SOL JOSE VANZI: TUBA X MOLASSES/ ADOBO SA TUBO

In the hands of young, formally trained chefs, the term “fusion” often means food combinations that are picture perfect but too unfamiliar, with flavor combinations that do not naturally match. Such is not the case with Taal Vista Hotel chef Edwin Santos, whose kitchen history began literally at the bottom of the ranks before he rose to become executive chef of five-star hotels in the Philippines and overseas. Exclusively for this column, Chef Edwin designed and prepared a dinner menu ,which incorporates dishes from the Philippines and the United States. He was inspired by Philippine history and fond memories of hometown specialties while growing up in San Rafael, an agricultural town in Bulacan. * READ MORE..

ALSO: Eats from the new world

When European explorers “discovered” the Philippines and the Americas, little did they envision the culinary maelstrom that would result from the introduction of New World fruits and vegetables to their homelands and their new colonies in the Far East. One cannot imagine Italian food without tomatoes, French pastries without vanilla, Irish meals without potatoes, or Spanish churros without a cup of thick chocolate. COLORFUL MEALS Paste made with seeds of atsuete (achiote or annatto; photo) were used by ancient Mayans for ceremonies and in special dishes. Today, both Filipino and Mexican cooks use extracts from the seeds to color rice dishes and meat stews. It’s a practical and economic substitute for the costly saffron. * READ MORE...


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Tuba X molasses/ Adobo sa tubo

The flavors, tastes, and history of Filipino-American food fusion


by Sol Vanzi

MANILA, JUNE 30, 2014 (BULLETIN)  In the hands of young, formally trained chefs, the term “fusion” often means food combinations that are picture perfect but too unfamiliar, with flavor combinations that do not naturally match.

Such is not the case with Taal Vista Hotel chef Edwin Santos, whose kitchen history began literally at the bottom of the ranks before he rose to become executive chef of five-star hotels in the Philippines and overseas.


TIES THAT BIND Taal Vista Hotel chef Edwin Santos whips up fusion dishes that meld the cultures of the Philippines and the US. (Images by Rudy Liwanag)

Exclusively for this column, Chef Edwin designed and prepared a dinner menu ,which incorporates dishes from the Philippines and the United States.

He was inspired by Philippine history and fond memories of hometown specialties while growing up in San Rafael, an agricultural town in Bulacan.

* Twice-wrapped tinuktok “The appetizer, tinuktok strudel, takes off from simple barrio fare which wraps freshwater shrimps, fish, and pure coconut cream in pechay leaves before simmering in more coconut milk until a thick gravy is formed,” Chef Edwin explains.

To transform the original dish, each cooked bundle is encased in several layers of buttered filo dough and baked until crisp, much like strudel. Thick tinuktok gravy, dotted with sliced green and red chilis and whole peppercorns, is served on the side.


Adobo sa tubo

This dish honors the first batch of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) composed of 15 Ilocano peasants who arrived in Hawaii in 1906 to work as sugar cane planters and cutters.

They were called “kalai ko,” a Hawaiian phrase for cane cutters.

Adobo, the most popular Filipino dish, is lightly sweetened by the juices of fresh sugar cane pieces simmered with pork and chicken.

There’s a pleasant, unmistakable flavor of caramel and molasses balancing the vinegar made from tuba, the briefly fermented sap of coconut blossoms.

Indang Lechon Roulade A take-off from stuffed pork roast, which is traditionally served all over the United States during Christmas and Thanksgiving family reunions.

Deboned, skin-on whole pork belly (liempo) is marinated in fish sauce, chopped garlic, salt, peppercorns, and alibangbang leaves.

The marinade is stuffed into the pork, which is rolled and tied with butcher’s string and roasted for three hours, all the while being basted with buko juice for sheen and a crisp skin.

Banana Cue A la Mode

Ripe cooking bananas are fried in hot oil with caramelized sugar, then served atop apple compote and guava ice cream.

The compote, sprinkled with raisins plumped in rum, is redolent of cinnamon and nutmeg just like apple pie filling.

BANANA CUE; GUAVA ICE CREAM; APPLE COMPTE:I have never ever, in my life, have eaten cooked fruit. Aside from the Filipino banana-que (which is toffeed lady finger bananas skewed on sticks), I was a bit hesitant making this as I’m not a fan of cooked fruit, let alone fruit poached in wine reduction. But alas, like all new experiences could be good or bad, this was way out there. The good side that is! I am now a renewed fan of any cooked fruit for dessert! SOURCE: ADOBODOWNUNDER


Liquid Sugarcane Molasses   /  SUGAR CANE
(GOOGLE IMAGES)

Eats from the new world by Sol Vanzi - When European explorers “discovered” the Philippines and the Americas, little did they envision the culinary maelstrom that would result from the introduction of New World fruits and vegetables to their homelands and their new colonies in the Far East.

One cannot imagine Italian food without tomatoes, French pastries without vanilla, Irish meals without potatoes, or Spanish churros without a cup of thick chocolate.

COLORFUL MEALS


Atsuete or annatto is commercially used as food coloring and may be found as the yellow coloring for butter, margarine, chorizo, cheese, smoked fish (GOOGLE IMAGES)

Paste made with seeds of atsuete (achiote or annatto) were used by ancient Mayans for ceremonies and in special dishes. Today, both Filipino and Mexican cooks use extracts from the seeds to color rice dishes and meat stews. It’s a practical and economic substitute for the costly saffron.

* AVOCADO

There is evidence it has been cultivated in Central America since 5,000 BC. The Mayans believed the avocado had magical powers and was an aphrodisiac. In fact, the name comes from the Aztec word ahuacat which means “testicle.” Even though high in fat, it’s the beneficial mono-unsaturated type.

CHOCOLATE


Cacao: Food of the Gods

Cacao has been grown for over 3,000 years in Central America and Mexico. Aztec nobility and rulers first consumed cocoa as an aphrodisiac.

Then, missionaries thought of refining cocoa as a drink. It was an imaginative Spanish entrepreneur, though, who thought of creating a cocoa confection, which eventually evolved into chocolate.

Although blessed with the right climate and soil, the Philippines only produces 10 percent of chocolate’s annual consumption of 50,000 metric tons.

CORN

Called maize by native Americans who were cultivating the grain 5,000 years ago, corn was vital in the survival of the first European settlers.

It produces more grain from a hectare of land than any other crop. It can be eaten fresh or dried for long periods of e. Filipinos readily took to the grain, which is now consumed in Visayas and Mindanao as an affordable substitute for rice.

PAPAYA

A fruit believed to be native to southern Mexico and neighboring Central America, it is now present in every tropical and subtropical country.

PINEAPPLE

Another tropical fruit associated with islands, European explorers called them pineapple because of the strong resemblance to pine cones. It was used by Native Americans to tenderize meat.

POTATO

From the mountains of Argentina, potatoes migrated to the Americas and were then taken back to Europe, where it was initially feared to be poisonous. From only a handful of varieties then, potatoes now have 5,000 varieties.

PEANUTS

Classified by botanists as a legume, peanuts were grown in South America 7,000 years ago. Filipinos incorporate peanuts in both savory and sweet dishes, most popular of which is the kare-kare, an oxtail stew thickened with ground roasted peanuts.

TOMATO

Indigenous to South America, the tomato took a while to be accepted as food in colonial America and Europe, where it was first grown as an ornament. Today, very few can imagine pizza and spaghetti without tomatoes.

SQUASH


KALABASA

The squash was introduced by American Indians to Columbus and his followers. The name squash comes from askutasquash, a Native Indian word.

In the Philippines, the kalabasa or the winter squash variety is the most popular.

CASSAVA


CASAVA CAKE OR BIBINGKA KAMOTENG KAHOY

Known elsewhere as manioc or yucca, this root is called balinghoy or kamoteng kahoy as we call it.

As a dessert, it is often grated and steamed with sugar and coconut milk. Cassava is eaten in many parts of Southern Mindanao as a substitute for rice.

SWEET POTATO

In most places in Latin America, the sweet potato is called camote, a word Filipinos adapted. The Incans called it batata, which is apparently the origin of the English word “potato” and the Filipino word patatas.

EXOTIC FRUITS

Other fruits introduced by the Spaniards from the Americas are: guyabano (soursop), atis (custard apple), anonas (cherimoya), chico (sapodilla), guava, and caimito (star apple).


CAIMITO


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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