This weekend I was back in my kitchen experimenting with flavors from McCormick’s 2012 Flavor Forecast. I was sent a whole box of goodies by McCormick including spices and ingredients with lots of global flavor. It was like being a kid in a candy shop or better yet, a kid in a candy shop that also happened to be on vacation in Disneyland.
If you haven’t read my last post, let me tell you about the Flavor Forecast. Every year, McCormick takes a look at future flavor trends. This year, they took a global view. The six global trends were Honoring Roots, Quest for Ultimate, Veggies in Vogue, Simplicity Shines, Flavorful Swaps and No Boundaries. All six trends had two prominent flavor combinations. I love all of them!
When eating out, I usually like to pick some type of ethnic restaurant. I am thrilled to have experimented with all the McCormick recipes because it is a great way to have food with ethnic flavor at home.
Since the Superbowl is one week away, I thought I had to try making some wings. Instead of making the Buffalo Wings that I have been making for ages, I tried the Korean BBQ Wings. While I have always loved hot sauce, these wings dazzled my taste buds. The combination of sweet, sour, savory and bitter was much more interesting. I loved the freshness of the Asian pears served with the wings. You can get the recipe by clicking HERE.
I also tried the Veggies in Vogue trend. It is no secret that I adore vegetables and to spice things up with extra flavor is just how I like to cook. Eggplant is one of my favorites so I decided to try the McCormick’s flavor prediction of Eggplant with Honey and Harissa. I checked out their recipes and decided to adapt one to my own taste. I made the Honey Harissa sauce and added a splash of balsamic vinegar. I had some Halloumi cheese in the fridge and thought it would go perfectly with the eggplant. If you have not tried Halloumi cheese before, you need to scout some out. It is a salty Greek cheese that can be pan fried and will still hold together when heated. It is sold at gourmet grocery stores or you can find it at a cheese shop or Mediterranean grocery store.
The Eggplant and Halloumi Cheese with Honey Harissa Sauce works well as an appetizer but was also great in a sandwich. It is hearty enough as a meal and even my husband didn’t miss the meat.
It has been so much fun experimenting with all these flavors. I am sure you will see more of these flavor combinations in my future recipes.
*** Thanks to the McCormick Flavor Forecast for sponsoring this post. As usual, all opinions are my own.
- Honey Harissa Sauce:
- 1 large red bell pepper, roasted, peeled and seeded
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ½ teaspoon McCormick Caraway Seed, ground
- ½ teaspoon McCormick Gourmet Ground Coriander Seed
- ½ teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon McCormick Crushed Red Pepper
- 1 TBS balsamic vinegar
- Eggplant and Cheese:
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large eggplant, cut into in ½ inch slices
- Salt and McCormick ground pepper
- 8 ounces Halloumi cheese, sliced in ½ inch slices
- Chopped mint or parsley for garnish
- For the Honey-Harissa Sauce, place all ingredients in blender or food processor; cover. Blend or process on high speed until almost smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a large baking sheet generously with 2 TBS of the olive oil. Arrange the eggplant rounds in a single layer. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast, without disturbing, for about 15 minutes. Carefully flip each piece: they should be blistery and puffy and should release from the pan easily. Once flipped, sprinkle them with additional salt and pepper. Return to the pan in the oven for another 10 minutes or so.
- While eggplant is baking, heat a large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Brush the cheese with the remaining 1 TBS of olive oil. Sear the cheese in the pan 2 minutes on each side. The cheese should soften and brown on the outside.
- On a plate, arrange the eggplant slices and Halloumi cheese. Drizzle with the Harissa sauce and garnish with mint or parsley. This can also be served on a roll as a sandwich.