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"From Leo Carillo to the Pismo shore..." This video was brought to you by the letter B.  Sorry, I been watching too much Sesame Street.  Some solid south swell hit Malibu pretty good in July and for a stretch there I ate beets everyday for more than a week.

The music is by Braw, thanks to Andrew for letting me use it.

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Tomato and Corn Chowder with Thyme

With an abundance of tomatoes right now thanks to my father in-law and Avalon Hill (thanks!), we thought Joanne Weir's "Tomato and Corn Chowder" would be a quick, easy, healthy way to use them all before they went to waste.  This recipe came sirendipitly into our email inbox last week; she's a gem, and you can sign up for her newsletter here.

Like everything, I can't just leave well enough alone so I made some modifications.  Instead of the chives, I added some thyme because I just felt like it needed a little stronger herbal touch.  I used more tomatoes and didn't drain or seed them.  I added more butter, less water, and I also cooked it for a little longer.

The result is a hearty, yet summer-y and vegeterian chowder that makes a great meal, especially served with some toasted crusty bread.  If you were to use olive oil instead of butter, you could make it vegan.

Here is our variation:

2 large Russett potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 tablespoon butter
1 yellow onion, minced
3 cups chicken stock
6 ears of fresh corn, shucked, kernels removed 
1/2 cup heavy cream
7 ripe medium-size red tomatoes, peeled and chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
3-4 sprigs of thyme

Bring a large pot three-quarters full of salted water to a boil.  Add the potatoes and cook until tender, 10 minutes.  Prep everything else while the potatoes cook.  Drain and reserve.  

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the same pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, 7 minutes.  Add the corn but reserve 1 cup of it for later.  Add the chicken stock, the thyme, and 2 cups water.  Simmer until the corn is very tender and the liquid is reduced by one quarter, 15 minutes. 

Remove the thyme stems from the soup, by now most of the leaves will have fallen off.  Puree the mixture with an immersion/stick blender until very smooth.  Add the cream, the reserved corn and the potatoes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Heat over medium high heat just until hot, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and cook 6-8 more minutes.  Serve hot with toast and possibly a dry white wine.

Serves 6

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Authordavid koch
CategoriesRecipes

 

I took 5 months off my project of photographing everything I ate (I know you missed me) - but I'm back, and since I'm doing the videos on a monthly basis and not a weekly one, the videos are going to have somewhat more interesting content.

I'm skipping the mundane - the bag of chips, the pint of Metamucil, the morning cup of coffee.  I'm also having a little more fun with photography, trying different filters (I dumped the Blackberry and got an Android phone), and different angles. 

You may notice duelling bottles of hot sauce, I'm working on an article called "Rooster Vs. Rooster," which pits the Thai-style Sriracha against a Louisiana hot sauce called Red Rooster.  Stay tuned.

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Cat food or human food? by Maggie T
I'm going to spare you video of chicken farms with 1.5 million birds under a 1/4 acre roof; the thrashing around, the sound, and any references to what only a few poor souls truly know what about what it might smell like inside.

 
Instead, let's take a closer look at the shear genius that goes into mass-production meat - because on many levels it is a miracle of science that there are 6+ Billion people on this Earth, and the vast majority of them are NOT starving.

 
Don't lecture me about how meat is murder, and how a vegetarian lifestyle is the only way to really give back to society.  I'm fully aware that the amount of meat Westerners consume isn't sustainable, and that the meat-industrial complex is slowly killing us all.

 
Nevertheless, there is something hypnotic and awesome about a machine in motion.  The exacting movements, carefully set and regulated by the Engineers.  The cold metal in rhythm.  There is something primal about admiring a machine that can tear the flesh off an animal.  


Especially one that can tear the flesh off 1,500 animals an hour...

 
Enter MAYEKAWA...

 

Atsushi Suzuki tells us how:
"The most important thing in removing chicken meat from bones is the process of making shallow cuts.  In that process it makes shallow cuts at the tip of the shoulder and around the collarbone.


It recognizes images taken by the camera and changes the depth and location of the cuts for each chicken.  Then it finally pulls the meat off the bone.  After that some white breast meat still remains on the bone, so it makes a shallow cut there and removes the white breast meat.


In the end, it has removed the breast meat, wing base, wing tip, and white breast meat that was hidden behind the breast from the bone, and all that is left is the bones.  After making the shallow cuts, the process of removing the bone from the meat on a track is quite similar to the manual process.


After all the manual process is an excellent one, and we make it a point to make ours as close to it as we can.  Our company's machine for de-boning thighs and the lower torso in the same way is selling very well right now overseas


Overseas the food culture is to eat more breast meat than thigh meat, and we therefore intend to introduce this to our customers overseas."

 

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Chia Fresca Muffins: Lime Poppy Seed and Chia

This is modern take on the old classic, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins; these have a bit more of a bite because we used limes instead, and chia brings a host of good omega-3 fatty acids and fiber.  Let's be honest, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins need a renaissance.  

Besides, what are poppy seeds for besides getting stuck in your teeth?

Chia Fresca is a popular drink in South America; it is simply water, chia, lime or lemon juice, and honey or sometimes agave syrup.  This is all covered in our earlier article, Chia is the New Flaxseed.  I thought that since poppy and chia seeds are nearly indistinguishable from each other, let's incorporate them into the same recipe.

When you mix chia seeds with water, after about 20 minutes they form a gel.  If you've made a chia Pet, this is what you spread on the 'pet' part.  Chia is popular to bake with because many people find they can substitute up to half the fat or oil in a recipe with chia gel.

In this recipe, I kept all the butter.  They're muffins after all.

This recipe is an adaptation of the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin recipe from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, brought to us by way of both Sea Salt with Food and Brown Eyed Baker.

 

Chia Fresca Muffins

Wet ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • zest of 1 lime
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup of sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of chia
  • 3 tablespoons of water

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

Glaze:

  • Juice of one lime
  • Enough powdered sugar to form a honey-like consistency, about 1/2-3/4 cup

 

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix the tablespoon of chia with the 3 tablespoons of water, stir well and allow to sit for 20 minutes.  This will form a thick gel.

Butter or spray your muffin pan.  Once the chia has formed its gel, combine all the wet ingredients in one bowl.  Combine all the dry in another.

Fold the dry into the wet using as little work as needed.  Do not overwork the dough.

Fill your muffin pan and bake for 20-30 minutes.  They are done when a toothpick or chopstick inserted comes out clean.

Glaze the muffins while they are still hot out of the oven.

Makes 12 muffins.

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Authordavid koch
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Ranger Pale Ale and Garden Vegetable Soup with Basil Pesto

Spring has come but things haven't quite warmed up yet.  We're still dealing with the 60'sand 70's here in LA and after a non-existent summer last year, I'm ready for some heat.  While we wait, this is a delightful spring soup that ties the seasons together.

This vegetarian soup can use either Great Northern or Cannellini beans to give it some girth and the blast of pesto adds a vibrant touch that ties it all together.  It may require some chopping and prep work but once that is done, assembly is easy and you can scale the recipe up to feed Napoleon's army of keep some for another rainy day in the freezer.

We were approached by Foodbuzz's Tastemaker program to come up with something that pairs well with the beers from New Belgium Brewing Company. We jumped on the idea - New Belgium is one of our favorites and on any given day, you'll have a good chance of finding one of their Folly Packs (a variety of different brews) in our fridge.

 

Garden Vegetable Soup with Basil Pesto

Soup:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 fennel bulbs, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 5 medium tomatoes (or 2 cans chopped tomatoes), peeled and chopped
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock (homemade or store bought)
  • 2 cups cooked cannellini beans (fresh or canned)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Basil Pesto Garnish:
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

In a large stockpot, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onions, carrots and celery seasoned with a little salt and pepper for 2-3 minutes. Add in garlic, fennel, zucchini and red bell pepper and continue to sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Add in tomatoes and cook until tomatoes break down, about 3-5 minutes.
 
Pour in vegetable stock and bring up to a boil, turn down heat and let simmer until vegetables are almost cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Add in beans and continue to simmer until beans are warmed through. Taste soup for seasonings and add additional salt and pepper as necessary. Ladle warm soup into bowls and garnish with a tablespoon of basil pesto.

To make pesto: In a food processor or blender add basil, garlic, and pine nuts and pulse until finely chopped. With the motor running slowly pour in olive oil until everything is incorporated. Stir in parmesan cheese and taste for seasonings. Add in salt and pepper as necessary.
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AuthorDave and Amy Koch
CategoriesDrinks, Recipes
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Black Witbier: A Homebrew Recipe

I've been homebrewing for about 16 years now and after tasting nearly everything on the shelf, I enjoy pushing the boundaries.  I don't see the joy in duplicating Guinness when you can buy it for a heck of a lot less work and likely cheaper than to make your own.  If the Reinheitsgebot was the Wicked Witch of the West, I'm a bucket of water.

A Witbier is a Belgian style that uses spices besides hops to flavor.  Coriander and bitter orange peel are standard but black pepper, grains of paradise, chamomile, vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger are sometimes (albeit rarely) added by brewers to add a little more depth.

Today we take a more-or-less common Witbier and add chocolate malt to it.  This gives it a dark color but also a smokiness and a little toasted earthiness.  I added a little more spices than usual to compensate for the added flavor of the dark malt.

Besides the normal bitter orange and coriander, I also added ginger.  I first tasted a Wit with ginger from Shmaltz Brewing Company's "Coney Island Albino Python."  It has a distinctive ginger bite, and although I wasn't going for that so much, it is an excellent beer.

Disclaimer:  I've been brewing for so long, I haven't read a recipe in a while.  If I make some what you may consider "errors," please leave them in the comments.  I have made, quite possibly, a ton of beer and this technique works. 

Black Witbier

  • 3 gallons of water
  • 5 pounds dried pale malt extract
  • 1 pound crushed chocolate malt
  • 1 packet of dry Belgian yeast
  • 2 ounces of Cascade hop pellets
  • 3 tablespoons bitter orange
  • 3 tablespoons Grains of Paradise
  • 2 tablespoons of powdered ginger
  • 5 pound bag of ice

 

Put all the chocolate malt into a brew bag.  Add it to your largest brew pot and fill with water, leaving 6 inches from the rim, bring the water to 140 and keep it there for 40 minutes, stirring continuously.  

Once that step is done, hold the bag over the pot and rinse the grains with fresh water to extract the most from them.  This is called the wort (pronounced wert).  Take 2 tablespoons of the wort and pout them into a bowl, when it has cooled completely, sprinkle your yeast on top (called pitching the yeast).

Add the 5 pounds of malt extract and 1 ounce of the hops and bring to a boil.  Keep it there for 45minutes.  Add 1/2 ounce of the hops, boil for another 15 minutes.  Kill the heat and add the remaining 1/2 ounc of the hops along with the spices.

Add the bag of ice to your clean and sanitized primary fermenter and dump the wort into it.  Once it has cooled to 80 degrees add the yeast/wort slurry.  Cap and wait 10 days.

Once primary fermentation is done, rack into a second bottling bucket and bottle.  Give the bottles another 2 weeks to carbonate at room temperature.  Once they are ready, chill and drink!

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Authordavid koch
CategoriesDrinks, Recipes
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Chia Shrek by doyle.jack

Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia!  We've heard it all before, the daytime TV slogan of the ubiquitous Chia Pet and other Chia-related products of Joseph Enterprises (also the maker of The Clapper, "Clap on! Clap Off!).  What I didn't realize until last year was that chia is the name of the grain that sprouts on your Pet/Shrek/Obama/Homer/or Scooby Doo.

The little black seeds we all made fun of as children are now being touted as "Aztek Superfood" and being sold at Whole Foods and the like.  Its health benefits have been brought to light by both Oprah and Dr. Oz.  2010 brought record setting global chia harvests and 2011 will likely be even bigger.

Yes folks, chia is the new flaxseed. 

from Google Trends

I first had chia at the Granville Market in Vancouver as "the world's most amazing breakfast cereal," - Holy Crap.  Yes, that's the name of the brand, Holy Crap.  They mixed it with hemp milk and it was great; the tiny seeds remind my of poppy seeds but when wet they form a gelatinous bubble around them, much like a tomato seed has.

I've never had a Chia Pet but the Pet-making process is the same as eating it; you mix the seeds with liquid and give them a few minutes to gel.  Instead of spreading them on your Spongebob Squarepants; however, you eat them.  This gel is formed by soluble fibers, called mucilages, and helps slow the breakdown of the carbs during digestion.

According to The Chia Book, The University of Arizona Press, “Chia has more Omega 3 than fish oil, flaxseed and marine algae. It has more protein, lipids, energy and fiber - but fewer carbs - than rice, barley, oats, wheat or corn... Chia is an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and copper.”

The chia plant is indigenous to Central America and Mexico and is used to make the popular drink chia fresca and is often mixed with ground toasted maize kernels to make pinole.  Because of it's high protien and of its ability to absorb 10 times its weight in water, it was a staple for indigenous people to take on long journeys.

In his book “Born to Run,” author Chistopher McDougall outlines how the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico routinly runs 50-100 miles at a time after drinking their chia fresca, made with water, chia, honey, and lemon juice.

The long distance running connection piques little interest to me to me because I don't run, I'm top-heavy and wouldn't even run to catch a bus - I do; however, often make a shake of sorts for breakfast anyways so I got some chia to check it out.

Chia Seeds Soaking in a Mason Jar by GilmourCreative

I tried mixing mine with almond milk, coconut milk, cow's milk, and sometimes simply water.  It never got to a consistency where I would enjoy eating it with a spoon; just too loose and watery.  They have very little taste anyway.  I ended up mixing 1-2 tablespoons with about 10 ounces of liquid, stirring, waiting and pounding it.

I didn't notice an outpouring of Aztek energy pumping through me, but I'm usually 3 cups of coffee deep when I leave the house anyway.  It produced a level of satiety that was similar to my normal breakfast concoction so I didn't see much of a benefit.

There was the novelty of the chia gel and I have read several recipes that use the gel to substitute for fats while baking.  They do this because the gel is so hydrophilic that it holds onto the water in the oven and keeps the baked goods moist.

I'll keep experimenting with chia and since it is so hot right now, I suggest everyone goes and grabs a bag at their local health food store to check it out too.  Some people report that they can't stand the gel because it is too mucus-like, other (whack-jobs, likely) report chia addictions.  But then again, there's that lady who likes to eat Comet.

 

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Bufalo Spam Musubi

Spam is the island sweetheart of Hawaii.  I would be willing to bet that the residents of Hawaii eat more Spam than the contiguous 48 combined.  One of the treats you can find at nearly every local market, gas station, and convenience store in Hawaii is Spam Musubi.

Musibi, I gather, comes from omusubi (also called onigiri) which is white rice shaped into oval or triangle shapes, packed with pickled and/or salty treats, and wrapped in nori (seaweed).  It is commonplace as a quick snack in Japan.

In Hawaii, they have amalgamated the wonderful snack food onigiri and their love of Spam into Spam Musubi and if you ever make it to the islands, get some.

On a recent trip out there (sorry, if you flew Hawiian Air in December, we had the 7 month old), we grabbed some rice, some nori, some mirin, a can of Spam, and we decided to make our own.  

In Spam Musubi we have already got salty, sweet, and fishy - the addition of one of may favorite hot sauces, Bufalo, rounded out the perfectly flavor storm by adding spicy and smoky.

Bufalo also adds a blast of color, bringing bright red to the porky pink, white of the rice and deep green of the nori.  The mild heat of the Bufalo lingers along with the umami of the nori after the punch of salt from the Spam has long but passed.

Spamburger!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of white rice
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup of mirin
  • 1 can of Spam
  • 1 package of nori
  • 1 bottle of Bufalo hot sauce

 

Cook the rice as you would normally, bring the water to a boil, add the rice, bring back to a boil then turn down to a simmer.  Cook until soft, about 15 minutes.  

Dump the cooked rice into a large bowl and drizzle the mirin over the rice to incorporate it evenly.  Mix well using a wooden spoon or something similar.  Set asside and allow to cool.

Slice the Spam into 1/2 inch thick slices and fry in a pan until they develop come caramel color and a little crispness on both sides, about 4-7 minutes.  

With about 3 tablespoons of rice, form small balls of rice with your hands (don't measure, make them however large or small as you like).  Squirt several drops of Bufalo on the top of each patty of rice.

Place a slice of fried Spam on top of the rice, covering the Bufalo sauce.  Wrap each piece in nori, sealing the nori by wetting your fingers in a small bowl of water and spreading it on the inside of the niro.  Wet nori will stick to itself.

Dip them in extra Bufalo, recipe makes 12-15.

Enjoy hot or cold.  What you don't eat right away, wrap individually in plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for up to a week (who knows how old some of those are at the 7-11 on Kam Haighway in Kahaluu).

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CategoriesRecipes
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Kale Chips with Truffle Salt
On a recent trip I was reading one of those celebrity magazines and came across an interview with Kristen Bell. They asked what her diet secret was and she proclaimed kale chips!  I am still trying to lose those final pregnancy pounds and I thought I would give it a shot.

As I searched around for recipes I noticed that almost every food blog has a post on kale chips. Apparently, I am way behind on this phenomenon. In a quest to add my own twist to this delectable green treat I added a dash of truffle salt. I found them delicious and could have eaten the whole batch that night.

The next day I wish I had since they did not keep well, even in a sealed Tupperware container. I learned my lesson though and will be sure to devour the next batch right out of the oven. They were very simple to make, give them a try whether you are on a diet or not!

Recipe
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pinch of truffle salt (approx. 1/8-1/4 teaspoon)
Bake that kale!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove tough stems from kale, then wash leaves and dry well. If the leaves are large cut or tear into smaller pieces.

Lightly toss leaves with olive oil then place on a sheet pan in a single layer. Bake in oven until crisp, about 10-12 minutes. While kale chips are still warm sprinkle with truffle salt. Let cool slightly then enjoy!

 

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AuthorAmy Koch
CategoriesRecipes
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Broccoli et Fromage Soup

I was amazed at how quickly this came together, it all went down like how the Simpsons fly into their living room at the beginning of each show; also known as the 'couch gag'.  This time, instead of creating a controversial intro clip lampooning the Chinese manufacturing industry, like Banksy did, we all got to sit down to a nice meal.

This was adapted from the Cheddar Broccoli Soup from The Wives with Knives because they have such a charming tone and the photos to prove it.  Thanks.

Broccoli et Fromage Soup (printable recipe)

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon Better than Bouillon
  • 3 cups milk
  • 2 cups chichen stock
  • 2 cups shredded or diced cheese, cheddar is great but we're not picky in this recipe
  • 1 pound broccoli
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper as needed

 

Steam the broccoli first.  I used the microwave by nuking the pound of broccoli in three batches and zapping them each batch for 60 seconds at a time.  They will cook more in the soup so you only need to par-cook them.

In a large pot over a medium-high heat add the butter and the onions and cook until soft; after a few minutes add the Better than Bouillon and pepper, keep stirring to prevent browning.  Once the onions are soft add the flour and stir quickly and throughly to form a rue.

Cook the rue for about 2 minutes, stirring continuously, and add the chicken stock - slowly at first, stirring quickly to avoid clumping.  A whisk may be used to incorporate them with some alacrity.  Once they are one, add the milk and stir well; keep the heat on medium to prevent the milk from separating.

Add the cheese and the cayenne, stir for a minute or so, then add the broccoli.  Break out your immersion blender (AKA stick blender), or transfer the soup into a processor or blender and work in batches.

Don't blend completely, little wholesome chunks of broccoli are half the fun.  Taste and add salt & pepper as needed.  Serve hot.  Makes 4 bowls.

 

 

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