The Weekender is a special collaboration between OZY Tribe members near and far to provide delicious recommendations for your valuable weekend time.
Saturday, December 19, 2020
Food does more than fuel us. It’s a love language, a culture, a quite literal spice of life. But in an ever-changing world affected by policy, the impending environmental crisis and, of course, COVID-19, where food is headed and how it’s changed are questions that are more pressing now than ever. This weekend we take you on a journey that answers these questions by offering emerging foods from around the globe. That includes trends, like Indian Mexican fusion and where to help those who are unable to get food right now. We all like to eat, so let’s take a look at what we’ll be eating next.
must-try winter recipes
1. Pao Cai Sichuan Pickles
At some point during lockdown, many of us have tried to make pickles. But this Sichuan pickle recipe is different: Rather than depending on vinegar, it simply requires time. This project will take a week on the counter as the natural fermentation process takes place, but in the end you’ll have learned a new way to brine. And you'll find yourself snacking right out of the jar until every last crisp, tangy veggie is gone.
2. Air Fryer Pork Chops
Air fryers were the hot kitchen gadget in 2020, probably because everyone realized they could make doughnuts without risking oil burns. But grease-free frying isn’t just for sweet treats: Try making pork chops this way, crusted with Parmesan and spices. As long as the appliance is taking up counter space, it might as well make dinner.
These are among the U.K.’s most recognizable foods, but have you ever actually had one? It turns out sourdough crumpets are the answer to “What do I do with all the discard from my sourdough starter?” Just mix in a little baking soda, salt and sugar, then pour into buttered crumpet rings. Don’t have crumpet rings? If you're a fan of whimsy, substitute metal cookie cutters and have fun making fun shapes. Crumpets are very forgiving when it comes to toppings: Butter and jam are classics, but marmalade and a little Stilton cheese provide some kick.
Winter lockdown was made for projects, but they can’t be too exacting. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself sobbing on the kitchen floor because the matcha macarons you made just don’t look perfect. For a big learning project — for which you can press-gang family members, even young ones — that doesn’t demand perfection, get yourself the ingredients for Polish pierogi. You can fill them with practically anything (though potato and cheese are the best!) and if you have too many, just freeze the excess right before the cooking step, then defrost and boil them for lunch whenever you want something a little fancy that reminds you of your cooking prowess.
5. Chicken Khao Soi
Every winter, we get obsessed with a new type of chicken soup. This year it’s Khao Soi Gai, a comfort food from Northern Thailand. Some recipes demand a whole stewing chicken, but here’s one that skips that step, combining easily obtainable chicken thighs with coconut milk and a funky homemade spice paste. Add Chinese egg noodles and a few dollops of fish sauce, and you’ll feel invincible.
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Raw fish salad, Hawaiian-style, has swept the globe over the past couple of years. If you have a reliable place to buy fish, poke is a blast to make at home — or you could get ahead of the curve and make Catalan esqueixada. This summery salad starts with salt cod, which you have to desalinate overnight (don’t worry, it’s easy) before tearing it into small pieces with olives and veggies and dressing with the best olive oil and sherry vinegar you can find.
2. The Next Grilled Cheese
Nothing will ever beat hot cheese in our hearts, but LA.’s trendy Konbi restaurant turned us on to the sando, an artsy Japanese-style sandwich. There are no rules! OK, there are a few guidelines: You’ll want to find or make milk bread, and you’ll want to take care with the aesthetics of your lunch … and you’ll definitely want to Instagram it. Try some classic fillings like katsu pork cutlet or egg.
3. The Next Bubble Tea
One of the things about the Taiwanese drink affectionately known as boba: It was divisive. Some people love the tapioca pearls; others think they're gross. Our pick for its successor is another wedge drink: cheese tea. Also of Taiwanese origin, it tops cold, sweet tea with a layer of cream cheese and milk whipped into foam. Salt the top, and you’ve got yourself an iconic 2021 beverage.
4. The Next Bulgogi
Korean BBQ is a perfect food, but there’s something slightly more casual about Filipino BBQ — which began as street food skewers — that makes it especially good for when you want something hot and delicious that you don't have to get too precious about. Marinate pork overnight, then grill it over charcoal, or over a gas stove burner. If total authenticity is your thing, grab some banana ketchup from your local Asian market for the marinade.
5. The Next Cheetoh
A lot of us are a little more anxious about our physical resilience these days, so companies like Hippeas are leading us down the healthy snacking path by turning chickpeas into puffy, crispy snacks. And if that’s not Cheetoh enough for you, try this recipe for Cheeto-flavored roasted chickpeas. Did this just get too weird?
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the future of restaurants
1. Indian-Mexican Fusion
Forget Peruvian-Japanese fusion, French-Lebanese fusion, Acadian-Atacaman fusion (OK, we made the last one up). Our next favorite mashup is so perfect we’re kind of shocked it’s not already everywhere: Indian Mexican. Think burritos wrapped in roti and fried in ghee, paneer tacos and paratha quesadillas. Read more on OZY.
2. Multisensory Experiences
Before COVID-19 hit, dining experiences that double as interactive performance art were just getting going — like a meal that transports you to outer space, complete with iPad projections of the void, frozen cutlery and edible “moon rocks.” Though this experience and others are currently closed to preserve public health (even though there’s no COVID-19 on the moon), you can book a table when travel is safe again. Read more on OZY.
3. Sidewalk Eating
In some cities, sidewalk cafés are a centuries-old tradition. That may be spreading thanks to restrictions on indoor dining, which led to a warm-weather increase in dining on the sidewalk. These so-called parklets repurpose streets from exhaust-choked thoroughfares to social spaces — and many are hoping they stick around. Read more on OZY.
4. Robots Serving Humans
With restaurant workers often reluctant to clock in given the risk of infection when they do, some cafés — like Tokyo’s Pepper Parlour — have replaced staff with helpful robots, who bring food to your table and are incapable of contracting COVID-19 (or being mad that you stiffed them on the tip).
5. Personal Fine Dining
As diners stayed home in 2020, chefs followed them there. Not in a creepy way: The pandemic sparked a craze of cook-along classes, where chefs show their tricks to diners who follow along at home. Here’s one company that’ll hook you up.
what you’ll be eating in 2021
1. Tajin Seasoning
Most cuisines don’t go in for seasoning fruit, beyond sprinkling salt on a tomato. Let 2020 be the end of that: Sales of Mexico’s Tajin seasoning blend — salt, lime and chile — have risen steeply in recent years, but you can also make your own. Slice up fresh fruit, squeeze a little citrus over them, then sprinkle with salt and cayenne. The rest of the world seems to have finally caught on to the Mexican tradition of giving that pair a kick in the pants.
2. Sober, or Mostly Sober Cocktails
Despite all the jokes about drinking away 2020, it turns out endless cocktails aren’t that fun when you’re not with friends and you spend the next morning worrying whether you’re pickling your internal organs. Julia Bainbridge’s mixology bible Good Drinks is at the forefront of the sober trend, with its fun soy-sauce- and tea-based cocktails that allow you to go beyond juice without bringing in booze.
Tofu’s probably looking over its shoulder at all the meatless meat coming for it. But maybe it should be looking in a different direction: Pumfu, made from pumpkin seeds and water, is a soy-free tofu alternative that you can fry up the same way. As with tofu, getting the seasoning right is the key step — but with pumfu, you can make pumpkin spice jokes the whole time.
4. CBD Desserts
Now you can have your munchies and eat them too. CBD has seeped into every aspect of modern consumer culture and made the jump into food fairly easily. And specifically sweets — though brownies are the classic, check out the CBD- and THC-filled frozen desserts from new California company Mellow Ice Cream, which blends the herbal flavors with mint, caramel and peanut butter.
5. Fula Ideas
Chef Fatmata Binta, originally from Sierra Leone, has electrified Ghana’s food scene in recent years with her take on Fulani cuisine. Raised as a member of the West African nomadic ethnic group, she’s now taking traditional dishes like guinea fowl and groundnut stew mainstream — and she won’t be the only one. Read more on OZY.
Restaurant workers across the country are suffering, and many Americans are experiencing food insecurity for the first time. Want to help? Here are a few charities lending a hand.
Among everyone hit in the restaurant industry, it’s easy to forget the kids who are affected. CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees) isn’t just a pandemic-era charity — in normal times it helps families of restaurant workers facing illness or other hardships.
3. Independent Restaurant Coalition
Local chefs and restaurateurs founded this charity, which focuses on restaurants’ contributions to their communities (and vice versa).