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Food infatuations for 2014

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It’s a new year and with that comes all sorts of fresh resolutions to clean-up-our-eating-act, especially after the over-indulgence of the Holidays. The looming question is where to start?

The last few years have seen a strong return to eating locally and really kicking up the veg, greens and grains factor in our diets. Not a bad way to kick off winter as many of these foods fit sublimely into pots of soup, stew and comforting casseroles. Given that, what is in the forecast for 2014?

Kale topped the list in 2013, and while it is still a strong, versatile, tasty contender, cauliflower has crept to the top. Many chefs are featuring recipes which include cauliflower as “steaks” smothered with compounded herb-butter or smashing with potatoes and other root vegetables. It’s also great to roast in a hot oven with a dribble of truffle oil. Raw cauliflower is a crunchy addition to green salads dressed with mustard infused vinaigrette. Look for different shades of cauliflower to grace the grocer’s shelves and early spring markets.

The next trendy food is the use of unusual, ancient grains. We’ve become quite familiar with quinoa, barley and couscous, but have you tried adding faro, buckwheat or freekeh to your dinner table? Just the name freekeh makes a person want to take a food-search pilgrimage. It is simply young green wheat that has been toasted and cracked. Freekeh is high in fiber and loaded with protein, potassium and magnesium. The cooking time is around 40 to 45 minutes with a two parts liquid to one part grain.

Following the everything old is new again theme, the enjoyment of tea-time is back. Rather than the high, elaborate ceremony the English follow, it involves a light meal or snack with copious cups of hot tea. Look for flavored, herbal blends like Orange Chocolate Sweet Spice or Cinnamon-Vanilla.

Foods from the Mid-West are an extremely interesting craze; think cheese, beer, meat, baking and pickling. Many of these we have covered in the Northwest quite well. After all, Portland does have its fair share of microbreweries and charcuterie establishments. One thing to remember is comfort and pie. There always seems to be pie on Mid-West tables.

Finally, just in case you weren’t aware, Éclairs have now taken over the sweet spot that Macarons have held. There will certainly be a myriad of adventurous eating in 2014.

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