Food inspiration can come from anywhere, anyone….or more specifically, from a battle against the clock at a Market Basket Challenge during the National Peanut Board’s Millennial Food Summit. The three-hour challenge tested attendees of the summit to create new food concepts that would contend with some of the millennial food trends we are seeing in today’s consumer market. Here are three creations that really hit the mark on flavor, creativity and overall highlighted use of peanuts:
Alejandra Ramos, Creator of AlwaysOrderDessert.com - Green Spring Veggie Soup w/ Charred Corn Peanut Relish
My soup was inspired by the spring season and the gorgeous California weather. I wanted something that would be light, bright, fresh, and colorful. Chilled green vegetable soups are one of my go-to’s this time of year. And the thing that makes it so good is really just starting with great quality seasonal produce and letting the natural flavors of the ingredients be the star of the dish.
I already had a clear idea in mind of what I needed to make it work, and I liked that I would be able to use peanut milk in the puree without having to heat it or do anything special to it. I pretty much was able to use it straight from the carton!
The basis of the bright green asparagus soup is very similar to an asparagus & watercress soup and the inspiration for serving it with the chunky and colorful corn relish in the center came from my recipe for chilled fresh pea soup with crab and guacamole.
I was super happy with the way it came out, and with the way the peanut milk gave it lush creaminess and just a hint of nutty flavor that complemented the rest of the ingredients without overpowering them.
Brad Kent, Executive Chef of Blaze Pizza, LLC – Mushroom, Shrimp and Ceviche Scallop with Peanut Flour Tacos
When I think about creating a new dish, I imagine how the food will taste in my head before I put pen to paper. If there is anything new, herbs, spices, etc. I like to taste those in their native style in preparation first to see how they are used and then take that with my experience to create something either altogether new or to relate it back to the true taste of the item.
The tacos were an interesting creation. We wanted to combine heat from both Asian and Latin influences. I am always trying to solicit emotion when creating a dish – either of home, comfort or grit. For the tacos, we created a lower GI and reduced carb tortilla using defatted peanut flour as an ingredient replacing a portion of the corn masa or flour in tortilla bases. Then we used a variety of toppings for the tortilla bases including a vegan and seafood option.
Whenever there is something spicy there’s an emotion of celebration in the mouth or the grit of something ethnic. Heat, in general, hits your palette in different ways. You can adjust heat the way you can adjust the levels on a stereo.
Caitlyn Meade, Owner of Cate’s Kitchen Fit – Pan-seared Peanut-encrusted Halibut with a Carrot Peanut Hummus, Spiced Glazed Carrots, Crispy Brussel Sprouts, and a Peanut Gremolata
I love taking one ingredient and making it the star. Naturally, I feel for chefs there usually is one ingredient in each dish that is sort of prized - depending on what is the most beautiful ingredient in season. So when we were given all of these beautiful peanut ingredients, my mind immediately thought, how can I put this in every element of my dish to make it enhance the flavors without overpowering the dish?
The inspiration behind our dish came from the Middle East. We were thinking spices and herbs such as cumin, coriander, lemon zest, and parsley will help brighten that rich peanut flavor up and also complement our halibut very nicely. Then it was all about being creative and using peanut ingredients in place of traditional ingredients. One way we did this was by taking out tahini, which is traditionally used to make hummus. Instead we used Crazy Richards smooth peanut butter, and it made a delicious carrot hummus. In the end our dish came out beautiful, very well balanced, and had peanuts as the star of the dish!