July 5th, 2021

The Diversity of Mole

Posted in Food Trends, Sauce

Mole is on the Way

Mexican mole

With authentic Mexican flavors trending upward this year, it’s time to talk about the diversity of Mexican mole. What’s mole? Literally, it just means sauce, but in reality, it’s much more.

Mole includes a variety of complex, rich sauces combining spicy, savory, sweet, and smoky flavors into a luxurious liquid that can transform any dish from ordinary to extraordinary. Most commonly you’ll run into mole negro, a dark variety made with several chilies, fire roasted vegetables, and aromatic Mexican chocolate.

But mole negro only scratches the surfaces of the abundant possibilities. And while mole is only in the inception stage of the menu adoption cycle, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth understanding.

Restaurants across the nation are finding unique ways to use moles on their menus, and it’s only a matter of time before the larger population gets wind of these amazing sauces.

Mole on the Menu

Bar Sótano

Mole trends

Image courtesy of plateonline.com.

Chef Kumar at Bar Sótano has an amazing take on with his Roasted Vegetables in Mole Poblano. This dish features roasted mushrooms, cauliflower, and squash swimming in a smoky sauce made with mulato, pasilla, and ancho chilies.

It also features a variety of nuts, charred onions, Mexican chocolate, and warm spices to create a complex yet easy to enjoy marriage of flavors. This is a can’t miss dish in Chicago.

El Torito

Mole

Image courtesy of plateonline.com.

At Long Beach, CA’s El Torito, Chef Pepe Lope is wowing palates with the Tamal Oaxaqueno with Mole Coloradito. This dish features a sweet corn cake, chicken tamal, and cooked black beans with a generous serving of mole coloradito.

This sauce is a warm blend of guajillo and ancho chilies with mulling spices, starchy plantains, sweet raisins, and aromatic epazote blended into silky smooth perfection. We suggest you ask for a spoon, because there’s no way you’re going to leave any of this deliciousness behind.

Zarela

Sauce trends

Image courtesy of plateonline.com.

In my favorite take on mole, Chef Zarela Martinez steals my heart with her tangy, herbaceous mole verde. This sauce combines ripe tomatillos with jalapenos, savory pork stock, a variety of herbs and spices, and (in a genius move) hoja santa leaves.

The result is a bright, citrusy, and utterly unique flavor profile impossible to replicate. It’s a perfect pairing with her dry-rubbed poached black sea bass.

Ciaò Thyme

2021 Sauces

Image courtesy of plateonline.com.

Our final entry comes from the duo of Mataio Gillis and Chef Kraig Halterman of Ciaò Thyme in Bellingham, WA. Their Blueberry Beet Mole sets a new standard for culinary fusion.

It’s a fearless blend of blueberries, chipotle chiles, warm spices, cocoa powder, and pureed beets. Finished with blueberry vinaigrette, it’s a masterful match for their braised lamb shank. This truly raises the bar of possibilities.

Get Ready for the Next Era of Sauces

Complexity, richness, and authenticity will define a new era of sauces. And while mole may not be the sauce of today, it just might be the sauce of tomorrow. So be prepared to hit the ground running on this unique sauce trend.

 

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March 26th, 2018

Plant-Based Protein Gaining Traction

Posted in Consumer Trends, Educational

Demand for Plant-Based Protein Increases in 2018

How do we reconcile the traditionally American animal-protein heavy diet with science backing the importance of vegetable consumption? A new generation of plant-based proteins aims to answer that question.

Plant-based protein

The average eater in the U.S. has an imprinted image of a plate, broken into 4 wedges, each of which representing a category: fruits, vegetables, grains/starches, and protein. This plate represents the general amount of each of these foods they should be consuming, with the largest wedge belonging to vegetables.

Choose My Plate

If we were using this plate to represent how the average American really eats, the protein wedge would look much more like the vegetable wedge. On average, Americans eat twice the amount of protein they require daily (1), normally in the form of animal-based protein.

But as a country, our science is getting better, our information moves further, faster, and our people are becoming wiser. We know now that it’s detrimental to our health to consume more vegetables and reduce our intake of animal proteins, and we’re adjusting our diets to reflect that.

Plant-based protein

40% more Americans are attempting to incorporate plant-based foods in their diet, and 23% are looking specifically for plant-based proteins to assist (2). In light of this, some crafty culinarians have set out to recreate the taste, texture, aroma, Maillard reaction, and even the “bleeding” effect common to animal meats using plant-based proteins. Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are creating a cult of popularity that’s beginning to appear in national restaurant chains.

 

Impossible Burgers have made their way into burger titans such as Hopdoddy, Fatburger, and Umami Burger. Beyond Meat has found equal success in national markets such as Target, AmazonFresh, and Kroger, as well as restaurants like BurgerFi and TGI Fridays. Beyond Meat has also developed a line of “chicken” products, bratwurst, and sausages.

Vegetable Burgers

Another plant-based protein carrier that continues to grow in popularity is the ever present, and universally enjoyed falafel. This crispy little concoction of chickpeas and spices offers a center-of-the-plate star that can be fried, baked, dipped, deconstructed, and dressed-up to your heart’s content. It’s not only the flexibility of falafel that makes it so popular, but also, it’s unique, savory taste and crispy texture. Expect to see it landing in more unexpected locations soon.

Drop us a line and let us know what other unique plant-based proteins you’ve come across.

Until next time!

1. Egan, Sophie. “How Much Protein Do We Need?” The New York Times: Well. 28, July, 2017. Accessed 20, March, 2018. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/28/well/eat/how-much-protein-do-we-need.html.
2. “Plant-Based Proteins Are Gaining Dollar Share Among north Americans.” The Nielsen Company: FMCG and Retail. 22, Sep., 2017. Accessed 20, March, 2018. http://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/news/2017/plant-based-proteins-are-gaining-dollar-share-among-north-americans.html
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