Dinner at LJ’s

 The last-minute cancellation of a potluck left LJ (L and J) with lots of chicken breasts and mangoes to use up.  Luckily for them I was one call away and, being the good samaritan that I am, came running to the rescue.  They each decided on a dish to cook that made use of both ingredients, with me serving as a guest judge a la Frank Bruni.  I love cooking, but this was totally their show, and it was a rare treat for me to step back and simply wait for the dinner bell to toll.

Diminutive as their kitchen is (though not shabby by HK standards), all year I’ve envied the fact that they actually have one.  Some action shots:

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Part J of LJ went with a curry chicken and mango salad — competitor 1:

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Part L decided on an Americanized stir-fry of chicken with red onions, bell peppers, and mango — competitor 2:

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The competition-neutral string beans with garlic:

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The beautiful, bountiful spread: the main dishes were supplemented by croissants, a farmer’s loaf, some raw onions and celery, and white rice.  Definitely a home-cooked meal with high visual appeal.  They even whipped out the chopstick holders – major style points for the hosts.  Both dishes were sexy, but I think we all agreed that the curry salad won out this time — the moist and aromatic chicken with crunchy bits of celery tucked into the buttery, slightly sweet croissants provided a wonderful interplay of flavors and textures.  L’s stir-fried chicken was also satisfying in its own way, answering my craving for the American-style Chinese food that was a staple of my high school years, when I’d work the counter at Ruby Palace on weekends (the name alone says all you need to know).

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Cheers to a job well done 🙂

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