We’re always looking to share Mexican food and culture in new ways here at The Other Side of The Tortilla. I recently had the opportunity to talk to McCormick Spices executive chef, Kevan Vetter, about global trends and the McCormick Flavor Forecast for 2013. You can watch the video with some clips from our interview below. Some of the flavor pairings this year include combinations such as black rum, charred orange and allspice for an awesome twist on the classic piña colada cocktail, smoked tomato, rosemary, chiles and sweet onion for handcrafted sauces and salsas, hearty meat cuts with plantains and cinnamon sticks, and anise and something muy Mexicana—cajeta, a goat’s milk caramel.
Today I’m sharing the five trends from this year’s Flavor Forecast report and what I love about each of them.
Be sure to check back soon for another video with more from my chat with Kevan and for recipes and a holiday giveaway from McCormick just for you!
No apologies necessary.
This trend is all about diving headfirst into flavors to enjoy the gratification of a momentary escape.
What I love about it: Family dinner is especially a time I like to momentarily escape from the pressures of work and life and just enjoy a meal together, talk and relax. It’s an important part of our culture to share meals as a family without having to be apologetic to others about flying under the radar for a bit. Savoring your food and your time with your family is a great habit to develop early with your kids so they come to expect it as they grow older.
This trend signifies the hands-on approach to showcasing the very best of ourselves.
What I love about it: There’s no more personal gift than making something yourself to give to the people you love. And when I say gift, I don’t mean only gifts that you give for holidays and special occasions. Making home-cooked meals for your family is also a gift to them, even if they don’t always realize or appreciate it. The other day I made the extra effort to make José a special salsa to go with milanesas for dinner, and he said it was the best part of the meal. It makes me feel good to know that going the extra mile with personally handcrafted dishes makes such an impact on the happiness of those around me.
This trend includes creating harmony of health and wellness through a highly personalized, flexible approach to the way you eat.
What I love about it: When it comes to empowered eating, it bothers me that a lot of people think Mexican food can’t be healthy and that everything we eat is swimming in cheese, which isn’t true. Como mamá siempre nos dijo: ¡Todo en moderación! For the English speakers, that’s “everything in moderation.” There are so many Mexican ingredients that pack a lot of flavor without the addition of calories or fat. Chiles are a prime example in Mexican cooking because they can be used in so many ways—fresh, dried, powdered, and the list goes on. Finding the right balance is up to the individual.
This trend is all about the “waste-not” mentality and uncovering the fullest flavors from every last part of the ingredient.
What I love about it: This trend is actually also a way of life when it comes to Mexican cooking. If you think about Mexican dishes such as carnitas, you use just about every last bit of the pig so nothing is wasted. I may not like to eat riñones (kidneys), but my suegro does! Check it out, amigos Mexicanos… we were doing this way before it was trendy! Even with tortillas that are a little too old to eat, I hate to throw them away. So I bake them to make tostadas, or cut them up and fry them to make totopos (hearty tortilla chips).
Global my way.
This trend includes discovering the unlimited flavor possibilities of global ingredients and using them outside of their traditional roles in ethnic cuisines.
What I love about it: I’m always trying to incorporate my favorite Mexican ingredients into non-Mexican dishes, or to put a Mexican spin on a non-Mexican dish by infusing a traditionally Mexican flavor. Chef Vetter shared with me a tamal recipe that pairs with a Japanese katsu sauce, which I thought was pretty cool and that I’m looking forward to trying out soon.
- Watch some of my conversation with McCormick Spices executive chef Kevan Vetter and then let me know which trend you like best in the comments below.