Korean barbecue and smoky paprika expected to heat up summer grills

The long-term forecast for this summer's barbecue season includes a fiery storm of pungent, spicy Korean flavors; hot, smoldering heat; and refreshing showers of crisp Pinot Grigio to wash it all down.

That's according to sommelier and cookbook author Jamie Gwen, who hosts a food-related radio show in Southern California and offered her insights last week. Gwen has also worked with celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck and is a frequent contributor on Martha Stewart Radio.

At the top of her list of summer food trends is the ever popular Italian Pinot Grigio, what she calls the 'it' wine for summer. Its clean, crisp finish is the ideal complement to lighter summer cuisine and grilling like seafoods, she said.

French macarons are also expected to be featured at summer picnics and barbecues as the post-meal finale in place of the ever popular cupcake. Made with almond flour and paste, these airy treats come in an array of pastel colors and flavors like passion fruit, strawberry, pistachio and lemon and make for light finales to meat-heavy meals.

While chipotle and Sichuan peppercorns enjoyed a faddish trend in recent years, they're being pushed aside with the rise in popularity of Spanish smoked paprika, which will become a common flavor enhancer on the grill for fish and meats.

Grills are also expected to become a little more adventurous and worldly: hamburgers and hotdogs will be replaced with the flavors of the far East like Korean bulgogi and kalbi - marinated beef and ribs in soy sauce, garlic, ginger and spring onions.

"From food trucks to backyard barbecues, Korean influences and spicy flavors will continue to creep into our cuisine, exciting the palate and making for an even more delicious summer," Gwen said in a release.

Though not as mainstream as Thai or Japanese fare, Korean cuisine is growing in popularity with the help of TV shows like Kimchi Chronicles, hosted by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and cult-like followings of food trucks like Kogi BBQ in Los Angeles which sells fusion Korean tacos and is widely credited for kicking off the food truck craze in the US.

Rounding out the top five summer food trends is the growing momentum of Meatless Mondays which encourages consumers to go vegetarian one day a week and spare their heart - and the environment - from the tolls of red meat.

"Light, lovely salads and vegetarian dishes make for ideal warm-weather fare, perfect aligned with the Meatless Monday trend."

Recently, an authoritative report confirmed a direct link between the consumption of red meat and the increased risk of developing bowel cancer.

Epicurious.com offers an easy bulgogi recipe from Jenny Kwak's cookbook, Dok Suni: Recipes from My Mother's Korean Kitchen.


For a recipe using Spanish paprika, try Bobby Flay's Spice-rubbed Chipotle-Molasses Ribs at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/spice-rubbed-chipotle-molasses-ribs-recipe2/index.html.

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