11 Dec2005

At a recent charity auction for the benefit of a crabby5small school in Metro Manila, my wife and I donated “The Ultimate Crabby Dinner.” To be hosted by Mr. and Mrs. Marketman at our home, it promised a minimum of 10 kilos of top quality live weight crabs among other dishes and if desired, the chef and host could be “crabby” all evening! We were pleasantly surprised and most grateful when the bidding ended as the dinner was purchased for a cool PHP20,000!!! Yikes, talk about performance anxiety… In the days that followed, some discussions with the winning bidder pushed me more towards an Asian inspired menu for the main courses but there was some difficulty pulling it all together…

First, the setting. A table for ten guests was set crabby3with red plates, large red kitchen towels rather than napkins due to the splattering nature of crab eating and some young light green hydrangeas. Votive candles were used for a warm glow and small, fresh dalandans for visual interest and a subtle citrus fragrance. We started the meal with a toast to the donors and the school that was to receive the donation… a well-chilled bottle of Dom Perignon 1996 was a fool-proof way to lift everyone’s spirits… and it did not disappoint… crisp, light, dry and memorable.

As a starter, we had a prawn cocktail with a dill and lemon mayonnaise crabby2and standard tomato and horseradish cocktail sauce. This was served with a salad of shaved locally grown fennel and Satsuma oranges. I brined the jumbo prawns (air flown from Capiz) for about 1.5 hours in the refrigerator and this seemed to make them extra tasty and succulent…a good match with the champagne. For the main course we had crabs three ways: first, a simple butter, olive oil and garlic dish that was sprinkled with chopped flat leaf Italian parsley that was both simple and delicious and turned out to be the evening’s favorite. Next, a Marketman classic chilli crab with a serious dose of sili labuyo and lots of wansoy – this was great with rice or in Singaporean fashion, served with soft white bread to wipe up the sauce and keep your mouth on fire! The third dish was a sotanghon and crab casserole with soy sauce and oyster sauce that was my personal favorite.

For one of the guests who was allergic to crabs, crabby4we served rare angus steaks that several of the other diners had as well. We also had a spicy green mango salad/relish and lots of gai lan or Chinese broccoli with a simple oyster sauce to go with the crab dishes. The guests brought several different bottles of white and red wines that flowed throughout the meal. Dessert was a bit over the top, starting with a “caramel” plate. Several mini-banana turon served with dulce de leche (boiled down milk and sugar that is sinfully rich and like warm caramel). There was also a nice wedge of a dark leche flan (more on the bitter than purely sweet side made with fresh carabao’s milk. The caramel plate was finished with some dulce de leche ice cream to cool the palate but continue the caramel theme. Guests also helped themselves to some cake and superb cebu mangoes. Finally, with coffee or tea, we served home-made chocolate truffles that were surprisingly good (and recipe to follow in the weeks ahead)…





  1. fried-neurons says:

    WOW. Just… wow. Looks like it was an awesome feast!

    As soon as I saw the Dom Perignon pic I figured you would have served an Asian menu. Champagne goes well with Asian food, no? Go figure.

    Anyway… WOW!


    Dec 11, 2005 | 11:43 pm


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  3. ajyoung says:

    Im pretty sure everybody had a superb evening! Wow… what a better way to start the evening with a bubbly Dom perignon! MM can you please teach me the procedure of making dulce de leche? Thanks!!! :)

    Dec 11, 2005 | 11:43 pm

  4. bianot says:

    my favorite photo was the place setting. it’s not just cooking that you seem to be good at. :)

    Dec 11, 2005 | 11:47 pm

  5. Mandy says:

    oh wow, what an amazing spread! i wish i was one of the guests! i love crab, even if i’m allergic (hello benadryl!). and the dulce de leche is one of my favorite things–i put it on ice cream. we buy the bottled ones. but i remember my mom making them for her chocolate cake filling. this is the condensed milk put on the stove for like 2 hours, right? it’s so simple but it’s so good! i can just imagine how your leche flan tastes like–i do like it bitter.

    i will definitely try the brine for the prawns next time i make this prawn dish i got from wolfgang puck–pan fried prawn with tarragon-mustard cream sauce. shallots in butter then add white wine or sherry then cream & tarragon, then mustard at the very end.

    i hope you’ll also share the sotanghon and crab recipe–it looks really good! =)

    Dec 12, 2005 | 12:59 am

  6. ShoppaHolique says:

    I love love love crab with sotanghon! Please share the recipe MarketMan!!!

    Mandy, where do you find bottled dulce de leche?

    Dec 12, 2005 | 1:39 am

  7. mae gabriel says:

    What a great generous couple you two are. This is definitely a great way to help out. My chef friend here in Jersey auctions herself around christmas for charity too. I just think it’s great idea if you have the time and resources. Well done for getting the P20,000 for the school they must be really chuffed!

    And for the menu, wow, i wish i was there too! Please can i second ajyoung and ask for the recipe for dulce de leche?

    Dec 12, 2005 | 7:31 am

  8. ichabod says:

    oh yes. pleeeeeze share the crab with sotanghon recipe!

    Dec 12, 2005 | 7:54 am

  9. linda says:

    I would bid $1000.00 to win your charity auction. Seafood and Dom is just the ultimate! Such generous benefactors you two are. Well done!

    BTW,loved your table setting.

    Dec 12, 2005 | 8:08 am

  10. anson says:

    Can we have a crab dinner for our next EB?

    Dec 12, 2005 | 8:59 am

  11. Luwee says:

    Well done MM, seems to be a very nice treat from ambiance, table setting and most of all, the well planned meal. I am sure you and Mrs. got all thumbs up from everyone who attended.

    Dec 12, 2005 | 12:05 pm

  12. lojet says:

    I am tres impressed! What a gorgeous feast.

    Dec 12, 2005 | 4:25 pm

  13. Marketman says:

    Hi everyone, I am still out of town with sporadic internet…thanks for all the comments. Will be able to meet your request for a shortcut dulce de leche soon. Posting the crab with sotanghon should also be doable…stay tuned. Linda, I’ll have to sell the dinner to you the next time :)

    Dec 12, 2005 | 6:01 pm

  14. Bubut says:

    the guests are so lucky ! How i wish i’m one of them? Just with the photos makes me so hungry…Good work, MM!

    Dec 12, 2005 | 6:44 pm

  15. kulasa says:

    Wow, the table setting looks so inviting. I’m really impressed. First the Dom then good food and wine. Your guests must be floored. I guess next year the bidding will go higher for dinner with Mr. and Mrs. Marketman!

    Dec 12, 2005 | 9:46 pm

  16. joey says:

    What a great dinner! And a great idea charity-wise :) So, were you really “crabby” all night? ;)

    Dec 13, 2005 | 12:53 am

  17. Marketman says:

    Joey, no… the conversation was extremely convivial and jolly all night… not an ounce of crabbiness at all, must have been the champagne…!

    Dec 13, 2005 | 6:33 am

  18. schatzli says:

    ho ho… I went straight to my currency convertor how much is that P20,000. great charity MM. well done.

    Dec 13, 2005 | 7:53 am

  19. Mandy says:

    shoppaholique, unfortunately my mom bought it in the us–one of those jars of ice cream toppings. but this one was really good, i just forgot the brand. maybe you can try groceries like rustan;s or makati super…. if not, do it the old fashioned (non-lazy) way. =)

    Dec 16, 2005 | 3:24 am


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