Category Archives: granola

Top Twenty Hottest Food Trends 2015

For the week-end update and the January’s wrap up, I’ve collected some interesting data about the Food Trends for 2015. From the Food Channel to Better Homes & Gardens to Yahoo Food and many other sources, the experts and chefs agree on the following common food trends for 2015: 

ALL THAT VEG: Veggies are still going strong in 2015 to the greatest salumi-lovers chargin. The new crossbred vegetables like broccolette and kalette will enter the groceries and our kitchens. New cruciferous species are introduced by chefs (i.e. spigarello is the new kale according to Mario Batali). The underdogs like cauliflower and radishes re-emerge and will have a better standing throughout the year. 
I think it’s time to post my Cauliflower Lobster Dumplings Soup and/or Walnut Pesto Roasted Cauliflower soon. Stay tuned.
DIY FOOD BARS: From hippie lemon coconut cookies to healthy diy bites, raw food bars are becoming the new lunchables and your best traffic companion. Try this bites for some healthy breaks.
DUCK IS THE NEW CHICKEN: The duck’s popularity continues to grow and its healthier sustainable protein and fat are more and more recognized (along with duck eggs that cost the same as chicken eggs at Asian supermarkets). Roast it, use it in soups and stir fries, make some roasted duck skin salads (2014 restaurant hip). If not already, try this remarkable and easy duck roast to start falling in love with it. 
Follow with the duck skin salad for more adventure.
VEGETARIAN RAMEN: From NYC to Montreal and Toronto; from East coast to West coast, North to South, Ramen is still one of the most wanted foods, except this year vegetarian versions are more and more in demand. Pack it with all kind of Asian greens and herbs, miso/sriracha/and bunch of other flavors, add some sea weed and poached egg and you are good to go. Try to avoid the instant noodles unless you want to die a little each time you let 50% saturated fat and 2-days dose of sodium fuzz your digestive tract.
RABBIT IS THE NEW IT MEAT:Looks like my New Year’s Eve post on Cuban Rabbit Fricasse was right on time: rabbit is the next lean-clean light meat that can absorb all kind of flavors and make you feel light and good. 
Just wait until you try my rabbit lasagna!
SMALLER FISH:The time of the Old Man and the Sea has passed and the small fish is a new big fish logo now with all points sustainable. Try some Japanese smelts tempura or grilled sardines next and you won’t miss any big fish anymore.  
OYSTERS IN SEASON: Raw or baked, this highly sustainable and still very affordable bivalve is taking restaurant and home kitchens by the storm in 2015. Why not? The year of the Goat is all about elegance and class: let’s fancy this trend with a dash of sustainable kelp caviar, lime granita and a bit of mignonette sauce on a side.  
SEAWEED SAGA: 2015 is also about sophisticated cooking so many Japanese condiments have a strong presence including seaweed (fresh, dry or reconstituted) being added to stocks, salads and mains for added taste and umami. Great iodine booster besides other things, a pack of dried sea weed for the cup of morning miso or kombu for some hearty stocks make the most welcome additions to your pantry.
KEEP FORAGING:from edible weeds and berries to wild flowers to mushrooms and nuts foraging expands like never before to bring a touch of wilderness and rare flavors to the dishes and make our lives healthier and fancier. Check the recipes for Juniper Ham in Pastry; Cream of Foraged Greens; Almond Gazpacho with Violets; Fiddlehead Ferns Omlet and Pasta.
BREAD REVOLUTION: While the gluten free trend is still strong, there is a growing revolution in the area of artisanal breads (with multi and/or sprouted grain), which according to the world’s bread experts is going to expand over the next few years. Check this easy super-savory Cypriot-style bread recipe for the first hand exposure when making your own first artisanal bread.
FERMENTED & SOUR FOODS: Healthy gut has become the American priority in the war against the obesity. Fermented foods – yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and miso are trendier than ever. Use this fool proof kimchi recipe to join the movement. 
SPECIALTY PASTAS: Gluten free movement resulted in some outstanding specialty pastas (brown rice, kamut, buckwheat, spelt, etc.) that are now available at the restaurants and in stores. Make your next pasta meal special with this Pasta con le Sarde recipe and spaghetti of your choice.
SPICES & SMOKE ON A RISE: Learning how to season food in more than just salt and pepper has never been more exciting. From Cajun Spice and New Orleans food chronicles in the Chef movie, to Middle Eastern Za’atar mix the spice empire is raising its bar high this year. Check these simple Cajun and Zaatar spice mix DIYs, or try the some juniper berries in your next recipe. Add some smoke whenever you can and/or use more of the smoked paprika and chili seasoning.
FANCY COOKIES: The wheat revolution brought more focus on home-made cookies. From chocolate chips to Eccles cakes to gluten free hazelnut chocolate bites or candied ginger scones packed with dried fruits (coming soon) – gran style cookies with some modern health twist are very much in. FYI, cannabis is becoming a popular baking ingredient further to more and more of its legalization in many places.
BITTER IS A NEW BOLD: Wake up your bile and liver!  The watercress, ginseng, green collards, coffee, dark chocolate rubs and other acrid, astringent taste sensation evoking foods are in and ready to help your liver recovery.  Try the watercress salad for a difference.
SIPPING BROTH: Healthy broth is predicted to take over by the end of 2015. Anything that can increase the body’s alcalinity is a hot trend.  I’m already making my own miso soups for breakfast, but I’ve also experimented with a bunch of vegetarian broths that can boost your energy in the morning. Like this rainbow broth (red color is given by beets) that is great to kick start the day on a positive note with something less boring than smoothie. Stay tuned. And hey, mark my words: the Ginseng Chicken Soup will be a giant hit by the end of the year or earlier.
HOME BREWING & CANDYING: The DIY alchemy has never been stronger, from home-made apple cider to specialty vinegar to DIY rose water, to making your own primitive fermented drink, beer, wine or cider – I’m in, and ready to finally go and buy that special ‘mother’ to start brewing the real deal. Candied orange, lemon and ginger are also now very hot ingredients.
WINE CASUALIZED: Here is a bit of good news for everyone: from liquor stores to big gulps to future AA people and the rest of us.  A bit of wine each day is better than getting wasted during the week-end and that’s the whole thing about the great red cell cardio benefits.  
Make it casual. Make it French. Make it quality over quantity. Start using it in cooking sparingly: from stew, to soup to the dessert jelly, a splash of wine works wonders in cooking.  
ETHNIC BECOMES GLOBAL: The word ethnic is being removed from the chef’s vocabulary. Food and trends have turned global and we are all contributing to it. There will be no more polemic as to the origin of borscht.
RESTAURANTS – MY KITCHEN, MY RULES: The restaurants start discouraging the food photography and cell phones in general focusing on their food rather than opinion, which is the great news to those who want to be inspired by the food quality and cooking innovation rather than formality of the rating in social media. Example: this guy gave me the stink eye (aka dirty look) after I was taking the picture and I think he was absolutely right: it is disturbing.
REPLICATING RESTAURANTS: This is one of my favorite things and I’ve already been doing it for years. What’s the point of going someplace they serve what you can make at home in minutes (and without an extra pound of re-fried butter in it)? However, if it’s something extraordinary like this or that, I’m always in, and impressed and would like to go back even if I can deconstruct it and make it at home. I’m a big miss in general for the Michelin type of restos simply because I don’t like to feel like the honorable cadavre staring at some kind of tiny food in jello or smoke displayed (yes, I’m talking about micro cuisine) on a perfectly clean plate and reminding of the sad future of food and humanity. But some hearty hole in the wall with down to earth alternative burger packed with fresh ingredients and flavors: YES, PLEASE.

Pear Yogurt Granola Muffins

American-style muffin is one of our country’s (and my family’s) perennial favorite. Which is why I always search for a new tasty and nutritious semi-sweet cake that uses some interesting ingredients. Pear was on my mind this time, so I went high and low to find what seemed to be the best combination of pear, yogurt and almond oats granola in this version of muffin recipe from Coup de Pouce magazine.
In this recipe the low-fat yogurt replaces much of the usual butter to produce moist muffins with a subtle tang. The pears (I wanted to use them in muffins for such a long time) dance perfectly with homemade almond oats granola creating a huge hit of fiber-rich and nutty-fruity nutrients. Of course, you can swap the pears out for some apples or peaches, but for me the pear ingredient is a major inspiration of this recipe, so I won’t.
Here are some simple visual steps on preparing the muffin mix and fixing it into the tins.

Finally, you will notice handmade muffin cups made of the parchment paper cut in squares – a new elegant presentation, especially useful when you run out of store-bought muffin cups.

Here is to witness my attempt to add some green color to the topping in honor of approaching St. Paddy.
I am sure you will find these muffins wholesome, tasty and quite easy to make on one of a grey sky week-end morning. Hopefully, some will last into the week-days breakfast as a cup of coffee will never be the same with them!
Makes 18 muffins.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs slightly beaten
4 pears peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice
yogurt and honey topping (optional)
1. Prepare home made granola in advance.
2. Cut 18 squares of 5 inches (13 cm) from parchment paper. Pre-place them in the tin using the glass with the same diameter to press on the paper to fold it into the right shape (see the image above).
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt and baking soda and let the mixture bubble and grow. In the third bowl, whisk oil, brown sugar and eggs. Peel the pears and cut them in 1/4 inch dice. Prepare 1 1/2 cup of granola crumbs.
4. Mix the eggs and yogurt mixtures and pour into the bowl with dry ingredients. Add the pears and granola and mix carefully with wooden fork. Using the ice cream scoop, fill each muffin cup 3/4 full.
5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the tin. Store in hermetic container for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
6. If desired, make yogurt and honey topping (below) and add to the muffins with some sprinkled granola on top (optional).
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup soft cream cheese
2-3 tablespoons liquid honey
Whisk all three ingredients until smooth and keep in the fridge until ready to use as a topping (keeps in the fridge for up to 2 days).


 Adapted from Coup de Pouce magazine (10/2012).

Homemade Granola

Here is something to kick-start your day, week, week-end or just to have a great snack, whichever is applicable. This crunchy simple homemade granola is not only a great breakfast material, but a powerful snack for even gluten intolerant people. It quickly became a keeper for me, which I also happen to munch on to help those hunger attacks or to prevent staring at commercial granola bar thinking whether or not there is a corn syrup in it. What is beautiful, you can control the taste (adding different ingredients), or sweetness (more, or less, or not at all), fiber (add bran). Finally, you can play with grains and customize this granola to your taste with dry fruits, hemp or flax seed at the finishing point.
With only 10 minutes of hands-on work, you can enjoy these granola bars almost as soon as they come out of the oven. Cinnamon and vanilla add a nice flavor, while you can also venture for more exotic spice, such as cardamom or nutmeg. I really encourage you to try to make different varieties with your favorite or healthiest ingredients, because this recipe is really fool proof.
Today I am making this granola as first step towards Pear Yogurt Granola Muffins recipe which will follow right after. Yes, you can use this granola as an ingredient in many other creations as well.
Yields 3 cups (750ml)
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup vegetable oil (corn, canola or any oil without much flavor)
1/4 cup liquid honey
1/4 cup brown sugar (or less)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line the roasting pan with parchment paper. Toss the oats and almonds in a big bowl and mix with pinch of salt and cinnamon. Whisk together the oil, honey, brown sugar and vanilla extract and pour over the oat mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon or your hands and spread onto the roasting pan around 2/3 inch thick or less. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until granola turns golden brown. Remove from the oven, let it cool, then, brake in pieces to store in hermetic containers for up to 3 weeks.
Tips: vary the grain or nut ingredient with your own choice keeping the proportion; once cooked, sprinkle your favorite dry fruits over, i.e. cherries, cranberries, currents, diced figs or apricots, etc. for immediate consumption. Do not add chopped fruit if you are storing granola for up to 3 weeks.

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