State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Blonde Cucina: Recipe hits on many of 2017's new food trends

by on March 30, 2017 3:24 PM

When it comes to food, just as in fashion, there always are predicted trends that, throughout the seasons, we see come to life. Along with those new red hot trends are others that we see slipping away.

Sadly, quinoa, vegan and vegetarian-type dishes, food trucks and grass-fed beef, to name a few, are not going to be on the foodie radar as much. (And, grass-fed beef was hot for just a moment anyway.)

Here is a list of items I believe stand out the most as new food trends that we have already been seeing, or will shortly:

■ Ramen

■ House-made charcuterie

■ Street food-inspired dishes

■ Nontraditional cuts of meat

■ Alternative pasta/rice

■ Cauliflower

■ Coffee used as an ingredient

■ Italian food

■ Naan pizza

■ Purple food

■ 1970s-inspired dishes

■ Tater tots

■ Vegetables

■ Portable protein drinks

One trend already in your produce section is alternative pasta and rice. You will see zucchini, squash, cauliflower, broccoli and other items being prepped for you in noodle or riced form, already in packages. These items are easy to cook, as well as delicious.

I have created a dish that hits a lot of the trends and is both tasty and easy.


Start to finish: 35 minutes

Servings: 4

Italian-style Zucchini Noodles

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed, plus more to top

1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt

1 pinch red pepper flakes

10 to 15 kalamata olives, pitted, plus more to top

10 to 15 black olives, plus more to top

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 packages store-made zucchini noodles (found in refrigerated produce section)

4 ounces crumbled ricotta salata

8 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half

Place the garlic, capers, salt, red pepper flakes and olives on a cutting board and run a knife through a few times. Mash with the flat side of the knife to make a chunky paste, similar to tapenade.

In a frying pan, heated to medium, add 4 ounces of olive oil, the halved tomatoes and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Saute until the skin starts to bubble. When this happens, add the zucchini noodles, just to take the chill off them. (If you cook them too long, they will turn to mush.)

Transfer to a large bowl and add the remaining 2 ounces of olive oil and ricotta. Set aside to marinate for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

Toss gently to ensure all items and flavors are mixed and serve with additional capers, olives and ricotta on top, if desired.

Cauliflower Steaks

1 large head purple cauliflower, sliced lengthwise through the core into 4 steaks

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat a grill to medium high and place heavy duty foil on area where steaks will be cooked.

Whisk the olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper together in a bowl. Brush the olive oil mixture all over the tops and backs of the cauliflower steaks.

Place cauliflower steaks on the foil and grill steaks for 8 minutes. Gently turn over each steak and grill for 6 to 8 minutes more.

This Italian-style recipe, with its vegetable noodles and purple vegetable steak, just hit on five of 2017's foodie trends.



Ciara Semack is the owner of The Blonde Bistro in Bellefonte. She is the mother of one and a lifelong resident of Centre County. Her column appears every other week in the Gazette. Questions, suggestions and comments can be directed to [email protected]
Disclaimer: Copyright © 2020 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.