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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Trendspotting

The Incredible Shrinking Plate: Small Plate Boom & Bust

Tapas

Photo © Akiko Ida & Pierre Javelle

F&W has been spotting food trends for 35 years now. Here, a time line of our greatest hits—and misses during the small plate boom and bust.

1985
In a land of buffets and big portions, a new trend arrives. F&W writes: “The latest word in eating is less. There are many names for the phenomenon—grazing, noshing, snacking—but we’re giving it another: Littlemeals.”

1985
F&W traces the small-plates trend back to its roots, with a story called “What’s All This We Hear About Tapas?”

1997
Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli earns its third Michelin star. Meals at the modernist Spanish restaurant involve three dozen small bites and snacks.

2007
Japanese snacking pubs, aka izakayas, take off in the US. “American gastro izakayas offer Japanese small plates with multiculti twists,” reports F&W.

2007
In a newspaper article titled, “Is the Entrée Heading for Extinction?” chef Tom Colicchio says, “I think the entrée has been in trouble for a long time.”

2009
The trend goes middlebrow, as The Cheesecake Factory debuts a “Small Plates and Snacks” menu with Vietnamese tacos.

2012
The New York Times publishes “The Problem With Small Plates.”

Download the Full Story: 35 Years of Food Trends »

F&W Pantry

The Many Ways to Use Miso

Miso, best known as the base of miso soup, is a rich, salty condiment made from fermented soybeans. In a Korean American kitchen, miso sits on the refrigerator shelf alongside mustard, ketchup and mayo. When I was growing up, we used it in all sorts of things, from soups and sauces to pickling vegetables. Most miso is made with soybeans, but it also can be made with barley or rice; I recently discovered one company that makes miso with chickpeas. How cool! I couldn’t wait to try it, and soon discovered that it hit all of the same notes of salty, sweet, earthy and fruity.

For the Sticky Miso Chicken Wings I developed for our recent recipe “Handbook,” I was craving a spicy glaze with enough sweetness to balance the heat. I used a shiro miso—a milder miso that is pale yellow or white in color and sweeter than it is salty—and combined it with lime juice, fresh ginger and dried red chile. As the mixture simmered and reduced, the sauce thickened and caramelized into a beautiful glaze that really stuck to the wings and was sweet and spicy all at once. But miso has tons of other uses.

One of my favorites is miso butter. It’s so easy to make—simply mix together equal parts of miso and room temperature unsalted butter—and use it to finish dishes with a wallop of umami. Add a dollop to roasted carrots, steamed broccoli and grilled steak, or swirl some into a mixed mushroom risotto. I love pan-roasting spring radishes and their beautiful greens in the miso butter. The radishes mellow out, and the edges start to caramelize and soak in all of the sweet-salty flavors.

Miso can add complexity to dressings. Try whisking some into a simple lemon or mustard vinaigrette to use with coleslaw or salad greens. Toss warm green beans in the vinaigrette for a quick weeknight side dish. The dressing is especially tasty drizzled on sautéed collard greens or brushed onto barbecued chicken and ribs.

A huge bonus of this multitasker is that it keeps pretty much indefinitely in the fridge. You’ll see many different types of miso in the market, ranging in color from white to yellow to red to brown (and every shade in between), so here’s a good rule of thumb: The darker the miso, the more intense, earthy and funky it will be.

Related: 10 Recipes that Use Miso
Homemade Condiment Recipes

Grace in the Kitchen

YouTube-Inspired Cooking

Crunchy Pork Kimchi Burgers // © Lucas Allen

These pork-and-kimchi patties make great burgers, especially with
bread-and-butter pickles. © Lucas Allen

Food & Wine's senior recipe developer, Grace Parisi, is a Test Kitchen superstar. In this series, she shares some of her favorite recipes to make right now.

YouTube cooking videos can be pretty addictive—especially the stupid ones. I can sit for hours and jump from one to another. Sometimes, though, I actually learn something. This particular video from Maangchi—definitely not one of the stupid ones; just really, really fun!—shows how to make two kinds of kimchi pancakes. The recipe toward the end of the video inspired my pork and kimchi burger recipe.

In the video, she makes this simple paste of minced pork, tofu and seasonings and spreads it on whole kimchi leaves, which get batter-dipped and fried. Too bad it’s not that easy to find whole-leaf kimchi. I like recipe for its simplicity and accessibility, while still maintaining authentic Korean flavors. SEE RECIPE »

Related: Fast Burger Recipes
Best Burgers in the U.S.
America's Best Bacon Burgers

Drink This Now

Sake Cocktails: No Lychees Allowed

Smallwares: The Sake

The Sake © Jannie Huang of Little Green Pickle

Sake has long been associated with dubious karaoke-bar offerings (sugary-sweet lycheetinis, Sapporo sake bombs), but the fermented rice drink has a lot more to give the mixology world. Pioneering bartenders are using high-quality sake to create superb new cocktails that showcase its range of flavors, from light and dry to full-bodied and mildly sweet. MORE >

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The Thinker Series

Inside the Baker's Studio: Gorgeous Italian Desserts

Pastry Chef Caitlin Freeman's Food Art

Photo © Erin Kunkel

Caitlin Freeman, pastry chef at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, creates stunning desserts for F&W's April issue inspired by Italian paintings and sculpture.

"I love its simplicity,” says Caitlin Freeman, describing how a 1919 Modigliani portrait inspired her to create a nectarine Pavlova—a dessert she came up with specifically for F&W’s Italian issue. As head pastry chef at the Blue Bottle Coffee Bar at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Freeman is surrounded by 20th- and 21st-century masterpieces, all of which spark ideas for recipes. (The best appear in her book Modern Art Desserts, due out this month.) But creating desserts inspired by Italian art from any era posed a different challenge: How to narrow the choices? Freeman says she began the process by asking herself a basic question: What do I like to look at the most? Antonio Canova’s 1793 marble sculpture of Cupid and Psyche turned into a white eclair. An 1892 portrait by Juana Romani took new form as a macaron with lemon curd on a ruffled gold plate (“As you can see, I became obsessed with ruff collars!”). VIEW ART DESSERTS SLIDESHOW »

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