Vin Chaud aux Oranges Brûlées & The 2013 McCormick Flavor Forecast

6 12 2012

Charred oranges.

Those two words were the first to jump out at me from this year’s McCormick Flavor Forecast.  In what sounds like one of the most fun jobs in the world, their team of chefs, food scientists, and market gurus work all year to identify trends in food.  Using those trends as a jumping-off point, they then seek out the flavor combinations that best exemplify each one.  After months of playing around in the kitchen work, they have distilled the cooking zeitgeist down to five Trends of Global Flavor, each with two sets of ingredients designed to evince the philosophy (I would almost call them Trends in Food Philosophy, but that might sound too poncy).

sugaredoranges

A side objective of these flavor pairings is to push the envelope a bit, maybe combining things in unusual ways or introducing lesser-known ingredients to a wider audience.  Like in Empowered Eating, where Dukkah (a delightful mix of spices, seeds, and nuts that hails from Egypt) livens up broccoli, or Global My Way, where cajeta (a Mexican goat milk caramel) is joined with anise.  As I look over the range of trends, a few things seem to repeat, or be representative of even broader trends.  I’m seeing:

  • Bitterness – on display in the smoked tomato, chocolate, molasses (don’t worry, those aren’t together), and the aforementioned charred oranges
  • Hazelnuts – (hooray!) used in the Dukkah and paired with artichoke and paprika in Hidden Potential
  • Tropical flavors – rum, passion fruit, plantains, chili peppers (again, not together, but why not?)

I’m telling you all of this because McCormick (in France, Ducros) has given me the opportunity to preview this year’s forecast, which brings me back to the charred oranges.  Paired with allspice and black rum under the category “No Apologies Necessary”, the allure of smoky, caramelized oranges was irresistible to me.  When I had a Skype interview with McCormick’s executive chef Kevan Vetter, I mentioned how that particular combination called to me, making me think of hot drinks by the fireplace, or warming up after being out in the snow.  Interestingly, he had nearly opposite associations with the mix, saying it had been conceived as a sort of “tropical getaway”.  But that’s what’s so much fun about working or playing around with ingredients.  You give ten people the same mystery box and you’ll probably get ten different takes on the best dish to make from it.  That could probably happen with just one person, too.  I mean, given these three, I’ve already jotted down at least four different recipes I’d like to experiment with.  Charred orange eggnog, anyone? How about an orange brûlée tart or charred orange and allspice ice cream with rum caramel sauce?

charredoranges

For now, though, I’m pretty content with this take on vin chaud, the hot spiced wine that is near-ubiquitous this time of year in France.

Vin Chaud aux Oranges Brûlées

Inspired by the McCormick Flavor Forecast for 2013, this is more more focused – and dare I say “tropical” – version of the classic winter beverage. Allspice alone takes the place of a blend of spices, the charred oranges add lovely smoky bitter notes, and a finish of dark rum warms you through and through.

2 large oranges
2 Tbsp. Turbinado sugar (also called cassonade or raw sugar)

1 bottle (750 ml) red wine – no need for anything fancy here
10 allspice berries
¼ c. Turbinado sugar
3 oz. (85 ml) dark rum

  1. Heat your broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Halve the oranges pole-to-pole, then cut the halves into 4-5 thick slices each. Lay them on the baking sheet and sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp. Turbinado sugar. Broil, checking frequently, until charred, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place the charred orange slices into a medium saucepan with the wine, allspice, and remaining ¼ cup sugar. Bring to a simmer, then cover, remove from heat, and let steep 15-30 minutes.
  3. Add the rum and heat everything back up before ladling, steaming hot, into mugs.

Serves 4.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.

This post was sponsored by McCormick, but the opinions are my own.

Advertisement




Feuille du Limousin

26 01 2011

Feuille du Limousin

Now that I have a cheese shop across the street from my apartment, my cheese consumption has increased dramatically.  Their selection isn’t humongous, but it does change a bit with the seasons, and I’m always on the lookout for cheeses I haven’t tried before.  Last week, I found this pretty, teardrop-shaped specimen called Feuille du Limousin.

One of the first things I do when I bring home a new-to-me cheese is check Loulou’s cheese list to see if she’s written about it.  I am excited to report that this one is not on her list!

Feuille du Limousin is a goat’s milk cheese, formed in the shape of a chestnut leaf, which is the symbol of the Limousin region.  The goats whose milk is destined to become feuille du Limousin must have a diet of at least 50% grass from the region.  They are also allowed to eat beet pulp and whole corn.  I guess all that sugar leads to sweeter milk?  To make the cheese, the milk must be raw, untreated, and used within 24 hours of milking.  It takes about 800 grams of milk to make one 140-gram cheese.

This cheese was a real winner in my book.  It is surprisingly fresh-tasting for this time of year, when most of the “seasonal” cheeses are either very firm or extremely gooey from several months’ aging.  The flavor is that of fresh goat’s milk, with a hint of piquancy from the wrinkly white rind.  The interior of the feuille du Limousin is rather dense and slightly crumbly, but it absolutely creamy on the palate.  There’s a hint of chalkiness to it, but not in a bad way.  Maybe that’s what they mean by “mineral.”  Just underneath the rind, the cheese has a ring of ripened gooiness, but the rest remains solid.

Feuille du Limousin, Bleu d'Auvergne, Abondance

Keep an eye out for this one – Feuille du Limousin makes a lovely addition to a winter cheese board!

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





Winter Vegetable Mystery Box

5 03 2009

Back in my culinary school days, we used to get at least one “mystery box” assignment per term.  I always kind of enjoyed them, because it required me to come up with something beautiful and delicious on the fly, without relying on specific recipes.  (Of course, sometimes it was stressful, like when I drew strawberries, chocolate, and mint, plotted out an elaborate dessert, and then went to the walk-in only to discover that there were no strawberries!  Luckily, blueberries made an easy substitution.) Anyway, I like to think of my CSA panier as a weekly, stress-free mystery box.  So far, I’d say it’s been working out pretty well.

The layered look

One of the more esoteric vegetables we’ve been getting lately is the topinambour, or Jerusalem artichoke.  These knobbly tubers have the look of dark pink or purplish overgrown ginger roots.  I took the time to peel them the first time I cooked them, then determined (with a little help from my friend, Joël Robuchon) that it wasn’t worth the effort.  After baking them into a savory clafoutis and puréeing them into a spicy curried soup, a box of unused lasagna noodles idling on the shelf inspired me to try a topinambour lasagna.  Fresh béchamel sauce, sautéed leeks (also from the panier), some grated Comté, and a handful of toasted pine nuts completed the picture.

Topinambour lasagna

You know you’ve done something right when you tell your husband “We’re having the same thing we had for dinner last night,” and the response is, “Oh, cool!”

* * * * *

Speaking of CSAs, I have written another article for Secrets of Paris, this time about some of the various organic produce delivery options available in Paris.  The information should be useful for residents and visitors alike!

Greenmarket Alternatives

Originally published on Croque-Camille.





A Panier Improv That Worked

5 02 2009

I was very excited last week when we got two HUGE parsnips in our CSA panier

Tasty winter produce

I had never once tasted a parsnip before I spent Christmas in England a few years back, but it was love at first bite.  Roasted crisp with carrots and potatoes, I loved their crunchy caramelized outsides and subtly sweet, tender insides.  I am such a fan of roasted parsnips that I have rarely strayed from the straightforward recipe I first fell in love with.

But the panier encourages experimentation.  Ever since we started getting it, we’ve been long on apples.  It’s a different kind every week, from sweet goldens to the tart, perfectly-sized-to-fit-in-your-palm snacking apples we got yesterday.  But still, that’s a lot of apples.  I’m trying to come up with new ways to use them, so when I got out the parsnips and noticed the giant (we’re talking softball-sized) apples reposing next to them, I thought, why not?

And a new favorite Winter side dish was born.

Roast Parsnips and Apples

 

This is a delicious, simple side dish that is fantastic with roast chicken.  For something a little more substantial, you could make it into a gratin by crumbling some blue cheese on top after the parsnip is tender, and baking until the cheese has melted a bit.  A little bacon in there would definitely not suck.

 

2 very large parsnips (or about 4-5 medium or 6-8 small)

1 large apple

Leaves picked from one stem of rosemary

Coarse sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C / 375 F.
  2. Peel the parsnips and cut into bite-size pieces.  Dice the apple, but don’t worry about peeling it.
  3. Spread the parsnips evenly on a baking sheet or in a small roasting pan.  Season with salt, pepper, and rosemary.  Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. 
  4. Roast for 20 minutes, then add the apple and stir.  Continue roasting another 20-25 minutes, until the parsnip is tender and beginning to brown at the edges.  Serve hot.

 

Serves 2 hungry people as a side dish.

Originally published on Croque-Camille.








%d bloggers like this: