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Wild Alaskan Salmon – A Super Healthy (and Delicious) Choice

September 16, 2010 | Permalink

With more and more consumers seeking food choices that are both healthy and delicious, Kim Wall, a seafood expert and president of Baensch Food Products, recommends trying recipes with Wild Alaskan Salmon. It’s in season and fresh in stores right now.

 

Many health-conscious seafood lovers select Wild Alaskan Salmon when they are looking for a tasty and easy snack to prepare. Like herring, salmon delivers essential omega-3 fatty acids in support of a strong heart. Plus, fatty acids have been linked to strengthening the immune system, eyesight and mental health.

 

“Having just returned from Alaska, where wild salmon is plentiful, I can testify to its flavorful taste,” said Kim Wall. “It was very exciting for me to catch a variety of salmon, including King Salmon, Silver Salmon and Pink Salmon, and then prepare delicious dips and salmon chowder. Wild Alaskan Salmon will always be my first choice for taste and health.”

 

Wild salmon is woven into the daily lives of Alaskans. From songs and dances to Native totems and celebrations, Alaskans cherish and honor the wild salmon. More than 15,000 Alaskan families catch a total of one million salmon every year. They preserve the salmon in traditional ways, drying them on wooden poles or smoking them in sheds.

 

Salmon are anadromous, which means they migrate from saltwater to spawn in freshwater. Wild Alaskan Salmon are born in freshwater, migrate to saltwater and once fully mature and ready to spawn, swim back to freshwater – right to the very place they were born! The salmon spend between one and four years in freshwater, depending on the type of salmon. Then they become smolts and migrate to estuaries where freshwater and saltwater meet. It is there where the smolts undergo a series of changes that allow them to live in saltwater. Salmon then go to sea in search of food. After spending from six months to six years maturing at sea, the salmon swim back to freshwater. Excellent sight and sense of smell help salmon detect food, predators and their birth stream. As they return to the place they were born, salmon change color and shape. The male salmon usually form a curved mouth (called a kype) with large canine-like teeth. The males of some species also form a hump on their back. The female salmon do not change shape radically, but do change color.

 

For salmon, it can be a very long and rigorous journey filled with rapids and waterfalls to return to their natal streams. Research has shown that the farther and longer the wild salmon must travel to spawn, the more fat they pack on for the trip, making fish from long rivers especially delicious. Once they return to their natal stream, they breed and lay their eggs. After spawning they usually die within a week, fertilizing the stream and creating a nutrient-rich environment for the new infant salmon, fish, wildlife and plants. Biologists have identified over 130 different animals and plants that utilize the nutrients from salmon.

 

Because of Alaska’s excellent salmon management practices, salmon populations are well protected. Regulations enable large amounts of spawning salmon to make it to their natal streams. Individuals, communities, tribes, businesses, harvesters, government officials and organizations are partnering to sustain Alaska’s salmon runs today and into the future.

 

Alaska’s annual salmon run from early may to mid-September produces five different types of salmon you’ll find at your local seafood market or grocery store including: King Salmon or Chinook Salmon, Silver Salmon or Coho Salmon, Red Salmon or Sockeye Salmon, Pink Salmon or Humpy Salmon, Dog Salmon or Chum Salmon.

 

Wall recommends any of the five salmon listed and offers these easy and delicious recipes from her kitchen:

 

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Salmon Chowder

½ C onion, finely diced

½ C celery, finely diced

½ C red bell pepper, finely diced

6 – 8 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only, keep 5 or 6 six leaves per serving to the side for garnish

½ t fresh ground black pepper

4+ T butter

1 ½ C chicken stock

3 C red skinned potatoes, finely diced*

1 LB fresh Alaskan salmon, skinned, boned and cut into small chunks

1 one-half pint heavy whipping cream

½ LB smoked Alaskan salmon, skinned and cut into small chunks

 

Choose a stock pot with a tight fitting lid. Heat pot over medium heat. When pot is hot add butter. Once butter is melted add onion, celery and red bell pepper. Add more butter if needed. Add thyme and black pepper. Sauté over low heat, with lid on pot to retain moisture, until vegetables are well cooked, approximately 30 minutes. Do not caramelize – just sweat the vegetables.

 

Add chicken stock and potatoes; bring to a soft simmer. Cover pot and cook potatoes until al dente, not mushy. Test periodically with a fork for desired texture.

 

Once potatoes are cooked add fresh salmon; bring to a soft simmer. Cover pot and cook salmon until opaque. Add smoked salmon and whipping cream. Bring again to a soft simmer. Once smoked salmon is heated through, serve chowder in coffee mugs or small cups as this is very rich and thick. Garnish with reserved thyme.

 

*Potatoes – While vegetables are cooking, dice potatoes, skin on, and place in large bowl of cold water. Replace with fresh water periodically. This process will keep potatoes nice and white and remove some of the starch. Completely drain the potatoes before adding them to the stock.

 

Makes approximately 8 cups of Chowder.

 

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Buffalo Salmon Dip

6 oz pouch, cooked, wild caught Alaska pink salmon

3 oz cream cheese, softened

1/3 C ranch dressing

3-4+ T hot sauce of your choice

1/2 C cheddar cheese, shredded

 

Cream together cream cheese, hot sauce and ranch dressing. Fold in cheddar cheese. Fold in Salmon. Refrigerate in air-tight container. Eat as a cold dip or put in crock pot to warm until heated through, then leave on a low setting. Serve with celery sticks, tortilla chips and/or crackers.

 

Note: Try experimenting with different kinds of hot sauce to change the flavor. Cajun, Mexican, Thai, Asian – just let your imagination run wild. Also this dip is excellent hot, served over noodles as a main course. A seafood twist to mac and cheese.

A Healthy Helping of Herring for Football Fans

August 25, 2010 | Permalink

For many of us, Labor Day is bittersweet as it marks the end
of summer, but also the beginning of a promising and action-packed football season. Whether it’s a
favorite professional team or a college alma mater, there’s nothing better than sitting back and enjoying a football game with friends and family, along with a cold beer and some tasty appetizers, like Ma Baensch herring.

 

For some local families, it’s a household tradition to polish off a jar of Ma Baensch herring and a box of crackers while watching a football game. However, that’s not the only way to eat herring. “There are many creative ways to dress up and eat herring,” said Kim Wall, aka “Ma,” a seafood expert and president of Baensch Food Products. “Three of my favorite herring recipes are herring salsa, festive herring spread and herring salad.”

 

Herring, with a boatload of Omega-3 fatty acids, is a much healthier option than chips and dip. It’s also packed with protein and calcium. “Eating our way through the Wisconsin winter while watching our favorite football team is a very popular pastime that can be quite enjoyable. But it’s even better with healthy foods,” said Wall. “That is why I like to liven up my winter a little more with some unique, easy and healthy herring recipes.”

 

To keep it healthy, consider trying these recipes from Kim Wall’s kitchen.

 

Ma Baensch Herring Salsa
1 24 oz jar Baensch Herring Tidbits in Wine Sauce, drained, discard sauce, reserve onions, and
cut tidbits in ¼
1 C peeled and diced Spanish onion
1 C cleaned, seeded, cored and diced red bell pepper
1 seeded, cored and minced jalapeno chili, optional
Juice of one lemon freshly squeezed removing pulp and seeds
Reserved onion
1 C fresh cilantro, minced

 

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, toss gently. Place Herring Salsa in a large resalable
container and refrigerate.

 

Cold Fish Tacos – serve Ma Baensch Herring Salsa in soft flour tortillas, garnished with shredded
lettuce, diced tomatoes and shredded Monterey jack cheese.

 

A Cold Appetizer – serve Ma Baensch Herring Salsa in a small bowl, garnished with fresh cilantro
and served with a side of sour cream and corn tortilla chips.

 

Served as a Salad – arrange lettuce leaves on a chilled plate, surround leaves with wedges of
tomato, slices of cucumber, spoon Ma Baensch Herring Salsa onto leaves and garnish with fresh
cilantro.

 

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Festive Herring Spread
1-8oz. package cream cheese
1-12oz. jar Ma Baensch Marinated Herring in Wine Sauce
Drain, discard sauce and onions, cut pieces into quarters
3 T fresh parsley, minced
1 T fresh dill weed, minced
Dash Jalapeño Tabasco Sauce

 

Blend ingredients with food processor in order given. Cover and chill for 2-3 hours to allow flavors
to combine. Serve with toasted French bread, rye bread or crackers of your choice.

 

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Ma Baensch Herring Salad
1-24oz. Ma Baensch Marinated Herring in Wine Sauce, Drain, discard sauce, reserve onions and
cut pieces into quarters
1/2 C dill pickle relish
1 medium apple*, cubed, peeled if desired
1/2 small Spanish onion, halved and sliced
1-15oz. can cooked, diced potatoes, drained
1-15oz. can cooked, diced beets, drained
Reserved Onions

 

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Dressing
1 C whipped cream
1 T white vinegar
1 t prepared mustard
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t whole dill weed, dried

 

Combine all dressing ingredients and set aside.
Toss all salad ingredients, including reserved onions, in a large bowl.
Serve salad with dressing on the side, allowing guests to drizzle on
dressing as desired. Garnish with fresh dill weed, if available. If
preparing ahead of time, cover and refrigerate salad and dressing
separately.

 

*For a tart variety try Granny Smith. For a sweeter variety try Braeburn.

Kim Wall Featured on UWM Lake Effect Radio

July 19, 2010 | Permalink

Click on the link below to listen to Kim Wall, owner of Baensch Food Products Co., interview with Stephanie Lecci on UWM’s Lake Effect radio. Kim discusses her purchase of the herring business, the changes she’s made to it and her philosophy on hiring felons.

 

Women of Influence Award Winner

June 18, 2010 | Permalink

Kim Wall – Entrepreneur – President of Baensch Food Products Co.

 

Click to read article.

Road Side Culture Stand

June 7, 2010 | Permalink

Where Artists and Agriculture Intersect

Ma Baensch location selected for Roadside Culture Stand

Artists and agriculture will converge this summer in an eyecatching
Roadside Culture Stand on the corner of Humboldt and Locust, right in front of Baensch Food
Products. Roadside Culture Stands, an initiative spearheaded by the Wormfarm Institute, are artistdesigned and built mobile farm stands that display and sell fresh local produce as well as the work of local artists. The stand located in Riverwest will debut at the Locust Street Festival on June 13 and will be open for business two days a week from June through October.

 

Tory Tepp, an installation artist who specializes in earthworks, designed and built the Roadside Culture Stand in Riverwest. The stand will feature jars of Ma Baensch herring, Fresh Is Best Natural Pet Food and produce from Rooftop Grow-Op, among other featured local items.

 

“The Roadside Culture Stand is a great way for the Riverwest community and passersby to experience
local products as well as the work of local artists,” said Kim Wall, president of Baensch Food Products.
“There are many talented people in this community who have a unique product or artistic concept and this is a wonderful way to share it with the community. I’m thrilled to be a part of this worthwhile endeavor.”

 

The Roadside Culture Stand is funded by a generous grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board in support of
the Wormfarm Institute – a non-profit organization working to build a sustainable future for agriculture and the arts by fostering vital links between people and the land. There are four stands in Wisconsin: two located in Milwaukee, one in Mineral Point and one in Baraboo. Each stand will have a home base and will also travel to local festivals and county fairs.

 

“We chose this location, in front of Ma Baensch, because of its visibility. It’s at the crossroads to
everything – the east side, downtown and the north shore,” said Stacy LaPoint, site coordinator for the
Roadside Culture Stand. “This stand brings awareness as well as an entrepreneurial outlet to local artisan goods and a burgeoning local food system.”

Great Lakes Whitefish for Lent: Delicious and Nutritious

March 12, 2010 | Permalink

Ma Baensch shares a savory and satisfying recipe for the Easter season

 

Lent is underway and that means fish-only Fridays for observing Christians. The traditional Friday-night fish fry served by many local restaurants and pubs is a popular choice among the faithful, but eating fried fish may not be for everyone, every Friday.

 

Fried cod or perch is commonly served by Wisconsin establishments, but for those who may be looking
for an easy, healthier alternative, fresh Great Lakes whitefish could be the recipe for success. Packed with protein and essential nutrients, including Omega-3 fatty acids, whitefish is good for the heart and the brain. And tasty too!

 

The Great Lakes basin is home to the whitefish, which was prized by Native Americans and early
explorers for its distinctive non-fishy flavor. Today, whitefish is a popular catch among many fisheries right here in Wisconsin and a favorite fish among Wisconsinites. Not only is whitefish flavorful, healthy and local, it is caught using environmentally friendly practices.

 

“Whitefish is a Wisconsin favorite because of its sweet, mild flavor. In addition to being served as a dinner entrée, it is perfect for chowders, sandwiches and salads. Whitefish can also be cooked in a variety of ways, but the trick is to not overcook it,” said Kim Wall, seafood expert and president of Baensch Food Products, the Milwaukee-based company that makes the popular Ma Baensch herring brand. “One of my favorite, easy whitefish recipes calls for brown sugar and fresh lemons. Preparing this dish is a healthy way to observe the Lenten season and support our local fisheries.”

 

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Baked Great Lakes Whitefish
Makes 2 servings
2 fresh whitefish fillets (6 to 8 ounces each), skin on with pin
bones removed
2 lemons, one thinly sliced and one cut into wedges
1 T butter
Sea salt and pepper or other type of seasoning salt, to taste
2 t brown sugar
Cooking oil spray

 

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly spray a glass oven-proof baking dish, large enough for fillets to be placed in a single layer. Place fillets in baking dish, skin side down. Lightly season fillets and
sprinkle with brown sugar. Lightly rub seasonings into fillets. Top fillets sparingly with thin slices of butter and place a layer of fresh lemon slices on top. Bake, uncovered, 8 to 10 minutes, maybe
longer depending on the thickness of the fillets, until fish is opaque and flakes easily. Take care not to overcook as fillets will become tough.

 

Serve immediately with additional fresh lemon wedges on the side.