Salt, Time, Smoke

Merry Christmas from Mr. D’s Artisanal Sundries

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 jeremy@mrdelicious.ph for inquiries. Have a wonderful Holiday Season and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do (that pretty much leaves it wide open).

Thanksgiving with Mr. Delicious

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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

Mashed Potatoes

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.

My coloring could have been better but it tasted really damn good and the skin still became crisp

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.

It’s best when the top is crusty but the interior is moist and soft

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…

Sunday Rehabilitation

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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.

Revolutions in Brewing-Katipunan Craft Indio Pale Ale

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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.

So here it is. I saw on Twitter that they are fermenting an Oatmeal Stout and that news makes me happy. Support them! Here’s their Facebook page and Twitter profile.

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.

The Collective

7274 Malugay

Makati

Spices at Assad Mini Mart-Makati

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Edit: I do not own Assad and am not affiliated in any way with this business. This is only a blog post on Assad. If you have any questions about products they carry I suggest you call one of the numbers below. I will not approve any more of these questions in my comment section. Thank you!

-Jeremy

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I have found it to be a bit challenging at times to find all of the raw ingredients in Manila for the various cooking projects I have undertaken. Though selections in supermarkets have improved when cooking non-Filipino foods especially, you have to do a little searching.

That’s why I’m adding a new category to this website to assist others as I assume I’m not the only one. For any market report I do I will add a Where to Find tag for the primary items that can be found at a given market, beginning with spices at Assad Mini Mart. Most places in Manila still don’t have much of an online presence so I’ll help them along.

Assad Mini Mart is am Indian grocer with a good selection of grocery items and halal foods. They sell frozen and fresh flat breads, as well as dairy items and dried legumes. However the one thing I got excited about was their large selection of inexpensive spices.

I stocked up my pantry on a number of the spices that are either hard to find at the grocery store or prohibitively priced. In many cases you will pay 6-8 times the money per gram than you would here. Although if you are not too familiar with the looks of different spices you may want to ask for assistance because they aren’t exactly well labeled.

At the front counter they have a hot case with potato samosas for p15. I picked up four and made an all-starch lunch out of them. They have a nice curry kick to them and the tamarind sauce is perfect.

According to the calling card I procured they have three locations which I will list below. The one I go to is in Makati on Jupiter. As always feel free to contact me or leave comments if you’re searching for something in particular and I will do my best to point you in the right direction. Otherwise share your findings so we can have a consolidated resource here on mrdelicious.ph to assist home cooks in procuring ingredients.

Assad Mini Mart Locations:
Unit 1-A Eurocrest Building
126 Jupiter St., Bel-Air Vil,
897-2543

Midtown Executive Homes
1268 United Nations Ave.
526-1349, 526-5034

Door #5 Thaddeus Arcade, San Roque
Marikina City
645-1596

Paris Délice, Francofication-Makati

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Paris Délice
1 Juno Street, corner Makati Ave.
1209 Makati City, Manila
PHILIPPINES

Phone:+(632) 798 0740
FAX:+(632) 421 0162
E-mail: contact@parisdelice.com.ph

http://www.paris-delice.com/

Situated on Makati Avenue, Paris Délice sits amongst a thousand fast food restaurants like a tiny oasis of French-ness. Though it is a self-described “alternative fast food” it is without a doubt a higher quality option than its neighbors. It’s not just fast food. It’s le fast food.

There are a couple of things that make this place a stand out against Coeur de France, which is more of a perverted mutation rather than an oasis of French-ness. Paris Délice imports their bread and croissant dough from France. Though I would love to see a good local option, as far as I can tell this does not exist. So perhaps their importing solution is still best.

When I first moved to France I didn’t understand why anyone would ever get excited about a plain butter croissant. But when you try a good one, you understand. In the hands of a skilled baker they have a flaky, crispy exterior with a soft, buttery interior.

My favorite breakfast

Paris Délice is French-owned and the authenticity is evident. Though a very simple café concept it is very simple and focused. They offer sandwiches, salads, soups, pastries and a few pastries. The sandwiches are exactly like what I used to eat about 5-7 times a week when I lived in Paris. The one I keep going back for is the Napoléon, which is Rosette de Lyon (a dried saucisson or French salami) with cornichons and butter on baguette.

Butter is indeed a wonderful condiment

They also offer free WiFi and have a delivery service. The minimum order for delivery is p300 and there is an additional p30 delivery fee. I think it’s really smart of them to offer this service because good bread can be difficult to get in Manila.

If you find yourself experiencing any French withdrawal symptoms this is an easy and inexpensive fix. Bravo for making high quality convenience food. Combined with free WiFi and strong coffee these poor people will never get rid of me.

Dinner with Internations and Some Damn Good Corned Beef

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Last year when I moved to the Philippines I spent a lot of time searching online. I was here in a relatively unfamiliar country and was looking to get to know people and to find all of the things I might want. I began to wonder what other expats have done in this  situation.

That’s when I discovered Internations.org. Internations is a worldwide organization that helps connect expats through its website and events. I was a quiet stalker member for a year before I started attending the events a couple months ago.

The events are pretty fun and I can always find interesting conversation. The people in attendance can be from literally anywhere in the world and in most cases the Philippines is not the only country in which they have lived abroad. Each has a story, a meandering path which has ultimately lead them here, for more reasons than can be imagined.

Forgoing the chef coat for a casual dinner, photo credit: Alexis Kayanan

So when I was approached by an Internations member about cooking a dinner for her DinnerNations sub-group, I was happy to oblige. We settled on a casual buffet menu based on comfort foods, which gave me the opportunity to prepare my second test batch if corned beef.

After slow cooking for five hours

Here’s the menu from Saturday’s event:

Guinness Braised Philippine Wagyu Corned Beef

Cabbage, Baby Carrots and Potatoes, Poached with the Corned Beef

Cauliflower Cheddar Gratin

Roasted Beets with Arugula, Local Goat Cheese, Roasted Pecans, Honey and Mint

Classic Caesar Salad

Mushroom Barley Risotto with Roasted Eggplant and Leeks

Spiced Ginger Cake with Vanilla Custard Sauce

Photo credit: Alexis Kayanan

Much of what I do here is to advocate what is good and local in Philippine agriculture. If ever faced with a decision between an imported product and a high quality local product, the choice is clear to me. This is the core principle behind my brand Mr. D’s Artisanal.

My first product is a Philippine Wagyu Corned Beef. My beef brisket is Kitayama Beef sourced from Mindanao. Kitayama Beef is the local beef brand owned by the same owners as Malcolm’s. They raise their cattle, which are a cross breed of local and Japanese, near Cagayon de Oro. Their cattle are pampered and raised with the same methods as Kobe, which results in fantastically marbled meat that melts in your mouth.

This marbling makes it ideal for a slow-cooked corned beef. The fat slowly melts and holds the flavor of the beef and the spices. I will do my final tweeks on the recipe before I launch, but I’m pretty damn happy with the results already.

I will begin producing this in very small batches that will be completed each Thursday. The price will be p475 for 500 grams or p925/kg.

Please contact me for order information. You can easily feed a crowd with this so if you have a upcoming party contact me in advance to ensure supply.

8 Years and Going Strong at the Salcedo Market

BBQ smoke rises on Leviste

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Salcedo Market

Jaime Velasquez Park between Leviste & Tordesillas Streets

Salcedo Village, Makati

Every Saturday 7am-2pm

BBQ smoke rises on Leviste

I was invited by the organizers of the Salcedo Market to come join them for their 8th anniversary celebration. They had the Manila Dance Foundation performing traditional folk dances and the vendors serving Independence Day foods.

I had a good talk with the ladies of Salcedo and also ran into Anton Diaz and family of Mercato Centrale and Our Awesome Planet.

Frankly it didn’t take a great deal of convincing because I make a point to go there every Saturday. This is where most of my cooking projects begin.

The organizers started the Salcedo Market 8 years ago to bring the community of Salcedo Village together every Saturday. This they accomplished this and much more as the market grew in popularity beyond their expectations.

Now the Salcedo Market is one of the leading places in Manila to go for high quality foods, both raw and prepared, with a focus toward natural and organic, local products.

Since my last post was in excess of 800 words I will spare you my blathering and tell you this story with lots of pretty pictures.

Tuyo and tinapa-dried and/or smoked herring

Salted duck eggs

Lapu lapu, a member of the grouper family, this white-flesh, mild fish is abundant in the waters around the Philippines

They have this neat pony ride but I couldn’t figure out where the coins go

European-style breads, this is what I used for my 40 Pound French Toast

They got crabs!

Ministry of Mushrooms grows and sells awesome local oyster mushrooms

Fresh seafood on display

DGM Organics is the busiest and largest produce vendor

I love the Chinese sausage here. He also sells dried shitakes and fried pigeon.

Ilocos empanadas are a great hangover remedy

Down to Earth is a little bit hard to spot. They’re in the middle section and have incredible greens and herbs as well as local meats. This is where I bought my hibiscus flowers.

Grilled bangus, or milkfish, wrapped in banana leaves and stuffed with tomatoes and onion. This my favorite choice for a quick lunch to bring home from the market.

This is what I looked like before I hatched

Something Different has numerous varieties of stuffed pan de sal and the best kesong puti (white cheese) to be found