Bonnie Stern | January 5, 2017 My favourite trend for this coming year is hygge. Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is the Scandinavian concept of comfort and well-being. I think of it as “home cooking” applied to all aspects of life. It suggests we’ve had enough of fancy decadence, and should go back to old-fashioned comfort and kindness. For a little more excitement, this year should be a big one for Persian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European and South American foods. Restaurant trends will include street food, chef-driven fast-casual, restaurants with family style service, cocktails that look like dinner and upscale vegan and vegetarian. When it comes to health, eat more vegetables (especially purple ones and especially kalettes), turmeric, seaweed and fermented foods while avoiding sugar as much as possible. Opposite trends include moving away from steakhouses, large and small bakeries specializing in artisanal breads and/or pastries, artisanal ice cream, donut shops and baking cookbooks. However, everything in moderation is usually the safest bet. And that’s what these recipes for the new year tend to convey. Whipped Ricotta It’s about time ricotta was the cheese of the year. Ricotta is smooth, creamy and luscious and so versatile it can be used in both savoury dishes and desserts. Spread this whipped ricotta on crostini as an appetizer or on toast for breakfast, brunch or lunch giving avocado toast a run for its money. 8 oz ricotta extra virgin olive oil kosher salt (or more to taste) freshly ground black pepper 1 tsp grated lemon peel (grated peel of half a lemon) 1 small clove garlic, grated or minced 1 tsp each fresh thyme leaves and chopped fresh rosemary 2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, shredded Drain ricotta if necessary and beat with a mixer about one to two minutes until light. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon peel, garlic, thyme and rosemary. Sprinkle with basil. Makes one cup. Roasted Purple Vegetables Eating more vegetables is still one of the best and easiest ways to improve your diet and the purple vegetable trend is a fun focus. Purple vegetables are said to have more antioxidants but all vegetables can lead to better health. Kalettes are a combination of kale and Brussels sprouts and are forecasted to be the vegetable of the year. 2 lbs combination (or all of) purple Brussels sprouts, kalettes, purple carrots, small purple potatoes 1 each red onion and ruby beet extra virgin olive oil kosher salt freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves 1 tbsp maple syrup or honey dressing: 1 tbsp lemon juice 1 small clove garlic, minced 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Trim Brussels sprouts, kalettes, carrots and potatoes. Peel only if necessary. Cut larger vegetables in half and potatoes in quarters if necessary. Toss together with 2 tbsp olive oil, thyme, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper and maple syrup. Spread on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving room for onions and beet slices. Peel red onion but leave whole. Slice into 4 to 5 rounds. Arrange on the baking sheet in a single layer. Trim beet and peel if necessary. Slice into rounds and arrange on baking sheet with onions. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast in a preheated 425F oven for 25 to 35 minutes until vegetables are tender and lightly browned. Whisk together lemon juice, garlic, olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss with vegetables. Makes 6 to 8 servings. Daphna’s Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Coffee Cake Enjoying coffee, cake and conversation with friends is a simple example of hygge. And this is the perfect cake from Daphna Rabinovitch’s new cookbook “The Baker in Me” (Whitecap). Daphna recommends having ingredients at room temperature before you start. filling: 1 1/2 cups toasted pecans, chopped 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup granulated sugar 2 tsp ground cinnamon cake: 1 1/2 cups sour cream 1 tsp baking soda 3 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp baking powder 3/4 tsp kosher salt 1 cup butter 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 3 eggs 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 10-inch angel food cake pan. Combine pecans, sugars and cinnamon. Reserve. Stir together sour cream and baking soda. Reserve. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Reserve. Beat butter one minute in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or with a hand-held mixer. Gradually add sugar and beat until light 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl and beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla. With a wooden spoon (to avoid overbeating), add flour and sour cream to butter mixture in 3 or 4 additions, beginning and ending with flour. Spoon 1/3 batter into to the bottom of prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 pecan mixture. Gently spread another 1/3 of batter over the pecan mixture and sprinkle with another third of pecan mixture. Repeat with batter and then pecan mixture. Bake in the centre of preheated oven 55 to 65 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean or an instant read meat thermometre registers at least 195F. Cool cake in pan on a rack 30 minutes. Run a small knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen cake and then gently remove cake from the pan. Cool completely on rack. Serve at room temperature. Makes one large cake.