Cuisine

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.

Seaweed common names: Nori

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.


Nori

Nori is the most recognizable edible seaweed in the world. Almost everyone has eaten, or at least seen, sushi rolled in nori paper. Nori mostly refers to the genus Pyropia even though the literal translation is seaweed.

Nori is the word for the Japanese characters 海苔 or . While both characters are pronounced as nori, the translations are slightly different. The first set 海苔 translates in English as seaweed or laver (laver will be reviewed in a separate post soon), while translates to paste or glue.

Historically nori was used to describe all edible seaweeds, which were traditionally ground into a paste as early as the 8th century. It wasn’t until the 1700s that Japanese began making nori into thin sheets. These sheets were made using similar techniques as traditional paper making during the Edo period. The sugars within nori act as a glue, as translated, and will adhere to itself when ground and dried.

The sheets of nori we see today are typically from the genus Pyropia. How and when this term for seaweeds became genus specific is unclear, but at some point Edo fishermen realized when they used bamboo stakes to hold their nets Pyropia would grow on them. Fishermen began to add extra stakes to grow more Pyropia and this began the Pyropia cultivation in Japan.

A seaweed thanksgiving: Gravy

This post follows our segment “A seaweed Thanksgiving.”

Our last dishes were mashed potatoes, Yams with dulse, seaweed butter, and steak sauce


Have you ever seen people meticulously put every food item on their plates, then pour gravy over everything? What about those delicious leftover turkey sandwiches with gravy? However you use it, most people would agree, your thanksgiving meal needs that gravy boat.

We recently came across this gravy recipe that uses kombu for savory flavor and thickening. This recipe is vegetarian, but could easily incorporate portly or beef broth so satisfy those carnivorous family members.

A seaweed thanksgiving: seaweed steak sauce

This post follows our segment “A seaweed Thanksgiving.”

Our last dishes were mashed potatoes, Yams with dulse, seaweed butter


Today we are introducing a seaweed steak sauce featured in the Wine Enthusiast, courtesy of Junghyun Park “JP”, chef and co-owner of Atomix in New York City. This recipe calls for nori, which is available in nearly all grocery stores. The sauce is Korean influenced using a little soy and toasted sesame oil. Then JP couples the seaweed sauce with a spicy horseradish sauce to give the steak a little spice.

While this sauce was intended for steak, it could be easily adapted for other meats and vegetables.

A seaweed thanksgiving

This post follows our segment “A seaweed Thanksgiving.”

Our last dishes were mashed potatoes, Yams with dulse


Today’s addition to a seaweed thanksgiving is seaweed butter.

Butter is critical to many traditional recipes, and what would thanksgiving dinner be without a basket of warm bread rolls, waiting to be buttered?

We found a quick recipe from theKitchn.com for adding dulse to butter. The recipe uses dried dulse, because it’s easier to find in some stores, but if you want to add a little more texture, consider using fresh dulse. If you want to have the taste and feel of bacon bits in your butter, try pan tossing fresh dulse first then add it to your butter mix.

A seaweed Thanksgiving: fried yams with dulse

This post follows our segment “A seaweed Thanksgiving.”

Our last dish was mashed potatoes 


Yams are another staple of the traditional Thanksgiving meal. There are many ways to prepare yams, but we found one way that looks especially good.

Yam fries with dulse - While the recipe is not mentioned, it could be gleaned from the basic idea. Leslie Cerier, a chef and author, shared a dish that contained fried yams with dulse seaweed, kelp powder, and toasted sesame seeds. The use of dulse in this dish is very attractive, as dulse is known to be the bacon of seaweeds. Dulse fries well and yields a salty crunch similar to a potato chip.

If you prepare this dish we highly recommend using fresh dulse to get that savory crunch. Fresh live dulse is grown at Monterey Bay Seaweeds.

A seaweed thanksgiving part 1: mashed potatoes

With thanksgiving rapidly approaching, we thought we should start looking into some traditional dishes that incorporate seaweeds. This is the first post in our segment, “A seaweed thanksgiving.” Enjoy!

Traditionally Americans celebrate the 4th Thursday in November as thanksgiving. The celebration is a representation of the first thanksgiving celebrated by the pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621. They were joined by the Native Americans who had helped the pilgrims forage in an unfamiliar land. Later thanksgiving was declared a federal holiday in 1863 by president Abraham Lincoln, during the American Civil War.

Unfortunately, the pilgrims and Natives have a complicated history, to say the least, that has soured many peoples perception of the holiday. We will only be focused on the holiday as a time to spend with friends and family, and more specifically, sharing food.


mashed potatoes.

The fist dish is a cornerstone of the American thanksgiving feast: mashed potatoes.

This recipe by Michael Voltaggio is a twist on the classic dish using dry Kombu

Kombu is a common name from Japan for edible kelp, typically from Laminariaceae. Kombu is commonly available in stores, however, we always encourage exploration into using fresh seaweeds. If you know your collection requirements in your area, then go forage for some of your favorite kelp (remember none are harmful). If you are unaware of your local restrictions, you can always order other fresh seaweeds from Monterey Bay Seaweeds.


offshore vs. land-based seaweed farms, and why we went land.

Monterey Bay Seaweeds was the first land-based seaweed farm in California, possibly the entire United States, but why did we chose a land-based operation for growing seaweed?

As many of our readers will know, Dr. Graham is a tenured professor at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. The lab has it’s own seawater intake system that it also shares with their neighbor, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI). By entering an equity partnership with the marine lab and San Jose State University, Monterey Bay Seaweeds was able to utilize the existing infrastructure for their aquaria and get to work.

Offshore and land-based seaweed farms differ almost in parallel to large agriculture farms and greenhouses. Offshore seaweed farms are less space limited, and are capable of producing vast quantities. Typically kelps, or other common species, are seeded on long lines and hung in the ocean until the harvest season. Once harvested, the product is typically dried and stored until sale. The seaweed is typically bought in bulk for various uses. Due to seasonal variability, offshore farms are difficult to operate year round. Nutrient availability or fluctuating temperatures can also hinder production. A few bad seasons and your farm might go under.

On the other hand, land-based seaweed farms don’t mass produce due to the high price of space. They can however, produce year round. Land-based farms can also grow species that are harder or impossible to grow on lines. Just like a common greenhouse, everything can be controlled. If the seawater intake starts pulling in water that is nutrient poor or too hot/ cold, the entire system could be switched to artificial seawater. It’s this control that would be critical if climate change continues at the current rate. If the oceans become more acidic or too hot, land-based aquaculture might be the only option.

The added benefit to producing year round, is that the product can be harvested at any time. We can sell our seaweed fresh, any day. Fresh seaweeds give the chefs more options on how to use the product. They can more freely play with the taste, texture, and shape when constructing a dish. If they desire, they can always dry seaweed, but when you re-hydrate it, it’s never the same as it was.