Entomophagic Anju: Tasty Insect Snacks To Enjoy While Drinking

Edible Insects: Crickets and Kkwarigochu in a Sweet, Sticky, Garlicky Sauce

ENTOMOPHAGIC ANJU #1

Crickets & Kkwarigochu in a Sweet, Sticky, Garlicky Sauce

I asked my friends if they would like to sample some edible insects as a snack…and all I heard was…crickets.

For most of them, it turns out that eating intact insects was intimidating. Go figure. But add in the effects of an alcoholic beverage or two, inhibitions disappear and these same friends become amenable to giving my bug-centric snacks a try.

In Korean, there is a word for food meant to be consumed with alcohol – Anju. In English, there is a word for consuming insects – Entomophagy. Here I present an Entomophagic Anju: Tasty Insect Snacks To Enjoy While Drinking. Let’s get the party started with some cold beers.

Edible Insects: Crickets and Kkwarigochu in a Sweet, Sticky, Garlicky Sauce

Feeling loosened up and ready to indulge in the first anju, my friends gave rave reviews to Crickets & Kkwarigochu. The recipe was inspired by the popular Korean banchan (side dish) myulchi bokkeum (stir-fried anchovy) and it is positively addicting.

Salted stir-fried crickets are coated with a sweet, sticky, garlicky sauce. Kkwarigochu (aka shishito peppers in Japanese) are blistered in a hot wok with a bit of oil. Kkwarigochu are thin-walled mild peppers with a fresh green vegetal flavor and just a whisper of heat. But beware, every once in a while, there’s a hot one in the bunch! Paired with cold refreshing Hite beer, this entomophagic anju was a big hit!

The crickets (aka house crickets, Acheta domestica) have been raised in California for human consumption on a diet of apples and bananas. They are then cooked and dried to produce a crispy, crunchy snack or ingredient with a wheat-y flavor. The entire cricket is edible & no other ingredients are added. (From Marx Foods here).

Crickets & Kkwarigochu Recipe

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A Virtual Merino Lamb Adventure in New Zealand

Silere Merino Lamb Loin Fillets Mustard Seed Sauce, Cannellini Beans Pickled Fennel, Carrot, Parsnip Cilantro, Mint, Borage

Silere Merino Lamb Loin Fillets
Mustard Seed Sauce, Cannellini Beans
Pickled Fennel, Carrot, Parsnip
Cilantro, Mint, Borage

Are you up for an adventure? Come with me on a virtual culinary trip to New Zealand. Our voyage of discovery takes us to the South Island where we climb high up in the Southern Alps. As we explore an area rich in flora, covered with tussock grasses and wild herbs and flowers, we navigate the pristine silence of nature in rarefied air and brilliant sunshine. We breathe in nature’s sweet fresh bouquet.

Notice the snow-capped peaks that feed the clear alpine streams. Take note of the fauna too. Exquisite Merino sheep, historically treasured for their fine soft wool, are nibbling on those herbs and lapping up that pure water. This is an ancient breed, originally from central Spain, whose fleece has been prized for centuries and is made into the finest luxury clothing.

In recent years, particular strains of Merino sheep have been bred for their meat and are recognized as the finest breed for eating. Breed (Merino) plus Appellation (Southern Alps) equals 5 star blue-ribbon meat suitable for the world’s top restaurants. And now, us! Merino lamb just became available to the U.S. market, courtesy of the fine folks at Marx Foods here. “Good on ya, mates!” And “chur” for the free lamb samples.

Unlike cattle, lamb meat has not been designated by breed. Chefs and diners alike know the difference between Angus beef and Wagyu beef. But lamb, up until now – has been marketed by appellation – such as Colorado or New Zealand, regardless of the breed. Like wine, though appellation is important, it does not tell the whole story. That fine glass of Burgundy you sip, reflects the terrior where the grapes were grown, yes. But are you enjoying Chardonnay or Pinot Noir? Very different, indeed.

Readily distinguishable from their lowland cousins who chew on grass and lollygag around the flat plains, Merino sheep are hearty. Their healthy athleticism makes them well suited to forage for their tasty meals in the steep mountain ranges where this highland lifestyle produces a meat that is naturally leaner and less gamy, in fact, barely gamy at all. Their slower rate of maturation results in a more nuanced and refined flavor of meat.

My friend, you must be starving after our long hike in the Alps. Do come back to the lodge with me, and I will prepare Silere Merino Lamb Loin Fillets for dinner – a dish designed to showcase the elegance of the meat.

The fillets are not coated nor crusted. They are simply rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, then seared in a hot pan. This way, you can focus your attention on its rich delicate savoriness. To accompany the meat, I pair it with a range of flavors, spices, and textures that are well-known to complement lamb dishes over the globe.

Merino Lamb Loin Recipe

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“Truffle Heaven” Crostini

“Truffle Heaven” Crostini
Fresh French Black Winter Truffle, Italian Truffle Cheese, Truffle Oil
with Shiitake and Frisée

A framed description of our “black diamond” is placed on the buffet.

This one ounce beauty is from Gourmet Attitude, importer of fresh truffles and fine truffle products in New York City. It is a good year for truffles, ours hails from the Village of Grignan in the South of France. The subterranean treasure was located by three female yellow Labrador retrievers with a family in its fourth generation of truffle hunting. I was told that dogs are preferred over pigs to hunt  truffles nowadays, for one reason, it’s difficult to get a pig in and out of the car! Also, apparently the pig’s love for truffles is as ardent as ours, so she simply cannot stop herself from eating the $85/oz. delicacy. Dogs are much more obedient!

The black winter truffle is available December through March. This Fresh Black Winter Truffle (Tuber Melanosporum Vittadini) has in intense perfume with a bouquet of wet forest, humus, chocolate, and a hint of hazelnut. Our guests are surely in for a treat!

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