Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Predicted Food Trends for 2015

HGTV's 2015 Edible Trends: The Next Hot Fruits, Vegetables & Herbs
  • rhubarb
  • beet & turnip greens (instead of kale)
  • kohlrabi (fermented, pickled, pureed, juiced and preserved)
  • chia seeds
  • heirloom radishes (instead of potatoes)
  • sunflower seeds
  • squash
  • Thai basil
  • parsley & mint
  • apples
  • baby celery
  • artichoke bottoms
  • Napa cabbage
  • collard greens
  • Persian and Pakistan mulberries
  • Epazote
(HGTVs list of trends is based on discussions with chefs across the country about the hottest ingredients they see coming out of the ground onto the table.)

Bon Appetit's trends to watch for in 2015:
  • Gyros
  • Nitro coffee
  • Bacalao (dried salt cod)
  • Tacos
  • Marijuana on restaurant menus
  • Shake Shack-already 56 global locations
  • Crème de Pamplemousse grapefruit liqueur
  • Many new restaurants will open with strangely similar names                                                Your spirit animal or Grandma’s name or Favorite ingredient                                            +Luxury or Provisions or Luncheonette (+Optional: Add &, Co., or Sons)
  • Chinese bing bread (shaobing), a flaky flatbread often eaten at breakfast
  • Beef tongue
  • Third-wave beer bars with destination-worthy food
  • Bartenders will use better ingredients & techniques to update 70s throwbacks as they have updated classic cocktails
  • Kolache, Texas-by-way-of-the-Czech-Republic filled dough pockets, (instead of cornets)
(Andrew Knowlton for Bon Appetit)

Better Homes & Gardens Food Trends
  • Pistachios
  • Bar carts
  • DIY food bars
  • Going global (Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Vietnamese, and Korean)
  • Whole grains (teff, freekeh, kaniwa, or millet)
  • Craft beers
  • Smaller plates
  • Fermented foods
  • Restaurant downsizing to shorter menus, shrunken staff sizes, and smaller venues
  • Smoked foods
  • Coconut sugar
  • Salt & spice play
  • Sipping protein-packed broth
  • Grocery store changes
  • New ways with veggies
  • Home brewing

Food & Wine's new trends for 2015:
  • Middle Eastern Cuisine New York City’s Mile End Deli debuted Middle Eastern–style dishes. Israeli food genius Michael Solomonov opened a hummusiya in Philadelphia. Next, chef Sara Kramer will open a vegetable-centric falafel shop in Los Angeles’s Grand Central Market.
  • House-Made Tortillas Chefs are turning masa into the freshest tortillas at new Mexican restaurants like Empellón al Pastor in New York City; Minero in Charleston, South Carolina; and Cantina Leña in Seattle.
  • After-Dinner Drinks: They note excellent updates on the Grasshopper at Pépé Le Moko in Portland, Oregon, Good Times at Davey Wayne’s in Los Angeles and Bar Sardine in New York City.
  • Tokyo: Expat-Chef Mecca: Nordic pioneer René Redzepi will launch a Noma pop-up at Tokyo’s Mandarin Oriental in early January; both Dominique Ansel and San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery have Tokyo locations in the works.
  • Expo Milano 2015: Everyone will be talking about it. Running May through October, this World’s Fair will focus on the theme Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. Superstar chefs like Massimo Bottura and Alain Ducasse will represent 144 countries.

Urbanspoon selected tapas, Italian, Mediterranean, southern/soul and Japanese as the top five cuisines of 2014.

Urbanspoon’s top picks for dishes for 2015 included:
  • Pickled Cauliflower: Pickled and fermented foods are rapidly rising in popularity in reviews. Urbanspoon predicts next year will be the year of the pickled vegetables.
  • Chicken Wings: 2015 will mark the return of chicken dishes being the spotlight on restaurant menus.
  • Smoked Cabbage: It's not just meats that are smoked anymore, but smoked cabbage, and other smoked veggies, increase in popularity
  • Artisanal Brittle
  • Savory Beignets: Once reserved as a sweet pastry, beignets with savory fillings like smoked shrimp or broccoli and cheese will be a favorite.
(Urbanspoon, a popular restaurant discovery app, bases predictions of top dishes on application and user data, reviews and expert commentary.)

According to Sterling-Rice Group, a Boulder-based consulting firm, 2015 food trends emphasize complex flavors, functional ingredients and a deeper exploration of food culture and community. 
  • Asian 2: The newest wave of Asian flavors are spicier and more complex, driven by Northern Thai cuisine, Japanese okonomiyaki pancakes and tangy Filipino foods. There’s a deeper exploration of funkier, fattier, hotter flavors.”
  • Matcha: Antioxidant-rich Japanese green tea powder, boasting nutrients with less caffeine than green tea, is appearing in convenient formats to meet demand for ready-to-drink beverages with functional benefits. 
  • Edible marijuana: From candy to cold-brewed coffee, creative culinary applications for cannabis are gaining ground in states where medical and recreational marijuana is legal. Cookbooks and cooking classes also incorporate the ingredient in foods beyond the brownie
  • Pursuit of hoppiness: countertrend to IPAs, hop-free beers are on the rise. To create a flavor balance and aroma, brewers use herbs, spices and bitter plants such as mushrooms, sassafras, rosemary, hemp and reindeer lichen. 
  • Charcoal on fire: Charcoal is coloring bread, lemonades and crackers, such as Fine English Charcoal Squares from The Fine Cheese Co. In restaurants, chefs are using ancient styles of charcoal to cook delicate items like fish or small pieces of chicken and meat on a skewer.  It cooks food incredibly fast at high temperatures without smoke and odor, producing a delicious char flavor.
  • Local grains: With farmers selling small-scale alternative grain varieties to local bakers, brewers, chefs and consumers, expect to see a demand for countertop mills and grain-milling appliances. 
  • Coconut sugar: With a lower glycemic index than cane sugar and more nutrients, coconut sugar is sweetening confections, dessert spreads and granola. Purely Elizabeth baking mixes and ancient grain granola cereals from Appetite for Healthy Living, Boulder, contain organic coconut palm sugar, which is sustainably harvested in Bali and provides potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron and B vitamins. People are gravitating to it towards out of the Paleo trend, for something a little less processed, and for more of a traditional taste when they’re making Southeast Asian foods at home.
  • Quality kosher: As Jewish millennials seek to eat in a more culturally driven and conscious way, artisan delis and bagel shops serving farm-to-table fare have emerged. Millennial children seem to be looking for more meaning and connection to their roots.
  • Crowd-sourced cuisine: A new restaurant concept popping up in Dallas,  Denver, and Washington, D.C., combines communal dining, pop-up restaurant novelty and chef competitions. Such restaurant incubators include Kitchen LTO in Dallas, a rotating hub for aspiring chefs who vie for a spot via social media.
  • Less-than-pretty produce: Odd or misshapen fruits and vegetables are getting a second look, supported by concerns over waste and efforts to reduce hunger.
(To compile its annual list, the Sterling-Rice Group collects expertise from food industry experts, publications and trade shows to identify emerging trends in the industry. Not all trends hit the mainstream, but key drivers suggest a shift in consumer behaviors and need states that restaurant operators and food manufacturers may leverage in product development.)

Gardening trends for 2015

Gardening Trends I'm watching:
  • edible landscaping
  • community gardens
  • CSAs 
  • eating more locally grown produce
  • sharing more produce with food pantries and friends
  • heirloom seeds (instead of hybrid GMO seeds)
  • seed gathering
  • seed starting 
  • native plants
  • pollinator gardening (butterflies, bees, and birds) 
  • insect hotels
  • birdbaths and shallow dishes for butterflies
  • water features (fountains ponds, waterfalls,..)
  • rain management (rain barrels, rain gardens, rain chains...)
  • xeriscaping (utilizing drought tolerant plants and water-conserving techniques) 
  • succulents
  • less lawn
  • rock gardens
  • planning and designing to adapt to changing climate conditions-more volatility & extreme conditions
  • composting
  • replacing chemicals with more environmental-friendly options
  • vertical gardening
  • container gardening
  • miniature and fairy gardens
  • terrariums
  • bee keeping 
  • raising chickens
  • repurposed garden art 
  • wind spinners
  • gardens used as extension to living space of home
  • outdoor kitchens
  • Little Free Libraries

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

"Strange how a teapot can represent at the same time the comforts of solitude
 and the pleasures of company."
 ~Author Unknown

The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse was bestowed upon Boulder by Mayor Maksud Ikramov of Dushanbe, Tajikistan, during his visit in celebration of sister city ties being established. In Tajikistan, teahouses are a symbol of togetherness, serving as gathering spaces for the intellectual, political and artistic minds of the community. From 1987 -1990, more than 40 artisans in Tajikistan created the decorative elements for Dushanbe Teahouse in it's sister city, Boulder, including its hand-carved and hand-painted ceiling, tables, stools, columns, and exterior ceramic panels.

In the 7th Century BC, the area now known as Tajikistan was settled at the eastern periphery of the Persian Empire. Situated south of the Silk Road trails, the area has seen invasions by Alexander the Great, Mongols, Arabs, Turks, and Russians. Today Tajikistan is bordered to the east by China, to the north by Uzbekistan and Kyrgystan, and to the south by Afghanistan. Dushanbe was named capital of the Soviet Republic of Tajikistan in 1929. It's people continue to struggle with the aftermath of civil war following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Sara and Lenny Martinelli, owners of Louisville-based Three Leaf Concepts, a restaurant management and catering company, have leased and operated the teahouse since it was assembled in Boulder. Their commitment to fresh, locally produced and organic ingredients led them to create Three Leaf Farm in Lafayette.  All of the farm's harvest goes to their restaurants and catering services. Their chefs work directly with their farmer to plan the wide variety of vegetables, fruits and herbs grown and used in creative, seasonal menus.

Today The Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse is a full service teahouse and restaurant offering over 100 premium loose leaf teas from around the world. They strive to offer the highest quality teas of each harvest season, sourcing the best available products.  They also also offer a variety of exclusive blends, as well as a unique line of herbal infusions, children's teas, dog teas, and specialty tea products. Tea drinkers will appreciate the generous selection of full-leaf, handpicked teas that are served in a Chatsford pot. The waitperson tells guests how long to steep tea before removing the infuser to the accompanying dish.

My choice for dinner along with the suggested Silver Dragon Green Tea:

Malaysian Sambal *  
shrimp   17     
red chilies, rice, coconut milk, carrots, onions & sweet peppers
Tea: Silver Dragon Green  |  Wine: Clifford Bay Sauvignon Blanc

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Denver Botanic Garden's late season container inspiration

Denver Botanic Gardens' highlights

Looking beyond the Chihuly glass to focusing on what makes the Denver Boantica Gardens , 
Of the 3,000 plants native to Colorado, over 120 are rare and imperiled. The Research and Conservation department collects seeds of Colorado’s rare plants to available for future necessary restoration projects, and for research projects, including developing best germination protocols for each species. The Endangered Species Garden, displays imperiled or endemic (they can be found nowhere else in the world) plants of Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.  Colorado ecosystems featuredaround the amphitheatre in Western Panoramas, include the High Plains/Riparian habitat of the Grant Family Cottonwood Border, the Foothills/Ponderosa Pine habitat, and the Subalpine/Bristlecone Pine habitat. Each border represents a stylized version of a classic habitat found in Colorado with an emphasis on grasses, wildflowers and signature trees native to these ecosystems.

The Laura Smith Porter Plains Garden shows what Denver and the Front Range were like prior to development. With a few exceptions, seeds were obtained from areas within 30 miles of Denver, representing the beauty of local genetic material. The most sustainable garden, this garden thrives on natural precipitation alone and is resistant to cold, hail, drought and heat. The Plains Garden encourages conservation and appreciation for fragile and threatened native prairies, including tallgrass, mixed-grass, shortgrass, sandhills, wetland and riparian habitats. The garden provides some of our best examples of how to create regionally-appropriate gardens and habitats for wildlife, and inspires appreciation for our native landscapes.

Wildflower Treasures displays troughs that contain miniature landscapes with native flora and geology from emblematic ecological zones including the Arkansas Valley, Boulder County, Pikes Peak, Mount Evans, everywhere from Montezuma County in the southwest to Pawnee Buttes in northeast Colorado.

The world's first Xeriscape Demonstration Garden (renamed Dryland Mesa, 2 years later) was created at the Gardens in 1986.  It was based on the "7 Principles" (planning & design, appropriate turf area, efficient irrigation, low-water-use plants, soil improvements, surface mulches, and appropriate maintenance) of Xeriscape.  The Garden showcases plants native to arid regions of the West, especially from the Madrean floristic province. It  has not been watered since 1997, except for new plantings that have been watered by hand. 

"Water in the West"
The Rock Alpine Garden includes plants from the Rocky Mountains in addition to other mountain ranges around the world. Alpine ecosystems are also extremely fragile, threatened by climate change and human destruction.

Le Potager Garden's beds, hedged with herbs and boxwood, are designed based on the French Renaisssance period.  The garden includes a mix of vegetables, flowers, and herbs "lovely enough for the front yard". The beds are divied into sections for easy succession planting to maximize yield by rotating crops throughout the growing season. Trellised vining plants and espaliered fruit trees take advantage of vertical space. Produce harvested is donated to local food banks, while heb are used in the garden's Hive Garden Bistro.

Compost collected in
faux bee hive
The Herb Garden is maintained by the Herb Guild, a group of volunteers who creates herb-infused vinegars, oils, and other culinary products to raise funds for the Gardens.

A Scripture Garden features plants referenced in ancient religious texts.

When the Sacred Earth Garden was re-designed around the year 2000, there was an official ceremony in which members of three Four Corners area tribes blessed the garden.Plants used by Native Americans of the Four Corners region. A cultivated area showcasing the “Three Sisters” method of planting food crops in Zuni waffle beds is a highlight of the garden. Sacred Earth features a sand hill zone, a montane zone, a riparian zone and many desert areas. Sacred Earth receives little to no supplemental irrigation during the growing season. 

A Birds & Bee Walk showcases plant reproduction and pollination. The trees, shrubs and plants were selected because of their ability to attract birds, butterflies, bees,  and other fauna.

Had deconstruction begun by the time we arrived in late November?


    We saw...                                                          Earlier in the season, display included...



Possibly some of the more fragile pieces in the ponds where ice was beginning to form were removed early to avoid damage in the freezing and thawing of the water where they had been floating.

According to Tacoma-based Arnhold, who started working with Chihuly more than 15 years ago, only around four pieces of glass broke during the trip to Denver. The glass pieces are packed in heavy-gauge cardboard boxes, each in its own compartment and cushioned with thick, durable foam ordered from a special manufacturer. Styrofoam peanuts and bubble wrap sometimes augment the packaging. Each box is labeled according to the appropriate structure, with photos of the pieces taped to the top, and a sheet listing the number of pieces, descriptions, the packer’s name, date, box size and weight. The boxes then are placed on trailer trucks for the long haul to their destination. An organization that hosts a Chihuly exhibition typically covers the cost of shipping and insurance. 

At the garden, the boxes were moved to each installation spot. The glass iscarefully removed by the installation team and garden volunteers, all wearing either leather or Kevlar gloves.  Steel wires of varying thickness arere drilled into each piece, and the installer secures the wires to a steel armature, or frame. Cranes and scaffolding are used to assemble the biggest ones. 

They typically have a backup plan, sending some extra elements so if something breaks on site, then they have replacements. It’s inevitable that the some glass breaks during installation, but the forces of nature, including temperature changes, wind, hail, and rocks tend to break them more. The installation team brings along about 10 percent of extra glass to each exhibit. To make sure the installations are sparkling, they’re cleaned with microfiber cloths, and for trouble spots, a spray and cloth. Simply hosing them off would leave water spots.

Chihuly reeds

                        Day                                    &                           Night


Neodymium Reeds perfectly highlights
Colorado's native plants in the
Rock Alpine Garden

Red Reeds stand above tall grass
 in the Plains Gardens.

Turquoise Reeds and Marlins
in El Pomar Waterway

"I want my work to appear like it came from nature, so that if someone
 found it on a beach or in the forest, they might think it belonged there."
~Dale Chihuly  

Chihuly water displays

Float Boat in the Monet Pool

Blue and Purple Boat