Food, like fashion, has cycles. For example, fashion houses are saying that florals and pastels will make a comeback this year, but don’t expect demure, namby-pamby patterns and colors. And that goes for food, too; we foodies have high expectations and want our food to shine on the catwalk, too. Dishes must look pretty, but they’ve also got to taste good — really good. We’ve all jumped on a food bandwagon and tried a food trend or two. Acai bowls and avocado toast are hot but, predictably, they will be replaced with something new and exciting. Luckily, it isn’t too hard to keep up with the latest food trends thanks to television shows, websites, blogs, apps, podcasts, social media, newspapers and magazines, word of mouth and restaurants. Here are a few food trends to enjoy now — and good news: Some are very easy to make at home.
Pronounced “ah-sah-ee,” acai is a highly perishable, deep purple tropical fruit cultivated in the Amazon and typically sold in health food stores as a frozen, unsweetened puree. It’s praised for its healthy omegas and antioxidants, and it’s not overly sweet. It’s great in smoothies or frozen, and is typically the slushy base for a medley of other fruits, granola and coconut flakes known as the hip “acai bowl.”
The key to making this quick meal is timing: You want to pick your avocado at just the right point of ripeness. Buying it on the under ripe side and allowing it to sit out on the counter for a few days is the best method to achieve perfect ripening. When it’s ready, peel the avocado and then smash it in a small bowl using a fork. Spread it on toasted bread and sprinkle with coarse sea salt, or get a little fancy and try one of many variations, like drizzling it with olive oil and topping with sliced cherry tomatoes.
Activated charcoal powder, with its purported health benefits, has found its way into in everything from cocktails and breads to hot dogs and soft-serve ice cream. And while charcoal doesn’t add any to the flavor, photographs of charcoal-black food — also known as “goth food” — has developed quite a following on Instagram.
Edible cookie dough
Cookie dough has been taboo for year; the raw eggs in the dough carry a risk of salmonella. But that hasn’t stopped many cookie lovers from sneaking a taste of the concoction before it goes into the oven. Many even love the dough more than the cookies it produces. In fact, recipes for “safe” cookie dough — meant to be consumed, not baked — abound online, and many big-box stores carry name-brand versions.
Eggs on everything
Why did it take so long for this trend to arrive? Regardless, I’m glad this fad is making a comeback. Poached or fried eggs add a little something to everything — they’re popping up on pizza, pasta, ramen, baked potatoes, burger, Brussels sprouts, risotto, ratatouille, smoked salmon and even pork chops. The rule of thumb is if it can be salted, you can top it with an egg. Is a fried egg on a fried egg redundant? Nope — just plain decadent.
The name sounds fancy, but this dish is simply a thinly sliced potato, brushed liberally with a mix of olive oil, butter, chopped herbs, and salt and pepper and then baked until nice and crunchy. Because the slices don’t cut completely through the potato, they get crispy and allow the olive oil mix to drip down into the potato for a delicious meal that’s half baked potato and half French fry. That fancy name? It comes from the restaurant in Sweden where it was created.
Have you that the supermarket’s dairy aisle has expanded beyond the traditional cow’s milk? Dairy alternatives like almond, coconut, cashew, soy and rice milks have seen a huge rise in popularity. People love almonds fresh out of the shell, in salads and in savory dishes and desserts, so the idea of trying them in as a milk, yogurt or ice cream would not be an enormous leap.
Pronounced “po-kay,” this Hawaiian dish features cubed raw seafood tossed with green onions, soy sauce and a touch of sesame oil. The ingredients can vary, but however it’s prepared, this bowl is a seafood lover’s delight. Fresh sushi-grade tuna takes the stage, but salmon and octopus are also popular. This delicious chilled concoction is served over rice. Savor it longer by eating it with chopsticks.
Rolled ice cream
It’s astounding how a simple combination of cream, milk and sugar can reinvent itself every few years. For this frozen treat, ice cream is spread out very thin on a flat, chilled metal surface and then scraped into rolls or logs, placed in a serving cup and adorned with toppings. It’s ice cream theater, rolled up in front of your eyes. The craze has reached a frenzy, with rolled ice cream parlors cropping up all over the place. The flavors possibilities are endless — but don’t forget, the calories don’t disappear just because it’s trendy.