Cuisine

Portland chef says, "Throw some seaweed in that!"

Portland chef Mike Wylie suggests using dried seaweed like bay leaves in your everyday cooking. You’ll be doing the local, sustainable seaweed economy a big favor.

At a networking event “Why Seaweed Matters” Wylie said that when he walks through any of the Big Tree Hospitality kitchens he co-owns and operates, and he sees a pot of anything simmering on the stove, “I’m like ‘throw some seaweed in that!’ because it makes most things taste better.” Seaweed deepens flavor in dishes stemming from many other cultures, everything from vegetable soup and tomato sauce to rice and beans and meaty braises.

When including dried seaweed in your everyday cooking, for every quart of liquid, add a 2- by 2-inch piece of dried seaweed, before setting the pot to simmer. The rule of thumb is that most seaweed has done its work after 30-40 minutes in the pot.

You can read more about “why kelp matters” on the FB event page

Seaweed takes the number one spot on Martha Stewart's top 5 food trends

Martha Stewart’s magazine featured an article on forecasting the top 5 food trends. Taking the number one spot was seaweed!

The article talks about the Summer Fancy Food Show held last year. At the show seaweed was on full display. Maine-based seaweed company Ocean’s Balance made a splash by rolling out two new products: jarred kelp purée and Japanese inspired seaweed sprinkles, which can be used as a savory topping for everything from rice to toast.

Shortly after the Summer Fancy Food Show, Oceans Balance received a $100,000 prize for its edible seaweed products. The award comes from “Greenlight Maine,” a T.V. show that promotes small businesses and startups in the region.

Seaweeds are gaining the attention of chefs, restaurants, and entrepreneurs around the country. It’s no wonder why it came up as the number one food trend.

Seaweed Pie Recipe for Pi Day (3.14)

Today is march 14th (3.14), affectionately known as Pi day, representing the mathematical constant π approximately equal to 3.14159. The day is typically celebrated, in some circles (pun intended), by making and eating pies. Therefore, we found a seaweed pie recipe from East Coast Living.

The pie is a blanc mange using Irish moss. Follow the link for the full recipe.

Seaweed Beers are Gaining in Popularity

Beers made with seaweed are becoming increasing popular.

Great Lakes Brewing just announced their Irish stout with dulse for saint patrick's day. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in Australia, Brisbane’s Newstead Brewing Co . just announced their new seaweed beer “Moreton Bae” which contains Ulva (sea lettuce).

It’s unclear if these seaweeds are simply flavoring, or if the sugars from seaweed are being used in the fermentation process.

Either way, it’s a clever use of a sustainable recourse that could tap into a very large market. The Brewers Association reported: retail dollar sales of craft beers increased 8%, up to $26.0 billion, and now account for more than 23% of the $111.4 billion U.S. beer market.

Pickled Kelp Recipe

This sounds so good!

Apparently in Alaska, pickled kelp is a treat sold in stores. They use bullwhip kelp (Nereocystis), which is a brown alga that grows as one hollow stalk, or stipe, through the water column. The long flexible stalk resembles an enlarged whip, which is where the common name, bullwhip kelp, came from. The hollow stalk is cut into rings and pickled.

We can’t wait to try this with other types of seaweed.

Here is a link to an article in Alaska floats my boat, that outlines the process step by step. (Instructions below)

Get your canning supplies ready to go: 

  • A large pot with a lid to process the jars in, and enough water to cover the jars by at least an inch

  • A small pot half full of water to simmer the lids in

  • A large pot to boil the kelp mixture in

  • Colander  

  • Clean, hot pint and/or half-pint jars (keep hot in simmering water or in the oven)  This recipe fills about six pints or twelve half pints.

  • Ladle, spoons, canning funnel, jar grabber, towels to set jars on, lid magnet, cloth to wipe rims, hot pads

If you haven't canned before then please check with your extension service or a reference like the Ball Blue Book of Canning to learn the basics.

 

Bread and Butter Kelp Pickles:  

  • 3 quarts bull kelp stipe sliced into 1/4" to 1/2" thick "O's"

  • 2 large onions chopped or sliced

  • 1/4 cup canning salt

  • 1 pint vinegar 5% acidity

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine kelp and onion in a large bowl. Sprinkle with canning salt, stir the salt through the kelp and onion. Let stand for one hour.  Rinse well with fresh water.

Get your big pot of water for processing going so that it will be at a boil when your jars are packed. Put new, clean jar lids in the little pot, and start bringing them up to a simmer when you start boiling the kelp.

Measure the sugar and spices, stirring the spices into the sugar to prevent any clumping. Combine sugar and spices with vinegar in a large pot and bring to a boil to make the syrup.

Add the rinsed, drained kelp and onions to the hot syrup and bring to a boil again. 

When you first add the kelp to the syrup it will turn bright green! 

Pack the kelp and onions into a clean, hot jar. Use the back of a spoon to press the kelp in.  Ladle in syrup to within 1/2 inch of the top. If the kelp is packed loosely then you will run out of syrup before all of the jars are filled, so pack 'em in.

Wipe the rim, put the lid and ring on, and proceed to the next jar. 

Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the bath, set upright about one inch apart on a folded towel away from drafts to cool. 

Check that all of the jars sealed. If any didn't seal then put them in the refrigerator and eat the pickles within a few weeks.

Label the jars with contents and date. 

The kelp pickles can be eaten right away, but the flavor is better after a week or so.  

NOVAMEAT has Created Artificial Steak using Plants and Algae

NOVAMEAT is a company located in Barcelona, Spain that has found a way to make vegan steaks. The steaks are plant-based and also incorporate algae. The most unique part of their product is they found a way to make the meaty texture by using a 3D printing system (video below).

We reached out to NOVOMEAT and asked what kind of algae is used in their product. While they are still in R&D stage, the most they would say is that sometimes they use macro-algae and other times they use micro-algae depending on the different prototypes and textures needed.

Can’t wait to try these!

Here is a recent article about NOVOMEAT

Monterey Bay Seaweeds Featured at F3 Meeting in SF

The F3 (Future of Fish Feed) meeting was recently held in San Francisco, CA. One of the dinners was hosted at the Aquarium of the Bay, where sustainable seafood was served up by chef Charlie Ayers .

Chef Ayers made skewers of smoked abalone and sea grapes (Botryocladia), on a bed of watermelon radish, sesame crouton, ogo, and mirin & ginger vinaigrette.

We were more than happy to provide the ogo and sea grapes. Well done chef Ayers!

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Canadian seaweed infused gin wins award

Sheringham Distillery is nestled in the heart of Shirley, B.C.

A few of their gins are infused with the winged kelp Alaria marginata, but their flagship gin, Seaside, took best contemporary gin in the WORLD at the world gin awards.

Seaside gin is described as, citrus/ floral and notes of the sea make our gin as refreshing as a seaside stroll. Made from B.C. white wheat, B.C. malted barley, natural botanicals and sustainable hand-harvested local winged kelp (Alaria marginata).

Creator Jason Maclsaac said., “The kelp in Seaside gin gives it a sense of the region. The kelp also ties all the bontanicals together and balances them out and gives it a sense of umami”

Happy Valentine's Day: Chocolate Truffles with Seaweed

Today is Feb. 14th- Valentine's day is recognized as a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and romantic love in many regions around the world. One of the most time honored traditions is to show your sweetheart how much you care, by gifting them sweets. Most stores are packed with beautiful displays of chocolates, a holiday favorite.

If you are so bold, you might try some seaweed chocolate. It’s actually more common than you might think. The combination of sweet and salty in chocolate has been known for quite some time, and why not add a naturally salty ingredient, seaweed.

Below is a fantastic recipe for Chocolate truffles from maraseaweed.com

NGREDIENTS

  • 2 level tsps Kombu powder 

  • 5oz milk chocolate

  • 3oz plain chocolate (over 70%)

  • 1oz unsalted butter

  • 6 fl oz double cream

  • 1.5 tbls peaty whisky

DUSTING

  • 2 tsp Kombu powder

  • 1 dessert spoon smoked sugar (or Demerara)

  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

METHOD

  1. Melt chocolates and butter together in a bowl over simmering water. Stir in the seaweed powder.

  2. In another pan, heat the cream until just boiling, cool slightly and add the whisky.

  3. Add cream to chocolate gloop. Set aside to cool and then pop into the fridge until set. (About 1-2 hours, even overnight).

  4. Grind sugar and mix with Kombu and cocoa.

  5. When the chocolate has set, use two teaspoons to shape the mix into rough spheres and roll in the dust. Pop into the fridge until needed.

  6. Serve with a peaty dram or strong coffee after dinner.

Korean style kelp noodles

We have already mentioned seaweed pasta, but did you know about kelp noodles? We don’t mean just kelp cut into strips, but actual noodles made from gelatinous extract from brown seaweeds (kelps).

To make kelp noodles, simply grind dry kelp into a powder, then mix with salt and water.. The sugars within kelp will help make the mix gummy. It takes about 1 cup of dry kelp to make 1/2 serving of noodles. The tricky part is making the mix into noodles. Wait for the mixture to gel then feed through a noodle press.

Luckily, this is a popular dish in Korea and kelp noodles can be found in many Asian supermarkets. The noodles are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, as explained in an article on Livestrong. Kelp noodles are much lower in calories than traditional pastas, and are a good way to keep some of your favorite dishes a little leaner.

Umami- What it is and how you get it from seaweed

You may have come across the word umami, it’s commonplace in Japanese restaurants and on packaged foods such as ramen or seaweed. Umami can be described as a pleasant "brothy" or "meaty" taste with a long-lasting, mouthwatering and coating sensation over the tongue.

Umami, is a loan word from the Japanese  (うま味), umami can be translated as "pleasant savory taste." The word was first proposed in 1908 by Kikunae Ikeda. It wasn’t until 1985 the term was recognized as a scientific term to describe the taste of glutamates and nucleotides at the first Umami International Symposium in Hawaii. This symposium is still active today.

The English synonym would be Savory

Seaweeds are known to produce Umami flavor and are commonly used to make broths. A recent article published in the Journal of Food Measurement and Characterization outlined ideal flavor extraction process for Laminaria japonica, and showed all the flavor components. Below is a breakdown of the chemical constituents of the Umami taste in Laminaria japonica.

“Electronic tongue and electronic nose were used to assess the taste and flavor of the hydrolysate, respectively. Hexanal (43.31 ± 0.57%), (E)-2-octenal (10.42 ± 0.34%), nonanal (6.91 ± 0.65%), pentanal (6.41 ± 0.97%), heptanal (4.64 ± 0.26) and 4-ethylcyclohexanol (4.52 ± 0.21%) were the most abundant flavor compounds in the enzymatic hydrolysate with % peak areas in GC–MS. The contents of aspartic acid (11.27 ± 1.12%) and glutamic acid (13.79 ± 0.21%) were higher than other free amino acids in the enzymatic hydrolysate. Electronic tongue revealed a taste profile characterized by high scores on umami and saltiness .”

Blooming 3D-jelly cakes made from seaweed sugars.

If you haven’t heard of a blooming 3D cake, make sure you check out the video or link below. These cakes are built upside down into a jelly cake to create beautiful, edible, works of art.

A recent article highlighted Siew Heng Boon of Jelly Alchemy , who makes her cakes from algae-based gelatin rather than sourced from animals, this makes her cakes vegan friendly.

These cakes look amazing and incredibly fun to make. The video below shows how they are made.

New artificial shrimp are made from algae

A San Francisco based company called New Wave Foods, has just created artificial shrimp from algae products.

Shrimp is a favored seafood in the United States, however, shrimp harvesting and farming has many negative ecological consequences. Enters New Wave Foods: they have found a way to make synthetic shrimp from a variety of algal products. The shrimp texture comes from brown seaweed sugars, the flavor is from green algae oils, and the coloration is from red algae pigments.

Not only are these shrimp vegetarian, but also environmentally friendly.

Watch a video below on how these “shrimp” are made

U.S. seaweed consumption is growing about 7% a year

James E. Griffin, an associate professor at Johnson & Wales University , claims that the U.S. consumption of seaweeds is growing approximately 7% annually. Griffin made this claim at the NRA (National Restaurant Association) show in May 2018. He also stated that the fine-dinning sector is leading the charge, while the U.S. consumer still lags considerably behind Asia and Europe in consumption.

As with other sea food, most of the seaweed in the U.S. is imported from Asia, about 90% said Griffin. This means that the U.S. has a growing market with little local production. Griffin also pointed out that the seaweed source matters, as they can take up heavy metals from the surrounding water. The U.S. has higher restrictions and oversight on water pollution than most countries, and could be well positioned to pivot to producing rather than importing.

Read the article from Nation’s Restaurant News

Chinese new year seaweed snack

As the new year approaches, you might find yourself hosting some friends and family for a late night celebration. The best way to stay up late is by keeping your energy up with an assortment of snacks. We recently found this fun Chinese new year snack that would be a welcome addition to any snack table.

Crispy Seaweed Crackers (酥炸紫菜饼)

To make this Chinese new year snack you will need some thin dried seaweed (like nori), some rice flower, and seasoning of choice.

  1. Mix rice flower, seasoning, and water until it forms a paste

  2. Cover seaweed with paste

  3. Fry in oil until golden brown (3-4 min)

  4. Once cooled these snacks can be stored in a dry sealed container

Read the full article here

Real kombucha is made from seaweed

Kombucha is commonly known as a fermented, slightly alcoholic, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea drink. How kombucha came to mean black/green tea has been lost in translation. Real kombucha is made from seaweed.

In Japanese, Cha (茶) means tea, and kombu means brown seaweed (kelp), therefore kombucha is kelp tea!

Below is a video showing how real kombucha is made.

Food & Wine predicts seaweed to be one of the biggest food trends of 2019!

An article from Wood & Wine, listed their top 11 predictions for 2019. Each listed item was foretasted by a renowned chef. The predictions include everything from restaurant style, phone usage, and food.

Number 6 on the list is KELP! Marc Murphy, executive chef and owner of Benchmarc Restaurants, cookbook author, and Chopped judge, predicts you will start seeing more and more seaweed on menus. Murphy mentions, it’s a good sustainable option for diners and oceans.

If you are interested in the other predictions from 2019, read the full article here

MOROCCAN LAMB STEW WITH DULSE

It’s early December now and the weather has taken it’s turn to cold and rainy on the central coast of California. The kind of weather that makes you want a warm drink in your hands and a bowl of hot stew for dinner.

While looking up stew recipes we came across this one for MOROCCAN LAMB STEW WITH DULSE provided by Mara Seaweed.

Can’t wait to give this one a try on a cold rainy day.

Seaweed common names: Laver

There are many names for commonly consumed seaweeds. However, the species they refer to vary by region and culture. We will cover some of the most commonly used names for seaweeds, and review the differences between connotation and denotation. This series will review some of the most common common-names in use.

Previous posts include: Nori, Wakame


Laver

Laver, Latin for water plant, was adopted by the English some time in the 16th century. In Wales a popular dish was known as laverbread or bara lawr. To make laverbread, thin sheet like algae were collected from the rocky shores, boiled, pureed, then mixed with oats and fried. It was this popular dish that gave laver its current meaning: thin sheet like algae.

Today laver is liberally used to define edible seaweeds, but more specifically thin algae. Color adjectives became common to separate types of laver, green laver (Ulva sp.), purple laver (Pyropia sp. or Porphyra sp.).

Laver in the marketplace is considered a synonym of zicai (Chinese: 紫菜; pinyinZǐcài) in China, nori (海苔) in Japan, and gim (김) in Korea.

Seaweed common names: Wakame

There are many names for commonly consumed seaweeds. However, the species they refer to vary by region and culture. We will cover some of the most commonly used names for seaweeds, and review the differences between connotation and denotation. This series will review some of the most common common-names in use.

Previous posts include: Nori


Wakame

Wakame is another edible seaweed popularized by the Japanese. You are probably familiar with wakame in the form of seaweed salad or as the little green strips within your miso soup.

ワカメ pronounced wakame, translates to seaweed, but in modern Japanese dictionaries directly refers to a specific species, Undaria pinnatifida.

Undaria pinnatifida is a brown seaweed (kelp) that grows substantially along rocky temperate coasts. The Latin root is Unda = wavy, and Pinna = pinnately cleft. Wakame in Japanese is derived from waka + me (若布, lit. young seaweed).

As early as the 8th century wakame was known to be harvested off the coast of Japan, China, and Korea. Undaria pinnatifida has since then spread to various regions of the world and has been added to the list of 100 most invasive species. Most recently Undaria pinnatifida crossed the pacific ocean again on debris carried from the 2011 tsunami.

Wakame is typically harvested, dried or blanched, and then sold. Upon purchase the wakame is then re-hydrated by soaking in water or soups.

While in the USA we are more familiar with the term wakame, other cultures call Undaria pinnatifida by other names: Qun dai cai (Chinese), Miyeouk (Korean), or sea mustard (English).

Today many foragers refer to other species as wakame. On the north coast some species of Alaria are being labeled as wakame as there is no native Undaria.