Sure it’s fall, sure the holidays are just around the corner but that’s no reason to have to be all conventional about it! We can have fun can’t we? While fall and the fast-approaching winter are often thought of as times for those oh so well-known comfort foods, incorporating a few of the fall’s top food trends can keep things lively and interesting.
1. Tart it up
No we’re not talking tart as in a fruit tart but tart as in sour. Afterall, we’ve done sweet, we’ve done salty and if you’re like me we’ve just umami’d ourselves to the hilt. So now now’s the time to add tart to the mélange of fall flavors and we’re talking one sensational season!
Then sure, make a nice tart “tart,” say rhubarb, cranberry, or sour cherry? Add some rhubarb to that great Thanksgiving stuffing of yours or to cook down those dark plums with some equally dark sour cherries for one heck of an ice cream topper that’ll be savored by the whole family (just make sure you have enough vanilla ice cream in the freezer).
Oh and if a tart tart sounds fab to you, here’s a Sour Cherry Tart recipe, courtesy of the wonderful Ruth Reichl that’s sure to do the trick.
2. Tamarind Anything
Back in ’09 a few famous chefs were talking tamarind. This earthy, slightly tart, distinctive fruit is believed to originally have come from Africa and is known the world over, from South East Asia and India to Persia, to South and Central America, the Caribbean and even the Cook Islands.
As for the taste, think part fig, part quince, part something else, this pod fruit can be used processed in its condensed version or you can buy the dried pods at your local Asian or Latin supermarket.
Make tamarind sauces to pour over flat iron steaks for real dimension, make a base and add it to Calvados and maybe a little vodka for one heck of a nice cocktail, make a flan and add tamarind to your caramel sauce for a Nuevo-Mexican dessert that’s memorably delicious.
Want to go Caribbean? Try this recipe for Trinidadian Tamarind Wings.
3. Popped Grains
Guess what? You can pop more than just popcorn. Turns out, a number of different grains are pop-able, using a method very much like, if not identical, to the way you make popcorn the old-fashioned way.
Amaranth, sorghum, rice, wheat, barley and rye are a few of the grains you can pop. Make a tasty, healthy alternative to regular popcorn; create a nice granola of nuts and popped amaranth and sorghum with nuts and oats; or halve out sweet potatoes and add a popped grains mixture to the sweet potato shells.
Need instructions on how to pop? Check out this video.
4. Ra-Ra-Ra Ramen
I love ramen. Thanks to chefs like David Chang and Ivan Orkin (the American chef that set up shop in Tokyo) ramen has become a big deal in cities throughout the U.S. Go on the cheap and get creative with Top Ramen or take the time to make a really kickin’ miso broth with all the right seasonings, ramen is always truly sating and I think people like having to slurp and bite down on all those steaming hot noodles. For mine, I insist on the perfectly boiled egg and lots of scallions in a piping hot broth.
Here’s a ramen you can make with that leftover Thanksgiving turkey that’s sure to be a welcome break from the routine.
5. Tis the Season for Sriracha
Named after the town in Thailand where this chili sauce originated, Sriracha has had a longtime following amongst many chefs and cooks. With the advent of this year’s first ever Sriracha Festival (in Los Angeles) and hipper bars serving Sriracha laced cocktails, this distinctive-tasting chili sauce is gaining mass appeal. Next time you’re making a dip, sauce or stew and are looking to add depth or a hint of spice, add a little of this stuff and see it work its magic. Want a hot toddy that’s sure to knock your socks off? Try this.
So whether it’s a regular weeknight meal or Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, making the most of some of the latest, greatest fall food trends will keep it fun and interesting.