Pages

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Completely Black Chickens Go for $2,500 Each





Black-Chicken-Rare

In Indonesia, there's a rare species of chicken called the Ayam Cemani. The chicken is covered head to claw in black, even down to its bones. Pretty metal, right? The bird is probably the closest thing to the fabled Black Chocobo outside your PlayStation, except this one you can deep-fry.

The Ayam Cemani features black plumage, legs, tongue, beak, meat, bones and even organs. Talk about consistency. While the chicken's blood is about the only thing that isn't black, it is a darker shade than most poultry species. The chicken's noir pigmentation is thanks to a genetic trait called fibromelanosis.

If you have the stomach to try one and can get past the complete deafening darkness of its flesh and bones, an Ayam Cemani is worth $2,500.

I wonder how they tell when it's fully cooked.

By: Peter Pham

Thursday, October 2, 2014

An apple a day could keep obesity away

Scientists at Washington State University have concluded that nondigestible compounds in apples -- specifically, Granny Smith apples -- may help prevent disorders associated with obesity. The study, thought to be the first to assess these compounds in apple cultivars grown in the Pacific Northwest, appears in October's print edition of the journal Food Chemistry.


"We know that, in general, apples are a good source of these nondigestible compounds but there are differences in varieties," said food scientist Giuliana Noratto, the study's lead researcher. "Results from this study will help consumers to discriminate between apple varieties that can aid in the fight against obesity."
The tart green Granny Smith apples benefit the growth of friendly bacteria in the colon due to their high content of non-digestible compounds, including dietary fiber and polyphenols, and low content of available carbohydrates. Despite being subjected to chewing, stomach acid and digestive enzymes, these compounds remain intact when they reach the colon. Once there, they are fermented by bacteria in the colon, which benefits the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut.
The study showed that Granny Smith apples surpass Braeburn, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, McIntosh and Red Delicious in the amount of nondigestible compounds they contain.


"The nondigestible compounds in the Granny Smith apples actually changed the proportions of fecal bacteria from obese mice to be similar to that of lean mice," Noratto said.
The discovery could help prevent some of the disorders associated with obesity such as low-grade, chronic inflammation that can lead to diabetes. The balance of bacterial communities in the colon of obese people is disturbed. This results in microbial byproducts that lead to inflammation and influence metabolic disorders associated with obesity, Noratto said.
"What determines the balance of bacteria in our colon is the food we consume," she said.
Re-establishing a healthy balance of bacteria in the colon stabilizes metabolic processes that influence inflammation and the sensation of feeling satisfied, or satiety, she said.
Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington State University. The original article was written by Sylvia Kantor. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jelly Fish for Dinner?



By Justin Nobel on September 15, 2014

First the bad news: Jack mackerel have been decimated, Atlantic cod populations have collapsed and Mediterranean bluefin tuna are declining at alarming rates. In fact, in recent years some marine ecologists have claimed, controversially, that all fisheries on earth could collapse by 2048. But in the tiny port town of Darien, Georgia, there’s a happier story to be told.


Thornell King’s salty 73-foot shrimp trawler, the Kim-Sea-King, steams down the muddy Darien River, past Sapelo Island’s big red and white striped lighthouse and into the Atlantic. About five miles offshore a crewmate spots, floating near the surface, a mat of gyrating grapefruit-sized globs that stretch the length of five city blocks, a slick so thick it appears as if you could walk on it.

Cannonball jellyfish.Cannonball jellyfish.




These are cannonball jellyfish. Locals call them “jellyballs.” And they will be dinner.

“Jellyballs have been very, very good to me,” says King, who has worked as a state trooper for the last 20 years, and might be the only jelly-balling cop in the country. This past season was particularly robust: King and his men caughtan estimated 5 million-plus pounds of cannonball jellyfish. At what King says is this year’s price (seven cents a pound), this equates to $350,000. Statistics are absent in this burgeoning new industry, but since King operates three of the fewer than 10 boats legally fishing jellyfish in Georgia, and there are maybe a handful in Florida and South Carolina, the market value of the jellies being fished in the U.S. can be estimated at somewhere in the low millions.

National Marine Fisheries Service data for the U.S. suggests 2,152 metric tons of cannonball jellyfish were harvested in 2011, worth $301,000, but the figure doesn’t include confidential data submitted by states, which would likely raise these numbers dramatically, and thus is incomplete.

The cannonball jellies in the waters off the southeastern U.S. are so plentiful that even the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) doesn’t know exactly how many there are. The main thing holding the industry back is the development of more processing plants.

To catch jellyfish, this funnel — capable of holding 3,000 pounds of jellies at a time — is dragged through the water.1Thornell King repairs nets with one of his crew.2
1To catch jellyfish, this funnel — capable of holding 3,000 pounds of jellies at a time — is dragged through the water.
2Thornell King repairs nets with one of his crew.
These brownish Cnidarians (from the Greek knide, or nettle, for their abilityto sting) are now the state of Georgia’s third biggest fishery by volume, behind crabs and shrimp. The first cannonball jellies were commercially harvested off the Gulf Coast of Florida in the early ’90s, and since then Darien, Georgia, has become the epicenter of the industry. In 1998, the DNR issued experimental permits to allow some harvesting, and in 2013 jellyfish became a formally regulated state fishery. “It has been a really good success story,” says DNR biologist Jim Page. “We went from a critter that back in the ’60s fishermen hated because it clogged their shrimping nets to an animal these guys have been able to take advantage of, and I imagine this fishery will continue to expand.”

With one licensed jellyfish processing plant in Darien — called Golden Island International — and another purportedly opening soon, the jellyball industry (consisting of, in addition to the plant, six boats, three of which are King’s) is a job creator. During the peak season from November to about May, it employs around 150 people, a sizable number for the town of about 1,900.

We may have no choice but to eat foods that make sense ecologically — or can at least thrive in a changed environment.
At the Golden Island plant, the jellies are dried and shipped to China and Japan, where they are cut into long, thin strips and served in salads with cabbage and teriyaki sauce. If prepared right, the jellyfish are crunchy, like a carrot. Jellyfish are popular in China, along with other sea creatures like geoducks (those gigantic phallic clams from the Pacific Northwest) for similar textural reasons.


But these sorts of foods are being embraced well beyond Asia. And as climate change and the global industrial agriculture system continue on what many view as a doomed course, we may have no choice but to eat foods that make sense ecologically — or can at least thrive in a changed environment. Jellyfish, prolific breeders with low metabolic rates and the ability to eat almost anything (some breeds just ingest organic material through their epidermis), have survived in unfriendly environs for centuries. But in the end, even jellyfish are prone to humanity’s insatiable appetite; the reason why the Georgia cannonball jelly industry is booming, according to at least some involved in the industry, is because the creatures have been overharvested in parts of Asia.Proteins are perhaps the biggest hurdle to feeding a growing planet. “I am not a doomsdayer,” says Dr. Paul Rozin, a biocultural psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, but he does believe that our ecology is threatened. Not only are the world’s fisheries in trouble, but the meat industry has received increasing criticism for inhumane practices.


When the boat returns to shore, jellies are vacuumed onto a conveyor belt before processing.When the boat returns to shore, jellies are vacuumed onto a conveyor belt before processing; Outside Golden Island International; Partially dried jellyfish in brine, ready to be shipped to Asia.
“What we eat and how we produce it needs to be re-evaluated,” states a 2013 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report on edible insects. The paper points out that insects already form part of the diets of at least 2 billion people. Rearing insects uses less land than traditional livestock, and insects can be equally if not more nutritious and are more efficient at converting feed into protein. Crickets, for example, need 12 times less feed than cattle (and half as much as pigs and broiler chickens) to produce the same amount of protein. “The case needs to be made to consumers that eating insects is not only good for their health,” reads the U.N. report, “it is good for the planet.”

Still, for now, most Americans are averse to eating bugs — or jellyfish. But Rozin points to sushi as an example of how tastes can change. In the 1950s, average Americans would have politely spit into their napkins if served raw fish. Now even residents of deeply landlocked metropolises can eat fresh sushi at a Japanese restaurant. But the main lesson is one of foodonomics. Sushi is associated with worldliness and wealth, even though you can now find it at most malls; i.e., sushi was popularized from the top down.

“The question is, what is it about a particular animal that makes it more disgusting than others?” asks Rozin. “We don’t want to eat bats; we don’t want to eat rats; we don’t want to eat cats.” Why don’t we want to eat jellyfish? Rozin believes it could be because of the sliminess factor. Yet other slimy foods have gotten around this to thrive in America — most notably oysters.

Outside Golden Island International.1Partially dried jellyfish in brine, ready to be shipped to Asia.2
1Outside Golden Island International.
2Partially dried jellyfish in brine, ready to be shipped to Asia.
Back on the coast of Georgia, King says he doesn’t think Southerners will ever appreciate the jellyfish. “I don’t want to disrespect,” says King, leaning against the shiprail of the Kim-Sea-King as summer thunder rumbles in the distance, “but if I take something home to my wife for dinner, it’s not going be jellyballs.”

At nearby Golden Island International, though, a Friday afternoon jellyfish taste test is underway. April Harper, Golden’s spunky manager, has chopped celery into thin slices and shredded carrots. To this she adds a teriyaki vinaigrette and slivers of jellyfish. Moments ago, the slightly diaphanous product looked like a granny’s shower cap, but cut into strips and put in the salad it resembles a tiny bowl of linguine, and Harper says it is very refreshing. The samples are for the fishermen, most of whom are unfamiliar with the product they are out there catching, but Harper plans on inviting other Darien residents soon. The company plans to push the product on the American market after completing research on its nutritional value.

“Right now, you go into a sushi restaurant and you order a squid salad,” says Harper enthusiastically. “I mean come on, I think we can beat the pants off a squid salad!”


Friday, September 5, 2014

Ridiculous Fried Ravioli Burger is a Real Thing at this Southern California Restaurant





 


ravioli-burger


They call it The Rustic Ravioli Burger, and it’s Slater’s 50/50′s latest monthly burger project which features an Italian sausage and Brandt beef patty, fried ravioli, grilled broccoli, roasted tomato and pesto Alfredo on a brioche bun.
The burger will be available for the entire month of September as their Burger of the Month.
While we haven’t tried this beast yet — it looks like one of the most interesting entries the chain has offered up in recent memory. Slater’s is known for their 50/50 burger, a blend of 50% ground bacon and 50% ground beef.
Since the chain’s inception, they’ve brought to light a ridiculous amount of burger concepts including the Turducken Burger, a 100% bacon burgerBulgogi BBQ Beef Burger, a Kangaroo Burger, a Donut Burger and our favorite flavor bomb, a Chorizo Burger.




Here’s a full look:

ravioli-burger-far

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Ultimate Birthday Present – a $900 cupcake?

By: Erica Schecter 





Earlier this year we wrote about a sundae that costs $1000. Now the bakery gods have gone berserk again, this time with a $900 cupcake.
The owner of Toronto’s Le Dolci bakery, Lisa Sanguedolce, was approached by a client who wanted an extravagant cupcake created for his wife’s birthday.

$900 cupcake


So what exactly goes into a cupcake with a $900 price tag? Well there was a pastry cream filling, flavored with champagne that costs about $1,000 a bottle. Buttercream frosting, made with butter from Normandy, chocolate from luxury Italian chocolatiers, specialty coffee, French sea salt, organic cane sugar, and Tahitian vanilla beans. Obviously. Tiny champagne bubbles sprinkled over the cake were created using molecular gastronomy  and “diamonds” carved out of sugar were placed around the edge of the cupcake.  Fondant flowers  etched in edible gold and stylized gold strips crisscrossed the sides of the cupcake, complete with edible gold branches and leaves. And finally, because the previously mentioned items weren’t enough, there was a pipette of the Courvoisier cognac, to be drizzled on top before it was eaten.
The cupcake required the work of two pastry chefs, a cake designer, two days of labor and many hours of planning.

Whether the lady thought her husband was absolutely brilliant for doing this for her or absolutely furious for wasting all that money, no one knows.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Gummy Bear Bratwursts

 By: Peter Pham

Gummy-Bear-Bratwurst

Nope, that’s not a misprint. Apparently the demand for sausage made with gummy bears is actually a real thing and it’s spreading across the United States. Bratwurst, as we all know, is made from the finest cuts of beef, pork and veal. Gummi Bears, on the other hand, are sugar incarnate.
Gummy-Bear-Bratwurst-02

 Spencer Grundhofer, owner of Grundhofer’s Old-Fashioned Meats, located in Minnesota, came up with the idea of gummy bear bratwurst initially as a joke. A friend of his suggested that he make a flavored bratwurst using gummi bears. The joke took a life of its own, however, demand for the crazy combination began to grow once folks discovered they actually tasted good.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Scientists are Working on a Pill for Celiac Disease




Researchers believe that they have found a way to help those with celiac disease.
A study conducted in the Gastroenterology journal found that the gluten-specific enzyme ALV003 reduced a patient’s exposure to gluten better than a placebo.
While most people don’t seem to know what gluten really is , you’ve probably seen it linked to Celiac Disease, a digestive disease that damages the intestine when consuming gluten.
Researchers hope the ALV003 enzyme can lead to a pill that aids gluten-intolerant folks. Even with a gluten-free diet, there is still potential harm being done to the intestines through accidental gluten consumption. Theoretically, the pill would reduce the harm done by the sneaky protein composite.



In the study, researchers randomly selected 41 people in Finland diagnosed with celiac disease to take either ALV003 or a placebo pill every day. They then asked them to eat 2 grams of gluten daily for 6 weeks and took samples of the small intestine to analyze. Daniel Adelman, the lead researcher found that the those who took the placebo pill had a notably higher amount of intestinal injuries and inflammation than those who took the ALV003 pill. There a was no visible change in the intestines of the subjects who took ALV003, suggesting the pill protected them from  harm.
 By: Isai Rocha