My Friends, The Berenstains


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!


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: 

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!