Dishing up Calgary’s food trends for 2014
Trends come and go in food as much as they do in fashion.
Ingredients become hip for their nutritional benefits (think kale and coconut water in 2013, quinoa and goji berries in previous years) and culinary trends hit the restaurant scene — food trucks, chicken and waffles and everything doused in truffle oil.
I chatted with a few chefs and food writers around town to get their sense of what we can look forward to dishing up in the coming year.
Crispy Black Bean & Feta Tacos with Brussels Sprout Slaw
Tacos are in this year, but you don’t need to find yourself a taqueria. These crispy black bean and feta tacos are simple to make, and an inexpensive way to feed the family. (Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2009.)
- 19 oz (540 mL) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- juice of a lime, divided
- 2 tsp. chili powder
- ½ tsp. cumin
- salt and pepper
- ½-1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 cups finely shredded Brussels sprouts
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp. honey
- canola oil, for cooking
- 1 pkg. small fresh corn tortillas
In a medium bowl, roughly mash the black beans with a squeeze of lime juice, the chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Toss in the feta. In a small bowl, toss the shredded Brussels sprouts and cilantro with a drizzle of olive or canola oil, the honey and another good squeeze of lime. Season with salt and pepper.
Heat a generous drizzle of oil in a heavy skillet set over medium-high heat. Warm the tortillas to make them more pliable, then fill with the bean mixture, folding it over to enclose. Cook in the hot skillet, turning as necessary, until golden and crisp. Fill with the Brussels sprout slaw.
Serve immediately. Serves 6 or so.
Stephanie Eddy, food writer and blogger at ClockworkLemon.com, predicts a comeback of old-fashioned desserts.
“I think big family style desserts will get more popular,” she says. “Big layered cakes, bundts, slab pies, and crumbles, instead of small individually decorated desserts like cupcakes. Desserts with less sugar or whole grains seem trendy too.”
Ramen and tacos
Gwendolyn Richards, food writer at the Calgary Herald, is happy to predict that ramen will become more widely available.
“With Shikiji opening up a strictly ramen spot in Bridgeland and Concorde opening Goro and Gun, it seems like ramen is going to be the in thing in the coming year,” she says. She also predicts the coming of the taco.
“Especially after the success of Taco or No Taco (a pre-Christmas pop-up taqueria) and the fact that Cody Willis is opening up a taqueria this spring. I feel like the time of the taco is now.” I have to agree!
Grains and seafood
Chef Michael Allemeier, culinary instructor at SAIT, sees the local sourcing of food to continue as strong as it has been.
“Plus I see lots of whole and ancient grains and responsible seafood,” he adds.
Chef Mike Dekker, also from SAIT, is optimistic about the future of healthy fast food and urban gardening. “People playing in the dirt and growing their own food more than ever,” he says.
Chef Paul McGreevy, executive chef at Craft Beer Market, looks forward to healthy options for kids and adults, hyper-local sourcing of our food, and noodle bowls.
Pie and cauliflower
Personally, I’d like to see pie become the next big thing. I’d choose a wedge of pie over cake most days of the week. I predict more people will start having dinner parties at home again – and cauliflower will oust kale as the "It" veggie.
If you want to rekindle your relationship with cauliflower, break it into florets and spread it out on a baking sheet. Drizzle it with oil – olive or canola – sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss it about with your hands to coat. Roast it at 425-450˚F for about 15 minutes, until it’s starting to sizzle and turn golden.
Take it out, toss it a bit and shower it with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Slide it back into the oven for another 10 minutes or so, or until the cheese melts and the edges of the cauliflower are golden and crisp. If you like, serve it with a wedge of lime.
Whatever is on your plate, have a happy, healthy, well-fed new year!