Turkey Day Stories + Recipes

Hello my fabulous human friends! As I sit here watching the rain trickle down on a fog covered lake just outside of Seattle, I can't help but wonder whatever happened to Thanksgiving. These days I barely have time to put away my Don Flamenco Halloween costume before being bombarded with Christmas decorations and ads about black Friday and cyber Monday. Sale, sale, sale! Maybe I’m biased - being a chef and all - but that just ain't right. This is the one holiday devoted to remembering where you come from, who's been part of that journey and shamelessly stuffing your face, of course! There's simply nothing better than that.
 
One of my most memorable Thanksgivings was during my first year as an accidental chef in France.  As it turned out, the French have another word for this holiday -"jeudi," or simply, “Thursday.” I wanted to recreate the grand feasts I had growing up on Kodiak Island for my new friends, but finding all the fixings was more challenging than I had anticipated in a place that survives on butter, chocolate and bread (have I mentioned I love the place?). Needless to say, I had to get creative with some of my family’s old recipes, of which I'm including a couple below. To me, that’s what this day is all about; sharing what you have and know with family and friends. Oh, and the aforementioned shameless face stuffing, obviously. 

DSC_0679 copy.jpg

Speaking of family, many of you are so sweet and continue to inquire about if and when I'll be seeing Osa and Osito. Sure enough, I've arranged for the three of us to rendezvous at a top-secret location near Lake Tahoe for a few days of fishing, foraging and bear-back bobsledding. It'll be the first time Osito has seen snow and I can't wait to get into a family snowball fight whilst teaching him the dangers of the yellow snow. After fishing with my paws and jaw all my life, I've recently been introduced to the wonders of a fishing pole and my oh my has it changed my life. Osa will be bringing her Dutch oven for bread and desserts over the fire, just like her father used to during their winters in Whitefish. As for Osito, he's been foraging his little heart out and promises to serve up all the fruit, veggies and weeds we desire. When all is said and done, we'll each bring offerings to the table made from the number one ingredient: LOVE.

Have a great Thanksgiving, friends. 

Fun fact: sweet potatoes and yams are not the same thing. They each have their own identity, but because of improper labeling at grocery stores they get confused with one another. But, hey, after you top them with marshmallows does it really matter?

Yam, Bam, Thank You Ma'am

8 (6 oz.) yams
1 c upsalted butter
1 tbsp. chopped fresh sage
mini marshmallows (as many as you'd like)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the yams crosswise into ¼-inch slices, leaving about ⅛ inch intact at the bottom. Place the yams on an aluminum foil–lined baking dish; cover tightly with foil. Bake until slightly tender, about 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the sage in a large skillet over medium and cook, stirring often until golden, about 5 minutes.
3. Remove foil. Brush half of the butter mixture on the yams so it seeps in between the slices.  Return to oven and bake, uncovered, until tender, about 1 hour. 
4. Turn the broil function on in your oven. Wedge the mini marshmallows randomly between the slices and watch closely as the marshmallows will brown fairly quickly. 
5. Remove from the oven and brush the remaining sage butter over the tops and sides. Enjoy!

IMG_9157-1.jpg

I came up with this when a truck-load of figs from Toulouse showed up at our restaurant one day. The chef wanted something interesting on the cheese board that night - a twist on a classic flavor. These babies are great on their own, paired with cheese, or as a funky substitute for cranberries on your Thanksgiving table.

Pickled Figs

1 lb. fresh figs*
2/3 c apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 c sugar
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 allspice berries
1/4 tsp. cloves
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick

*A note on the figs: Figs are still available in the Seattle area but word on the street is they are now hard to find in San Diego. You can sub with dried figs, but you may need to cook a little longer on day two. Just make sure they are nice and soft.

1. Bring vinegar, 1 cup of sugar and the salt to a simmer in a small but heavy pot. Add the allspice berries, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and cloves. Cover the pot and remove from the heat, allowing the spices to steep for 10 minutes.
2. Add the figs to the pot and return it to a simmer, uncovered over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, then cool, cover and refrigerate everything in the pot overnight.
3. The next morning, add the last 1/3 cup of sugar to the pot. Bring to a simmer over low heat and cook until the figs are soft and slightly shrunk, about 15 minutes.
4. Pour everything into a jar, cool and refrigerate before serving. Enjoy!

Halloween Memories From Kodiak Island

G'day humans, Bear here. It's been a while since I've checked in, and it seems there's quite a few more of you here these days. On behalf of my Osa Bear and Osito Bear, I'd like to welcome our new friends to the Bear family, and thank all of you that continue to come back!

Screen Shot 2017-12-02 at 3.33.16 PM.png

Those that have been around here a while probably know that Fall has long been my favorite season. With the shortened daylight, cooler air (right, San Diego?) and over-abundance of root vegetable mash on menus, comes fond Halloween memories of my time as a cub on Alaska's Kodiak Island. It's not easy to transform yourself into disguise when you're a 900-pound bear, but that's never stopped me from trying! Whether it's the Guy Fi-Bear-i costume from last year's special Halloween dinner or wrangling up all my pals to form a Miami Sound Machine tribute group, I've just always loved playing dress-up. I suppose it goes back to the first time my parents put me in a dress.

Mom and dad operated a small playhouse on the island, and every Halloween the whole camp would come to see their production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Something about bears chasing off humans really got the elders riled up, they'd say. So it goes on one All Hallow's Eve, our Goldilocks got violently ill after eating what she thought was a satchel of candy fish eyes. Well, it was my satchel, and they weren't candy. The show must go on, of course, which meant for one guilty cub of the now-desperate directors, the night was about to get interesting.

It was a pretty dress, with a loose collar and red ribbons, and ohhhh bear was it comfy. The show was a runaway success and the experience one of those defining life moments where everything changes. You could say it was a precursor for my days in the circus and all that was to come. But those are stories for another day. For now, on to some Fall recipes. Enjoy!

Twilight Pretzels: IPA Fondue

Pretzels
2 c bread flour
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 t salt
7 g active dry yeast
1/3 c warm water
1 T squid ink
1 c whole milk
3 T unsalted butter
1 1/4 c water
1 T baking soda

IPA Fondue
12 oz. bottle IPA
3/4 lb sharp cheddar, grated
3/4 lb gruyere, grated
1 1/2 T cornstarch
salt and pepper (to taste) 

Pretzels:
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with hook attachment, add the flours, salt and yeast. Add the water, squid ink and milk and start kneading slowly.
2. After 2 minutes, add the butter, bits at a time, and turn up mixer to medium-high. Continue kneading for 5 minutes.
3. Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it. Cover in cling wrap and let rise for at least an hour. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and cut into five equal pieces.
4. Shape into pretzel form and place on baking tray for 20 minutes to proof.
5. Preheat oven to 400F.
6. Boil 1 1/4 c water and add the 1 T baking soda. Brush the water onto each pretzel. Sprinkle on salt and bake for 20-25 minutes.

IPA Fondue:
(Cheese can easily burn so make sure to stir frequently)
1. Pour the bottle of beer into a Dutch oven or similar sized pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to simmer for a few minutes.
2. Sprinkle the cornstarch over your grated cheeses and toss to coat. Add the cheese, a handful at a time, to the simmering beer. Stir after each addition and allow each handful to completely melt. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm over low heat.

IMG_8541.jpg

Inky Seas

1.5 oz. dark rum (Barbancourt if you can find it)
1/3 oz. fernet branca
3/4 oz. orgeat syrup
1/3 oz. squid ink (with dash of water)
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
10 mint leaves, plus sprig for garnish

Combine the rum, Fernet Branca, orgeat syrup, lime juice, squid ink and mint leaves in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake it like crazy and strain into a glass with ice. Garnish with one mint sprig and drink it up like you're on the high seas!

'17 Summer Snippets.

I hope everyone is having a bear-tastic summer so far! I’m currently enjoying a beautiful morning in Seattle, popping oysters, listening to Jamiroquai with my shirt off and prepping for another Saturday night dinner. My time in here has been wonderful. I’ve met so many great humans and been exposed to new experiences. There’s a place here where they literally just throw salmon from one person to another, and you wouldn’t believe how easy it is to snatch one (or twenty) out of thin air.

That’s not to say I don’t miss my ol’ white Imperial Beach sands or taco-obsessed cohorts of San Diego, and of course I’m counting the days until The Five Kingdom Alliance gives safety clearance to   return to the arms of my sweet Osa and Osito. I hear of the amazing things they are accomplishing together and how they have been welcomed with open arms by the entire San Diego community. It warms by big bear heart and I can’t thank you enough. Well, except for the handful of you hounding Osa for a date...BACK OFF!

It’s just that QARTEL is a serious business with roots deeper than molasses runs thick, and I’ll be Ron Swanson’d before I let them have the upper-hand on ol’ Chef Bear. So I continue to wait it out, putting on epic dinner parties with new friends and exploring the Emerald City. A favorite find in my time here has been Hand of God wines. Based in Seattle but made in Argentina, I have been serving their lineup at my dinners to great response. If you’d like to try some yourself, I’ve worked a deal for ‘Bear’s Necessities’ subscribers. Just visit www.handofgodwines.com  and enter cowbearHOG at checkout for a $99 three-pack. You'll be happier than, uh, a bear at Pike Place Market.

Osa and I have been working collectively on menus across all the meals we serve, and I gotta tell ya it feels like old times. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying working with her again. She just makes everything that much better. Together we’ve also been working with Osito on his new summer brunch menu, and I can tell you it’s not to be missed. I’m most excited about his Short Rib Benedict. Here's how he explained it in a postcard he sent me the other day:

“I’ve been told stories about you, Dad, and your love of beef. So I guess I came up with the idea of this dish to feel a little closer to you. When most bearcubs in the neighborwoods were chasing and eating birds and pretty much just being a pain in the porcupine, I would stay up late studying and cooking short ribs, hoping one day if we ever met that we could sit around an open fire, and enjoy some cow by us bears. I'm calling this dish A Dream of My Father ." - Osito

bf226c87-082f-4cdf-aa28-811631536aff.jpg

Un Sueno De Mi Padre (A Dream of My Father)

Short Ribs:
Equipment:
Immersion Circulator

1 five-lb. boneless beef chuck short rib
salt
black pepper
garlic salt
dried thyme

Green Peppercorn Sauce:
1 tsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. butter, separated
1 tbsp. shallots, diced fine
2 tbsp. brined green peppercorns
2 tbsp. brandy, cognac
2 tsp. all purpose flour
1 cup beef stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
For the Short Ribs:

1. Heat a water bath with the immersion circulator set to 185 F.
2. Dry the short ribs and season liberally with the salt, black pepper, garlic salt, and thyme.
3. Sear the meat in a hot pan with a little oil, until well browned on all sides.
4. Quickly put seared meat in a vacuum-sealed food grade bag and place into preheated water bath.
5. Cook for 16 hours, checking the water level of the bath for water loss due to evaporation. Make sure to maintain a constant water level, always above the food.
6. After 16 hours, carefully remove the bag from the water bath and let cool slightly.
7. While still warm, very carefully remove short ribs (they will want to fall apart), and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, reserving the cooking liquid.
8. Place another piece of parchment to cover the beef, and, using the bottom of a second baking sheet, slowly press downward on the short rib to compress to an even thickness. When you are happy with the size and shape of the short ribs, chill in cooler until completely cold.
9. Portion the short ribs into smaller blocks (or just shred it up). When ready to serve, place meat in pan and cover with reserved cooking liquid. Heat over moderate heat until hot to the touch and delectably falling apart.

For the Green Peppercorn Sauce:

1. Heat olive oil over medium heat, and add 1 tbsp. butter, the shallots and peppercorns. Cook until shallots are soft, about 3 minutes.
2. Move the pan off the heat, and add the brandy. Return to heat and cook for 30 seconds to remove alcohol.
3. Add the flour and stir until most of the liquid has been absorbed into a paste.
4. Add the stock and increase the heat to medium-high, stirring constantly to break up the starch in the flour.
5. Reduce the stock by about ⅓ to ½, about 5 minutes total.
6. Add the cream and reduce heat to low, cooking for about 2 minutes more.
7. Turn off the heat, and add the remaining butter, swirling the pan to combine. Season with salt to taste.

Pour the peppercorn sauce over the ribs to your liking, or try serving over crispy potatoes and with a poached egg!

An Update From Bear.

Good morning humans, Bear here. So sorry about the scare last week. I'm good and want to thank you all for the well wishes!

It's just that I couldn't possibly believe it was my real Osa at the door ...not after all that has happened. So I ran. I ran up the coast along the city of angels, with the wildlife in the vast wilderness of Muir Woods, between the massive trees of the Redwoods. I ran through Port Orford - snatching up buttery salmon with every step, ate cheese in Tillamook and roasted artisanal coffee with Modest Mouse in Portland. I ran rampant in Olympia - where the forest and the water become one, boarded a ferry in Bremerton before sneaking past the Fremont Troll. Once in Seattle, I cooked. I cooked five courses and threw a party for new friends that welcomed me with open arms. The Great Oso once told me if I ever again felt in danger, this was the place I was to come.

I'm grateful to the Five Kingdom Alliance for locating me and explaining the true story with Osa and, amazingly, Osito. My cub! I had the opportunity to speak to them via secure internet connection a few days ago. I feel so blessed and will count the days until I get to see them in bear.

All that said, I have decided it's in everyone's best interest that I remain in Seattle for the time being. I don't trust QARTEL is truly as dormant as they seem and believe an attack may be imminent. Us 100 animals protected by the Five Kingdom Alliance have been targeted time and time again and I can't put Osa or Osito at risk. So I'll stay here until things calm down and do what I know best; cook and connect new friends. If you know any humans in the Seattle area, have them come see me and we'll have a party.

Osa Bear, well, she's the best bear and chef I know. She's the creator of many of the dishes I serve and the inspiration behind the others. She agrees it's best for her and Osito remain in San Diego, continuing to take the dining experience we created together to new heights. She has already classed up the joint during our dinner service, and my Osito is getting his paws dirty at Brunch by Bear. One of his recent creations is below. I couldn't be a prouder papa. If you go see them for a meal, give 'em a giant bear hug for me.

***(I hope you're all enjoying watching the story unfold! If you have any questions about your existing reservation, please email me directly at   bear@cowbybear.com . Thanks for being a friend of Cow by Bear! We're just getting started.)

fe7890fa-a39e-4412-8e1a-0c9f393b80bd.jpg

Lil' Osito's Blueberry Crumble

Blueberry Semifreddo 
1 pint blueberries
4.5 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 cup milk
2 egg yolks
1 egg white
salt
pinch cream of tartar
1/4 c mascarpone
1/2 cup heavy cream

Buttermilk Crumb 
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tbsp. buttermilk

Lavender Syrup 
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 bunch lavender sprigs

Blueberry Semifreddo (makes eight 3oz. cups):
1. Wash the blueberries, combine them in a large bowl with the lemon juice and 1 tbsp. of the sugar. Let sit for 20 minutes.
2. Puree the blueberries in a food processor or blender until smooth. Set aside.
3. Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
4. While milk is heating, whisk the 2 egg yolks, 3.5 tbsp. of the sugar, and a pinch of salt together in a bowl.
5. When milk is boiling, pour about half of it into the egg mixture and whisk vigorously.
6. Pour the egg mixture back into the rest of the milk and place saucepan back on stove.
7. Heat the milk and egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon to prevent eggs from cooking, until the mixture reaches 170 degree and thickens like a heavy cream.
8. Remove the saucepan from heat. Stir in the blueberries and mix with a spoon.
9. Pour the mixture into the bowl that contained the blueberries and place into an ice bath. Let the mixture cool to 40 degrees.
10. While the blueberry mixture is chilling, whip the egg white in a stand mixer until frothy. Add a pinch of cream of tartar and whipping until medium peaks form. Scrape the whipped egg white into a bowl and set aside.
11. Place the mascarpone and heavy cream into the mixer bowl and whip with whisk attachment until soft peaks form.
12. When the blueberry mixture is cool, fold in the whipped egg white gently with a rubber spatula.
13. When the egg white is nearly mixed, add the whipped cream you made and the mascarpone, and very gently fold to combine.
14. Pour the mixture into a large container, cover, and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours.

Buttermilk Crumb:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a stand mixer.
3. Add melted butter and buttermilk until the mixture begins to combine into small clusters.
3. Bake crumbs on lined cookie sheet for 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and still soft to the touch. Let cool for about 30 minutes and the crumb will dry and become crumbly.

Lavender Syrup:
1. Combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until sugar is completely dissolved.
2. Add lavender and steep, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
3. Remove lavender and strain. Cool before serving.

To Plate:   Place the semifreddo mold off center on a plate and surround with crumble. Dress lightly with lavedner syrup and garnish with fresh lavender.

077d4b12-638a-48bd-8179-d2591e1bc60c.jpg

The origins of Cow by Bear are rooted in Mexico City.

The origins of Cow by Bear are rooted in Mexico City.

I'm often asked how Cow by Bear began and have shared bits and pieces of the story along the way. I haven't been completely honest, though, as it's tough for me to talk about the key ingredient to the entire story. Her name was Osa Bear.

f62aeacf-1170-4e3a-9a9a-99b4d4ef3dd8.jpg

Osa and I met in 1999. I had just arrived in Mexico after an intense period in rural Haiti where I'd been cooking up the remains of animals sacrificed during Vodou ceremonies. These rituals are deeply connected to the culture of the people, and the moveable feasts would feed the village for weeks. I often felt like the ancient spirits were speaking to me and I believe it was their guidance that led me on my next journey; to find The Great Oso, spiritual leader of all bears and rumored to be holed up in an abandoned minor league baseball stadium in Mexico City.

When I arrived my eyes focused on something much more beautiful than I ever could have imagined. It was Osa, daughter of The Great Oso, breaking down one of the finest cuts of beef I had ever seen. I knew right then I loved her, although it was months before I could muster up the courage to say it out loud. Osa was the kind of bear that turned heads when she walked in a room, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't just because she was a bear. She could ice skate, fence, surf, write poetry, beat Contra on the Nintendo without cheat codes and speak 5 languages (not including Bear).

She taught me so much about life, about being a better bear, and more about cooking than all of my other masters combined. We came up with the idea to start Cow by Bear together and spent countless nights sketching out the plan, before the tragedy - a story for another time. Cow by Bear is hers as much as it is mine and it eats me up that she didn't survive to see our dream come true. But it gives me so much pleasure knowing her heart and soul is in every single dish we make.

Esto es todo para ti, Osa.

Getting my shopping done at the Little Italy Farmer's Market.

Getting my shopping done at the Little Italy Farmer's Market.

Now onto some bizness. After much thought, I've decided to not host a large Halloween dinner party this year. As much fun as last year's event was, the planning that goes into larger parties can risk taking away from the quality of our traditional 14 person events and that's something I'm not comfortable with. I have opened up the October 26-28 dinner seats that were previously on hold, and they can be purchased here: https://cowbybear.tocktix.com. These tickets are currently the soonest we have available for dinner for two, so if grab them before they're gone!

If you're interested in joining us for a Cow by Bear experience and can't wait that long, remember we also offer Brunch by Bear on Sundays and Wine by Bear every other Tuesday. We currently have availability for brunch as soon as July 2 and Wine as soon as June 20. I hope to see you at one of these events!

And, of course, some recipes:

4e2a3f91-63ef-4120-8709-be2a6429f1fd.jpg

I've just introduced a dueling tacos appetizer to the upcoming menu and have been experimenting with this delicious duck taco. Pro tip: Get that skin crazy crispy so it's almost like a chicharrones. I feel so sad for my bear brethren, they just have no idea what they're missing out on when it comes to tacos!

Duck Tacos with Cherry Chipotle Salsa

Duck Taco Ingredients
1 lb. duck breast
2 tsp. chipotle chili powder
1 tsp. cumin, toasted & grounded
1/4 tsp. salt
2 c chipotle cherry salsa (see below)
12 small corn tortillas, lightly toasted
2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced and tossed in 2 tbsp. sour cream
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Salsa Ingredients
2 cups cherries, pitted
1 chipotle chili in adobo, chopped
1/4 c red onion, diced
1 small clove garlic, grated
1 handful basil
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper to taste

For the Tacos: 
1. Score the skin and fat of the duck breast with a knife trying to cut all the through the fat without cutting into the meat.

2. Mix the chipotle chili powder, cumin and salt and rub it into the skin side of the duck breast then cover it and let it sit in the fridge for 20 minutes  up to over night.

3. Start the duck breast, skin side down, in a cold, oven-proof pan. Place over medium heat and slowly cook until the fat has rendered and the skin is crispy, 10-15 minutes.

4. Place the pan into a preheated 400 F oven for 8 minutes, or until duck registers 132 F with thermometer.

5. Remove and set the duck breast aside and let rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

6. Drain the excess fat from the pan, add the salsa, deglaze the pan and simmer to remove any excess liquid.

7. Assemble the tacos and enjoy.

For the Chipotle Cherry Salsa: 
1. Puree everything in a food processor until smooth. (Puree less if you prefer a salsa with a little more texture).

 

f62aeacf-1170-4e3a-9a9a-99b4d4ef3dd8.jpg

Can I confess something to you? Promise? Ok, this recipe is just one of many ways to make a  Pimms Cup, a cocktail that's been around since the 1800s. I simply gave it a fun name after my favorite female, British tennis player. I first came across this drink at Wimbledon in 1984, sucking them down in the stands with John McEnroe while we watched Annabel Croft take on Chris Evert. It's been one of my favorite summer drinks ever since.

The Annabear Croft

4 cucumber slices
1.5 oz. Pimms No. 1
1/4 oz. fresh lime juice
4 oz. ginger beer

Slice 3 cucumbers and muddle in a Boston shaker. Add ice to the shaker, followed by the Pimms and lime juice. Shake vigorously and strain into a glass, over ice. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a cucumber slice.

Enjoy!

A Bear & His Wine

I was a six year old bear when I had my first glass of wine. I remember like it was yesterday, stolen from a campsite by my older, bad bear cousin Rico (RIP). Red wine, I loved the stuff and spent the next year or so devouring campsites, flipping over airstreams and digging through Coleman coolers to find it. Years later when I arrived in France, my love for wine was renewed. French wine opened up my pallet in a way I couldn't have imagined when I was drinking the homemade stuff from Alaska in my youth. My travels have taken me all over the world and I've always made sure to pair the finest wine I can get my paws on with my meals. It's become an obsession that almost rivals food, which is why I created the Wine by Bear program. Along with Sommelier Kaitlin Brooks, we're serving up 6 great wines every other Tuesday night. Our current lineup highlights the 6 Noble Grapes, and I asked Kaitlin to write a guest post about a couple of the varietals.

ffc56d54-b97e-4c96-8928-13b2151a5dc3.jpg

Here's Kaitlin: 
When was the last time you picked out a Merlot to pair with your Filet Mignon (or dry-aged Ribeye)? Did you know that in a case of life imitating art, the movie Sideways drastically altered the way wine consumers viewed Merlot, and subsequently the amount of Merlot being planted in the United States dropped? Cabernet Franc is actually a parent grape to both Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and so Merlot is often mistaken for Cabernet Sauvignon in blind tastings. Have I convinced you to revisit it yet? What if I told you that Merlot often has a flavor profile of tobacco, fig, raspberry, mocha, and nutmeg?

Riesling is another under-appreciated grape varietal, and one of my personal favorites to drink right now. Many people are quick to assume that Riesling is sweet and dismiss it. While Riesling can be made in a sweet style (and those are often very delicious if well-balanced), it can also be completely fermented to dryness. I love bringing dry Rieslings to dinner parties and pairing events and surprising guests when I tell them they are drinking Riesling. It is also one of the few grapes that can pair well with spicy foods, Chinese food, curries, as well as cured meats. On Tuesdays we have been discussing some of the most common (read: noble) grape varietals and the stories behind what make them so world-renowned. Sign up to join me in learning about new wines, winemaking styles, etc., all while tasting a curated selection of excellent and interesting wines. Happy drinking!

f835533d-32b1-47df-96c5-4dbb788b301e.jpg

If you need a thoughtful last minute Mother's Day gift, may I suggest this bread, beet butter and lemon oil combo? I'll be delivering to some of my favorite mom's on Sunday, so say hi if you see me around!

Bear's Ciabatta Bread: beet butter + lemon oil

3 1/4 c all purpose flour
1 t kosher salt
3/4 t sugar
1 1/2 t dry yeast
1 3/4 c lukewarm water
3 red or pink baby beets
2 c unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into 1 in. pieces
15 lemons
1/2 c olive oil

Ciabatta: 
Add flour, salt, sugar and yeast to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low for 30 seconds.
2. Add the water slowly while still mixing until dough starts to come together.
3. Increase speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes.
4. Clean and change out the paddle for the hook attachment. Mix on medium-high speed for 5 minutes.
5. Clean and remove the hook, and with floured paws, reach underneath the dough, lift straight up, and slap that sucker back into the bowl against itself. This will begin to create small bubbles that will appear under the surface of the dough. Slap it silly for about 5 minutes, or until you tire yourself out.
6. Lightly grease the inside of a large bowl with olive oil and scrape the still tacky dough inside. Allow to rise until doubled in size in a draft-free space, 1-2 hours depending on the heat and humidity in your kitchen.
7. Once doubled, preheat your oven to 400F and turn the dough out onto a floured baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the crust is a light bear brown.  
8. Remove from the oven and let cool a little before devouring it at once!

For the Beet Butter: 
1. Preheat oven to 300F. Wash and trim the tops and bottoms of the baby beets.
2. Place beets in a foil pouch with a dash of canola oil and kosher salt. Seal the pouches and roast beets in oven for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until very tender.
3. Remove beets from oven, open puches and allow beets to cool. When cool to handle, remove the skin from the beets with a damp towel you wanted to dye red anyway.
4. Place beets in a blender and puree until smooth. Scoop out of blender into a bowl.
5. Clean the bowl of the blender and add the butter and puree until smooth. Slowly add the beet puree until you can taste a nice balance of butter and beets. Season with salt, or keep it unsalted, as you wish.
6. Scrape the beet butter out into a container with a lid, and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

For the Lemon Oil (if you don't have the proper equipment, I suggest picking up a bottle of Lusty Lemon): 
1. Zest the lemons.
2. Place the zest in an empty whipped cream canister .  
3. Add the oil.
4. Charge the canister with 2 cartridges, then swirl the canister for 30 seconds.
5. Allow the oil to infuse for 2 miuntes or longer depending on how deep you want the lemon flavor to be.
6. Slowly dispel the air from the canister pointed down into a bowl. Once the air has emptied out, open the canister and strain the oil into a fun little bottle.
7. Enjoy that stuff on everything!

 

54d6f97d-6cc7-4ac3-9059-3c25e8de852a.jpg

Before I arrived in San Diego, I was spending a good chunk of my time in Mexico City, where I fell for another chef I was working with. Her name was Osa. I credit her for creating and naming this drink after me.

El Oso Peludo

1 oz. Mezcal (the smokier the better)
2 oz.   Mead  (I recommend The Foundation from   Meadiocrity )
1/2 oz. ginger syrup
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. Cointreau
1/4 oz. honey syrup

Add all ingredients to a Boston shaker and shake. Fill old fashioned glass with ice or one whiskey cube. Pour ingredients and then with top with Mead. Garnish with candied ginger and drink it up!

A Tale of Uncle Wilbur

00a1ca3c-70ea-4e89-b614-e5a08ee21771.jpg

Hi Humans, Bear here. In another life, long ago, I'd just be awakening from my long winter slumber, ecstatic about what the warm weather would bring me and my family and friends. Truth is, I was never a huge fan of hibernating - who has the time? But it's an essential part of bear culture and year after year I'd succumb to the devastating peer pressure put upon me to sleep for 4 months straight.

Reminiscing about this time of year always takes my mind to the summer months ahead and the salmon run that awaits my bear family back home. But I also think of the past, specifically the great "Salmon Stall of '94" when the rivers ran dry and my Uncle Wilbur tragically ate my favorite cousin, Rico. It was a sad time that haunts me to this day, and I'll do anything I can to ensure history doesn't repeat itself. So when I look at the Cow by Bear summer dinner schedule and see only a handful of seats available, you'll understand why it makes me nervous that we could have an Uncle Wilbur episode in our future. It's for that reason I've decided to open up several Wednesday night dinners, beginning May 31 and running through Labor Day. You can find our up to date availabilities by clicking here.  I hope to see you there and, please, no eating each other you wild animals!

Now, on to a few recipes:

c2c0c509-7827-45b2-bdf3-2644e7b87c20.jpg

This is a salad I first made many years ago when I was supposed to be hibernating but couldn't sleep. I call it the No Hibernation and it's currently on the menu at our dinners. It's quite a unique mishmash of flavors that when assembled together creates a flavor profile that I can't get enough of.

No Hibernation Salad

Cantaloupe sorbet
Balsamic raspberry dressing
Watercress, rinsed and cleaned
Mint, washed and leaves picked
Tarragon, washed and leaves picked
Hierloom cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
Burrata cheese
Kumquats, washed and sliced thin
Prosciutto

For the cantaloupe sorbet:   
2 cantaloupes
3/4 c simple syrup

Remove seeds and flesh from 1 1/2 cantaloupes. Puree in a blender until smooth. Reserve remaining cantaloupe for later use. Add 3/4c of simple syrup and mix into cantaloupe puree. Freeze the sorbet before using.

For the balsamic raspberry dressing: 
2 c fresh raspberries
2 T white sugar
1 1/3 c balsamic vinegar
2 T honey
1 t salt
1/2 c olive oil

Toss the raspberries the white sugar to start releasing juices. Let sit for 10 minutes. In the bowl of a food processor, add the raspberries and their juices, the vinegar, honey, salt and oil. Pulse food processor about 5 times until dressing comes together. The result should be a loose emulsion. Shake the dressing before serving.

For the salad:

Mix a handful of watercress with a small handful of mint and tarragon leaves in a bowl, season with olive oil and salt. Place the greens on a salad plate or in a bowl.

Place a few halved tomatoes around the greens, followed by a golf ball-sized chunk of burrata (or more if no one's looking!) hidden among the greens.

Place a small scoop of the sorbet in the middle of the greens, next to the cheese, followed by a few kumquat slices, and then a flew torn pieces of prosciutto.

Finally, add a few dashes of the raspberry dressing around the greens, tomatoes and cheese. Sprinkle with a little finishing salt and enjoy!

 

975b8f22-e7cb-4daf-8c3b-6b5d8fe7a7cc.jpg

Need a morning or late evening pick me up? This drink is for you.

The Bear Necessity

1 oz. Dark Rum (No surprise, I prefer Haitian Barbancourt 5 Star)
1 1/4 oz. Frangelico
1/2 oz. Baileys
Coffee (I recommend anything from   James Coffee )
Vanilla Infused Whipped Cream
Shaved Almonds

For the Whipped Cream: 
1 c heavy whipping cream
2 T Sugar
1 T vanilla

2nd Annual Cow by Bear Bracket Challenge!

Last year we had over one hundred participants in our NCAA Tournament bracket challenge, with the winner taking home a free Cow by Bear dinner! It would be great to have even more people join in on the fun this year, so please feel free to share with anybody that might want in on the action. You can join the group by clicking here. 

This year, the winner of the group will receive two tickets for an upcoming Cow by Bear dinner, 2nd place will receive two tickets for Brunch by Bear, and 3rd place will receive two tickets for Wine by Bear!

Good luck!

Single Seats Available for Upcoming Dinner & Brunch

We have several upcoming dinners and brunches with a single seat available. Bringing people together is at the heart of everything Cow by Bear is about, so there is no need to be shy when attending one of our events on your own. You'll be welcomed immediately and sure to leave with new friends. Here are some current single seat availabilities:

Brunch (all dates Sunday): March 26, April 2
Dinner: Thursday June 1, Saturday June 17, Friday June 23, Thursday June 29, Friday June 30, Thursday July 20, Friday July 21, Saturday August 12, Saturday August 19

Tickets can be purchased at cowbybear.com.

I'll be back in the next couple weeks with an update on some things in the works and of course new recipes. Thanks for following along everybody!

Bear.