Oldies, but Goodies

How many times did we hear “eat your vegetables” or more specifically, “eat your Brussels sprouts” and immediately respond with a sighed, “EWW”. The idea of eating chicken liver, or any other kind of organ, was disgusting, cruel and inconceivable in our past. Now it seems that our pallets are almost immediately drawn to the side of caramelized blue cheese bacon Brussels sprouts and chicken liver toast with pickled vegetables and jam.

Instead of focusing on new and underutilized foods this season, why not go back in time for some vintage offerings?

Here are a few ideas that we look forward to sharing this season that spin these infamous foods in a different way.

What can you do with spinach that you haven’t done before? There really aren’t that many unique and tasty ways to cook the iron-rich green, or so you may think. Take it back to the basics. Stock your walk-in with fresh, large leaf spinach and keep it simple – salt, pepper and olive oil. If you are looking for a fresh way to serve spinach, think of it in its cooked and pureed form. Fold the spinach into a buttery polenta or bake it into a frittata skillet.

Squash is plentiful right now and we know the traditional peel, butter and bake. Instead of the traditional savory side, opt to bake with the squash. Serve up savory muffins by baking pureed Kabocha or Carnival squash into a standard batter. Griddle a twisted take on French toast by using pumpkin bread instead.

The weather might not cater to a citrus smoothie in the upcoming months, but some people still long for a refreshing, healthy smoothie to take place of a breakfast or lunch meal. Blending savory greens and soft vegetables into the smoothies switch up the flavor profile and satisfy the pallet of your customer. We have seen ingredients like avocado, which probably never ended up a glass in the past, added to a smoothie for a fresh, healthy new option.

Create new memories with your guests by pairing these familiar ingredients with new flavors and concepts.

Can you imagine your reaction if (or when) your parents offered you dark chocolate instead of a beloved Snickers bar or Reese’s? Dark chocolate was not the ideal dessert or reward sweet. Now the bitter, antioxidant-packed, seemingly “healthy” chocolate is highly desirable among adults. While it’s tough to consume large amounts, isn’t that what we all want in a dessert? Serving single serve dark chocolate mousse cups or a sliver flourless cake will entice your guests and make them feel good about their dessert choice.

It’s not always about finding the new trend or finding the most exotic vegetable or fruit at the market. Sometimes it’s about taking something old and making it new again…and again, and again!

Ray Camillo– Founder & CEO, Blue Orbit Restaurant Consulting

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