A Rizzie & Brenda extravaganza

28 10 2010

Rizzie's Mediterranean Style Pasta! My plate was trimmed with lots of fresh basil and the "discarded" stems of the arugula.


Brenda's Mango Crepe A La Mode! The Nutella not spreading evenly, not even the chocolate syrup being an improvision didn't take away from just how fabulous this dessert was.

“DO YOU want me to make you a chiffonade of basil?”

My unintentional, absent-minded attempt to sound like a whiz in the kitchen seemed to have flown over Rizzie’s head.  But not entirely, as she turned to me with her signature toothy smile and said, “eNTeNG, roll mo yung leaves then cut into thin strips.”

“And do you really want shallots?  Not onions?”

“Yes, shallots talaga, not onions.  Do you know how to make a brunoise?  That term hindi ko makalimutan from culinary school.”

“Brunoise?!”  Surely, I said this as my face morphed into a quizzical look.

Then together we chorused, “broo-NWAHZ,” making sure that we made the nice long “zzz” sound at the end.  I chuckled as I told myself, “Cooking is fun!”  I knew I proceeded on with my chiffonade and brunoise tasks with an uneraseable smile on.  On the other side of the kitchen countertop, Cindy was busy as she julienned one bottle’s worth of Connie’s Kitchen’s sun-dried tomatoes.

Halved cherry tomatoes


Chiffonade of basil

To my left was a bowl full of already thinly sliced fresh shiitake mushrooms, the result of mine, Cindy’s and Rizzie’s combined efforts.  Beside it was a plate of pinkish white chicken meat, delicately sliced by Rizzie herself.  At one point I caught a glance of my friend’s gentle hands – chicken breast on the left, a knife on the right – and I had to attempt to snap myself out of this reality.  I’ve long convinced myself with this notion of Rizzie just orchestrating work at the kitchen, with help on hand to do the menial tasks.  But if there was one realization that this moment was affording me, it was that my good friend – quite undeniably – has indeed embraced being somebody’s somebody.  That without her saying, she does believe that the best way to show one’s love is cooking for people.

I looked up from religiously shredding the basil leaves to see who had flung the front door open.  “I’m here,” declared Brenda, as she brought in not just ingredients for her famed Mango Crepe A La Mode but also pans – one in which to make her excellent very thin pancakes, as well as another on which Rizzie would whip up the sauce for her Mediterranean Style Pasta.

My very lovely friends, Brenda and Rizzie.


Smile again please!

I felt great, being the often-invited outsider that I am in this tightly-knit family that is the Finance Department and their partners.  I didn’t know how else to assure them that I was actually having a grand time helping with the mise en place.  But as it always is with thoughtful friends, they would check on me, almost as if apologizing… not knowing that the rhythm created by every slice, every chop and every whack (of the back of the knife) was like theraphy.  Not to mention a step closer to the promise of a Mediterranean spread that lied ahead.

ChiffonadeBrunoiseJulienneMise en placeMediterraneanCrepes.  All these fancy words had been thrown out.  By the time the heavy bottom skillet had hit one of the burners on our hosts’ four-burner stove top, I could feel my knees almost quiver with anticipation.  Almost like melted butter cascading down hot toast.  Actually, very much like the butter that sizzled and smoked, awaiting the chicken meat to be sautéed.

Rizzie’s dish was a medley of ingredients that are undoubtedly scrumptious on their own – butter, extra virgin olive oil, chiken (seasoned with salt and pepper before sautéing), garlic, onion, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh shiitake mushrooms, freshly-made chicken stock, white wine, heavy cream, fresh basil, arugula, cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, and feta cheese.  Imagine just how they would be when whipped up into the frenzy that is her Mediterranean Style Pasta!  It was no surprise to later find out that Rizzie’s hubby, my good friend Bom, is quite fond of this dish.

The Mediterranean Style Pasta sauce is done!


The pasta is ready to be served!

Taking about 10 minutes to make and plate dessert for eight adults, Brenda could put to shame any famed TV chef who would lay claim to the same feat.  I first learned about her Mango Crepe A La Mode on one of her facebook posts, where a comment from her husband Darryl couldn’t belie the fact that her creation was not only gastronomically fulfilling but visually pleasing as well.  I guess a satiated and impressed husband does a happy home make.  And who wouldn’t feel happy with a sliced whole cheek of ripe mango ensconced inside paper thin – and may I say, perfect – crepes on which is spread Nutella, topped with a generous scoop of Vanilla Almond ice cream and a drizzling of chocolate syrup.  Brenda managed to impress me as well when, after realizing that they had run out of chocolate syrup, she ingeniously made some using leftover Nutella and cream.  The result was nothing less of spectacular – a truly spectacular save.

This was the first of eight! Look at that perfectly made crepe!


On top of each crepe went a scoop of luscious ice cream and chocolate syrup!

While finishing my portion of the pasta, the roasted chicken (store-bought), and the dessert, an immense sense of gratitude came upon me.  Gratitude for people.  For people who enjoy the process of cooking and share it with their friends.  For people who share with their friends.  For people who are friends.

I knew we made pasta and dessert in Dennis and Cindy’s kitchen.  But I knew we also made memories – for all eight of us (Rizzie, Darryl & Brenda, Dennis & Cindy, Joy, Rubie, and myself) – to see us through all the changes that are to come.

Thanks, Rizzie, Brenda, and Dennis & Cindy!

The gang! Rubie, Joy, Darryl, Brenda, Rizzie, Dennis, and Cindy. All photos in this post were taken using Rubie's camera.


Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.



One response

29 10 2010

Good job Enteng, great article!


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