Sharon Thompson: Readers, send your recipes for simple Scottish dishes

Herald-Leader food writerDecember 27, 2012 

Sharon Thompson

MARK CORNELISON | STAFF

Ann Sharp of Winchester is searching for traditional Scottish recipes for a church bicentennial celebration.

First Presbyterian Church, 130 Windridge Drive in Winchester, will observe its 200th anniversary next year, and Sharp would like to have heritage recipes that are "simple for a complete meal." Sharp has searched bookstores and websites, but the recipes "sound so difficult and complicated."

If you have simple Scottish recipes to share, email them to swthompson@herald-leader.com.

Party trends

This is the time of year when the trend experts tell us what we can expect in 2013. Such insights might help you refine your approach to food in the new year.

According to Catersource magazine, here's what caterers predict we'll see more of next year:

Popcorn bars: Elaborately spiced and flavored popcorn has been showing up at events in 2012, and party-goers will see even more in 2013.

Tacos, dumplings and fillings galore: Caterers are drawing global connections with street-food style innovation, melding Jamaican, Lebanese and Indian into one menu. Call them gyoza, pierogi, empanadas, knodel or momo; fillings wrapped up in dough signify the best of the world in a doughy package.

Bizarre and botanical: Goat might not be the protein of choice at a wedding, but events devoted to menu items can make a big splash with guests and are fun for chefs.

Chefs report

The National Restaurant Association's annual "What's hot 2013 chef survey" says locally sourced foods and children's nutrition are the leading trends in 2013.

According to a survey of 1,800 chefs who are members of the American Culinary Federation, here are the top 20 trends for 2013:

1. Locally sourced meats and seafood.

2. Locally grown produce.

3. Healthful children's meals.

4. Environmental sustainability.

5. Children's nutrition.

6. New cuts of meat.

7. Hyper-local sourcing.

8. Gluten-free cuisine.

9. Sustainable seafood.

10. Whole grain items in children's meals.

11. Farm- or estate-branded items.

12. Non-wheat noodles.

13. Non-traditional fish.

14. Ethnic-inspired breakfast items.

15. Fruit or vegetable children's side items.

16. Health and nutrition.

17. Half-portions and smaller portions for a smaller price.

18. House-made artisan ice cream.

19. Black/forbidden rice.

20. Food trucks.

Hospitality forecasts

Baum+Whiteman International Food+Restaurant consultants give their annual hospitality predictions:

Bars are where the flavor action is. Ambitious bartenders are infusing vodka and gin, and especially rum, with mango, kiwi and other house-made exotica (even dried fruit) as they stretch the notion of hand-crafted cocktails. Boozy soda-fountain favorites for grownups are a growing trend: floats, shakes, parfaits and smoothies laced with bourbon, peppermint rum, aquavit, benedictine or Chartreuse along with flavored syrups.

Everyone wants to be Chipotle. Consumers are bypassing casual dinner houses and leaping from full service restaurants directly to fast-casual formats, sacrificing service but thinking the food is still "fresh."

Fast food strikes back. The menu boards at fast feeders are sprouting higher-priced options, and burger chains, smitten by the "gourmet" boom, are adding higher-priced items ($4.50 to $6) while maintaining their 99-cent or $1 leaders. Watch for gilded burgers (guacamole, pineapple, mushrooms, crispy onions, but don't look for goat cheese), pepped-up sauces, ethnic touches, lots of fancier buns.

Snackification of America. We're eating less at every meal, but more than making up for it with endless snacking. Snacks account for one in five "eating occasions." Multiple snacks now qualify as America's "fourth meal," and even the traditional three are degenerating into nibbles and bits.

Bundling gets bigger. Fast-food meal bundles are nothing new. They dominate chain menu boards. But since the recession, bundles are getting more play at casual dining chains: Chili's and Golden Corral's 2-for-$20, and periodic bargain dinners-for-two at Red Lobster and TGIFriday's. Their objective is to fill seats at any cost.

Bread trends. Look for more elaborate breads and rolls. Restaurants are baking in-house to save costs and to ramp up distinctiveness, especially with sandwiches, emphasizing an "artisan" at work.

Suppliers are opening own-brand stores. Food suppliers and manufacturers are launching their own restaurant startups. Their aim: To raise their brands' visibility and build powerful appeals to consumers. Dannon and Chobani have opened flagship yogurt bars in Manhattan. Barilla is launching branded pasta restaurants next year to enhance the company's pasta products in supermarkets and, presumably, among restaurant food buyers and customers. Ghirardelli Chocolate opened a soda fountain and chocolate shop at Disney California Adventure, and in Virginia, Smithfield Foods opened a pork-centric restaurant. Taste of Smithfield, combined with a specialty retail store, will enhance the brand's visibility by attracting a large number of tourists.

Flavor pairings

The spice people, McCormick & Co., has released its "flavor forecast" for 2013, making predictions on trends that it expects will drive flavor innovation in the future. The list includes:

■ There will be an emphasis on enjoying favorite flavors for a momentary escape. This trend might include flavor pairings such as bitter chocolate, sweet basil and passion fruit, or black rum, charred orange and allspice.

■ Home cooks and chefs are expanding their hands-on methods by crafting and perfecting signature ingredients and recipes. This trend might include flavor pairings such as cider, sage and molasses in addition to smoked tomato, rosemary, chile peppers and sweet onions.

■ Consumers are finding uses from every part of ingredients and using creative cooking methods to not waste anything. This trend includes flavor pairings such as artichoke, paprika and hazelnut in addition to meat cuts, plantain and stick cinnamon.

■ Many ingredients once considered ethnic now are being used in a variety of ways beyond their native uses. Examples of this trend include anise and cajeta (Mexican caramel sauce) and Japanese katsu sauce and oregano.

Wine wonderland

Tickets are now available for the 23rd annual Cincinnati International Wine Festival March 7 to 9. The event, which features more than 600 domestic and international selections from more than 100 wineries, benefits 30 Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky charities.

Winery dinners and grand tastings will be held at various restaurants in Cincinnati. Go to Winefestival.com or call (513) 723-9463.

Sharon Thompson: (859) 231-3321. Twitter: @FlavorsofKY. Blog: Flavorsofkentucky.bloginky.com.

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