Pan-fried Dory with Lemon Butter Sauce

Can you feel the Christmas spirit?! Because I can!

Hola chicos y chicas! There are only 53 days left till we celebrate the 2000++ human birthday of Jesus Christ. I wonder if He throws a Christmas party in Heaven on the 25th of December in our time and exchange gifts with the Heavenly Father, Holy Spirit, the angels, and Christians residing there. Hmmm. Guess I’ll find out when I get there!

Anyway, I just want to post this dish which I made Saturday last week. If you’re the type of person who can’t cook to save your life but you have to or you want to give cooking a try, this is the dish to make! It’s easy, delicious, satisfying, and appealing to all palate types.

I’ll divide the cooking process into 3 simple steps: Seasoning, Frying, and Saucing (i.e., making the sauce)

Ingredients

Dory fillet

Maggi Magic Sarap

dried basil leaves

salt

white pepper

parsley flakes

Seasoning

  1. Before seasoning your dory, make sure they’re DRY. Pat them with paper towels if they’re wet.
  2. I followed this recipeย from Bubbly Blabber & used the ingredients mentioned, which are: Maggi Magic Sarap (it’s a seasoning pouch available in sari-sari stores and local Filipino markets and grocery stores), salt, white pepper powder, and dried basil leaves (McCormick). In seasoning your dory fillet, I did not have any specific measurements. Just place the salt, Maggi, white pepper, and basil on one palm and use it to coat the dory. In Tagalog, we call it tantsa. Tantsa-tantsa lang yan, hindi naman ‘to baking. ๐Ÿ™‚
  3. Once you’ve seasoned your fish, put flour (again, on tantsa mode) on a separate plate. Even the flour on the plate. Then roll your dory in the flour, covering all sides. Brush off excess flour. “Pagpagin” mo yung dory. ๐Ÿ˜€

Frying

On a frying pan, place a large chunk of butter or margarine and let it melt. Once the butter’s melted, fry your fish! Turn it every 1-2 minutes to avoid burning, since it cooks pretty easily. I like mine a little bit brown and toasted on the outside, so I let the fish cook for 5-6 minutes.ย 

Saucing

The first time I made the sauce, it was a disaster. I put way too much lemon zest! On the same pan you used to fry the fish, melt another large chunk of butter, larger than the first chunk. Once it’s melted, add 1 tsp lemon zest, or to taste. But definitely not more than 1 lemon, not even 1/4 of it! Believe me, I tried. Stir the sauce and pour it on the dory.ย 

So there you have it! It’s pretty easy, right? Spoon warm rice onto your plate and serve the dory as an ulam (viand).

Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Nutty Oatmeal Recipe for an Oatsome Breakfast

Who wants oatmeal for breakfast?!

I love having oatmeal for breakfast, especially if it’s rolled oats. I like how it’s so common, relatively cheap (although rolled oats are a tad more expensive than instant oats), and versatile–you can cook it plainly, with just milk and sugar, or go overboard with the toppings by adding fruits (apples, bananas, cherries), nuts, cinnamon, chocolate, cocoa powder, and even gummy bears!

When I cook oatmeal at home, I usually just mix it with sweetened cocoa powder in the saucepan. Just before I enjoy my oatmeal, I sprinkle with a dash of cinnamon, stir in thin banana slices, and pour a few tablespoons of milk. Last Wednesday I found a very easy and cheap oatmeal recipe at Fully Booked Rockwell, a favorite store of mine. The recipe I found was written by Chef Susan Irby in her book, The Giant A$7 A Meal Cookbook. As I always do when I don’t have the exact ingredients mentioned by the chef or cook, I adapted the recipe. As usual, it turned out palatable! My tummy was pleased. ๐Ÿ™‚

So here’s my modified Nutty Oatmeal recipe. Hope you guys like it! I also included the original recipe from Chef Susan Irby’s cookbook,ย  in case you want to try it out. But try mine first. Hahahaha ๐Ÿ˜€

To make this totally oatsome (pun intended…even if it’s corny, haha) and delicious dish to feed 3 people, you need:

  • 1 cup of rolled oats oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons crushed or chopped almonds (the actual measurement is 1/2 cup, but since I only had a handful of almonds with me, I was only able to make 2 tablespoons. You can add more nuts for a nuttier, crunchier oatmeal! You may also substitute walnuts for almonds. See the original recipe below)
  • 3 1/4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder dissolved in 1/3 cup of hot water (if you don’t want a chocolatey oatmeal, use 1/4 cup of milk instead)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (I didn’t use up all of the sugar, and it still tasted delicious. You can leave out 4 teaspoons of sugar if you want to go easy on the sweetness)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 ripe lakatan banana, thinly sliced (optional)

Now to really make the totally oatsome and delicious nutty oatmeal, follow these 3 easy steps:

  1. Place the oatmeal in a medium skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. Toast the oats, stirring constantly for 5-6 minutes or until the oatmeal is fragrant and begins to brown around the edges. Just make sure they don’t burn! Remove the oatmeal and transfer to a medium saucepan.
  2. In the same pan, melt the butter and add the crushed almonds. Toast the almonds over medium heat, stirring constantly until the almonds are a dark brown color and toasted. Switch the positions of the skillet and saucepan in the gas stove so that the oatmeal begins to heat. Add the water, cocoa powder, salt, and cinnamon to oatmeal in saucepan.
  3. Bring the oatmeal mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3-5 minutes until oatmeal is tender. Add the brown sugar and nuts, stir, then cover oatmeal & let it stand for 3 minutes or 10 seconds if you can’t wait to taste your totally oatsome and delicious nutty oatmeal.ย  Stir & serve.
  4. To upgrade your oatmeal’s oatsomeness, add the banana slices and stir. Eat, savor each bite, and enjoy!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

NOTE: If you are serving for 5-6 people, just multiply the amount of the ingredients by two except for the water and sugar. If you’re using rolled oats, add another cup or 1/2 cup of water because rolled oats absorb the water faster than instant oats, and if your oatmeal lacks water, it will be too sticky and not as oatsome. Go easy on the sugar, and adjust it according to your taste. But don’t add too much, unless you plan on having diabetes.

Here is the original recipe from Chef Susan Irby’s book, The Giant $7 A Meal Cookbook

serves 5

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups regular oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Directions:

  1. Place oatmeal in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toast, stirring constantly, for 5-6 minutes or until oatmeal is fragrant and begins to brown around the edges. Remove to large saucepan.
  2. In the same skillet, melt butter and add chopped walnuts. Toast over medium heat, stirring constantly until nuts are toasted. set aside. Add water, milk, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to oatmeal in saucepan.
  3. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to low and simmer 5-6 minutes until oatmeal is tender. Add brown sugar and nuts, stir, then cover oatmeal and let stand for 3 minutes. Stir and serve.

Have a happy breakfast! ๐Ÿ™‚

Love Like Bacon

Last Saturday, I ate slightly burnt, long and crispy, juicy bacon.

Seldom do I eat bacon because it’s not exactly and apparently healthy; even more seldom do I eat bacon in an eat-all-you-can-breakfast, so just imagine my elation when I found it on the buffet table. I was smitten for the next hour as I walked back and forth our table and the buffet table, heaping spoonfuls of bacon on my plate. Each bite was a delight to my palate and a burden for my digestive organs. After an hour, I sat lazily in my seat, thankful to God for the bacon, but surprisingly, not wishing for any more. At least not at that time.

Although this true-to-life example is a shallow comparison to what being in love is like, I think the processes involved in it is just as the same. Smelling bacon, much more to eat it, is as irresistible as holding his or her hand as you walk, mindless of the world save each other’s presence. (If you don’t find bacon irresistible, unless you’re really sick, something must be seriously wrong with you) ย Being in love, or being passionate about someone or something, does not only exist in the context of romanticism (or else I can’t say I’m in love). For a new mom, bathing her beautiful child is a joy. For a writer and blogger, posting one entry after another is a delight even if it robs you of sleep.

But what happens when the feeling is gone? Should a man ditch his woman in midair and rekindle the fire with someone else? Should a mother cease to attend to her wailing child when she does not feel like it? Should a blogger (and here I’m speaking mainly to myself), or any writer for that matter, discontinue writing, thinking that “nobody cares about what I have to say anyway?”

Unlike the process of eating bacon, which has and must have a definite ending or else the body will retaliate, the lifetime process of love has no end. It must persist through time. Why, then, do marriages fail? Why do passions die down? I don’t speak for everyone, but based on my experience, my love for people and noble passions dies down because I based it on the feeling of being in love. The top reason I did not blog the past 2 months (although I did write in my journal, but still) is that I did not “feel like writing.” There are a lot of bloggers out there anyway. My absence won’t make any difference.

While it is true that by not writing I am not exactly doing others any wrong, I am doing wrong for myself, because I committed to this and I am not keeping my part of the bargain. Love, whether for spouse, child, country, or God–especially God–must be, according to C.S. Lewis, “maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit.” Feelings go faster than you can say Mississippi, but your will stays with you. Although we may think that people and circumstances make us do the things we do, it’s really us who choose what we do. They just influenced us to do them, but they did not actually make those decisions for us.

For me, I have decided today that I will encourage you all with these words. (I hope you were!) I believe it’s part of my commitment to write for a world that is in dire need of trustworthy words to hold on to. I mean it when I say trustworthy, because the One Who gives the words to say is trustworthy. And by the One I mean the Lord Jesus. Think about it: Do you think Jesus felt like dying on the cross (and I got this idea from Tom Holladay)? Did He skip and jump gleefully from the Passover room to Gethsemane as His time for excruciating suffering was coming to a close? Yet He went on anyway. He maintained His will because He truly, absolutely loves you and me. Just think about that for a moment and let reality sink in because that’s what true love is. That’s Who He is–irresistible, satisfying, and truly delightful.

Just like a good serving of crispy bacon. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Holladay, Tom (2008). The Relationship Principles Of Jesus. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan

Lewis, C.S. (1952). Mere Christianity. United Kingdom: Macmillan Pub Co.

 

Back To Running & Cooking! (Pasta Recipe Included, Too)

Last Tuesday, I started running again! It felt so good to wear my running shoes and run ’till I sweat, pant, and can’t talk no more. ๐Ÿ™‚ Next to meeting God, running a few kilometers in a garden in the middle of the Makati Central Business District (CBD) is one of the few reasons I look forward to waking up in the early morn.

I ran at 7 AM and unfortunately, didn’t get to see the sunrise. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed my 30-minute run. However, since I was on hiatus for several months (only with running, not exercise), my body cried for an adjustment phase that it may recall my former running stride, if I had any. =))

Then last Thursday, I cooked a healthy, low-cost pasta dish! Now that I have all the time in the world I can run and continue enhancing my cooking skills. This dish I adapted from Women’s Health Whole-Wheat Spaghetti With Sweet Peppers and Chicken Sausage recipe. As usual, I lacked the exact ingredients stated in the recipe so I tweaked the dish using ย ingredients available at home. Thankfully, my Dad brought home a few cans of Spam so I used that instead of chicken sausage. It turned out swell! Everyone at home enjoyed the dish.

Spaghetti With Spam, Bell Peppers, and Basil

Makes 6-8 servings

  • 500 g pasta noodles (spaghetti,ย fettuccine, or linguine)
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 can Spam lite, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 5 tsps dried basil leaves or 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves plus whole leaves for garnish
  • 4 large assorted bell peppers
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add Spam and brown lightly on both sides, about 7 minutes. Transfer cooked sausage to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Wipe out the pan.
  2. Add remaining oil to the skillet. Saute garlic over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add peppers and saute until shiny, about 1 minute. Cover the pan and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until peppers are soft but not mushy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add Spam and basil to pan, and mix gently.
  3. Cook pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain in a colander, leaving a little water in the pot. Pour the pasta back into the pot and toss to prevent sticking, then add it to the pan with the sauce and combine. Divide among ย plates, garnish with fresh basil, and serve.

Voila!

I know it’s not the most appealing photo of a supposedly delicious pasta (but really, it’s good), but I don’t exactly have a very good camera (or photography skills). My Dad wasn’t home when I cooked this so I had no one to take good photos with an excellent camera. At least I tried!

By the way, if you’re a runner and you’re searching for a playlist that could help fire up your albeit monotonous run, then I suggest you update your playlist with these songs emailed to me by Chris Lawhorn of Run Hundred.

Tim Berg – Seek Bromance (Avicii Vocal Edit) – 127 BPM

Katy Perry – The One That Got Away – 135 BPM

Alexandra Stan – Mr. Saxobeat (Maan Studio Remix) – 126 BPM

Flo Rida – Good Feeling – 129 BPM

Wolfgang Gartner & Will.I.Am – Forever – 128 BPM

Hot Chelle Rae – Tonight Tonight (Goldstein Remix) – 118 BPM

Taio Cruz & Flo Rida – Hangover – 129 BPM

Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull & The WAV.s – I Like How It Feels – 129 BPM

Kaskade & Skrillex – Lick It – 128 BPMย (I did not use this, though, The title turned me off. haha)

Kelly Clarkson – What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger) – 117 BPM

I also suggest ending your playlist with Israel Houghton’s, “We Have Overcome.” It’ll seal your hard work! ๐Ÿ™‚

Until my next run and dish! ๐Ÿ˜€

Sunday’s Best: My New Nephew, New Books, and Lots of Seafood

Last Sunday, I finally saw the new and handsome addition to the Jarlego clan. World, meet my very first nephew, Lorenzo Jacob Jarlego Solomon!

Jacob was born last February 21 to my cousin, Kuya Es, and his wife, Ate Hiyas. When they first broke the news that Ate Hiyas was preggers last year, we were overjoyed. I’m sure Jacob will be spoiled….with love, tender care, attention, and lots of food (his momma is an excellent cook).

Later that evening after Dad & Mom’s Discipleship group (Dgroup) session, we headed to the much-talked about MV Logos Hope. It’s a floating library that carries Christian and other wholesome books as well as CDs and journals and sells them at prices lower than most bookstores. Last month (I think, correct me if I’m wrong) the ship docked in Manila Bay. Since last week, Mom and I kept pestering Dad to take us there, and he finally did last Sunday. Right now I believe MV Logos Hope is docked in Subic bay so if you’re near that area, I highly recommend you check out the library with your friends and/or family!

While I was busily reading synopses and filling my cart with books, I heard a familiar voice call my name. It was Camille, one of my batch mates and close friends in high school. I missed this woman! ๐Ÿ™‚ We updated each on other on our collegiate lives and as usual, recounted hilarious high school memories. The way we laughed would have had us kicked out of a university library, so I’m thankful the peeps in MV Logos Hope were not so strict. Actually, they have nothing against noise, just don’t be too rambunctious.

After about an hour and a half (or was it more than that? time flies when you’re too engrossed shopping for books), our stomachs were calling out to us demanding they be fed. Since we were already in Manila (as in, Manila city), Mom suggested that we have dinner in Macapagal Boulevard, an area known for its seafood paluto restaurants. I am grateful to God for sparing us from any allergies towards seafood or else we would miss out on this scrumptious dinner. Also, I am grateful that I live in an island where fish is a staple to an everyday diet. I’d choose fish over meat any day.

After reserving seats in igmaan (an orange-themed resto that’s pretty hidden), Mom, Ericka (from the root word Erick kasi becky siya hahaha) and I shopped for our viands. I brought Dad’s camera with me to chronicle my palengke (wet market) adventure.

it was as if he was pleading to me with his eyes to take notice of his slavery and free him in the world where krabby patties exist. Whut?! ๐Ÿ˜€ We freed his other brethren so that they can make their new home in our stomachs and eventually, in the septic tank. #grossbuttrue

the fish vendor with his expensive product, the lapu-lapu. He wanted a photo for his Facebook profile daw. Or maybe it’s the fish who needed a new picture to report to his family back in the ocean of his earthly demise? ๐Ÿ™‚

tahong or saltwater mussel Here he is again, this time, with a more expensive product: a lobster.

After shopping, we went back to igmaan and patiently waited for our dinner. After ten minutes, dinner was served! We had:

buttered garlic shrimp. I usually eat only two pieces of shrimp (sometimes none at all), but this dish was so good, I ate five (or more; I lost count).

This pako (fern) salad is simple, but its crunchiness and tastiness makes up for its simplicity. And it’s cheap too! Too bad they don’t sell these in our local markets. #boo

Other tasty dishes that we ate but not pictured here were: sinigang na tanigue, crab (I forgot the exact name of the dish, but it had a red, slightly viscous sauce), and grilled tuna belly. My top 3 favorites and highly recommended dishes were the sinigang na tanigue, buttered garlic shrimp, and grilled tuna belly. And just to tell you how hungry I was that night and how good the meals tasted, I consumed 1 cup of white rice. You see, I don’t eat more than 1/3 cup of rice because my stomach bloats easily and unfortunately, it stays that way for some time. I’ve conditioned myself to limit my rice intake since I was 12, but on that particular night in igmaan, I let loose! I’m warning you: if you’re the type that sticks strictly to aย  certain diet, DO NOT go to any paluto restaurant. You will surely compromise your commitment. ๐Ÿ™‚

After consuming five different viands and two large bowls of white rice (hey, there were five of us), our dining escapade ended with this:

Simot ang plato. In English: Wiped out the plates haha ๐Ÿ™‚The dinner was worth the wait. Our financial manager was pleased.

so was his other half and the igmaan waiters. Waiter on the right ftw! ๐Ÿ˜€

Thank You, Jesus, for my loving family, books, and great food. Thank You for Sundays. ๐Ÿ™‚