Monday, November 30, 2009

Dancing In The Kitchen With My Daughter

My eldest daughter visited us for four days, but is now, as I type this, packing to return back to Berkeley. You would think that after three years of her being away from home, we would be used to saying our goodbyes. But it is still so hard to say goodbye. It seems that planning her visit for Thanksgiving took months to iron out but her four-day stay was ever-so-brief; it makes me wish that time would stand still for a couple of days. However, I am taking comfort to in the fact that she’ll be home again for Christmas in three weeks. So the waiting begins…again.

With a lot of things to celebrate, including her birthday and Thanksgiving, four days were definitely too short. She arrived here at home on the day after she turned 21. We decided that although it wasn't exactly her birthday anymore, we would still continue our tradition of singing Happy Birthday to the celebrant at midnight of your birthday and banning her or him from doing any chores for the whole day. We thought she still deserved the same privilege and at 21 even more…

We tried to get her 21 gifts but as we were ideating, we thought 21 was way too many. We ended up spelling twenty one, with each letter representing one gift. It was so much fun ideating what to get her. My two other kids didn’t want to get her random gifts, so on the letter O, we thought she would appreciate “our company!” Let’s be creative and have fun with her, we all agreed. So with T for tequila, W for wine (remember, she did turn 21) and E for envelopes containing our birthday cards and greetings from loved ones and so on, she appreciated everything that we got for her!

With Nicole turning 21, I can’t help but smile at how beautiful our relationship had turned out. Sure, we have our “conflicts” but it has definitely improved since she was in high school. So, how do we build lasting mother-daughter relationships? I guess through constantly understanding each other and loving unconditionally… and now that she loves to cook, we discovered that cooking too helps strengthen this lasting bond.

Last Wednesday, I was cooking a shrimp dish when out of the blue she asked me if she could cook fried rice to go with it. I excitedly said, “Sure!” and she immediately jumped into action. Initially, she had to accustom herself and asked where all the utensils and the ingredients were, but eventually, we were both busy in the kitchen with our respective dishes. We were a great team, just like something you would watch on Iron Chef, fully in synch and raring to go! The funny thing is, she even sang while cooking, just like I do whenever I cook. We were like swaying and dancing in the small space in the kitchen. Marching and swinging, it was one beautiful dance, one precious moment… and oh yeah the food turned out to be a sweet pair too!

SHRIMP ala Imrpomptu Diva


2.5 lbs shrimp
5 tbsp barbeque marinade
3 tbsp banana ketchup (or you could use tomato ketchup)
1 medium onion(chopped)
3 cloves garlic
3 onion leeks
3 slices of ginger
1 tbsp cornstarch dispersed in water
Hot sauce (optional)

Heat a saucepan. Sautee the garlic and the onions. Add the ginger. While doing so, mix the ketchup and the barbeque marinade together and add it on to the saucepan. Add the shrimp. Cook it for about 6-7 minutes. When it’s almost done, add the cornstarch. Stir until the sauce thickens. Serve it hot. Garnish with onion leeks and toasted garlic.

Shrimp Ball Rice ala Nicole(written by Nicole herself)

5 pcs Shrimp Balls (cubed)
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1 medium carrot (cubed)
3 egg (scrambled)
Green onion leeks
Filipino soy sauce dispersed in water with 1 tbsp brown sugar
Onions (chopped)
Garlic (minced)
Cooked rice

On a flat pan with some vegetable oil, toss the garlic and onion in and cook until golden (NOT BROWN). Then, add the carrots. After a couple of minutes, add the cubed squid balls and add the oyster sauce. When this is cooked, set it aside on a plate. Using the same pan, put more oil and the cooked rice. This rice has to be rice cooked from the day before; if you use newly-cooked rice, the dish will turn out really mushy. Add the soysauce mixture to the rice carefully, bit by bit. you want the sauce to be evenly spread on the rice. (Note: if you have Kikkoman or any other Japanese-based soy sauce, just use that without the water and the brown sugar; Filipino soy sauce is saltier, so I decided to dilute it and make it sweeter) Then, add in two-eggs scrambled, but (just like what you did with the soy sauce) mix it in step-by-step. This way, the egg gets cooked evenly across the rice. Then, put back the squid balls/carrots that you fried early into the pan. You're done! For garnish, you can cook the remaining scrambled egg and cut it into cubes and add green leeks. Sorry if it seems so complicated, but the process works!


  1. I had all the time to read during the 4-day weekend, and for all its worth,I just want to let you know that I love your BLOG.

    Looking forward to a great relationship with my daughter when she grows up.Hopefully we will find ourselves dancing in the kitchen like you do too!

    boston mom

  2. Thank you for your kind words Boston Mom... people like you inspire me to do the best I can...

    I'm sure in no time you will be dancing in the kitchen with your daughter... just nurture her with love and lots of love...


  3. Thank you so very much for stopping by. It was lovely to have you visit.

    It is wonderful to hear you speak of the relationship with your daughter... may it continue to grow and mature.

  4. Hi Cynthia!

    I am thrilled to see you here!!!

    Thank you for the visit and the kind words. I hope my food blog grows to become as big as Tastes Like Home. That is something an amateur blogger like me dreams of.

    Again, thank you so much Cynthia!


  5. im really out of words on how you express your writings. Not only do you have talent in cooking but as well as in blog writing!!

  6. Thank you for the kind words dakila_ina! I draw my inspiration from readers like you!

    maraming salamat!

  7. It warms my heart reading your blog. I love the way you introduce the recipes through your stories. I tried the NO FUSS NO GRILL Chicken and I loved it. I think I will try this one too. Keep on blogging, your blog sets you apart from the rest!

  8. Hi Foodie 2!

    I'm glad to hear that you've tried the chicken recipe I posted a few weeks ago. I hope you will have the time to try the other recipes too. The ingredients could be purchased in any Asian store, but let me know if you will have any problem finding them though...

    Thanks for dropping by...

  9. What a lovely story. I'm always thrilled to hear of the closeness between children and parents. Well done! Both of you are great. Beautiful dishes. I love them.

  10. Hi Mary!

    I'm thrilled to have you here! Thank you for stopping by...

    We will see each other more often in the blogosphere!

    Here's to our "virtual" friendship... cheers!


  11. I love the stories you have to go along with the beautiful dishes you have on here -- it is so wonderful you have such a strong relationship with your kids. My mother has become my best friend and I am always so thankful for all the patience and love she has provided me throughout these years -- it is hard to imagine what I'd be like without her guidance hahaha. What a Heart warming post very nice :)

  12. OMG Joylicious is in the house!!!! hahahah! but yeah I'm sooo thrilled to see you stop by!

    I'm a fan of yours! your posts are ahh-mazing! You put so much love into it!

    I'm glad to "meet" you Joy!


Thank you for stopping by and oh I would be thrilled even more if you could leave a comment... :) Cheers!

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