When O comes home and I have cooked a new dish, he always asks me if I have actually followed a recipe or just used it as inspiration. I don’t think that it is “just” to use a recipe as inspiration – it actually asks more of you as a cook than “just” following the recipe to a dot! It is funny, O doesn’t usually use recipes when he cooks, so I never know how to take his comment… I think he is just fascinated by the fact that I LOVE cook books but very rarely actually cook according to a recipe!
The other day I used a wonderful little cook book called “Fast Food. Quick and Easy Everyday Ideas for Cooks in a Hurry” to make my lunch, the book is very inspirational and has photos of every dish (important!). Needless to say I only used the recipe as inspiration, and this is my take on the “Stuffed chicken breast with tomato, goat’s cheese and asparagus” as I thought that stuffing the chicken breast would take too long:
Chicken with chèvre & tomato sauce
1 chicken breast per person
~150 grams of French chèvre (goat) cheese (sold in a roll)
½ cube of chicken stock
1 cup of water
2 tomatoes – skinned (boil them quickly to easier remove the skin) and diced
a handful of asparagus (either canned or fresh – if fresh, boil in lightly salted water until crispy, tender or however you prefer your asparagus)
tarragon, cayenne pepper, 1 bay leaf, salt and black pepper
Boil the rice as you usually do. Brown the chicken breast all around in a frying pan with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Add the chicken stock cube, water, diced tomatoes, bay leaf, and some tarragon. Let it slowly boil under a lid and on low heat. When almost done, add the goat’s cheese and make sure that it melts into the sauce.
Serve with the rice and decorate with the asparagus on top.
Since it is Wednesday it is also time for a new etiquette poll: When do you arrive to a party?
Of course this might depend on what kind of party it is – a dinner party or a so-called cocktail party where people mingle randomly… But think in general, when do you aim to arrive?
Maybe a very simple question if you live in Sweden for example and you know the social rules, but we have troubles in Puerto Rico. For example, we were invited to one of my French friend’s for a birthday party and I thought, she’s European so we shouldn’t arrive too late but O warned me that we would be the first ones to arrive – which we were, 30 minutes after the invited time. What I had forgotten to take into account was that all the other guests were Puerto Rican, as well as the hostess’ boyfriend, who was still in the shower when we arrived! Opps!
So last week when we were invited to my Spanish teacher’s parents’ home for Thanksgiving, I asked him when we were expected to arrive – like if he said 2 o’clock, did that mean 3.30? He laughed and checked with sister and then told me that we could come around 2-2.30. Great! Except that I was going with two Spaniards, and even though O is quite disciplined nowadays, the B-I-L No 3 does live in Spain… so we were not at the party until 3.15. Oh well, it is Puerto Rico after all and not the end of the world if you arrive late 😉
By the way, my first encounter with Spanish tardiness was when I studied in Italy with a Spaniard (from Zaragoza, just like O!) who would always arrive late to our lectures with the words “Spanish people hate to be late” – completely confusing, so why are you late if you hate it so much?? I later on lived in Geneva at the same time as my friend from Zaragoza, and among the more punctual friends we decided to always give him an earlier meeting time than the rest. So, let’s say that we were meeting at 20.00, but then we would tell Spanish R that it was at 19.30… He still always managed to arrive after everybody else!!
*) I have already published a recipe inspired by that cookbook – “The best pasta sauce ever“…