In 2009, cooks will continue to discover that agave nectar, Indian jaggery and other natural sweeteners have nuanced flavors that white sugar doesn't; plus, unprocessed sweeteners may be richer in minerals and less likely to cause spikes in blood-sugar levels. In Mani Niall's cookbook, Sweet!, he champions these ingredients. His pleasantly dense cranberry-studded scones, for instance, get a toffeelike flavor from light brown turbinado sugar, which has large, crunchy crystals. Sugar in the Raw is a good brand.
Where to travel in 2009: Americans Braden Perkins and Laura Adrian have turned Hidden Kitchen (hkmenus.com), their Paris supper club, into a tiny (and still underground) restaurant with the same name. The lovely seasonal menu includes this silky soup.
This year alternative-health experts like Dr. Andrew Weil are lauding the “anti-inflammatory” diet, claiming that vegetables like broccoli, spices like turmeric and oily fish like salmon can ward off disease. This dish by F&W's Marcia Kiesel should make Dr. Weil very happy.
In 2009, Apothecary Bar & Lounge, a Philadelphia spot, is redefining bottle service. Bartenders mix batches of cocktails like this potent Fish House Punch, transfer them into empty wine bottles, then let patrons pour drinks for themselves.
2009 is the year of American Pinot Blanc, a.k.a. the poor man's Chardonnay, has a bright acidity that’s terrific with dishes like this lush pasta from F&W's Marcia Kiesel. Fabulous U.S. bottlings, like the 2007 Robert Foley Vineyards from Napa and the 2006 Erath from Oregon, cost less than $25 a bottle.
This recipe represents two 2009 trends in one: the rise of chef-driven sandwich shops and revamped food courts like the one at Terminal 5 in JFK airport, which is run by OTG Management. It includes Piquillo, where chef Alex Raij (formerly of Manhattan's Tía Pol) serves these Spanish sandwiches.
The 1980s ushered in the era of the celebrity chef. Now in 2009 some big names, like John Sedlar, disappeared but are back (his Rivera in Los Angeles opens soon); others never left, like Robert del Grande, who is reinventing Houston's Cafe Annie as Bar Annie with dishes like this Southwestern pork rib stew.