About Chef Danny

Danny de la Cuesta’s creative and artistic career spans three decades of prolific output in design, training and consultancy. He graduated in the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication majoring in Broadcast Communications. He pursued his Second degree in Business Management with concentration in Fashion Marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York University, USA. He has been designing fashion since the late 70’s, with rich local and international exposures through retail, export and fashion shows. In 1994, he opted to broaden his horizon by extending his artistic calling by means of embarking into a career in Culinary Design. He became the first National Champion of the San Miguel Culinary Cookfest which paved him to pursue a Diploma in Culinary Arts at the Le Cordon Bleu Escole di Cuisine, London Campus, England under the tutelage of Chef Michel Boucheret. He was the past Editor in Chief of Cook Magazine and an active member of The Creative Media Professionals Guild of the Asia and the Pacific.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cook Magazine November Issue

A Progressive Feast

 Transporting our annual family reunion for thanksgiving in Ilocos Norte did not make it difficult; in fact,
it made it more memorable for us.
Two years ago, my maternal aunt, Perpetua, the beloved linchpin around whom my family
revolves suddenly felt that a trip from Ilocos Norte to Manila for our annual TUMBA-an Ilocano day of thanksgiving and prayer
for the family’s faithful departed celebrated every 2nd day of November in time when harvest is almost done, was not, at age 87,
what she wanted to do. It seemed like an extremely reasonable decision, although TUMBA without Nana Perpet was not what we
wanted to do either. Instead, we did the understandable; we packed up and took TUMBA to her.
When I became a chef fifteen
 years back, I volunteered to prepare the yearly TUMBA luncheon on the precondition that every family member attending should
contribute to the ingredients needed for the menu. I had packed a carton of essential equipment: my huge heavy oval Le Creuset
pan: a couple of knives that are my third arm and a full neck to knee white Egyptian cotton apron- my indispensible cooking uniform.

Another carton held bottles of four different wines, I joyfully gathered as gifts from friends and business associates. Tucked
within the wine bottles were jars of cashew nuts from Antipolo, dried candied ginger from Chinatown, and mammon tostado from Malabon. 
I had gone over a market list with my cousin, Manang Waya, in advance. She delegated each family member what to put in the feast:
two marinated jumbo free range chickens from Magnolia, beef shank ‘Bulalo’ from Tagaytay, ham bones from Excellente in Quiapo,
Spanish chorizos from Shopwise, and Baguio veggies from Divisoria. My cousins residing in Ilocos volunteered to bring in the Milagrosa rice,
pig trotters from their bagnet store in San Nicolas Market, some of the newly harvested sweet potatoes, frozen sofrito from last summer’s
tomato harvest and lots of sun dried, seedless duhat soaked in Tanduay rum last may for my dessert creations. All of these were waiting
for us when we arrived, looking like culinary road warriors, the day before the feast.  As usual, I felt the enormous sense of relaxation
that comes with advance planning. With the menu I devised, I knew I could do the main course & desserts in a breeze: Lauya is a stewworthy
number I adapted from my grandma’s recipe book.
Lauya is probably one of the regular Ilocano holiday fares. In the old days, grandma cooked
Lauya on a vast caldron that simmers all night, hardly bubbling. It used to be the hallmark of the middle-class Ilocano kitchen.
On that special
occasion, however I made a tribute to this magnificent Ilocano dish in the style of French Bouilli, the Italian Bollito and the Spanish Cocido. 
I began by throwing all the ingredients in a huge pot to slow cook tough meats all night. The most important components are the meats I chose
 for their diversity of flavors. I threw a chunk of cured pork meat and dried sausages, bone-in beef shank, pig trotters, ham bones, whole
free-range hen and beef offal into the caldron making it tender by long and slow simmering together with its other elements- chickpeas, carrots,
potatoes and savoy cabbage which generated a seductive smell while it metamorphoses into a very flavorful and rich caldo. The velvety succulent
 meat fell off the bone they ate it with a spoon.
Lauya is traditionally, served in at least in two courses. The first course is always the strained
caldo called Sopa de Fideos – pure, golden and rich, with some noodles. The second course is all the veggies plus the meat for carving and is
eaten with a dipping sauce of vinaigrette. It is a very filling meal, extremely tasty and satisfying. It takes hours to eat the repast most often
the button of your pants gets undone and a big smile swathe your face.
Logistically, the preparation for the rest of the feast was easy to tuck
in the two-day reunion of 18 people.  The morning of All Souls Day while everyone were in the church cemetery for the tumba rites, I prepared
the dessert- my own celebration of duhat. I assembled the ingredients for the duhat crunch-a trifle of biscotti drench in duhat wine from Vigan
and Magnolia cream cheese and another dessert, the duhat . Too many duhat? Not for a berry lover and a holiday sentimentalist like myself.
The truth is the different textures and temperatures of these two desserts just emphasized the possibilities of our local berry rather than the
 blueberry desserts appearing on trendy restaurant menus.
I solved one last holiday dilemma with my progressive feast: presents. As I prepared
 the Duhat Bread Pudding with Orange custard Sauce and the Duhat Cashew Nut Trifle, I decided they were too good not to share. So I began to
 multiply quantities and search for local baskets for packaging. Then I asked my cousin, Gasat, to ship these treats complete with recipes, off to
 absent family members and friends, a logical-and fitting-extension of this truly progressive feast.


Lauya Ingredients:
10 oz dried chickpeas,soaked overnight
9 oz fresh pork belly

4 oz bone in beef shank with marrow bone, sawn accross
1 pc Magnolia free-range chicken
½ kl beef offal
3 pcs Spanish chorizos
1kl Chinese ham bones
1kl pig's trotter, split
1 whole garlic bulb
2 bay leaves
8 black peppercorns, crushed
1 small onion, studded with 2 cloves
1 1/2 lb Savoy cabbage, quartered
2 carrots, in big pieces
2 leeks, short lengths
1 lb new sweet potatoes
2 tsp fish sauce

Several hours before cooking, brine all the meats.
Choose a large stockpot. Pack in all the meat, skin side down. Line the bottom of the pot with
beef shank and ham bones, followed by the offal. Fit the pork belly, chicken, pig’s trotter, on uppermost part of the layered meats.
Add the garlic bulb, leeks, bay leaves and peppercorns then cover with water. Bring to a simmer, skimming off any scum that rises.
Leave it to simmer on very low fire for about eight hours.
 Drain the chickpeas, add to the pot, cover and simmer on the lowest possible heat,
checking occasionally. Halfway through, add the onion stuck with the cloves.
In a second casserole, put the quartered cabbage, all the vegetables and all the sausages.
 Add water to cover the ingredients and a fish sauce and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook until the potatoes are ready.
Drain the vegetables and sausages.
Slice the sausages. Arrange the vegetables decoratively on a platter and put the sausage slices on top.
Remove the meats from the main pot,
collecting the chickpeas together. Remove the marrow from the bone and slice it into the chickpeas. Slice all the meats. Arrange the meats and chickpeas on a platter, moistening them with a little broth.

Sopa de Fideos

4pcs medium sized tomatoes, coarsely chopped

1 pc onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic

1 cup fettuccine, cut into 2”long

3 cups of lauya broth

Place the tomatoes, onion, and garlic into a blender, and pulse several times to get the mixture moving; blend until smooth, 30 seconds
to 1 minute.
Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat, and stir in the pasta. Fry the pasta gently, stirring often, until the pasta
 is golden brown, 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Pour the tomato mixture into a large saucepan, and stir in broth and noodles. Bring to a boil,
and reduce heat to medium low; simmer until the noodles are tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, and stir in the
cilantro; simmer 2 more minutes to cook cilantro.

Duhat Bread Pudding with Orange custard Sauce
16 slices bread, crusts removed and cubed
1-1/2 cups duhat, soaked in rum
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1/4 cup butter, melted
½ cup diced,
candied ginger
6 eggs
4 cups milk
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Custard Sauce
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 orange peel strip (1/4 inch)
1/2 teaspoon orange extract

 For the Pudding
In a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish, layer half of the bread cubes, duhat and orange peel. Repeat layers. Drizzle with butter.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla until blended; pour over bread mixture. Let stand for 15-30 minutes.
Sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 65-75 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
For sauce
In a heavy saucepan, beat egg yolks and sugar. Stir in cream and orange peel.
Cook and stir over low heat for 20-25 minutes or
until mixture reaches 160° and coats the back of a metal spoon.
Remove from the heat; discard orange peel. Stir in extract.
Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Serve with bread pudding.

Duhat Cashew Nut Trifle
12 ounces dried duhat soaked in rum
2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
3 tablespoons finely chopped cashew nuts
1 bar (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups heavy cream
24 ounces crumbled Mammon Tostado
2 pcs Mamon Tostado for garnish (optional)

For the compote
In a medium saucepan, combine duhat, 2 cups of the sugar, and 2 cups water.
Bring to a simmer over medium heat;
cook for 8 to 10 minutes until Duhat begins to swell.
Let compote cool completely.
Make cream filling:
Using a wire whisk, beat cream cheese,
brown sugar, remaining cup granulated sugar, and vanilla until well combined.
Gradually add heavy cream; continue beating until soft peaks form.
Assembling the trifle
Arrange 1/3 of crumbled toasties in a serving dish.
Spoon 1/3 of compote over crumbled mammon; spread to sides of dish.
Dollop 1/3 of cream filling over compote; spread to sides of dish.
Sprinkle chopped nuts all over the cream filling. Repeat twice, ending with cream
filling and cashew.
Cover; refrigerate at least 2 hours (or up to 1 day.)

By: Chef Danny De La Cuesta

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