the new sriracha, McCauley muses. She thinks we're
going to see more of the savoury gochujang, which isn't as hot as
sriracha.

She's seen some recipes lately that call for gochujang
and don't give alternates, "which is a sign that in that real hard-core
foodie world they're starting to think that you should have it on hand."

Dilute it with sesame oil and soy sauce for a great dipping sauce for spring rolls, she suggests.

Figs are lending a Mediterranean tangy sweetness to condiments, spreads and jams.

McCauley
drizzled a fig-based mixture over a whole cheese, topped it with
berries and served it with crackers and it was a huge hit at a party she
hosted. "It was so simple. I didn't have any time to prepare and yet it
looked as if I had this elegant appetizer."

A heightened interest
in South American cuisine has caused a resurgence in the Argentinian
chimichurri sauce, said Couvelier. It's ideal with grilled meats.

The
traditional Spanish sauce escabeche generally consists of capers,
raisins, olive oil, shallots, garlic and sherry vinegar and can top
fish, sardines and salads. "It's a vinaigrette, it's a sauce, it's
fantastic," says Speers.

A Sicilian version, which is a bit
sweeter and thicker, is called agrodolce. It also complements fish or
octopus. The eight-armed sea creature is another big food trend for
2013.

5. Molecular gastronomy for the masses

The modern
style of cooking known as molecular gastronomy, practised by scientists
and food professionals in labs and professional kitchens, is trickling
down to the home cook.

This is no doubt spurred by the former
chief technology officer for Microsoft, Nathan Myhrvold, who last year
published the hefty six-volume "Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science
of Cooking" and has turned his attention to the home cook with this
fall's slimmer "Modernist Cuisine at Home."

For those who want to
get a toehold into the modernist cuisine movement without buying any
special equipment, McCauley offers this tip from a demonstration she saw
Myhrvold do.

"Take a bottle of red wine and instead of decanting
it super gently what he does — and I've done it a few times as a party
trick now and it's so much fun — is he takes and just dumps the bottle
into the blender and he puts it on at high speed, lets the foam
dissipate for a couple of minutes and then pours it.

"Of course
people are like, 'Oh my God, what are you doing to this $40 bottle of
wine?' But it's perfectly decanted because the whole idea of decanting
is to get air into the wine.

"So if you're going to try something
next year, pull out a good bottle of wine, run it through your blender
and be surprised at how fantastic it is."