Shark fin demand has gone down so much in China, is it because people now understand how the industry works?
Chan: Yes! In the old days, nobody said where the sharks came from, where their fins came from. I think human beings, everybody has a good heart. When they see what’s happening, they stop eating, they stop buying.
We need education, day by day and month by month, to teach them. If we can use celebrities and famous people at the same time, we can correct and right things more quickly.
Since the holidays have ended I’ve found myself with some extra free time that needs to be filled. Blake Besharian and I decided we’re going to get together once a week and cook food that currently interests us. Usually, we’re busy cooking food for other people, things that are pretty standard fare. Of course, we always try and put a unique twist on the things we cook, but it never gets too “crazy”. So, these dinners are a chance for us to push the envelope, try out new things and generally just challenge each other. The premise is simple- one appetizer, one entree and one dessert. Each week we rotate who cooks which course and the third we attempt to collaborate on. We write recipes as we go, take pictures of the finished plates, then discuss what worked and what didn’t. Here is some of what we came up with this week:
Kefta is a Middle Eastern style meatball loaded with spices. They can be made with all sorts of meat- lamb, beef, pork, veal, mutton, etc. depending on what region you’re in.
Blake decided to serve them with a date-sweetened mint sauce inspired by meals he used to eat when he was younger of lamb chops with mint jelly.
The other sauce is made of fermented nuts, which we have both been playing around with lately because we’ve been interested in nut-milk “cheese”, such as the products at http://www.kite-hill.com/ The sauce was intended to be a substitute for yogurt, which is a common accompaniment to kefta.
Pastrami-cured Tofu on Rye
Lately, I’ve been trying to keep vegan (plus eggs) when I’m eating at home, meanwhile, at work I’ve been curing pastrami. I was curious to see if I could cure a block of tofu like a piece of meat. It tasted more like cheap hot dogs than pastrami but hey, now I know.
The “rye” was whole rye berries that I cooked similar to rice pilaf.
I also added some pickled mustard seeds and sauerkraut because that’s what you eat on a pastrami sandwich, right?
I added the greens because this dish was total brown-town without them.
I don’t exactly remember how we came up with this idea, I just remember we were drinking at the time.
The waffle is a take on a coconut macaroon and is based on a recipe for Banh Xeo (Vietnamese Crepe). Most curries have coconut milk in them. So yeah, coconut.
The ice cream is made from more coconut, sweet curry powder and roasted eggplant. Sounds weird, right? Well, here was my thinking: “Eggplant is typically in curry, eggplant also has a weird egg-like gooey-ness to it once its roasted and pureed, its also kind of bitter like chocolate, eggs are in ice cream, so is chocolate, curry and chocolate are good together”
The sauce is a coulis made from roasted red peppers, sugar, lemon juice and cayenne pepper. The idea of using red peppers in something sweet came from Alinea. The cayenne was added to bring a touch of warmth to everything.
There you have it.