Like a food truck in the middle of the night, food trends come and go. January is always a fun time to take a look at the up-and-coming food fads – here are some of the best things to eat in 2013.
1. Lobster Rolls – Plummeting lobster prices mean that simple and delicious lobster rolls are back on the menu. Make them the Mainer way by mixing fresh lobster meat that has been soaked in butter with a bit of diced celery and onion, a squirt of lemon juice and a dash each of salt and pepper. Mix with mayonnaise or not, and serve sideways on a toasted hot dog bun.
2. Gochujang – A hot Asian red sauce, gochujang is the Korean version of sriracha. Savory and pungent, this spicy treat is made from red chili, fermented soybeans, rice and salt. Try it on sandwiches, egg dishes, French fries and any other dish else that needs a little kick.
3. Greens – By now you know all about kale, the super leafy green. But kale is SO 2012 – now the buzz is all about its Southern cousins: mustard greens, beet greens, turnip greens and chard. Cook them into tasty crisps, sauté them with your favorite side dishes or enjoy braised with beans and a cornbread biscuit.
4. Smoked Everything – Once relegated to meats and cheeses, the primal taste of smoke is being added to everything in 2013, including potatoes, sauces and cocktails. Look for smoked items on bar and restaurant menus, and enjoy the taste of a campfire without the smell in your hair.
5. Seaweed – This humble ocean vegetable makes the leap from sushi into a wide realm of foods and snacks. Look for seaweed to appear in breads, flavored salts, crackers, cereals, butter, pasta dishes, snacks, soups and on side dishes like French fries. High in protein and essential amino acids, seaweed comes in many varieties including deep green kombu, chewy red dulse and dried black hijiki.
6. Pineberries – With a tropical pineapple flavor and the look of a white strawberry with red seeds, the pineberry is a new arrival to the fruit and vegetable scene. A hybrid of a South American strawberry and a North American strawberry, this unusual fruit can be found at farmers markets and specialty grocery stores.
7. Brazilian Cuisine – Bring on the churrascaria and the pao de queijo! As Brazil prepares to host the World Cup in 2014, its culture and cuisine will gain international attention. Look for new Brazilian restaurants to open, for traditional dishes on restaurant menus and new fusion innovations with other types of cuisine.
8. Vegetable Desserts – Vegetables will be all over in 2013, even in desserts! Look for savory selections like beet ice cream, parsnip pie and fennel tarts to appear on your favorite restaurant’s dessert menu – and try them at home for a tasty change of pace!