See what's cooking in the 2017 Flavor Forecast
Since 2000, McCormick & Co. has been unveiling its Flavor Forecast list for the new year.
The trends and ingredients list is created by a team of global chefs, culinary professionals, trend trackers and food technologists.
McCormick's executive chef, Kevan Vetter, says the Flavor Forecast was designed to help chefs and home cooks refresh their menus and think outside of the box.
This year's flavor forecast predicts Eastern Mediterranean blend of spices like cumin, cardamom, black pepper, nutmeg and many more will be popular.
Ryan Shearer, executive chef at the HoDo in Fargo, aka Chef Ry, says the forecast offers the North a bit of warmth from the South.
"I think it will bring people to warmer climates and add a little spice to your palate," he says. "The flavors just speak of warmer climates."
Shearer says for those living in the Upper Midwest, warmer flavors cater to the desire of staying warm during the winter.
For those in the South, the flavors will pair well with guacamole, tomatoes and, of course, tacos. "You can't make tacos without cumin," he says.
As for incorporating the 2017 Flavor Forecast, Shearer says it's essential to stay up-to-date with current food trends, but it's also good to have self-awareness when it comes to flavors.
"Pave your own way, but also keep in mind what other restaurants are doing with flavors," he says. "We like to create our own "flavor forecast" at the HoDo."
Shearer says he always seasons protein with black pepper and salt so it's a flavor staple, but he already has plans for a few twists in this season's upcoming menu.
"We launched our new menu Jan. 2, so you will find notes of nutmeg, pepper and a variety of other spices," he says.
Fresh nutmeg is handy at all times. "I alway have fresh nutmeg in my pocket. Some consider it good luck," he says. "And, you never know when you are going to need it."
Shearer added that the Flavor Forecast spices can be incorporated "beautifully," but cautions the overzealous home cook on their usage.
"Be careful with them," he says. "They can be used elegantly, but when used improperly, they can definitely take over."
Interested in trying the a Flavor Forecast recipe? Here's a good option to get you started.
Dragon Fruit and Strawberry with Pepper Syrup
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon plus 2-1/2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons sugar, divided
1-1/2 cups diced strawberries, (1/4-inch dice)
5 egg roll wrappers
1 cup oil, for frying
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups diced peeled dragon fruit, (1/4-inch dice)
Bring rice syrup, vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the pepper in small saucepan to boil, whisking occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 15 minutes. Stir in lemon juice. Let stand 1 hour. Strain balsamic pepper reduction through several layers of cheesecloth into small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, beat cream, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and another 1/2 teaspoon pepper in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Mix strawberries with another 3 tablespoons sugar in small bowl. Let stand at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut each egg roll wrapper in half to create 2 rectangles. Then cut each rectangle in half diagonally to create 4 triangles. Heat oil in large skillet on medium heat. Fry triangles in batches until puffed and golden, about 1 to 2 minutes per batch, turning once. Remove with slotted spoon to paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Mix remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons pepper in small bowl. Brush fried triangle wrappers with 1/2 of the melted butter. Sprinkle each triangle wrapper with 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper sugar mixture. Brush triangles again with remaining butter. Place triangles on baking sheet. Bake 6 minutes or until golden brown and pepper sugar mixture is caramelized. Let cool slightly on wire rack.
To assemble for serving, place 1 tablespoon peppered whipped cream on the wide side of each triangle crisp. Top with 2 teaspoons each strawberries and dragon fruit. Drizzle with balsamic pepper reduction.