A Sea of Salmon and Smiles


We love you. I can't tell you how much Osa, Osito, myself and the rest of the Cow by Bear gang appreciate your support in our little dining experience experiment. It's grown to a point I never imagined when we first opened up in my apartment, and you are to thank for that. There's nearly 10,000(!) on the receiving end of this Bear's Necessities newsletter now, and we're so grateful to have you as part of our Bear family. 

This is the time of year I always find myself thinking about my favorite cousin Ricoand how we tragically lost him during the great 'Salmon Stall of '94.' When I shared his story last year, a frequent guest and Cub Club member made an incredibly kind gesture by making a donation to the Salmon Defense Fund in cousin Rico's name (thanks Steph!). I was very touched and vowed to do what I could to help the salmon and keep cousin Rico's spirit alive. Salmon are such an integral part of bear life, and you may be surprised how vital they are to the entire ecosystem.

We'll be donating $1 for every ticket sold in both San Diego and Seattle from now until Labor Day to the Salmon Defense Fund in honor of cousin Rico. We've added many summer dates in both locations, so take a look at the up-to-date calendar at cowbybear.com and come spend an evening with us! 

Upcoming openings are:

San Diego: Saturday June 2 / Wednesday June 13 / Sunday June 17 / Saturday June 23  / Wednesday June 27 / Thursday June 28 / Saturday July 7

Seattle: Saturday June 2 / Thursday June 14 / Thursday June 28 / Saturday June 30 / Saturday July 7 / Friday July 20

Bear TV

Those who know me know me as a pretty bashful bear. I politely decline most media requests, simply because I'm often unsure of what to say and what to do with my hands. One of my New Year's resolutions was to overcome this fear by saying "Yes" more.

I recently appeared on two TV segments that you can check out below. The first documents a Cow by Bear dinner, and the second is a cooking segment where I make my favorite new menu item, the Sea of Smiles. It's a loose take on a classic Thai dish, khanom jeen, and I've provided the recipe below. I actually had a lot of fun and think maybe I'll even keep saying "Yes" more often!

Sea of Smiles

Sea of Smiles (Feeds 4)

1 package thin rice noodles
8 large fresh prawns, marinated
4 c coconut broth*
2 c pineapple broth*
2 c pickled mustard seed*
4 tbsp crispy shallots*
4 tbsp thinly sliced scallions
4 tbsp thinly sliced thai chilis
1 lime, half juiced half cut into wedges

for the coconut broth
2 cans coconut milk
1 tbsp palm sugar
1 tsp salt
1 inch ginger, sliced
2 cloves garlic
1 stalk lemongrass, smashed and chopped
2 lime leaves

for the pineapple broth
4 cups pineapple juice
1 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp white sugar

for the pickled mustard seed
4 tbsp mustard seed
3 c rice wine vinegar
1 c sugar
1 c water

crispy shallots
2 c raw, very thinly sliced shallots
4 c canola oil

For this dish you'll want to start with the crispy shallots so you'll have the reserve oil to marinate the prawns with, and the pickled mustard seed as it needs a couple hours.

pickled mustard seed:
1. Combine the vinegar, sugar and water in a sauce pan. Put mustard seeds in a jar or other heatproof container.
2. Bring vinegar mix to a boil for 10 seconds, then pour over mustard seeds.
3. Refrigerate for at least two hours (overnight is best).

crispy shallots:
1. Cut the shallots using a mandolin or crazy sharp knife and slice as thin as possible.
2. Put the room temperature canola oil and the shallots into a pan on the stovetop.
3. Turn the heat on high and continually stir the shallots, gently, in the oil.
4. The shallots will first bubble off all water content and then fry, about 8-10 minutes. Keep stirring or else they'll be unevenly cooked and/or burn. You will want to fry them until you think they are just underdone, pale golden in color, because they will continue to cook out of the oil.
5. Take the shallots out and spread them on paper towels in as thin of a layer as possible, and salt them liberally. 
6. Let cool and they're ready. Make sure to reserve the oil in the pan to marinate the prawns.

prawn marinade:
1. Marinate the prawns with the lime juice and reserve shallot oil, at least two hours before cooking.

coconut broth:
1. Simmer the coconut milk, palm sugar, salt, sliced ginger, garlic, smashed/chopped lemongrass and lime leaves all together for about 60 minutes on a very gentle simmer. You don't want to reduce the broth, just let all the flavors get to know each other. Strain and set aside for later.

pineapple broth:
1. Combine the pineapple juice, fish sauce and white sugar and reduce by half. Cool in the refrigerator until use.

Sea of Smiles:
1. Cook the thin rice noodles al dente, coiled into nests, and cool.
2.  Heat the coconut broth over low heat in a pan so it's ready to go.
3. Remove prawns from the marinade, salt liberally, and sauté on each side on high heat until orange and cooked through, about 6-7 minutes.
4. To assemble, place a nest of rice noodles in a bowl. Arrange 1 tbsp each of chilis, scallions, pickled mustard seeds and lime wedge in their own little sections next to the noodles. Pour one cup of the hot coconut broth over the noodles. Then place two prawns on top of the noodles. Finish with a small spoonful of the pineapple broth and a pinch of the crispy shallots.
5. Serve immediately and enjoy!