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
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!