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Son of Epic Brunch

Roasted Banana French Toast with Butterscotch Sauce

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Another Sunday gone, given away to daytime cocktails and weighty foods. I write droopy-eyed, ready for siesta or maybe another cocktail.

Son of Epic Brunch, the second monthly Mr. Delicious brunch, was a gluttony of many of our favorite early day gut bombs in copious quantities. In retrospect the forty pound French toast may have been overkill, but that’s ok. I’m in the business of overkill. On the menu today was:

 

Philippine Wagyu Corned Beef Potato Hash

Roasted Banana Bread Pudding-Style French Toast

Colombian Pork Belly Chicharones

Citrus-Marinated Galunggan (local mackerel), Pine Nuts and Raisins

Grilled Vegetables, Fried Parsley and Capers, Lemon

Fresh Fruits with Handmade Granola, Greek Yogurt and Honey

Jeremy’s Bloody Mary Bar

Here are some photo highlights before I drift away into a vodka and pork belly induced slumber. Signing out….

Philippine Wagyu Corned Beef Hash with Poached Egg and Oyster Mushrooms

Roasted Banana French Toast with Butterscotch Sauce

 

Colombian Pork Belly Chicharones

Grilled Cauliflower, Eggplant and Zucchini with Fried Parsley and Capers and Lemon

Fruits and Yogurt

 

The Perfect Bloody Mary

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You wake up late, your eyes are blurry and your head feels like you spent the evening prior at Rammstein concert. Getting up your stomach turns in protest. Hazy memories rush in. You recall tequila shots at 2:00am sounding like a good idea at the time.

You’re in misery and you want relief. This is why we have the Bloody Mary. Is it because tomato juice is packed with vitamins and nutrients? I guess…. but it doesn’t cure your hangover. It only delays it. So it’s like a snooze button for your hangover! Why face now what we can put off ’til later? As we all know the only true cure for a hangover is a complete brunch at the Slagles’.

Anyone who has had cocktails in my home knows I take them very seriously. If prepared with a little extra care your cocktails will reward you with outstanding results. I am often asked if you need to use an expensive spirit to make a good cocktail. The answer is no, but you do have to use a high quality spirit. Use cheap distillates and you should expect more of the above scenario. For Bloody Marys I like to use a good vodka that has some body and character. My two top choices are Stoli and Russian Standard.

As always, I encourage you to take this recipe as a guide and make it your own. Put away the measuring cups and tweak it to your liking.

Jeremy’s Bloody Mary

1 3/4 oz good vodka

3 oz tomato juice

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tsp prepared horseradish

juice of 1/4 lemon

1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp celery salt

salt and fresh cracked black pepper

several dashes Tabasco

for the garnish

sea salt

Korean chili powder

1/2 cornichon

1 green olive

1 pickled pepper

lemon wedge

Prepare your glass by rubbing a lemon around the rim and rolling the rim of the glass in a mixture of sea salt and chili powder. Mix all of the ingredients for the cocktail and mix well with a bar spoon. Crack a little extra black pepper to float on top. Add lots of ice and stir again to chill. Garnish witha lemon wedge and a skewer of cornichon, pepper and olive.

Easy Bitters Recipe

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Bitters is an essential tool in creating balanced and aromatic cocktails. It consists of a high proof base spirit that is aromatized with a number of aromatics. Originally, like many liqueurs, apéritifs and vermouths, it was created for medical purposes. I can personally attest to the stomach soothing properties of bitters and soda when hungover. Never should you use more than a dash in any cocktail or drink as it is quite strong and will quickly overwhelm it. In my last post I talked about the whiskey sour at the Blind Pig where they use Angostura Bitters.

There are two major brands available commercially, Angostura and Peychaud’s, though these are difficult to find in the Philippines. Angostura is made in Trinidad and Peychaud’s is made in New Orleans. I find Angostura to be a bit dark and stronger whereas Peychaud’s is a little lighter and more floral.

As the name would imply bitters is, well, bitter. This bitterness typically derives from wormwood (also used to make absinthe) and gentian. Gentian is a flower native to Europe as well as Africa and the Americas. However if you’re like me you don’t have these things in the pantry so let’s just wing it.

You can use any kind of botanical you want. Citrus works especially well, also any baking spices, dried edible flowers, any dried fruits and herbs. I had some hibiscus (gumamela) that I purchased from Down to Earth in the Salcedo Market. To use this, lay the flowers out, preferably on a wire rack over a sheet pan and let them dry out completely. For a spirit base I used mostly dark rum to give it flavor, depth and color and strengthened that with a high proof vodka.

As is usually the case with my recipes these are approximate measurements. So don’t waste too much time trying to get it exact and take it as san opportunity to experiment on your own.

Jeremy’s Hibiscus Bitters

6 oz. dark rum

2 oz. high proof vodka

1 pack of hibiscus flowers, dried (about 25-30 flowers)

peel of one lemon

one knob of ginger, peeled and sliced

several pieces of cinnamon bark

1 teaspoon whole cloves

2 pods star anise

Combine all of these ingredients in a liquor bottle and shake to incorporate. Store at room temperature and continue to shake it every day. I like to allow mine to infuse for about three weeks. However you can always remove or add ingredients to adjust the flavor and aroma. When you’re happy with the flavor and aroma, strain out the solids. Then line the strainer with a coffee filter and strain again to get a nice clear bitters. We’ll come back to this one in a few weeks.

The Blind Pig, Makati’s Best Poorly Kept Secret-Makati

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The Blind Pig

227 Salcedo St. Corner Gamboa

0917 549 2264

Makati

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So the cat is out of the bag. The Blind Pig was featured on CNNGo Best of Manila last week and I must confess I was a little bit sad. The secret has been told and now the flood gates are open. There’s no use trying to keep it secret anymore so here it is.

I first went to the Blind Pig around December of last year and immediately loved the place. It made me feel like I was back in San Francisco for just a fleeting moment. The influence of the American cocktail culture was evident and surely enough I later learned that the owners had brought in a bartender consultant from Milk & Honey in New York.

So what’s so special about the Blind Pig?

The Blind Pig is a speakeasy-style cocktail bar where there is no sign and the door is locked. After you get buzzed in, you enter a very dimly-lit room with booths around the walls, a couple tables in the center and a four seat bar. The staff will hand you a card with the drink and bar food menu, but are eager to leap off of the menu to suggest classic or prohibition-era cocktails. Maybe that’s why they turn the lights down and hand you a menu with a 4-point font.

The cocktails at the Blind Pig are good. Really good. No sour mix, no freakishly blue schnapps, nor will you find 40 different flavored vodkas. They squeeze citrus to order and use high quality spirits. Also ice is taken very seriously. Depending on the drink you order the ice will either be hand crushed or shaved to the shape of the glass.

When I go, I usually start out with clear spirits before inevitably working my way towards whiskey cocktails as my vision begins to blur. The Gordon’s Cup is a great one to start with. It is a gin based cocktail with muddled cucumber and mint. It is lightly sweetened with simple syrup and then finished with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper. It has a slightly savory aspect from the salt and pepper but is still very refreshing.

Gordon’s Cup

The Gold Rush is a favorite at the Blind Pig. This is made from bourbon, honey and lemon, served in a highball with hand-shaved ice. As I mentioned before, I’m a big fan of the classic whiskey sour and here they top it off with a dash of Angostura bitters.

In the Whiskey Sour frothed egg white gives the drink a creamy texture

What most distinguishes the Blind Pig though is the staff. When they take your order they ask for your name and refer to you by name for the rest if your stay. They have a great depth of product knowledge but pull it off without being stuffy.

In other words they’re doing it right. There’s no shortage of places to go in Manila to slam buckets of San Miguel Light while your ears bleed out from nerve-grindingly high volume pop music. But if you’re looking for a relaxed atmosphere and a really good stiff drink your choices are far fewer. Now let’s hope they are able to keep their chilled vibe despite all of the unwanted attention.

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Whiskey Sours, No Bar Equipment, No Problem

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The first time I ever tried a whiskey sour I wondered why anyone would ever drink something so cloying and disgusting. I was probably somewhere really crappy, like TGI Friday’s and I certainly didn’t know any better. Cheap well whiskey with high fructose corn syrup-charged sour mix and a clever garnish of maraschino cherry wrapped in an orange slice. It’s as though it was created to be loathed.

It wasn’t until moving to San Francisco that I started to warm back up to this cocktail. Now it has become one of my favorites. Like so many other things we eat or drink, if you treat it with a little respect you will get much better returns, and probably less hangover. Use fresh citrus and good whiskey and don’t forget the egg white.

2 oz. whiskey (usually made with Borubon or rye, I like Jameson)

1 oz. simple syrup or 1 tsp. superfine sugar

3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice

1 egg white

1 dash Angustura bitters

ice

If you have all the proper equipment, you will begin by adding all of the ingredients except the ice and bitters into a cocktail mixer. Shake until the egg becomes frothy. Now shake with ice until nice and cold. Strain into a cocktail glass and finish with a dash of bitters.

The egg white imparts a creamy, frothy texture like a cappuccino. Yes, the egg white is raw but you will probably survive. It’s probably not the most dangerous thing you will consume today.

Now here’s the variation I did since I had a quart of delicious Ohio maple syrup freshly smuggled from the States. Be sure to adjust the proportions to your taste. Ideally it shouldn’t be too anything. The base flavor should be whiskey, accented with citrus and maple syrup.

Jeremy’s Maple Leaf

2 oz. Jameson

1 tbsp. maple syrup

3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice

1 egg white

ice

Undaunted by a complete lack of available bar equipment, I tackled the problem like a cook. The frothy egg whites are essentially the start of a meringue. A meringue is made with a whisk.

Add all ingredients except the ice to a mixing bowl and whisk until frothy.

Pour into a glass and stir with ice until very cold. Strain into a cocktail glass and enjoy and repeat.

Epic Brunch at the Slagles

See, I told you it was epic

This Saturday I went to the Salcedo Market as usual, this time to gather ingredients for an event so epic it would make every other day of the week seem banal and trite by comparison. For one morning we will forgo flavorless bowls of twigs and skim milk in favor of good market fresh foods. No more anxiously waiting for the clock to tick noon to take our first sip of sweet sweet booze as we carelessly disregard all norms of society and tact. This is brunch.

See, I told you it was epic

This is best conducted on a lazy Sunday and if done right you may want to block off Monday too. Having just returned from the States I was eager to incorporate some of the goodies we brought back, particularly my Ohio maple syrup and pickled ramps.

Ramps are a type of allium, like onions, garlic and leeks. They are native to the Midwest and only appear in early-spring. They have become highly sought after by upscale restaurants in major cities across the US. They have a really nice woodsy-garlicky kind of flavor. In order to bring them back, we pickled them in red wine vinegar with salt, sugar and spices.

On the menu:

CARABAO MILK PANCAKES ohio maple syrup

LAPU LAPU LOX, PICKLED RAMPS, PAKO SALAD yogurt dill sauce

EGG GRATIN comté, tomate, chinese red spinach, béchamel

OYSTER MUSHROOM POTATO HASH garlic confit

CANDIED BACON coco sugar

Though typically made with salmon, about any kind of fresh fish can be used. Seeing how salmon comes from Scandinavia and lapu lapu is local I went with the latter.

I killed Magellan, cut that bitch up into itty bitty pieces

To make lox start with really fresh fish. Remove the fillets or have your fish monger do it for you. It can be done with the skin on or off. I removed the skin first.

For the curing mix:

2 cups sea salt

1 cup sugar

1 bunch fresh dill, torn

zest of one lemon, grated

1 star anise pod, crushed

1 tbsp whole black peppercorns

Place the fish fillets on a plate and coat them liberally with the curing mix on both sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Find something heavy in your fridge and put it right on top to press the fillets. Allow to cure for about 12 hours, draining the liquid once or twice. Once cured, rinse off the curing mix and pat dry. Slice thinly to serve.

The fillets will be darker and firmer after curing

Traditionally salmon lox are served with cream cheese on bagels. I served mine with pickled ramps and pako salad (a native fern-like green) and a simple sauce of yogurt, whole grain mustard, horseradish and fresh dill.

Other epic food and drink:

Carabao milk pancakes, pale and fluffy like me

Egg gratin, comté, Chinese red spinach, tomato, béchamel

Korean chili powder salt rim