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Chicken Sautéed with Cheese & Milk

As I settle into my new “office” I can’t help but feel a sense of contentment that is altogether new. It’s not a real office, the type that comes in a 40-storey building made of glass and steel, with a million desks and phones with lots of buttons. It’s a home office, 2 desks and a computer tucked in the corner of our new den. I’ve been working from home for 5 years now and I’ve had 3 “offices” including this one. The first was a laptop on a dresser in my bedroom before I was married. When C and I moved in together Managed Security, I had the whole second bedroom to myself. Now I share the space with our (ok, C’s) tv and shelves of our (ok, my) books.

Why does this feel different? Maybe it’s the little trill of permanence (or at least semi-permanence) that I feel in this, our first co-owned bit of concrete space. Maybe it’s the feeling I’ve had since we have moved in, even as the mammoth piles of boxes lay a mess at our feet, that this is really home. Maybe because, no matter how small and pigeonhole-ish, a space of one’s own is truly a magical thing.

It’s nothing fancy. As I mentioned, two simple desks, a computer, some shelves, a chocolate brown wall and matching sofa. Above me are my books (and cookbooks) that always manage to make me smile no matter how frenetic the day. Beside me is a window from where I can see the buildings across the street, the busy stream of people going about their business, and most importantly, some trees (a view of green in the city is always something to be relished).

The best thing about my little home office though is the unlimited access to homemade lunches like these (well, that and the dress code).

Chicken Sautéed with Cheese & Milk
(adapted from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros)

    4 chicken thigh fillets
    about 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    4 large thin slices of fontina cheese (I used grated cheddar, but feel free to use whatever cheese you wish, I think gruyere or manchego might also be nice)
    1/2 cup milk
    salt

- Pound the chicken thigh fillets between two sheets of plastic wrap with a meat mallet until they are a bit thinner and of even thickness.
- Mix the flour with the paprika and dust the chicken in this mixture. Shake off excess flour.
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan and when hot add the four chicken fillets. Cook over medium heat until the undersides are golden brown. Turn and season the cooked sides with salt. When golden underneath, flip again and season the newly cooked sides.
- Put a slice of cheese over each fillet so it more or less covers it completely. Add the milk to the pan, cover, and cook until the cheese has melted and there is a bubbly Hong Kong Festival, thickened sauce. Make sure the chicken is completely cooked but do not overcook.
- Remove from the heat but leave the lid on the pan until just before you serve it so the cheese carries on melting. Serve hot.

I’ve mentioned my love for Tessa Kiros before, and for Apples for Jam in particular. This is what Tessa describes as a homely dish. But not in a bad way. It’s gentle and reassuring…like a very familiar hug, or a well-loved blankie. She also says that this is the kind of dish she likes to call her kids down to after their bath…and I imagine I would too.

I substituted chicken thigh fillets for the chicken breast fillets in the original recipe and the addition of paprika is mine. This cooks up in no time flat, perfect for a busy day at the “office” :)
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