(BPT) - Are you stuck in a cooking rut? It's common to cycle the same dishes over and over, but at some point your taste buds will crave something new. Maybe it's time to shake things up.
Whether it's trying new recipes or simply adding fresh flavors to your standard go-to meals, it's easy to add pizzazz to your cooking. Simply look to top food trends used by chefs and recipe winners across the country.
Move over white rice; ancient grains are taking over the table. Whether as a side dish or incorporated into a recipe, ancient grains like buckwheat, quinoa, millet and oats are nutrient-dense alternatives that bring new flavor and texture to meals. Adding ancient grains is an easy way to jazz up foods and increase your family's intake of whole grains.
Not all eggs are equal, so look for options with superior flavor and nutrition to boost your kitchen creations. Compared to ordinary eggs, Eggland's Best eggs contain five times more vitamin D, more than double the omega-3s, 10 times more vitamin E, three times more vitamin B12 and 25 percent less saturated fat. In addition, independent testing confirms Eggland's Best eggs have stronger shells and stay fresher longer than ordinary eggs, so your recipes will be extra tasty.
Many people use marinades to influence the flavor profiles of foods, but an alternative is gaining momentum: brines. Soaking meats like turkey and pork for up to a day in salt solutions not only adds flavor, but it helps seal moisture into these lean foods. Customize a brine with chopped citrus fruit and herbs like rosemary and bay leaf. Bitter vegetables, such as eggplant, can benefit from a dry brine made from course salt and other herbs.
Top chefs and home cooks alike are bucking tradition by serving traditional foods at nontraditional times. Breakfast for dinner? The kids will love the fun change. A dinner casserole for breakfast? What a warm and satisfying way to start the day. Get creative by trying different dishes throughout the day to keep everyone guessing what's next.
Restaurants across the country are featuring locally-sourced ingredients more often than ever before. Home cooks are doing the same by using ingredients inspired by their home state. Avocado from California, wild rice from Minnesota, lobster from Maine - every state has its specialties. If you need inspiration, just visit your local farmers market.
Want to shake things up with an award-winning recipe that embraces several of these top trends? Valerie Szlatenyi of Wakefield, Rhode Island, won the 2016 Eggland's Best "America's Best Recipe" Contest with her unique Johnny Cakes and Lobster Eggs Benedict recipe. To learn about future contests, visit www.egglandsbest.com and sign up for the newsletter.
1 cup stone ground white corn meal
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup corn kernels
1 1/4 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
butter for greasing pan
Maple Brown Butter
4 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons real maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped
4 Eggland's Best Eggs (large)
1/2 pound cooked lobster meat, pulled into pieces
1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
Combine cornmeal, sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add corn kernels.
Slowly whisk boiling water into dry mixture. Combine butter and vanilla in a small bowl then stir into batter. Let batter sit for 5-10 minutes.
Heat an electric or 12-inch non-stick skillet on medium heat. When hot, lightly grease with a little butter.
Drop batter by the soup spoonful onto skillet, making a 3-1/2 to 4-inch circles. It will make about eight. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until slightly brown on edges and golden. Turn and cook 4-5 more minutes until golden.
For the Maple Brown Butter, melt 4 tablespoons butter in a 8-inch skillet on medium low heat. Cook and watch carefully until it turns frothy and slightly brown. Remove from heat immediately. Stir in maple syrup and tarragon.
Meanwhile, bring 4 cups water to a simmer in a 10-inch non-stick skillet. Carefully crack eggs, one at a time into the low simmering water. Poach for about 3 minutes or to desired doneness.
Dip lobster meat into poaching water for 30 seconds to heat then remove.
Place and overlap two Johnny Cakes onto each plate.
Place one egg onto two Johnny Cakes. Top with equal portions of lobster and drizzle maple brown butter over all.
Sprinkle on parsley and serve.