'Locavore' is the word for 2018
Remember when Greek yogurt burst onto the scene and became an overnight sensation? Every year, food trends emerge from fine to casual dining, and even in the kitchen at home.
For 2018, several regional dining establishments shared that the approach might hone in on one trend: local sourcing.
At the Turquoise Grille in Brattleboro, Vt., executive chef and co-owner Hale Kiziltan said this year, chefs will increasingly filter through "flash-in-the-pan trends and marketing to discover things that can truly elevate the experience of dining out."
Or dining in, whichever works best. But what is consistent is the move to source locally, she said.
"Local sourcing is going to be big for restaurants across the country," Kiziltan said. "We are lucky to live in [New England], where we have access to amazing local produce, meat and poultry. We can really set an example for locally sourcing ingredients. Chefs this year will be spending a lot of time keeping menus consistent with changing seasons."
Kiziltan said that creative salads will continue to develop more fully in 2018.
"Salads that stand alone as an entree are going to see a rise to prominence on a lot of menus," Kiziltan said. "Salads can be easily tweaked to fit most dietary requirements and they have this great built-in marketing scheme, people perceive salads as being very healthy."
Kiziltan, offered up one such simple creation, which she called "the most popular on the Turquoise Grille menu."
(Courtesy Hale Kiziltan)
Start with a bed of organic spring mix.
Add clover sprouts.
Add grilled red onions.
Add Bulgarian feta cheese.
Top off with fresh, grilled Turkish seasoned leg of lamb.
Finish with pomegranate vinaigrette.
Note: Substitute locally sourced like items, such as the cheese and meat, as desired. Use quantities to suit the number of diners.
An hour to the south in Lenox, the dining room at Blantyre has seen its share of trends. Executive chef Jeremy Berlin agrees with the surge in local sourcing, saying that where practicable, ingredients in Blantyre's 2018 menu choices will be locally grown or raised, and acquired.
"There will be a continued emphasis on local sourcing," Berlin said. "I'm also looking very carefully at sustainability, as well as the skillful use of `roots to stem' and `nose to tail,' creating delicious and interesting taste combinations for guests with various parts of a food item so that none goes to waste."
Berlin also emphasized a growing use of florals in food and beverages, including lavender, hibiscus and elderflower.
"Blantyre will expand its relationship with local farmers in 2018," Berlin said. "We will use locally sourced foods including vegetables, fruits and meats. For example, our Berkshire Pork Belly entrees are [made from items from] local farms and loved by guests."
Pork belly braise/roll
(Courtesy Jeremy Berlin)
2 pork bellies, season the meat side, roll and tie
4 carrots, peeled and cut
2 onions, peeled and cut
1 leek, washed and cut
1/2 head celery, washed cut
2 heads garlic, split
1/2 bunch of thyme
4 sprigs rosemary
1 spoon of black peppercorn
1 spoon coriander seed
3 bay leaves
2 pieces star anise
1 liter white wine
4 liters chicken stock
1 liter veal stock
Sweat mirepoix (carrots, onions, leek, celery and garlic) until lightly colored and add aromatics (thyme, rosemary, black peppercorn, coriander seed, bay leaves and star anise) and cook for 5 minutes. Deglaze with white wine and reduce to au sec (dry), add chicken and veal stock, bring to a boil. Place cooking liquid with the vegetables in a deep hotel pan and put pork bellies in. Cover with three layers of plastic wrap and three layers of foil. Place in oven at 175 degrees Fahrenheit overnight for 8 to 10 hours. Remove the pork bellies and reserve liquid. Roll out two layers of plastic wrap and place pork belly on it. Remove butcher's twine, roll tight and chill ASAP. To serve, slice the pork belly in 1/3-inch slices, season and saute in oil until you have a golden color.
Back north of the border, in North Bennington, Vt., local sourcing is also influencing casual dining. Kevin Lynch, co-owner and executive chef of the village's mainstay eatery, Kevin's Sports Pub and Restaurant, said the push to source locally benefits both consumers and the local economy.
"The strong trend for 2018 is using local ingredients," Lynch said. "Our suppliers get vegetables from local farmers. We also reach out directly to a local farm in season for things such as corn, tomatoes and peppers."
Lynch said meat and potatoes haven't lost their popularity. "Salads as meals and vegetarian dishes are on the rise, but especially with the winter we've been having, comfort food tops all requests."
In selecting a recipe he anticipated to be strong in 2018, Lynch said that a pasta, vegetable and meat combination can be relied on in both restaurant and home — as well as be considerably locally sourced.
"It may not always be 100 percent for `locavores,' but it can get close," he said.
Chicken and veggie Parmesan pasta
(Courtesy Kevin Lynch)
1/2 chicken breast or 1 boneless chicken thigh diced
1/2 bunch broccoli florets
6 to 8 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 cup chicken broth
1 chicken bouillon cube
2 cloves garlic sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
In a medium frying pan or pot, heat oil until hot, add garlic and lightly brown, add chicken, stir and lightly brown stirring regularly. Add mushrooms, cook for about 3 minutes add broccoli, peas, broth and bouillon cube. Simmer for 2-3 minutes add 2 cups cooked pasta (penne or tortellini work best) stir in parmesan cheese and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
Note: Cooked sausage can be used in place of chicken or add a little bit for nice flavor. Different vegetables can also be used in place of ones above zucchini, carrots, spinach.
Eagle correspondent Telly Halkias can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @TellyHalkias.
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