Cook's Exchange: Food trends for 2014? What's in, what's out?

January 8, 2014 

What's hot and what's not in the food world for 2014?

I have received more emails telling me what to expect for trends in eating at home and dining out for the new year. Some say kale is out, but Korean and some Asian foods are still in. Food trucks may take a drive and not come back. French foods are expected to be strong, but fusion is out.

The biggest out? Fried chicken. Did the experts check out Sunday dinner in the South? I know that most of us cannot eat fried foods every day, but the occasional spicy fried chicken breast tastes great. I rarely fry chicken, preferring to bake or grill it, but my family loves it when I do. There is nothing like home-fried chicken.

What do you think are the ins and outs of food for 2014? I would love to hear your thoughts especially since this column is often read throughout the nation, so we should get an interesting cross-section of opinions. Chefs feel free to weigh in on this, too. What deletions or additions can we expect on menus in 2014?

Readers really help

Many thanks to Pat Kerstetter for sending the Galatoire's recipes that a reader named Barbara wanted. As most readers know, I cannot access my computer files right now because of my own stupidity at not having an external hard drive backup. Kerstetter came to the rescue.

Both of these recipes for the stuffed eggplant and bechamel sauce are really easy to prepare and taste so good. Barbara, these

are for you and any other readers who may have missed them. Galatoire's is a fine-dining restaurant in New Orleans.

GALATOIRE'S SEAFOOD STUFFED EGGPLANT

Serving Size : 6

2 large eggplants

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

1/2 cup seasoned dried bread crumbs

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup clarified butter

1/4 cup finely chopped scallions (white and green parts)

1/4 cup finely chopped curly parsley

2 dozen large (21 to 25 count) shrimp -- boiled, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 pound lump crabmeat -- cleaned

Cayenne pepper to taste

1 recipe béchamel sauce (recipe follows)

Preheat either an indoor grill or broiler on low setting.

Cut the stems and ends off the eggplants. Peel one of the eggplants and cut into 1-inch cubes. Slice the other eggplant lengthwise into 6 pieces about1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Cut a thin slice on both sides to remove the peel. If there is any pulp remaining in the second eggplant, peel it and chop it as well. Steam the 1-inch eggplant cubes in a steamer basket until soft.

Brush the 6 strips of eggplant with olive oil, season with salt and white pepper, and grill or broil until tender and golden. Set the cooked pieces aside until it is time to put the stuffing on them.

Blend the bread crumbs and the Parmesan in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat the clarified butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and parsley and sauté for 1 minute or until wilted. Add the shrimp, crabmeat and steamed eggplant pulp and season the mixture with salt, white pepper and cayenne pepper. Saute for another 3 to 4 minutes over medium heat. Fold in the béchamel sauce and half of the bread crumb-cheese mixture and allow the stuffing to simmer for 1 minute for all of the ingredients to marry.

Preheat broiler on the low setting.

Divide the stuffing into 6 equal portions and mold each into an oval shape. Arrange the 6 slices of cooked eggplant on a large metal platter or roasting pan and place the ovals of stuffing on them. Sprinkle the stuffed eggplants with the remaining bread crumb-cheese mixture and bake under broiler until golden brown, approximately 3 to 4 minutes.

Serve at once.

GALATOIRE'S BECHAMEL SAUCE (WHITE SAUCE)

2 cups whole milk

1 cup salted butter -- (2 sticks)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk until simmering. In a medium sauté pan, melt the butter and slowly incorporate the flour, whisking constantly over low heat to make a blond roux. Slowly incorporate 1 cup of the heated milk into the roux, whisking constantly. Cook over low heat for 10 minutes, until the mixture becomes paste-like in consistency. Slowly incorporate the remaining milk and whisk until smooth. Makes 2- 1/2 cups.

-- Submitted by Pat Kerstetter

Wanted: Monkey Pie

A Bradenton reader wants a recipe for monkey pie, a dessert that was served by the operator at the Banyan Cafe at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. 

"The new operator does not offer it, and I have never seen at recipe for it," she wrote. "Our family loves it as a special occasion dessert."

The reader did not give any ingredients, but I would suppose it is made with bananas. Perhaps my Bradenton Herald readers can give some insight into this pie. Please share your ideas and recipes.

Still looking

I still haven't received any mirliton recipes for Brenda Roberts of Biloxi. Mirliton also is known as chayote, so check your files and see what you can find. Be sure that these are healthy recipes, low in fat, carbs and sodium. I know Roberts will appreciate the help.

Greek cookbook

Helen Moroz of Holmes Beach loves Greek food and wanted to know the name of Biloxi's Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox's cookbook. The name of the book is "Family Traditions" and can be ordered by mail at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox church, 255 Beauvoir Road, Biloxi, MS 39531. Cost of the cookbook is $20, plus postage and handling. The website is www.holytrinitybiloxi.org.

Andrea Yeager, who can be reached at ayeager51@cableone.net, takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.

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