Did you know that January is National Hot Tea Month? According to National Public Radio’s Kitchen, tea leaves will be big in entrees, desserts and cocktails in 2014. Even Starbucks has opened its first tea shop. And, at the end of this article, look for a terrific and tasty new cocktail (from the mixologists at Avenue Restaurant) made with green tea. For dessert, try some Green Tea Ice Cream from Mr. Green Tea Ice Cream Company.
Not only will tea be a big trend in 2014, so will artisan distilling, which keeps on growing. This could be the year of gin, made with local botanicals as well as the traditional juniper berry. Ancient grains will become popular as has quinoa and spelt. Ancient may be the new old where the new buzz words in grains may be teff (a teeny grain, about the size of a poppy seed, loaded with calcium and vitamin C) and freekeh (extremely high in fiber and, like quinoa, is an excellent source of protein).
Because of their healthy attributes, nuts will continue to be trendy, especially for light snacks when traveling. According to a Harvard Medical report, nuts like almonds, peanuts, walnuts, cashews and pistachios help promote cardiovascular health, reduce stress and waist size with weight loss.
Move over Brussels sprouts and kale. Cauliflower is going to rule the range and tastes much better when sautéed rather than steamed or boiled when it tends to get mushy. Cauliflower is an excellent source of vitamin C, and a very good source of manganese and it provides us with two core conventional antioxidants. But its antioxidant support extends far beyond the conventional nutrients into the realm of phytonutrients e.g. beta-carotene. It is also an excellent source of the anti-inflammatory nutrient, vitamin K.
Good news for all the farmers out there as “eating local” is going into high gear. Restaurant chefs and green markets have planted gardens and built farms from the ground up to the roof tops. Many noted chefs are moving out of the big cities like New York and into the country where they are buying up land and starting their own farming. What is hard to find or can’t be bought can be obtained from professional foragers who will bring acorn cakes, edible wildflowers and chanterelles to the kitchen.
Sustainable and biodynamic farming is creating a niche for small-scale meat producers as we grow more adverse to industrial farming. Diners will see more small game birds, goat, rabbit and heritage beef on the menu.
As for regional cuisine, the Midwest will reign supreme according to the Food Network. More Midwestern chefs are opening restaurants in New York as has Wisconsin native Gabriel Stulman creating his own “Little Wisco.”
Time for that cocktail!
Green & Spiced Cocktail (courtesy of Avenue Restaurant)
- 4 oz. Hot Organic Ceylon Green Tea
- 1 oz. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
- ½ oz. Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
- 1 oz. Vermont Maple Syrup
- Garnish: Orange Twist
Combine all ingredients in a tea cup.
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