dessert musings recipes

A Pie for Mikey…and Moses

I’m one of those people that’s on my iPhone all the time checking Facebook, playing Words With Friends, scanning through tweets, etc. Most of the time it’s the rhythm of my online addiction that causes me to pull out my phone and start rapidly swiping and pushing on my touchscreen, sometimes not knowing where I actually want to go or what I’m trying to find. On Twitter, I’m following so many people that staying current with my Twitter feed is a real challenge. But last Sunday, amidst the river of tweets I watched speed past my eyes, this tweet interrupted my flow…

I assumed the worst when I first read it, but my gut reaction wasn’t confirmed until Wednesday when I saw that Gluten Free Girl retweeted Jennifer’s tribute to her husband Mikey.

I don’t know Jennifer very well at all. We first met at BlogHer Food 2009 when we sat at the same table for lunch. It wasn’t my first food blogger conference, but I remember being really intimidated about being at my first BlogHer event because I am, after all, a man. :) Both Jennifer and Gina von Esmarch immediately made me feel at ease, and we suffered (and laughed) through the trainwreck of Rocco DiSpirito’s keynote lunch presentation (where conference sponsor Bertolli thought serving a room full of food bloggers their line Frozen Classic Meals at the St. Regis Hotel was a good idea). After that, just like with many other bloggers I’ve met, we’d exchange random thoughts via Twitter every once in a while. A year later, I ran into Jennifer in an elevator at BlogHer Food 2010. I stuck out my hand to greet her and reintroduce myself and she said she remembered me, as well, which I really appreciated.

Of course, you don’t have to be directly connected to Jennifer to understand the devastation and grief she and her two young daughters are experiencing following Mikey’s death — you merely have to have a heart.

Last month, my cousin Moses died suddenly. Like Mikey, he was only 51, which is far too young, especially with three beautiful daughters, grandkids and an extended circle of family and friends that are still reeling from his loss. I met Moses for the first time in March—he was a lot closer to my parents—and found him to be as funny and magnetic as my mom always said he was. I wish I met him sooner because he was a fun guy to be around.

Moses with his daughters Faith, Hope, and Joy.

Jennifer said Mikey loved her Creamy Peanut Butter Pie, and she posted the recipe in her tribute post with one request:

For those asking what they can do to help my healing process, make a peanut butter pie this Friday and share it with someone you love. Then hug them like there’s no tomorrow because today is the only guarantee we can count on.

So here’s my pie for Mikey. I’d like to think that Moses would’ve liked this too.

I pretty much followed the recipe to the letter, but I swapped out the 8 ounces of chocolate cookies with 4 ounces of Annie’s Chocolate Bunny Grahams and 4 ounces of Newman-O’s sandwich cookies (sans creamy centers, of course.) When I got home from the store with all the ingredients, I realized that I forgot to buy peanuts, so I harvested some from two individual-sized packs of Costco trail mix that we have in the house. :P

Creamy Peanut Butter Pie
adapted from Jennifer Perillo of In Jennie’s Kitchen

Serves 10 to 12

4 ounces Annie’s Chocolate Bunny Grahams

4 ounces Newman O’s sandwich cookie pieces (repurpose creamy centers at your peril)

4 tablespoons butter, melted

4 ounces finely chopped chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup chopped peanuts

1 cup heavy cream

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup creamy-style peanut butter

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Add the cookies to the bowl of a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Combine melted butter and cookie crumbs in a small bowl, and stir with a fork to mix well. Press mixture into the bottom and 1-inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave. Pour over bottom of cookie crust and spread to the edges using an off-set spatula. Sprinkle chopped peanuts over the melted chocolate. Place pan in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Pour the heavy cream into a bowl and beat using a stand mixer or hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a small bowl and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Place the cream cheese and peanut butter in a deep bowl. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the confectioner’s sugar. Add the sweetened condensed milk, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Increase speed to medium and beat until all the ingredients are combined and filling is smooth.

Stir in 1/3 of the whipped cream into the filling mixture (helps lighten the batter, making it easier to fold in the remaining whipped cream). Fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour the filling into the prepared springform pan. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top, if using, and refrigerate for three hours or overnight before serving.

musings travel

Six Hours in Boston

It’s been a long time, huh? I’m still around but took a little break from blogging (as you might have noticed). :) I fully intend to start writing again, and I’ve been working on some things that I really want to share with you. But before we get to that, l’m currently on vacation in London, and we head to Paris for a few days next week. I vowed before we left that I would use the trip as a vehicle to start writing again, so Inuyaki is going into travelogue mode for the next couple of weeks.

Our outbound trip consisted of two consecutive redeyes—one of from SF > Boston and then Boston > London. There was a 12-hour gap between these two flights, so we decided use that time to explore Boston’s colonial heritage, as well as some of its more modern treasures.

One thing I loved was the water taxi service from Logan Airport to Rowes Wharf. It was a clear day and we had a great view of downtown Boston from the boat. There are several water taxi services available, but we picked Rowes Wharf Water Transport because they were the only water taxi service I could find that offered luggage storage.

Downtown Boston from our water taxi.
Downtown Boston from our water taxi.

After disembarking, we headed straight for Flour Bakery for breakfast. A couple friends recommended Flour Bakery to me, but it was my old Asian American studies professor Emily Lawsin who let me know that it was owned by Joanne Chang and that she beat Bobby Flay in a sticky bun Throwdown. That information was good enough for us, but this picture is pretty convincing evidence, as well.

Flour Bakery’s famous sticky bun.

We also ordered one of Flour’s bacon, caramelized onion and bleu cheese biscuits and a couple glasses of milk, and afterwards, we really needed to go for a walk, so we headed towards Boston Common. There was one specific reason I wanted to go up there, and it wasn’t to enjoy the park. It was to pay tribute to the movie “Glory,” a movie that my wife and I both love. “Glory” tells the story of Col. Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the first all-black regiment to fight in the Civil War. There’s a monument dedicated to them in the northeast corner of Boston Common, and we had to check it out.

54th Massachusetts Memorial in Boston Common
“I love the 54th.”

We continued walking west on Beacon Street because there was a place I just had to go. A place “where everybody knows your”—nevermind. ;)

“…and they’re always glad you came.”

We continued through The Public Garden and we had a little fun taking pictures of the George Washington Statue.

George Washington Statue
George Washington statue

We were going to hop on the T and go to Fenway Park for a tour, but we decided keep walking. We walked down Commonwealth Avenue and admired the neighborhood, and then we worked our way past the Boston Architectural College and the next thing you know, we’re in front of Berklee College of Music. Fenway was close and in sight. We trudged along, walking down Boylston Street and then Ipswich until we saw the back of Fenway Park. Now, I’m not a Red Sox fan, and I’m not even the best baseball fan in the world (especially with my Dodgers in a state of disarray), but I still love baseball history and Fenway’s full of it. My wife could care less about baseball, or sports in general, but she’s been a great sport after dragging her on a tour of old Yankee stadium and now Fenway.

Fenway Park
This sign is on a wall near the back entrance at Fenway.

The tour guides at Fenway lay the Red Sox propagand—er…history on thick, and they’re not shy about taking shots at the Yankees either. I don’t remember the Yankees stadium tour guide ever mentioning the Red Sox, but when you think about it…why would they? :) Rivalries aside, if you love baseball and remember the feeling you got the first time you walked into a baseball stadium and saw the field, those feelings are exactly the same when you walk into Fenway.

First steps into Fenway

And the view from the The Green Monster is pretty sweet, too.

The view from the Monster seats.

After the tour, we were starving and hopped on the T to Boston’s North End to have Lobster Rolls at Neptune Oyster. We had one hot with butter and one cold with mayo dressing. They were both really good, but we preferred the cold lobster roll…probably because it was 86F and muggy outside.

Lobster Roll (Hot)
Lobster Roll (hot with butter)
Lobster Roll (cold)
Lobster Roll (cold with mayo dressing)

Our last stop before heading back to the airport was Mike’s Pastry for cannolis. This place is crazy busy and their cannolis are gigantic. We had a limoncello and a chocolate ricotta cannoli. I liked the chocolate ricotta better, and it was also the better of the two pictures I took, so here you go…

Chocolate Ricotta Cannoli
Chocolate Ricotta Cannoli

I really wish we had more time to explore Boston, but I think we did a pretty good job considering our time restriction. I hope we make it back to Boston soon with more time to really experience it. And maybe next time, I’ll make it more interesting by wearing Lakers gear around town. :)

bread Korean musings

Inuyaki Gets Mentioned on Smithsonian, LA Times Blogs

It’s been an interesting week at Inuyaki. It started on Tuesday when I noticed an interesting trackback on my previous bread entry that led me to a post written by Amanda Bensen on’s Food & Think blog. Ratio-based Bread Baking details Amanda’s varying degrees of success trying to make the basic bread recipe in Michael Ruhlman’s latest book, Ratio. Her second attempt was more successful than the first, and in the last paragraph, she says:

The result? A delicious success (though browner on bottom than top, which I blame on my strange little oven — the Inuyaki blogger got much prettier results)! I feel like doing a cartwheel, but, well, one thing at a time…

I’m always amazed that people read this blog in the first place, but the Smithsonian? That’s too cool. I guess it helps that Amanda and I are beginning bread bakers that were exploring Ruhlman’s new book at around the same time.

Then yesterday, I got a direct message on Twitter from fellow food blogger Burnt Lumpia about the LA Times Tech Blog using my picture of some Kogi BBQ sliders on their Around the Web column for May 18. They found the picture on my Flickr account, where I house most of my food porn, but you can read all about my Kogi BBQ experience, as well.

Kogi Sliders

The picture accompanied a link to an Ad Age article about small businesses that use Twitter to promote themselves, and Kogi is one of the Twitter pioneers for mobile food vendors.

Where will Inuyaki end up next? It’s hard to say, and I’m not expecting a huge surge in traffic to the site because of these sightings. But it’s always nice to be recognized. :)

Anthony Bourdain Filipino musings TV

Bourdain Rocks the “Land of Lechon”

I called my mom about 5 minutes before No Reservations: Philippines was going to air in California, and instead of greeting me, she said, “Are you watching No Reservations?” It wasn’t airing in Hawaii, where I was on vacation, for two more hours, but I did call her to make sure she was watching.

You know Bourdain was in the real Philippines because it said BAWAL UMIHI DITO
(translation: don’t pee here) on every wall. :)

If the Pacquiao/De la Hoya fight was the Filipino equivalent of the Super Bowl, I think this block of television devoted to the cuisine of the Philippines might have been our NBA All-Star Game. Granted, 44 minutes isn’t nearly enough time to do justice to the diverse cuisine of the Philippines, but I thought the show did a good job highlighting some of the great things about the Mother Islands. Bourdain is also a self-described history nut, and he had a lot of great questions about the cultural and historical influences on the Philippines.

I’m not going to recap the whole episode, but it was nice to see Bourdain fall in love with sisig and lechon, and then later declare that the Philippines is No. 1 on his “Hierarchy of Pork” on his Travel Channel blog.

Anthony Bourdain Filipino musings TV

Watch Bourdain Eat the Philippines on No Reservations

I know I’m probably the last Filipino food blogger to mention this, but the much-anticipated Philippines episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations is airing on the Travel Channel tonight at 10pm EST. For a preview, check out his travel itinerary.

Don’t pee here, Tony!

On his Travel Channel blog last October (on my birthday, no less!), Bourdain said this upon his arrival to the Philippines:

Of all the people who watch NO RESERVATIONS, it’s been Filipinos who have been consistently among our biggest fans and most vocal about our having yet to film in their country.

“You’ve been all over Asia,” I hear again and again, “…so WHY haven’t you come to the Philippines?!”

Well…I’m here. And the pressure is on…

All I can say is “Don’t worry. We’re NOT doing balut. Been there. Done that.” And privately think to myself, “Don’t screw this up … don’t screw this up … don’t screw this up.”

It’ll be nice to see a show that highlights Philippine cuisine without featuring balut because it’s such a cliche for “adventurous” eaters. Also, It looks like the silog segment got cut, but you can watch it here.

Even though I’m in Hawaii right now, it’s family dinner night so we’re staying in, and I’ll be in front of the TV watching. Will you?

Hawaii Hawaiian musings plate lunch reviews

Reinventing Loco Moco

Loco Moco is a classic Hawaiian plate lunch offering that’s made up of hamburger patties smothered with gravy, topped with two eggs and served with rice and mac salad. If you’ve never seen it before, it looks like this:

Loco Moco

We had dinner at Alan Wong’s Restaurant last week, and one of the menu items that jumped out at us was the “Mini Loco Moco” appetizer. The menu describes it as “mochi-crusted unagi meatloaf, sunny-side quail egg, wasabi kabayaki sauce,” and we just had to try it.

Mini Loco Moco
Alan Wong’s “Mini Loco Moco”

Breaking it down, the mochi crust takes the place of the rice, the unagi meatloaf is the hamburger, quail egg replaces the hen egg and the wasabi kabayaki sauce replaces the gravy. It’s a perfect way to bring the loco moco concept into a fine dining setting, and it was excellent.

On the other end of the spectrum is Beard Papa and their Loco Moco Puff. It’s part of the Japanese cream puff chain’s localized Hawaii menu that also includes Breakfast Puffs, Creme Brulee Puffs, eclairs and pita sandwiches. Beard Papa describes their Loco Moco Puff as “two slices of oven-baked meat loaf, a fresh egg, sunny side up, onion-mushroom gravy with a dash of furikake on our signature puff shell,” which is more straightforward than Alan Wong’s. Basically, it’s an open-faced sandwich with the puff serving as the bread.

Loco Moco Puff
Beard Papa’s Loco Moco Puff

The finished product looked good and tasted like loco moco, but the puff really didn’t contribute anything to the dish and would have been fine without it. What was a bit disturbing was watching them assemble it. Without a proper kitchen, all of the cooked elements were microwaved right in front of us, and even then, I’m still not sure how they cooked the egg properly. I guess if you were on the run, this might be decent alternative, but I’d still rather have an Egg McMuffin.

Nothing could ever replace the traditional preparation of loco moco, especially since I love the side benefit of mixing the warm gravy with the cold mac salad. However, I always like to see if classic dishes can be modernized or deconstructed without diluting its essence. While Alan Wong’s radical take on loco moco might look foreign to traditionalists, the end result was delicious, refined, and reminded me of the original.

bacon Filipino musings recipes

Bacon-Wrapped Lumpia with Alfie the Lumpia Queen

My homegirl Alfie has been experimenting with lumpia lately and recently started wrapping them in bacon. Yes, that’s right…bacon-wrapped lumpia. It started with turkey bacon, but Alfie was apprehensive about whether or not real smoky pork bacon would work or not. I told her to go for it since I don’t acknowledge the existence of turkey bacon (I feel the same way about turkey SPAM also).

bacon-wrapped lumpia
Yes…that’s bacon-wrapped Lumpia.

Anyway, I wish I was back in L.A. to be one of Alfie’s tasters, and the more you read about Alfie’s Lumpia Project, you’ll wish you were one too.

beef musings recipes sous vide

A Sous-Vide Christmas

Another Christmas has come and gone and the deep-fried short ribs and “dismantled” prime rib were big hits.

The short ribs were cooked in a 135F/57.2C waterbath for 48 hours and then deep fried in 360F vegetable oil for a few minutes to crisp up the skin.

Deep Fried Short Ribs

I probably could have fried them a bit longer to get an even crispier skin, but overall, they were great. Here’s how they looked on the platter.

Deep Fried Short Ribs

The dismantled prime rib was a lot of fun to put together. My butchering skills definitely need some fine tuning, and I know I’ll do better next time. The calotte (cap meat) was separated from the ribeye and they were placed separately in the same water bath as the short ribs about 2 hours before service. Here’s what the cap meat look like when it came out of the bath.


I seared the calotte in a grill pan for a couple minutes a side. The ribeye roast was browned on all sides in oil. Then butter and thyme was added to the pan and then meat was basted in butter for a few minutes before resting and carving. Here’s what they looked like together on a plate.

Dismantled Prime Rib

The meat was soft and tender and even though it was medium rare, it had a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture, which is why sous vide cooking is so great. You can’t get that texture when you do a traditional roast. I also liked doing the calotte and the ribeye separately because you can finish them in different ways. We served it with my wife’s bacon garlic mashed potatoes, mushrooms sauteéd in butter, and green beans.
Garlic Bacon Mashed Potatoes


We had cookies and apple pie for dessert, although no pictures of those because we were so full that we couldn’t really move. Apologies also for the lack of prep pictures. It’s hard to think about stopping to taking pics when you’re focused on the task at hand. I’ll try and do better next time.

Merry Christmas! (if this applies to you! :-P)

beef musings sous vide techniques The French Laundry Thomas Keller

Contemplating Christmas Dinner

I’m in charge of Christmas dinner again, and I’m still a little torn on what I should make. The adventurous part of me wants to take a rib roast and separate the cap meat (i.e. calotte, deckle) from the actual ribeye…kinda like this:

ribeye-partsFrom left: ribs, eye, cap.
Picture from

Then I can cook the cap meat sous vide to a nice medium rare in attempt to partially recreate this dish:

Calotte de Beouf GrilléeThe French Laundry’s Calotte de Beouf Grillée (12.08.08)

For the center cut, I would oven roast it to medium rare and end up with a sort of deconstructed prime rib cooked two ways.

The other part of me wants to go old school and roast a nice beef tenderloin or standing rib roast. I’ve been successful with rib roasts before but have never tried a tenderloin. But as old school as a tenderloin roast might sound, I’d probably endup cooking that sous vide anyway.

Aside from the main courses, Yorkshire puddings are definitely on the agenda, and I think my wife is going to make her garlic bacon mashed potatoes. I am extremely tempted to make this Macaroni and Gravy recipe by fellow food blogger Lainie as a second entree, and I know my cousin Cristy, who hosted Thanksgiving, has something up her sleeve.

If you’re looking for some Christmas recipes, you might want to give these a try:

I’m not sure if I’ll be posting again before Christmas, but if I don’t, I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season!

Filipino musings

Saveur Explores Christmas in Pampanga

I picked up the latest copy of Saveur mainly to drool over the cover story about filet mignon, but as I was thumbing my way to page 87, I caught a glimpse of a roasted pig on a spit and immediately stopped. As I started reading, I discovered that it was part of an article called “Days of Feasting” about the Christmas season in the Philippines, more specifically in the city of Arayat in Pampanga, an area known for their outstanding regional interpretation of Filipino food.

The author, Robyn Eckhardt of Eating Asia, stayed with the family of her friend and colleague Marc Medina during her stay in Pampanga, and she was introduced to the annual gorgefest that occurs all over the Philippines during the holidays. Eckhardt’s main connection to the cuisine was the Medina’s family cook, Lucia Mallari, who prepared most of the meals during her stay. Overall, it’s a good read and I suggest that you pick it up while it’s on newsstands since the article isn’t available online.

Four recipes accompany the article, including an Adobong Manok (chicken adobo) recipe that doesn’t include soy sauce (Mallari claims her recipe is the “real” one), Pinakbet (Philippine vegetable stew), Ulang sa Gata (prawns in coconut milk), and Ensaimada (Philippine-style brioche).

Seeing these recipes in Saveur, especially with their Tagalog names listed first, was really heartwarming because Filipino food hardly ever gets any attention from the “mainstream” culinary media. I’ve always thought that Filipino food could hold its own against other Asian cuisines and have often wondered what’s holding it back. It’s even more amazing when you consider that in America, Filipinos are one of the largest Asian populations in the country (approx. 4 million), but I’m willing to bet more people have eaten Thai food in their lifetime than Filipino food and there are only around 250,000 Thai people in the U.S.

Maybe Manny Pacquiao’s newly claimed worldwide superstardom is going spill over into food, and this Saveur story is just a happy coincidence that will ride the Pac-Man wave.

Then again, Manny did eat at Nat’s Thai Food in Hollywood almost every day when he was training, which I thought was an odd aspect of his regimen, but I guess we have to give Thai food its props for helping power the Pacquiao Express.