baked buttered chicken


this kept me up till 2 am.  sleeplessness sometimes keeps me up till 2 am.  my editing job used to keep me up till 2 am.  but tonight… this.

this is baked buttered chicken.  it was an ambush order from jane, my wife, for accounting division lunch tomorrow at the office.  this is not the first time she brought this viand for lunch at the office… probably the 6th over the years she’s been with Professional Regulations Commission (PRC) accounting division.

i have been baking this buttered chicken for decades, it is now a family tradition.  i learned it from my dad — he also loved to cook, when he’s not flying; (no, he’s not a superhero with a costume and a cape — he was an airline pilot.)  i have simply immortalized his recipe by adding the specs to it.  if any of my three daughters memorize this recipe… the tradition lives!

all three can cook.  the youngest, maegan (19,) when she saw me preparing the chicken said she’ll bake the same for the party she’d be going to tomorrow (that’s today.)  i think both her elder sisters, dorothy (28,) and joanna (24,) have baked this at least once on different occasions they attended.

they’ve been able to duplicate, with a good deal of success, some of my specialties, like, crispy pata, crispy knuckles, and roast pork belly.

now, here’s hoping they memorize this recipe!

the recipe is simple and straightforward — it’s for dummies!

here it is: baked buttered chicken

1 whole chicken (place breast side up in a baking pan — pyrex or aluminum.)

‘wash’ chicken in the baking pan w/3 Tbsp. soy sauce, and leave washings in the pan.

add 1/3 c. butter (put 1\3 of the 1/3 c. butter inside chicken. the rest, put in the pan.)

bake 45-60 min. in moderate oven (350°F.)

baste every 15 min. so skin won’t dry up.

serve with sauce on the side.

best eaten with white rice.  om-non-nom!!!!

pata tim


pata tim or (as i call it) pork leg in dark fragrant sauce is a favourite in our household.  i cook it on birthdays and on other special occasions like when one of our family friends from far, far away pays us a visit.

on this occasion it was my eldest daughter, dea, who now lives far, far away — nah!  just in metro manila — who came and visited.  i use this (pata tim) and sometimes, crispy pata and roast pork belly, to tempt her boyfriend, marco, to drive her all to the way to our home to visit.

today, dec.20, as i edit this article, i learned that in the household of a fil-chi lady friend, pata tim is cooked differently.  my friend, karen tee, told me that in their family, pata tim is cooked without the vegetables (in the recipe below) and the wine.  theirs have hard-boiled eggs instead.

hmm… very interesting… hard-boiled eggs.

i used to cook pata tim also without the vegetables.  the cooking wine also just became a part of my own recipe in later years — discovering that the cooking (rice) wine kind-a blunts the saltiness of the soy sauce, and adds a tangy sweetness to the sauce.

i saw the presentation of pata tim at the mandarin room of the manila hotel where my wife and i once got invited for lunch, and it had carrots and bokchoy.  then, when a couple of friends and i recently ate pata tim at luk foo, along shaw blvd (across lee gardens condominium) it had shitake mushrooms.  this is why i added these vegetables to my recipe — for added flavour and art.

but hard-boiled eggs… never yet.  so i told karen, next time i cook pata tim, i would surprise my family — i would add hard-boiled eggs to the recipe.

here’s what i use:

1 front leg of pork (including knuckles)
1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup sugar (washed/segunda)
2 Tbsp cooking wine
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1-2 whole star anise (complete pods)
1 can (284 g) shitake mushrooms
1 medium size carrots (sliced diagonally)
2 bunches bokchoy leaves
1 liter water (for boiling)

boil everything together in water in a wok or a deep casserole, except shitake mushrooms, carrots, and bokchoy leaves — then simmer for 1 hour, in low heat.
sauce should reduce to about 1/2 original quantity.
add shitake, carrots, and bokchoy, and simmer for 5 minutes.

serve and enjoy.

boston sweet swat


a fly was buzzing inside our bedroom, circling around our airspace then landing on either a part of the bed or an immobile part of our bodies, our legs (my wife’s or mine.)

“get rid of it,” jane (my wife) said.

“ok, i will,” i said.

i looked for a newspaper and rolled it in 4 folds, to get a good, wide and flat surface area to swat the fly with, but still have a good handle on the newspaper roll with a single hand.  fail!  fail!  and another fail!  the fly could see the swatter coming even before it got near him.

“ha! ha! ha!” the fly said, “catch me if you ca-an!”

then, it occurred to me — the boston sweet swat!  i remember reading about this technique (of killing a fly) in college more than 30 years ago in a science magazine — popular science or discover.

the technique uses the flies limitations against it.  the technique posits that a fly on a flat surface far from any visible edge, when threatened by a (visual) attack on both sides, will instinctively fly straight up.  any other scenario enables the fly to escape: if there is an edge in sight, or the ground where it lands is uneven, or if the attack is on only one side, it would be easy for the fly to evade it and escape unharmed.  but on a flat surface with no visible edge in sight… that fly is a sitting duck for a boston sweet swat.

now, it’s a waiting game…

the boston sweet swat.  position your hands, palms facing each other about 10-12 inches apart.  approach the fly from behind and place your hands about 6 inches above ground zero, where it landed.  align the fly at center, on equal distance between your palms.  now, clap — the fly will fly straight up between your closing palms.  swoosh… bam!

“did you kill it?”

“see for yourself.”

one dead fly.