Thank you to all who have made inquiries for orders of Mr. D’s Artisnal Philippine Wagyu Corned Beef. My next batch is unfortunately sold out but for the last minute shoppers I will have a batch ready the week before Christmas. Please email at firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries. Have a wonderful Holiday Season and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do (that pretty much leaves it wide open).
As an American living away from home, Thanksgiving dinner is a perennial matter of great concern. I spent my first Thanksgiving abroad in Nice, France. We decided to cook a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for a mixed group of American, French and other nationalities. We scoured the entire region along the southeast of France looking for ingredients like fresh cranberries and molasses.
Most non-Americans do not fully understand how important a holiday it is for us. For many of us (myself included) we would put it above Christmas. This being said I have had many a sub-standard Thanksgiving dinner living around the world. The worst though was in Las Vegas. Without any prior plans we ended up at the Rio Hotel’s buffet for a dining experience that literally made my soul ache.
This is why I made sure to blaze this trail this year. I set out to create the closest facsimile of the real thing that I could possibly create here. Also I had the good fortune of timing being on my side with my newly constructed brick smoker/oven to roast the turkey.
Mr. Delicious Thanksgiving Menu 2012
Apple Wood Smoked Turkey
Traditional Stuffing with Bacon and Dark Stock
Oyster Mushroom Stuffing
Green Bean Casserole with Creamy Mushroom Sauce and Fried Onions
Sweet Potato Casserole with Oat Crumble
1950′s Style Cranberry Salad
Cajun Dirty Rice
Lots of Gravy
Pumpkin Pie with Créme Anglaise
Starting with the turkey, I had about a 6kg (12lb.) bird that I brined for 12 hours. The brine consisted of 1 cup of salt and 1 tablespoon of curing salt for 1 gallon of water. I then added sugar, apple cider vinegar, peppercorns, dried chili flakes and parsley stems. I dropped the turkey into a large bucket I use just for brining and pickling and poured the brine over it. Then I weighted it down with a stack of plates. Since there was not enough room in the fridge I kept it iced down for 12 hours. Then remove and rinse.
Once it was cured, I placed it in front of a fan for about two hours to dry and warm up before smoking. I used a combination of charcoal and apple wood, maintaining a temperature of about 235f (110c). It smoked for about 3 hours until an internal probe reads about 160f (70c). I would later finish it in a hot oven before serving.
Stuffing is a very misunderstood side dish but one of my absolute favorites every Thanksgiving. I was raised on oyster stuffing, but unfortunately I could not find oysters in time (at least I had bacon). There are a couple tricks to making good stuffing. First cook your mirepoix thoroughly before folding it into the bread. Use a good brown poultry stock and season it well. Finally add lots of the stock. Keep ladling more until it can take no more. Then just bake until it’s hot in the center and slather with gravy.
Also unavailable were fresh cranberries. However I was able to substitute dried with some success. I decided to mold the cranberry salad like you might see in cookbooks from the 50′s and 60′s. This was actually quite simple. I gelled some cranberry juice with sugar and garnished it with slices of orange, persimmon and chopped walnuts. I molded it in a cake pan and just warmed it in water to release it from the mold.
My sweet potato casserole sucked in a big way. I need to find a way to better adapt the local sweet potatoes into this dish. The local camote is much starchier than what I’m used to in the States. The result was a really dry texture that I think could be remedied by puréeing it.
My wife (who is also responsible for my conspicuously better photos), prepared two different types of pumpkin pie, both made from the local pumpkin. One was a classic variety and the other was finished with caramel and chopped walnuts.
Though I have cut back on the number of private events in to focus on Mr. D’s, I do still enjoy an occasional event like this. I like to keep it very casual and unassuming. Thank you to all who attended. It sure as hell beat the Rio…
It has been a busy time chez Mr. D of late. Mr. D’s Artisanal is a finalist in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Next Food Entrepreneur contest. Our group just finished our second weekend at Midnight Mercato in BGC. I would like to congratulate all of my fellow concessionaires competing in the contest for bringing their creative food concepts to bear. That being said, I hope I win…
I stopped in Salcedo Market yesterday and spoke to Marco Lobregat of Ministry of Mushrooms. He handed me a paper bag with a new variety of mushroom that he is growing called Milky Mushrooms (Calocybe Indica). With his assurances they would not make me see things he told me to take them and experiment with them. Challenge accepted.
These mushrooms are very plump and firm, sharing some characteristics of a portabella or button mushroom. They really need to be roasted pretty well, or next time I might try to grill them. They retain a pretty firm texture even after cooking and are really meaty.
One produce vendor had some really fresh camote tops (sweet potato leaves) and mustard greens and also some free range eggs. When you have really fresh greens for cooking the next day, I think it’s best to wilt or blanch them when their still freshest. These were simply wilted in a pan, covered with no oil or seasoning. Then I cooled it and put it in the fridge for the next day.
This afternoon, rolling out of bed after a long weekend of Midnight Mercato, this was the perfect ensemble to restore some of my energy.
Pan Roasted Milky Mushrooms, Wilted Greens, Poached Egg and Aged Balsamic
10-12 milky mushrooms, sliced in half
1 bunch mustard greens
1 bunch comote tops
2-3 good eggs
1 clove garlic, minced
1 shit ton of butter
oil for sautéing
1 tbsp cheap vinegar
1 drizzle aged balsamic vinegar
Set one large sauté pan on medium high heat and set up a second pan for poaching eggs. In a shallow high-walled pan put water halfway up and add the cheap vinegar. Turn heat to medium.
When the sauté pan is hot add oil and mushrooms with the flat side down. Allow them to caramelize mostly undisturbed until they develop a nice brown color and become aromatic. Move and rotate them as needed to even out the cooking. Once caramelized, add a shit ton of butter and most of the garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Flip all of the mushrooms and baste them with the hot butter until they are cooked through. Remove the mushrooms and drain them on a plate lined with paper towel.
Add your greens to the same pan to pick up flavor from the mushrooms. Either wilt them or reheat them if they’re already wilted. Add the remainder of the garlic and season with salt and pepper.
Next poach your eggs, making sure the poaching liquid is at a low simmer. Carefully drop each cracked egg into the water and gently poach until the white is just opaque.
Gently lift the poached eggs out with a slotted spoon and drain off any water before plating. Season with salt and pepper.
Next just plate them all together. The greens make a nice bed for the poached egg and also, placing the poached eggs on the hot greens helps keep the egg warm. Drizzle some good aged balsamic around the plate to garnish. The runny yolk makes a delicious sauce for the plate.
In support of Ministry of Mushrooms’ Mushrooms Go Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, I am offering up a recipe that includes many of the healthy foods recommended to reduce risks of certain cancers including breast cancer. Better late than never, mrdelicious.ph is jumping in the pool here in the last week of the month.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so many different food media outlets have been debating about the health benefits and possible cancer risk reduction properties of certain foods. Certain foods such as leafy greens, whole grains and seeds are often recommended to help reduce the risk of breast cancer. Also studies have indicated a connection between eating mushrooms and lowering risks of developing certain tumors.
For this dish I grabbed several of the foods from the pantheon of ‘super foods’ that are densely packed with many different nutrients. Chia seeds, for example, have more omega 3 fatty acid than flax seed. I add this and wheat germ to the pizza dough to make the flat bread. The wheat germ adds another huge dose of folic acid, fiber and minerals. The garnish of oyster mushrooms, roasted beets and mustard greens provides your body a bevy of vitamins and minerals, essential to a healthy diet.
However, I’m not really qualified to debate this topic. I’m just the cook. So I’ll teach you how to work with these ingredients to make really good tasting food.
I have a few tricks I like to use when cooking for my son to sneak in nutrition-boosting foods. I like to keep a bag of chia seeds, quinoa and wheat germ around to add to soups and sauces. This flat bread recipe produces a nice thin flat, crispy bread. It has a cracker like consistency and the chia seeds provide a pleasant crunch and nutty flavor. The wheat germ affects the texture less than a whole wheat flour might but still adds loads of nutrition.
First, this crispy chia seed and chive flat bread could be used for a number of purposes. Use it for hummus or eggplant dips or as a pizza dough.
Start by making the dough
3 cups type ‘oo’ flour
1 cup warm water, plus extra
1 tbsp dry, active yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 tbsp chia seeds
Parmesan for garnish
3 tbsp chives
Combine the yeast with the warm water to activate. Add chia seeds to same water and allow to sit until bubbles begin to appear.
Combine all other ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend together. Add water to dry ingredients and mix together by hand. Add more water only as needed to bring the dough together. Once incorporated, knead the dough for 5 minutes on a floured surface.
Place dough in a floured bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise for about 20 minutes and gently punch down the dough to remove the large air bubbles. Allow to rise for another 30-40 minutes until it has doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, prepare the other ingredients
2 small bunches mustard greens, cleaned and chopped
2 cups oyster mushrooms, cleaned and torn
3 red beets, peeled
12 shallots, peeled
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cloves garlic, whole unpeeled
feta cheese for garnish
canola oil or palm oil
Preheat the oven to 175c/350f. Carefully slice the peeled beets into even 1/4″ slices. Add to a roasting or cake pan with the whole garlic cloves and whole shallots and season with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and roast in the oven, stirring occasionally until the beets are knife tender.
Preheat a sauté over medium high heat. Once the pan is nice and hot add enough oil to just coat the pan. Add the oyster mushrooms in one layer and allow them to sit undisturbed until they begin to color on the bottom side. Then add a small amount of garlic, a small nub of butter and season with salt and pepper. Toss several times and remove to a plate to cool.
In the same pan over medium heat add mustard greens, garlic and salt and pepper. Slowly wilt down the mustard greens, stirring constantly until most of the water is cooked out but they retain their firm texture. Return the mushrooms with to the pan with the greens and heat them back up together.
Roll out the flat bread
Preheat oven to 225c/450f. With a small amount of flour for dusting, roll out the flat bread to about 1/8th” thickness. Dust a sheet pan with a little flour or wheat germ and lay the rolled dough out on it. Brush generously with olive oil, and season with a little salt and black pepper. Next grate some fresh Parmesan over it and sprinkle with chopped chives (I like to use the white part here).
Place pan in the oven and bake until bubbles form and the bread begins to toast, about 7-10 minutes, then remove from oven.
Garnish flat bread
Lay down beet slices over the flat bread and then follow with the oyster mushrooms and mustard greens. Then sprinkle crumbled feta cheese over the top and garnish with the roasted shallots from the beets.
Return to the oven until all ingredients are hot and the feta softens. Remove and drizzle with more olive oil and sprinkle with chopped chives. If toasted properly it will hold all of the toppings without buckling under the weight and will have a wonderful crispy texture.
Mr. D’s Artisanal is at Podium on the second floor atrium right now along with a number of other food vendors for Pinoy Eats World, World Eats. I’ll be slingin’ sammiches here made from my Philippine Wagyu Corned Beef. I will be making a classic reuben and a killer slider with horseradish mayo, pickled red onion and a corned beef jus for dipping.
Also here today:
- Da.u.de Tea
- Spring by Ha Yuan-Hong Kong specialties
- Cafe de Bonifacio
- Pinkerton Ice Cream by Alexandra Rocha
- The Fruit Garden Luxury Jams
- Angus Beef Tapa Lady
- Turkish Express Kabab
If you don’t follow me on Twitter now would be the time because today I will be announcing a secret code word worth a free slider. I’ll be here tonight, tomorrow and Sunday all day long. I will also be in Soderno Weekend Market tomorrow and Sunday (that’s right, two places at once). Come out and check it out. Get your food trip on!
Freedom of speech in the Philippines is under attack. The Cybercrime Act recently signed into law is a disastrous piece of legislation, the consequences of which could only be to the detriment of your rights.
Those whose careers are most vulnerable to criticism through free exchange of information and ideas, have criminalized libel online in bold defiance of the Philippine Bill of Rights. As well the Cybercrime Law grants sweeping powers to law enforcement to monitor the online activity of Filipinos and shut down websites, all without due process.
What does this have to do with a food blog?
Well, for starters, I could no longer speak critically about anything, publicly or even privately by email without fear of ruinous legal consequences. Should I write a post criticizing a restaurant or other business (which I have been known to do), I could be subject to criminal charges. The definition of a “libelous statement” is murky at best, so the advantage would clearly be to those with the best lawyers, in other words most money. Furthermore my website is a .ph and could be shut down or blocked without any due process.
Am I also responsible for censoring the comments left on my website? Am I liable for these comments?
From now on all restaurant reports will be sparkling. I love everything! Why? Because I have no intention of being on Locked Up Abroad, that’s why.
In the States, like many other countries, there are restaurant critics, there’s Yelp.com and countless other ways that professional and amateur critics can bash and talk irrational shit about a restaurant. Sometimes they even have good things to say. The advantage to you as a diner is that you are empowered with an abundance of information to make a choice where you want to eat. You may use this information but must take all of the reviews with a grain of salt. Nothing like this exists in the Philippines yet, and it never will with criminalized libel on the books. The liability to the reviewer is just too great.
What does this have to do with you?
Ok, so most of you maybe don’t operate websites and let’s say you only use the internet for Facebook and sharing pictures of cats. Well you’re not off the hook either. Think twice before you click ‘Like’ and consider every possible ramification and distortion of every online comment you make.
Let’s say I write a post about a terrible restaurant experience. You read my post, maybe Tweet it or Like it, or make a witty comment below, such as “LOL.” Suddenly when the lawyers come for me they will also note your endorsement of my libelous statement, or indeed, “laughing out loud” about it. Now you’re on the hook too. ROFL or LMAO may be tantamount to treason. We don’t know, because in their clumsiness, the Senate has left this to the courts to figure out and ruin people’s lives and livelihoods until they do. Every comment in every social media platform is public. Even your emails are now subject to inspection by the NBI and are considered public if viewed by more than one person.
The insidious thing about libel is that it could be a statement that’s perfectly true or an opinion that’s perfectly well grounded. In further absurdity the truth of the statement is not considered a defense. Libel was a tool in Mike Arroyo’s belt when he filed over 40 lawsuits against Filipino journalists to dissuade criticism. Now imagine each of these further criminalized with a 6-12 year prison term as is now the case for online libel. This law will only further empower those seeking to stifle critics, those victims of “cyber-bullying.”
The Philippines is uniquely poised with strong economic growth in recent years to become a formidable economic force in Southeast Asia. But as Philippines Director Neeraj Jain of Asian Development Bank said, “issues like poor infrastructure and weak governance must be tackled if the country’s economic gains are to benefit all.” What will motivate government officials to tackle these problems without public pressure and criticism?
What do we do now?
This law has been decried by the UN Human Rights Committee and Human Rights Watch because of the draconian penalties it imposes and the consequences it will likely bring for freedom of speech. The opposition is gaining ground so make lots of noise until this law is drastically modified or repealed.
Just a gentle reminder:
Section 3. (1) The privacy of communication and correspondence shall be inviolable except upon lawful order of the court, or when public safety or order requires otherwise as prescribed by law.
Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.
It’s official! I just called and confirmed that Ukokkei is open again on Pasay Rd. in Makati despite rumors from the mayor’s office that they had no plans to reopen.
Please go and report back. I’ll be going in for a long awaited bowl of tan tan men very soon.
Edit, after visiting:
So I heard from Twitter that Ukokkei was open, picked up the phone and called. Indeed! They are. I was wrong in my earlier conclusion that they had closed for good.
I didn’t waste a minute from there. Traffic was grid-locked, as usual around dinner time in Makati, so I just hoofed it. When I arrived I was greeted by this sign, kind of explaining the closure.
The same chef was at the helm and an older Japanese gentleman was there that I presumed was the owner. I was one of the first to arrive but before long the restaurant filled up.
As much as I missed the tan tan men, the most classic ramen was what I really craved. In just a few minutes I was staring down at a steaming bowl of Shoyu Chashu with a cold Pale Pilsen on the side. There was an old man sitting next to me at the bar loudly slurping his noodles, eating it with rice. For just a fleeting moment, everything seemed right in the world.
After I finished my ramen, the waitress brought over a bottle in a paper gift bag. “Bottle of wine, sir” she said awkwardly to me. I was confused so I asked. She explained that they are giving a bottle of wine for each bowl of ramen today and tomorrow. Clearly they have responded to the negative press they have suffered from in recent months.
Welcome back Ukokkei.
In the past couple weeks there have been numerous skirmishes on social media and in the news on the not-so-new debate over the benefits of organic vs. conventional foods and farming. A Stanford study published in the September 4 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine pissed gasoline all over the fire and set it alight anew.
Let me begin with one semantic gripe about this debate. To call this “organic vs. conventional” is a misnomer. Conventional farming is an invention of the 20th century whereas organic farming was invented some time around 8,000 b.c. Therefore the burden of proof is upon “conventional” farming, not organic. But I digress.
I read about the Stanford study the day it was published. There wasn’t anything too surprising or groundbreaking about it. The study’s conclusions were basically that no significant difference was found between organic and conventional meats and produce in nutritional value. It also concluded that organic foods contained considerably less pesticide and antibiotic-resistant bacteria contamination.
The conclusions were based on 17 studies in humans and 223 studies on nutrient values in foods. One detail I think was important but largely overlooked was that the study was non-clinical and heterogeneous. Meaning, for example, its conclusions could be drawn by comparing a ripe tomato from one part of the US to an unripe tomato from a different part of the US.
The problem started when the media grabbed ahold of it, knowing this could be spun into a controversial topic, and a frenzy ensued. Headlines read “Stanford Scientists Cast Doubt on Advantages of Organic Meat and Produce” from the New York Times and “Organic food no healthier than non-organic: study” from Reuters. Really Reuters? Is that the most accurate way to depict the findings?
Following the media reaction as always is the social media over-reaction. First came a million “I told you so tweets” from the curious anti-organic camp.
Dozens of foolish straw man arguments have been popping up on the internet recently to purport this as the silver bullet that killed the organic movement. Their approach is to poorly refute an argument that we never made, and then call us all hippies (I wish this was a joke).
Gee.Shocker that Organomaniacs will ignore: Stanford study finds Organic food no more nutritious than cheaper foodgoo.gl/TncJu
— Michael Specter (@specterm) September 4, 2012
I don’t know if Michael Specter would characterize me as an “organomaniac,” since I generally prefer organic foods but have been know to occasionally devour an entire bag of Cheddar Cheese Jalapeño-Flavored Cheetos. Nothing but full on hypocrisy here at Mr. Delicious, and that’s a promise!
But ignore it they did not. To the contrary this study became a huge inflammatory topic amongst organics enthusiasts and activists with many crying conspiracy, even attacking the scientists behind the study.
Now everyone, please, take a deep breath and relax. The organic movement isn’t going anywhere, and for those of you who prefer the taste of pesticides on your produce, I’m sure Monsanto isn’t either. This study really didn’t change anything and we’re all going to die on December 21 anyway. So you might as well just settle in.
For those that are at all informed on the topic, it was never about nutritional content, but rather a distrust of the effects of chemical pesticides and reckless use of antibiotics in or foods.
It’s also about the effects that conventional farming is having on the environment. With a relatively short history it’s hard to determine what the long term effects might be. I remember being stung by a lot of bees when I was a child. Somehow I suspect my son will not be so imperiled as they’re a lot harder to find now.
Many of us find it hard to believe or even a bit arrogant the claim that science has an exhaustive understanding of the effects all of the chemicals in our lives. Each generation looks at the last in disbelief. How could they not have known better? What will the next generation think about this?
The conclusion here is that there is no conclusion. I really don’t believe these scientists did anything wrong and were only furthering our understanding of important issues. So don’t kill the scientists, we might need them. By there own admission there is still much to study. And the debate will go on.
Villa Gloria Subdivision,
Angeles City, Pampanga
(02) 6684038, (02) 5024527
Often the question has been posed to me by Filipinos, why is it that Filipino food isn’t popular internationally? I do have opinions on the matter, but I won’t feign a response just yet. I’d like to hear the theories of those who visit mrdelicious.ph. Clearly you’re here because you like food and particularly food in the Philippines, so you probably have an opinion on the matter. You’re certainly not here because of my photography skills.
Claude and Mary Ann Tayag are working to change that. They are fighting the good fight and getting recognized for it. Famously they were visited by Anthony Bourdain to shoot No Reservations in the Philippines. I first learned about the Tayags when I was moving to the Philippines and started researching the local food scene. I’ve yet to encounter anyone else who embodies this philosophy like he does. Natural and local foods, slow cooking, he is a true champion for the cause of Filipino cuisine.
Claude is an artist, his work heavily influenced by his travels and Filipino folk art. I find the notion of a chef/artist interesting as food is often, I believe wrongly, called a form of art. Though that’s a discussion for another day…
Claude’s art work is beautifully integrated throughout the dining space and garden amongst rustic wood and abundant flora. Combining this with Mary Ann’s acute sense of detail, the pair have created an atmosphere that prepares the guest for what is to come, and there’s a lot to come.
Ten courses, with a few added demi-courses, and they’ll even threaten you with seconds. The food is really delicious but thing I will say about Filipino food: it is not light.
With each course Mary Ann diligently explains not just the dish, but the significance of the dish. Mary Ann is able to learn the names of all of her guests and is an incredible hostess. She is coyly enthusiastic with the underlying mannerism of a school teacher that you probably shouldn’t cross. I really enjoyed her contributions and the information she provided really enriched the experience.
Claude’s nuanced style was characteristic throughout each course. His food is understated in a way that that never distorts the purity of its heritage. Each plate is simply presented and very satisfying.
I expected great food at Bale Dutung and I was certainly not disappointed. Where they really won me over was in the experience they create. It’s not enough to have good food without ambiance and it’s not enough to have passion without execution. The Tayags have set the bar very high for the rest and good for them.
Claude spoke few words during our meal but his knowledge and his intensity and spirit showed through his art and his food. I look forward to returning and would love to bring visitors from outside of the Philippines to show them how great Filipino food can be.
I finally made it to the Collective on Malugay last week. If you haven’t been already it’s worth checking out if for no other reason than the cool urban art on the walls inside.
Essentially the Collective is a large warehouse space subdivided into smaller units which serve as an incubator for small, independent businesses. Up front there are a number of restaurants. Toward the back on the right side of the is Ritual. This is where I found my take away souvenir, Katipunan Craft Indio Pale Ale.
I have been wanting this for some time, an alternative to the perfectly mediocre San Miguel dominance of the Filipino beer scene. I don’t particularly dislike San Miguel, and do consume my weight in it on a fair regular basis. But there hasn’t been an active micro-brewer to represent the Philippines.
It’s a well-crafted beer. Balanced, a little hoppy and full-flavored. It made me want for a steaming pot of mussels and fries… might need to make this happen.
I don’t think they produce a huge amount of this beer, but now I’ve discovered it. I can only hope there’s enough left for the rest of you.