Cooking for George

I cook Cuban at least a couple of times a week. More so lately, since I keep trying recipes to share at Babalú.  The problem is that I cook "by ear." I just start throwing things into the mix and it's hard to explain exactly what I did.  So now, I have been careful to write down ingredients and have Lucy take pictures while I'm cooking. If nothing else, my Cuban American food posts will be a nice legacy to leave my children.

So, yesterday, as I'm measuring and documenting what I'm putting into my Garlicky Cuban Chicken (I promise I'll post recipe another day), I get a call from our friend, George.

"Do you and Eric want to meet us for dinner?"

To which I sadly have to reply that I have already started cooking, but they are certainly welcome to join us. I always make too much anyway.  What can I say?  I'm Cuban.  Abundance is my middle name. (actually, it's Maria, but that's not important right now. =D)

So George and Alysa get in the car and make the one hour drive down here to Mission Viejo.
My house is smelling all garlicky and yummy. I have black beans bubbling on the stove and of course, white rice.  I ask them to bring a salad.
P4112828 I have to explain about George.
He is The Most Amazing Cook.
Everything he touches turns gourmet.
He is Italian, and has that swarthy Mediterranean air about him.
Life feels somehow richer having him and Alysa with us.

But, I confess, I am intimidated by his cooking skills.

So, the salad:
George brings fresh basil, vine tomatoes, fresh gorgonzola cheese and a yard-long baguette and makes himself at home in my kitchen immediately. P4112830(I contribute the olive oil and balsamic vinegar.) Although he will complain a little about my knives not being very sharp.

He adds bruschetta to my simple Cuban country-folk meal. (which was delicious, by the way)

I had forgotten that Eric and I had promised my niece we would go over some marketing stuff with her later in the evening.

No worries. "Uncle" George and "Aunt" Alysa will just hang out with the kids til we get back.

P4112834This is what they did while they were hanging out. And then they took the kids out for ice-cream.

And this is how I found my kitchen when we got home.

When you look up the definition of "good friends" in the dictionary, I'm pretty sure you'd find a picture of George and Alysa as illustration.

I swear, sometimes I wonder how it is that I have been blessed with such amazing people in my life.

Oh, and they LOVED the Garlicky Cuban Chicken.  Success!

I am humbled.