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 recipe 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. 🙂
  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. 😀

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. 

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. 

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! 🙂

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. 🙂

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,  in case you want to try it out. But try mine first. Hahahaha 😀

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.  Stir & serve.
  4. To upgrade your oatmeal’s oatsomeness, add the banana slices and stir. Eat, savor each bite, and enjoy!!! 🙂

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! 🙂

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)  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. 🙂

 

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. 🙂 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  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, 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  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 BPM (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! 🙂

Until my next run and dish! 😀

Where Will Happiness Strike Next? Coca-Cola Phils’ The OFW Project

In case you don’t know, I am a marketing student–a business administration-majoring-in-marketing-management student to be exact. We recently concluded the preliminary portion of  all our classes but I’ve already learned a lot in my marketing class. My professor, Dr. Leonardo Garcia or Dr. “Nards” as we all called him, taught at a fast pace and I am getting the idea that I need to do a lot of speed reading and mental running if I wish to pass his subject with flying colors. 🙂 One of the main topics of our discussion is about the corporate social responsibility or CSR of companies. Gone are the days when marketers are only concerned with producing goods and selling them to customers who don’t know what to do with their money. In fact today, customers set the tone and trend for products that marketers must keep up with them! This reality calls for speed, innovation, creativity, and resourcefulness, as well as ethics and social responsibility.

In connection with CSR, I want to share with you guys this video/project that Coca-Cola Philippines created. I believe other countries are doing the same thing, but of course, no other campaign on happiness would touch your heart the best than one that involves your fellowmen. The first time I saw this, I cried. 😉 Somehow, even for just 4 minutes, I heard what overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) really, really wanted and felt even a tinge of their emotional burden. I bet if they’re earning here in the Philippines what they are earning abroad, they wouldn’t want to fly to distant countries. For parents, it’s heartbreaking not to witness the growth of your children (my Dad himself said it; he’s glad he witnessed ours). For young single children, it’s just as heartbreaking not to live beside your old, and sometimes, even sick, parents and also witness the growth of your younger siblings.

After watching this video, I embraced my role as a marketing student all the more. If this is what I am tasked to do–reconnecting separated families and making Christmases memorable–then I’m game. Living the line with joy is what I aim to do, after all. 😉 (naks may tagline din ako hahaha)