Let’s Talk Food: Food news

If you are like me and subscribe to Cooking Light magazine, you probably were as shocked as I was when I received December’s issue with the front cover stating that it was the final issue.

More than 200 employees at Meredith Corp. were laid off when Cooking Light merged with Eating Well. Meredith’s Coastal Living magazine also will not be delivered to subscribers. Cooking Light and Coastal Living now will be available on newsstands with special interest publications.

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Meredith Corp. also will outsource its hard-cover book division of Oxmoor House.

I have been a loyal fan of Cooking Light magazine since its inception in 1987 and loved its approach to healthy cooking.

Meredith’s food publication headquarters in Birmingham, Ala., will continue to operate Food &Wine and Southern Living magazines.

Guess I will have to check the magazine racks at the supermarket for the special issues of Cooking Light, which will publish six times a year.

Plant-based food on the rise

According to Grubhub’s ordering data, plant-based foods are on the rise, and bean burritos took the top spot as the most popular food. This is an increase of 276 percent from last year. Cauliflower rice bowls increased 155 percent and buffalo cauliflower increased 124 percent.

This trend is making restaurants looking at expanding their meat-free products in 2019.

Here is Martha Stewart’s recipe for bean burrito:

Martha Stewart’s Bean Burrito

Serves: 8

3/4 cup rice (brown or white)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

1 jalapeno chile, chopped, ribs and seeds removed for less heat

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Coarse salt and ground black pepper

3 tablespoons tomato paste

3 can (15 ounce) pinto beans, drained and rinsed

1 (10 ounce) bag frozen corn

6 green onions, thinly sliced

8 burrito-size flour tortillas, 10 inches each

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Salsa and sour cream, optional

Cook rice according to package instructions, set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions, garlic, jalapeno and cumin, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until golden, 10-12 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add beans and 1 1/2 cups water, bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, 10-12 minutes. Add corn, cook to heat through, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in green onions.

Heat tortilla according to package instructions, fill with rice, bean mixture and cheese.

Middle Eastern cuisine on the rise

Foods from Israel and the surrounding countries are gaining in popularity. Falafel, a pita pocket filled with various pickles and fried balls of ground chickpeas and shwarma, or sliced turkey or lamb wrapped in pita bread are items that are ordered when on the menu.

Falafel are Middle Eastern fritters made with chickpea. It can be shaped into round balls or batty shaped and can be eaten in a pita pocket or placed on a salad or served as an appetizer with some tahini sauce.

Falafel

Makes: 2 dozen small falafel balls. Serves: 6

3 cups dried chickpeas

1/2 medium red onion

2 cloves garlic

1 small hot chile pepper

1 cup parsley, large stems removed

1 cup cilantro, large stems removed

Zest of one lemon

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon ground coriander

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1/2 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons flour or any type of flour you wish

Vegetable oil for frying

Tahini Sauce:

1/2 cup tahini

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Pinch salt

Water for thinning

To soak dried chickpeas, rinse and place in a large bowl. Soak for 12 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse, measure out 3 cups. You will have leftover chickpeas.

Cut the half onion into quarters and drop into a food processor while the motor is running. Drop in garlic clove, cut the pepper in half and add to processor.

Stop the food processor and add in parsley and cilantro, process until herbs are finely chopped.

Add the drained chickpeas and pulse until they start to break down. Scrape down the sides of the processor, process until the mixture is even and finely ground, but not pasty.

It is ready when the mixture holds together when pressed.

Remove the mixture to a bowl and lightly mix in salt, baking soda, flour, cumin, ground coriander, lemon zest and lemon juice. Do not compact the mixture.

Heat 3 inches oil in a deep pan to 340-350 degrees.

Using a 1 1/2 inch scoop, place mixture between palms of your hands and roll to form balls, the size of large walnuts. Set on a plate.

When oil is hot, gently lower the balls into the oil with a slotted spoon and cook in batches. Fry for 4-5 minutes, until the balls are a nice golden brown.

Drain on paper towels.

Tahini Sauce:

Mix tahini, lemon juice, salt and enough water to make a pourable sauce. Taste to adjust seasonings.

Poke bowls still popular

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Although poke bowls fell to the number two spot in popularity, it still enjoyed a 205 percent increase, although not as high as in 2017 when poke bowls saw a 643 percent increase.

Email Audrey Wilson at audreywilson808@gmail.com.

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