Peter Panda's Slow Negroni

My dear friend Peter Panda Bear has been visiting and we've had a jolly ol' time whipping up some cocktails together. He's one of the best darned bartenders I've ever known and I hope you all have a chance to meet him. We've been serving a white negroni at dinners in San Diego, but the Suze component is really tough to find these days so we wanted to offer up something that is a little easier to obtain all the ingredients. So here is our take on the negroni, using a sloe gin in combination with regular gin for this classic cocktail. It's a sipper, but nothing tastes better on a sunny evening.

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1 oz. sloe gin
1 oz. gin
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 oz. campari
grapefruit twist

  1. Combine the gin, sloe gin, vermouth and campari in a rocks glass. Stir 10 times.
     

  2. Add ice, preferable one large piece, and stir 10 more times.

You're My Boy, Blue!

Osa's blue cheese panna cotta is a real showstopper currently on the menu in San Diego. There's a lot going on, so do yourself a favor and prep it in parts rather than all at once. The panna cotta component needs to chill overnight so prep that first along with the bacon fat shortbread, which will stay for two days.

feeds 6

3 ripe heirloom tomatoes
3-4 c frisee, washed & rough chopped
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lb bacon, cooked crisp, fat reserved/chilled
*bacon fat rosemary shortbread
*blue cheese panna cotta
*onion marmalade

*for the bacon fat shortbread
3.5 oz rendered bacon fat, room temp
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp rosemary, chopped
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp black pepper

*for the onion marmalade
3 yellow onions, julienned
1/2 c champagne vinegar
1 c sugar
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
salt and pepper (to taste)

*for the panna cotta
1.5 c buttermilk
4 oz blue cheese
1 c cream
2-3/4 tsp gelatin
1 clove roasted garlic
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 sprig rosemary
pinch of celery seed

For the Blue Cheese Panna Cotta: 

  1. Heat cream, blue cheese, herbs and garlic in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Let cheese melt, then steep.

  2. Bloom the gelatin in 1 tbsp cold water.

  3. Remove herbs, add gelatin and stir to melt gelatin completely.

  4. Add cold buttermilk and mix well. Pour in container suitable for panna cotta and chill overnight. 

For the Bacon Fat Shortbread: 

  1. Mix bacon fat, sugar, pepper and rosemary with a paddle in a stand mixer on high for approximately two minutes.

  2. Switch speed to low and slowly add flour just until incorporated. Remove dough, wrap in plastic and allow to rest in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes (can be made up to two days ahead of time if needed).

  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into similar shaped pieces to ensure even baking. Note: shortbreads will be crumbled to serve.

  4. Bake for approximately 12 minutes, or until the bottom of the cookies start to show a bit of browning. Shortbread will continue to cook on the hot pan once removed from the oven.

For the Onion Marmalade:

  1. Put all ingredients in a heavy bottom pot. Cook on medium/high for a few minutes to bring to a simmer, then reduce to low for approximately one hour until liquid has reduced to nearly dry and sugar has caramelized the onions. Chill before serving.

To Plate:

  1. Slice tomatoes into wedges and arrange 1/2 tomato into a circle on the plate. Be sure to season tomatoes

  2. Toss frisee with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar, season with salt and pepper and arrange in the center of tomatoes on the plate.

  3. Slice panna cotta into six pieces and place between tomatoes and frisee.

  4. Place onion marmalade on the slice of panna cotta.

  5. Sprinkle bacon bits and shortbread over everything, and enjoy!

I'm Coming Home

Humans,

After an incredibly memorable two year residency in lovely Seattle, I'm tickled to say I'll be returning to San Diego to rejoin forces with my dear Osa and Osito. And we have some exciting things in store!

When we announced last year that Cow by Bear would be shutting down to explore new opportunities, it felt like the right decision. So much had changed in the seven years since the experience first started and we were jonesing to try something new. We explored many different options while keeping a small handful of our (un)traditional dinners on the schedule to stay sharp.

Spending the evening with you fine humans is always so inspiring, and these dinners were some of the most fun we've ever had. At the same time, I've been writing the cookbook. It's been an energizing process; pouring through recipes from the past to rewrite them for the book, remembering old characters I'd long forgot...just a joy. The cookbook was intended to be the Cow by Bear experience, in book format. But it began to metamorphosis itself back the other way. I couldn't help but want for guests to experience these recipes and these stories sitting around our dinner table, together.

It all got us thinking more about why we felt  moving on was really the right choice. We took a deep dive into every single aspect of the Cow by Bear dinner experience. We asked ourselves what it would look like in an absolutely perfect world if we were to totally redesign the experience. And that's what we did.

We've come up with something that feels totally authentic to us and addresses some of the things we either knew we could do better or were inspired to do differently. It's an experience that will make us the happiest bears we can be, which ensures we will provide the best experience possible for all of you.

We are so proud and excited to introduce our newest dinner series, Food by Bear!

First up: France. We can’t wait to spend an evening with you.

(No) Spring Chicken

This is a simple dish to make, but it can take upwards of five hours and you'll want to stick around to keep an eye on the ice melt. You can increase the heat a bit if you're short on time, but the slower you cook the more flavorful it will be. I picked up this ice braising technique during my time in Thailand, and in all my travels I've found no better way to pull out these deep flavors I'm always seeking. You're gonna love it!

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feeds 4+
special equipment: 

2 large pots, one of which sits snugly on top of the other


4 chicken quarters (preferably all leg/thigh)
2 inches ginger (sliced)
1 inch galangal (sliced)
1 stalk lemongrass (smashed & rough chopped)
5 kaffir lime leaves
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 shallot (halved)
4 birds eye chilis (chopped)
3 tbsp lime juice
1 red onion (julienned) 
2 c coconut cream
~9 quarts ice cubes
~1 tbsp oil
cilantro (garnish)
fish sauce (to taste)

optional: rice to serve

  1. Toss the chicken, ginger, galangal, lemongrass, lime leaf, garlic, shallot, two of the birds eye chili, fish sauce and oil together, and arrange on the bottom of a large pot. Place the pot over low heat. Take the second (just slightly smaller) pot, add 1/3rd of the ice to it and place directly on top of the other pot.
     

  2. Let the pot cook until the ice is melted and water is no longer cold. Empty the water from the top pot and repeat this step two more times.
     

  3. Once all the ice is gone, discard the top pot. In the chicken pot, add the coconut cream until it comes up to just the side of the chicken. Stir in the lime juice, the rest of the chilis and more fish sauce of desired.
     

  4. To serve, spoon the chicken and sauce into a bowl and top with cilantro and red onion. Other optional but tasty garnishes are: egg noodles or fried egg noodles, pickled cabbage, or chili oil. 

Smoke on the Water

This is one of my favorite recipes. I first made it for my dear friends, the Berenstain’s, and they would request it every time I came to visit. Now it’s a hit course at our final Cow by Bear dinners. While I’m not planning to publish the recipe in Food by Bear, I wanted you to have it.

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serves 6
special equipment:
smoker

ingredients for the pork:
2 lb pork belly (if purchased in slab, freeze remaining)
1/2 c kosher salt
1/2 c brown sugar
1 tbsp coriander
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp allspice

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ingredients for the coconut rice:
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
4 + 1/3 c water
1 small can coconut milk (2 c)
1 tbsp dried shrimp
2 stalks lemongrass, trimmed and smashed flat with a cleaver
1” piece of ginger, peeled and smashed flat
3/4 c jasmine rice, soaked for 2 mins & rinsed well in cold water
2 tbsp peanut oil
5 cloves garlic, minced

to cook the pork belly:
1. Mix all the seasoning and spice together.
2. Score the fat side of belly and season all around with spice mix.
3. Refrigerate for 24 hours.
4. Cold smoke with mesquite wood chips between 90-120 degrees for 90 minutes.
5. After smoking, braise the pork covered with 1 inch of water in the oven at 325 degrees for two hours, or until tender.
6. Allow to cool completely in refrigerator before slicing portions.

to cook the coconut rice:
1. In a pot, bring fish sauce, sugar, water, coconut milk, shrimp, ginger & lemongrass to a boil. Cook at a low boil for 10 minutes.
2. Steep for 20 minutes and strain.
3. In a clean pot sweat garlic in peanut oil, add the rinsed rice and toast the rice.
4. Add water and coconut milk, and simmer on low until all liquid is absorbed. Do not stir.

garnish suggestions:
lime wedge, ngo om, cilantro, very thinly sliced bird chile in fish sauce, peanuts

To assemble:
Reheat the pork in the oven at 350 until hot (about 10 minutes). Plate a spoonful of rice and sliced belly on top. Drizzle with bird chile and fish sauce, add ngo om, cilantro and peanuts. Squeeze lime on top and enjoy!

2019 Dinner Schedule

As announced last September, Cow by Bear has decided to wind down the dinner party experience after over seven years. Originally slated to end at the end of 2018, we added a series of dinners through March 2019 to accommodate the overwhelming amount of requests for one final dinner. We just couldn’t turn our human friends away! Now we’re approaching that final end date, and while we’re excited for our next chapter we can’t help but to feel bittersweet about it all. It’s been an amazing journey and we must thank each and every one of you humans for your support over the years! If you’re interested in a private dinner beyond the March 2019 dates, please reach out to us at info@cowbybear.com as we may be able to accommodate some one-off private dinner requests. We have to keep our skills sharp somehow…and it’s really hard to say goodbye.

Sincerecly,

Bear, Osa and Osito.