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Monthly Archives: November 2010

I’m almost never tasked to make dinner, that’s why I always have to let my mom know beforehand if I plan to make a little mess in the kitchen, just like last Sunday.

Parmesan and Pepper Crusted Chicken

What you need: Chicken fillets, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, flour, eggs, and whatever spices you want to mix in

It goes through the usual coating drill: dipping the chicken fillets in flour, beaten eggs and the spiced breading for the crust. In this recipe, the crusting includes the breadcrumbs mixed with grated Parmesan cheese, crushed pepper and whatever McCormick seasonings we got around the cupboard (you know, those small glass bottles with green caps). Really, it’s up to you what spices you decide to put in; that’s all the difference it makes for any breaded meat. Next is frying ‘em, just a few minutes on each side of the crusted fillet ‘til the meat is cooked and the crust—just like any fried crust is supposed to look like—is golden brown. Finally top it with some edible leaves to make it look a bit ooh la la even if it turns out bad. And also so you’d have a reason to exclaim, “voilà!” right after you put the last leaf.

Realization of the day: I seriously need to invest on some cooking and baking materials. I’ve already got a mental list of kitchen tools that would make my cooking endeavors easier, and all of which I plan to have soon as my property: mortar and pestle, electric mixer, pizza cutter, pepper crusher, and a mezzaluna (it’s a knife with a curved blade and handles on both ends) which I’ve always coveted ever since I saw Nigella using it. Our pepper crusher was broken, so I grounded the whole round black peppers the archaic way—no, not even with a mortar and pestle, but with a mug and a chopping board, which I’d rather not elaborate on. In the meantime, it works!

It’s full of stuff—stuff you need, don’t need and stuff you never thought about. I’ve been to Divisoria numerous times, but I’ve only confined myself to the safer side—168 mall specifically—thinking the items there are priced low enough for me not to have any reason to go on exploring elsewhere. Last weekend though, I finally found myself walking like a geisha in the streets of Divisoria on the way to the mecca called Tabora Street.

With the company of my cousin, we asked our way around. The street shouldn’t be too hard to find, but imagine fishing your way through as if it were rush hour every hour; or imagine a bunch of adults all walking in baby steps. If a highway is no place for people to go on walking and crossing about, so is Divisoria not a place meant for rides with more than two wheels.

We went there on a Saturday afternoon—not the best time. You can’t stop and stand long enough to get a good look at the things without having someone hiss at you for blocking the way. It took a few turns on the side streets, passing by rows of clothes, vegetables, seafood, and furniture, until we arrived at the corner of Tabora.

It was a vibrant chaos of colors. Being there just a few weeks before the holiday season, all spaces were filled with Christmas ornaments for sale, will all the hues you can imagine a plastic poinsettia decor could have. And there was everything else: crafting supplies, cheap clothing, cooking and baking utensils, and even this mini sewing machine operated by hand (As said earlier: stuff you never thought about). There were table runners with patterns intricately woven, majestic curtains hanging high above you, feathers, masks, sequined costumes, beads, native mats, baskets, and flowing fabrics all over—all these out in the streets where the rays of the sun can touch them.

Preparing for a Christmas bazaar I am joining this December, I finally found the perfect tablecloth, and it cost me much less than what I had planned to spend for. I bought a two-toned brocade fabric for only 80 pesos a yard, about half the price you’d find in malls. I was going for a plain tablecloth, but why should I when I can use the more refined curtain and cushion fabrics? If you are thinking about buying in bulk, or just looking for cheap thrills, it’s been said many times—this is the place to be.

I would have wanted to take some photos, but I did not dare take out my camera when there’s a guy repeatedly crying out, “Oi, mag-ingat sa mga mandurukot, nariyan lang yan, siksikan dito!” No way am I going to dangle bait for pickpockets—not at this time of the year (pre-holiday), of the week (Saturday), of the day (afternoon).

For a moment I didn’t feel like I was in my own city. It’s not a spot where I would find myself often. Then I thought proudly, this is Manila. You haven’t seen it if you haven’t walked down her streets. It’s much more beautiful being a part of the hustle and bustle than just looking at it through tinted windows. I bet it’s just as breathtaking as any other city in the world.