Thursday, February 12, 2015

French Onion Soup in a Flash!

King Louis XV 
Who doesn’t love a bowl of French Onion Soup?Topped with melted Gruyère cheese over crusty bread, your spoon digs into the bowl to get to the rich beef and onion broth.  It’s a classic recipe that became wildly popular in this country in the 1960s when interest in French cooking really took off.  Its history goes back a very long time before that.  Onion soups have their roots in Roman times because onions were plentiful, easy to grow and cheap.  For those reasons, they were seen as food for the poor.  In 18th century France, the modern version came into being.  There’s a legend that the first French Onion soup was created for King Louis XV. The story goes that upon arrival at his hunting party’s lodge, all that was in the larder was butter, onions and champagne.  It seems unlikely that anyone preparing for the King’s arrival would have not stocked the pantry to the hilt but it makes a good story.  But there’s another one that’s even better. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

The Five Biggest Food Trends for 2015 plus Fine Cooking's Rigatoni with Roasted Cauliflower, Currants and Pine Nuts

         Food Trends are an annual pursuit for everyone from Bon Appetit to the BBC.  The list that intrigued me most, however, came from Pinterest, the on-line picture sharing site where anyone, anywhere can post any image at all that interests them.  “Food” makes up for just over 10 percent of what’s pinned lagging behind Home Décor, Arts and Crafts and Fashion and Style.  (I was surprised that Cat pictures didn’t even make the top 10.) Pinterest developed their list of food trends simply by tallying up the most popular pins on its site. This sounds like a flawless way to zero in on what people are actually eating rather than the predictions of someone who is locked in the towers of Conde Nast or Broadcast House.  Pinterest narrowed its list down to five. And here they are:
1. Ramen, long a college dorm room staple, have risen in restaurant popularity to the point that Pinterest thinks they are poised to enter the home kitchen this year.

2. Hack the Menu.  This involves discovering ‘secret’ non-menu items that can be ordered at restaurants, coffee shops and fast food restaurants thereby assuring your dinner mates that you are a master or mistress of privileged information.  California’s In-N-Out Burger alone is responsible for 17 of these.

    3.  The Paleo diet mimic foods eaten by early humans –meat, fish, vegetables and fruits.  No dairy, no grains and certainly no processed food.  But hold onto your toque, Carbs are about to enter the picture with recipes like Paleo Waffles.  Although what the early humans did for a waffle iron is not explained.
4.Tequila is the new Vodka.  And 80 is the new 60…just kidding.


5.  Cauliflower is the new Kale.  Andrew greeted this last one with great joy having somehow missed last year’s boat when Kale was the new bacon.  According to Pinterest, Cauliflower isn’t just a side dish anymore.  It’s now a center of the plate item. There’s even a recipe for pizza crust that uses cauliflower and wouldn’t you know it’s gluten-free!

So there you have them.  A long way round to bring you to today’s remarkable Cauliflower recipe.