Mambo Italiano

Humans,

Food by Bear: Italy began with a roar last weekend, and I'm raring to go at it again this Friday night! Italy holds a special place in my heart. If France is where I learned to cook, Italy was where I learned to create an experience and throw my dinner party.

After releasing the Manifesto of Futurist Cuisine we set our sites on a proper restaurant to tease out the ideas on actual humans. The opening of Holy Palate was announced all over Italy (see original flyer below). "The first human way of eating is born!" I was quoted in one newspaper. The dinner experience itself was pretty outlandish. We started at midnight and ran until 4am. No knives or forks allowed. Absolutely no pasta permitted on the menu. Lambrusco wine served in gas cans. And of utmost importance was the requirement to use all five senses while eating; touch, taste, smell, sight and sound.

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To accompany taste for the dish below we activated each of the other senses. Guests were instructed to taste the food directly from hand to mouth with their right hand, while caressing a series of tactile materials like sandpaper or velvet with their left hand. Then we'd hit them with a shot of perfume, all whilst Wagner's Parsifal quietly scored the scene. It was all so silly, but oh so fun. Most importantly, it was my first taste of what a dining experience could and should be.

Food by Bear: Italy is sold out in September but a small pawful of seats remain for October. Let's spend an evening together!


MAMBO ITALIANO

serves 6

6 slices italian bread
3 4oz. pieces burrata cheese
white truffle oil (to garnish)
trapani sea salt & pepper (to garnish)

for the mushrooms:
12 oz. oyster mushrooms (cleaned & halved lengthwise)
1 shallot (small dice)
2 oz. champagne vinegar

for the caponata:
1 large eggplant (medium diced, salted and spread on sheet tray with paper towels)
1 small yellow onion (small dice)
1 red pepper (small dice)
1 yellow pepper (small dice)
1 tbsp garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp celery seed
1/2 c basil (chiffonade)

1. Preheat oven to 385. Slice bread into one-inch slices and drizzle with olive oil. Align slices on a cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, flipping halfway through. Done when golden brown.

2. While baking bread, heat a pan on medium-high heat with olive oil. Sauté mushrooms and shallots. When mushrooms are tender (about five minutes), remove pan from heat and deglaze pan with champagne vinegar. Set mushrooms and shallots aside.

3. Wring eggplant well in kitchen towel to rid of any excess moisture. In a different pan, heat on high with olive oil until very hot. Sauté eggplant until browned and tender. Remove eggplant from pan, then add peppers, onions, garlic and celery seed. Cook, stirring, approximately seven minutes. Remove from heat, add back the eggplant and allow to cool. Once cooled, fold in the basil.

4. Spread the caponata on slice of toast. Then place 1/2 piece of burrata cheese and mushrooms on top. Drizzle with truffle oil and garnish with salt and pepper. Dig in!


ITALIAN GENTLEBEAR

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I came across the Italian Gentleman a while back and fell in love. Here's just a slight variation using lavender and honey.

1.5 oz bourbon
1.5 oz campari
3/4 oz lemon juice
1/4 oz honey syrup*
1/4 oz lavender simple syrup*
lavender and sage leaves (to garnish)

for the honey syrup:
1 c water
1 c honey

for the lavender simple syrup:
1 c water
1 c white sugar
1 tbsp fresh lavender blossoms

For the honey syrup:

1. Combine the honey and water in a small saucepan. Stir over low heat until combined and a liquid.

For the lavender simple syrup:

1. Combine water, sugar and lavender blossoms in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let simmer for about one minute. Remove from heat and steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain into glass container.

For the cocktail:

1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously for about 10 seconds. Garnish with lavender or lemon twist. Strain into a coupe glass. Enjoy!

Announcing Food by Bear: Italy

Humans,

I hope you're having your best summer yet! Mine is going just swimmingly, and certainly better than the summer of '29 when Hemingway's infatuation with bears reached a boiling point causing me to flee Paris for Milan.

My artist friends from France connected me with FT Marinetti, founder of Italy's Futurist movement. Two decades earlier he'd caused ripples with his Futurist Manifesto, and he was looking to shake things up again. I suggested the culinary world was ripe for harvest. We locked ourselves in a room at the Casa Galimberti and emerged two weeks later with the Manifesto of Futurist Cuisine.

Much of the manifesto I now find silly (absolutely NO pasta!) but I was religious about it back then. And I must say many of the outrageous quirks we created for our dinner parties in Italy directly influenced what ultimately became Cow by Bear. Come and experience it for yourself!

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I'm so excited to bring you a taste of my time in Italy with the newest installment of our dinner series - Food by Bear: Italy!

This series will run in San Diego on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8pm during September and October only. As usual it is a 5-course meal with fine wine pairings. Price per person is $175. We look forward to spending an evening with you!


Tutti Frutti Di Mare

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serves 6

for the shrimp:
20 shrimp (shell on)
2 lemons, halved
3 bay leaves
3 fresh thyme leaves
1/4 c seafood seasoning

16 oz lump crab meat (shells removed)
2 lemons
24 yellow grape tomatoes, halved
12 red tomato wedges
25 cucumber slices, lengthwise

for the sauce:
10 oz. mayonnaise
2 tbsp brandy
1/4 c ketchup
2 tbsp horseradish
1/2 tsp celery seed
2 tbsp chopped fresh fennel
salt & pepper

for the shrimp:

1. Fill a large pot 3/4 full of water. Add the salt and squeeze in the juice of two lemons (go ahead and toss the halves into the water). Add the herbs and seasoning. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and simmer for about five minutes.

2. Reduce heat to medium low and add shrimp. Simmer uncovered for about five minutes, until tails begin to curl. Remove shrimp from water and chill thoroughly before peeling.

for the sauce:

1. Mix all sauce ingredients in a bowl with whisk.

for the crab:

1. Mix crab with juice from two lemons and just enough sauce to incorporate the crab.

to assemble:

1. Spread a dollop of sauce on each plate and spread. Roll cucumber slices into little tubes and line in a row over the sauce.

2. Divide crab into six. Place one scoop in the center next to cucumber on each plate.

3. On opposite side of cucumber, place tomatoes. Then place shrimp in between cucumber and tomatoes. Garnish with micro herbs if desired.

Milan-Turin

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1 oz campari bitter
1 oz sweet vermouth
soda
ice
lemon twist
orange slice

This cocktail is now better known as the Americano, but I still like to call it by the name I first knew it by. It was originally named after the two cities that produced the primary ingredients: Campari and sweet vermouth.

1. Fill a tumbler with ice and pour in the Campari and sweet vermouth. Top off with a splash of soda and stir ten times. Garnish with a lemon twist and orange slice. Enjoy the rest of summer.

My Big Break

Humans,

I hope your summer is off to a fantastic start! It's been such a pleasure seeing your friendly faces at our Food by Bear: France dinners. France is very special to me. It's not just where I had my awakening but also where I got my first big break. I've shared before of taking over cooking duties for 'Po Bear at a popular Parisian restaurant after his scooter injury. What I haven't shared are the fateful circumstances of the event. Truth is, the timing couldn't have been worse. France's most famous food critic, Anton Ego, was attending dinner that evening. We'd been anticipating his visit for weeks and now lil' ol' hilariously under-qualified me was running the show. I was terrified. I'll never forget 'Po Bear looking me square in the eyes and firmly declaring, "Next. Bear. Up. You're ready." It was exactly what I needed to hear, and I jumped in with all four paws. Below is how the scene played out.

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INT. – KITCHEN – EVENING

Bear flips through ‘Po’s recipe box, finds a certain card and pulls it, showing it to ‘Po.

‘PO BEAR
Ratatouille? It’s a peasant dish.
Are you sure you want to serve this
to Ego?

Bear NODS. INTERCUT: (1) Bear REIMAGINING the ratatouille; re-inventing it step by step -- WITH (2) 'PO BEAR, wheeling around the dining room in a custom wheelchair, a ONE-BEAR WAIT STAFF. MUSIC CRESCENDOS as 'PO BEAR delivers the meal to EGO’S TABLE.

Ego pokes a fork into the vegetables, examines them for a moment, then brings the food to his lips. As Ego’s lips close around the ratatouille, the sound, the restaurant around him is WHISKED AWAY—

FLASHBACK: FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE - A LIFETIME AGO

We are inside a cozy cottage on a golden summer day. The front door is open, a newly crashed BICYCLE lays on the ground outside. Next to it stands a five year old ANTON EGO with a skinned knee, valiantly holding back tears. His young mother turns from her cooking, and gives him a sympathetic smile. Like all mothers, she knows what to do.

MOMENTS LATER
Young EGO, already feeling better, is at a table. His mother touches his cheek and sets a freshly made bowl of ratatouille before him, warm and inviting. The boy takes a spoonful into his mouth---

AND THE PRESENT RUSHES BACK—
Ego is frozen. Astounded. His PEN slips from his hand. It CLATTERS to the floor, breaking the spell. Ego blinks. His eyes fall to his empty fork, which he holds suspended near his mouth. Slowly a long-lost feeling blooms inside him. He smiles. And has another forkful.


Ego's review that followed thrust me into the culinary spotlight and my life has never been the same. For that reason - and a secret bear reason I can't divulge quite yet - I'm extending the Food by Bear: France series for a couple weeks through the end of August. Tickets are available now. We'll then be flipping over to the next chapter starting in September, so please keep your eyes peeled for that announcement in the coming weeks.

NEXT. BEAR. UP. RATATOUILLE

2 japanese eggplants
2 yellow squashes
2 zucchinis
6 roma tomatoes

for the sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

for the seasoning:
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

2 tsp fresh thyme
1 tsp garlic, minced
4 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Slice the eggplant, squash, zucchini and tomatoes into 1/8 rounds with a mandoline. (Be sure to pick out veggies of approximately the same size). Set aside.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12 inch, oven safe pan (or dutch oven) over medium high fire. Sauté the onion, garlic, and bell peppers until tender, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add crushed tomatoes and 2 tablespoons basil. Stir until incorporated, then smooth the surface of the sauce with a spatula.

3. Arrange the vegetables in a pattern (tomato, eggplant, squash, zucchini, etc) on top of the sauce. Start from the outer edge of the pan and work in. Season dish with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 40 minutes. Uncover the pan and cook for another 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft.

4. Mix herb seasoning and spread over the cooked ratatouille.

* For some extra goodness you can add Italian sausage to the sauce, and try topping with Gruyere cheese.

SUZE SPRITZ

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3/4 oz suze
1/4 oz peach syrup
3 oz sparkling wine
lemon peel
floral ice cube

Combine Suze and peach syrup in a champagne flute and stir. Add ice and stir again. Pour sparkling wine on top, then express rim with lemon peel (discard peel). Finish with a floral ice cube.

Années Folles: The Crazy Years

Since returning home last month I've had many humans running up to me on the streets of San Diego. "Bear! Bear!" they say, "What's up with Food by Bear: France? Tell me all about it."

Pretend you could climb into a time machine and be whisked off to Paris for a few hours in the 1920s, I respond. It's evening, and you've landed in a discreet corner of the Montparnasse neighborhood on the left bank. Your clothing has magically altered during this short journey to a century ago, so if you're a woman you're in a straight dress with a dropped waist, a long rope of pearls knotted below the neck and t-strap shoes with small heels. If you're a man you're clad in corduroy pants, dirty white sneakers and a casual and somewhat sloppy jacket. But how shall you spend your time?

You start by making your way to the Select and start with a Pernod or two, catching a glimpse of my old pals Hemingway and Djuna Barnes yucking it up. Then you're off to Le Jockey to see Jimmie the Barman and suck down one of his famous Jimmie Specials. And later you'll certainly want to drop into my old haunt, the Rendezvous-des-Mariniers. I'll fix you up a memorable meal while you eye the young French avant-garde cavort about the dance floor as Cole Porter tickles the ivories.

But certainly you must have the quintessential 1920s Paris experience: onion soup at dawn in Les Halles, the gigantic wholesale produce, seafood and meat market in the center of Paris. It sadly no longer exists, but looms large in the memoirs of the time. Here at dawn came the owners of small food shops, the chefs de cuisine of fine hotels, and the thrifty ménageres. The markets were surrounded by inexpensive restaurants frequented by gangsters, prostitutes and pimps, slumming socialites, and oh so many American expatriates. Les Halles symbolized what it meant to be in Paris in the 1920s: dance ‘til dawn, devour a thick, savory mess of onion soup, then home at last to start the same thing all over again the next evening. It's that magic, I say to my human friends, I hope to capture with Food by Bear: France.

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Father's Day Special

Osa and Osito have a surprise in store for me this weekend for Father's Day and I can hardly wait to know what they have planned. The excitement and anticipation has me wanting to do something for y'all as well so I'm offering 10% off of the remaining Food by Bear: France tickets. There aren't many left, so get 'em while they last. Now through Saturday with the code: GREATOSO at checkout. These will be some of the most fun dinners we've had yet. I hope to see you there! 


Scents of Les Halles

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feeds 4

4 sweet onions, julienned
28 oz beef stock
1/2 cup sherry wine
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
olive oil
salt & pepper
4 slices baguette, buttered and toasted
4 slices gruyere
1 oz shredded parmigiano-reggiano

1. In a heavy bottom sauce pot, pre heat pot for two minutes on high heat. Add a few tablespoons of the best olive oil you have to the hot pan. Then add onions. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are reduced to a dark, caramel color with soft texture. Slow and steady wins the race here. If you ride it out for an hour and half or even two hours you'll be left with the most flavorful soup. Be sure to redistribute throughout so not to burn.

2. Once onions are fully caramelized, deglaze pan with the sherry wine then add beef stock, bay leaf and thyme. Season with salt & pepper. Simmer on low for 30 minutes.

3. Cut baguette into one inch pieces and butter each. Toast baguette pieces on a sheet tray for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

4. Remove herbs. Add soup to just below brim of a crock bowl. Place one or two toasted baguette pieces in the center of the soup, then a slice of gruyere. Add a liberal amount of shredded parmigiano-reggiano on top of all.

5. In a pre-heated broiler, place prepared soup bowls on a sheet tray to melt cheese. Allow parmesan to caramelize slightly.

The Jimmie Special

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Jimmie the Barman was the most legendary bartender in 1920s Paris, hopping around from one new hot spot to the next. His original Jimmie Special can be difficult to replicate today; one of the ingredients can't be found in the states and others are difficult to procure. Below is my take on it. If all else fails and you're unable to locate all the fixings, just grab a bottle of Pernod and sip it straight or with a splash of water. Either way you won't be disappointed.

1 oz. cognac
1/2 oz. pernod
1/2 oz. dry curaçao
1/2 oz. solerno blood orange liqueur
1/2 oz. kirschwasser
soda (to taste)

Combine the cognac, pernod, dry curaçao, blood orange liqueur and kirschwasser in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly. Drink straight, with ice, or top with soda to taste.

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 next week 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!

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Announcing 'Food by Bear: France'

Food by Bear will be a one-year dinner series highlighting chapters from our upcoming cookbook. Each chapter's dinner experience will run for just two months before rotating to an entirely new theme - never to be repeated again. Dinners will be in San Diego on Friday and Saturday evenings at 8pm and follow our regular format of 1 table, 14 guests, 5 courses and pairings. 

The series begins where it all started for me: France. This is where I had my awakening and learned to walk, talk and cook. Please join us as we go back in time and enjoy some of my favorite French cuisine, wines, stories, music and more! Tickets for the France experience are $195 per person.

Food by Bear: France will run in June and July before changing over to a new region in August. We'll announce each new theme two weeks in advance.

We look forward to spending an evening with you!

Tickets


You’re my Boy, Blue!

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

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


Peter Panda’s Slow Negroni

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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.

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.

A Spring In My Step

Humans,

Happy Spring! I have an extra spring in my step because everywhere I turn it's pure beauty. The sun's out, cherry blossoms are in full force, birds are singing my favorite tunes and we have so much delicious, fresh produce to look forward to. It's also the time of year many of my bear friends come out of hibernation. I've been hearing lots of chatter about bear safety, and while it's true most bears aren't as acclimated to the human world as I am, we're friendly folk at heart. Pro tip: just carry some bear spray. You don't even have to spray it, just give the bear a quick flash and be on your way. If all else fails, tell it you're friends with Chef Bear.

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Food by Bear: Only 1 Week to Go!

Another beautiful thing is the support we've received for the Food by Bear cookbook. Only 1 week remains in our Kickstarter campaign to help bring the book into the world. We've had pledges from not only San Diego, Seattle and Savannah, but also from far away places as Germany, Australia and Nova Scotia. Many of you have already graciously made a pledge, but we still have a good ways to go to reach our goal. With fine humans in the Bear family like you I know we can do this together!

I am humbly asking for your help. This book means so much to me. I'm putting absolutely all of my fuzzy self into it. It's an exciting culmination of my entire journey, and I'm sharing everything I've learned along the way. I can promise it will be special and unlike any other cookbook on your shelf.

I hope you'll take a look at our campaign and consider making a pledge (anything helps!) or sharing the project. It would truly mean the world to me. Thank you from the bottom of my big bear heart!

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Limited Ticket Availability

We have released a small handful of tickets for May in both San Diego and Seattle, as we've continued to hear from gift certificate holders and other special requests that are important for us to accommodate. Click the button for your city below to check availability. We hope to see you!


(No) Spring Chicken

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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!

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)

  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. 

My Friends, The Berenstains

Humans,

I'm ecstatic to have my dear friends, the Berenstain Bears, with us for a guest post. We first met while I was cooking for a short stint at the Bear Country Grill (which remains a fine establishment today). We've remained close friends since then, so I asked them to spill some ink about our first experience together. Take it away Berenstains!

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It was a fine spring day in Bear Country. The bluebirds were singing. The trout were leaping. The air was sparkling clean. Inside our treehouse, however, a storm was brewing. You see, Sister and Brother were acting an ill-mannered mess. "Sillyhead!" called Brother. "Fuzzybrain!" retaliated Sister. "Noodlepuss!" they shouted simultaneously. Mama could hardly believe her ears. She hoped their behavior would be better by that evening. We had reservations at our favorite restaurant, the Bear Country Grill.

"Get it out of your system," said Mama. "I don't want any shenanigans at dinner tonight. There is a new chef and the meal is supposed to be very good." "Dinner tonight?!" cried Brother. "But 'Nutty Bear' is on TV tonight and we'll miss it." "And the 'Bear Stooges' too!" added Sister. "Well, you'll just have to miss them!" said Mama firmly. "What has happened to you kids," she wondered to herself.

We were welcomed at the restaurant door by Chef Bear. He gave us each one of those famous bear hugs he's become known for. At the table, Brother and Sister were a grabbing, food-fighting, kicking-under-the-table super mess. What a commotion! I wouldn't have been surprised had Bear thrown us out.

Everything changed when the first course arrived. As we devoured each dish placed in front of us, the cubs behavior turned from ill-mannered to mannered. We began talking about the food. Then we talked about school. We talked about fun projects for the treehouse. We talked of our summer plans of swimming and boating at the lake. It seemed Chef Bear's dinner experience was bringing us closer together. By the time the main course was served, the Berenstain Bears were having one of the best family meals we'd ever had. And then Bear one-upped himself with Smoke on the Water (recipe below). Simply delicious.

Bear gave us a tour of the kitchen after dinner and we said our goodbyes. We were surprised to hear that he moved out of Bear Country just weeks later, but Bear doesn't stay in the same place long. He was on to his next adventure. And we were on to ours.

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Food by Bear: The Cookbook

Our new cookbook, Food by Bear, is currently live on Kickstarter! This is a book I've wanted to write forever. It's a memoir of sorts, containing everything I've learned during my fabled journey. It will contain around 200 original recipes, food photography and illustrations. I'm truly aiming to make this cookbook like no other on your shelf. Please check out our Kickstarter page to learn more and make a pledge for one of the many rewards we're offering!

Much like Cow by Bear was created outside any restaurant or food experience norm, I decided to create this book outside the traditional publishing world. That's why I turned to Kickstarter as a grass roots approach to the process. For those unfamiliar, Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform that helps creators "find the resources and support they need to make their ideas a reality." It's an all or nothing platform, which means you will not be charged unless the funding goal is met. If our goal is met, your card will be charged at the end of the campaign. You'll receive the reward you pledged for as soon as it's ready, and I'll be able to make this book a reality!

I hope you'll be a part of Food by Bear and consider making a pledge if you have the means, and/or sharing the campaign with someone you think will love it. It's your support that will help get this book made, and I appreciate you so much. Thank you!

Bear's Bracket Challenge

Cow by Bear's NCAA Bracket Challenge is back! Make sure to join our group before tipoff Thursday morning for your chance at bragging rights and a few fun prizes. First place will receive 2 tickets to a special 'Food by Bear' dinner ($600 value) we're hosting as part of the cookbook launch. Second place receives two 'I Heart You' dinner plates we use at every Cow by Bear dinner and third place takes home the OG Cow by Bear tee. I hope you'll play along!

Seattle Tickets Available

Due to the February snow storms, our dinner schedule in Seattle was modified to accommodate rescheduling. This has created some available seats in April. Click the button below to book your seats for Saturday April 6, Friday April 12, Saturday April 13 or Saturday April 27. This will conclude the Cow by Bear series in Seattle. Only a handful of tickets are available for each date, so act fast. I hope to see you there!

Smoke on the Water

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serves 6
special equipment: 
smoker

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

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

for 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.

for 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 shingle the sliced belly on top. Drizzle with bird chile and fish sauce, add ngo om, cilantro and peanuts. Squeeze lime on top and enjoy!

Food by Bear: The Cookbook

Humans,

I'm extremely happy to introduce you to our newest project, a cookbook experience experiment called FOOD BY BEAR. Equal parts mouthwatering recipes and amusing memoir, I'm aiming to make this like no other cookbook on your shelf.

I’ve fantasized about writing this book forever, but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve had the time and focus for it. Much like Cow by Bear started as a grass roots experiment, I’m creating this book outside the traditional publishing landscape and would love for you to be part of it!

To help bring this cookbook into the world I have decided to run a Kickstarter campaign, which went live this morning with a soft launch. I hope you'll consider making a pledge and/or sharing the campaign with friends. We can't do this without you!

Our (un)traditional Cow by Bear dinners are sold out but we're offering several new experiences for this campaign, including a handful of special 'Food by Bear' dinners. If you're so kind as to make a pledge ($40 or above) for the book by the end of this weekend, you’ll be entered to be one of five people picked to receive 2 tickets for one of these dinners.

Thank you so much for being a friend to Cow by Bear. We never would have made it this long without you, and we can't wait to put this book in your paws!

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