Posts Tagged 'national aquarium in washington dc'

Fresh Thoughts Recipe: Escabeche-Style Grouper

Guests who attend the June 19 Fresh Thoughts dinner at the National Aquarium, Washington, DC, will enjoy a cocktail reception and fine-dining experience from Chef Xavier Deshayes. The dinner’s courses will pair commonly swapped species side-by-side and ask the audience to identify the fish on their plate, begging the question “Do you know what you’re really eating?” The interactive dining experience will include a hearty discussion on seafood fraud with Chef Deshayes, National Aquarium and Oceana experts.

We’re excited to host this dinner in partnership with Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. 

Can’t wait until Wednesday’s dinner to sample the amazing dishes Chef Deshayes has prepared? Try out his recipe for Escabeche-Style Grouper with a Warm Fingerling Potato Salad:

Ingredients for the Escabeche

  •  1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  •  1/2 teaspoon black pepper corn
  • 16 to 24 ounce of black grouper fillet (or any other local, sustainably-sourced grouper) cut on 4 ounce pc.
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  •  1 medium shallot, julienned
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon piment d’espelette
  •  1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 3 strips lemon zest

Directions

  1. Combine the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Pat the grouper dry and toss to coat with the seasoned flour.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan set over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Carefully add the grouper to the pan. Cook on each side for 1 minute.
  3. Using tongs or a fish spatula, transfer the grouper to a 13 by 9-inch glass baking dish. Reduce the heat to medium, add the shallot, and cook until translucent, approximately 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, thyme, coriander, piment d’espelette, white wine, vinegar, and lemon zest. Decrease the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and pour the marinade over the fish. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 1 hour before serving. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 12 hours.

Ingredients for the potato salad

  • 1 pound boiling fingerling potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons good dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons Champagne vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced scallions (white and green parts)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons julienned fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup of whipped cream
  • 1 tablespoons of whole grain mustard

Directions

  1. Drop the fingerlings potatoes into a large pot of boiling salted water and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, until they are just cooked through. Drain in a colander and place a towel over the potatoes to allow them to steam for 10 more minutes. As soon as you can handle them, cut in 1/2 (quarters if the potatoes are larger) and place in a medium bowl. Toss gently with the wine and chicken stock. Allow the liquids to soak into the warm potatoes before proceeding.
  2. Combine the vinegar, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and slowly whisk in the olive oil to make an emulsion. Add the vinaigrette to the potatoes. Add the scallions, dill, parsley, basil, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and toss. Keep the fingerlings potatoes warm. In a bowl mix the whipped cream and whole grain mustard, verified seasoning (reserved for presentation)
  3. At the serving time place on each plate some of the potatoes salad in a center and place the grouper on the top of it. Add a dash of mustard whipped cream on top and a serve.

Want to learn more about our Fresh Thoughts program or reserve tickets for our upcoming dinner in Washington, DC? Click here

A Blue View: Our Ocean Junk

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

June 5, 2013: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

A Blue View podcastListen to John discuss how marine debris
is seriously affecting the health of our oceans. 

In 1900, plastic debris did not exist in the ocean. Today, hundreds of millions of metric tons affect our seas. The oceans need our help now.

Imagine a stroll along the beach. You might picture a beautiful, uncluttered expanse of blue. The reality is that the ocean is a complex system filled with plants, animals, minerals, elements, and, yes, trash.

This trash often ends up in a gyre.  Gyres are large areas of calm water that are encircled by ocean currents formed by the earth’s wind patterns and rotation of the planet. Debris that drifts into these gyres stays there for years – pushed gently in a slow spiral toward the center. Every ocean in the world has a gyre, with additional gyres near Antarctica and Alaska.

five gyres

Map courtesy of 5 gyres.

Within these enormous ocean junkyards, you aren’t likely to see giant pieces of plastic and other trash floating on the surface. Animal ingestion and entanglement in larger types of marine debris is a major issue. But primarily, these garbage patches are made up of plastic that has broken down over time into smaller, sometimes microscopic, pieces. This plastic is suspended in a layer of the water column that reaches below the surface. Because most of the debris isn’t readily visible on the surface, the size of the garbage patch cannot be seen or tracked by satellite or aircraft.

These plastic particles that circulate through oceans act as sponges for contaminants that have washed through our watersheds. These persistent organic pollutants absorb into plastic in high concentrations. Once in the oceans, fish and other marine animals cannot avoid eating this minute particles, so plastic enters the ocean food chain at its most basic level. These fish are then eater by other fish and organisms, delivering this pollution to onto our dinner plate.

So who is responsible for cleaning up these oceanic garbage dumps? Because these gyres are so far from any country’s coastline, no nation has been willing to take responsibility. It’s up to concerned citizens to make this issue a priority. One group that has stepped up to inform and inspire the public about this issue is 5 Gyres. Through events and other outreach opportunities around the country, including at both National Aquarium venues in 2012, the group aims to conduct research and employ strategies to eliminate the accumulation of plastic pollution.

Since plastics are not going away, we as a culture need to figure out how to balance our use of these items with awareness and concern for their impact on the environment. This issue may seem insurmountable, but even one person cutting back on their plastic consumption can make a difference starting today.

Did you know? Approximately 29 billion bottles are purchased every year in the United States. Make a pledge to reduce your consumption of plastic bottles today and help us take better care of our oceans! 

Celebrating Moms of ALL Species!

In celebration of Mother’s Day weekend, we’d like you to meet some spectacular animal moms!

Dolphins
Dolphin moms & calves immediately form a strong bond. They’ll synchronize their breathing and swim patterns for the baby’s first few weeks of life – to keep as close as possible. These dedicated moms will nurse their young for up to 10 years!

dolphin mom and calf

Veteran dolphin moms will also mentor less-experienced females in their colony by allowing them to babysit their young and practice for when they have their own babies.

Giant Pacific Octopuses
Female giant Pacific octopuses have one primary goal: to have one successful brood of eggs in her lifetime.

giant pacific octopus

Females will lay about 200,000 eggs in their lair and defend them at any cost. During the seven months of caring for her eggs, the female octopus is often almost starved to death – she’d ingest a limb before leaving her post for food.

Strawberry Poison Arrow Frogs
After laying her eggs and watching them hatch, strawberry poison arrow frog moms will carry their tadpoles (one by one) from the rain forest floor up trees as high as 100 feet!

strawberry poison frog

Then, she’ll find individual pools of water in the tree leaves for each of her tadpoles to grow, keeping them safe from predators.

Alligators
Alligator moms will go to great lengths to protect their young, including carrying alligator babies in their jaws for protection!

baby alligators

Juvenile American alligators at National Aquarium, Washington, DC

Alligator babies will typically stay close to mom for their first year of life.

Celebrating Ivy’s first Mother’s Day!
This past year, our Linne’s two-toed sloth, Ivy, became a first-time mom to baby, Camden! Making this Mother’s Day a special one for our Aquarium family!

baby sloth

Ivy with her baby Camden!

Thoughtful Thursdays: Let’s Make Everyday ‘Earth Day’

Blog-Header-ConservationExp

Every year since 1970, people around the world have come together on April 22 to celebrate the Earth. Considered the largest civic observance in the world, Earth Day is celebrated by restoring habitats and teaching others about conserving our planet’s natural resources and wildlife.

In recent years, the celebration of our planet has been extended by many to “Earth Week” and even “Earth Month.” I applaud those efforts to extend this day of recognition, however, they beg the question, when will we finally reach the time when every day is “Earth Day?”

With serious threats like climate change, ocean acidification and pollution having an increasingly negative impact on our ecosystems, one day a year to talk about the Earth simply isn’t enough. To make a real difference in the environment, we need to all adopt new behaviors in our daily lives – whether it’s in what we’re buying or what we’re throwing away – that can make an actual impact over time.

Since our inception, the National Aquarium has made a concerted effort to celebrate and preserve the Earth and its diverse ecosystems every day of the year. Whether it’s through engaging with the millions of people who visit our venues annually or through plantings and cleanups out in the field, our staff and volunteers are striving to change collective attitudes and behaviors that have harmed our planet for centuries. We celebrate Earth Day because it’s an opportunity to speak to folks about changing behaviors for the benefit of the planet and its people, but our goal is to minimize our impact on our natural world – and that happens 365 days a year.

This year, I’m asking you to join me in restoring and protecting our natural environment. There are a variety of actions you can take to minimize our individual and collective negative impacts. It’s can be as easy as:

Sticking to these principles (in this order);

  • Refuse –say NO THANKS to straws and lids when possible (we pick up thousands of these in our clean up events)
  • Reduce –carpool, take public transportation or bike or walk to work one day a week – a major source of pollution is emissions from our gas-powered vehicles
  • Reuse –get a reusable water bottle or shopping bag and USE it
  • Recycle –almost every local jurisdiction has a recycling program.  Make sure you are up-to-date on what your county/city can recycle.  The list has expanded tremendously over the past couple of years and close to 50-75% of our waste stream can be diverted from our landfills if we take advantage of the systems that are already in place

Buying local

Making the environment part of your purchasing considerations.  This includes small every day purchases and larger decisions such as appliances, lawn mowers and vehicles.

Conserving water

Joining us for any/all of our conservation events throughout the year

Join your local environmental organization for volunteer opportunities in your area

Even better, starting a conservation initiative of your own and engage your surrounding community!

I’ll be celebrating Earth Day along with everyone else this year, and I hope you do, too. From that day forward, let’s fight together to make our planet a cleaner, healthier place for all of us to share. 

Blog-Header-LauraBankey


Sign up for AquaMail

Twitter Updates


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 236 other followers