So tonight I was cooking chicken drumsticks and thighs marinated in what we refer to at home as my "special sauce" - sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic and whatever else I feel like adding, be it lime juice and ginger or five-spice powder.
Recently I fiddled with the recipe a bit, using chicken breasts and skipping the garlic.
I'd forgotten all about it until a day and a half later. But the chicken hadn't spoiled as it had been cooking in the marinade all this time. I cut the breasts into thin strips and pan-fried them quickly in hot sesame oil, then tossed them in sweet chilli sauce. I had them with a raw spinach salad. They'd be just as good with stir-fried pak choy or kangkong. Rather healthy and rather yummy...
My younger daughter was with me in the kitchen; earlier she'd helped me make our usual chocolate chip and peanut butter bars. My older daughter was waiting for her dollop of leftover cookie dough. Last week she decided to combine the white chocolate chip cookie dough with Cookies 'n Cream ice cream to make her own version of Ben & Jerry ice cream.
So the little one and I are hanging out while I check the chicken that's sizzling in the oven. I take the dish out to turn the chicken pieces around.
"What kind of chicken is it, Mom?" she asks. "Special sauce?"
"That's good," she says, nodding her approval. "You can have my chicken skin." Wow, so young and already so disciplined...
"Thanks, sweetie," I say. "Hey, do you think if I cook this for [private codename for Carlitos Bronson] he'll like it?"
"Mom," she replies with a don't-you-get-it sigh, "if a girl cooks for her boyfriend, he has to like it or else it's goodbye! Haven't you watched any break-up movies?"
Geez, what movies has she been watching? And not on my watch at that!
But I had to laugh, because I was every bit as precocious as she was when I was her age.
And speaking of precocious, my pre-teen last night decided to treat herself to a homemade beauty mask, using yoghurt, lemon and honey. She slathered the mixture all over her face; fifteen minutes later she rinsed it all off. Then she decided she would stay up late and watch Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Just before midnight her eyes would no longer stay open but instead of going straight to bed, she snuggled next to me and watched me play Scramble with my early bird friends and cousins who were already up in Manila and obviously on Facebook.
After a few minutes I told her it was time to sleep. "Look at you," I said, "you're so tired. And it shows on your face."
"But," she retorted, "at least it's moisturized."
Yup, no doubt about it. My daughters are Mini-me's to the max.
Thank God for that!