Call me bun

My compassionate, sustainable sushi recipes and worthless pearls of life wisdom for the 21st Century and beyond.

There should be law in place allowing chefs to supply their own restaurants with fish that they catch themselves - using pole & line or spear only. It could put a dent on over-fishing by lessening our usage of net caught fish. It could help curb our dependence on inferior quality imported farmed seafood, too, and re-establish the relationship that people have always had with the local food chain. For chef’s like me, it would allow us to serve fish species that are abundant but under-utilized such as the very invasive carp and sea robins. Also, very frankly, commercial fishing licenses, with their high fees and moratoriums on availability, help create a monopoly on wild seafood that rightfully has always belongs to every person, and living thing.

Video: Awesome Dad and husband, Actor, Producer, Conservationist -Dylan Bruno with an octopus he just speared for dinner off the coast of Los Angeles.

One of the biggest problems that the world faces today is the loss of biodiversity due to human behavior. Deforestation is the number one cause for rapid destruction of biodiversity on Earth. Deforestation happens as a result of logging, mining, farming, and even invasive species such as feral hogs and earth worms.

But there is a greater threat to biodiversity than deforestation. It’s the threat that we face of nuclear war. Today, a handful of countries possess enough nuclear warheads to destroy the landmass of the entire planet. In a world, where almost a third of the countries in it are involved in war, peace must be our top priority.

Peace begins within each of us, when we discover compassion for all life on earth. We know that every little thing that we choose to do is related to everything else. Is that strawberry that I am enjoying supporting a system of food production that oppresses millions of poor migrant workers? Does that steak that we are eating contribute to Climate Change and deforestation? Are we are purchasing stuff that’s creating a dangerous world seeped in destructive chemicals, horrifying genetic modifications, or the proliferation of resistant microbes?  

Is our insensitivity to the pain that food animals experience related to our lack of compassion for the suffering that humankind experiences through war, poverty, hunger, disease, and inequality?

Our lives are a rare opportunity to add goodness to the world by helping to ease and not be the cause of the suffering of others, both human and non-human.

I promise myself not to go to that fast food chain restaurant near my house anymore - something yucky I find myself doing sometimes when I am drunk. And, I pledge to the world that I will be more mindful of the food that I eat, each and every bite, without exception.

So, may each bite that we take nourish the world as much as it nourishes our bodies. And may each bite that we take be a Eucharist to peace on Earth.

We eat too many animals. It would be nearly impossible for us to not exceed our protein requirements even if we never ate meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, or soy products  

We eat too many animals. It would be nearly impossible for us to not exceed our protein requirements even if we never ate meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, or soy products  

This is what a more sustainable American food system looks like

My newest invasive species recipes.

Carpe Eatem
Flying Asian Carp were introduced to southern United States for aquaculture in the 1970’s. These monstrous fish can grow to well over a hundred pounds.  Floods allowed them to escape out of their containments and today they have been found in 17 states. In the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers they represent over 97% of the biomass there. American are grossed out by the idea of eating carp because they think of the goldfish that we keep in fish bowls or they assume that carp taste muddy but nothing could be farther from the truth. Carp is one of the tastiest of all fish and it’s the number one farmed fish in the world for that reason. Asian carp’s can be easily filleted or cut into steaks - just like salmon. Asian carp  has the mildest flavor of all carps and has a clean cucumber-like scent. This fish contains high levels of heart and brain healthy Omega 3 fatty acids. Carp are threatening to leap into the Great Lakes. Can we eat enough to save the Great Lakes? This recipe is a twist on an old family Gefilte fish recipe. The only adjustment that I made was the addition of fresh cilantro. I form fish balls that I steam then serve hot topped with a Cantonese style sweet and sour sauce.

Forest Fritters

Invasive earthworms are a global problem. Earthworms have spread to every continent and oceanic island in the world.  European settlers, with their European styled farms, introduced one third of all the species of earthworms that inhabit North America.  Most of us grew up thinking that earthworms were beneficial but invasive ones can drastically alter the biodiversity of forests to make them even more vulnerable to other invasive organisms. Earthworms are much higher in protein than steak and contain many important nutrients. Earthworms, like many types of food, have to be cooked to be eaten because they are a vector for harmful microbes and parasites. To make earthworms edible, one must clean their digestive system out by squeezing the dirt out as you would do to prepare sausage casings. Afterward, each worm is butterflied, rinsed out, and chopped. This recipe, a twist on my mother’s onion and carrot fritter recipe, is also inspired by the way the  Vietnamese make fritters out of seasonal fresh water worms. Instead of freshwater worms I use earthworms as a central ingredient to fritters seasoned with ginger, scallions, hot peppers, grated orange peels, and lemon grass. The average non-worm eater will have trouble eating a worm dish that looks like its made from worms so using chopped worms in fritters make eating worms more appealing. The mouth-feel of the worms in this dish is actually pleasantly familiar, like ground meat.

Swarm, Crackle, Pop

Locusts are a type of grasshopper but with a swarming instinct. When I think of locusts the first thing that comes to mind is the horrifying biblical story where God sends a plague of locusts to Egypt, covering all of the ground until it was black, and devouring everything plant in it’s path. A locust swarm can be almost five hundred square miles and eat close to five hundred million pounds of plants each day. Locusts inhabit over sixty countries. The range of locust is so large that a swarm in Africa can also devastate crops in India. By being a significant factor in famines, locusts threaten the food security of almost a tenth of the human population of the planet. Plague locusts contain over five times the amount of gross energy than a common grasshopper and are highly nutritious too. Locusts are an abundantly available super food that should be found in snack isles in every supermarket of the world. As a child, my mother used to eat grasshoppers with her friends. They would skewer roast them over a fire. She recalled that the grasshoppers were full of fat and would crackle and pop from the heat. My recipe of locusts, which is incorporates Japan’s favorite sauce, seasons the insects and peanuts with a spicy honey teriyaki and bakes them in the oven until that are sweet crunchy little Cracker Jack-like morsels.

*Photos of the ingredients and the finished dishes will be posted next week!

What can chefs do to help make people and the world healthier?
Here are practical recommendations of changes that you can make to your menus to make them even healthier. By the way, there’s no pressure for you to make sweeping changes. One little step at a time can take us to the top of mountains!
1) Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables that you use on your menu, progressively, by using your creativity and salesmanship.
2) Reduce the portion-size of red meat that is used. There is a direct connection between the amount of factory-raised red meat consumed and the risk for many diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and cancers. Also, the production of red meat is the most ecologically taxing compared to any other type of food. Being vegetarian may, actually, be one of the best way to help thwart Climate Change.
3) Replace white bread, white pasta, and potatoes (which quickly turn to sugar in our bodies) with 100% whole grains which are higher in gut health increasing fiber and nutrients.
4) Offer low sugar beverage options. The rising consumption of sugary drinks is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic that we are facing today.
5) Raise your standard for protein. Don’t buy animal products from producers who use sub-therapeutic levels of anti-biotics to increase livestock growth. It’s not the use of antibiotics for sick animals that create resistant bacteria. It happens when producers use antibiotics to make animals grow faster. Choose to support farmers that provide top quality care for their animals. In order for animals to be healthy they require many of the same things we humans do; nutritious food, clean water, a clean place to live, fresh air, exercise, and kindness. Increase the amount of seafood - but choose sustainable seafood because over-fishing is the greatest threat that our oceans face today - and plant sources of protein used while lowering the amount of red meat. Reducing the amount of red meat consumed is the single most important step Chefs can take towards environmental sustainability.

Photo: I stopped by Chef Carey Savona’s Heirloom Restaurant kitchen where conscientiously selected ingredients are expertly prepared into some of our state’s best farm-to-table cuisine.

What can chefs do to help make people and the world healthier?

Here are practical recommendations of changes that you can make to your menus to make them even healthier. By the way, there’s no pressure for you to make sweeping changes. One little step at a time can take us to the top of mountains!

1) Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables that you use on your menu, progressively, by using your creativity and salesmanship.

2) Reduce the portion-size of red meat that is used. There is a direct connection between the amount of factory-raised red meat consumed and the risk for many diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and cancers. Also, the production of red meat is the most ecologically taxing compared to any other type of food. Being vegetarian may, actually, be one of the best way to help thwart Climate Change.

3) Replace white bread, white pasta, and potatoes (which quickly turn to sugar in our bodies) with 100% whole grains which are higher in gut health increasing fiber and nutrients.

4) Offer low sugar beverage options. The rising consumption of sugary drinks is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic that we are facing today.

5) Raise your standard for protein. Don’t buy animal products from producers who use sub-therapeutic levels of anti-biotics to increase livestock growth. It’s not the use of antibiotics for sick animals that create resistant bacteria. It happens when producers use antibiotics to make animals grow faster. Choose to support farmers that provide top quality care for their animals. In order for animals to be healthy they require many of the same things we humans do; nutritious food, clean water, a clean place to live, fresh air, exercise, and kindness. Increase the amount of seafood - but choose sustainable seafood because over-fishing is the greatest threat that our oceans face today - and plant sources of protein used while lowering the amount of red meat. Reducing the amount of red meat consumed is the single most important step Chefs can take towards environmental sustainability.

Photo: I stopped by Chef Carey Savona’s Heirloom Restaurant kitchen where conscientiously selected ingredients are expertly prepared into some of our state’s best farm-to-table cuisine.

ONIGIRI 

A forerunner of traditional nigiri-style sushi, the onigiri is the way sushi was made thousands of years ago, using ingredients from close by and molded by hand into easy to eat whole grain rice balls. 
DREAMCATCHER ONIGIRI 
Mugwort 3 little balls for 5 
Mugwort, introduced to the new world by the Pilgrims of the Mayflower, is the locally foraged medicinal and invasive herb used in this recipe. Mugwort is believed by indigenous people worldwide to inspire dreams and visions and contains exponentially more nutrients and phytochemicals than any cultivated plant. 
LOCAL SALMON CAVIAR ONIGIRI (AK, US) 2 little balls for 5 
SMOKED WILD COHO SALMON (AK, US) 2 little balls for 5 
MÉNAGE À TROIS ONIGIRI 
All three kinds of onigiri for 7 

ONIGIRI

A forerunner of traditional nigiri-style sushi, the onigiri is the way sushi was made thousands of years ago, using ingredients from close by and molded by hand into easy to eat whole grain rice balls.

DREAMCATCHER ONIGIRI

Mugwort
3 little balls for 5 

Mugwort, introduced to the new world by the Pilgrims of the Mayflower, is the locally foraged medicinal and invasive herb used in this recipe. Mugwort is believed by indigenous people worldwide to inspire dreams and visions and contains exponentially more nutrients and phytochemicals than any cultivated plant.

LOCAL SALMON CAVIAR ONIGIRI (AK, US) 2 little balls for 5 

SMOKED WILD COHO SALMON (AK, US) 2 little balls for 5 

MÉNAGE À TROIS ONIGIRI

All three kinds of onigiri for 7 

THE SOFTEST FRENCH KISSES 

Rediculously sexy, warm scallops in a sake-based ginger garlic oyster sauce  
How To French Kiss a Scallop 
The Softest French Kisses captures the sensual pleasures of French Kissing; it is warm, and it makes you want to gently draw the plump scallops into your mouth with your tongue. 
Freshly shucked East Coast scallops are served in a sake based ginger garlic oyster sauce which we slowly simmer down in a sauce of caramelized local oysters. 
The recommended method of eating this dish is to slowly and sensually rub a warm slice of sultry scallop once around your puckered lips and then, in the final moment, to suck it into your mouth with a popping sound. This popping sound is one that is considered good table and kissing manners in nations where the sensuality index is the highest in the world.

THE SOFTEST FRENCH KISSES

Rediculously sexy, warm scallops in a sake-based ginger garlic oyster sauce 

How To French Kiss a Scallop

The Softest French Kisses captures the sensual pleasures of French Kissing; it is warm, and it makes you want to gently draw the plump scallops into your mouth with your tongue.

Freshly shucked East Coast scallops are served in a sake based ginger garlic oyster sauce which we slowly simmer down in a sauce of caramelized local oysters.

The recommended method of eating this dish is to slowly and sensually rub a warm slice of sultry scallop once around your puckered lips and then, in the final moment, to suck it into your mouth with a popping sound. This popping sound is one that is considered good table and kissing manners in nations where the sensuality index is the highest in the world.

Since affordability is the biggest challenge for the organic and sustainable food movement, our menu is organized in a way where the healthiest recipes are also the most affordable. These are the recipes that I make for my family every day, a rethinking of the traditional Japanese food that we grew up loving. 
Bic Macs cost about five dollars and almost a billion are eaten each year all around the world. Inspired to do the opposite of what the Big Mac achieves, the recipes that are priced at five dollars or less on our menu are also the healthiest ones for our bodies and for the planet. Sustainable seafood and whole, fresh, plant-based ingredients with no additional saturated fats, Omega 6s, preservatives, or lots of salt.

Since affordability is the biggest challenge for the organic and sustainable food movement, our menu is organized in a way where the healthiest recipes are also the most affordable. These are the recipes that I make for my family every day, a rethinking of the traditional Japanese food that we grew up loving.

Bic Macs cost about five dollars and almost a billion are eaten each year all around the world. Inspired to do the opposite of what the Big Mac achieves, the recipes that are priced at five dollars or less on our menu are also the healthiest ones for our bodies and for the planet. Sustainable seafood and whole, fresh, plant-based ingredients with no additional saturated fats, Omega 6s, preservatives, or lots of salt.