Teach a Man to Fish

Rhode Island Seniors Embrace Chinatown with Boston Food Tours

  One of my recent Chinatown tour groups drove up from Tiverton, Rhode Island and ignoring the light rain, delightfully embraced their introduction to Chinese food and culture. Joe Gaedtke shot these photos of our group. His wife Marilyn - the organizer for the group - said:

Our group tour with you on Friday was a tremendous success. So often, many of us drive, or walk through Chinatown in Boston, but we have never experienced it the way we did with you. You have opened our eyes to the real Chinatown. A modern day community, surviving in a bustling city, but it still has it’s arms wrapped around an ancient past. Many thanks from all of us.

With the Harvest Moon being celebrated on September 30, this group saw Chinatown at its bustling, filled-to-the-rafters-with-moon-cakes best! Read this interesting LA Times piece on the "greening" of Moon cakes in China.

Chinatown collage

 

It was a fun day of exploration and new tastes, including dim sum. I came away energized as always. We have the best tour guests! If you'd like to join me on a future tour, look for Boston Food Tours booking here. If you want to see what past guests have to say about the experience read reviews.

 

One Special Ingredient - Chinese Black Vinegar

One of the special products we talk about on the tour is Black Vinegar. My favorite brand is Gold Plum (beware of the knock-off "Red Plum" that looks very similar but is of lesser quality.) Fermented from Black Rice (aka Forbidden Rice) this special vinegar is deep and flavorful. It's aged in wood just as Balsamic is but it's less sweet.

This is the vinegar that many recipes will call for and can be used in some of your favorite recipes and dipping sauces.

Chinese Black Vinegar

 

Here's an Epicurious.com salad dressing, which I modified slightly from the original, substituting Chinkiang vinegar for balsamic

Chinese Black Vinegar Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup neutral oil, such as canola or a good not-too fruity EVOO
  • 1/4 cup Chinkiang black vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 large-ish cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger (here's a cool, easy way to peel ginger root)
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil (I like Kadoya)
  • sprinkle of toasted ground sesame seeds or gomashio and five spice powder, to taste
Buzz this all in a blender with a TBSP or two of water to emulsify. You'll have a thin, fawn-colored salad dressing that will make the most reluctant salad-eaters happy. Drizzled over poached chicken shredded over greens, or used as a dipping sauce for salad wrapped in a rice paper wrapper, this is a winner. As a dipping sauce, I'll often add a bit of Sriracha and some chopped peanuts.
Enjoy, and do come join us for dim sum and a taste of history.

 

 

The Business of Being a (Food) Writer

Michael Ruhlman the author of the captivating inside look into the Culinary Institute of America (see his Soul of a Chef trilogy) and more recently the author of Ratio and Twenty, was also the author of this Tweet on a recent morning:

"email to cia student: learn 2 b excellent writer first, then turn that skill toward food. no one should set out to be a food writer."

This got me thinking of all the emails I've gotten and networking coffees I have drunk, when a friend of a friend calls to discuss "becoming a food writer." Not one of these coffee dates in recent memory resulted in the kid taking me up on my offer to review their work. Many have even forgotten to toss off a quick email thanking me for my time (which is also my money, meaning the time I sat with you to discuss why you think you could do my job, I wasn't making any money, or querying anyone else about my next paid piece of work.)

I do a lot fewer of these than I used to.

A Day in the Life:

People often ask me "what do you DO all day?" Just to give you some idea of how my day goes, today I'm:

  • Trying to learn what I need to add to my iPad to make it not only fun, but also a useful and productive tool.
  • Looking forward to, and preparing for, a speaking engagement tomorrow for a group called ASPIRE that reaches out to Asian American women. We are a panel in the food industry and I'm eager to hear what Patricia Yeo (Om) and Alison Fong (Bon ME)  have to say. I think it's interesting that all three of us have taken unconventional paths to where we are.
  • I'm also setting up and shooting photos for two other posts.
  • Troubleshooting my camera flash card reader. Why now?
  • Outlining my Thanksgiving wrap up post.
  • Following up on sponsor queries. ("Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful...")
  • Tackling a billing problem with AT&T who suspended my service for no apparent reason. Yesterday my one and only phone, the one I use for business, was suspended. (Victory: I got a big credit and a sincere apology, acknowledging that not one, but two people dropped the ball on their end. Never mind it took the better part of an hour. And the two calls that took more than two hours in the past two weeks.)
  • Planning dinner (which includes a recipe to test and photos to shoot), post to outline.
  • It's time to go for a walk (it's late actually, but I had to shoot while the light was good and then I discovered the card reader broke.) I gave up the gym and now walk for exercise. One of the dangers of working from home is living close to the refrigerator, testing recipes doesn't help. Yoga pants are not your friend.
  • Drafting my holiday gift guide. (90% done)
  • Looking at the pile of books to be reviewed and thinking how I can turn it into a post or two.
  • Reminding myself of the in-flight magazine query I have nearly ready to go...

 

A Big Milestone and a Big Decision

With the publication of my first piece in The Washington Post, I was inundated with emails thanking me for the piece. I am thrilled. And, I'm broke. This dichotomy has me thinking a lot about the business of being a writer. It's never been more difficult to be a writer. Like the back end of a horse, or a peek inside the sausage factory, people seem not to want to pay attention to the realities of being a writer. Like the beret-wearing, Moleskin-toting café denizen I like to call "Existential Crisis Dude", after every other boy I met in college, writing is often a solitary and unrewarded affair. But is it a job? I think it can be.

First and foremost, as a writer (whether it's about food or anything else) you are your own business. While the appeal of being your own boss is real (and there are benefits) most folks don't think beyond that.

Here is a quick post I put up on Facebook a few weeks back:

I wish to lodge a complaint with my Manager (me) that my IT Dept (me) is taking far too much time away from my employee's (my) productive work. Also, the Marketing Dept (me) is so terribly far behind that the Accounts Receivable Dept (me) is going to blow a gasket. Accounts Payable (me) is not happy either.

HR (me) is quite concerned, especially with all the personal time this employee (me) has been taking do deal with "family matters." Legal (me) is looking into this. We may need to involve the EAP (me).

Sales (me) as usual, is just hitting the bricks and trying to make a buck to keep this whole operation afloat. Sure hope the Executive Planning Committee (me) is taking note.

There was a period when everything broke or went South at once (the dishwasher, the refrigerator, the computer, etc.) and medical and family matters reared their heads, too. Inevitably, these things happen at once. So you're trying to follow up on queries to editors, scare up some news sponsors, while fielding calls to repairmen on the dishwasher, while scheduling the refrigerator repairman, and watching appointments vanish from your calendar while your support person says "I've never seen that happen!" And so on. People have said, "Oh, I hate when that happens." But they are collecting a paycheck and making those calls from work, from a desk which someone else paid for, by lights that someone else is paying to keep on. I'm still in a hole from the "everything's broken/breaking" period.

Being self employed also means you cannot take a sick day, even if you get sick. No one pays you for a personal day to run to a specialist doctor it took you six months to book an appointment with. The upside is if it's not a delusional fever you have, you can stay in bed in your jammies and get something done. Even if it's just photo editing. People often think if you have not posted anything you have not been working. Each piece you post has been written, edited, photos have been planned, recipes tested, etc. It's not that I've been sitting on the sofa watching Judge Judy.

Work like mine is not for the faint of heart. I am in awe of people like Michael Ruhlman and all the published authors I know, who somehow manage to get it done and support themselves in the process. I'm very tough, thick-skinned, creative at problem-solving and entrepreneurial by nature. I'm organized, I'm confident. And yet, it is a struggle. Very few writers I know actually support themselves with writing alone. Editors are beleaguered, many of them are now writing what they used to pay freelancers to write for their publications. People who used to pay for workshops now have no budget, or are hopeful they'll have one again in the Spring.

More successful writers than I advise me to "never work for less than a dollar a word." As far as I can tell, that mostly means "never work (period)." It's been a long, long time since I've found anyone paying that rate. If you want to be a (food) writer, my first piece of advice is: do not quit your current job. This is no economy in which to be casual about things like a paycheck, medical benefits, retirement accounts.

My second piece of advice echoes Ruhlman's - be a writer. DO the work. Ask for feedback, but be mindful of the time of those you are imposing on. The availability of free blogging platforms means anyone can have a blog. This is mostly a mixed bag. Too many people give away their work for free. Then they ask me how I make money as a food writer. Here's a hint: stop giving your work away for free. Just because you have a computer and a blog, doesn't make you are a writer. Just as having a camera doesn't make you Ansel Adams; you must work at your craft. Do it every day, get better. Treat it like exercise. Do something every day.

Be tenacious, flexible and thick-skinned. Be professional. (I cannot tell you how many editors tell me that freelancers regularly miss deadlines. I cannot believe it, but they swear it's true.)

The writing I want to do, the writing I cannot not do, will not get done while I'm chasing payments, querying editors and negotiating fees above twenty cents a word. So, while Mom asks if my Washington Post piece has "resulted in any offers" (if only it worked like that!), I have decided to go back into job search mode.

Yes, for the first time in five years, I'm looking for a conventional job. A "real job". I don't need benefits, I don't need to advance in an organization. I'd like something that allows me to make a contribution, maybe exercise the gray matter, and I will write before or after work. We'll see how this next chapter unfolds.

I will continue to write and hopefully, my readers and sponsors will stick around. In the meantime, if you know of anyone hiring...here's a little about what I've done in the not-too-distant past.


Before I became a Writer...

I moved to Boston for law school in 1985, having been convinced that this was my route to having an impact while earning a living. This was prior to our city’s culinary renaissance and it is no exaggeration to say that the quality of food in this city at that time nearly caused me to leave. While new opportunities kept me here much longer than anticipated, I watched our city discover its capacity for more than boiled potatoes and broiled cod.

I have enjoyed many aspects of success in conventional employment, all the while keeping connected to the food world through volunteer experiences. (I’ve co-chaired charity events at nationally acclaimed restaurants, I’ve also volunteered teaching cooking skills to at-risk kids, developed marketing plan for a specialty food product, and I’ve looked at culinary school and other hands-on cooking jobs, too.)

After two years of law, left it for the consulting field and enjoyed the fit of business over law. I used the skills learned in practice to succeed in account executive and consulting roles. Strategic thinking and client focus enabled me to successfully prospect business, develop high level client relationships at Fortune 500 companies, and to consistently exceed goals. Some of my corporate accomplishments include:

  • Simultaneous management of all 13 GE business unit relationships; effectively developing those with strategic opportunity and turning those into partner, rather than vendor,     relationships. These resulted in new revenue streams for my company and in my being invited to speak at Crotonville, GE's leadership training center.
  • Turned around an at-risk client making it into a high-margin, high-satisfaction client. Developed, and was only outsider invited to, cross-business, cross-functional steering committee.
  • Grew Fidelity speaking engagement (Spring Leadership Conference) into a consulting project with Systems Company. Resulted in higher customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction for units that implemented our flexible work arrangements system. Fidelity is now implementing the system corporate-wide.

Within my own company, I designed and implemented organizational effectiveness manual and training, developed the first cross-functional account team, and was project manager and contributing writer to the telecommuting handbook.

After years of consulting, I took a spin through several startups, with great successes, followed too closely by pink slip after pink slip. I love the ability to contribute whatever you can in a startup environment, unfettered by title. Often one can contribute in ways that are not possible in larger more evolved organizations. Some of the startup successes I enjoyed included:

 

  • Closing a multi-million dollar deal for the first national extra-net VOIP network. (I knew nothing of hardware technology before taking that job but learned it, and impressed people with my ability to make deals, build relationships.)
  • Creating a joint venture between a major insurer and a hi tech company with innovative supply chain protection tool.
  • Developing new verticals and bringing at-risk clients back to a technology driven, distance-learning company.

Since my career path is unconventional, HR software will screen me out of most jobs I might apply to. So, I'll be reaching out to friends and acquaintances, networking like nobody's business. Put your thinking caps on and accept my gratitude in advance.

Allons-y!




 

2010 Teach a Man to Fish Round Up

The 4th annual Teach a Man to Fish sustainable seafood event is finally wrapped. Thankfully this is a virtual potluck or these lovely dishes would stink to high heaven as long as some have been hanging around the inbox!

A Little Background

For those unfamiliar with this event, I started it four years ago with the thought that sustainable seafood choices are increasingly complicated to make though a growing number of us want to lessen our impact on the oceans and species we love. Why not, I thought, invite my conservation friends, my chef buddies, some celebrities, food bloggers and home cooks to participate in a huge teach-in and virtual potluck. We each share a recipe, a story about what we made and why, and I wrap up the whole post including photos, links to your blog or website, and additional resources so everyone can learn more about what we've chosen and why.

Accolades came from far and wide and I was most delighted to hear from many participants that they loved learning and sharing. The young mother from Germany who was looking at food choices in new ways now that she was feeding her child learned about better choices for her family and the oceans. The reader from Southeast Asia who wondered if there was anything akin to a wallet card for that part of the world. (There was! We found it.) The editor who decided to start a dialog with her fishmonger and shared a simple five-step plan for how we could do the same.

Even people who did not participate by sending an entry in have written me via this site, Facebook or Twitter and thanked me for the compilation of resources and the collection of inspiring recipes.

2010 TM2F

Teach a Man to Fish (TM2F) this year is no less inspiring in terms of the entries I've received, the leaders I've spoken with and the progress we've made. Looking back over the years of round ups and resource guides, it's clear to me that we have really come some distance since I started this.

 

  • Success is not where we are but how far we've come from where we started. TS Eliot

 

Here we are in December (DECEMBER!) and I'm still trying to get this damn round up out. And a few of you actually submitted recipes/entries on deadline. Even when traveling. I apologize. It seems that this year has been a struggle for so many of us. Even last week I got a voicemail from a leading sustainable seafood organization I had contacted months ago to participate. Another "yes definitely" has simply fallen off the face of the earth. Then there's the Java-Joomla-Safari issues. So, with a few holes, but a lot of great content we are here. At last.

 

Seven Questions for...

I hope that you've been enjoying the newly added "Seven Questions for..." series. Sharing the thoughts of some of our leading thinkers, movers and shakers in the area of sustainable seafood and conservation was a new item I added to the mix this year.

Seven Questions for...

 

Looking ahead to our 5th Anniversary of TM2F - 2011

There are already some great plans in the works and I'm going to move it up into late Summer. We will miss October's National Seafood month tie-in, but we also miss everyone's crazy holidays and travel schedules which seem to ramp up earlier every year. So, do me a favor and mark your calendar now for August 15 - September 15. That should give us wiggle room with summer vacations and back-to-school and maybe even some nice tie-ins.

 

On to our Roundup

This round up includes recipes and advice from chefs, authors, conservation leaders, home cooks made. Looking back over the years of round ups and resource guides, it's clear to me that we have really come some distance since I started this.

Success is not where we are but how far we've come from where we started. TS Eliot

Here we are in December (DECEMBER!) and I'm still trying to get this damn round up out. And a few of you actually submitted recipes/entries on deadline. Even when traveling. I apologize. It seems that this year has been a struggle for so many of us. Even last week I got a voicemail from a leading sustainable seafood organization I had contacted months ago to participate. Another yes definitely has simply fallen off. Finally, I try to remember that we never know what other things people are contending with in their own lives and we must be as patient and forgiving with them as we hope they'd be with us. So, with a few holes, but a lot of great content we are here. At last.

Seven Questions for...

I hope that you've been enjoying the newly added "Seven Questions for..." series. Sharing the thoughts of some of our leading thinkers, movers and shakers in the area of sustainable seafood was a new item I added to the mix this year.

Seven Questions for...

 

 

Looking ahead to our 5th Anniversary of TM2F 2011

There are already some great plans in the works and I'm going to move it up into late Summer. We will miss October's National Seafood month tie-in, but we also miss everyone's crazy holidays and travel schedules which seem to ramp up earlier every year. So, do me a favor and mark your calendar now for August 15 - September 15. That should give us wiggle room with summer vacations and back-to-school and maybe even some nice tie-ins.

And speaking of looking ahead - but just ahead - seafood figures prominently in many cultures' holiday traditions. This recent post combines "little locavores" and little silver fishies which are something we should all be paying more attention to. Please enjoy: The Sardine Man Cometh.

On to our Roundup..

The fish: Barramundi

Contributed by: Chef Jeffrey Mahony, McCormick & Schmick, Colorado

The Recipe: Barramundi with Shitake & Lemongrass

For more info: The Better Fish; The Super Green List

Barramundi is a fish that still needs its breakout role. This fish could be the "it" girl if we could find that vehicle. A few chefs have discovered it and wider distribution is on the horizon. Allow me to introduce you.

Barramundi has much to recommend it:  sustainably farmed in above-ground, closed-container tanks, it eats a largely vegetarian diet (meaning it doesn't put pressure on natural fish populations for feed). It has the remarkable ability to turn its feed into omega-fatty acid-rich delicate, flaky white fillets that have enough healthy fat to make it easy to cook, even for beginners.

Chef Jeffrey Mahony has more than 18 years experience in the restaurant industry.  Most of these were spent working with fresh seafood.  He began his career at the Pelican Fish restaurant in Fort Collins, CO. During his tenure, Mahony worked his way up from host to chef and eventually, general manager. The restaurant was named “Best Seafood Place” and the “People’s Choice Restaurant” for eight years by the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

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Shiitake Sauce

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 cup sliced shitake mushrooms

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup corn starch slurry (corn starch and cold water 1:2 ratio)

1 1/2 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/8 cup rice wine vinegar

1 tbs chili flakes

3 tbs minced garlic

3 tbs minced ginger

In large sauté pan or sauce pan heat vegetable oil to a smoke. Add mushrooms and sauté until golden brown. Add chili flakes and brown, add garlic and ginger sauté until brown (do not burn) add all ingredients except for slurry and return to a boil add slurry and return to a boil.  Thickness of sauce may need to be adjusted, add more slurry to make thicker or chicken stock to make sauce looser.

Lemongrass Shitake Barramundi

4 each 7oz Barramundi skin-on filet

4 half pieces lemongrass

3 cup white wine or chicken stock

Salt/pepper

Sharpen lemongrass into spear.  Skewer Barramundi filet length wise and place in a shallow baking pan.  Add stock or wine and roast in a 400 oven until done about 7-10 minutes.

Serve over Jasmine or Sticky rice, sides might include baby bok choy or asparagus lightly sauced with sesame oil and soy sauce.

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The fish: Mussels, Clams, Squid

Contributed by: Vanessa Barrington, Author of DIY Delicious: Recipes and Ideas for Simple Food from Scratch (Chronicle Books 2010)

The Recipe: Seafood Stew

For more info:

Sustainable Seafood Stew with Meyer Lemon and Parsley Aioli Croutons

Seafood that’s low on the food chain is both healthier for both you and the oceans. Plus, it’s tasty and economical. This recipe combines clams, mussels, and squid, but you could replace all or some of these with crab, lobster, or even sustainably caught or farmed fish, local to your area. You can gussy this dish up with chopped fresh tomatoes, citrus zest, or saffron, but it’s quite good as-is. A good trick for making a flavorful, quick stock is to ask the fishmonger for some heads or bones of fish trimmed that day. It’s cheap, fresh, and flavorful. To shop for sustainable seafood, get a Seafood Watch card for your local area and take it to the store with you.

Time Required: about 1 hour active; 20 minutes passive (excluding aioli preparation)

Yield: 4 as a first-course or light-supper servings

1/4 cup olive oil, plus extra for croutons

1/2 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 celery rib, roughly chopped

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

1/2 small fennel bulb, chopped

2 garlic cloves, left unpeeled and smashed with the side of a knife blade

Salt

1 pound fish heads and bones

1/2 cup dry white wine

3 or 4 sprigs fresh parsley

6 black peppercorns

Pinch of fennel seeds

1/2 baguette, sliced into 1/4-inch slices on the diagonal

Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound mussels, washed and debearded

1 pound clams, washed

1/2 pound squid, cleaned (see Note)

Meyer Lemon and Parsley Aioli (recipe follows)

In a medium soup pot over medium heat, warm the ¼ cup oil. Add the onion, celery, carrot, fennel, garlic, and a few pinches of salt. Let the vegetables cook gently until soft and aromatic, about 10 minutes.

Add the fish heads and bones, 3 1/2 cups water, the wine, parsley, peppercorns, and fennel seeds to the vegetables and bring to a boil. Skim any scum from the top and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer until fragrant and the stock begins to color, about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lay the baguette slices out on a baking sheet in a single layer, brush with olive oil, and bake until lightly toasted, about 7 minutes.

Remove the broth from the heat and strain it, reserving the fish for other uses (see No-W aste Tip). Return the broth to the pot, taste, and adjust the salt, pepper, and acid by adding a little more white wine if desired.

Add the mussels and clams, cover, and simmer until they just open, 3 minutes or so . Add the squid and turn off the heat. Let sit, covered, for 30 seconds. Discard any unopened clams or mussels and ladle the stew into 4 warmed, shallow bowls. Spread the croutons with aioli and float 2 in each bowl of soup.

Note: To clean fresh squid, lay them all out on a cutting board near the sink. Position a bowl in the sink bel ow the cutting board and also have a colander ready in the sink. For each squid, pull the head free of the body and cut the tentacles off just above the eyes. Put the tentacles in the colander and pull out the remaining portion of the head with the eyes and guts that come with it. Discard them into the bowl with the ink sac. Using the dull edge of a knife, scrape the squid body so that the opaque, white viscera inside falls into the bowl. Do this several times to get as much out as possible. At the same time, scrape off the mottled skin so the squid is clean white. Turn the squid over and do both sides. Reach inside the body and pull the bony quill out, making sure to get it all.

Place all the cleaned squid in the colander with the tentacles, and rinse thoroughly, letting the water run through the bodies to remove any remaining sliminess.  Drain and cut the squid bodies into rings about 1/2 inch thick.

No-Waste Tip: If you have a dog or cat, reserve the fish heads and trimmings after you strain your broth.  Boil in fresh water until the bones are completely soft. Puree and add to your pet’s food for a special, healthy treat.

Meyer Lemon and Parsley Aioli

The word aioli is often misused to describe and flavored mayonnaise.  But it seems fitting to use the term aioli to indicate that this is special mayonnaise. Follow this basic recipe to make any variety of mayonnaise you like. Depending on how you are serving it, or your inclination, you might want to add cayenne, capers, anchovies, different types of herbs, or chopped, canned chipotle chiles. This is lovely in vegetable sandwiches, in BLTs, as a dip for roasted asparagus, or as a dressing base for potato salad. My very favorite use for Meyer Lemon and Parsley Aioli is to spread it on croutons and float them like buoys in Sustainable Seafood Stew. Of course you may make this in a food processor, but washing slippery mayonnaise out of a food processor always makes me cranky, while whisking it by hand is quick and soothing.

Time Required: 10 to 15 minutes active

Yield: about 2/3 cup

1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole

Salt

1 egg yolk, at room temperature

1/2 cup good, but not too pungent, olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh Meyer lemon juice, at room temperature

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Freshly ground black pepper

Pound the garlic to a paste in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of salt. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolk until smooth. Add the oil a few drops at a time, whisking continuously, and making sure that each addition of oil is incorporated fully before adding more. You can begin adding the oil more quickly about halfway through the process because the more oil the egg has incorporated, the less likely the aioli is to separate.

When all the oil is incorporated, and the aioli becomes very thick and yellow, like lemon pudding, add the lemon juice a little at a time, whisking continuously. If you want your aioli to have a thinner consistency, add warm water a few drops at a time.  Stir in the parsley and the garlic paste and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer to a jar and seal. The aioli will keep, refrigerated, for 3 or 4 days.

To make in a food processor, follow the same procedure, adding the oil a little at a time through the feed tube while processing continuously.

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The fish: Squid

Contributed by: Braddock Spear, The Sustainable Ocean Project

The Recipe: Squid "Noodles" with Kalamata Olives and Arugula

For more info: See the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Seafood Watch Squid profile and choose longfin

Squid ‘Noodles’ with Kalamata Olives and Arugula

Squid are a great candidate for sustainable seafood. They mature quickly and are prolific reproducers. This recipe is a slightly modified version of a recipe by Chef Anne Burrell from her TV show, Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. Squid are one of the few seafood products that hold up well to freezing. If your local fishmonger does not have fresh product, thawed frozen squid also works well for this recipe.

¾ - 1 pound cleaned squid, tubes and tentacles

Extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, smashed, plus 1 whole for rubbing bread

Pinch of crushed red pepper

Salt

1 cup dry white wine

¼ cup kalamata or other black olives, slivered

4 large slices rustic Italian bread

2 cups arugula

2 tablespoons chopped chives, for garnish (optional)

Insert a chefs knife into squid tube and cut through one side to create one open sheet. Cut into ¼-

inch wide strips, or ‘noodles’. Cut tentacles into segments.

Before cooking the squid, grill the bread on both sides (on a grill pan or gas grill). Lightly rub

warm bread with the garlic clove. Drizzle bread with the highest quality olive oil you have.

Coat a large sauté pan with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Add the smashed garlic cloves and

crushed red pepper and bring to high heat. Once the garlic is golden brown on both sides, remove

and discard. Add the squid and quickly stir in hot oil. Season with salt and sauté for 1 minute.

Add wine and olives and cook on high heat until wine has reduced by half. Taste to make sure

there is enough salt.

Divide the arugula between 4 shallow bowls or plates. Spoon squid and sauce over the greens.

Cut each piece of bread on the diagonal and arrange around the bowl. Garnish with chives and serve

immediately.

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The fish: Little Fishies - Sardines

Contributed by: Richard Auffrey, The Passionate Foodie

The Recipe: Serving Suggestion: bruschetta

For more info: Seafood Watch Sardines Report

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Let’s face it: bluefin tuna has an exceptional taste, which makes it very easy to realize why it is so popular.  But we also cannot deny that it is seriously endangered and we need to take action to prevent them from extinction.  Rather than dining upon tuna, which is near the top of the oceanic food chain, let us seek the opposite, little fishies much further down on the food chain.

On my recent trek to Spain, I dined at El Faro, an excellent seafood restaurant in Cadiz.  My meal started with a simple but exceptional dish, fresh sardines atop toasted bread with crushed tomatoes and a bit of olive oil.  Each element of the dish stood out on its own, yet also blended harmoniously together.  It was crispy, briny, sweet and absolutely delicious. Who would have thought that simple sardines could be so compelling?

Unfortunately, you don’t find enough sardines at local restaurants. And not enough people order them even when they are available.  I think that is partially a misconception, diners not realizing how good this fish can taste.  Plus, restaurants don’t do enough to promote sardines, often making them appetizers rather than an entrée on a menu.

Besides being tasty, sardines are also a perfect sustainable choice.  Organizations such as The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch consider sardines to be a “best choice.”  Sardines breed in large numbers, develop quickly and oceanic stocks are in excellent shape.  That is the same for similar small fish, like herring and anchovies.  Being low on the good chain has its advantages.

Besides their sustainability, sardines are also a very healthy option.  Three ounces of sardines contain more calcium than milk.  They are also loaded with beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, far more than many other types of fish. Both herring and anchovies also possess lots of omega-3 fatty acids, even more than sardines.  In addition, as all of these fish are small, they contain much less negative chemicals such as mercury and PCBs.

As the flesh of these small fish tends to be oily, the usual wines you might have with seafood might not always be the best.  Instead, why not try some sherry, a dry Fino or Manzanilla, which pair very well with sardines.  I had some Tio Pepe Fino with the sardine dish at El Faro and it was a very satisfying match.  I would also recommend a Basque Txacoli, a lightly effervescent wine, usually white, which is also a very good match for oily foods.  Even a dry Sake would be a good choice.

Savor sardines, embracing the lower and sustainable members of the oceanic food chain.

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The fish: Clams

Contributed by: Carolyn Jung/FoodGal.com

The Recipe: Steamed Manila Clams with Udon

For more info: “best choice’’ on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide Seafood Watch Fact Sheet

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What’s not to love about clams?

After all, they’re easily available year-round, come from well-managed aqua farms that have low impact on the environment, help filter debris in surrounding waters.

Moreover, they cook in no time and are practically fool-proof. When the shells open, you know the clams are done. Any that don’t open should be discarded as that’s an indicator that the clams may have expired before cooking.

A great way to enjoy clams is in this classic dish of “Steamed Manila Clams with Udon’’ by Chef Larry Tse of the House restaurant in San Francisco. The recipe is from the new book, “Daring Pairings’’ (University of California Press) by Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein who recommends a Spanish Albariño with this satisfying dish. To learn more about why he favors this particular varietal, go to FoodGal.com.

The only change I’d make when making this dish again would be to cook the clams in a little less water, then add the clams and their cooking liquid to the final broth to amp up the clam flavor even more. Tse also says to remove the clams from their shells before adding to the broth. But I like the look of the whole clams, so I left them in their shells when serving.

Steamed Manila Clams with Udon

(makes 4 to 6 main-course servings)

For broth:

2 ½ quarts water

1 (4- to 6-inch) square kombu (dried kelp)

1 tablespoon instant hon dashi (soup stock) granules

3 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 leek, white part only, coarsely chopped

2 cups firmly packed katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes)

Salt

For rest of dish:

4 cups water

3 pounds Manila clams, scrubbed

¾ pound dried udon noodles

2 (3 ½-ounce) packages enoki mushrooms, roots trimmed and separated into small bunches

1 bunch fresh chives, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 sheets toasted nori, cut into 1-by-1/4-inch strips

To make the broth, in a saucepan, bring water to just below a boil. Remove from heat. Lightly wipe the kombu with a clean cloth (you don’t need to wipe away the white film), and add to the hot water along with the hon dashi granules and soy sauce. Let stand 30 minutes to rehydrate kombu. Return pan to medium-high heat, add leek, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add katsuobushi, and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain broth through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean pan. Taste and adjust with salt (it may not need any).

To cook clams, pour water into a large, wide pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add clams, cover, and steam, shaking pan occasionally, just until clams open, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a wire skimmer, transfer clams to a bowl, discarding any that failed to open. Discard cooking water. Remove clam meats from their shells. Set meats aside.

Cook udon noodles according to package directions, drain, and reserve.

To serve, bring broth to a boil , remove from heat, and add clams and mushrooms. Divide noodles evenly a mong individual serving bowls. Ladle broth, clams and mushrooms over the noodles. Garnish with chives and nori, and serve at once.

Note: Look for kombu, instant hon dashi, katsuobushi, dried udon, enoki mushrooms, and nori in Japanese or other Asian markets.

From “Daring Pairings’’ by Evan Goldstein

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The fish: A rule for choosing any fish

Contributed by: Becky Selengut, Chef and author of Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast  (to be published May 2011 by Sasquatch Press)

The Recipe: Mussels with Guinness Cream

For more info: Chef Reinvented blog [I just got a peek at the galleys - this book is going to be gorgeous, practical, a must-have!]

"Chef, writer, teacher, forager; too many interests, too little time, way too much to laugh about, except for the karmic hilarity of being a chef allergic to garlic. That's not funny. Stop laughing." That's Becky's description of her "Chef Reinvented Blog" and perfectly shows her sense of humor. She's also keenly aware of environmental issues and devoted to helping her clients and readers navigate the tricky waters of sustainable food. Here's an excerpt from her upcoming book.

The Good FISH rule:

F: farmed fish are not all bad (closed-containment, land-based fish farms are far superior to ocean based farms  because the water is cleaned and recirculated, the ocean is not polluted, escapement is rare and diseases are not spread to wild populations).  An exception to this would be ocean-farmed shellfish which is an excellent choice because no antibiotics are added to the water, no wild fish food is needed to feed them and they filter feed, cleaning the oceans). Many farmed fish (trout, arctic char, catfish, tilapia, barrimundi) don't require a lot of wild fish food to be taken from the oceans to feed them, unlike farmed salmon - a carnivorous fish.)

I: investigate (ask questions at your restaurants and fish counters and support good corporate decision making and chefs and fishmongers doing the right thing:  PCC (on the West Coast), Safeway, Target, Wegmans (East Coast) and Whole Foods lead the pack in supporting sustainable seafood.  Costco was ranked 14th worst according to Greenpeace.)

S: smaller (eat less fish, 1/4 pound per person of finfish is plenty; eat fish lower on the food chain to avoid mercury and preserve the ocean's ecological balance) and lastly:

H: home (eat fish from USA waters or farmed here - we have better laws and environmental standards when compared to fish caught/grown elsewhere).       

A sneak Preview Recipe from Good Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast  (to be published May 2011 by Sasquatch Press)

Mussels with Guinness Cream

I try to eat fairly lightly, and that means I don’t reach for cream every time I cook. Cream can be a wonderful thing, but it can also be

a crutch masking the flavors of the food it is paired with rather than elevating them. I tend to use cream judiciously, with the precision of

a rifle, saving the cream cannon for ice cream. Then, one day, while developing mussel recipes, I hit on a major exception to this rule. It

was on this auspicious day that Cream met Guinness, and a romance was born. Guinness elevated Cream into a decadent, malty, rich version of itself, and Cream elevated Guinness by rounding its caramel and chocolate edge with a warm white blanket. They lived happily

ever after.

Serves 4 to 6

2 pounds mussels

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup minced shallots

Pinch of salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne

3/4 cup Guinness stout

3/4 cup cream

1 teaspoon freshly grated or prepared horseradish

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons minced fresh

Italian parsley

Good, crusty bread

Scrub and debeard the mussels.

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil; when it is hot, add the shallots and salt. Saute for 5 minutes, or until the shallots are lightly browned. Add the cayenne, Guinness, cream, horseradish, honey, and mussels. Toss the mussels through the sauce. Cover the pot, turn the heat to high, and cook for 3 minutes.

Stir the mussels, and when most of them have opened, transfer them with a slotted spoon to a large serving bowl. (Any mussels that do not open can be pried open using an oyster shucker or discarded.) Boil the sauce gently until reduced by half. Turn off the heat, swirl in the butter and parsley, taste for seasoning, and pour the sauce over the mussels. Serve with bread to dip in the Guinness cream.

Pairing : Guinness beer, but of course.

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The fish: Bluefish

Contributed by: Chef Michael Leviton, Chef/Owner of Lumiere Restaurant and National Board Chair, Chefs Collaborative

The Recipe: Miso Glazed Bluefish with Shiitake Mushrooms and Mustard Sauce

For more info: See Seven Questions for Michael Leviton interview and click here to learn more about bluefish

Miso Glazed Bluefish

6-ounce bluefish filets, skinned and pin bones removed

Miso glaze (recipe follows)

Lemon juice

Pre heat the oven to 500°.  Season the fish with salt and pepper.  Brush both sides of each filet with the miso glaze.

Heat a non-stick pan over a high heat.  Add the fish flesh-side down and cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the miso just begins to caramelize and turn black.  Flip the fish and place it in the oven for about 4-5 minutes, until barley done.  Remove the pan from the oven and let the fish rest in the pan for 1 minute.  Squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the fish and then remove it from the pan.

Miso Glaze

½ cup red miso

¼ cup mirin

¼ cup canola oil

Combine all ingredients in a food processor.

Shiitake Mushrooms

1 pound Shiitake mushrooms – stems removed and cut into quarters or sixths

Toss the mushrooms with canola oil to lightly coat.  Spread the mushrooms in a single layer on a parchment-lined sheet pan.  Roast in a 500° oven for approximately 12-15 minutes, or until the mushrooms are lightly crispy on the edges.

To serve: Reheat the mushrooms in a tiny amount of canola oil.  Add the soy-ginger vinaigrette (recipe follows).  Add minced chives, finely diced shallots and toasted sesame seeds.

Mustard Sauce

3/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 1/2 cup mirin

1/4 pound butter

Combine the Dijon mustard and mirin.  Bring to a boil and whisk in the butter.  Season with salt and pepper.

Soy-Ginger Vinaigrette

6 ounces soy

2 ounces mirin

12 ounces ginger vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Ginger Vinaigrette

1 cup ginger oil  (recipe follows)

6 ounces rice vinegar

Ginger Oil

8 ounces pureed ginger root

2 cups canola oil

Combine the above ingredients.  Bring to a simmer over a medium heat.  Remove from heat, let stand for 12 hours and then strain through a cheese cloth or coffee filter.

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The fish: Cured Salmon Roe

Contributed by: Barton Seaver, Chef, Activist, National Geographic Fellow

The Recipe: Sweet Potato Soup with Cured Salmon Roe

For more info: See Interview, Seven Questions for Barton Seaver and the National Geographic Ocean site

Barton took time to speak with me this year and contributed three recipes. Do take a look at the National Geographic site - see Ocean Hero Barton in clips including Maryland blue crab and striped bass. Cook-wise is just one of the resources there. The Seafood Decision Guide is another great tool to be found there.

This is a great way to start out an elegant meal or a simple weeknight dinner. The soup can be made with any variety of sweet potato or autumn squash so buy what looks best and don’t be afraid to experiment a little with something new. The salmon roe is always sold salted and I like to re-brine it for a few minutes to remove a little of the salt to draw out more of its flavor. It also benefits from a quick marinade in a splash of sparkling wine, lime and olive oil.

Serves 4

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced

2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 pound sweet potato or autumn squash, peeled and roughly chopped

3 cups water

4 ounces cream cheese

1 lime juiced

1 ounce sparkling wine

1 ounce salmon roe

For the soup, start with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the sweet potato and the water and season generously with salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook for 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are falling apart. Transfer the soup to a high-speed blender and add the cream cheese and all but a few drops of the lime juice. Puree the soup until it is a very smooth texture. Place back in the pot to stay warm.

For the roe, cover the eggs with a little cold water and add a pinch of salt. Mix gently with your fingers to separate the eggs and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Pour off the water and any broken and floating eggs. Add the remaining lime juice, sparkling wine and the remaining olive oil to the eggs and stir gently.

To serve the soup ladle it into bowls and then spoon into the center the marinated salmon roe. Any remaining marinade can be drizzled over the top of the soup. Serve immediately.

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The fish: Oysters

Contributed by: Barton Seaver

The Recipe:

Broiled Oysters with Smoked Paprika and Peach

For more info: See Environmentalism on the Half-Shell on the National Geographic Ocean site and the Cook-Wise page; as Barton says "Save the world, Eat an Oyster"

Broiled Oysters with Smoked Paprika and Peach

I love to pair something a little sweet with oysters. The salty punch of the oyster liquor is well balanced with the aromatic sweetness of the peach and the slight bite of the paprika. This dish is great to cook over the grill if you are entertaining outside.

Serves 4 as an appetizer

16 oysters, washed thoroughly

1 large peach, diced into ¼ inch pieces

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon olive oil

Pre-heat the broiler to high

For the oysters, open each one and discard the top shell. Slice the oyster free of the bottom shell so that the oyster is sitting freely in the shell. Reserve as much of the liquor as possible by placing the opened oysters on a bed of salt on a broiler pan.

For the peach topping heat the olive oil with the paprika over medium heat for three minutes. Mix the infused oil with the diced peaches and toss to combine. Place a spoonful of the peach mixture on top of each oyster and place under the broiler. Cook for about 4 minutes or until the edges of the oysters begin to curl and the peaches are slightly browned.

Serve immediately

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The fish: Black Cod

Contributed by: Jessica, ILoveBlueSea.com

The Recipe: Black Cod with Harissa Beurre Blanc

For more info: Wild-caught Black Cod is a best choice per the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program.

I used to love Chilean Seabass.  The way it crisps up when you broil it, the rich texure and light flavor... but once I found out how threatened it was, I had to take a pass.  I could not, in good conscience, enjoy eating a fish that was fighting for survival.  

That's when I discovered Black Cod.  Black Cod is also known as Butterfish, and when you give it a try, you'll immediately know why.  It's a good choice for the health of our oceans as well as a superb choice for flavorful and sophisticated dishes.  

Black Cod with Harissa Beurre Blanc

* 1.5 pounds Black Cod Fillets
* 2 shallots, minced finely
* 2 tablespoons good white wine vinegar
* 4 tablespoons white wine
* 2 tablespoons heavy cream
* 7 ounces cold butter, cut into 20 or so pieces
* 2 tsp Harissa (Tunisian chili paste)
* 2 tsp Lemon Juice
* salt to taste
* 1 1/2 cup Chicken Stock
* 1 cup couscous
* 2 cups shredded spinach
* 1/2 cup pine nuts
* 2 tablespoons lemon zest

Cod:
Preheat the broiler and season the cod with salt and pepper.  Lightly oil a glass pan and place the fillets, skin side down, in the pan.  Place in the broiler and cook for 20 minutes, or until the flesh is opaque and lightly browned around the edges.  In the meantime, get the cous cous started.  

Couscous:

Bring the chicken stock to a rolling boil.  Add the couscous to the water, give it a good stir, cover and remove from heat.  

Place the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat.  Turn the pine nuts often and roast until they turn light brown, about 3-4 minutes.  

Combine the chopped spinach with the hot couscous, lemon zest and pine nuts.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  

Sauce:
Add the shallots, vinegar and wine into a small heavy pan (a saucier pan will work best, but any heavy pan will do).  Heat on medium until the liquid reduces and the sharp alcohol/vinegar scent subsides.

Stir in the heavy cream and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer on medium until it reduces to just a few tablespoons of liquid.  Turn the heat down to low.

Cut the cold butter into pieces and add them one at a time while constantly stirring.  Don't add another piece until the previous one has melted completely.  You want the butter to slowly melt, not boil.  Remove the pan from the heat all together if necessary.

Once the butter is incorporated and the sauce is smooth, stir in the Harissa, lemon and salt.  

Create a bed of couscous, place the cod on top and add a generous serving of the sauce.  Garnish with fresh lemon thyme or parsley.

Enjoy!

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The fish: Herring? No! Haddock! Read why below

Contributed by: Katharine Deuel of the Pew Environmental Group

The Recipe: Haddock Cakes

For more info: The Herring Alliance

The Herring Alliance (www.herringalliance.org) is a coalition of environmental organizations that work to protect and restore ocean wildlife and ecosystems in the northeast United States by reforming the Atlantic herring fishery. This fishery uses destructive small-mesh nets as big as a football field, capable of catching everything in their path. Though herring are not overfished, the industrial-scale fishery is not sustainable for the future of herring or the other fish that feed on herring and get caught in the nets as bycatch.

Most of the herring caught in New England go to the lobster bait industry or are shipped overseas. Finding fresh, local herring to eat is nearly impossible now. So we’ve chosen to highlight a recipe that uses Atlantic haddock. The herring industry is currently lobbying to be allowed to catch more haddock as bycatch. They claim this is necessary for the way they fish. We say they need to change the way they fish or risk jeopardizing haddock populations –a fish that is considered fully rebuilt and is one of New England’s true success stories.

Although many other populations of “groundfish” (bottom-dwelling fish like cod and flounder) are still considered overfished, Atlantic haddock in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank are abundant. But this won’t be true if the herring industry continues to be allowed into sanctuary areas for juvenile groundfish, where they can catch thousands of pounds of haddock as bycatch in a single tow. Herring Alliance is currently contributing to the fishery management process that is developing new rules we hope will exclude industrial herring trawlers from these sensitive groundfish nursery areas.

Consumers can seek out haddock from fishermen using hook and line or from the local small boat fleets. Visit www.portclydefreshcatch.com for a variety of sustainable Maine-caught seafood delivered to your door. And connect with Herring Alliance on our website (www.herringalliance.org) or on Facebook (www.herringalliance.org/facebook) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/herringalliance).

Haddock Cakes

A quick, light dish that satisfies the craving for something pan fried and comforting. Liven it up with additional herbs or spices. It’s also easy to make more and freeze for later. Adapted from Gourmet Today, (http://www.amazon.com/Gourmet-Today-All-New-Recipes-Contemporary/dp/0618610189/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1289857557&sr=8-1) by Ruth Reich, one of my favorite everyday cookbooks.

5 slices firm bread – any good bread on hand

1 large celery rib, coarsely chopped

2 scallions, coarsely chopped

1/4 cup parsley (or cilantro, or a combo)

1 pound of Atlantic haddock, chopped into 2 inch pieces

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Salt and fresh ground black pepper

Dash of paprika

3 tablespoons vegetable oil (or ghee – my new favorite for frying)

Tear bread into pieces and pulse to fine crumbs in a food processor. Transfer about half the crumbs to a large bowl for fish cakes and reserve remaining half in a shallow bowl or plate for coating.

Pulse celery and scallions in a processor until coarsely chopped. Add parsley (and/or cilantro) and pulse until finely chopped. Combine celery mixture with crumbs in large bowl.

Pulse fish in processor until finely chopped (be careful not to process to a paste). Add fish to celery-crumb mixture along with egg, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon pepper and paprika, stirring until well combined.

Stir 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper into reserved bread crumbs for coating. Gently shape fish mixture into patties (mixture will be soft). Should make about 4 large or 6 smaller cakes. Coat well with reserved bread crumbs. Transfer to a wax-paper-lined large plate and refrigerate, uncovered, for 10 minutes. (Can be prepared several hours in advance and stored covered.)

Heat oil in a heavy skillet over moderate heat. Add fish cakes in batches of 2 and cook, turning once, until golden brown and just cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spatula to paper towels.

Serve with lemon wedges and/or tartar sauce. Served over a bed of greens with some creamy dressing and a bowl of soup and you’ve got lunch or a light supper.

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The fish: Sardines

Contributed by: Chef Greg Jordan, Mare

The Recipe: Sardines Gratinate Agrodolce

For more info: Mare Restaurant, Seafood Watch Sardines report

Here is a recipe for sardines gratinate with agrodolce sauce.

For the sardines - purchase fresh sardines, with the head and bones
removed, leaving both fillets attached if possible, otherwise boneless
fillets will work just fine.

Season both sides with salt and pepper, and place skin side up on a
broiler safe pan.

For the breadcrumbs

1 c good breadcrumbs or panko

1 t chopped fresh thyme

2 T extra virgin olive oil


Mix all ingredients together

For the agrodolce -

3/4 c dry white wine

1/2 c toasted pine nuts

1/2 c golden raisins

1/3 c of good quality white wine vinegar

2 T of brown sugar or honey

Pinch of salt

2T butter

1T chopped parsley


Add all ingredients to saucepan, and simmer for about 6-8 minutes,
gently reducing sauce.  To finish sauce, stir in butter and parsley,
adjust seasoning if necessary

Broil sardines for 2 minutes.  Remove, and top with breadcrumbs, and
place back in broiler till the breadcrumbs are evenly browned all
over.
To serve, simply top with the agrodolce sauce.

Here at the restaurant, we are always trying to work with sustainable
seafood as much as possible.  We've been working with our vendors to
source the best fish that we can find, both wild and farm raised.  I
love serving these sardines, as they are a great sustainable option.
The richness of the sardine pairs well with the agrodolce sauce, and
the texture with the breadcrumbs give this dish a great crunch.

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The fish: Black Cod

Contributed by: Author Rebecca Katz

The Recipe: Triple-Citrus Ginger Black Cod

For more info:

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Triple-Citrus Ginger Black Cod

Rebecca says: If black cod were in a band, it would be the bass player: steady, meaty, but not much of a soloist. It benefits from some jazzy front men and especially likes to swing with citrus high notes. You’ll find plenty of those riffs in this dish. Serves 4

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Zest of 1 orange

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger

Pinch of cayenne

4 3.5-ounce black cod fillets, pinbones removed

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or mint

In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice, olive oil, orange zest, lemon zest, ginger, and cayenne. Place the cod in a baking dish and season each piece with 1/8 teaspoon of the salt. Pour half of the orange juice mixture over the cod and turn to coat well. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Remove the cod from the refrigerator, uncover, and add 2 tablespoons of water to the bottom of the dish. Bake just until the fillets are tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center

of each fillet registers 137°F; it will take 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Meanwhile, combine the remaining orange juice mixture and the mustard in a small saucepan over medium heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half. Pour the reduction over the fillets, sprinkle with the parsley, and serve immediately.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes (plus 20 minutes to marinate)

Storage: Store tightly wrapped in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.

Per Serving: Calories: 130; Total Fat: 4.3 g (0.7 g saturated, 2.6 g monou

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The fish:

Contributed by: Kian Lam Kho

The Recipe:

For more info:

http://www.redcook.net/2010/11/17/enjoy-oysters-guilt-free/

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The fish:

Contributed by:

The Recipe:

For more info:

http://mattikaarts.com/blog/seafood-recipes/video-slow-roasted-black-cod-glazed-baby-carrots-lemonbuttercaper-sauce/

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The fish:

Contributed by: Sunburst Trout Co

The Recipe: Garlic Studded Trout Fillets

For more info:

Sunburst Trout Company

Sunburst Trout Company is a third generation artisanal purveyor of gourmet trout since 1948, located in the heart of the Shining Rock National Wilderness at the base of Cold Mountain.  Our philosophy is to provide only the best sustainable gourmet trout fillets and many other value added trout products including Smoked Trout, Cold Smoked Trout, and our renowned Trout Caviar. Sunburst Trout is hormone-, antibiotic-, and PCB-free.

Here are two of our many recipes of the months.  We post a new recipe every month to our Facebook page and website.  You can follow us on twitter @sunbursttrout, facebook.com/sunbursttrout, www.sunbursttrout.com, and sunburstsally.blogspot.com

Garlic Studded Trout

Serves 4

4 Sunburst Trout Fillets (8-10oz)
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Tbl. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Coarse Ground Sea Salt
1 tsp. Fresh Cracked Pepper
4 Cloves Garlic Peeled
Dill weed, or oregano

Preheat your oven to Broil

Slice Garlic Cloves into thin slivers

Place Trout Fillets on nonstick baking pan

Insert Paring Knife into flesh of Trout (Knife should be Perpendicular to fillet) to make a small slit

Make a slit every ¾” to 1” in the thickest part of the fillet.

Insert garlic Slivers into slits

Sprinkle Trout Fillets with lemon juice and Olive Oil
Sprinkle Trout Fillets evenly with seasonings

Place under Broiler for 5 to 7 minutes.
Enjoy!

Note:

For a truly intense garlic experience slice garlic thicker!!!!!

While we are truly blessed with some great local garlic, I used a variety called Korean Red that I obtained at a Garlic Festival in Oregon.

This recipe is perfect for grilling, or inside during the cooler months, in a pan.

Whether you decide to make your own marinade, use a store bought one, or just use salt and pepper here are some basic tips for grilling the best trout you have ever had.

If you are using a marinade make sure to marinate your fish at least 2 hours before grilling. 
Once your grill is hot spray with a grilling spray such as Pam for Grilling so your trout will not stick. 
Place the trout flesh side down first for 5 minutes .
After 5 minutes flip the trout to skin side down so the skin will stick to the grill and you can pull the trout off without the skin. 
Leave the trout skin side down for 3-4 minutes. 
The trout should be ready now, it is better to have the trout under cooked instead of over cooked. 
Knowing where your seafood comes from makes this cooking tip an easier decision.
After 3 - 4 minutes your trout is done and ready to be served.

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The fish:

Contributed by:

The Recipe:

For more info:


Seven Questions For...Casson Trenor, Author, Activist, Environmental Hero

In this 4th Annual Teach a Man to Fish event, I've begun a series of interviews called "Seven Questions for..." in order to introduce you to some of the top voices in the movement.

The second installment in the series "Seven Questions for..." introduces you to Casson Trenor.

 

 

Casson and his restaurant partners Kin Lui and Raymond Ho were nominated as the 2009 Time Magazine Heroes of the Environment for their opening of the first sustainable sushi restaurant, Tataki Sushi Bar. When he’s not working with the Tataki crew, he’s Senior Markets Campaigner for Greenpeace. He’s also the author of Sustainable Sushi and publishes the blog SustainableSushi.net.

 

I caught up with my friend and colleague Casson Trenor while he was in Boulder. Even though he was en route to his first cup of coffee on an early Saturday morning, he was sharp as ever.

 

1) How did you first become aware that your food choices make a difference?


Excellent question! Do you know I’ve never been asked that before? To be totally honest I’m not yet sure they totally do. One of the big reasons that I support Greenpeace and work for them is that it’s not really about the individual choices. I’m not totally sure that Joe Schmo really has an effect on the industry.


I think the impact comes from the guys that buy tens of thousands of lbs of seafood. At the buyer level, those are the ones whose decisions need to change. Conversely, as someone that has the responsibility of running a restaurant, and extrapolating the things I learn and talk about - I see that the choices I make at the restaurant level, those are ones within my responsibility. I we’re serving only sustainable seafood then the customer doesn’t have to worry about it.

 

2) What advice do you have for people just beginning to figure out sustainable seafood? Why should someone whose never thought about this bother?

 

This is a question I get all the time - depending on audience I get all the time.. someone who’s never thought about it before? If someone approaches me and says “hey I care, I want to make a difference” I answer one way. I don’t think that person is that common? There’s not that many people out there.  It’s often more common that people are concerned about health, family, human health.


I guess, I’d say that I am not in the business of creating more environmentalists or converting more individual evangelists, but I am all about influencing the level of buyers whose impact is the step before the individual. The buyers for the supermarkets, for example.

 

3) How do you feel about Community Supported Fisheries?


All fisheries are community supported you have to look at the other side of the water community. The overall ecology which allows the fish to exist at levels that enable us to keep fishing. It’s community sustainability.  Community is like a web, like pick-up sticks, the fish, the fishermen, the people, the community - they’re interdependent.


If the CSF programs shorten the distance between boat and throat, that’s good. The problem is that the industry hinges on trust. Always has, always will. Most of the population doesn't have the time or ability to vet or check that the fish caught and sold is traceable to a sustainable source, a healthy fishery.  They may become trusted, but trustworthy is the question. We need to answer, to address the accountability, the traceability.

 

 

4) What do you think about efforts of retailers to improve their sustainable offerings?

Great - I think it’s great and we’ve seen a lot of positive change in recent times, directly with corporations. What I deal with in the corporate realm, it is progressing. We’ve seen incredible things in past year: Wegman’s issues the statement, Target discontinues farmed salmon...all incredibly good stuff.

 

 

 

5) What’s going on with bluefin tuna? Any good news on the global scale?

I wish. The Conservation Convention on Biodiversity in Nagoya, we had people there and we were hoping to get some solid plan to protect remnants of Biodiversity. We had hoped for a declaration of 40% protected marine reserves in the world’s oceans. What came out was a soft 10%. It remains to see how even this tiny amount will be implemented. It goes back to enforcement and accountability.

 

6) What’s your feeling about MSC certification?


Speaking as someone familiar with the perspective of Greenpeace: Seafood sustainability is vast. There’s room for all different pieces, and need for all pieces: wallet cards, certifications. etc. In its current form, I don’t feel that there’s acceptable certification for now. What would make it acceptable?


Groups are turning to it but Greenpeace has severe concerns about how it works and to whom it answers.


In our “Carting Away the Oceans” project MSC adherents selling red-list species - it makes no difference if they’re selling Chilean Sea bass with or without the MSC certification. Either store, the one selling Chilean Sea Bass with MSC certification and the one selling it without, both lose the same amount of points.

 

 

7)  How is your latest restaurant? Tataki South? (Tataki South - bigger South 29 30th in SF on Church)

 

We’re pushing the envelope, eschewing the sushi-only focus (of the original Tataki Sushi Bar). With a full kitchen, we’re able to do cooked food. We’ll expand the menu. We’re aiming for fully local, sustainable vegetables, now at around 80% local. Moving to 100% is the goal. Fish is #1 priority but we’ll be expanding the offerings to local meats, too.

 

 

 

  • Hajime Sato of Mashiko Sushi Bar & Casson are off to Hokkaido (my Grandmother’s birthplace and home to some of the most amazing kombu and seafood) doing a 10 day modern sushi investigation. I hope to get a recipe for our round up before he goes. Stay tuned.

 

 

Boston's First 100% Sustainable Seafood Restaurant

Did you know that Boston is home to the first 100% Sustainable Seafood Restaurant? Did you know Turner Fisheries has been on this path since a year ago October 1st? About time we investigate and take proper note of this new high water mark, eh.

Chef Armand Toutaint was one of the first and most enthusiastic replies when I began outreach for the Teach a Chef to Fish workshops last year. He was on my short list for folks to call this year to participate in Teach a Man to Fish. Lucky for me, his people got to me first. I had noticed many good choices on the menu when I stopped in with a visiting friend a few months back and then began to notice the ads popping up here and there.

Island Creek Oysters grilled with Maitake mushrooms, Riesling creme.

Grilled Mahi Mahi over lobster brown butter rice pilaf.

Taylor Bay Scallops, Littlenecks over pappardelle with a smoked tomato, vodka sauce.

Full disclosure: This was an invitation to dinner and Doc came along. Let me address the doubters first by saying, I was already a fan of this restaurant, and was so when I was paying, too. This hosted dinner afforded me the opportunity to share an interview with the chef about his sustainable seafood menu and also the chance to report first-hand on more dishes than I would have been able to purchase on my own. The chowder is legendary and the first New England Clam Chowder that Doc had when he investigated moving here in 1993. It sets the bar for what clam chowder should be, for him and for many others. I used to come here in the old days to watch a neighbor perform, who knows, maybe we were here at the same time and didn't know it.

 

Interview with Chef Armand Toutaint, Turner Fisheries

 

What has been the biggest challenge?


"100%" is the biggest challenge. I'd say we're almost where I want us to be, but it's always a struggle. I'm comfortable saying we're at 100% though I'd like better traceability on some of the items but the market is not there yet.


 

[ed. note: the issue Chef Toutaint raises here is really important. It raises so many of the challenges in this arena. What is "sustainable" - who provides the best science to back the claim? Who shares the science? Who provides traceability to the source or documents the catch method? Which fisheries are in good health and who is monitoring them? Throughout our discussion, over the course of this meal, it became clear to me how carefully Chef Toutaint considers each of these aspects of the decision he makes in building his menu and sourcing his seafood. This is truly a model for other restaurants and chefs to follow.]


Honestly, it was easy to sell up in the hotel (Starwood) property, it's been a part of their values so they signed on right away. Harder to sell "out" Boston is a very traditional town. Much tougher sell outward, to customers. For example, I don't use the cheaper imported shrimp. They want to know why this shrimp is so expensive?

 

What do you rely on for guidance?

 

Primarily, Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch.

 

What about the in house training/or selling the concept in-house?

Some have embraced it more. In general, people are on board and getting more so. We're doing more than just seafood. We compost. We have an in-house filtration system and are eliminating bottled water. We're finding more and more sustainable breweries and wineries that are organic or biodynamic.


 

What has been a success story or a surprise in this transition?

During our transition, the British site, Fish2Fork rated us one of the ten best restaurants for sustainable seafood. We were pleasantly surprised and asked what we could do to improve our score. We worked to understand what went into the 2.5 fish rating and also to learn how to improve. We went up to 3.5.


Haven't done the Green Chefs/ Blue Ocean training since it was first launched, took it before Teach a Chef to Fish last year.

 

Where are you sourcing your seafood?

We try to use our local purveyors as much as possible and have one in particular, Louis Seafood, who really got it and stepped up. Now he's using what we're learning together to upsell to others. He has good traceability. Also we do use Cleanfish and MSC fish.

 

How did you get started on this ?

Well, it has been an interest of mine and recently caught eye as a differentiator. Especially from seafood restaurants in town, like Legal Seafood. Wish it were easier to find more purveyors offering traceable, sustainable seafood.

 

 

Any dishes that you wanted to keep but had to re-tool?

In some we could easily substitute a more sustainable product, like Laughing Bird shrimp for the standard SE Asian imports. Some things we could never take off the menu, like the number 1 seller: Seafood Risotto. We simply swapped out the components with more sustainable options .

Oysters are a great, sustainable offering and we carry a few all the time. We get Golden Trout from Wyoming.

We've even added a vegan offering that gets as much care as other dishes. Our favorite chowder is gluten-free as long as you don't use the oyster crackers.


Vegan "Cioppino" heirloom potatos, Fall squash, peppers, tofu.

 

 

How do you see the progress at the one year mark?

We're already seeing business results. I wish we could push it even further, like Miya's Sushi in New Haven with his invasive species dinners and such. We have to recognize our customers are more traditional, but we're seeing enthusiasm grow.


We explain that we're using fully traceable line-caught ahi. We're sourcing other things on the menu from sustainable sources, too. Our salmon is Alaskan in season and Loch Duart the rest of the year. Only carrying swordfish when we can get traceable sustainably caught from Canada but that's only 10% of the catch and there's a definite season (ending right about now.)

 

~ ~ ~

 

Thanks Chef for dinner and thanks for all you do. With the focus progress and continuous learning, you are earning your stripes every day. True 100% sustainability may be possible soon, we bet you'll get there! These issues are complex but you demonstrate it's not impossible.

 

Now Boston, go give our sustainable star some love!

 

 

Seven Questions for Barton Seaver - Chef, Activist, National Geographic Fellow

As part of Teach a Man to Fish (TM2F), I’m interviewing some of my favorite chef/activists and asking a series of “Seven Questions.”

In this way I hope to introduce new readers, as well as long-time fans, to some leading voices at the intersection of gourmet and sustainable food; the street where I live. 

I was thrilled to catch up with Barton Seaver the day his Cookwise program premiered on the National Geographic Ocean website. Just the day before we spoke, his TED Talk aired and folks have already been asking me what I think about this business of “restorative” seafood, as he calls it. Barton shared these thoughts with the audience at the International Boston Seafood Show on my Teach a Chef to Fish panel this Spring.

I’m sure there are skeptics, but I find his way of thinking about things very common-sense based. It’s why I shared info about Kim O’Donnel’s Meatless book (The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook) at my Sustainable Meats class. Simply put, Barton makes the point that the best thing we can do to save the oceans is to eat less seafood. I often tell people that one of the best moves they can make toward health, toward saving the planet, toward greater enjoyment of more diverse food groups is to eat less meat. When you eat it, eat better quality, more sustainably raised meat.

Today though, we talk of seafood. This is my fourth year of running Teach a Man to Fish and Barton’s been with us from the start!



Seven Questions for Barton Seaver:

Me: TM2F is in its fourth year, I was struck by the number of questions people had for me at a recent luncheon. It was completely unrelated to sustainability or seafood. It seems that there’s been an increase overall, in awareness, but people are struggling perhaps more than ever with where to find answers.

Do you find that to be so?


Barton: Sure, becoming even more so. Info is becoming a more valuable commodity. “Sustainability” “Green” -- these terms are all becoming meaningless...It’s really a case of “buyer beware” One of the things people seem to want is some sort of romance, sense of culture with their food, their food stories. Monsanto and WalMart are not romantic. This opens the door for local seafood vendors and purveyors, some of whom are less transparent than they should be. Raises the stakes for consumers.

Monterey Bay and other groups are looking at long-term strategies, sustainable seafood has sort of reached a tipping point. There’s been an evolution of people’s understanding. First it was critical that people understood there is a problem. Second, they needed to understand solutions exist. And now, we’re at the point where people need to understand the context. There’s a sort of diaspora of messaging, people need help understanding the nuances.

Me: How did you first become aware that your food choices make a difference?

Barton: It was through starting relationships with farmers in my local area and realizing that food dollars support human ecosystem. And through that system we heavily impact our environments human names and faces that brought the environmental issues home.

Me: What advice do you have for people just beginning to figure out sustainable seafood?

Barton: First: understand that it’s a giant problem. Solutions exist and they’re easier than you think. The cheapest and the easiest, the best thing you can do is eat vegetables and eat more plant-based food and diversified selection of proteins in smaller amounts.


Me: How do you feel about Community Supported Fisheries?

Barton: CSFs are good in that they are reducing the time between producer and consumer. They are an effective step toward a better ability to manage resources, but just because relationships are more personal you cannot forget the science. You must take into account the science and protect the resources.

An unspoken issue is the amount of waste in both aquaculture and wild fisheries. Bio average may be 35% of every fish is waste. It takes the same primary productivity to fish an eye ball as fillet, but we waste guts, fins, gills, etc. Of the remaining percent, another 30% of all remaining seafood ends up as waste.

So that model (how we fish and how well we fully utilize it) we need to change that, we drastically need to change that.

Me: What are your thoughts about MSC (Marine St ewardship Council) certifications?

Barton: MSC has been pushed on a pedestal it was not intended for.  It’s a very useful and credible tool. In and of itself it is not a solution, and it was never meant to be that. The  fisheries they’ve recently certified, I don’t begrudge them that. They are open and transparent. Traceability is there.

It’s a tool that too much is expected of. You know a hammer in one man’s hand builds a house, in a another tears it down. How can we best support it with other tools.

I’ve read the paper that Jeremy Jackson Daniel Pauly wrote and am okay with nearly  everything that’s in it. I don’t agree with how people have spun it.

 




Me: Who do you trust for accurate info on the safety of Gulf Seafood?

Barton: I understand and want to support the people who make their livelihood off the Gulf but it’s difficult. You have commercial interests telling you it’s okay (to eat the seafood) and persons with commercial interest saying “I’m not feeding it to my kids.”

News that’s coming out of gulf, it’s very difficult an accurate picture.

Do I think we should be sniff-testing seafood? Yeah, and if it smells like oil you dont need to spend any more $ than that on testing. But if it doesn’t, you probably do won’t to rely on just that test.

But this is all very tough. None of this means we should be opening quotas, and allowing more and larger fishing areas. It’s a wickedly complex area and gets elucidated by most media as “yes this is complex, but can I just get a sound byte for my readers?


Me: Tell me about some of your projects, you’ve got a lot going on.

Barton: Have you seen the National Geographic Seafood Footprint Decision Tool?

 

Click here to go to the Decisions Guide!

 

 

Really proud of the work there. And today, the Cook-wise segment launches. Love to hear your thoughts on the Ted Talk too. My (edited) chat came out just the other day.

 

 

.

 

 

  • Barton's book, For Cod and Country is coming in Spring 2011.

 

 

  • We're delighted to share three recipes from Barton Seaver,here to kick off our Teach a Man to Fish recipe round up.

 


 

I don't cook but I want to join TM2F...

Teach a Man to Fish (TM2F) is on - 4th Annual, baby!

You want to bring something to the virtual potluck and contribute to the groovy sustainable seafood teach-in, but maybe you don't cook. If you're like my friend Rich, the Passionate Foodie, you may be wondering how you might participate.

Heck, I can't even turn out dishes like Executive Chef Joseph Margate's Kingfish Sashimi:

But, you know what? There are very straightforward dishes, too. Dishes that even newbie home cooks can do. Check the prior years' round ups (see sidebar for inspiration)

Perhaps you are even intimidated to try this simple, delicious "Hempalicious Halibut with Pomegranate" from the Haphazard Gourmet Girls (ObamaFoodorama's Eddie Gehman)

 

Fear not - you, too, can join the party!

Pull up a glass of wine and let me tell you how...

 

If you're like Rich, you eat out a good deal. Sometimes, you even eat at places that are not named "Troquet."

(Hey, I'm not knocking it, I love Troquet. See: Troquet Restaurant Boston Perfects Pairings)

 

Say you want to help raise awareness for sustainable seafood, and I know you do, but you don't cook.

Here are some things you can do to participate in Teach a Man to Fish, even if you only venture into the kitchen for ice to refresh your cocktail:

 

  1. Follow Rich's lead and write to your favorite cooking show. Ask them to make a commitment to using only sustainable seafood. Rich created a stir when he called out Iron Chef and Alton Brown for using bluefin tuna. They no longer do. The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers some tools and guidance here: What You Can Do.
  2. Drop me an entry that includes your favorite dish or dishes featuring sustainable seafood that you've had in restaurants. Tell us about the dish and why it's sustainable.
  3. Send me an entry that includes a dish you love that uses a fish that is NOT sustainable but tell us what a good substitute might be, then send the email to the chef suggesting a sustainable substitution.

 

 

Remember this is a fun way to learn together, to learn and to teach by sharing what we're learning. Bottom line is that it must also taste good. This restaurant scan gives non-cooks a way to spread the word that people do want sustainable seafood choices!

Now make that ressie and let us know what you're eating! I'm going to see if Open Table has a list of restaurants which feature sustainable seafood- update soon.

 

  • Please see the Sidebar Teach a Man to Fish for more links like this Resource Guide.

 

TM2F Links for you & Quizzes, too!

People often say to me "you're an expert on sustainable seafood, should I buy? (fill in the blank)" Should I eat  (fill in the blank) ?"

I quickly reset expectations. I'm no expert, not really. I'm just a regular person, inspired as a child by Jacques Cousteau and National Geographic, committed as an adult to learning more. me and a penguin

Committed to continuously learning and to sharing the learning - not necessarily the answers - with as many people as I can. I may have some answers today, and I may be fairly confident in their accuracy. I can point you to resources to check, tools you can use and experts more knowledgeable than I, that you can consult with.

We cannot know what tomorrow's science will tell us. We can only be sure it will likely change some of what we know today to be true.

My goal is to create a framework and an enthusiasm to engage in lifelong learning around these issues.

Some Blue Links

Antarctica Icebergs

In the spirit of transparency and to encourage one and all, I'll tell you there are two simple quizzes on the National Geographic Ocean site. One quiz tests you on your knowledge of the health of the oceans and another on seafood. (Do we call all food from farms "landfood?" Hmmm..maybe time to get more specific there, too.) I'll tell you I did not score perfectly on either. Always room to improve!

As recipes and new tools start to roll in I'm beginning the round up for the 4th Annual Teach a Man to Fish Recipe Round Up and Resource Guide.

 

To get your wheels turning, here are a few links worth clicking through.

 

 

 

What about our impact on the Marine Food Chain? (Great video, appropriate for kids and interactive maps.)

 

Now I'm off to bed. Tell me what your score on the Ocean quiz was - what'd you learn?

Industrial fishing is estimated to have wiped out what percent of large predatory fish?

10%?

20%?

60%?

90%?

Keep on truckin' -- or sunbathing...

 

Teach a Man to Fish - Fact Sheet


An example of what one woman, armed with a little determination and a lot of caffeine can do.

 

2007

  • I launched Teach a Man to Fish in October 2007.
  • First event on The Leather District Gourmet blog included over 2 dozen recipes, Barton Seaver, Peter Pahk, two videos.
  • Recognized by Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program, invited to Sustainability Institute and Cooking for Solutions in acknowledgement of effort.

2008

  • In 2008 TAMTF netted 43 recipes from 10 countries, 10 states in the US; nine professional chefs - including Rick Moonen returning; Barton Seaver, Dory Ford of Portola at the Monterey Bay Aquarium; Peter Pahk, Stuart Brioza, Chef Kin Wai Lui of Tataki -the first sustainable sushi restaurant.
  • Award-winning food writers, and a sushi concierge also participated.
  • Two additional videos added to resource guide.
  • First annual Flying Fish Award to Lia Huber for Five-step Action Plan for Talking to your Fishmonger
  • Included in Utne Reader’s Special Online Project: Sustainable Seafood

 

2009

  • Noted in Sustainable Ocean Project
  • Participants included Chocolate & Zucchini blogger Clotilde Dusoulier, Matt Wright, Rebecca Katz double IACP winner; two top chef contestants, author Langdon Cook, and more.
  • The second annual Flying Fish Award - "for going above and beyond" went to Casson Trenor, recognized by Time Magazine along with his partners, Chefs Kin Lui and Raymond Ho, he started the Sustainable Sushi trend.
  • Barton Seaver won Esquire's Chef of the Year award for making sustainability center of the plate. He also became a fellow at the Blue Ocean Institute which co-developed the new chef tutorial along with our own Chefs Collaborative.
  • Sponsors included: FishChoice.com, Alaska Seafood Marketing Inst., Australis Barramundi

 

Workshops Launched

  • 2009 was also the year I launched Teach a Chef to Fish workshops. These events reached chefs in Boston and in Chicago, included a cooking demo by Radhika Desai (Top Chef Season 5), and participation of ACF members and Shedd Aquarium staff.

Presentations

  • Presented at the International Boston Seafood Show based on the Teach a Chef to Fish workshop.
  • I participated in a panel discussion at the Slow Food Boston screening of The End of the Line, along with Niaz Dorry of NAMA Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance and Cape and Fresh Catch and Jason Clermont of the New England Aquarium.

 

 

2010

Presentations

  • Presented at Tufts Friedman School’s  Farm, Fish and Fowl: Exploring Sustainability Alumni event

Teach a Man to Fish 2010 FAQs

Who needs sleep? I've got coffee. And I'm so excited about Teach a Man to Fish this year (as opposed to the past years when I was only moderately jazzed. Yeah, right.) Refraining from the bad writer's crutch of too many exclamation points, I'll endeavor to share my enthusiasm and answer the questions you may have about what this is and how to participate.

 

What is "Teach a Man to Fish"?

It's a blog event. You don't have to get dressed up or worry about getting a sitter or finding parking. Think of it as a virtual potluck where folks share photos and recipes -- and it's all about sustainable seafood.

 

Why do it?

I want to:

  • raise awareness of sustainable seafood issues.
  • share resources and wisdom gathered from all of you, from my research, from my chef buddies and conservation friends.
  • create a dialog.
  • drive traffic to your sites and show others what great stuff you're doing.

 

When does it happen and for how long?

I always start it in October. It's National Seafood month and the first year, I reclaimed it as National Sustainable Seafood month. We will run through November 15.

 

What do I do to enter?

  • Share a recipe you already use and make it with sustainable seafood. Or create a new one highlighting a sustainable seafood choice. (Obviously, I wouldn't recommend that bundt cake recipe you've been wanting to try, but how about that seared bluefin tuna you used to love? What might you use in place of that endangered majestic fish?)
  • Share what you learned when finding the seafood to use. Recipes are nice, I love recipes with stories more! (a blurb for me, linked to a larger post for your blog is best, SEO and traffic-wise)
  • Take a photo and send me the recipe, story, and photo (no larger than 300x400 jpg, pls).
  • Include a link to your blog or website and I'll include the recipe, any additional resources I can find, and link back to your blog.

 

 

Who else participates?

We've had some fabulous folks right from the start:

Barton Seaver, Rick Moonen, some Top Chef contestants, home cooks and award-winning food writers like Carolyn Jung of the Food Gal! Bloggers (look for new and famous faces in our last round up!) from around the world -- 10 states, 10 countries -- particpate. Each year more people join in and I love the stories of discovery, the recipes, the gorgeous photos.

 

What if I don't know anything about sustainable seafood?

 

  • PERFECT. This is a big party, a virtual potluck, a teach-in. I want all of us to learn together!
  • Take a look at the prior year's roundups. (see sidebar) You'll get lots of inspiration there. The resource guide has a video for kids, maybe you want to involve them? There are a ton of recipes you can use to introduce your family to a new sustainable seafood meal.
  • If you're a vegan and don't eat seafood? Tell your pescatarian friends. You do want others who eat fish to choose them wisely, don't you? (We even have veg alternatives like Kian Lam Kho's Mock Shark Fin Soup)
  • The resources I have gathered include many aquarium and conservation sites, cook books, videos and more.

 

 

See this Teach a Man to Fish Fact Sheet for a bullet list of facts on the event from year to year.

Swordfish and Sustainability

So you want to join in Teach a Man to Fish but you're needing a little inspiration? Or maybe you don't want to be the first one to ask a question?

Here are a few recipes for inspiration and a few questions to get you thinking ...

Swordfish Provençal

Striper with Fines Herbes

Sustainable Seafood Delivered

Sustainable Sushi Comes East

 

 

 

Whole Foods Sustainable Seafood Labeling - Pro or Con?

One hears backlash against wallet cards and sustainability rankings lately. I'm tired of the naysayers! Here's why and some good news from Whole Foods.

How to Make the Best Seafood Choices

Whole Foods is adopting a labeling scheme for their seafood and has "pledged to eliminate all red-list seafood by Earth Day 2013."  This news is sure to make waves. I say "BRING IT ON!"

I'm a big fan of the Seafood Watch wallet cards, of FishPhone of labeling like this:

 

 

Click on the image for more info.

For or Against Wallet Cards?

 

Too often people want to make the argument that these tools are "too simplistic" or paint the issue with too broad a brush. I disagree.

It's just not that simple. We cannot pretend that everyone is in the same place with respect to knowledge of sustainable seafood issues. In fact, at one recent event where was a panelist, I took exception to the assertion that these "wallet cards are crap" I made the argument that I believe these rankings and tools are useful for the following reasons:

 

  1. They are science-based, and transparent. You can click on links at the Seafood Watch website, for example and get the reports that back up the ranking or explain them more fully.
  2. These tools, like wallet cards, are a simple way to help people make baby steps in the right direction.
  3. The wallet cards, especially, stimulate discussion. Between a fishmonger and a customer, between a writer and an advocate, between any two people, the card can provide a way to start the ball rolling.

 

 

The other panelist and I agreed to disagree.

During the audience Q&A two of the first hands up were from people who took out their wallet cards and said "I"m kind of new to this sustainable seafood thing..."

This is exactly my point. Is a wallet card "THE" answer? No, of course not. Are the people who designed them evil incarnate? Of course not.

Simplicity loves a villain. The reality is that we all need help, we all can use tools and resources and what we can learn from each other, in our quest to make better food choices.

Do I think Whole Foods labeling scheme will save our oceans? No, but it's certainly a step in the right direction and we need more of us taking those!

Join me and chefs like Rick Moonen, along with other chefs, food writers, home cooks and conservation buddies in the 4th Annual Teach a Man to Fish sustainable seafood blog event. Think of it as a virtual potluck where we all share stories and recipes about what we're learning and how we're enjoying sustainable seafood. I can't wait to see what I'll learn from you all this year!

 

Celebrate, Enjoy, Sensual Sustainability

I'm going to make my friend Kian Lam blush now, but he epitomizes something my friend Meg coined "sensual sustainability." Anyway, red is an auspicious color!

Too often, as we try to navigate the new rules for being a responsible gourmet, we get caught up in "can't" "shouldn't" and "won't" but we forget to enjoy food and to celebrate meals. It's not an either/or proposition, folks! We can enjoy sensible, sensual, and sustainable meals. It just takes a little help from our friends.

So I'm kicking off this year's Teach a Man to Fish sustainable seafood event with a bowl of Mock Shark Fin Soup. Chinese celebrate major events like weddings with a meal that includes, traditionally, shark fin soup. It's delicious, until you understand what's sacrificed. I cannot enjoy it anymore knowing one of the world's most majestic perfectly evolved species are being decimated unnecessarily and cruelly for my soup. It's soup!

Well, here's a solution: we can enjoy delicious Mock Shark Fin Soup with a clean conscience. As I always say, guilt does not make good gravy. Kian wrote a beautiful piece this Summer and flagged it for me to join our virtual pot-luck. I can think of no better opening course!

Kian Lam Kho: Banning Shark Fins from Shark Fin Soup. Kian Lam was inspired by Hawaii's banning of shark-finning. As a former daughter of the islands, I am proud. Please read Kian's post, learn more about shark finning and the ban and find his recipe at the beautiful Red Cook blog. If you're in the NYC area look out for his classes at the ICE or other venues.

 

photo: Kian Lam Kho, Red Cook

The linked post includes video clips of shark finning results - horrific. And a PSA by Yao Ming!


4th Annual Teach a Man to Fish Sustainable Seafood Event

Here it is October 11 and we're finally kicking off our 4th annual sustainable seafood recipe round-up and teach-in. Coming off a heady few days at the Chefs Collaborative National Summit (more on that soon), I can tell you that sustainable seafood continues to be front and center for many chefs, as it is for the rest of us.

Three years ago, I started Teach a Man to Fish to accomplish a few simple things:

  1. to raise awareness about sustainable seafood issues
  2. to share recipes and stories about cooking with sustainable seafood
  3. to share resources, to learn where to find it, and learn what's new in the field.

Who can participate?

Everyone! Anyone! We've got top chefs, Top Chefs, conservationists, award-winning writers, home cooks and food bloggers.

How do I join in?

Send me a recipe using sustainable seafood and a brief story about it.

Maybe you saw Dr. Oz talk about Barramundi and the benefits of eating this heart healthy fish and tried it for the first time yourself?

Along with the recipe and blurb, send a photo (no larger than 300 x 400 pixels jpg please) and a link to your blog. That's it! Many folks send a recipe and photo then post a longer post on their own blog. That's fine, too (just no duplicate posts.)

Maybe you wanted to learn what makes some shrimp more sustainable than others. Perhaps you read how some shrimp is caught with equipment that results in up to 9 lbs of "by-catch" (the wasted, unintended catch) to harvest only 1 lb of shrimp? And finally, you found a good source for shrimp, harvested with by-catch reduction equipment? Or maybe you chose Maine sweet shrimp? Or perhaps you discovered the new sustainable seafood on-line source, ILoveBlueSea.com?

What about Seasonality and Seafood?

 

Why participate in Teach a Man to Fish?

1. Fame and fortune: Rub virtual elbows with some of your favorite bloggers and chefs! Drive new traffic to your site and discover some new ones to follow yourself.

2. Question, learn, share: What makes some aquaculture good and others bad? Can we trust MSC certified labels? Have a new source for sustainable seafood to share? What are CSFs or Community Supported Fisheries and how do they differ?

3. Choosing better seafood isn't always easy. Taking baby steps together, makes it easier. Sharing a recipe, a story and a photo - couldn't be easier!

 

For my part, I'll post regularly during the next four weeks featuring news in the field of sustainable seafood. I'll get updates from authors, I'll check-in with chefs, and I'll see what's new in terms of resources. I'm going to try to roll up the entries each weekend and post on Mondays, I'll post recipes with links to resources and blogs.

Stay tuned and watch Facebook and Twitter for announcements - some exciting things are in the works!

 

Workshops for Chefs Return!

Last year I held workshops for chefs, Teach a Chef to Fish introduced professionals to new tools and resources designed for them. This year, rather than ask folks to leave the kitchen, I'm bringing it to you.

 

  • Learn what the basic issues are when selecting seafood for your menu.
  • Walk through self-study tool developed by Chefs Collaborative and Blue Ocean Institute.
  • Learn about other new resources and tools.

 

Email me to schedule an in-house training for you and your staff.

Seasonality and Seafood

Striper in Massachusetts is fantastic. It conjures up Summer. For many fishermen, cooks, and diners who appreciate this versatile fish, Striper is Summer. I was preparing some recently, and working with the fines herbes to make a compound butter to finish the fish.

Chives, Tarragon, Parsley, Chervil - Fines Herbes

Chervil is a lovely delicate herb that is well-suited to fish, and it's just coming to the end of its season as the Striper is coming into its own. This was a happy occasion when we had access to both. The planning of this meal got me going on topic of seasonality. (See Seasonal Striper)

Striper or Rockfish as it's known in Maryland

Striper roasted and finished with fines herbes

 

The Quest for a Seasonal Seafood Guide

As my friend Braddock Spear (Sustainable Ocean Project) points out, the question of seasonality in fish is a complex and layered - one has to take into account the life cycle, breeding, spawning. Which of us individually can take all these factors into account? Gearing up for Teach a Man to Fish and enjoying our lovely striper, I began to ask around. Seasonality and fish is a complex question. One factor that clouds our understanding of true seasonality in seafood is the year-round marketing and availability. This lulls us into thinking we can (and should) have any fish we want, any time of year. In fact, sometimes frozen seafood is a better choice but whether fresh or frozen we should try to trace the fishing method so we can be assured the fish was caught in the right way and time. Aquaculture, even responsibly done, hides the true nature of wild fish and their seasons, too.

Still, there is an appeal to finding more information about seasonality because it can help us choose more responsibly when we make our seafood selections. Just as your tomatoes in January carry a large environmental cost (and little flavor) so too does fish caught out of season (or caught in season, in another hemisphere and transported to us) carry a cost. While this issue is layered, and tricky to decipher, it seemed worth a little effort.

I checked with my friends at Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch, I checked in with my "fish girls" an informal sustainable seafood lunch group that meets about quarterly to share what we've been working on or learning in this arena. I checked with Chef friends and cookbook authors and many interesting answers came back. From "it's impossible and we should just be eating less fish" to "let me know what you find, we need this!" Many more of the responses were in the "we need this" camp.

With many thanks to all who pointed me in the right directions, here then, is an aggregated list of resources to help you choose more seasonally appropriate seafood.

 

The Institute for Fisheries Research is San Francisco based conservation organization:

Maryland Seafood & Aquaculture:

Gourmet Sleuth is a new site to me, and one you can bet I have bookmarked now! This is where I found both West Coast and East Coast availability charts:

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute: This site has a wealth of information, recipes, and information. (See my posts on the Seasonal Salmon we enjoyed this Spring and Summer.) The ASMI site also includes an availability chart for Alaska:

This site Seasonal Cornucopia includes a terrific resource guide, though it's not specifically geared to seasonality in seafood, there are links to resources on both topics:

And we now have two online sustainable seafood shops; one for chefs and one for consumers:

 

We'll be addressing these and other issues in our annual Teach a Man to Fish blog event in October. By-catch, over-fishing, illegal/unregulated/ underreported, habitat destruction, aquaculture, CSFs, MSC certification, new books on the topic, newsworthy trends and restaurant/chef news, and more will be covered.

 

What's your favorite seasonal fish? How do you prepare it?

Print or forward the guides that work for you!

Do you have another resource to share?

Teach a Man to Fish 2010 - Topics

 

TAMTF Kids resources

Nat geo; Portland kiosk thing;

http://chge.med.harvard.edu/programs/healthyoceans/once_upon_a_tide/education/recipes.htm

MSC certifications - hurting themselves in rush to become more commercially viable?

 

National Geographic's excellent resource : http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/

 

News: Gloucester/whole foods

 

Books: Four Fish, Bottomfeeder,

Women Who Nourish Us on Fresh Blog

freshclip  

Fresh - the Movie and the Blog

This terrific film is full of both scary insights and uplifting messages. If you have a chance to see it in your local theater, do so. It's "a new film about what we're eating" and it's worth seeing if you've been thinking about what you're eating. Who isn't these days?

In advance of the Boston screening at the Brattle Theater, I attended the event at Suffolk University where I had the opportunity to meet an extraordinary young farmer, Orren Fox - Happy Chickens Lay Healthy Eggs. We also got to see a documentary about the young urban farmers behind "Planting for Peace" a documentary I wrote about for Good Eater Collaborative. (see the link on the sidebar)

The screenshot above is the site, you can click on it to go right to the Fresh Blog. I was surprised to be asked by Jamie Yuenger, the marketing whiz behind the Fresh machine, to contribute to the "Women Who Nourish Us" series on the blog. Some of the other women writing guest posts in the series include: Temra Costa, Vandana Shiva, Diane Fleet and Pat Tanumihardja. I hope you'll enjoy my post and drop a comment there. Spend a little time on the site, you can see a couple of clips, read some inspiring posts and find out where the film is showing next.