New Year, New Food Trends

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With the New Year settling in,  we are still mindful in 2018 of eating healthy and exploring global foods. As consumers, we are  constantly selecting better ingredients to improve our health and wellness and to make positive changes, as a lifestyle and not a resolution.

So, we have highlighted some of the top trending foods and spices for 2018 that you can find in your local grocery stores and supermarkets that you can incorporate into your daily diet for the coming year.

 

 

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Matcha :

If you never heard of matcha, the know that it is a finely ground, velvety powder made from nutrient rich green tea leaves. It has a variety of antioxidants and may increase metabolism and physical endurance.
How to use it: Add it to baked goods, like cupcakes or cookies or just stir a teaspoonful into a fruit smoothie or a stir into a glass of water. You can also combine with a good quality sea salt and sprinkle over popcorn.

Sorghum:

Domesticated from the continent of Africa over 8,000 years ago, sorghum is ancient whole grain that resembles Israeli couscous. Sorghum has a nutty flavor and can supply  fiber, potassium, iron and protein to your diet. And another bonus is that sorghum is gluten free.
How to use it: Sorghum grains can be prepared like brown rice, quinoa or other whole grains as a side dish. You can also use it as the base for sweet or savory grain bowls or you can try popping it just like whole kernel corn to make popcorn.

Hemp Seeds:

Hemp seeds can supply a high quality plant-based protein to you diet,with a healthy dose of fiber, iron, magnesium and omega 3 fatty acids. For some people they have a taste that is similar to a cross between a sunflower seed and a pine nut.

How to use it: Sprinkle hemp seeds on salads or avocado toast for that extra crunch. You can also add them to smoothies, homemade granola bars, or even to veggie burgers. Hemp seeds is also an excellent substitute for pine nuts used in making a vegan pesto.

 

Beef Bone Broth:

For the record, bone broth is nothing new, but being rediscovered by chefs serving it in trendy restaurants. In Chinese medicine, whose origins date back over 2,500 years, bone broth is used to support digestive health, as a blood builder, and to strengthen the kidneys.  Cultures far and wide have nourished their families with bone broths and handmade stocks throughout history .Broth made from beef bones is rich in minerals that support the immune system and contains healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine and proline. The collagen in bone broth heals your gut lining and reduces intestinal inflammation.
How to use it: When herbs, spices and vegetables are added, a rich flavor develops and it can be simply warmed and sipped or used in other recipes as a base for soups or gravy and sauces.

Cauliflower:

 
An extremely versatile vegetable that has found it’s way in various healthy dishes, rather than being relegated to a boring accompaniment to the family meal. Like it’s relative, green broccoli, it supplies an impressive amounts of vitamins and minerals such as B6, C, K, folate and potassium as well as fiber and powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals as it comes in a variety of colors such are purple and yellow gold.
How to use it: Like magic, you can transform cauliflower into rice with a box grater or a food processor. You can even make cauliflower pizza crust or use it in a fried rice recipe. Cauliflower can also be used a substitute for potatoes, where the cauliflower is cooked and mashed. If you have large heads of cauliflower, always think about slicing them 3/4 inch thick and grill them like beef steaks for a meatless Monday meal.

Tumeric:

Turmeric is a plant that is native to Southeast Asia and in powdered form, it  has been used for 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems. As a spice, it adds an earthy flavor and brightness to almost any dish.
 
How to use it: Tumeric is best pared with spices and herbs that have complementary flavor profiles, such as cinnamon, ground black pepper and ginger. You can also use it as a natural coloring agent to enhance orange vegetables like pumpkin, squash,  sweet potatoes and carrots, just to  name a few.

Avocado Oil:

 Avocado oil is popping up as an ingredient in many healthy foods. Given it’s versatility, most people love it for its mild flavor in cooking and lack of scent in organic beauty products.

Because it is light and rich in flavor, low in saturated fat and high in monounsaturated fat, it has become a healthy alternative . Avocado oil is nutrient dense and is rich in vitamins A, K and D as well as potassium and antioxidants which are crucial in maintaining a healthy heart.

How to use it: In baking, you can substitute the butter for the avocado oil. You can also drizzle it over popcorn. Because it is so closely resembling olive oil, as a cooking oil, you can  use it to saute or fry vegetables.

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Peppermint Green Tea White Chocolate Fudge

green tea chocolate
I saw a few recipes for green tea chocolate on-line one  during a late late night internet crawl on the  computer. And what I found is that this combination of white chocolate and green tea was just too good to resist.

Green tea powder, or matcha (抹茶), has unique bitter taste to it. The flavor of “matcha” is quite different from the “green tea” served at Japanese restaurants. Matcha is typically used for making tea at traditional Japanese tea ceremony. This tea tends to be quite thick and very very bitter, but it goes quite well with wagashi (和菓子), traditional Japanese confectioneries that are very sweet by itself.

The color of matcha is a bright, beautiful green color, so if your matcha powder doesn’t have that nice vivid hue to it, your matcha is well past its prime. The green tea powder is also quite pricey, especially if it is tea ceremony quality, but culinary grade is good enough for baking and making these chocolates.

To change it up for the holidays, I added a bit of peppermint extract to the mix. Given the absolutely delightful green color, these little treats are just perfect for a holiday party. You can even present them as a hostess gift during the holiday season.

In order to make the perfect batch of green tea white chocolate, be sure to read the  Cook’s Notes at the end of this post.

Enjoy!

Adapted from:
Seonkyoung Longest,Asian At Home, 2014
Photo Credit:  Seonkyoung Longest
and
Namiko Chen,Just One Cookbook, 2014 
Photo Credit: Namiko Chen
Ingredients:
⅓ cup Heavy cream
1½ Tablespoons Green tea powder (Matcha Powder),plus 1 teaspoon more for dustings
12 ounces Ghirardelli White Chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon Peppermint extract*
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Directions:

Add the  heavy cream  to a small saucepan.   Heat the  cream over medium heat until just about to simmering. Remove from heat.

 

Green Tea Chocolate 3

Photo Credit: Namiko Chen, Just One Cookbook, 2014

 

 

Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, add white chocolate. Pour the  hot heavy cream over chocolate and stir until it is  melted with a rubber spatula. If chocolate is not melting and the mixture gets cold, microwave for 10 seconds at a time and stir.

Photo Credit:  Seonkyoung Longest, 2014

 

When the chocolate and heavy cream has been  well combined, add the  peppermint extract* and butter. Stir gently until the  white chocolate mixture is smooth and creamy.

Photo Credit: Seonkyoung Longest, 2014

 

 

 

Sift in green powder right on top of chocolate mixture and stir gently until green tea is  combined smoothly.

Photo Credit: Seonkyoung Longest, 2014

 

Pour green tea chocolate into an 8 x 8-inch  baking pan lined with parchment paper. Spread top evenly and place in a refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours.

         Photo Credit: Seonkyoung Longest, 2014

 

 

Remove the  chocolate from the refrigerator after it had set and is hardened. Lift the parchment paper to remove the green tea chocolate from the baking dish and separate the  parchment paper.  Run the sharp knife under hot water to warm up the knife and wipe it dry completely.Cut  the chocolate into 1 x 1-inch  squares or any size that you desire.

Green Tea Chocolate 10

Photo Credit: Namiko Chen, Just One Cookbook, 2014

                   

                                     Photo Credit: Seonkyoung Longest, 2014

 

Dust the squares  with  the remaining green tea powder.

Green Tea Chocolate 12

Photo Credit: Namiko Chen, Just One Cookbook, 2014

Store in an airtight container in a refrigerator but it’s best taste when it’s room temperature.

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Cook’s Notes:

IMPORTANT: PLEASE READ BEFORE MAKING THIS RECIPE

Make sure the all of the bowls and utensils that you are using are perfectly DRY. Even a small amount of water/steam can “seize” the chocolate melting process.

When buying white chocolate, make sure that it contains cocoa butter because some inferior brands contain vegetable fat. White chocolate should be ivory-colored (white chocolate made with vegetable fat is white-colored).Valrhona makes a very good white chocolate consisting  35% cocoa butter and 21.5% milk and has a lightly sweet profile with a very fine consistency Valrhona’s oval discs are the perfect presentation for baking, melting and nibbling. Lindt White Chocolate Classic Bars are also a good alternative to use in this recipe.

Note that the  fat content for heavy (whipping) cream is 38%

The green color will vary based on the type of green tea that is being used.

*1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract can be substituted for the Peppermint extract as seen in the original recipe.

To get a more even color, dissolve the tea in the cream and then heat the cream to the simmer point, and proceed with the recipe as written.

 

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor