Archive | Winter 2017


Ramen Focused

Ugly Duck

The name, Ugly Duck, originated from chef and co-owner A. J. Swanda’s last name. “It sounds like swan, and I really liked the idea of the ugly duckling growing into the beautiful swan. In this case, I took my dreams of growing Ugly Duck from a pop-up into a restaurant, growing my dream into a reality,” he says.

Ugly Duck existed as a pop-up for nine months, which means A. J. “took over” other people’s restaurants for one day, changing the menu and the style of service each time until he met local restaurateur, Charles Yin. The two became partners transitioning Ugly Duck into a full restaurant.

Charles explains the menu is ramen focused: “It’s what we call our gateway drug. It has a Japanese street food concept. At dinner, we offer a full selection of small plates and other entrées that are all Asian inspired. And at lunch we offer Asian-inspired sandwiches and salads to pair with our ramen.” The restaurant features full table service for both meals as well as a strong wine, sake and beer program.

The two believe in using the best and highest-quality ingredients they can in their food. According to Charles, “Everything … Read More

Continue Reading

Gourmet Spray

Duck Fat Spray

Omaha-based entrepreneur Dennis Schuett explains his journey creating the world’s first duck fat spray started a little over two years ago when a supplier approached him while he was buying beef tallow, a key ingredient in Coney sauce for Coney dogs.

“The plant where I was buying it happened to have an abundance of refined duck fat, and they asked me if I had an interest. At first I wasn’t too sure because I hadn’t experimented with duck fat at that point in my life at all. I mean, I had eaten duck several times, but using the fat? I hadn’t. So, I started doing research on it and it opened my eyes,” he says.

Calling it a “wonderful cooking oil,” Dennis says there are several benefits to using the oil, including that it has “a high smoke point, contains 20% less saturated fat than butter and has a very long shelf life.”

Dennis researched the marketplace and found that those selling duck fat sold it in jars––a spray version didn’t exist. “Since it has a melting point of 57 degrees, I wondered why it wouldn’t make a wonderful all-natural pan release as well as a searing … Read More

Continue Reading

Contents Winter 2017

Photo by Linda Gentry


Fascinating Fungi

The New American Dish


Sweet Potato Bake
Squash Salad
Roasted Cauliflower with Truffle Butter
Soba Noodles with Vegetable Tempura


Relatively new in the United States, kabocha, pronounced kah-BOH-chah, is a winter squash that tastes something like a mix of a pumpkin and a sweet potato. Round and squat with a flattened top it has a deep-green, hard skin that is often lined with lighter colored, uneven stripes. The hard skin can be difficult to cut when uncooked so it is common to microwave for a few minutes to soften.
Photo by Yuko Dobashi




Honest and Approachable
Ramen Focused
Calling Food Entrepreneurs
Gourmet Spray


Knife Skills

Coming Back Home

Aspiring Farmers









Read More
Continue Reading

food for thought

Like clockwork, every January growing up my family gathered at my grandparents’ house for what I now recognize was a food tradition that started long before I was born––going back at least as far as when my mom was a child.

There were no birthdays to celebrate in January (or February for that matter), and no one remembers the dinner’s origins, but without fail, on what always seemed to be the coldest Sunday—the one that frosted over your eyelashes—we bundled up and made the trek to what was then the west side of Omaha and now isn’t even the midpoint.

The menu never differed and only one thing was ever served: piping hot chop suey served over white rice. I clearly recall a large roaster filled to the brim with lean pork and a mix of Chinese vegetables—bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts—all swimming in a savory brown gravy whose consistency my great-grandma Mary Barney would agonize about getting just right.

Today, I am curious about how a Chinese dish made its way to middle America and into the hands of a South Omaha–raised daughter of a German immigrant to become our family’s tradition. I only wish I had asked … Read More

Continue Reading
One of Emily’s winter duties as a garden intern includes drying herbs picked from the garden. Here she holds sage still drying.

edible journey

Emily examines Djena Lee’s Golden Girl tomato seeds she’s saving from Mother Hubbard’s seed-saving garden. Emily was first exposed to seed saving through Betsy Goodman while on a writing assignment for Edible Omaha.

Coming Back Home

How Working for Edible Omaha Changed my Life

By Emily Beck | Photography by Victor Grössling

I used to want to tell other people’s stories. I used to think I would live through the experiences of those far more interesting than me. But after being inspired so many times, I realized that I don’t just want to write about what “interesting” people do. I want to do those things myself.

As a dreamy 16-year-old, I went to national journalism conferences where journalists talked to roomfuls of equally idealistic high schoolers about their craft. Photographers talked about the exhilaration of capturing “the moment,” designers about color and the magic of white space, social media experts about the uncertainty of the newest frontier, reporters about the importance of being able to write, shoot and edit under deadline. They usually talked about being broke, and I embraced the nobility of that, the idea of doing a job so vital to our democracy that it didn’t pay … Read More

Continue Reading

Soba Noodles with Vegetable Tempura

Recipe and photos by Yuko Dobashi

Yield: 4 servings

1 quart grapeseed oil

Tempura batter
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour (save 3 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons corn starch
1 egg yolk
⅔ cup water with 2 ice cubes

Vegetable mixture
1 cup shredded carrots
1 small white onion, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Soba noodles
8 ounces soba noodles (available at Asian Markets)
1 (8- to 12-ounce) jar Mentsuyu (liquid soba base)

Garnish, optional
Sliced green onions
Steamed snap snow peas, whole

In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, heat the oil to 375°.

Combine all ingredients for tempura batter in a large bowl and set aside.

Mix carrots, onion, cilantro and reserved 3 tablespoons of flour in a medium bowl
until coated.

Add vegetable mixture with tempura batter in the large bowl and quickly mix until vegetables are evenly coated with batter.

With a large spoon or cookie scoop, tightly scoop balls of vegetable mixture and gently place into preheated oil, 2 at a time. Fry until puffy and very light golden, about 2 minutes. Turn vegetables over and fry the other side for another 2 minutes. Carefully remove from oil and place on paper towels … Read More

Continue Reading

Calling Food Entrepreneurs


The Kitchen Council is a kitchen incubator for food start-ups that helps them grow their products on a larger scale.

Erin Dyer, managing director of Kitchen Council, explains there is currently a lack of commercial kitchen space available for rent in the metro region. “There’s not a lot of help for entrepreneurs within the industry. We want to see more successful activity from small food start-ups, and by providing affordable space and industry-tailored assistance, we can eliminate some of the risk, lower the barriers and grow a supportive community for food entrepreneurs,” she says.

The Kitchen Council, set to open in January 2017, features more than 2,500 square feet of licensed kitchen space. Equipment ranges from large-ticket items (convection ovens, standard ovens, burner ranges, steam jacket kettle and food processors) to smaller wares (sheet trays, pots and pans).

Kitchen Council handles all deep cleaning as well as maintenance so members can focus on their businesses. She says the current facility can hold up to 30 member companies.

“Kitchen Council has different memberships with varying levels of access. Full-time members can use the kitchen anytime. Night and weekend members can access the kitchen from 6pm to 6am and all day … Read More

Continue Reading

Sweet Potato Bake

Recipe and photos by Yuko Dobashi

Yield: 8 servings

2 large sweet potatoes, unpeeled, approximately 1 pound
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg yolk
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
3 to 7 tablespoons milk (add additional milk to make mixture smooth)
8 paper cupcake liners, flattened into circles
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

Place potatoes in a large pot and add cold water to about an inch above the potatoes. Bring to a boil and boil for approximately 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork-tender. Remove from heat and drain.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel the skins, discard and return potatoes to the pot. Add
butter, egg yolk, sugar, cream, vanilla, salt and 3 tablespoons milk to the pot. Mash with a potato masher, adding milk by the tablespoon until smooth
and combined.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Place flattened cupcake liners on cookie sheet. Using two spoons, divide the mixture into 8 equal parts and shape into an oval or boat shape. Place each on its own cupcake paper.

Brush with lightly beaten egg yolk and sprinkle black sesame seeds on top. … Read More

Continue Reading

edible how to

Knife Skills

By Brian Young, Chef de Cuisine, Institute for the Culinary Arts at Metropolitan Community College

Photography by Ariel Fried

Student Danny Flores demonstrates common cuts below.

The ability to produce uniform cuts of foods is essential to avoid smaller overcooked pieces and larger undercooked pieces, and it is the foundation of a great meal. Even cuts of food make a dish look more visually appealing and, with practice, will greatly reduce preparation time.

Students at the Institute for the Culinary Arts at Metropolitan Community College spend hours upon hours practicing their knife skills––including safety––until they reach mastery, which you, too, can do at home.

Note: To avoid injuries while cutting, always use a sharp knife, cut away from yourself and make sure your cutting board is stable. One trick to hold it in place is to set the board on top of a damp dishcloth.


Read More
Continue Reading