(Food) Oyster Mushroom Soup with Sea Salt and Truffle Oil

As the nights begin to get cold and rainy, we crave for soup. If you've ever tried your hand at growing oyster mushrooms, you know that they thrive with little care and attention. They are abundant and inexpensive. Don't let anyone tell you that you need expensive European fungi to make mushroom soup.

We're working on bottled soup at the shop. Here is one of our successful experiments.

Oyster Mushroom Soup with Sea Salt and Truffle Oil

6 heaping handsful of oyster mushrooms
3 onions
1 head of garlic
1 potato
6 sprigs of parsley
olive oil
4 leaves of oregano brujo or 2 sprigs of regular oregano
truffle oil
sea salt

First, make a light broth. Take two handsful of oyster mushrooms, two quartered and peeled onions, half a head of garlic sliced through, and two sprigs of parsley. Boil these in a liter of water. Throw a potato in midway. This potato should be peeled and cut across halfway, and broken the rest of the way, to release the starches. Season your broth with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, release a lot of olive oil into a medium-heated pan. Toss the rest of the mushrooms in, chopped. Add the rest of the onions, chopped. Add the rest of the head of garlic, but minced. Allow the mushrooms to simmer in their own liquid and oil. After about ten minutes, add the herbs (the rest of the parsley, plus chopped oregano). Cook a bit longer, then switch off your stove, and finish with salt and pepper.

See that your broth is tasty enough, adjust seasonings. Then throw in your sauteed mushrooms in a blender. Add half the broth and liquefy. Keep adding broth to the consistency you desire.

Return to the pan to heat, while you are toasting crusty bread. Put those in bowls, top with hot soup, drizzle with truffle oil. Garnish with parsley, if you are so inclined. Eat outside on a rainy day.


(New) Coconut Sugar, Pinipig, but first, the Holidays

So yes, we can feel that Christmas is coming. We have mixed feelings about how people celebrate Christmas these days. From the simple holiday we remember as kids, it has now turned into a super-commerical, credit-card-swiping frenzy. So, we encourage our clients and friends to spend only what they can afford, to keep it simple, and to focus on creating great spaces for gathering. Don't let media pressure you into stressing yourself our during the holidays. Enjoy a bibingka, go see old claymation cartoons, and sip salabat.

Nonetheless, we have are coming up with a few Christmas packages. No gross shiny wrapping paper, no plastic this-and-that. We put some of our organic food products in small jars for sets. Simple stuff, check back here or drop by the shop next week:

In other news, we are beginning to stock bulk coconut sugar and pinipig at the shop! We also have a new "grab-and-go" section with our bulk goods packaged in 500 ml glass jars, for those in a hurry. You can take these back for refills next time.

Coconut sugar tastes wonderful, It is less cloying than cane sugar, and can be used in coffee, cacao, baking, and generally as a sugar substitute. It is better for diabetics, and adds a delicious coconut flavor to everything. We can't stop eating bits of it all day.

Undas, or the begining of November, kicks in pinipig season. Pinipig is pounded rice. This season yields the green sort, when the rice is immature. Regardless of color, when you toast them, you get puffed, crispy rice. Sprinkle liberally on your cacao, or use as cereal.

(We saw the man above selling some in Batangas. Here he is filling our cloth bag with some personal stash. The ones at the shop are from Ilocos, and not the green sort-- we are still working on that!)


(New) Abaca-Cotton-Silk Bags, Black Rice

Check out these beautiful new bags from Bin 'Al Kay! They are made in Palawan with an innovative weave of local fiber abaca, silk and cotton, and screenprinted with gorgeous designs. We're pretty excited about the incorporation of local textiles into products that are useful for everyday-- not just as token "ethnic" ornaments.

We also have new roughly polished black rice from Nueva Ecija. This is a good starting point for those who can't have extremely fibrous rice, but want to make the switch to less processed grain. It's delicious stuff. Bring your own container!

Other new stuff on our shelves: Silly Sili organic chili flakes and chili pickled in cane vinegar and mascobado sugar.


(Ecology) Why We Don't Use Plastic Bottles-- Not Even Recyclable Ones

We package our formulations in glass because it is better for you and the environment. Why not plastic bottles, you ask, as most companies do (as in, the photo below)?

Get In My Belly (or Skin)

Even your typical "safe" plastic PET bottles can leach toxic antimony and endocrine-disrupting phthalates in normal conditions (or in prolonged storage or heat exposure). Moreover, many food and body products have ingredients (our would be essential oils, organic alcohol, etc.) that can cause mild corrosion when left pure on surfaces-- think about what they do to the bottle!

Plastic And The Planet: Manufacturing and Recycling

We don't think it makes sense environmentally either. You can never entirely recycle a plastic bottle, you downcycle it (you need to add new virgin plastic). Why is that bad? Because plastic comes from petroleum-- a non-renewable resource (plus extracting it from the earth is polluting and carbon-intensive, and its production and transportation is as well). Using a plastic bottle until your shampoo runs out, throwing it out for recycling, and subjecting it to another round of production really makes no sense! Glass is so much better-- a thorough cleaning, sterilization, and a new cap is much lighter on the environment if your supply chain is local (though we are looking for non-plastic caps, it's difficult!).

Recycling rates are much lower than you think, and when they do get recycled, THIS is what happens (though the video is from China, I'm sure you see junk shops around the metro-- not so different!).

Plastic And The Planet: Pollution

I dont' think I even need to go through the effect of plastic bottles and their relatives on the environment. Remember Ondoy? Remember swimming at the beach and getting a Hany wrapper in your eye? Yes, plastics do not disappear. They may be hauled to a dump out of your sight, but every bit of plastic you have encountered still does exist-- if they don't, they have been burnt, giving way to cancerous dioxins and other noxious gases.


What? Why? Where?

Ritual is a small general store and cacao/coffee joint. It is run by a few people who decided that they wanted a place that sells local, eco-friendly, preferably organic products not enclosed in plastic bags.
Why? Because local producers need our support, and we need their quality products. Because plastic is ugly, it leaches into your products and food, it clogs our waterways, and, the carbon used to create them is totally not worth their function. So, you can come in, bring your own containers, fill them up with local goods, and chat for a bit.

So this is our answer is to put joy into our everyday lives by providing things that give pleasure when used or eaten, and decrease the inherent displeasure caused by plastic.

We are open Tuesday-Saturday from 11am- 8pm. Visit us at the second floor of the Languages Internationale Building, 926 Arnaiz Avenue, Makati City (behind New World Hotel). You can reach us through email, hola (sa) ritual (tuldok) ph. You can reach us through our phone at (+632) 734 5486  during shop hours.



It seems that we needed to go beyond analogue sooner or later! Here we are, and we'll be updating more in the coming days.