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Monday, August 22, 2011

Recipe/My Take: Yellow Cab's Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta

I have always been a big fan of Yellow Cab's Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta. One weekend I was terribly craving for it but being a bonafide denizen of the hills of Cavite we will need to travel the least an hour before we get to the nearest Yellow Cab outlet. So each time a battle between Laziness and Food ensues, it is always laziness that wins by default.

Living in the hills has its share of advantage and disadvantages. But I'd like to believe that apart from the traffic congestion and the occasional feeling of deprivation especially when terrible cravings hit me, we are still at big advantage. We have fresh air, the feel of Christmas air during the Yuletide season with us waking up to foggy window glass on most days, and wide play spaces for Maia. Also, one big advantage is me learning to make homemade versions of my favorite dishes.

So enough with the blabbering, I present to you my version of Yellow Cab's Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta. As my fans would say, nothing beats the home cooked version! :)

What I used to cook this recipe:

300g cooked spaghetti (al dente)
150g boneless chicken breast (cut into strips) or you can used chicken fingers too (less hassle)
1 tsp sesame oil
Olive oil for sauteing
1 pc med sized onion, finely chopped (I used white for this one)
garlic cloves, minced (I used about 5 since our household loves garlic)
Lee Kum Kee Char Siu Sauce (I used a small pack)
Lee Kum Kee Chili-Garlic Sauce (I used half of the pack/sachet)
9 tbsps Oyster Sauce (I used 4 tbsps to marinate the chicken)
3 tsp muscovado sugar
1/4 c water from the cooked pasta
salt and pepper to taste
toasted peanuts (preferably unsalted)
spring onions for garnish
chili flakes (optional)

What I did:

1. Marinate the chicken breast using 4 tbsps of oyster sauce for about 20 mins.
2. Saute onion and garlic till translucent in olive oil.
3. Add chicken and stir fry till browned. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Mix the remaining oyster sauce with charsiu, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, muscovado sugar, and water well.
5. Pour over stir-fried chicken, stir and simmer.
6. Toss over cooked pasta and garnish with toasted peanuts and chopped spring onions. You can also add chili flakes for that extra kick if you like it spicy.

There you go. Enjoy! This recipe can feed for 4 hungry stomachs.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On The Road To Being The Wife I Never Dreamt To Be

Fresh from the 6am mass
in Ina Ng Laging Saklolo in Tagaytay during our 3rd Anniversary

Remember that cliche which goes like: "Don't look too far, what you're looking for might just be right in front of you"? Well, that sort of applied to me and my husband. You see, we were workstations buddies long before we became a couple. Well, I never thought it was a love story worth telling but come to think of it not a lot of women end up as a wife to their workstation buddy, don't they?

While we were not the best of friends we did share a love for indie/alternative music (I was floored by his CD collection) and were badminton buddies.  Apart from that and the workstation however that was all we shared. Our personalities are set on opposite sides of the pole. I was Ms. Congeniality and very outspoken while he was the uber-silent,  extremely shy and the I-only-get-close-to-a-limited-few you know what I mean kind of guy. He hated crowds and being around people while I constantly craved to be in the company of friends. You get the picture, I’m sure.

Add to that long list of personality differences, I just really could not imagine us being attracted to each other. As far as I knew then, the attraction merely zeroed in on the CD collection and that was all to it. But a common friend did us a favor and made the move for us. What started as a dare (no make it a command from our friend - ligawan mo na nga tong babaeng to!) turned out to be a test of resilience on his part and a test of compassion on mine. It was a long courtship riddled with countless rejections but he eventually proved it – PAG MAY TIYAGA, MAY NILAGA.

In  the next 3 years we would prove that opposites do attract. Our personalities eventually worked out for us. I was the talker, he was the listener. I made friends; he chose which ones are worth keeping. We complemented each other. That was probably the reason why in the 3 years that we were dating, we never fought big time. We embraced that because even with our differences we both abhor fighting and arguing.

But I guess, when you become husband and wife it's an entirely different story. I guess being too secured for comfort has its disadvantages. So you could say that it was whole new world for us when we jumped into married life. We fought (albeit not the physical kind, thank God) like kids. There were a lot of disagreements and nights when one of us had to move out of the room and sleep on the couch. Even with 3 years of dating to back us up and a year of that spent together in one apartment we were not spared. We had a rocky start.

Having a non-sociable (for the lack of better term) husband could mean a week or (*gasp*) sometimes a month going by without me knowing what’s going on with his life outside of the house. Even with the constant prodding from me for him to talk about how his day went, he’d only share bits and pieces but never the kind that would engage us in a conversation. He also has this obsession with gadgets that would sometimes have him create this wall/barrier around him that nobody can put down except him. It seemed like there’s this DO NOT DISTURB sign hanging on his head all the time. I eventually felt alienated.

In spite of this, I still consider myself lucky for having a husband who listens. I was never the nagging kind but when something bothers me, I have to let that out. Otherwise I'd feel like I'm going to explode. So he listens, keeps silent and gives me space. And later he would woo me into bringing my old cheery self back by either playing stupid or buying me sweets (which I really have a soft spot for).

Every time I'm asked to give a newly wedded couple friend a message only these two things come to mind - constant communication and prayer. It was probably because those are the two things that kept me and my husband together despite of our differences. In our relationship, I already took the responsibility of initiating conversations having realized that I could never really demand that from my husband. Prayers make us stay rooted to our faith and make us realize that we are merely humans who can commit mistakes and should be willing to forgive when forgiveness is sought.

Yes I know at 4 years, our marriage is far from stable. But I think, this somehow gives me a preview of the years to come. Yes there will be constant disagreements and dead air which I really, really hate. And I know that I will have to pray for more patience to withstand those nights when he'd heed off my call and choose to sit in front of the computer till the wee hours of the morning instead of sharing to me how his day was.  But nobody forced me to sign up for this. So I will carry on the commitment I made when I said my wedding vows. I am confident too that despite my husband’s personality he will somehow deliver his part of the bargain.

I never dreamt I'd be a wife. I thought I had a shot at being a career woman and marriage was just not my thing. But somehow when that time came, I was very sure it was something I really want. I just knew that committing to being married to this guy was my destiny. I was and am still happy I took that plunge.

The smile says it all. 

I am far from being the perfect wife. But I really do not wish to be. There are days when I had to be nudged big time to remember that I was a wife first before I became a mom. I do tend to go overboard with my dream of becoming a super momma. I realized that I too sometimes alienate my husband. I also build my own wall when I assume the role of being the mommy. But it is clearer to me now why my husband and I decided to marry in the first place. We balance each other. 

To me and my husband, one thing is essential - that despite our ups and downs we remain HAPPY. So we made a promise to always ask each other – are you happy? and how can I make you happier today? Happiness might be vague but to us that embodies our ultimate dream. And when we answer that question we define our needs at that moment. We do not discount the fact that one day one of us might have a No for an answer. We also promised to work it out first and not give up at the onset.

The road that I will travel towards being the ideal wife is long and I’m sure bumpy. I have yet to realize what I really want so I can be better at serving my role as the wife. Most days I’d probably still have my hands full I can hardly breathe but I will hopefully remember to call and ask for help because that’s what husbands are for. And each time I feel like picking a fight, I will remember to remind myself how lucky I was I never had to search far to find what I was looking for. At least I was able to save up some energy to fuel me for the remaining part of my road trip.

Together We Can Do It!

This is my entry to a blog carnival called It's A Wife's Life hosted by Toni of Wifely Steps

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Recipe: Pancit Lomi Soup for the Rainy Day

I initially planned to cook Chicken Mami this morning. But our helper ended up buying thick egg noodles so I decided to try making Pancit Lomi Soup instead. I told my hungry customers not to expect too much since it's my first time and I'm cooking it from memory. Meaning, from how I recall the taste of the best Lomi soup I've ever eaten.

Pancit Lomi Soup for the Rainy Day
(serves 4-6 hungry stomachs)

200 g. thick fresh egg noodles
1/2 kilo chicken soup pack (breast/rib part), boiled and shredded
4 pcs chicken liver, cubed
8 pcs store-bought squid balls, quartered
1 small red onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small sayote, sliced thinly
1 med sized carrots, sliced thinly
1 small head of cabbage, shredded
a few stalks of spring onion

3 cups chicken stock (from the boiled chicken)
2 tbsps cornstarch
2 pcs egg, slightly beaten
2 tbsp olive oil/vegetable oil


1. Saute garlic and onion till translucent. You can slightly brown the garlic if you like the somehow toasted/bitter taste.
2. Add liver and saute till half-cooked.
3. Add the carrots and sayote and stir fry for about 2mins.
4. Add the squid balls, shredded chicken and chicken stock.
5. Dilute cornstarch in a few tsps of water and add to the soup.
6. Add egg noodles (make sure it's cleaned)
7. Add shredded cabbage. Simmer for one or two minutes.
8. Add fresh egg and stir.
9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
10. Garnish with spring onions.

Best eaten while still piping hot on a cold, rainy day.
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