Not Your Ordinary Salmon

I have always stayed away from the kitchen. ALWAYS. The times I cook when I was still staying at our family home resulted to either injury, smirks of disappointment, or worse, combination of the two. It didn’t help that we still have a helper inside the house that takes care of the household chores. So when I decided to put my foot down and seek out the independent life, I had no clue how the hell am I going to feed myself.

Dining out isn’t an option for me, at least, given that the Philippines is still badly affected by the pandemic and of course, it’s gonna take a fortune to be dining out all the time. I can opt to have food delivered by meal plan businesses or from small local food stores but combining its costs will also take a huge chunk out of my budget. The best way to keep me and my wallet healthy is to learn how to cook.

It’s been almost two weeks now that since I moved in to my condo unit and after filling up my ref with groceries, I realized that I completely suck at grocery shopping. I ended up buying incomplete ingredients, stuff I don’t necessarily need (I have a whole level of my ref with beers and chips), and produces that I don’t know how long they’ll be good for.

I may be good inside the academe, I may have take on numerous tests, and even passed a licensure exam without much trouble but I am in utter surrender to the fact that I am yet clueless to the things that matters most in real life. I am taking it as a challenge and allowing myself to learn from experience, even if this feels like it’s the hard way.

At the start of my journey, I was able to whip up a truly delicious grilled cheese sandwhich and Filipino Pork Adobo. But what truly inspired me to write is the Pan Seared Salmon I did for lunch today. Not only because it ended up having perfectly cooked meat, and surprisingly delicious, it also challenged me to improvise and cook by my guts instead of the page of the recipe.

I am far from being an expert, I am not even knowledgeable, but I was able to come up with a Pan Seared Salmon with Calamansi Garlic Butter and if you’re interested, continue to scroll down.


Ingredients:

Salmon Calamansi

Butter Salt

Garlic Pepper

Oil

  1. Peel and chop the garlic cloves horizontally. Personally, I like to use plenty of garlic.
  2. Slice the calamansi in half. (It was supposed to be lemon but I forgot to include it in my grocery list.)
  3. Pat dry the salmon using paper towels.
  4. Rub some salt and pepper on both sides of the salmon.
  5. Put a little bit of oil in your pan and set the heat to medium.
  6. Cook the salmon skin side up first for like four minutes first or until you think the flesh is crusty or crispy?
  7. Flip the salmon and put in some butter and add in the garlic cloves too. Baste the salmon with the butter.
  8. Wait for another four minutes or until it is cooked (but do not overdo it).
  9. Dish out the salmon from the pan and put squeeze out calamansi juice all over it.
  10. Let it rest but serve while still hot.

Singapore: Why I Keep Coming Back

It’s been 109 days since the lockdown has started in our country – due to this quarantine, a lot of travel plans are postponed or cancelled. Nobody saw this coming, and no one has dreamed of going through 2020 like this, for sure. I know, traveling is not the biggest problem everyone’s facing but there’s also some therapeutic magic to it that alleviates stress that people dearly misses, especially having been cooped up for months. So, to satisfy my thirst for it, I decided to revisit my old photos and memories from my past travels and realized why I keep coming back to this one country – Singapore.

First time I went to SG was when I was 18 years old with my grandmother. The minute I stepped inside Changi Airport, my mind was blown by its look and feel. It was something else – from the interior design, the well spaced walkalators, plush carpeted flooring, the lounge, and even its spacious comfort room. No wonder why it was dubbed as the best airport in the world, and that’s even before they had The Jewel. But there’s also one thing obviously evident from their airport to the rest of the country – it screams of being digitally competitive. How they utilized the continuous growth of technology to improve is something I want to happen as well at home.

Initially, we planned for just a 4-day trip thinking to hit only the tourist spots of this well known small country, but it has its magic and we ended up staying for 2 weeks! On the first few days, we already went to check most of the destinations it was known for – Sentosa Island (where Universal Studios Singapore is loacted), Shoppes at Marina Bay, the Merlion, and even the Night Safari. One thing I noticed going to all these places was even if it was crowded with a lot of people – it did not feel overwhelming. In the train stations, it wasn’t unruly at all even during rush hour. There was this feeling that in the sea of a multiracial crowd, you still get to have your own safe bubble, your own personal space. It was because of this, and the country’s low crime rate that when my cousin turned 18, she and I decided to go to Singapore and celebrate her birthday, without any grownup supervision. In fact, during this trip, I must have forgotten my wallet in one of the lockers (all my money and card was inside) in Universal Studios only to remember it the next day. I simply called the USS hotline, asked if they saw it, and the lady only had to ask me what my name is and bring my passport to claim it. That’s one thing you can’t deny when you’re in Singapore – you feel safe.

The next thing I’ve always liked about Singapore is how clean and orderly it is! Some says that it’s because Singaporeans are well disciplined people or simply because they have nationwide cleaning processes and strict laws, but no matter what the reason behind is, in all times I’ve wandered in the streets, shopping malls, food communes, and did my commute – it’s cleanliness and orderliness is always a welcome sight to my eyes. There’s something relaxing when you ride through the city in the morning and see the streets clean, then stroll through Marina Bay Sands Boardwalk with a boba tea in hand on a sunny afternoon with the same comforting vibe, and still the same streets being kept at midnight after a few drinks at Clarke Quay.

What’s a better way to know a place than through its food? If you’ve seen the film Crazy Rich Asians, or read the trilogy, you’d know that Singaporeans are foodies. There are quite a number of Michelin star approved chefs and restaurants in the country – from Hawkwer Centres to an old church converted into a food complex. Yes, that’s where the wedding in the Crazy Rich Asians took place. I just love how welcoming their food scene is, it shows racial diversity and the combined culture of its inhabitants. Whenever I go there, it’s always a must to have some char siew meat, hainanese chicken rice, chilli crab, and bak kut teh.

Okay, I have to stop writing. Just by coming up with this post makes me want to go to Singapore for technically uhm… the 6th time.

Peanut Butter Banana Toast with a Twist

peanut butter banana toast — I tried.

  • sliced ripe bananas
  • slice of bread
  • generous (or not so?) amount of peanut butter
  • sprinkle of courage
  • dash of hope

Let me be honest and straightforward – I am not fan of peanut butter and I totally have no idea why I created this afternoon snack. I just decided to slice up some ripe bananas and oh so generously cover my bread with a hefty amount of peanut butter and shove it inside the oven toaster – I know, in the state of the world right now, mindless snacking should be the least of my concerns.

After five minutes, the timer ran out and ceremoniously “ting-ed”. The result is a bit oily, a bit soggy, a bit crunchy peanut butter banana toast. It definitely isn’t the best I’ve had but honestly, it’s pretty decent and I don’t hate it all. What I hate is this uneasy feeling of burnout that looms over me. It keeps me feeling tired and spent – as early as I open my eyes before my alarm starts at 8:01, and even as I gobble down this greasy peanut butter banana toast. It’s the feeling of being lost and sad, and everything in between its deep dark void. That’s what I hate.

But even in this state, I know better, or at least I think I do. So I try, and I fight. I live to see another day battling all these uncertainties. Because I am a jedi equipped with my lightsaber (gifts) and the unlimited Force, even if all I get to save is my own little world. It’s not heroic, and I may not bring balance to the galaxy as it so needs right now but these everyday fights are not as easy as getting myself some peanut butter banana toast. And yet, trying to get myself back up again and maybe helping somebody on my way sure is worth trying.

There goes.

I hope you find the perfect peanut butter banana toast you’re looking for.