Salt, Time, Smoke

Yolanda Action Weekend

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Edit: I want to apologize for an error I made in this poster. Just before we finalized the list for the poster, I received word that Chili’s Rockwell wanted to join Yolanda Action Weekend. I decided to add them to the poster so that we could include them in our promotion. This information turned out to be false and I clearly should have waited for their confirmation. I understand Chili’s ran their own benefit which was already finished. I apologize for any confusion I may have caused.

 

Thank you to all of the local food community who volunteered their businesses to raise money for the Philippine Red Cross. Here is the latest list of participants.

If you are dining out this weekend we ask that you do it where your money will also help the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. We promise there are plenty of options. If you want to connect with other diners who are supporting the cause, upload your food pics to your favorite social networks with the hash tags #YolandaActionWeekend and #ReliefPH so we can all connect.

Yolanda Action Weekend

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Of course we are all overwhelmed by the calamity of Typhoon Yolanda and of course we all want to help. Individually our resources might not be great but collectively we can make an impact.

This weekend, local food and beverage businesses are organizing to pool their resources to benefit the Philippine Red Cross. For this weekend 11/16-11/17 Mr. Delicious will do it’s part by donating 20% of its sales from Salcedo and Legazpi Markets directly to the Philippine Red Cross. Many, many others are following suit.

Support this further by using hash tags #YolandaActionWeekend and #ReliefPH to connect with others through social media.

If you would like to donate directly to the Red Cross you can do so here.

Witnessing this develop, I am humbled once again by the groundswell of support by this community whenever their countrymen are in need of help. Join us!

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.

World Eats by Pinoy Eats World in Podium Mall

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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!

Linamnam sa Pampanga, Bale Dutung-Angeles City

Seafood Kare Kare, very photogenic and delicious. Again this would have been a great meal on its own and we were all painfully full at this point.

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Bale Dutung

Villa Gloria Subdivision,
Angeles City, Pampanga

Mobile: 09175359198
(02) 6684038, (02) 5024527
reserve@baledutung.com

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…

The garden behind Bale Dutung is beautiful with the serene feel of a Japanese zen garden

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.

Communal tables are set amidst rustic wood and traditional fabrics

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.

Claude shares my passion of fermentation. Some of these sugar cane vinegars are more than a decade old.

Beginning with a Pako Salad, very light and fresh. Pako is a wonderful and abundant native green that I just discovered this year.

Chicken Inasal with Talangka Rice. Ironically in school we were taught to throw this part in the trash. The French are not fond of the chicken butt.

Adobong Pugo, this was one of my favorite dishes served. The quail was more subtly seasoned than most adobos and the liver and pan de sal were delicious together. I would be more than happy with just this.

 

Crispy shredded lechon with Claude’s homemade kimchi, absolutely brilliant! He’s ushering in a new generation of halo halo Filipino cuisine, incorporating Filipino, Mexican and Korean and it’s really damn good. Photo credit: Gen Enriquez-Gerodias (thanks!)

This pig made the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good. Claude’s knife glided through the crispy skin, which he served to enthusiastic diners.

Bulanglang Kapampangan, similar to sinigang but with very different flavor from the ripe guava. The soup is traditionally thick and it was garnished with prawns, bangus belly and pork spare ribs as well as sinigang vegetables.

Sisig, mmmmm… sisig. Claude and his family are champions of this traditional kapampangan dish. They pan fry it and offer an assortment of condiments and garnishes, pineapple juice, chilies, onions, sea salt and of course, pig brain.

The Bone Collector, beef marrow one with adobo XO sauce. Gratuitously carnivorous and my first experience sucking bone marrow through a straw. Why didn’t I think of that?

Seafood Kare Kare, very photogenic and delicious. Again this would have been a great meal on its own and we were all painfully full at this point.

We finished with a carabao milk Maja Blanca and a local barako coffee also with carabao milk and muscovado sugar. We had mostly sworn off food forever by this point.

By the end of the meal our host, my brother-in-law, Jardine began to succumb to abdominal bloating and dangerously high cholesterol levels, fading in and out of consciousness.

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.

Thanks Chef!

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

Philippine Wagyu Corned Beef

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Today my friends at pepper.ph ran a contest for my Philippine Wagyu Corned Beef featuring Kitayama beef. I am in the process of launching a brand, beginning with my corned beef, of locally sourced cured meats and pickled foods called Mr. D’s Artisinal.

I have always been an advocate of local agriculture, wherever local may be for you. In my case it’s the Philippines, so as long as I’m in the Philippines I will support Filipino farmers. Kitayama beef is raised in northern Mindanao and the cattle are a cross-breed of Japanese cows and native. This is the same beef that is served in Malcolm’s and is outstanding quality.

My corned beef is made from the brisket cut which is cured for one week then is available as is or slow-cooked for five hours. I spent one month perfecting the recipe before letting the public try and I am quite proud of it. I think you’ll all love it.

This combined with the expertise of Photo Kitchen has made this quite a success. My inbox lit up like a Christmas tree with orders. I will try my best to keep up with demand but I ask your patience while I kick my production into high gear. I will provide some general ordering information below for your reference while I catch up with emails.

So I will get to work. Thank you for supporting my product and Philippine agriculture!

Order Information

Mr. D’s Artisanal Philippine Wagyu Corned Beef       p475/500g -or- p925/kg

  • It is currently out of stock but will be available again on Thursday 7/19
  • It is available raw or slow cooked (some weight loss will occur during cooking)
  • Right now it is available for pick up only in Salcedo Village or Dasmariñas Village, Makati (delivery available soon!)
  • Please email me for orders- jeremy@mrdelicious.ph
  • Also please bear with me as I increase production. Supplies are limited.

My Trip to Barangay Encanto, a Visit to GK Enchanted Farm

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I get lost a lot living in the Philippines. Sometimes I don’t even have to leave Makati to get hopelessly lost.  So for me to drive solo deep into Bulacan was an ambitious endeavor.

A dozen wrong turns later after desperately looking for street signs that don’t exist I saw a beacon of hope, a wind power turbine. It looked every bit as much out of place in its surroundings as I did. Found it!

Gawad Kalinga is a non-profit organization whose goal is to eradicate poverty in the Philippines through community building and social enterprise. What’s unique about them is they build an economic platform for the poor to sustain themselves. So it’s not about handouts but making profits in a socially responsible manner. Capitalism 2.0.

The Enchanted Farm is the model of GK’s vision. They have brought in the poorest families from the surrounding province. Many of these people came from other parts of the Philippines to Manila looking for work. When they were unable to find work they would live as squatters, under bridges and in the slums of Manila. The local government would literally truck them out to Bulacan where they would remain.

GK would offer them homes, education and a livelihood. Some of these people were even involved in communist militant groups. Many will turn to militancy when they perceive no other options. When they are given other options they would follow peaceful pursuits. After all many of them have marketable skills. There are farmers, basket weavers, textile makers, etc. What they did not have was the means to produce and market their wares.

Hand-crafted baskets ready to be sold

One such product is Enchantea which is a brand of healthy brewed tea drinks made from local fruits and botanicals. One product was being developed that was a blend of lemongrass, calamansi and comote leaves. It was delicious, especially on a brutally hot day.

 

One of the best things I’ve tasted in 90+ degree heat

A means to produce and market is precisely what is provided here. There is a village university to teach the community how to earn a sustainable livelihood. The farm also serves as an incubator for businesses. It’s a place to test and develop products, especially agriculturally-based products. In addition to that it is being developed into a tourist destination with up to a hundred guest villas being constructed as well as a spa and restaurant.

One of the air conditioned guest villas

Upon entering I was greeted by a flurry of activity. Flowers and landscaping everywhere, the farm is a green oasis dotted with buildings made from local materials. There is a small community that houses over 50 families. There were dozens of people gathered there for an event that day.

I had the opportunity to tour the farm and see what is being produced. Each family is given a plot of land to work. They grow all sorts of fruits and vegetables. There were papayas everywhere, ube, chilies, corn, tomatoes, etc.

Ube field (local purple sweet potato)

Dill grows like crazy all over the farm

Samples of products under testing were being served, giving me a perfect excuse to have two desserts.

Malunggay langka ice cream, they should package and sell this. They should do it now!

It’s hard not to be inspired by a place like this. As a chef I feel it is my responsibility to support local agriculture and to build a bridge between the diner and the farmer. I grabbed up some samples from the farm and brought them back to begin experimenting. Unfortunately the salted duck eggs were sold out on my visit but I will be back for them.

Golden Egg salted duck eggs are dyed naturally with tumeric

To those who would like to help you can give through GK’s website. I would also encourage you to visit the Enchanted Farm. It’s a great escape from the city. But you can also help by supporting GK community brands, such as Human Nature, Kape Maria and Enchantea.

The Philippines is a country that has always imported a lot despite what is available locally. There is an assumption that exists here that imported goods are superior to local. However local goods have been steadily improving and it’s time to refresh that assumption. Every vote counts and you cast your ballot with every peso you spend.