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Predictions include using foods as serving dishes and a craving for classic Italian comfort food

SUBMITTED PHOTO - The classic Italian dish cacio e pepe — or cheese and pepper — will be a popular dinner item in 2018. It is a quick and easy to prepare dinner.

A Google search on predictions for 2018 brings up lists on a variety of topics. You can find predictions on technology, politics, Pantone colors we will be seeing in our homes and my favorite: food trends.

PureWow and food writer Nils Bernstyein's lists of predicted food trends we will see in 2018 sounds tasty and fun. Take a look:

  • Simplicity wins out at the dinner table — Look for a resurgence of the Italian classic dish cacio e pepe — which translates to cheese and pepper. It's considered one of the best dishes of the Roman cuisine, and with minimal ingredients, it's a snap to whip up any night of the week.

  • Floral flavors — Look for lavender lattes, pink hibiscus teas, elderflower cocktails and rose-scented everything. Edible flowers will take center stage, so while planning your garden this winter, include space for geraniums and nasturtiums.

  • Sweet and savory tacos — Our love affair with all things in a taco inspires us to eat them for breakfast (pancake tacos, anyone?) and desserts. You will be eating unique tortillas too, some made of seaweed or shaved jicama.

  • Powdered mushroom coffee, tea, smoothies and chocolate bars — You will see reishi, chaga and cordyceps used to make beverages as powdered mushrooms take their turn in the spotlight as a superfood.

  • Grilled avocados — This summer, avocados will be on every grill in the nation. The process is simple: Halve avocados lengthwise and remove the pit, then place on the grill. To use, scoop out the smokey, slightly warm flesh to use on shrimp tacos, or fill with a medley of black beans, cilantro and peppers and lime juice.

    SUBMITTED PHOTO - Spaghetti squash is just one of the foods we will be cooking in as dishless dinners become more popular. Think of using acorn squash, eggplant and Portabello mushrooms to hold your entrees.

  • Dishless dinners — When we have a bounty of tomatoes and peppers, we love to stuff them for meals, but I hadn't thought of it as a way to save on dishwashing. That is the concept behind the trend of cooking in spaghetti squash, acorn squash, eggplant and even Portobello mushrooms. The edible bowl is delicious, and you get another serving of veggies as a bonus.

  • Whole-vegetable cooking — Most plants are edible from root to flower, so waste-conscious chefs will bring the nose-to-tail philosophy to their vegetable-forward cooking. Think whole pea vines with roasted fish, or crispy corn silk gilding lamb lions.

  • Tree waters — The popularity of coconut water will lead to waters derived from bamboo, birch, maple and walnut trees. Though the health claims are dubious at best and the packaging negates any environmental friendliness, Bernstein says some of these waters are truly delicious.

    PureWow and Bernstein also have a list of trends they were happy to see retired with the close of 2017. PureWow was happy to see the decline of matcha, which they said "tastes like dirt and looks like split pea soup," while Bernstein hopes we see the end of communal tables, which he said often come across as stingy and turn a restaurant into a cafeteria. "It makes groups self-conscious and solo diners sad," he said. "Besides, most restaurants already have the best communal table of all — the bar."

    Follow the trends or forge your own. If you discover a food you believe we should all be enjoying in 2018, share it with me and we'll see if we can boost it to fame and glory in 2018.

    Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!

    Shared today are trendy recipes for cacio e pepe and Spaghetti Squash Lasagne Boats, enjoy!

    Cacio e pepe

    An Italian classic recipe that is destined to be among the top food trends in 2018.

    Makes 4 servings

    12 ounces spaghetti

    4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

    2/3 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese

    Salt to taste

    Freshly ground black pepper — lots of it — to taste

    Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. While the pasta cooks, mash the soft butter with the olive oil and pecorino cheese in a large bowl to form a paste.

    When the pasta is tender, drain it, reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water. Add the spaghetti directly to the bowl with the butter mixture. Toss well to coat, adding the pasta water as needed to make a thick, creamy sauce that coats the pasta strands. Season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Divide the pasta among four plates; serve immediately.

    Recipe courtesy of PureWow.com

    Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

    Makes four huge boats with extra sauce for another use

    For the filling:

    2 spaghetti squash

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced

    3 to 4 cups kale

    1 cup part skim ricotta cheese

    1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

    Pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon juice

    For the sauce:

    1 tablespoon olive oil

    2 to 3 cloves garlic minced

    1 pound ground turkey

    1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

    1 to 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

    1 teaspoon salt

    Pinch of oregano, basil and parsley, or to taste

    1½ cup red wine

    Splash of red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar

    Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut the squash in half the long way and scoop out seeds. Place the squash cut-side up in a baking dish and bake uncovered for 50 to 60 minutes. When cooked, rake the spaghetti squash strings out with a fork and transfer to a large bowl; be careful to leave some squash flesh in the boat, so it will support the filling. The squash strings will look like spaghetti noodles.

    While squash is cooking, make the sauce: Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant, not browned. Add the turkey and cook, stirring frequently and breaking the meat apart in to small pieces until fully cooked. Add the tomatoes, salt, herbs, red wine and vinegar. Simmer for 20 minutes or so. Add broth to thin out the sauce if needed.

    For the filling:

    Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and kale, stirring until the kale is just wilted. Combine the kale in a small bowl with the ricotta, salt, lemon juice and 1½ cups of the shredded cheese. Add the cooked spaghetti squash and stir to combine.

    Fill the boats with the spaghetti squash mixture and top with tomato sauce and remaining shredded cheese. Increase temperature to 425 F, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until the cheese is melted. Top with Parmesan, olive oil, parsley and salt and pepper.

    Recipe adapted from Cooking Light

    Barb Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 503-636-1281 ext. 100. She is the author of "Willamette Valley Wineries" published by Arcadia Publishing. Learn more online at barbarasmithrandall.me and follow her on Twitter @barbrandallfood.

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