Hot culinary trends for 2014

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Posted: Wednesday, April 23, 2014 12:28 pm

Cauliflower

Cauliflower isn’t the most vibrant vegetable. But its flavor and impact on the food industry for 2014 is impressive. Cauliflower has been a forceful contributor to “clean” and overall healthy eating, as it’s a tasteful substitute for guilty ingredients that are in all-time favorite dishes. It’s also paleo-friendly. I can remember the first time I tasted cauliflower mash. Fireworks flew within the walls of my mouth. Whever thought of the delightful idea to mash the albino sister to the loathed broccoli is an absolute genius. Another of my favorite ways to use cauliflower is in dough. Yes, that’s right. You can make a pizza with cauliflower crust! It can also be pickled and served as a side to a savory sandwich, or roasted in the oven as a “steak.” Although my next adventure with this overlooked vegetable is cauliflower popcorn, sprinkled with parmesan cheese or a squeeze of lemon.

Savory Yogurt

This year, yogurt is going savory. Greek yogurt brands are going beyond fruity tastes and are introducing new ways to enjoy this healthy dish. Carrot, beet and butternut squash flavors are already on the market and they allow for experimentation. An alternative for cream cheese and sour cream, savory yogurt can also be used as a dip. For at home play, mix olive oil, herbs and a pinch of salt with plain greek yogurt and use as a sandwich spread!

Tea

Throw away anything you ever thought about tea. This year, tea will not only be nursed before bedtime or to rid a cold. Expect to see tea used in your cocktails. I’m not talking about the “Long Island”, I’m talking about Jasmine, Hibiscus, Green Tea and lavender, all pairing up with spirits such as gin, vodka and tequila. If you are looking to add more flavor in your kitchen at home but don’t want the extra calories, tea leaves are an excellent choice. Steep a bag of your favorite tea in water and the boil vegetables, cook grains or even poach your choice of protein. Use tea leaves in a homemade salad dressing or dip, or to marinate meat for a tender “fall off the bone” affect. Tea is even used in desserts such as macaroons, ice cream and cupcake frosting.

Ice Cream Sandwiches

2014 is about experiential food and consumers will take notice, driving an increase in popularity of the venerable ice cream sandwich. Predicted to hit the “sweet spot” in food trucks and pop-up restaurants, this treat may take you back to childhood memories -- though you will notice a new spin on it’s presentation. How does a snickerdoodle sandwich sound? Or chocolate ice cream between two gooey brownies? This hot food item allows for creativity and the best part is that there are no rules.

Non-Wheat Noodles

For those of you who follow a gluten-free diet, you may applaud that non-wheat noodles are trending right now. Brown-rice pasta has my vote for traditional taste, although quinoa pasta is a close second. Incredibly soft and flavorful, there is no way to differentiate between it and regular noodles. Non-traditional noodles are making their way into dishes this year. I am already a huge fan of spaghetti squash, but am thrilled at all of the new options that are coming to market. Expect to see more options in vegetable noodles, such as sweet potato, butternut squash and zucchini noodles.

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