Friday, January 7, 2011

1/7 - Seaweed & Baked Alaska!

Maine Seaweed Co. - Larch Hanson
Through seaweeds, the earth's sea-blood strengthens our own sea-blood that we carry within us. Seaweeds are an excellent source of trace minerals in our diet. As our air and water become more acidified through pollution, minerals are leached and depleted from our land fields, and they wash down to the sea, where the wild seaweeds incorporate them. When we eat seaweeds, we take these minerals back into our bodies, and these minerals help us maintain an alkaline condition in our bloodstream, which is a healthy condition, resistant to fatigue and stress. Seaweeds have admirable qualities: they are flexible, they are tenacious, they are prolific, and they are the oldest family of plants on earth. These plants link us to the primitive vitality of the sea. They strengthen our own primitive glandular system and nervous system. An average family of seaweed eaters will consume a Family Pack within six months to a year. That's 3 pounds dry weight = 30 pounds wet weight = one bushel of wet plants. This is a very concentrated food. Don't fear salt. Salt is necessary to life. If you are willing to sweat, you can move salt through you, and in the process, you will be actively creating your life and your dream from the universe-intelligent structures of the complex salts and trace elements that are available in seaweeds. Your body is an antenna, and your body can't receive and comprehend the whole message from Universe unless it contains all the trace elements of the Universe. Quality counts more than quantity. If you eat the more complex salts of seaweeds, you will have less craving for simple junk food salt, and you will find yourself becoming more whole, satisfied and healthy.

Chef James T. Ehler (Chef, researcher, writer, editor, publisher, webmaster).
Born in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, New York where I lived until age 22. Since then I have lived and worked in Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Colorado, Arkansas, North Carolina, Key West, Florida, etc. In September 2005 I moved to Winona, Minnesota where I hope to remain. I have been cooking for over 35 years, spending a little more than 5 years apprenticing with several Colorado chefs, and was a working Executive Chef for 20 years. I have been a member of the Chefs de Cuisine of the Pikes Peak Region (American Culinary Federation) and the Colorado Chefs de Cuisine (ACF). I have served as president of the Arkansas State Professional Culinary Association (ACF), and was a founding member and president of the Conch Republic (Florida Keys) Chapter of the ACF. I am a former Executive Chef of the Cripple Creek Country Club, and Brittany Hill Restaurant in Colorado; the Hilton Hotel in Fayetteville, Arkansas; the New Bern Golf and Country Club, North Carolina; Martha's Steak & Seafood, and the Reach Hotel (both in Key West). Since I began to seriously devote more time to writing, I worked as a cook (and webmaster) for Blue Heaven Restaurant in Key West, Florida 5 years, until 2001. This enabled me to concentrate on the Culinary Encyclopedia I have been working on for many years. This website, contains some of that material. Beginning in April 2003 I have been working full time on this and several other websites in the Food Reference family: Leonard Alcamo, an old friend whom I have known for most of my life, has recently come back to after an unsuccessful attempt at retirement. He will be applying his expertise towards radically improving and expanding the Video section, along with work on various other 'marketing' and 'visibility' projects. I am confidant Len will become and remain an integral part of for years to come. Perhaps his wife Janet may be persuaded to contribute some of her gardening expertise in the future as well. Baked Alaska Also known as: omelette á la norvégienne, Norwegian omelette, omelette surprise, glace au four. Ice cream encased in some sort of hot casing (pastry crust or meringue). Baked Alaska consists of hard ice cream on a bed of sponge cake, the whole thing is then covered with uncooked meringue. This 'cake' is kept in the freezer until serving time, when it is placed in a very hot oven, just long enough to brown the meringue. Some brown it under a broiler, while I have seen others use a small blowtorch (propane) to brown the meringue. Early versions of this dessert consisted of ice cream encased in a piping hot pastry crust. A guest of Thomas Jefferson at a White House dinner in 1802 described the dessert as "Ice-cream very good, crust wholly dried, crumbled into thin flakes." The later version consisting of ice cream on sponge cake covered with meringue and browned quickly in a hot oven, is claimed as being created by many people, and popularized by many others. American physicist Benjamin Thompson (Count Rumford) claimed to have created it in 1804, after investigating the heat resistance of beaten egg whites. This was called omelette surprise or omelette á la norvégienne. And then there is the story of it being passed on to the French in the mid 19th century when a Chinese delegation was visiting Paris. The Master-cook of the Chinese mission was staying at the Grand Hotel in 1866, and the French chef at the hotel (Balzac?) learned how to bake ice cream in a pastry crust in the oven from him. The name Baked Alaska originated at Delmonico's Restaurant in New York City in 1876, and was created in honor of the newly acquired territory of Alaska. An Englishman (George Sala) who visited Delmonico's in the 1880s said: "The 'Alaska' is a baked ice....The nucleus or core of the entremet is an ice cream. This is surrounded by an envelope of carefully whipped cream, which, just before the dainty dish is served, is popped into the oven, or is brought under the scorching influence of a red hot salamander."

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