Archive for the 'culinary' Category

Reflections on the Roadshow

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

2011 Innovations Roadshow room 267

It’s hard to believe that another Innovation Roadshow® has come and gone. With 18 months of planning, our annual event was over quicker than you can even say the word “Roadshow.”

Throughout 26 booths, our global technical staff showcased almost 100 new concepts, flavors and technologies that got our attendees’ creative juices flowing.

All that noshing built up energy for presentations on food & beverage trends, alternative natural sweeteners and new EU flavor legislation. And the day culminated with a keynote presentation from Mary Wagner, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Global Research & Development/Quality for Starbucks Coffee Company. Her presentation educated our attendees on how to remain authentic to your brand, yet appeal to the local market to which you are selling.

But back to the food! When it comes to the products we show at our Innovation Showcase, the tabletop exhibit mentioned above, everyone has their favorites – based on personal preference, uniqueness and applicability – but let me share with you some of mine….

Varietal Mint Ice Creams - developed with David Michael’s Michtex® technology

  • Varietal Mint Ice Creams – Inspired by chewing gum, we explored the use of spearmint (paired with blackberry) and wintergreen (paired with vanilla) in ice cream, as well as a new texture. Utilizing David Michael’s Michtex® technology, we were able to replicate the “stretchy” texture of Turkish-style ice cream, also known as dondurma.

 Fortified Fruity Chicken Nuggets Varieties - Cherry Pir and Apple a la Mode

  • Fortified Fruity Chicken Nuggets – For the picky eater in need of a nutritional boost, these nuggets boast vitamins and minerals, or deliver a serving of fruit. Choose from Cherry Lime or Apple Pie a la Mode (coated with real pie crust and vanilla ice cream flavored icing!).

Aloe Beverages - Borojo Rooibos Tea, Old Fashioned Lemonade, and Spiced Peach

  • Aloe Beverages – Each year at the Fancy Foods Show, the number of vendors showing aloe beverages grows and grows. With their sweet taste and flavorful adaptability, why haven’t these taken off? One theory is the large pulp. Our beverage group addressed this with three flavors with varying degrees of pulp. And the flavors! The beverages were shown in Borojo Rooibos Tea, Old Fashioned Lemonade, and Spiced Peach (with cinnamon, vanilla and mastic).

Mood Truffles - Aphrodisiac Foods

  • Mood Truffles – As in get-in-the-mood truffles. We’ve spotted some trends lately pointing toward aphrodisiac foods gaining favor with baby boomers. Anti-aging foods that enhance energy and vitality, are going a step further. The flavors also test our level of comfort, another emerging trend, with oyster and uni (sea urchin roe).

Maghreb Fruit & Almond Smoothie

  • Maghreb Fruit & Almond Smoothie – Not only does this fruit and almond milk smoothie highlight dairy alternatives, and North African flavors (honey fig, and honey fig with orange blossom and cumin), but it’s also a multi-purpose beverage. The smoothies can also be used as sauces for meats.

But these are just a few of the amazing items showcased this year. Learn more about the Innovation Roadshow. To taste samples from this year’s show, or get copies of the presentations, please contact your account manager.

Sometimes, I just get a feeling…

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

There’s a lot of research that goes into predicting trends – reading through countless new product reports, tracking new articles, examining non-food trends for societal influences. All of these things fit into a big puzzle that is constantly changing.

But sometimes, it just comes down to a gut feeling.

Recently, I’ve spotted some announcements for a free Malaysian food truck in New York, sponsored by the “Malaysia Kitchen for the World” organization. This organization sponsored other food-focused events earlier this year as well, bringing traditional Malaysian foods to the residents of New York City.

And today, CNN’s Eatocracy blog (always a fun read, by the way) featured a video on Malaysian street food.

I know…it’s only two mentions…but I’ve got that feeling. Malaysian food is strongly influenced by neighbors Indonesia and Thailand, as well as China, India and Portugal, due to early settlers. Some of these countries’ flavors are currently on-trend, as well, which only adds to the intrigue.

So, it may not be tomorrow. It may not even be next year. But at some point in the not too distant future, I’d say to expect a bit of attention on Malaysian flavors…. I’ve just got a feeling.

Hungry? Try a hearty helping of DMFlavors…

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Here at DM, we’re all about flavor – whether it’s in the lab, or at home. Each month, our fabulous chefs develop a new recipe for our enjoyment. The recipes range from quick and easy, to those that require a bit more effort. Some of my personal favorites include Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble Pie, Peruvian Chicken and Rice, Summer Rum Tea Punch, and this month’s Vietnamese Meatball Sandwich (a.k.a. Banh Mi). Go ahead and check them out tonight!

Click here for the Recipe of the Month!

Savory Cocktails – Trend or Fad?

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Blogs are exploding with reports of meaty cocktails on the menu. I’m not going to lie – my first reaction is “ewwww.” I want bacon with my morning OJ, not in it.

But then I let it simmer a little (sorry, it was one of the only puns not taken), and thought about the savory drinkables that have been around for a while. There is, of course, the Bloody Mary, with its sweet, spicy and savory components. Then there is the age-old Chelada cocktail that uses Clamato juice – a product that has always made me run away (but then again, I don’t exactly like clams). And recently, modern bartenders (a.k.a. bar chefs or mixologists) have reverted to hand-crafted cocktails from real fruit, herbs and spices, rather than relying on mixes (admittedly moreso in higher-end establishments and independents).

Considering these elements makes the savory cocktail seem like a no-brainer – so why the buzz? Oh, maybe it’s the term “fat-washing” that has us talking. Mixologists are adding fat (as in, bacon fat) to whiskey, popping it in the freezer, then cutting out the solidified fat. Bacon flavor infused – greasy fat in the trash.

And ok, I’ll admit it. With the extreme love for bacon I see on a daily basis, and the versatility we’ve been opened up to in the past few years, maybe this could work. After all, bacon is amazing in chocolate, so why not in my chocolate martini?

But how about salmon-flavored vodka? Now you’re cringing, right? Yes sir, one distiller has added a salmon flavor to their line-up. I’m all for shaking things up, but…

So, the question remains – is this a growing trend, or just a fad? Well, the thing about a fad is that most of the time, it has some basis in a functional long-term trend. Take leg warmers for instance – a fashion fad, but not for those in the dancing world. And in food, fads may fizzle, but they tend to stick around in one way or another. In other words, while the liquor store of the future may not stock the makings for a Philly cheesesteak cocktail, what we are seeing is a slow move away from overly sweet, candy-coated cocktails. We’re scaling back the sweet for a more balanced drink, be it savory, fruity or otherwise.

There are elements in the meaty drink craze that are shaping the future of drink. And focusing on those nuances, the driving forces, will help us determine future flavors for this category. Just please, don’t let it be salmon…

Vanilla Unveils its Savory Side

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

In yesterday’s Washington Post food section, I spotted an article revealing that vanilla works just as well in savory dishes, as in an ice cream cone.

Well…with respect to the Washington Post, we’ve known this one for years.

Ask anyone in our labs, and they’ll tell you that their secret ingredient in a pot of chili, is always vanilla. Try it in a pot of spaghetti sauce too.

At past Roadshows, we’ve shown vanilla paired with tomato, curry, peppercorn, and brown gravy – just to name a few.

Thai Twist Salad Dressing with Vanilla
Roadshow 2006: Thai Twist Salad Dressing with Vanilla

Vanilla can modify the heat of many peppery products, while enhancing the flavor of the particular pepper. It can off-set the earthy and “weed-like” character of many herbs to allow a more palatable experience. It can also be used to create a divergent sensation, whereas vanilla stands out at a different time during the eating experience than the item with which it is paired.

Curious about vanilla’s savory side? I’ve pulled a few recipes from our archives to share with you. Enjoy!

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Spinach Salad with Cranberry Vanilla Vinaigrette

Fresh Baby Spinach – Washed    -  6 oz.

Cranberry Juice  -  1 cup

Fresh Cranberries -  ½  cup

Crumbled Blue Cheese  - ½ cup

Olive Oil  -  ¼ cup

Toasted Pine Nuts -   ¼ cup

Sugar   -  ¼ cup

Orange Juice  -   ¼ cup

White Balsamic Vinegar  -   3 Tbsp

Vanilla Extract  -  2 tsp

Shallots finely minced  -  ¼ tsp

Garlic finely minced  -  ¼ tsp

Salt   -  1 tsp

Pepper   -   1/8 tsp

Raspberries – fresh (optional) -   2 oz

Combine fresh cranberries, sugar, cranberry juice and orange juice and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and steep for ten minutes. Strain the cranberries and save the cranberries and the liquid.

Mix together the spinach, blue cheese and pine nuts. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix together the vinegar, shallots, garlic, vanilla, salt, pepper and the cranberry liquid. Whisk in the oil. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper.

Dress the salad and toss with the raspberries and poached cranberries.

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Sautéed Pork Medallions with a Wild Mushroom Sherry Vanilla Sauce

Pork Tenderloin cut into medallions -   8

Oil   -   ¼ cup

Flour    -   ¼ cup

Salt   -  To season

Pepper   -   To season

Sauce:

Veal or Chicken Stock   -  2 cups

Sherry Wine   -  ½ cup

Mixed Wild Mushrooms  -   1 ½ cups

Heavy Cream   -   ¼ cup

Vanilla Extract   -   2 tsp

Carrots – minced   -   1 Tbsp

Celery – minced  -  1 Tbsp

Butter   -   2 Tbsp

Sugar    -   1 Tbsp

Shallots – minced   -    ½ tsp

Garlic – minced  -   ½ tsp

Bay leaf    -   1 leaf

Salt  -   To taste

Pepper  -  To taste

Melt half the butter in a large sauté pan. Lightly sauté the shallots, garlic, carrots and celery. Add the sherry and cook reducing the liquid by half.

Add the remaining ingredients except the cream and butter and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the butter and adjust the seasonings.

Flatten the pork medallions and dust with the seasoned flour. Sauté in oil. Hold in a warming oven until ready to serve.

Suggested serving: Serve with soft polenta with roasted red peppers. The pork and sauce go well with spaetzle as well.

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Pan Seared Steak with a Vanilla Peppercorn Sauce

Strip Steaks  -  2 lbs

Salt -   To season

Pepper  -  To season

Sauce:

Beef Stock   -   2 cups

Red Wine  -  ½ cup

Heavy Cream   -  ¼ cup

Cooking Oil  -  ¼ cup

Vanilla Extract  - 1 Tbsp

Green Peppercorns  -   1 Tbsp

Butter  -  1 Tbsp

Shallots – minced  -   ½ tsp

Garlic – minced   -   ¼  tsp

Parsley – chopped  -   ½ tsp

Salt   -    To Taste

Fresh Ground Pepper   -   To Taste

Season the steak with salt and pepper and sear in oil until both sides are lightly brown. Remove steak and finish in a warming oven until desired doneness is achieved.

Remove the excess oil from the pan and sauté the shallots and garlic for 1 minute. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, simmer and reduce the volume by half.

Add the stock, peppercorns and vanilla. Let reduce on medium high heat for 8 – 10 minutes.

Slowly add the heavy cream and simmer until the consistency of the sauce has become slightly thicker.

Finish the sauce by slowly adding the butter and adjust the seasoning with salt & pepper.

Serve over the steak.

How I Love to Try Something New!

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Just this past Friday, I read a great article in Nation’s Restaurant News on innovative flavors in foodservice soft-serve. Among the flavors mentioned, olive oil intrigued me most, especially since it had proven as the best selling for one restauranteur.

So, on Saturday night, when our waiter mentioned olive oil as one of the home-made gelatos available at Philadelphia’s Pizzeria Stella, I was sold.

While the other ladies in our group opted for chocolate or hazelnut (which were amazing themselves), myself and one other brave friend ordered the olive oil. We each received one perfect scoop swimming in a small sea of yellow-green oil. The taste was creamy, sweet, fatty and fruity, and reminded me of (solid) spreadable olive oil I have sampled in the past.

olive oil gelato

What struck me most, though, was that it seemed the perfect base for more…. like an alternative to vanilla, but a bit less complex.

Almost the entire table sampled our olive oil gelato, and I saw some mixed faces and reactions. From the “well, it tastes just like olive oil,” to “no, I don’t like that at all,” and the “wow, that’s not as bad as I thought.” (I’m pretty sure that last one was a compliment.)

Despite the reaction from our friends, although most of them liked it or were ambivalent, myself and my adventurous ordering buddy were pleased.

From Little Russia by the Sea…with love!

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Little Russia By The Sea - Brighton Beach

This weekend, I stepped off of the subway, and into another world…literally. I, along with a gaggle of women, visited Brighton Beach, Brooklyn on Saturday night for an unconventional bachelorette party at The National – a Russian supper club where English is scarce, and the vodka is French.

Russian Cold Appetizers

A display of cold appetizers awaits us.

Russian Smoked Sturgeon and Lox

Smoked sturgeon and lox.

When we were seated at our table for 18, a traditional Russian spread was already waiting for us. A bevy of cold appetizers ranging from Russian potato salad, smoked sturgeon, lox, grilled vegetables, chicken liver pate, pickles, eggplant, assorted salads, and beef tongue. Even in this brave group of women, the beef tongue was met with cringes and “no thank you’s,” until our intrepid friend Jennie manned up, and chased it quickly down with pumpernickel and vodka – a scowl on her face.

Russian Beef Tongue

The infamous beef tongue!

Almost full already, the food kept coming, and miraculously found space on the table. More cold appetizers – pancakes with salmon roe, more fish, more salad. Then the hot appetizers – roasted potatoes, chicken-filled pirozhki (like a dumpling, pierogi or knish), grilled white fish, and stuffed roast beef.

Russian Chicken Pirozhki

Getting stuffed – chicken pirozhki amid a table full of food!

And, oh wait, there’s more!!! A few hours into dinner, dancing, and live music, and there were more hot appetizers to be had! Just when we thought we couldn’t eat another bite, the waiters served us a beautiful bread bowl filled with beef stew that was out of this world. All the while, straight vodka was the beverage of choice, and our requests for water were lost a bit in translation.

Russian Bread Bowl filled with Beef Stew

Bread bowl with beef stew.

Happy birthdays were sung to those from one year to 50. Anniversary dances were made with grandkids running circles round. And then, the stage show began. White suits and mesh leotards accented by wigs, hats and feathers. Salsa prevailed in the Carnivale theme that didn’t seem out of place, even though every other bit of chatter was in Russian.

Beef Tongue - Traditional Russian Meal

Beef tongue, later in the evening, remains mostly untouched!

Dinner was served as we watched, a collection of chicken and pork kebabs, stuffed chicken breast…and french fries (a little random, but completely appreciated!). The evening finished with more dancing and singing, as well as cakes, pastries and coffee. For those six hours of solid eating, I felt as if I had been transported to Russia, and all I did was drive up the turnpike. It’s amazing how food can do that – in concert with language, song and vodka, of course!

Balinoff Vodka

We asked why the vodka was French, but the Russian speaking waiters didn’t quite understand our question. The response? “It’s for fun.”

**Thanks to all the ladies that donated their food pictures!!!

2009 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 2

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Next up on the fancy brigade is a stop in Peru. Last month, we took you on a little journey through Peru, with flavor chemist Yuko Nodo. But at the Fancy Foods Show, the flavors of Peru came to me.

So often, I avoid the international pavilions. The mind (and feet) can only take in so much in a day, and typically the pavilions are filled with a lot of commodity products. And let’s face it, there are only so many nuts and so much olive oil a girl can take.

But Peru did it right. At a large endcap of the pavilion I was drawn in by the call of Pisco Sours…delish! After one turn around this overly crowded display, I found out that the trade organization PromPeru had joined forces with a local Peruvian restaurant, Oh! Calamares (Kearny, NJ), to present an amazing spread of goodies. I snacked on potato pastries and chocolate flan! The lucuma fruit was heavily promoted through samples and signage, as were Peruvian potatoes and purple corn. Elderberry, amaranth and quinoa were also displayed in the pavilion. With all of the foodie interest in Peruvian cuisine recently, it was no surprise to see this was the absolute busiest booth at the show.

And, speaking of crowded booths, Ciao Bella Gelato had its fair share of traffic, too! I sampled the Key Lime Graham Cracker Gelato – a 2009 Sofi Award Winner in the Perishable Foodservice Product category. There’s no question why this product won! So often, key lime flavored products don’t translate as well into non-pie applications. If not done right, they can taste, well, artificial. But this was right on – authentic and refreshing, like a frozen slice of fresh pie.

Last fall, I read about Skyr - a strained Icelandic yogurt that’s been slowly making a name for itself. Plus, it’s non-fat and sugar-free. So when I happened upon the Siggi’s booth at the show, I was excited to taste! I tried the plain first, to experience the true flavor of skyr. It tastes quite a bit like traditional yogurt, only much thicker and creamier. It’s very filling, and sour. They had a number of flavors on hand to sample, and I went immediately for the grapefruit. The flavored varieties are sweetened with agave nectar. The grapefruit seemed a bit thinner than the plain, and was more tart, or course, but quite good. I wish I hadn’t been so full at the time, or else I would have tried more of their flavors – they all sounded delicious!

In an issue of Fast Track Fast Trends last year, we explored Coneinn Pizza, which is basically, a pizza in a cone! The product heats in the microwave, in an upright package. Sounds great, doesn’t it! Problem is – it’s a European product. That’s why I was so excited to see the Coneinn booth at the show! I was pretty sad that they didn’t have any samples to try (I’ve been drooling over it for a year, after all!), but I did find out that they’re looking for stateside distributors. They will be mine…oh yes, they will be mine.

One more installment to go! Next time we’ll talk alcohol-free wine and flavored dulce de leche!

2009 Summer Fancy Foods Show Review – Part 1

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Another season, another Fancy Foods Show! Last Monday I hopped the train to New York and breathed in the scents at the Javits Center.

Perusing the booklet before hitting the show floor, I got pretty excited to see one product in particular – black garlic. I first caught wind of black garlic late last year, and have seen it pop up in a number of foodie blogs since then. More recently, it was written up in the Washington Post and Gourmet, but I still had yet to try it. Black garlic is an ordinary garlic bulb that has fermented for about a month, resulting in what you see below. The taste is unexpected – sweet, fermented, and almost smoky. It has a subtle garlic flavor, but not at all overwhelming, and the texture is very soft. I brought a sample back to the office for our chefs to try, and they were blown away by the flavor. While at the booth, I also tried the black garlic jam, which was tasty and sweeter than the actual clove, and experienced a number of visitors running up to the booth excitedly yelling, “we love this stuff!” While I had read about this new flavor phenom in a number of blogs, this was honestly the first commercial product I had found – most foodies have been making it on their own. Expect to see black garlic grow on restaurant menus in the near future. Also, the folks at Black Garlic, Inc. were featuring a black garlic energy drink. Since black garlic claims to be loaded with antioxidants, it’s possible that this foodie favorite may also grow as a healthy ingredient.

Black Garlic Uses

Now to the important stuff – chocolate!! Grazing the show floor, a girl could make a mean meal on the stuff (and did, by the way). In flavors, sea salt prevailed, as did varietal dark chocolates, caramel, tea flavors and even some florals, like lavender. But at the Vosges booth, it’s still all about good old-fashioned bacon. Those fabulous cocoa gods and goddesses debuted more bacon chocolate goodness – a dark chocolate version of the Mo’s Bacon Bar, a bacon chocolate toffee, and even, dare I say, bacon chocolate pancakes! Alas, I got to the booth a smidge too early for the pancakes – and I’m still kicking myself…

Now, I’m not much of a honey fan myself (I know, I know…how can I not love honey), but I was impressed by the concept of varietal honey from Savannah Bee Company. These varieties have been specially chosen to pair with tea, cheese and grilled foods.

Of course, there is way more to talk about from this year’s show! Check back next time, we’ll talk about Peruvian flavors and Skyr!

Everything Old is New Again…

Friday, June 26th, 2009

Just the other day, I read that both Sun-In and Zinc Oxide are back in for the summer. Now right there are two things that I never imagined to see in my beach bag again.

But then there are classics that endure – like macaroni & cheese. I actually used to hate the stuff…but with a husband that practically lives on the blue box, I’ve not only grown to appreciate it, but love it.

So when I recently read about Good Tastes Kitchen’s Mac & Cheese of the Month Club, I began to drool. Customers can sign up for one, three, six or 12 month subscriptions that deliver “Bliss in the Mail.”

Ranging from the typical All American variety, to Cajun, Pancetta & Pea, or even Pumpkin & Sage, recipients explore seasonal and ethnic flavors through and American classic.

And while the price seems, admittedly, a little high, each month feeds a family of four for a total bill comparable to a casual restaurant. So that you can enjoy it in the comfort of your own home, with your orange hair, and your neon green nose!!!

David Michael & Co. • 10801 Decatur Road • Philadelphia, PA 19154 • 1-800-DM-FLAVORS

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