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Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2018 1:00 am | Updated: 3:30 am, Sat Sep 22, 2018.

3 dishes to highlight the next trend in internationally themed cuisine

(Family Features) Just like forward-thinking culinary artists, many at-home chefs seek out the next trendy flavor to provide friends and family gathered around the table. When pondering which trend you'll dive into in the future, consider incorporating tastes from an especially influential international location - the Mediterranean Sea region.

Considered by the experts at Les Dames d'Escoffier International (LDEI) in the organization's 2018 Trends Report to be one of the most influential parts of the world on the American food scene, flavors from the Mediterranean Sea focus on a diet heavy on fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds and nuts. Take this Hummus recipe, for example, which involves processing a host of beans, seeds and seasonings to create a light, smooth dip to serve with anything from vegetables to crackers.

Because the fare is typically lighter, small bites and salads such as Fresh Figs with Honey or this Tomato, Feta and Basil Salad provide easy-to-prepare versions of Mediterranean cuisine. Incorporating vegetables (tomatoes and basil) along with the salty, milky flavors of feta cheese makes the salad a distinctly Mediterranean dish.

In addition to Mediterranean food, the trends report highlighted Middle Eastern cuisine and Latin American flavors as areas of the world that will influence American dining in the next year. Additionally, LDEI highlighted these regions as likely to be influential in the next three years:

  1. East Africa
  2. The Balkans
  3. The Caribbean Sea

To go along with specific regions and countries to influence American food culture, the report identified these international food concepts as the most likely to become prominent food trends:

  1. Puebla Hot Pot (Latin America, Mexico) - ancho chile, smoked paprika and spices in chicken stock, served with chicken or pork, corn, avocado crema and fresh garnishes.
  2. Manouri (Mediterranean, Greece) - a semi-soft, fresh white whey cheese made from goat or sheep milk.
  3. Millet (India) - ancient grains harvested from small-seeded grasses used for porridge.

Mediterranean food, because of its reliance on the inclusion of vegetables and exclusion of red meat in many of its dishes, also squarely fits into the top established and growing health trends, according to the report, which are:

  1. Vegetarian cuisine
  2. Organic
  3. Vegan cuisine

Find full results from the report and learn more about the organization at LDEI.org.

10 Ways to Find Culinary Inspiration

Consider these strategies for achieving inspiration in the kitchen from the LDEI 2018 Trends Report:

  • Traveling
  • Cookbooks
  • Farmers' markets
  • Internet and social media
  • Fresh produce
  • Food magazines
  • Chefs
  • Seasons
  • Beautiful imagery
  • People and culture

Tracking the Top Food Trends

As trends continue changing, growing and spreading, the experts at LDEI continue to provide updates from the food world. Find complete 2018 Trends Report survey results and expert panel insights by contacting info@ldei.org.

LDEI is a worldwide philanthropic organization of professional women leaders in the fields of food, fine beverage and hospitality. The invitation-only membership, composed of 2,300 women in 40 chapters across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico, is highly diversified and reflects the multifaceted fields of contemporary gastronomy and hospitality. For more information, visit LDEI.org or find LDEI on Facebook.

Tomato, Feta and Basil Salad

Recipe courtesy of Beth Vlasich Pav of Cooking by Design, LLC, on behalf of Les Dames d'Escoffier International

Servings: 15-20

  • 8 medium size tomatoes, sliced into 1/8-inch slices
  • 1 block (8 ounces) feta cheese, sliced into 1/8-inch pieces
  • 2 small packages fresh basil, leaves picked off stems
  • 3 teaspoons sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  1. On large platter, arrange slices of tomato and feta so they overlap. Place basil leaf between each tomato and Feta slice. Repeat.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Serve immediately.

Hummus

Recipe courtesy of Beth Vlasich Pav of Cooking by Design, LLC, on behalf of Les Dames d'Escoffier International

Yield: 2 cups

  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) garbanzo beans
  • 1 medium garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  1. Drain garbanzo beans reserving 1/2 cup liquid.
  2. In food processor, process garbanzo beans, garlic, sesame oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper until incorporated. Stop and scrape down sides of bowl. Add garbanzo liquid and process until smooth.
  3. Scoop mixture into medium bowl, add black sesame seeds and mix gently. Serve with drizzle of olive oil. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top.

Fresh Figs with Honey

Recipe courtesy of Beth Vlasich Pav of Cooking by Design, LLC, on behalf of Les Dames d'Escoffier International

Servings: 6

  • 6 fresh figs
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  1. Slice figs in half lengthwise (stem to bottom). Distribute on small platter.
  2. Drizzle honey over each fig equally. Serve immediately.

Photos courtesy of Beth Vlasich Pav

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