Goat in the fridge? Kimchee on the stove? Bacon and eggs on your pizza? Gourmet hot dogs on the dinner table? Pie in the oven? A pampered chicken or two in the back yard, waiting to become a humane meal? A chilled bottle of tart cherry juice ready to be served with dinner?
If you answered “yes” or nodded your head to any or all of these, you’re ready to eat and/or cook your way into 2011. These are but a few of the food predictions currently being touted in magazine articles and on TV cooking shows.
One of the surprises is the upcoming trend toward serving gourmet food at the airport. Many major airports are upgrading the quality of their food offerings and opening small, upscale restaurants on the premises.
Of course, this may be an attempt to take your mind off the other, very unpleasant aspects of being in the airport in the first place. Having always been a white-knuckle flyer who’d rather swim the ocean than fly over it, having a gourmet meal at the airport before I fly is like asking me what I want for my pre-execution meal.
What else is new for 2011?
Well, cupcakes are out this year, we’re told; pies, good old-fashioned pies are the comeback dessert now, especially that old favorite from my childhood, banana cream pie.
And, in the meat department, goat is the up-and- coming trend, but until people try it and discover that it doesn’t taste “goaty” at all, it’s going to take some time to catch on.
I learned to eat, and enjoy, goat meat while in Mexico, and have no qualms about tucking into a homemade birria de chivo (goat stew), once I can get my hands on the goat meat, which isn’t easy in this neighborhood.
Another innovation that I’m surprised took so long to dawn on this pizza-loving nation is pizza for breakfast. Pizza, the long-time fallback food for dinner, is about to become your favorite breakfast food. Pizza for breakfast, with any combination of fruit, bacon/sausage, eggs and cheese, will, I think, become one of the fastest- growing fads of the coming year. Domino’s has already added a breakfast pizza to its menu, and I’ve no doubt it will be a hit with teenagers, who often shun breakfast altogether, but might find a slice of pizza a perfect on-the-run breakfast.
As for the “organic” trip, it has, unfortunately, become an almost meaningless term, with such a wide interpretation that virtually everything now seems to be “organic.”
But don’t despair; there are always those out there who are just waiting for the next opportunity to save you from yourself. Before you put fork to that steak, you must now ask yourself, is this humane food?
The new emphasis will be on eating “humanely,” i.e., eating only animals that have been treated kindly; allowed to have as pleasant a life as possible until they’re on the table. Frankly, to me this smacks of ultimate hypocrisy. Vegetarians and vegans are, of course, chortling over the very notion of “humane” meat.
What else is new for 2011? Cooking at home should come as no surprise, as more and more families have cut back considerably on both eating out and picking up fattening fast food. But home-cooked doesn’t mean picking up a few packages of frozen ingredients and microwaving a meal in your own kitchen. Oh, no, nothing that easy. The food gurus are predicting that more and more of us will be putting together tasty, healthy meals, using only fresh, local ingredients. Uh-huh, sure; tell that to the working mom with a hungry family waiting for dinner.
But I’ve saved the best for last, the latest diet fad.
Every year there’s a new diet, a sure-fire way to get thin and stay thin without restrictive dieting and/or lots of exercise, and this year is no exception. We can thank China for this hot new diet fad, or, to be more precise, thank the young women of China, who are trying to look their best when they go job hunting in a competitive employment market that is far worse than ours.
Please note I am saying here and now that I do NOT recommend this particular diet for any young women who may be desperate for work; I’m just trying to keep you aware of what’s happening in the food world. I hope you’re ready for this one.
To get thin and stay thin, eat roundworm eggs! Guaranteed to do the job, as thousands of thin young Chinese women who are regularly ingesting them will attest. Makes goat stew sound pretty good, doesn’t it?
No recipes for roundworm, I promise, nor for that matter instructions for how to tell if your steak was treated humanely before it found its way to your plate. But one of my favorite but neglected appliances is on the “hot for 2011” list, and I’ve already hauled mine out of the closet and put it to use. Remember crockpots, a.k.a. slow cookers? Well, they’re making a comeback, and for a busy family trying to cook at home using fresh local ingredients and humanely treated meat, there’s no better friend than a slow cooker. Try these updated recipes, and
I think you’ll agree.
BEEF BURGUNDY, THE EASY WAY
1½ lbs. beef round steak, or beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 cup Burgundy wine (or other dry red wine)
1 small onion, chopped (or use a cup or so of frozen pearl onions)
½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms (or one 4-oz. can, drained)
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
1 T. minced garlic
Combine all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover; cook on low 6-8 hrs., or until beef is tender. Serve over cooked noodles. Serves 4-6.
CHICKEN WILD RICE CASSEROLE
2 slices bacon, chopped (see instructions)
3 T. olive oil
1½ lbs. chicken thighs, trimmed or skinned, if preferred
½ cup diced onion
½ cup diced celery
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
½ t. salt
¼ t. black pepper
½ t. dried sage
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 pkg. (4 oz.) wild rice
6 oz. brown mushrooms
(I prefer crimini), wiped clean and cut into quarters
3 cups hot chicken broth (homemade, if available)
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 T. chopped parsley, for garnish
Microwave bacon on high 1 min. Transfer to slow cooker. Add olive oil and spread evenly on the bottom, then place chicken in, skin side down (unless you’ve skinned them, in which case it doesn’t matter). Add remaining ingredients, except parsley. Cover and cook on low 3 to 4 hrs., or until rice is tender. Uncover and let stand 15 min., adding salt and pepper, if necessary. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serves 4-6.
Beef brisket is one of my favorite cuts of meat, and preparing it in the slow cooker ensures tenderness as well as juiciness; perfect for an informal sandwich supper for the kids and their friends, or you and friends on football day. Marinate the brisket the night before cooking.
BEST BEEF BRISKET IN A BUN
2 cups apple cider, divided
1 head garlic, cloves separated, crushed and peeled
2 T. whole peppercorns
1/3 cup chopped fresh thyme
1 T. mustard seeds
1 T. Cajun seasoning
1 t. ground allspice
1 t. ground cumin
1 t. celery seeds
2-4 whole cloves
1 beef brisket, about 3 lbs.
1 bottle dark beer
Combine ½ cup of the cider, the garlic, peppercorns, thyme, mustard seeds and cloves in a large sealable plastic food storage bag. Add the brisket, seal bag and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Place brisket and marinade in the slow cooker.
Add remaining cider and beer. Cover and cook on low 10 hrs. or until brisket is very tender.
Strain sauce, drizzle over meat. Slice brisket and place on rolls; serve, with slices of cheese to add, as preferred. Makes 10-12 sandwiches.