Emily: Diners worldwide enjoy an ingredient that is culturally important, sustainable,
and healthy, but is sadly absent from the cupboards of most western countries.
I'm talking about insects.
Back in 2014, when we were filming in Peru,
I had my first experience with bug eating when I tried a traditional delicacy, fried palm weevil grubs.
Emily: They taste a little bit like squishy cheese crackers, the white cheddar kind.
Nice man: They aren't bad, right?
Emily: It didn't go super great, but I thought I'd give him another try,
this time with The Field Museum's executive chef Mike
to guide me through. He's created some recipes specifically with insects in mind.
So today we're in the field Bistro testing him out.
And I'm not alone in embracing this new protein source
Joe over at It's ok to be smart is tucking in too, so after you're done dining with us head on over to his channel
to check it out.
We are here today with The Field Museum chef, chef Mike.
Emily: This is exciting.
Mike: I'm very excited
Emily: We've never done a food demonstration before.
Emily: And we've never done a food demonstration with bugs.
Mike: We have lots of bugs today.
Emily: So when we reached out to you to talk about like different
dishes were you thinking about pairing particular
insects with particular flavor profiles?
Mike: Well, I wanted to make sure that whatever we paired the insects with
had a little sweetness, a little crunch, a little creaminess
So, you know the insects, while delicious, didn't overwhelm
other flavors on the dish or you know, or people weren't scared away
by the flavor of the insects compared with other things on the plate.
Emily: Like it wouldn't be too overwhelming.
Emily: So what is this first dish that we're having today?
Mike: We have a very nice seasonal fall salad here when I think of fall, you know
I think of things that go on your Thanksgiving tables cranberries in here,
we have candied pecans, some squash and those, you know, apple cider vinaigrette, things like that
Emily: So we have ants and some ant pupae.
And then I think I ate something really similar to this when we were in Peru
and had mixed feelings about it.
Emily: These are disgusting, actually.
Emily: But I mean excited to try it again and prepare it in a different way.
Mike: We're just gonna, you know, sprinkle whatever amount that you feel comfortable with on top.
Emily: Yeah, I'm excited about this. I got to make sure I get it one of the one the beetles in here.
Emily: There's not so bad, the beetle larvae
It's almost like a garnish like you would put on like a crouton or something.
So it's like crispy onion pieces.
Mike: I agree.
Emily: I don't really get much of the ants I think I might just do like for for the ants right here.
Mike: There is a lot of sweetness on this salad.
So, you know the balance is out the earthiness of the bugs.
Emily: Whoa, whoa
No, they have way more flavor than you would think they would have.
it's like little peppercorns they're not spicy,
but it's like there is this
spicy element like where are these
It's you eat a lot and it's a very mild nutty sort of flavor and the ants are like, Pop
Mike: They are like a punch
Emily: Yeah. Yeah, I like it
I'm into it.
Emily: Eating insects might sound
unusual to you but more than two billion people make eating insects
part of their regular diet and they eat more than
2,000 different species with beetles in their grub being the vast majority of those. Most cultivated
insects are raised on family farms and some locusts and grasshoppers are even considered kosher and halal.
Emily: So what is our next dish?
Mike: Our next dish is gonna be cricket gnocchi,
little gnocchi with some cricket flour in them
with a like a little mushroom cherry cream sauce with some mealworms.
Emily: Yeah, this is like extra bugs
Mike: Extra bugs again extra seasonal, fall flavor the mushrooms and sherry and you know, some potatoes.
Mike: Extra bugs.
All right, gnocchi is basically a potato based pasta and you start with roasting a potato
in the oven and then as soon as it's
soft or cool enough to handle
you're just gonna peel it.
Emily: Hot potato. It's not actually hot anymore.
Mike: And once your potatoes peeled,
we're going to put it through a ricer or in this case
I have a little cheese grater doesn't really matter what you do, we just want to grate it up a little bit,
so you you don't get any lumps in your in your pasta. So it end up with a nice soft grated potato like that.
All right, so now we have all our riced potato at the bowl nice and soft. It's room temperature. It's not too high,
not too cold, and then what we're gonna do
is add an egg, add a little salt. Then we're gonna add our cricket flour.
Emily: So it's quite a bit browner than regular bleached flour.
Mike: Yes, you can definitely see that see the colour in the finished product too, see in the gnocchi.
Emily: When you're cooking with cricket flour,
and you is it like a one-to-one ratio for what you can substitute?
Mike: You don't usually want to put
enough cricket flour to substitute like a whole cup cause any gonna be way too strong. So it's generally
just add a little bit of flavor to whatever you're making, right
So now once this is um, kind of mixed in we're gonna add flour
and the flour when you're making gnocchi
there isn't any set rule of how much flour you're gonna add
so different kinds of potatoes or different times your it might take different
amounts of flour, so we're basically just gonna add it
flour until we get a nice soft dough that's slightly sticky
Emily: Yeah, you have to have a good intuition when it comes to the flour.
Mike: You can always add more I start with a little you can always add more.
Alright now we have our nice dough
It's you can feel it's it's a slightly sticky, but obviously not sticking up and sticking my hands,
so then we're gonna put a little flour on our work surface here
Just about a little flour on let's take the dough a little bit at a time,
maybe that much and I'm gonna roll it into a rope.
You always want to start in the middle and press out.
Emily: This is so easy. I always
assumed that making things like homemade pasta
or gnocchi was like really complicated.
Mike: Yeah, it's really it's really not that complicated
Then you just take a little paring knife you cut up into little dumplings.
Emily: That's it there you have it.
Mike: Allright, now that we have our gnocchi made we're gonna blanch them
which means blanching means we're gonna put them in boiling water for
30 seconds to a minute in this case, we put them in the boiling water till they float
We take them out put them on a plate or whatever which may be a damp towel and then they're good to go.
Emily: And then you're gonna sautée them afterwards.
Mike: Yeah, then we're gonna finish the dish. Next steps we're gonna make our cream sauce
I'll show you cream sauce on mushroom cream side here.
So I got a nice hot pan here, we got some onion, some garlic,
some thyme, some rosemary, some aromatics in there and we got some nice fall mushrooms here.
We've got some king oysters here or truffle mushrooms.
We got some maitakes. We have some brown and white beach mushrooms.
It's a nice little variety though. You can use really use any mushroom as you want.
There's no right or wrong answer
All right, so I'm gonna add a little a little bit of olive oil here
Get nice and hot. I'm add a little bit of butter. All right.
Nice and hot, a little onion and garlic
So we're gonna sweat this out
About 30 secs to min. Especially when cooking mushrooms you want a nice hot pan
so the mushrooms actually get some color. All right,
now we're gonna add our mushrooms our skin a little bit of the beach kind
Stir those around.
Emily: It sounds amazing
Mike: So after a minute or two, your mushrooms so you get a little sof,t
now we're gonna add our herbs to, our fresh herbs,
we got a little thyme and rosemary, you hear crackle when you put it in the pan.
Now we're gonna add our sherry.
Anytime you're cooking with alcohol it's generally a good idea to take the pan off the stove.
Add some liquid and put it back on the stove.
And you will see the flame up.
Emily: That's so fun.
Mike: Then we're gonna let our sherry reduce
That looks about good and once our alcohol thrown off by sherry we're gonna add our heavy cream.
Emily: Oh, I love to see it.
Look at that.
Mike: All right.
And once the cream is this cream looks like is reduced by about half you can see it's thickened up a little bit.
Then our sauce is good to go. All right, so we're ready to finish the dish.
So we have a nice hot pan again. I'm gonna put a little bit olive oil in here throw our gnocchi in there
This is we're gonna let them get a little color. All right,
now that our gnocchi are cooking we're gonna add the insect part of the dish.
We're gonna toast up our mealworms. All right, look at those.
Emily: There's some big ones in there
Mike: There are some big ones, they are
Emily: I mean, but is anything bad when it's fried?
Mike: I don't, everything's good. They've been popping, hopping, jumping in the pan
All right, once those have toasted for about 30 seconds to a minute we'll add our cream sauce
Emily: Has a little nutty, nutty aroma.
Mike: Smells delicious.
Emily: Yes, it does.
Mike: All right.
Emily: Is there a reason why you do the mealworms with the gnocchi before adding them to the cream sauce?
Mike: Well, generally if the mealworms, if you use it frozen an or freeze
Wherever you just want to toast them up a little bit, give them a little flavor.
Emily: So the otherwise they might get a little soggy.
Mike: All right, and then that's pretty much it.
Emily: Looks amazing.
Mike: All right, let me grab a slotted spoon real quick
Emily: Eating bug.... pasta.
It smells so good I could just live with my face over this pan
Mike: Now we're gonna ladle our our pasta and our sauce and our mealworms.
All right, and we're just gonna garnish with a little I have chives but you can use parsley
or something green then
we're good to go.
Mike: Let's give it a shot, let's dig in
Emily: I'm excited
I've got to make sure I get some mealworms in there.
Oh, that's amazing
It's really good.
Think yeah, they are like crunchy. I mean if you think of them as like
fried onions or something, it's just a nice texture contrast
to the rest of it.
Whoo that pop! I think it it's just sort of overcoming that first hurdle of being like ooh, this looks like something that
accidentally ended up at my dish versus something that I deliberately put in there
Mike: And in the finished product, it all works together quite nicely.
And it tastes good
Emily: I don't even think of like the cricket flour being a part of it so that if you
couldn't like do the full-on mealworms,
maybe start slow and really great things like the flour.
Mike: And if you are ambitious enough to make homemade pasta
you can also use cricket flour on that too - it doesn't have to be gnocchi
Emily: Insects are a more sustainable source of animal protein than conventional livestock.
Conventional livestock consumes 8% of the planet's freshwater
and 30% of its crops every year, while contributing
18% of the greenhouse gas emissions in the form of methane and carbon dioxide.
Growing pork produces more than 10 times the amount of CO2 than growing the same weight in crickets
Insects need a lot less water in order to grow, plus eating insects produces a lot less waste.
We eat a hundred percent of the mealworms on our plates, but only 40 percent of a cow is consumed. Dang
Emily: So the previous dishes are not available for purchase in the restaurants here at The Field Museum
but there is something that is, which is the next thing we're gonna make
Mike: Cricket cookies, yeah.
Emily: So what so in addition to having a cricket in them they're also made with cricket flour.
Mike: That's correct.
Emily: Great, and we're gonna demonstrate how you can make them too.
Mike: All right, this is you know, basically your basic cookie recipe, nothing super-complicated
we're gonna we have our
Emily: Nice amount of butter.
Mike: Always yeah nice amount of sugar as well.
Emily: This brings me back to my baking days
I was a baker
for a coffee wholesale company.
and it also had a store, yeah, and so I was their baker prep chef.
Mike: Did you do this?
Emily: Yes. Oh, yeah, I love baking.
Mike: All right, so we're gonna cream our butter and our sugar.
like to wait till all the butter and sugar are on the side of the bowl and I am
confident that it has been sufficiently whipped. I think we're about there
and what I like to do don't be lazy when making cookies always wipe down the sides of your bowl,
make sure everything stays homogenised. All right. Next we have our eggs, our vanilla
Add one egg at a time
So we're gonna add all the wet ingredients first and then the dry last and we're good to go.
All right once our eggs are suspiciously mixed again
we're gonna scrape down the side of our bowl and then we're gonna add our dry ingredients
Give our flour or a cricket flour
and some baking soda and salt cuz I know a lot of cricket flour again if you want your cookies
to taste more like cricket add more cricket flour. We're gonna add this slowly
Emily: So you're using it more like a spice rather than I like a replacement.
Mike: I mean it is very is very strong
You can taste it even that small amount in there. You will be able to taste it when you're eating the cookie.
All right, last but not least. We're gonna add our chocolate chips.
Mike: just just a lot comes together. All right, then we're good to go.
All right. Now we're ready to scoop our cookies. I have these fancy things that professional chefs use
we call them "Something" scoops,
we call them dishers
Lexi's even love this you can obviously use a spoon. Yeah, but this makes it nice and easy.
Emily: There we go.
Mike: All right.
Emily: How long did I bake for?
Mike: I like to put them in the 350 degree oven,
you know, in the middle rack, for about I'd say 10 to 12 minutes, you know
I usually set the timer for 5 minutes
then turn them set it for another 5 and check and then depending how you like your cookies.
I like mine on the softer side
so if you like yours a little bit more crunchy and they let me go for another 5 minutes so they get nice and brown
around the edges, then pull them out then
Emily: All right, and so you mentioned the you add a cricket right after they come out of the oven
Mike: Well, I like to add the cricket so we have some crickets here. We have some freeze-dried crickets
I like to put the cricket in generally two minutes before I take it out of the oven
just press it down right in the middle then let it cook for another minute or two just so they set
and then we take them out
so nobody mistakes them for regular chocolate
But you see that you know your little extra bug in there
Emily: You know I will make sure you get like a bite of it right cricket in here too
What I'm gonna straight-up eat the whole thing.
Look at that beautiful cricket.
Oh, there is a nice crunch. You do get a little bit
like it's almost like if you had put in just a little bit of cinnamon a little bit of that
cricket earthy flavor.
Mike: Yeah, you get it at the end a little bit at the end
Emily: Well for the most part, it's just right. Darn good cookie. So chef Mike
Thank you so much for taking the time to show us how to make some of these dishes
I'm excited to go home and experiment some.
Mike: Me too, gnocchi was delicious and I'll make it tonight.
Emily: I know, lovely. Thank you.
Mike: Thank you, was a pleasure.
Emily: Insects contain more good-for-you nutrients than conventional livestock
including lots of omega-3s which lower cholesterol
Making them a heart-healthy
option. Insects are very
distant relatives and aren't as likely to carry viruses and
bacteria that we could catch by eating them. But heads up if you have a shellfish allergy,
because insects are arthropods, like shrimp, you can be allergic to insects, too
Emily: Okay, so to wrap up our culinary adventure into insect food and drink. We're here with Luz,
who's the food and beverage director here at the Field Museum
and what are you gonna be making?
Luz: I will be making a salty caramel scorpion cocktail
Emily: It's scorpion cocktail and it's garnished with the scorpion.
Emily: A little bit of crunch.
Luz: Yes, absolutely, we are gonna put a little bit crunch on it.
We are using our very own rye.
Emily: The Field Museum has its own branded rye whiskey.
Emily: And I've never tried this so I am really excited to try it today.
Luz: So what we're gonna do first
We're gonna go ahead and use our very own caramel sauce
provided by chef. Mike, this his own recipe
Emily: Oh, wonderful.
Luz: We're gonna go ahead and add some ice here.
We're gonna go ahead and add some rye in here .
Emily: And then we have apple cider.
Luz: Make sure it's nice and loaded. And we're gonna shake it.
Emily: I love that sound
It's a nice fall color. Ooh, I can smell that that rye in there too.
Luz: You know, believe me or not, that is very smooth.
Emily: Oh is it ?
Luz: It is very soon now our finishing touch...
Emily: Our tiny little scorpions. They're pretty adorable
I was thinking they were gonna be like scorpions, but they're just
little things that they could just hang on the side of the glass.
That one broke, you just add that one in. I'll take this one
And these are cherries, nice.
Cheers. I am gonna try to get my scorpion. I know my first
Oh that is really good, it's just like a nice sort of like pre-dinner like cocktail something you can have in the fall
I'm gonna get the scorpion
That's nice. Yeah, it's so crunchy. So we don't actually make this in the building.
Luz: Yes, this is actually a partnership with Journeyman distillery. This is one of three. We also carry vodka
and we also carry gin.
Emily: And they're all like
inspired by the collections here at like the people who are making these recipes come and they visit
the herbarium and they learn about
different flavor profiles and I think that's really cool to inject that science into your craft, whatever you're doing.
Luz: So even if you're at the bar having a drink you're still getting some education out of it.
Emily: I love it. Yeah Yeah educational bar visit, more of that.
It still has brains on it