Puree of Sunchoke Soup, Radish Shoots, and Baby Mushrooms

Sorry for the long period of neglecting the GourmetDad blog. I have been working so hard in trying to get La Bombilla off the ground that I just didn’t have time. The GourmetDad blog will more active going forward, and if you have time, I would welcome you to look at my La Bombilla Dinner Club blog.

Now to the tasty world of cooking and this comes from the French Laundry cookbook, and the Puree of Sunchoke soup was amazing to eat. For this recipe, I didn’t make the Argula pudding but I can say that we made it at the last La Bombilla event and it was extremely good. For this version I had extra baby mushrooms that I didn’t want to waste so I put them to work with some radish shoots.

Sunchoke Soup – From French Laundry Cookbook (10 servings)

50 grams butter

50 grams thinly sliced onions (Cippolini)

400 grams thinly sliced peeled sunchokes

4 grams sugar

12 grams kosher salt

1 kg chicken stock (vegetable stock for vegetarian )

100 grams heavy cream

½ pound of mushrooms

Radish shoots

Melt the butter in the saucepan

Add onion and sweet until soft

Add sunchokes and then add sugar, salt, and stock

Bring to a simmer and cook until sunchokes are soft and stock reduced in half.

Add cream and bring to a simmer.

Puree soup immediately, or refrigerate.

For the mushrooms

Heat saute pan with olive oil and add mushrooms

Cook until done, and add salt and pepper to taste.

To finish add mushrooms and radish shoots to bowl and then add warmed up soup to the bowl. Serve and enjoy!

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My El Bulli Inspiration Using Foie Gras

I was watching an old episode of No Reservations who was visiting El Bulli for the first time and there was one dish in particular that inspired me. This dish looked so good that I had to make it. What dish was it? It was the foie gras powder with consomme that really showed a different way to serve foie gras. Since then, I have wanted to replicate that dish, but along the way I utilized that inspiration to develop my dish.

My version, foie gras served with a mushroom consomme infused with ginger, star anise, and cippolini onions. Served in a bowl with more cippolini onions and small cherry tomatoes slices.

I spent a good amount of time trying to mix foie with tapioca maltodextrin but it never turned out right for me. Instead I switched gears and concentrated on making a very good consomme and fried some foie gras. This was my way to test the flavor combinations. It turned out way better than I could have ever hoped. The slight spiciness of the broth  balanced the richness of the foie. An amazing evening of experimentation.

Recipe:

Broth

233 Grams of Shitake Mushrooms

20 Grams of Sliced Ginger

25 Grams of Cippolini Onions

2 Grams of Salt (more or less based on your taste)

1 Star Anise

1000 Grams of Water

Garnish

Thinly Sliced Cippolini Onions

Thinly Sliced Cherry Tomatoes

Put all of the ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil, reduce heat and let it simmer.

After 20 minutes remove star anise.

When liquid has reduced and the liquid is dark, lower heat and keep warm. Add salt if desired.

On a very hot pan, fry a piece of foie gras until it is brown on both sides. Place in center of bowl with four slices of tomatoes and cippolini onions. Spoon consomme around piece of foie and serve. Enjoy!

Where Has Gourmet Dad Been?

I am so sorry for being so remiss and unable to write anything about my cooking. There has been many days of cooking with Alessandra, but I have also been dreaming of the ultimate cooking experience. Before I mention my dream, I will say that Alessandra and I have been cooking away and she recently took on a Ferran Adria recipe with grand style. It’s from the book “The Family Meal” and it’s a great book for any family. I will write on that for tomorrow’s The Kids Cook Monday.

Now, I want to explain my dream. For the longest time I have always wanted to cook for people on a regular basis. If I had the money, I would probably cook every Saturday for 20 people, but I just cannot afford to do it. That’s when the “light bulb” came on, and the realization of having an underground restaurant would be perfect. Now, this isn’t to make a ton of money but it will help supplement each meal. We have called it, La Bombilla. In Spanish that means the light bulb. The goal is have many courses, treat each course with equal importance, and use local and organic ingredients to provide a great dinner experience at an affordable price.

Our first dinner will be December 3. You can see the sister blog at La Bombilla

I hope you take a look at the menu and hopefully I can have the ultimate honor of serving you dinner.

Loren

Mangalitsa Bacon and Why Eating Fat is Better Than Foods Called “Low Fat”

I am often asked, “why aren’t you xxx pounds, or “have you checked your cholesterol lately?” Why? I have fallen in love with eating Mangalitsa pig which is extremely high in unsaturated fat. From pork belly, mangalitsa bacon, and lardo, the fat is undeniably tasty.

Unfortunately in america we have grown up with a phobia about fat. Fat is bad for you and fat will kill you is the basic underlying phobia. Both are categorically wrong. As a competitive athlete for most of my life I have never worried how much fat I ate because I was always burning a ton of calories. When I retired from cycling I did gain some weight, because being 160lbs and being 6’1″ is extremely light, but I am not overweight now.

Let’s get physical…your body can create energy using two sources, sugar (glycogen) or fat. When you eat a natural source of fat your body knows what to do with it. It’s not alien. Unfortunately in the past two or three decades the fat phobia has created food groups with no fat. The question is, what replaced it? In most cases the replacement is sugar. When your body has too much sugar it will either store it, and it will turn to fat later. So instead of burning fat or the existing sugar in your system, this “low-fat” high sugar bomb will require your body to burn it or store it. You get nowhere in trying to lose weight. If you digest too much sugar it will go through your system via urine. I don’t have cold hard facts, but the rise of diabetes in the country would suggest a correlation between “low-fat” foods and rising sugar content in our diet with diabetes. Don’t be fooled by low-fat food.

Here is a perfect example of a misleading label. From acclaimed writer Michael Ruhlman he recently posted this label. http://ruhlman.com/2010/06/misleading-food-labels.html Low-fat half and half, are you kidding me? What’s low-fat about corn syrup, the second most abundant ingredient. In Vienna, they serve a coffee called the Einspanner. A coffee with a dollop of real whipped cream, and it was so good because it was real cream. I’m still alive to talk about it too!! We have to become more educated on what draws us to particular foods and what we are eating. We cannot allow creative food labeling to trick us.

To maintain a healthy diet in our home, we attempt to cook unprocessed foods a majority of the time and we don’t necessarily stay away from fat. In addition to low-fat, anything hydrogenated should also be avoided. Don’t allow a chemist to touch your food, and you will be healthier..I promise.  By eating natural sources of fat, protein, and carbohydrates your body will have the ability to naturally digest the food.

Pictured here is homemade Mangalitsa bacon after being cured for 8 days and slowed cooked for several hours. I have used it for dishes like Eggs Benedict and Pasta Carbonara. Yes, look at that fat!! Have some, it will not kill you.

If you want the recipe to make bacon I suggest the book Charcuterie by Ruhlman or you can look at this link http://ruhlman.com/2010/10/home-cured-bacon-2.html to make it. It’s very easy and the results are amazing.

The Chronicles Of Gourmetdad – Part 1

After taking a long blogging break due to work projects I wanted to share why I love food, what it taught me, what it means to me, and how it makes me happy. For my long time friends they will all know me as a cook, a cyclist, photographer, dog lover, and in the past four years, a father. Cycling and photography are equally important to me as cooking. In a sense, they all work together and have opened up my mind for adventure in life and with food. I am going to do this post in several installments to keep it readable and to focus on a specific memory. Welcome to the history and memories of Gourmetdad. An understanding that food is about history, the present, and the future. Written quickly and intuitively, please forgive if it sounds like a ramble.

The Beginning:

I am half-Vietnamese and very proud of my heritage, but if you would have seen my neighborhood or a picture of me as a kid; you would never know I was Asian. I grew up in a nice suburban neighborhood, of primarily white working class people. Although it was much better that I had two friends, one was Filipino and the other was Hawaiian. It was a safe neighborhood, and a good place to grow up playing touch football in the street without being hit by a car.  I say safe, but it took a resilient mother to make sure we knew that we were Vietnamese, and to maintain her identity as well.

My mom met my dad while he served in the military during the Vietnam War and she left the country through marriage. We moved to our first real neighborhood in Livermore, CA in the early 70’s after a myriad of apartments and time with my grandmother. Looking back, it wasn’t the best time for Asians in the country. The Vietnam War, Honda and Toyota coming to the market with more fuel-efficient cars, and the oil crisis and gasoline rations cut to the core of the country. As a child, I still remember a lot of hatred toward Asians. Nobody ever thought twice of what they were saying because they thought I was white, so hateful words ran unfiltered around me. My only specific memory was when my sister and I got lost at a soccer game in the local park. We were found by some people, and they went to locate our parents. My mom showed up, and they wouldn’t give us to her, flat-out denied us our mom. They wouldn’t believe my mom, nor my sister and I. “How could she your parent?”, “She is!” we exclaimed. From that moment on I always knew I was different.

Commentary: My Latina wife and daughter to this very day hear their fair share of derogatory Latino comments. They may be fair skin but they are proud to be Mexican and El Salvadorian.

I eventually knew I was Vietnamese because my mom cooked Vietnamese food at home. It wasn’t every day, but it was integral. We also had to travel a long way to San Jose or Oakland to get the proper ingredients.  I remember standing forever in a store that sold strange-looking stuff and only knowing the trip was over when we got a box of rice candy with a dissolving wrapper and tiny toy. I always wanted to go with her even though it meant being bored silly and couldn’t understand a word anybody was saying.  I never declined to eat the food because of the hard work to make it. My mom is a very good cook and we love her cooking so much, fried rolls (chả giò), pho (Phở), and especially the fish sauce (Nước mắm), and so much more. It seems that having a bowl of pho is the rage today, but every time I have a bowl, it reminds me of the past. I was just a tall skinny white kid eating noodles from a huge bowl and pair of chop sticks. We didn’t go to Moon Festivals, or celebrate the lunar new year, or do any Vietnamese cultural road trips. Without the cooking effort from my mom, we could have easily grownup eating food lacking a cultural identity. More importantly, I also think it was my mom’s way of remembering a good part of her past, while she fully embraced American values.

In addition to Vietnamese cooking, she did us a huge favor on nutrition. To be honest, my dad was more comfortable serving food out of can than cooking something. It could have been a toasted Pop-Tart for breakfast or the infamous can of Van Camps Pork and Beans. Sorry if you like it, but it took me years to think about beans again. (Note: Thank God for Cassoulet) Spare the occasional roast or steak dinner that my dad cooked, he is not a big part of my cooking memories. It did teach me that fresh food was WAY better than canned food. I am not preaching since I have a weakness for chips and dip, but fresh food remains a core value for us and we share those values with our daughter.

My mom is one of the proudest American people I know. She came to this country for success and she didn’t speak Vietnamese full-time for almost 7 years. We were never taught Vietnamese, and I defend the criticism that I receive for it. She had never been to a formal school for an extended amount of time but she is extremely smart and wanted to work and be American. She needed to learn English and that’s what she concentrated on. Her second job, she left her first one after a month, was for a small computer chip company called Intel and making the 8088 and 8086 microprocessors was her first responsibility. We all know that Intel is now the leader in microprocessors and my mom capitalized on that success until she retired at 42. Just imagine a Vietnamese lady, barely 5’2”, was part of the women’s equal rights revolution in the 70’s. She was a career driven woman who still cared enough about quality food to share it with us.

Next: My Sweet Old Grandmother

Potato Mousseline with 63 Degree Egg and Pancetta Marmalade

In my quest for finding inspiration, I ran across a menu item from LudoBites that was undeniably luscious. I have never been to his restaurant since I don’t live in the LA area, but it looked so good. I had to recreate his potato mousseline with poached egg to the best of my ability, and I wanted to do a majority of the cooking using sous vide. My version is not exactly the same since I did not use chorizo this time.

The recipe is very rich so a little goes a long way, but boy is it comforting. The process is to place a layer of potato on the plate, placing a poached egg in the mousseline, and then another layer of potato on top without breaking the egg. I then placed a small spoonful of pancetta marmalade on top to finish.

Potato Mousseline Recipe:

  • 500 grams of russet potatoes peeled and cut into 1 inch by 1 inch cubes.
  • salt and white pepper to taste.
  • 200 grams of unsalted butter, cut into cubes and brought to room temperature.
  • milk or half-half, as needed, but extremely important.

You can adjust recipe up or down using a ratio of 5 parts potato for 2 parts butter.

Vacuum seal a single layer of potatoes in bag with some salt and pepper. Place in a water bath at 185 deg F for 2 1/2 hours. Pull out the bag out of the water and pour contents in a large mixing bowl. Using a grinder or tamis press the potatoes through 1 time. Mix butter into potatoes and mix until fully incorporated. Add milk or cream to get a very creamy consistency and press potato mixture again through a tamis or strainer. If needed, add a little more milk and put the mousseline in a bowl and keep warm in a pan of warm water. The potatoes will need time to solidify and firm up.

At the same time reset your sous vide temperature to  145.4 deg F (63 deg C) by using some ice cubes and cold water to bring down the temperature as quickly as possible. Place as many eggs as you want in the water bath for 45 minutes at 145.4 deg F.

While the eggs are cooking we can start on the pancetta marmalade. This recipe is from Thomas Keller and the PolyScience guide to cooking sous vide.

Pancetta Marmalade Recipe:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup minced onions
  • 12 oz slab of pancetta or bacon

Place bacon in grinder and saute bacon over medium-high until nicely brown. Place bacon on a paper towel to drain. If you don’t have a grinder, placing bacon in the freezer for 40 minutes will allow you to finely dice the bacon. I agree with Chef Keller that both works, but grinding  does give you a more delicate texture that works very well with this dish.

In six cups of water add onions and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water. Wrap onions in a towel and wring to draw out any excess water. Set aside.

Place the honey and the vinegar into a pan and bring to a simmer over med-high heat. Reduce and simmer for about 30 minutes until reduced by half. Skim the impurities that rise to the top.

Stir the onions and the pancetta into the reduced vinegar mixture at a simmer and cook gently for 10 minutes. Keep the heat low enough or you risk hardening the honey in the mixture. The mixture should have thickened and the bacon is now soft. Take the mixture off the heat, allowing it to cool while the eggs finish cooking.

Okay…time to plate.

In a small plate or shallow bowl put a spoonful of mousseline and with the back of a spoon, spread mousseline. Place egg in middle. To get a smooth layer of potato I get parchment paper and lightly butter it, and spread a layer of mousseline. Using a cake ring I create a circle and remove the mousseline from outside the ring. Picking up the parchment paper and ring gently slide the mousseline off the paper and on top of the egg. I’m not sure how Ludo got the smooth top, but this was my solution. It worked very well and it doesn’t take very long to do.

To finish the plate, place a light drizzle of the pancetta marmalade on top of the mousseline. You will have a salty, sweet, creamy, and luxurious dish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighing the pototatoes to know how much butter you needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting the circulator to 185deg F

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impurities from the red wine vinegar and honey. Skim the top as it rises to the top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honey and vinegar with softened onions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using a ricer would be a lot easier, but you can get similar results from using a strainer or tamis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Answer – How Do You Find Time To Cook?

I get asked this question a lot, and it’s a fair question. We are all so busy with jobs, kids, commutes, hobbies, and significant others. There are a couple of secrets that I will share,  but I am so lucky that my daughter loves the kitchen. It’s one thing to cook quickly to get everybody fed, and another, to cook and stretch your culinary education. My daughter allows me cooking time while spending quality time with her. Without it, I would be cooking pasta, rice, steamed vegetables, and some other sources of quick protein.

My daily life involves driving my daughter to school, driving an hour to work, working, training my dog at lunch, back to work, and then driving an hour to pick up my daughter and then getting us both home. Although I love to cook sometimes it’s hard to motivate myself after a hard day, but cooking sous vide helps tremendously.

So how do I do it. Secret number 1 is planning. Have a game plan going into the kitchen and have things ready to go before you start cooking. If I have a lot of prep, I will do as much the night before and then for dinner its “badda bing…badda boom”. Cook something that is 20 minutes, and while its cooking finish the other dish(es). During the week, make it simple with fewer but fresher ingredients. Letting the quality rule the day provides many benefits. I cannot stress enough how I have looked like a rock star because I used fresh caught salmon and cooked it for only 15 minutes.

The second secret is using technology, specifically, Sous-Vide. French for under vacuum. This process of cooking has made my life easier for everyday cooking. I use a professional immersion circulator from PolyScience, but you can also use a digital thermometer and a large stockpot of water. I am able to cook several days worth of meat, chicken, vegetables and then serve it days later. I only have to sear or bring the temperature of the food up to eating temps. You can have 4 chicken breasts with vegetables served in less than 10 minutes, and it will take only 3o minutes of total active cooking time.

Having a vacuum sealer like a FoodSaver is optimal, but you can also get by using the Ziploc handheld vacuum sealing system. Even a Ziploc bag with as much air taken out of it will work. If you go with the last option a tip is to submerge the bag into water after you placed the product in the bag. This will push the air out, and you can seal it. Make sure to keep the water out of the bag.

Recipe:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts with skin on.
  • salt and pepper ( a little goes a long way in sous vide)
  • 2 small cloves of garlic cut into halves (4 small pieces total)
  • 4 teaspoons of unsalted butter
  • 1-2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 pound of ice and gallon of water (at end of cooking chicken)

Place all of the chicken in one layer with garlic on top of skin, paprika, salt and pepper, and place butter with chicken. The most important part is having the chicken on a single layer with skin up.

Seal chicken in bag, and place in the water bath that has reached a consistent (145.4 F) temperature. Put in water bath for one hour. Pull out and place the chicken in the ice bath to stop the cooking process and to eliminate any chance for bacteria growth. Plus the goal is to eat it the chicken in a couple of days. After the chicken has cooled considerably place the chicken on a baking sheet and put another pan on top to flatten the chicken. Place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours or days, and the pull out the chicken from the bags. Fry the chicken in hot vegetable oil for 3 minutes on each side.  You want to brown the skin and not necessary cook the chicken.

In six minutes you can also warm up vegetables and dinner is ready. The chicken will be extremely tender and very tasty. When I was begging to my wife to let me have an immersion circulator she laughed at me and said, “no way!”. After I cooked this chicken using a stock pot and a digital thermometer she said okay after eating this chicken.

What I love most about this tool is the ability to cook proteins perfectly every time. Very  stress free and the cooking times are very long that you can start the process and come back later that night or tomorrow. You don’t need an expensive device for occasional sous-vide action, read how QandAbe.com created a device for well under $75.

For my PolyScience circulator, I purchased it from Williams Sonoma and I choose this model. Michael Voltaggio, an amazing chef from Season 6 of TopChef, is a spokesman for this device and his videos on the Williams Sonoma website really helped me pick the PolyScience model. The benefits of this model over other devices are many. My kitchen counterspace is incredbily small and I cannot rent out a permanent space on the counter. After finishing my cooking, I clean it and put it away in a cabinet. The cookbook from Thomas Keller that comes with the device is incredible and approachable and has helped me from day 1 to conceive my own ideas on cooking sous vide. Cooking sous vide has already saved over $100 in a couple of months by eliminating the need to eat out on busy work days.

The possibilities are endless for sous-vide and it can make every day cooking so much easier.

Bahn It Tran – Vietnamese Sticky Dumplings

Most people would never realize that I am half-Vietnamese, and when I cook, people would gather that I am from European heritage. Growing up we had a lot of Vietnamese food on special occasions but normal American food during the week. As I grew up and learning to cook I always wanted to cook French food, and to this day I will still cook food with an European twist. I never felt the need to cook Vietnamese food since my mom does such a great job and she makes enough to feed the entire Silicon Valley.

I am proud of my Vietnamese heritage. I have been working on a Pho recipe for the past year since without Pho life doesn’t exist. Through Twitter, I ran into a young Vietnamese couple that have a blog devoted to authentic Vietnamese cooking. It really inspired me to start cooking more Vietnamese food since it tastes so good. At the same time I also want to teach my daughter different styles of cooking. My daughter is Vietnamese, El Salvadoran, Mexican, and Caucasian. She has a lot to learn from her ethnic background’s styles of cooking.

The first recipe that we tried was relatively easy, but it does require patience. Here is the recipe from Hong and Kim: http://ravenouscouple.blogspot.com/2009/10/banh-it-tran-recipe-sticky-rice.html You can follow them on Facebook or on Twitter (@ravenouscouple)

I really enjoyed making these dumplings and I plan to make them again for future dinner parties and for lunches during the week.

Notes:

  • The dough is critical. Don’t add too much water because you will think it’s not coming together, but it does.
  • Keep your hands well floured to prevent the dough to sticking to your hands.
  • Use a small spoon to place the filling in the bun. You will need both hands to wrap the dough around the filling and you don’t want any of the filling on the outside.
  • After the wrapping the dumpling around the filling, I coated the dumpling with a little flour and rolled them in my hand to get a consistent roundness.
  • Use pork belly or shoulder for the pork. Leaner cuts may dry out.
  • Do not over marinate the meat or shrimp. A little goes a long way and you can easily blow out the ingredients if you use too much.

If you want your children to help, the dough process is a great place for them. The dough is extremely pliable and kids can get crazy with it without fear of getting sick. No eggs or ingredients that would be subject to salmonella. To be honest, the package of flour is so cheap, buy an extra package and mix in the water. Split it evenly among the kids and let them play away with the play-do like flour. For Alessandra, she helped me mix the dough and make one dumpling. Next time, I will have her make a couple of dumplings. Perfection is not a requirement as long as she enjoys the process and is proud of what she does.

For the sauce, it’s 1 part soy sauce, 1 part rice vinegar, and a dash of sesame oil. You can mix in a little green onion, or if you want some heat, thinly slice a small seeded Serrano chile.

It felt really good to cook Vietnamese and I plan to do more cooking this weekend. It’s very inexpensive to cook, it’s enjoyable, and it allows my daughter and I to spend time together while learning about an ethnic dish.

Additions To My Cookbook Library

As a child, I loved to cook and it was a lot of fun. It started out cooking pizza using dough in a circular tube and rubbing cheap pizza sauce and cheese. 35 years later, I am now cooking sous-vide and playing with molecular gastronomy.

Being self-taught requires inspiration, hard work, and a desire to accept failure and try again.  Cookbooks are a great source of inspiration for home cooks but don’t be discouraged if a recipe from book doesn’t turn out the first time. A failed recipe attempt is still cheaper than culinary school.

Here are some of my recent additions and favorites:

Momofuku – David Chang David’s book is approachable and with familiar foods. His techniques will allow you to learn how to make every day ramen into a culinary delight. I love this book because I am  1/2 Asian I would eat everything in his book and learning these techniques have already helped me at home.

Alinea – Grant Achatz Grant’s book is a masterpiece of visual imagery, use of science to create food and art, and masterful cooking. Some of the recipes  are extremely friendly and while others are more advanced, you can still draw inspiration from this book and from this style of cooking.

On The LineEric Ripert Eric’s book is the one book that transformed my cooking immediately. His approach to using fresh ingredients and highlighting them with complex flavors is much harder than it looks. His book is extremely usable by almost any level of cook and is not intimidating to read or learn from. I will buy a second copy to keep in my library since I have used the first copy so often.

Poly-Science Sous Vide CookbookThomas Keller When I bought my PolyScience immersion circulator the best bonus was the cookbook from Thomas Keller. Well written and it gives you a solid foundation on the food, but also the food safety of cooking in this method.

Ideas In Food – Aki Kamozawa & H. Alexander Talbot Aki and Alexander put their heart and soul into this book. This book is so helpful and insightful they must have done a ton of work. The quality of work shows, and if you buy this book you will have a better understanding of how common every day foods are cooked, and with a level of refinement. The bread and the egg sections, to name a couple, have so much information that you can use immediately. Within days of receiving this book I have made at least 5 recipes and they all work.

You must inspire yourself to gather information and implement into your cooking, but these cookbooks will add to your creativity and knowledge. There are many more beautiful and worthy cookbooks, but these are my favorite.

“Project Fishmap” – A Helpful Application Available To Find Sustainable Fish

During an episode on Top Chef Season 6, Rick Moonen was a guest judge and he carried his message of using sustainable fish. I really took this to heart since I used to love Chilean Sea Bass, but I am happy to say that I haven’t eaten or cooked with it for over two years.

As a home cook and consumer of fish I always have a choice of what I buy at the market. With an Iphone application I can easily find sustainable fish sources near me or verify if the fish at my local market is sustainable. The goal of the program is to encourage healthy fishing practices to ensure a stable fish population for future generations. Go to http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/SeafoodWatch/web/sfw_iPhone.aspx

The application has three main purposes:

1) When you are at the market, you can easily look up the fish type and see if the market is carrying sustainable fish. Stick to fish that are within the Best Choice or Good Alternative and please stay away from the Avoid list. As consumers, by avoiding these types of fish, we are utilizing our power as consumers. If they have no buyers, they will not carry it.

2) There is a helpful sushi guide that will tell you if the sushi  you are eating comes from sustainable sources. Granted, most sushi chefs will not tell you where the fish came from but the guide has very good information. Until this application I never knew that Unagi (eel) was on the avoid list.

3) Project Fishmap is the new addition from the recent application upgrade. Using Google maps it will determine your location and give you a list of restaurants and markets nearby with a report of what type of sustainable fish they carry. As more people write reports, we can quickly find sustainable sources.

This is a free and easy to use application from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Organization and I hope that people take a look.