Food fads come and go but a trend has the potential to become a long term influence on the market. A few years ago I thought the whole “tapas” trend was silly but I’ve come to accept it and actually like the idea of sampling small plates instead of one large entree. Some current trends include:
Snack Attack–bar snacks, meze plates
Barbeque–wood smoked everythingBeer–steamed mussels with Belgian beerFarm fresh
French cuisine–making a comeback
American Cheese–not the yucky orange stuff, but cheese made in America
Noodle mania–kobe short rib teriyaki lo-mein or chap-chae Korean noodles
Fruit–used with savory dishes
Dolce!–Ricotta polenta pie, ricotta & hazelnut torte
Our assignment was to made 5 dishes representing the above trends. No other instructions, no specific ingredients. We could present our dishes at 2 different time periods, each lasting 30 minutes.
This was a tough class for me. I just could not think of anything great to make and the ingredients we had to choose from did not inspire me. I made some Thai chicken wings in fish sauce but the wings were old and tough and the fish sauce was old and smelled even worse than fish sauce usually smells. I made Chiang Mai noodles for noodlemania but it was “flat” and not great. My pork and brie slider with raspberry sauce was a flop–seedy and thick raspberry glop was more like it. I made a shrimp skewer with a chipotle orange sauce for the fruit trend and that sauce was actually good, but the shrimp was old and stringy. I didn’t even make a 5th dish, just ran out of time. We had the same issue with long waiting periods to have our dishes evaluated so I should have made quicker dishes.

Not a favorite class. I am anxious to move on and start cooking without criticism. I am capable of making great food but culinary school sometimes makes me feel insecure about my abilities.

A few days after this class I hosted a brunch at my house for some church friends and made some trendy foods. Open-face quesadillas covered with farm fresh peppers from my CSA box, migas with Hatch green chile sauce I made with the August crop of Hatch peppers, brown sugar chile bacon, cream cheese filled pumpkin mufffins and Mexican hot chocolate. My friends enjoyed it and I had to admit I had a much easier time pulling it off after my year + of culinary school. I am a lot faster and more efficient in the kitchen and my imagination and creativity has improved (at home anyway!)

Brunch with friends