It’s an honor to have Ricky back for the biggest Dessert Comes First Party yet.
Along with Karen Young, Ricky Morelos was one of my original bakers at the 1st DCF party back in 2006. Back then, he served his Mango Torte, something which he will also serve at the 6th Anniversary Party. It’s my mango torte of choice and nobody does it better than Dulcelin, Ricky’s and his family’s made-to-order gourmet food business. There’s no denying the appeal of sweet mangoes on a crispy nougatine crust, the little fissures of which the cream seeps into, transforming crispy into chewy. Textural interplay is the strength of this dessert.
Ricky is also a supremely talented cook. His forays into sous-vide cooking and smoking meats in his mammoth smoker are highly successful, garnering him repeat orders for his pulled pork and iterations on choice meat cuts like hanger steak, tri-tip, and Kurobota pork. This type of pork is a certain high-grade meat produced from pigs raised on a specific diet in a certain habitat.
For the party, Ricky is serving Kurobuta Pork Belly cooked sous-vide humba-style. The pork’s particular qualities – heavy marbling, pink-hued meat – lends itself well to this long and slow cooking method. It produces a meat with an almost painfully tender texture and a richness bordering on obscene, all underpinned by flavor notes from soy sauce, star anise, and brown sugar – ingredients found in a good humba. While it’s good enough to eat on its own, Ricky prepares servings of the belly sliced on the bias and arranges it inside a cuapao bun. A receptacle of sauce – deeply brown and redolent of star anise – sits nearby should I wish for some. I prefer to eat this pork belly bun in private because it makes me moan in pleasure. I’m sure it will have the same effect on you at the party.
Ricky will also be serving a wonderful rice dish, something he calls Red Rice With Lettuce and Shrimp. The rice is short-grained Japanese rice which Ricky cooks in such a way that it’s gleefully sticky and al dente. I already love it like that but Ricky amps up its appeal by mixing the rice with a red sauce, something he enigmatically describes as a “Japanese-Korean mayonnaise-based dressing.” Huh. Tasting it slowly and deliberately, I detect gochujang, Korean chili paste and Japanese mayo. Whatever else there may be in there, I leave Ricky to his secrets.
At the party, I suggest that you eat the Kurobota Pork Belly Cuapao first and then nibble spoonfuls of the rice. The two go very well together, like a small snack that satiates. Afterwards, mango torte.
Life is just too good.