With all this snow on the ground, I find myself daydreaming about warmer climes, sandy beaches and tropical fare. I may not be able to escape to Brazil anytime soon, but a taste of the country is as close as my kitchen.
In the McCormick 2014 Flavor Forecast, taste makers picked Brazil's "seductive mix of global and native influences" as one of the year's emerging trends.
Contact information ( * required )
Brazilian cuisine blends vibrant flavors from European, African, Asian and Amazonian cultures into a big, delicious melting pot. Ingredients like guava, black-eyed peas, cassava and a spice blend called tempero baiano (oregano, parsley, cumin and various peppers) take center stage.
Today certainly seems like a good day to cook up a pot of Bahian-Spiced Chicken and Beans with Yuca Mash. It's a potpie/cassoulet sort of mashup that just may have the power to transport you, or your taste buds at least, to Rio.
What else do the flavor forecasters at McCormick think is in store for 2014? Our obsession with chilies -- grilled, smoked, pickled and otherwise -- will continue as will our exploration of Indian cuisine. Seems like this year will be a delicious one.
Appetite for adventure: If heading to some place warm sounds pretty good about now, this weekend's Chicago Travel and Adventure Show is the place to start planning your getaway.
Along with the opportunity to take a dip in a 15,000-gallon, heated diving pool, meet sled dogs and ride a mechanical bull, you can satisfy your culinary curiosity with demonstrations by chef Fabio Viviani, "Top Chef" favorite and chef at Chicago's Sienna Tavern as well as other chefs. The expo's Taste of Travel Stage is hosted by Emmy Award-winning producer and host of PBS-TV's "Culinary Travels" Dave Eckert.
At 3 p.m. Saturday, Viviani will show the crowd how to prepare gnocchi with wild boar ragu. The full demo lineup is at adventureexpo.com. Travel celebrities Samantha Brown, Rick Steves and Todd Carmichael also will be on hand.
The expo runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. Tickets cost $10 online with code CHPR or $15 at the door. Kids ages 16 and younger get in free.
Uncorked: I don't know about you, but I have plenty of wine corks sitting in my kitchen after all the holiday revelry. I generally save corks in a large jar and then drop the whole mess of them at Whole Foods Markets for recycling. But until my next trip to the store, I'm going to try this idea from the folks at Sterling Vineyards.
When you open a bottle of wine, write on the cork the date and the names of your friends who enjoyed the bottle with you. Then place the corks in a wide shallow bowl and nestle candles among them. While collecting memories you also create a nice centerpiece.
• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at email@example.com or (847) 427-4524. Be her friend at Facebook.com/DebPankey.DailyHerald or follow her on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter @PankeysPlate.