Basque Stage Candidate Post: Braised Pork Belly and Calamari with a Blood-Ink Sauce

This is a new recipe I’ve came up with for my application for the Basque Stage and Sammic Rising Star Scholarship.


This is a dish that has come together after going to my family Christmas party. I am part of a huge Filipino family and on Christmas, instead of having an extravagant Christmas dinner with the usual suspects as roasted turkey and mashed potatoes, we enjoy a huge table spread of traditional Filipino food. One of my favorites being, Dinuguan. For those who are not familiar, Dinuguan is a stew made of pork (usually including intestines) cooked in its own blood with vinegar and peppers. It is also known as ‘chocolate rice’ or ‘black rice’ too make it sound a little more appetizing to the audience.

I wanted to put a twist on the traditional dish, so I have decided to combine it with a very traditional Spanish dish, calamares en su tinta, calamari in its own ink. With the huge Spanish influence in Filipino culture, these two dishes come together to make something that just makes sense.

My interpretation of this dish has pork belly that has been braised with sherry vinegar and stock. The sauce is then combined with the pork blood to make the infamous lip-puckering and savory sauce. I incorporate the squid ink into the sauce too help deepen the black color of a sauce and also to add another depth of flavor (umami) to the vinegary sauce. I then sautéed the calamari and toss it in a simple olive oil and garlic vinaigrette. The calamari adds a great textural contrast to the fatty and rich pork belly. Garnish it with a foam of garlicky alioli and have substitute piparras peppers instead of thai chilies to help balance with the richness of the sauce and the pork.

Braised Pork Belly and Calamari with a Blood-Ink Sauce, Piparras peppers, and Alioli Foam


Mise en place!

Sear pork belly until brown on each side and add to pot with carrots, onions, garlic, sherry vinegar and stock. Braise at low temp until tender. Remove pork belly and strain liquid and reserve.


Blend pork blood so it keeps from coagulating in the stew.


Sauté Carrots and onions until tender and add squid ink. Cook for a minute and then add pork blood and cook for another minute. Add braising liquid and let sauce cook down for an hour to let flavors develop. Purée until smooth and then pass through a sieve.


Clean calamari. Score the inside of each calamari. (A lot more disgusting then I was expecting!)


Sear calamari on high heat, weighing it down with a pan pressed on top, until cooked through. Slice into smaller pieces and then toss in a marinade of olive oil, garlic, salt, and parsley.

Sear braised pork belly until crispy and warm through.


Place steamed rice on plate with the blood-ink sauce. Place pork belly and Calamari over the sauce and garnish with aioli foam, pippara peppers, and parsley oil.

IMG_5767 IMG_5759

This dish is a representation of my love for Spanish and Filipino cuisine. I am really happy with the outcome of this dish. The blood-ink sauce had all of the characteristics of the flavors of Dinuguan but with the added squid ink, it had brought another dimension to the sauce that just enhanced the sauce.  The pork belly had a vinegary kick to it that really balanced it out with the fattiness of the cut and paired perfectly with the tender squid. Overall, I think that this is a recipe that I will have to keep in my repertoire!


In The Spotlight: My Bookmarks.

In The Spotlight: Bookmarks

So with all the time that we spend on the internet, I’m sure there are many of you guys have ‘bookmarks’ or shortcuts to the sites that you might visit pretty frequently to see if there are any updates or new news too read up on. This post is about the sites that I frequently read whenever I find myself at the computer. These are the sites/blogs that I go too whenever I need some inspiration or just need to read something interesting and new.

My bookmark bar!

1. Blank Palate/TravelCookEat

My Favorite Blog about all the happenings in Spain.

This is probably the one blog I visit the most. The author has created such a great way for readers to feel like they can experience Spanish cuisine from wherever they are reading it from. For the past year and the half, I have been making sure to come by every single Tuesday of every single week to read their weekly post called ‘365 Tuesday’, which was formely known as ‘Pintxo Astearteak’, or, ‘Tapas Tuesdays’.

Tapas Tuesdays were probably the single best thing about my Tuesdays. Even though the only thing the blog post consisted of was a picture and the description of the dish, it was was something I always looked forward to every week. The thing I really enjoy about these posts were how sophisticated it would be for how simple the post really was. Each dish for each Tuesday was specifically chosen for a reason. And that reason is because it was that damn good and seeing each dish makes me so envious that there is no where close to where I am to experience it. After working at Txori (RIP), I have found a love for pintxos so this blog was a great influence on me and the ideas I have while working in the kitchen. Here’s a link to her Top 5 Pintxos of 2011.

When the new year started, she has changed Tapas Tuesdays to 365 Tuesdays which doesn’t just focus on tapas anymore, but broadens it’s focus on what is currently happen all around San Sabastian. It’s a great change and I definitely enjoy it just as much as Tapas Tuesdays!

2. Burnt Lumpia & Jun-Blog

Burnt Lumpia and Jun-blog

These are two great blogs for those new and also very familiar with Filipino cuisine. I’ve grown up eating Filipino food but I feel like I still learn so much about this cuisine I thought I already knew.

Burnt Lumpia is a great blog where the author really shows his personality through his posts. He gives a great perspective about what Filipino food is to him and I find it easy to relate to who he is and what he is trying to portray. He is currently in the works for making a new Filipino Cookbook so it’s been a great time following his blog and seeing the progress he is making.

Jun-blog is a great reference for those who are new to Filipino food. I really like the fact that they have a ‘Glossary to Filipino Cuisine’ that outlines some of the most basic and foundations to Filipino food. The blog is nominated for one of Saveur’s Best Food Blog Awards in the Best Regional Cuisine Blog. It’s an amazing thing to be nominated for such an award and it makes me proud that a blog can represent my culture and its food in such a great way.

3. & FreshNewTracks

Fresh New Tracks and Absolutepunk

They say music makes the world go round and I couldn’t agree more. Whenever I need to find some new tracks to put on my phone I look to Fresh New Tracks to find any new music that had just came out. They have a good variety of music to listen to and also gives you a download link to put on your computer. Absolutepunk is a website that I have been following ever since I was in middle school and it feeds my inner-teenage angts with the latest news on not just punk-oriented music, but music of a wide variety. This is my main source of upcoming shows, rumors going on with the music industry, and when new albums are about to drop.

4. &

Comingsoon and IGN

If there is one thing that Staci and I like to do more its watch movies in the theaters. Comingsoon is my go-to website whenever I want to know about upcoming movies and any movie news about movies that we are excited about. I also am a huge video game nerd so IGN fills my needs when it comes to video game news.


These are the blogs and websites that I check and I got to say that they really have an influence on my everyday life. As much as I try not to sit in front of the computer screen, at least I know that there are places I can go to occupy my time and find out something new that I can share with people.

Honorable Mention:


Basque Stage Candidate Luuk Hoffman

Gotta give my new found friend from the Netherlands, Luuk Hoffman. This is his blog and I got to say that even though he is competition of mine, that he has some pretty amazing stuff. He is only 21 and he has a sophisticated touch when it comes to cooking. I have found so much inspiration from this guy and am pretty excited for all of the things he does and will do. He is someone that everybody should keep an eye out because he’s going to be doing big things!

Thank you guys again and until next time!


Food Blog Candidate Post: Piquillos Rellenos de Morcilla

Piquillos Rellenos de Morcilla

Piquillo Pepper filled with Blood Sausage

MMM.... Blood Sausage....

I chose to do this dish for my Basque Stage application because it was the first dish that had introducd me to what I now know as “Basque Cuisine”. My at-the-time girlfriend had taken me to this restaurant that her Uncle, who is currently my chef now (weird, right?), was the chef of. ‘Txori’ was the name of the restaurant (which means ‘Bird’ in Basque.) and I remember not even wanting to attempt to pronounce that. It was a Spanish bar that served the Basque version of tapas called pintxos. I had no preception of what Spanish food was like and had no idea what I was getting myself into. And the first pintxo to be placed on front me was blood sausage. BLOOD SAUSAGE?! I was so flabergasted. But I knew I had to try it. And my mind was blown. I had found a new love. And I knew that it was the start of somehting big….I ended up interning at Txori, then got the opportunity to work there as well as their older sister restaurant, The Harvest Vine, and had learned how to create this dish as well as many other traditional Spanish dishes.

As delicious as it was served as a perfect pintxo, I think it really shines when placed in a composed dish with the peppery greens of frisee and acidic flavors from the sherry and piquillo vinaigrette.

Blood Sausage is one of my favorite things in the world and it is surprising pretty easy to make. This recipe breaks away from the traditional Morcilla and replaces the rice with apples to help make for a blood sausage with a good balance of spice and sweetness.

Piquillos Rellenos de Morcilla

Piquillo Pepper filled with Blood Sausage

Piquillo peppers

Eggs, for egg batter

Flour, for egg batter


Sherry Vinager

Arbequinia Olive Oil

Piquillo Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Alioli (garlic mayonaisse)


Parsley Oil

Piquillo Vinaigrette

Piquillo Peppers

Sherry Vinegar

Olive Oil



  1. Slice piquillos in half and scrape seeds out of pepper.
  2. Place peppers into blender and with the blender on, add the sherry vinegar and salt. Turn off and taste for acidity.
  3. When right acidity, slowly add olive oil until the vinaigrette is a bright orange color and the consistency is a thick, smooth sauce.
  4. Strain through chinois and then it is ready to be used.

For Blood Sausage

1# Pork Blood

1 oz fat back, grated

1# Fuji Apples, peeled and small diced

2.5# onions, Finely diced

Spice Mix

To Fold In

2 oz fat back, small diced

1/2# fuji apple, peeled and small diced

Spice Mix (for 1# pork blood)

Bay Leaves


White Pepper



Smoked Paprika, Pimenton


Onion Powder

(I’ll supply the ingredients, but you can mess with your own measurements to make the flavor the way you want it. Get creative!)

Ingredients For The Morcilla.


1.  In a wide pan over medium heat, render fat out of fat back and add onions. Sweat until translucent.
2. Add diced apples and saute for 3-4 minutes, until a little tender but still has a crunch.

Apples and Onions!

3. Meanwhile, Place the pork blood into a food processor and puree for 10 – 15 seconds to keep it from coagulating during the cooking process.

Look at how bright the blood gets!

4. Add the pork blood and spice mix to the onion/apple mixture and cook down until mixture is thickened. About 10 – 15 minutes. The blood will cook down quickly and the mixture might look a little tight but it’ll loosen up when pureed.

5. When thickened, cool mixture on a sheet tray until all the way chilled.
6. Puree the mixture until it is the consistency is pretty smooth, but with a little chunkiness of onion and apples down to the size of rice grains.
7. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and fold in diced fat back and diced apples.

8. Trim the open side of piquillos and remove all the seeds and then stuff the blood sausage until it fills the peppers.

To Finish Plate:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Heat pan on medium high heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom of pan.
3. Dredge stuffed piquillo into flour until fully coated and then cover in egg wash.
4. Take out stuffed pepper of egg wash and get rid of excess egg then add to the oil. Fry on one side until golden brown. Flip onto second side until golden brown. Then flip onto the last side and finish it off by putting it in the oven.

5. Meanwhile, toss frisee in a bowl with sherry vinegar, olive oil, and salt until greens are properly dressed.
6. Put piquillo vinaigrette and alioli onto the plate.
7. Take out the stuffed pepper from the oven and then add parsley to the hot oil and then spoon the hot oil and parsley over the fried pepper.
8. Transfer the stuffed piquillo onto the plate. Place frisee salad over the piquillo and garnish with parsley and parsley oil.

The Finished Plate.


Hope you guys enjoy this post. I had a great time putting it down on paper and really getting this recipe right.

Thanks again,