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 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…

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:

  • 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!

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


Philippine Wagyu Corned Beef

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Today my friends at 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-
  • Also please bear with me as I increase production. Supplies are limited.

Bohol and Panglao Island

Menacing weather did not damper our stay

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There’s a heated debate here in the Philippines as to which beach destination is the best one. I have always enjoyed Boracay but after my most recent trip to Bohol I might have a new favorite.

Getting there from Manila is quite easy. The flight to Tagbilaran, the island’s capital and only city, is just over one hour. From the airport there are several shuttle and taxi services to get you to your destination. We stayed at the Bluewater Resort on Panglao Island which is just southwest of the city connected by two bridges.

View from our room

I had mixed feelings about the resort. The service was good and friendly but the layout of the property was awkward and the location more so. There was an area they described as the beach, but it was really a gravelly yard with the view of the ocean blocked by trees.

The beach

Also they didn’t seem to like that I brought beer into the resort and kept reminding me of their corkage policy. I’m not sure what the fee was, but from my two decades of food and beverage service corkage usually implies some kind of beverage service, not just an arbitrary fee. I think bringing wine into a restaurant where you’re staying for a couple hours is very different from bringing beer into a resort where you’re staying for several days. They are clearly capitalizing on a captive market, charging 2-3 times that of what you would be charged in a resort on Alona Beach.

I expressed my disagreement with them and left this as a silent protest. The cobwebs above this cabinet were a clear indication that it was above the staff's view.

If you are into diving or snorkeling Panglao Island is said to be some of the best in the country. We took a glass-bottomed boat out not far from the coast and took a quick plunge with goggles and snorkels. The sea bed here is an amazing display of color and form with live coral and colorful tropical fish. We could see where the floor of the ocean dropped off a cliff from 10 meters to 40 meters.

Call me Bob

We spent most of our time on Alona Beach, which is lined with resorts, restaurants and bars. Our favorite hangout was called the Oasis, with a chilled atmosphere, reasonably priced drinks and free WiFi. As an added bonus the staff was really great with kids. For parents of young children this place is perfect because you can relax and have a drink while watching the kids play in the sand and the staff will help keep them entertained.

Extra kudos to the Oasis for this tarsier drink garnish made from calamansi

For dinner we made a lazy scamper next door to Roderick and Vivien Seafood Restaurant. There, like many similar restaurants in Boracay, you choose your seafood from a display and they cook to your requested method. For just over p1,000 we were able to gorge ourselves on grilled parrot fish, clams, sea snails, pork liempo and shrimp sinagang.

Roderick and Vivien Seafood Restaurant

There are plenty of options for food, drink and lodging all around here. When I come back I will stay in this area. The prices are more reasonable and this is where you’ll likely want to be anyway. There’s a good international mix of people here, many drawn to the island for diving. In addition to local fare there are several German and Italian restaurants.

Helmut's Place is a late night spot for drinks and German foods at the top of the access road leading to Alona Beach

Going around the main island was awesome and refreshing coming from Manila. This time of year it is a lush green and full of signs of life. Boholanos still grow much of what they eat. Fruit trees such as papaya, coconut and banana were everywhere as well as live poultry, pigs and cows. The scenery is really amazing with rainforests and rice paddies. The island is teaming with different species of butterfly, which is an increasingly rare sight.

Rice Paddy

We asked the driver who picked us up from the airport about touring around the island and he agreed to do it the following day for p2,200 for all three of us. Next time though I’ll do it by scooter to get the full experience.

The Chocolate Hills turn brown in the dry season, hence the name

The main attractions on the island are the Chocolate Hills, which are formed from limestone deposits from coral when the island was still under the sea. Also Bohol is famous for being the refuge of the tarsier. The tarsier is a tiny endangered primate, native to the island of Bohol, Borneo and Sumatra. They are nocturnal and are primarily insectivorous. They have a furry Yoda-like appearance with a rat tail. At the Tarsier Sanctuary you can observe them in a semi-wild habitat.

“Size matters not, ... Look at me. Judge me by size, do you?”

The Baclayon Church, first settled by Spanish Jesuits in 1596. Forced labor construction began from the island's coral limestone in 1724.

This was my third destination in the Visayas, having already visited Boracay and Cebu. I thoroughly enjoyed all three. All of them are a lot more laid back than Manila and a whole lot cleaner. What I think Bohol has on Boracay is it has more personality of its own and more to see. The people are very friendly and welcoming but also proudly Boholano.

Whether you are traveling from within the Philippines or internationally I highly recommend you add Bohol and particularly Panglao Island to your itinerary. It is a complete destination that is much more than just a beach.

Cashew Crusted Leg of Spring Lamb

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In wishing a happy Independence Day to all of my friends here in the Philippines, I decided to showcase some of the best local agricultural products from right here in the Philippines.

I’ve spent just over a year here scouring the markets for the best local products and I have learned a few things. For one, there is phenomenal lamb raised in Negros Occidental. I purchased this leg of Spring lamb from a vendor in the Salcedo Market. I’ve bought lamb from them twice now and the quality was superb both times.

Just across the way, in the same market there is a vendor selling local cashews, done. The cashews are raw and very sweet. He sells them all unsalted but the salt is not missed.

Cashew Crusted Leg of Spring Lamb

1 bone-in leg of lamb

1 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup honey

2-3 shallots, finely chopped

3 cloves garlics, chopped

1/2 cup chopped parsley

2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Remove the leg of lamb from the fridge a good hour or so before beginning so that it warms up to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 200c/400f.

Pat the leg of lamb dry with paper towels. Drizzle olive oil on the lamb and smear all over the surface. Season liberally with salt and pepper all around.

Place on a roasting rack or a sheet pan lined with a wire rack and pop it in the oven.

Allow to roast for about 30 minutes or so, until it begins to color. Turn temperature down to 160c/325f.

While your lamb is roasting (you could also do this ahead of time) prepare your crust. Mix together Dijon, honey, herbs, garlic and shallots.

Pulse your cashews in a food processor, or if your like me, pound them in a mortar and pestle. I like irregular pieces of cashew for texture.

Monitor the internal temperature of your lamb with an instant read thermometer. Stick the probe into the thickest part of the meat without contacting the bone. When the temperature reaches about 50c/120f remove it from the oven and increase the temperature to 175c/350f.

Smear the Dijon mixture all over the top of your leg of lamb. Then sprinkle your crushed cashews over that until you have a nice even and thick coating.

Return it to the oven. Monitor it closely at this stage so that the nuts do not burn. When the cashews are nicely toasted, remove it from the oven and allow to rest for 15-20 minutes in a warm place (like the Philippines).

When it’s time to carve, pick up the narrow end by the bone, resting the fat end on the cutting board. Cut straight through the meat, perpendicular to the bone. Then cut following the bone to create nice half circle cuts of meat. It’s always best to carve thicker cuts of crusted meats or you will lose your crusting when you carve it.

Notice these are carved into thicker, steak-like cuts. This is cut across the grain of the meat, making the lamb more tender.

Depending on how your lamb is butchered, you will be left with a leg, thigh and hip bone. There will also be some meaty trim left on the bones. Do not waste!

There is plenty of flavor still to offer here. The trim I removed with a paring knife and marinated for shawarma and the bones went into the lentils pictured above.

Enjoy your holiday!

8 Years and Going Strong at the Salcedo Market

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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






CSI Night at Enchanted Farm Cafe-Quezon City

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Enchanted Farm Cafe

463 Commonwealth Ave.

Quezon City

0932 872 2427


Last night I had a the opportunity to attend the CSI night at Enchanted Farm Cafe in Quezon City. I couldn’t begin to talk about Enchanted Farm Cafe or its CSI night without first discussing Gawad Kalinga. However GK is a topic too vast to be shoehorned into a single post, so I will offer just a brief synopsis (I’m sure I’ll write about it much more in the future).

In Tagalog, Gawad Kalinga means to provide care. It is an organization founded by Tony Moleto, or Tito Tony,  to end poverty in the Philippines and to restore dignity to the country’s poor. This is quite a tall order for a country that despite its GDP increase averaging over 4% per year from 2003-2009, actually saw an increase in poverty rates 24.9 26.5 during those same years¹. Many would put this number much higher.

Land for the Landless. Homes for the Homeless. Food for the Hungry.

This is just the beginning of what GK offers to affected communities. The GK Center for Social Innovations is a program within GK to create a business ecosystem that will benefit GK communities by creating a market for village products and employing its people. The GK CSI creates an environment that cultivates social entrepreneurs to build enterprises that will benefit those all the way down the supply chain.

I was prompted to go last night by one such social entrepreneur Julia Sevilla whose fair trade coffee brand Kape Maria supports local coffee growers and cooperatives. Julia spoke to us last night about how her brand came about.

Julia Sevilla and Kape Maria

Also speaking was Paul Rivera, who is a call center entrepreneur and CEO of a start up company called Kalibrr that teaches young Filipinos marketable skills in the tech field and assists them with job placement.

At the end we had the opportunity to listen to Tito Tony speak about the accomplishments of GK in recent years and his dreams for the future. He spoke with an infectious optimism about restoring livelihood and dignity to rural Filipinos.

Tony Moleto speaking to the crowd

Every Tuesday CSI night is a gathering of the minds at the Enchanted Farm Cafe. The cafe is a small, casual spot on the second floor of the Human Heart Nature, a social enterprise also in the GK family building on Commonwealth Ave. The cafe serves simple foods, many of which are sourced directly from GK’s farm in Bulacan from which the cafe is named.

In the spirit of Enchanted Farm Cafe’s mission of healthy, organic eating I broke from character and ordered the All Heart Burger, which is made from banana tree heart. They serve this with a small salad and kamote (sweet potato) fries for p100. The food is simple but good and thoughtfully prepared.

No animals died for my dinner... this time

I also made a point to pick up some of Enchanted Farm’s hand-crafted cheeses on my way out.

I had the chance to meet with numerous people with GK and I feel I’m just scratching the surface. At the farm alone they have numerous local organic products including all sorts of fruits, vegetables, pork, poultry and cheeses.

It is awesome to me to see a group of people, not only engaged in bringing prosperity to rural communities, but also showing them how to bring on their own prosperity and do it in a way that is sustainable for the future.

As I said before the scope of this organization is far greater than what I can discuss in a single post. I leave a lot untold but will catch up with the topic again soon enough. I look forward to learning more about GK and visiting the farm which seems to represent all of Tito Tony’s hope and optimism for the future of this country.

Finally I am excited that they are taking so much interest in the quality and sustainability of their food chain. They are truly creating something that will benefit future generations in a way that was not conceived just a few decades ago. Through better growing, purchasing and eating we can create an industry.