Archive for the ‘Food Trends’ Category
Good news, foodies! You don’t need to be in a culinary program to partake in some excellent culinary classes offered in and around Sacramento. Come on – take your spatula by the handle and get ready to learn, create and taste your newest creations in some fun, local culinary hands-on cooking classes. Don’t let the word “culinary” intimidate you. Let your passion for food drive you to some interactive food training.
Crepes, Gnocchi, Truffles……The Learning Exchange
The Learning Exchange is offering up some excellent cooking courses this spring in and around Sacramento. Who wouldn’t like to know how to make perfected crepes or have some fun with a class all about creating Gnocchi or focusing in on French Cooking? These courses have a great variety for any type of cook and are located throughout the city and its suburbs. To learn more about their courses and sign up check out: www.learningexchange.com
Croissant & Empanada Workshops at Co-op Cooking School
Co-op Learning Center and cooking school offers something for everyone: from their extensive cooking class program to health and well-being seminars to a variety of lectures and panel discussions. They love to educate our community about important food, family, health and environmental issues. The Co-op is committed to supporting organic local family farms and small producers of high quality food. They highlight these growers and producers in our specialty food tastings as well as featuring their organically grown ingredients in their cooking classes. How cool is that? www.sacfoodcoop.com
We tour all around different cities looking for what might be a winner and hot topic to talk about with our food tour participants. Trying to stay ahead of the kitchen mallet as to what is trending compared to what is here to stay in the culinary arena has its perks and challenges. Local Roots Food Tours has compiled their top finds on what you might experience in 2013 while on your “foodie adventures.”
Top 10 Culinary Trends For 2013:
1. Chef’s behind closed curtains is a thing of the past. 2013 will continue to bring celebrity (as well as local chefs) front and center hosting special themed culinary events, symposiums and contribute to hands-on cooking classes. No more hiding behind the frying pan – their talents and passion will continue to be exposed with many culinary events. We are looking forward to seeing more of our local executive chefs come out and support Sacramento’s Farm to Fork Capital of America efforts by offering some pretty awesome cooking events in and out of their kitchens in 2013.
2. Restaurant gardens – Whether it be in back alley gutters or a transformed back lot, gardens are popping up all over the nation. Chefs cite many logical reasons why restaurant gardens are a good idea: cost, convenience, control, sustainability. The concept of in-house farming is hardly new and the trend has hit far and wide—there are countless restaurants tilling their own soil and planting the seeds for vegetables that will eventually appear on a customer’s plate. A small farm adjacent to an eating establishment keeps that path from farm to table about as short as it can get. One example we love is share is Mineral Restaurant in Murphys, CA. Executive Chef Steve Rinauro and partner/co-owner Maya Rinauro have been busy planting, weeding, watering and harvesting their restaurant garden in 2012. Their farm to table philosophy is lived vivaciously every day in their vegetarian menu. For those restaurants who don’t have the option of a garden out their back door, buying plots of land in local farms creates a great option. One local farm in Sacramento, Feeding Crane Farms offers such plots to local Sacramento chefs…..the next best thing to offer local farm ingredients.
3. Nordic food is out – Peruvian and Korean food is in for 2013.
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It’s hot out there! Want to quench your palate with one of America’s favorite old-fashion desserts? Long after the first push cart in New York City where the very first ice cream sandwich vendor would sell you a simple sandwich consisting of two chocolate wafers with a vanilla ice cream center was bought for 1 penny….ice cream sandwiches are becoming a staple on dessert menus in the local Sacramento dining scene this summer. Here is Local Roots Food Tours foodie take on our top 5 must stops to indulge in creative ice cream sandwiches in our culinary city.
1. Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates 1801 L Street, Sacramento, CA
A chocolate shop that sells homemade macaron ice cream sandwiches is a treat like none-other! Ginger and her team offer three delicious flavors in their handmade Parisian Macaron Ice Cream Sandwiches: Pistachio, Lemon, or Salty Caramel. The best part of the sandwich is the ice cream in the center of these delicious macarons. All of their ice creams are hand-crafted in micro-batches using organic milk and local dairy. Mmm, mmm, good!
If you are like us and ice-cream is a STAPLE during these dog days of summer, mark your calendars for Ginger Elizabeth’s Ice Cream Socials. They have a few socials still remaining for the summer time fun:
Saturday, August 11 Featuring: Warm Olallieberry Cobbler spooned over Sweet Cream Frozen Custard topped with Chantilly Cream. Featuring organic Olallieberries hand-picked in the Sierra Nevada Foothills by Ginger and Tom.
Saturday, September 8 Featuring: Saffron Ice Cream, Macerated Farm Peaches and Whipped Raspberry Custard layered between a Cream Puff and dusted with Powdered Sugar.
Saturday, October, 13 Featuring: Pumpkin Ice Cream, Brown Butter Ice Cream, Warm Monkey Bread Pieces, Sticky Raisin Sauce, topped with Crème Fraîche
2. The Red Rabbit Kitchen 2718 J Street, Sacramento, CA
Who would think inside this cool, mist-driven, eclectic restaurant would be one amazing hand-crafted ice cream sandwich on a dessert menu? We would! Depending on what the chef is feeling for the week, The Red Rabbit Kitchen delivers an ice-cream sandwich that will take any lucky rabbit’s foot and make magic happen! Continue reading!
SUGAR & SPICE AND EVERYTHING NICE PRIVATE BAKING CLASS! Sugar & Spice Specialty Desserts - 1201 F Street, Sacramento, CA 95814
Just in time to learn how to create amazing desserts for the upcoming holidays. Want to learn how to make buttery soft croissants, brioche and fluffy cupcakes?
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The distinction of Chef vs. Cook probably got its real start back in the Middle Ages, when guilds of chefs were formed in France, each with different focuses. Eventually, these roles evolved into a proper way to set up a commercial kitchen in France, and many professional kitchens employ at least some of these roles today. You have the Executive Chef, who does menu planning, purchasing, quality control, and a lot of the business work. Saucier makes the sauces, Pastry Chef makes the breads and desserts, and so on all of these derived from the various guilds from France in the Middle Ages. A chef is someone who is, or at one point was, paid to make food. If you’ve never cooked food as a career, it’s going to be difficult to convince people who really care about the difference to call you a chef.
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Black garlic is a type of fermented garlic used as a food ingredient in Asian cuisine. It is made by fermenting whole bulbs of garlic at high temperature, a process that results in black cloves. The taste is sweet and syrupy with hints of balsamic vinegar or even tamarind. Black Garlic is prized as a food rich in antioxidants and added to energy drinks, and in Thailand is claimed to increase the consumer’s longevity. One interesting use is in the making of black garlic chocolate. In the United States black garlic entered the mainstream in 2008 and has become a sought-after ingredient used in high-end cuisine. Black garlic is great for your health—it’s loaded with nearly twice as many antioxidants as raw garlic.
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You ask, what’s a plerrie anyway? Or you could ask; “What do you get when you cross a plum with a cherry? A hybrid fruit of course!
Hybrid fruit is a potentially lucrative, and delicious, market. Fruit growers are motivated by the lure of inventing a product that commands premium prices, from 50 cents to $1 or more per pound than conventional fruit. The breeders are also aiming for fruit that will have a longer harvest period to be available to shoppers longer. And with the rise in cooking styles that celebrate the ingredients, American consumers are demonstrating a willingness to spend more on food and a desire to hear the stories behind their produce.
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Fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits in cocktails?
Exploring Sacramento’s fresh farm ingredient cocktails by pedaling through downtown!
By Bethany Heckman, Local Roots Food Tours Guide
Grange Restaurant & Bar
926 J St - Inside Citizen Hotel
Sacramento, CA 95814
Happy Hour: Monday-Friday 3pm-6pm
The Citizen Hotel is a stunning building with an ominous presence in downtown Sacramento so the fact that there is a beautiful bar/restaurant inside is a bonus. The Grange is a farm to table restaurant, offering fresh and local ingredients for each of their dishes. Walking into the Grange you immediately notice their lovely large bar showcasing liqueurs and bottles of spirits. The bartenders are constantly chopping, cutting, and peeling fresh produce: mint, oranges, cucumbers, lemons and ginger. The Grange is a hot spot in downtown Sacramento and known for their fresh summer cocktails. As often as possible they use fresh ingredients to give customers a true taste of garden cocktails. For example, the “Zarzamora,” Don Q rum, Veev acai liquor, blackberry-vanilla syrup, lime, mint. When I spoke with the bartenders at the Grange they let me in on a little secret of a cocktail they were just creating: so new it didn’t even have a name yet. It begins with a 12 year old Zaya Rum blended with a house made fresh nectarine and mint syrup (similar to a smoothie) to bring out the fresh fruity taste of the nectarine. Then, a little fresh squeeze of lemon juice is added and poured as a sipper cocktail.
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Purple carrots, white strawberries and cucamelons?
No, I’m not going crazy, I’m talking about heirloom produce. I’m sure that you’ve heard of heirloom tomatoes, but what does the ‘heirloom’ prefix mean? An heirloom plant or vegetable is a crop that was commonly grown during earlier periods in history, but is not used in “modern large scale agriculture.”
More and more Farmer’s Markets are offering Heirloom produce. The heirloom seed market is growing rapidly as well. Many website offer a large variety of seeds for you to “grow your own” heirloom produce. Everything from black corn, chocolate colored sweet peppers and Merlot lettuce. (yes it’s deep wine colored!) One specific heirloom variety watermelon is a cucamelon. It is a light green fruit whose flesh is white, crisp and crunchy with a lemony tartness. The flavor is similar to a cucumber. People chop them up into summer salads or add them to a simple salsa. I personally eat them like pretzels or chips! Just add a tiny salt and pop them in your mouth! Delicious.
Food should be fun, interesting and enjoyable. Adding color, shapes and new varieties of produce is a simple, easy and great way to develop your palate and knowledge of food! Why bother with heirloom vegetables? Well, first of all, they’re something different. Who expects a blue pumpkin or a yellow tomato? Second, the taste. You might be surprised by how much more flavorful an heirloom vegetable is when compared to one of its modern equivalents. Third, most respond very well to organic treatment. This isn’t surprising, since most were developed long before chemical agriculture became the norm! Fourth, it maintains biodiversity. You never know when we’ll need those genes carried by heirloom produce.
Some heirloom veggies may seem quite odd by modern standards. We get so wrapped up in our expectations of what a certain type of vegetable should look like that we tend to forget that it took a while to breed our modern food plants to the standards that we now enjoy. For example, did you know that some heirloom cultivars of pumpkins are red, white, and even blue, rather than the standard orange? Similarly, carrots can be red, white, or black, and round instead of cylindrical. While a few unusual versions of both vegetables have made it into the modern seed catalog, they’re rare.
What about a simple, delicious and easy heirloom carrot recipe?
***Try and find some different sizes, color and shapes of the carrots for extra flair!
3 tbsp butter, melted
2 bunches heirloom carrots, scrubbed
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 large sprig fresh thyme, leaves only
salt and pepper to season
2 tbsp honey
1. Preheat oven to 400º. In a medium roasting pan, toss the carrots with butter, shallots, and thyme and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
2. Place pan in oven and toast, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are tender.
3. Remove from oven and drizzle over honey. Toss to coat. Season with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.
Want to eat healthy and look like a professional chef while serving “heirloom” produce?! Try:
Heirloom Tomato and Eggplant Gratin
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 pound baby Italian eggplants, peeled and sliced into rounds 1/4 to 1/3 inch thick
4 thyme sprigs
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 pound goat cheese, coarsely crumbled (1 cup)
1. Preheat the oven to 425°. Brush a large oval baking dish with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Arrange the tomato and eggplant slices in a single layer of overlapping concentric circles. Scatter the thyme sprigs on top and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the top. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the eggplant is barely tender and the tomatoes have exuded their juices.
2. Uncover the gratin and bake for about 25 minutes longer, or until the juices have evaporated and the vegetables are very tender. Sprinkle the goat cheese on top and bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
I suggest your next trip to the Farmer’s Market you should ask the vendors if they have any delicious recipes or “new’ heirloom produce for you to try!
We are in peak season for summer squash and juicy tomatoes. Chefs are putting their skills to the test and coming up with some very delicious, healthy and creative dishes using these two key farm fresh ingredients. This Provençal summer dish is delightful as a starter or as a side dish with fish, chicken or cooked grains.
FRIED SUMMER SQUASH WITH TOMATOES and BASIL
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds medium or small zucchini or other summer squash, thinly sliced or diced (depending on what shape squash you use)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound ripe tomatoes, grated on the large holes of a box grater, or peeled, seeded and diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons chopped or slivered fresh basil (to taste)
1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium-high heat in a wide, heavy skillet. Add the zucchini. Cook, stirring or shaking the pan, until the zucchini is lightly seared and beginning to soften, three to five minutes. Remove from the pan, and set aside.
2. Add the remaining olive oil to the pan, then the garlic. Cook, stirring, just until fragrant — less than 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes. Cook, stirring, until the tomatoes have begun to cook down, about five minutes. Return the zucchini to the pan, add salt and pepper to taste, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until the zucchini is tender and translucent and the tomatoes have cooked down to a fragrant sauce. Stir in the basil, and taste and adjust seasonings. Remove from the heat and serve hot, or allow to cool and serve at room temperature.
Yield: Serves four to six.
Advance preparation: You can make this a day or two ahead of time. Keep refrigerated, and reheat gently on top of the stove. The dish is also good cold, doused with a little lemon juice.
Nutritional information per serving (four servings): 111 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 10 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 20 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste), 3 grams protein
Nutritional information per serving (six servings): 74 calories; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 7 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 13 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste), 2 grams protein