How to Put Little Treat Culture and Self Care on the Menu

Little Luxury is the TikTok self care trend that’s predicted to hit the food industry in 2024.
In July of 2023, the Hashtag #littletreat reached 30 million views on TikTok. This phrase referenced a TikTok trend where influencers were highlighting the small ways they indulged — a $6 latte to get you through the early morning commute, splurging on an artisanal cookie after a long meeting, or treating yourself to a late-afternoon ice cream. “Something to get you through the day,” “You deserve it,” and “self care” are common captions to these videos.

Little Treat Culture, which grew into a trend on TikTok is moving from the social media world into the culinary-sphere. Whole Foods listed “Little Luxuries” as an expected 2024 food trend. But what does a “Little Luxury” mean and how can food establishments capitalize on this trend?
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A Deep Dive Into the Complex Heat of Chilies

Dive into the fascinating world of chilies and spicy food to add to your menu.

From the tropics of India to the fiery kitchens of Mexico, the world’s love affair with heat and spice is richer and more complex than meets the eye. The global journey of peppers and spices has transformed the culinary landscape, igniting a passion for the bold and pungent that transcends borders and cultures.

While the story of spice is one of evolution and exploration, it’s also a tale of nuanced flavors, intricate sensations, and a quest for the perfect heat. As the world of spicy food continues to evolve, it’s no longer just about heat levels; it’s about the intricate and diverse flavor and heat notes that tingle (and more often than not – numb) the taste buds.

Complex heat, an appreciation for these nuanced flavors and notes, is predicted to emerge in the culinary world as a major trend, but how complex can the world of heat actually be? Read on to find out..
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The Vibrant World of Food Dyes: A Spectrum of Colorful Choices

The Vibrant World of Food Dyes: A Spectrum of Colorful ChoicesSo many of the foods that we eat are associated with their colors: “Taste the Rainbow.” “Golden Delicious Apple.” “Blueberries.” “White Chocolate.” Red Velvet Cake.” Sometimes these colors are a natural outcome of how the food grows or is produced. But, more often than not, in today’s culture of processed foods, our edibles are given artificial colors to make them more appealing and marketable. This includes everything from the use of Red 40 to bequeath Kool Aid with its fluorescent colors to the subtle use of Annatto extract to make Pop Secret’s buttery popcorn look more buttery than it is.

There are a number of reasons and methods to dye foods. And, while food dye colors can be controversial at times, let’s explore how food coloring can help at-home and professional chefs. We’ll look at which dyes to avoid, how to use natural dyes, and what the future of food coloring holds.

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How to Craft a Savory Mixed Drink or Food-Inspired Cocktail

Restaurants are serving up a new trend- savory mixed drinks and cocktails.
Thai Beef, Caprese Salad, Pizza Pie, and Everything Bagels: What do these foods all have in common? In this case, it’s that the four aren’t just food dishes. Rather, they are also flavors of savory alcoholic beverages inspired by a new culinary trend that’s shaking up bars and restaurants world-wide. The trend is called savory cocktails, and allows mixologists to explore the full extent of their creativity in the quest to find unexpected, food-inspired flavors to” drinkify.”

A Brief History of the Cocktail

How the culinary world came to the point of adding ghee and miso to its mixed drinks is an interesting story. If you go back to the origin of the word “cocktail,” when it first appeared in the early 19th century, it referred to a drink made up of sugar, water, bitters, and of course, liquor. By the 1870’s the concept of a sweet, fruity, alcoholic drink had become so popular that Connecticut native, Jerry Thomas, wrote “The Bartender’s Guide,” which popularized recipes for the Manhattan, Mint Julep, and Brandy Punch, but, what really helped the cocktail industry take off was the creation of better supply chains for bringing ice to warm areas. Somehow, cocktails survived the prohibition era, making a comeback during the mid-20th century, when interest in Hawaiian and Polynesian culture brought rum-based drinks to the forefront. Continue reading How to Craft a Savory Mixed Drink or Food-Inspired Cocktail

Spice up Summer with Traditional BBQ’s, Korean BBQ’s and More

Charcoal is a favorite method of grilling food in traditional bbq's.

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and the rich, smoky aroma of sizzling grills fills the air. What better time than now to fire up the grill for a tasty BBQ. While nothing compares to the crispy, savory taste of a steak or burger right off the grill, this is a great summer to add additional flavors and ingredients to your barbecuing repertoire. So, grab your apron and tongs, and prepare to learn about this summer’s hottest (no pun intended) flavors.

Barbecuing Basics

Welcome to the world of barbecuing, where food meets fire and magic happens! At the heart of barbecuing is the choice of grill. While barbecue purists may tote the benefits of a charcoal grill, and insist that it’s the only grilling method capable of producing the distinct smokey flavor and sear that we associate with barbecues, the truth is, gas grills are more than capable of outputting delicious, evenly-cooked meats. Gas grills are hardy, reach their desired temperature quickly, and as opposed to charcoal, where the temperature can’t be regulated, offer temperature control, ensuring that your hamburger gets seared to perfection. A great hack for indoor, or in-restaurant grilling is to pair a countertop charbroiler, with grilling briquettes that ensure an even sear and impart that unique smoky flavor profile. Another indoor option is to grill rotisserie style, using a special rotisserie oven, and a bird slathered in barbecue sauce.

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Ingredients for Making the Perfect Pizza

The art of making the perfect pizza.
Stand on a random corner in New York City and open your favorite food-delivery app. You can probably find more than a dozen places to order pizza from. But, it wasn’t always like that. Legend has it that Italian immigrant, Gennaro Lombardi, opened the first pizzeria in the United States in 1905. Back then, pizza in America was a niche product, catering mostly to Italian-American immigrants craving the flavors of the old country. Today, just over a century later, the pizza industry is a massive $45 billion dollar business. It is estimated that Americans consume 350 gooey, saucy, cheesy pizza slices every second.

There’s no doubt that pizza is a lucrative, sought after, and growing industry. If you are a restaurateur looking to add a classic New York-style slice or a Neapolitian personal pie to your menu, it’s not difficult to get started. All you need is dough, sauce, toppings, and an oven optimized for baking crispy pizza to perfection. Here’s how to achieve that ideal symphony of flavors, ingredients, and baking techniques that your customers will love. Continue reading Ingredients for Making the Perfect Pizza

Tropical Island Fruits Can Add a Tangy Twist to Your Menu

Island flavors and tropical fruits are popular, exotic, and tasty.
As the weather gets sunnier and warmer every day and the days get longer, it gets harder and harder to keep up with the 9-5. June, July, August: These months are associated with vacations, beaches, sun, clear blue water, waving palm trees. Maybe not everyone can escape their job for the tropical islands – but, it is possible to get a small “taste” of island life by serving up popular island fruits and cuisine at your catered events, cafes, restaurants or home bashes. These sizzling, exotic, and tropical fruits can get your guests in the mood for a little sun and surf!

Island Cuisine – A Bit of History

There are a number of reasons why island fruits and island cuisine are so healthy and popular. Island inhabitants were often isolated from mainland cultures. This gave them the freedom to develop their own completely unique flavor profiles, recipes, and cooking techniques found nowhere else. For example, Pacific Islanders have long relied on Fe’i bananas, which grow in bright oranges and reds, and are cooked before being eaten. Fe’i bananas had ceremonial significance in some island cultures.
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Millet – An Ancient Grain That is a Nutritious and Delicious Superfood

 Millet is a trending gluten-free superfood.

Bread is often referred to as the staff of life. This isn’t an exaggeration. Nearly every culture on every continent has built itself on a specific type of bread. However, not all of these breads are made from the “run of the mill” (pun intended) wheat flour that we are so used to consuming. Grains, also called cereal crops, are harvested grass seeds and fruits. These cereals make up nearly 50% of global food consumption, but there are a wide variety of grains, and each culture and region has its own preferred or traditional grain. The Americas, for example, built their civilizations on the maize and corn that their ancestors domesticated. Injera, a gluten-free spongy flatbread made from the teff grass, is a staple of Ethiopian cuisine. And, of course, many parts of Asia are nearly synonymous with rice.

In the increasingly globalized world, consumers enjoy “going against the grain” by experimenting with new, exciting, and different grains, many of which come with nutritional or agricultural benefits. A few years ago, quinoa (actually a pseudo-grain, since it comes from a flowering plant and not a grass) made its pop-culture debut as an exotic grain substitute that was also high in protein. This year brings another “exotic” superfood grain crop to center stage. The United Nations declared 2023 the year of the millet. The millet is a grain family that is nutritious and gluten-free and may also hold the solution to feeding a growing world. Here’s the scoop on millet, and why you should integrate it into your dishes.

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Seven Trending Condiments and How to Make Them

Seven trending condiments, from hot honey to ranch dressing, will tempt your palate.

For the past fifty years, Heinz’s well-known bottle of ketchup has dominated the condiments market and America’s tables. It’s likely to continue to dominate in the coming decades. But, in addition to enjoying their ketchup, young Americans are seeking other condiment flavors to add a little zing to their plates. Some are brand new sauces, 21st century culinary inventions; others are old condiments that are now gaining popularity in the United States. A modern palate requires a modern condiment and these are the condiments that the modern paletes seem to crave most.

Hot Honey

A quick Google search for hot honey makes this condiment out to be an extremely versatile one. The first search results show recipes for pizza, wings, pineapple toast, baked cheese, cocktails, and even cobbler – all featuring hot honey. But, what is hot honey and why do young diners seem to be putting it on absolutely everything?

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7 Ways to Set up an Eco-Friendly Green Kitchen

: There are a few small changes that home chefs can do to set up an eco-friendly green kitchen.

Did you know that by simply cutting your meat consumption in half, you can save approximately two trees per year? By carrying a reusable spork with you to school or work, you could save nearly 500 single use plastic utensils from the landfill per year. And that’s nothing compared to how much plastic waste you can prevent by using only reusable dishes in your home kitchen.

Those who love to cook (and to eat) have so many reasons to be grateful to Mother Earth. Our vegetables, fruits, grains, and even meat depends on air, water, and dirt. Unfortunately, producing these items has become a major driver of climate change, pollution, and deforestation. The Amazon and other forests are under threat due to land being cleared for agriculture or to pasture animals. Single use plastics, that don’t degrade in landfills, end up in the ocean. And, unfortunately, a lot of edible food ends up rotting away in landfills as well.

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