Bake in the oven

Bake in the oven

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I really like seashells and seafood. Having shellfish shells around the house (of the big ones), I thought of preparing a snack based on seashells, parmesan and ... white wine!

  • a bag of shells, ready cleaned, frozen (about 400 grams)
  • pepper, olive oil, salt (to taste)
  • a glass of white wine
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan

Servings: 3

Preparation time: less than 60 minutes


My way of preparing the shells is as follows: in a pan put 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, frozen or thawed shells, salt, pepper and a glass of white wine. Leave everything on low heat until the wine evaporates even more. fry the shells for about 10 minutes.

I take them off the heat, I put them in a shell shell and on each sprinkle Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and a teaspoon of olive oil. I put them in the oven until they brown, about 10-15 minutes at 180 degrees.


Recently, the supermarket where I shop most often introduced a range of more exclusive products. At that shelf I discovered the largest pasta in the shape of shells than I have ever seen, in fact, very good quality pasta, made from organic durum wheat. And if I'm not too easily impressed by the "organic" snack (I'm speaking strictly in my personal name, for many people this thing really matters), the shape and size of these pastas really inspired me, so I put them in the basket.

I looked for inspiration in my book "Pasta, all the recipes" and I found it, there are two alternatives in the book for the preparation of these huge shells: with ragu or with ricotta and spinach. I chose the first one, not without noticing that they are actually the classic fillings of cannelloni, whose recipes in the version with ricotta and spinach and meat have already been published.

And now let's move on! They are easy to make, the preparation of these pastas will not take too long and you will get a very, very tasty food.

Preparation time: 00:30 hours
Cooking time: 01:20 hours
Total Time: 01:50 hours
Number of servings: 6
Degree of difficulty: low

Ingredient Pasta "Shells" Giant Stuffed & # 8211 Conchiglioni al ragu

  • 26 pieces of conchiglioni pasta (so many came in the form I used, just as well you can use 24 or even 30) prepared from 500 ml. milk, 40 grams of butter, 40 grams of flour, salt, white pepper and a pinch of nutmeg
  • 500 grams of minced beef
  • 1-2 small carrots or 1 large carrot
  • 1 celery stalk celery
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 150 ml. of red wine
  • 400 grams of tomatoes in broth
  • 50 grams of grated Parmesan cheese and pepper

Preparing Pasta "Giant" Stuffed Stuffed & # 8211 Conchiglioni al ragu

1. Peel the carrot and onion. Finely chop, do the same with the celery stalk and crush the garlic. In a large skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the chopped vegetables. Sprinkle a pinch of salt from the beginning and fry everything until it starts to soften. Add the minced meat and mix well until all the meat has lightened in color and spread well, it no longer tends to gather in lumps.

2. Add the red wine and simmer until the wine has completely evaporated. Add the chopped tomatoes and broth, as well as the bay leaves. Reduce the heat to medium to low, cover the pot with a lid and simmer for an hour, checking regularly to keep it dry (if necessary, add a little hot soup or, failing that, water).

3. In the last part of cooking, uncover the pan and watch carefully until the ragu sauce decreases and becomes consistent. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside to cool.

4. While the ragu sauce is boiling quietly, prepare a bechamel of the quantities mentioned in the list of ingredients, following the instructions in the recipe. 'Sos Bechamel”Previously published (click on the link for details).

5. Here are the protagonists of our culinary adventure today, conchiglioni pasta. Before filling and putting in the oven, the pasta is boiled in boiling salted water (in a pot with at least 4 liters of water that is already boiling when the pasta is added) half of the cooking time specified on the package. In the case of my pasta, the time indicated by the manufacturer was 18 minutes, so I boiled them for 9 minutes and then water through a strainer (be careful, the pasta does not rinse). In the meantime, I turned on the oven and set it at 190 degrees Celsius.

6. In a heat-resistant form, put about 1/3 of the amount of bechamel sauce and spread with the back of the spoon to cover the bottom well. Fill the semi-cooked pasta with ragu, put about 2 good teaspoons of ragu in each and place it on the bed of bechamel sauce.

7. Cover the pasta with the rest of the bechamel sauce and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Place in the preheated oven at 190 degrees for 20 minutes.

After spending 20 minutes in the oven, it will smell very inviting in the kitchen and the food should be well cooked and nicely browned on the surface (if it has not browned, put it 1-2 minutes under the oven grill) . Let the pasta cool a bit, they will be very hot, then enjoy them.
Good appetite!

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Pork recipes that you should try

And because I promised you at the beginning of this material and some recipes to inspire you, here they are!

Pork chop in mustard sauce

We start with a simple recipe, which will be ready in less than an hour. It starts with a casserole of marinated pork chops from Bătrânu Sas. Fry the chop slices in a little butter, 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are evenly browned. Take them out on a plate on which you put the napkins and let the slices drain the fat.

As long as the fat is absorbed, start making the mustard sauce. In a bowl, put 3-4 teaspoons of mustard, along with 100 ml of Proud Cream, 2-3 cloves of garlic that you crushed and 2-3 teaspoons of apple juice. If you prefer glazed meat, it wouldn't hurt to add two teaspoons of honey to the honey sauce.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius, put the pork in the pan, cover it with the mustard sauce and let it cook for about 40 minutes.

Pork neck with wine in the oven

How about a whole tray of slow-cooked steak in a wine bath? To prepare the recipe for pork neck marinated in wine, first of all you will need to preheat the oven to 220 degrees, to heat well while you thoroughly rub with salt piece or slices of meat. You can even increase the surface of the meat a little, so that it is better penetrated by the heat of the oven, when you bake it.

If you have it handy, pour in the pan in which you are going to prepare the pork neck 2-3 poles of chicken soup, then place the meat, over which you sprinkled a little pepper and a few garlic flakes. Put the tray in the oven and leave it for about 30 minutes, while everything heats up well. Remove the tray after half an hour and cover it with aluminum foil, then put it back at 150 degrees Celsius. Let it cook slowly for at least two hours.

After the time has elapsed, you can remove the tray again to remove the meat for a few moments and add onions, carrots, potatoes or any other vegetables you prefer. Put the meat back so that it completely covers the vegetables, sprinkle everything with 250 ml of red wine and leave everything on low heat in the oven for half an hour.

Slowly cooked pork neck comes out extremely tender, we promise you will love it and you will want to combine it with the portion of vegetables prepared in the same tray or with carefully prepared puree, in which you poured enough and some fatty milk.

Glazed pork ribs

If you are greedy, maybe it would be better not to continue reading this recipe, if you do not have almost a few marinated pork ribs ready to enter the oven. Delicious and cooked slowly, pork ribs are a real feast for which you don't have to wait until Christmas. You can prepare them on a weekend or, why not, on a day of the week, while you take care of other things, because they will need about four hours to be ready to enjoy. Here's how it's easy:

Allow the marinated ribs to reach room temperature and rub them with a little brown sugar. Preheat the oven to 110 degrees Celsius and prepare the tray in which you want to prepare the ribs. Place them all with the membrane down and let them brown freely, checking from time to time the stage they have reached through the oven window, so without opening the door, to lose heat.

After the four hours have passed, you can take them out to cool, while you take care of the icing, which will contain equal parts of honey and whiskey, two teaspoons of mustard, a little salt and a little pepper, two tablespoons of ketchup and a teaspoon soy sauce. If you prefer the slightly spicier icing, you can put three drops of tabasco or a little chopped hot pepper in the sauce. Carefully grease each side of the ribs with icing and put the tray back in the oven for about five minutes at a temperature of 220 degrees Celsius. After five minutes, turn the ribs over and add the glaze to the other side of the ribs.

We hope you found our tips on how to make a baked pork steak helpful and that our recipes inspired you. Don't forget that you can order from Bătrânu Sas the freshest dishes, both from the grill category, and from the category of dairy products or healthy sausages, for tasty meals with the whole family!

Borg invasion / Story and recipes: hibachi chicken, shellfish soup, tequila

At first glance, Las Vegas did not seem to be the ideal destination for a conference & # 8211 especially for internet transaction security & # 8211 but it was. I had convinced my boss and, newly installed at the Hilton Hotel, I had decided to take a tour of casinos and shops. The conference started the next day, so I had to spend an evening in the almost unreal city of kitsch, the ultimate capital of entertainment. I was working for one of the largest investment firms in America, extremely interested in internet security, and besides me, Andy, the head of short-term investments, a short and erased guy, a big fan of science fiction stories, had opted for the conference. my boss, Greg, and Olga, the beautiful blonde Russian who all my colleagues knew had an idyll. Andy himself liked her as much as the vast majority of the men in the department. They all complained that they could no longer work, that the beautiful blonde was an obstacle to the good work, but they all crowded in to please both her and Greg, hoping that if the idyll ended, Greg would they cried on their shoulders or & # 8211 and better & # 8211 had a chance at Olga's charms. Until then, life in the company was like a TV show.

At first Andy didn't want to come with me through the casinos but eventually he joined me, annoyed that the two had locked themselves in the room even though Greg had told us on the plane a white-threaded lie about I don't know what meeting with a former colleague, in I don't know what hotel.

-Be serious, I told him, we're in Vegas, let's feel good.

We walked on the Strip in the scorching heat, stopping for a drink in the Belaggio hotel bar, which made Andy say that he really liked Olga, but that he was aware that he had no chance. Plus he was in a bad situation not being able to notice her even though he was doing the wrong thing and not infrequently had other people fix what she had done, but he would have forgiven her for a night of love. After two more cocktails in which he seemed to be looking for inspiration, he confessed to me that he had long wanted to tell Greg how incompetent Olga was and that this affected the smooth running of things.

-Don't get in, I told him, this is a very delicate situation that doesn't concern you at all.

He didn't seem to listen to me. He was talking to the glass, looking through me as if I hadn't even been there. I wondered if he would remember the discussion the next day.

-I'll have to tell him. Greg should put the business running above personal business and fire it. It's my duty to tell him. Or an announcement to his wife.

It is true that in the office we had joked and thought of sending Olga flowers every day as if from a secret admirer, to drive Greg crazy with jealousy, but everything was still a joke. My colleagues were too serious and took care of their work. just having fun with the idyll.

I found Olga smart, calculated and cold. I had often thought of telling my colleagues in the kitchen that they were fidgeting in vain: Olga loved no one and only sought to use the momentary advantages to climb the hierarchical ladder, but I refrained. Who was I to judge her?

"Look," said the boss at the dinner table, which I had taken in Benihana from the hotel, "they have so many shows that we must see a few."

The meal was not ready. We were waiting at the bar, at Fortuna, carrying a light device behind us that would ring when he had to call us to dinner. The boss had barely opened the conversation, and Andy began commenting on the show we were supposed to see at all costs & # 8220The Invasion of the Borg & # 8221, while Greg and Olga smiled discreetly, averted their eyes and avoided talking. while their whole being emanated the freshness and happiness of an afternoon in bed.

I had hesitated before ordering an alcoholic beverage, but I was out of business hours, I had nothing to do and the boss had set the tone so I chose a tequilla sun rise. Andy had asked for mineral water, telling him how much he had heard about the return of the boroughs and what episodes of Star Trek had been used to make the show.

Finally the waiter informed us that the meal was ready and led us to a booth among the tables where the cooks juggled the food and performed real circus numbers in front of those seated around him. I had been to Benihana before, but this & # 8211 according to the waiter & # 8211 was the largest location in the restaurant chain of that name and the food show was in tune with the holiday atmosphere in the resort. Olga and I ordered hibachi chicken while Greg opted for seafood and Andy for beef.

"I'd eat beef whenever I got the chance," he said, as Greg teased him because he probably belonged to the category for which pizza sauce and french fries were daily vegetables. In fact, his snowy figure showed it somewhat, while Greg, though older, practiced regularly and could not understand how we European women could be so weak.

Realizing that he had said too much, he quickly changed his mind, commenting on food, architecture, lights, and attractions of all kinds.

-Oh, I can't wait to see & # 8220The Invasion of the Borg & # 8221, do you realize? It's one of the city's attractions, a 3D show with actors and thrills, Andy said at the aperitif, the main course and dessert, as if it were the chorus of the day.

He looked at Olga as if it were the end of the world, while Greg straightened his voice sipping a MacCallan whiskey and tracing me.

"Don't forget the daily report," he told me. I think it's best to run it at lunch break, when it's only in the morning on the east coast. You collect all the data and give it to me before the afternoon session. Did you each choose which presentations to go to?

The question was asked for me and Andy as Olga and he were going to go to the same presentations or so I assumed from her preoccupied silence and the way she played with her finger on the edge of the glass of orange juice.

"It's Vegas," he said before dessert. Celebrities of all kinds come here to have fun. It's the city of supreme entertainment, and you know what happens in Vegas, it stays in Vegas.

I didn't know if there was a subtle allusion to his relationship with Olga. I took everything as a joke, including his comments about gambling and the envy of those in the office.

I decided that what was going on between him and Olga didn't concern me for the simple reason that I cared too much about my job to get involved in any way. These things never ended well. I had met Olga twice in the bathroom and exchanged courtesies. Because I came from Eastern Europe, he had a special sympathy for me, and he had told me that he had two other siblings and some sick parents in Leningrad, and that was why he really wanted to succeed in life. He had only one regret: that he had not had time to take his master's degree. I nodded approvingly and avoided her systematically, glad that in the sections I was going to attend the next day I would not see either Andy or the two of them.

The next day at noon I went to a nearby bar, Firefly, where I ordered a margarita and ran the reports requested by the boss. It was interesting how there were slot machines everywhere, blinking from their multicolored lights like clowns, inviting you to play. The casino was open all the time: perpetual vacation. Before I finished my drink, I glanced at the exchange rate, as I usually did when I ran the reports: I wanted to see the fluctuation of the leu against the dollar. Nothing spectacular. It also seemed that the Romanian economy was finally heading. What could not be said about the Russian one. At noon Olga's eyes were red as if she had cried all morning but said nothing. The chief glanced over the report muttering a good while the waiter had brought us soup (New England clam chowder), and Andy couldn't help but praise the seminar he had been to, and after a few sentences, returned to the # Borg Invasion.

"The seminar I went to was like this," said the boss, "but I didn't understand if he had been to him or was referring to a possible quarrel with Olga, who was silent, working with the spoon in the soup." After giving me another list of things to do, the boss told us that in the evening we would not eat together and that we were free to do what we wanted. I looked at Olga wondering if the boss's announcement meant a & # 8220not bother me & # 8221 because he was busy with her or because he actually wanted to go to a casino to play cards.

Andy was trembling with joy: he was finally about to see the show. As for me, I had already scheduled a manicure and massage and was going to spend the evening reading. It was too hot to go out anyway, and Andy's company didn't appeal to me at all.

I had already gotten used to the idea that the more stressful the work, the more senior people had bizarre behaviors, and the company I was at was no exception. It amused me a lot to participate as a spectator in all these events, but most of all I enjoyed watching the BBC news in the morning, trying, after going through the European and Asian markets, to guess what would happen at the New York Stock exchange during the day. Sometimes I guessed, other times I was wrong, but it was my little morning game I hadn't given up even now, while Andy was waiting for me downstairs boiling that he had no one to tell about Borgi. Greg and Olga probably enjoyed breakfast in bed, and only at noon, when I gave her the report, did I see them at the table, fresh and comforted as if the encryption algorithm seminars had been more effective than the last skin cream.

Anyway, Andy couldn't swallow anything because of the enthusiasm he was talking about. The show had been exactly as he had imagined, and we had to see it. The Borg were fabulous, especially when they ran to get their hands on the spectators and the effects were so real you felt like you were on another planet and I wanted to tell them, but you're really a friend, don't you see that Olga is bored?

I gave up, however, only telling her in the evening that she should take her mind off Olga, after hastily running the last reports and making sure that the lion was getting stronger and stronger so that I began to wonder if she was no longer good to keep my savings in lei.

"What's wrong with Greg," Andy asked, after two cosmopolitan cocktails, and I didn't?

-Power, I replied, don't you know that the greatest aphrodisiac is power? On the other hand, you can always order a Russian bride on the internet, I told her.

I don't know if my words had impressed him because the next day he had started talking about borgi again as if he hadn't found another topic of discussion around Olga until the boss, bored, as he glanced at my reports at at noon, he had boredly approved:

-Okay, okay, let's go see your bourgeoisie tonight.

Immediately after dinner at Benihana & # 8211 we started liking it there & # 8211 we met in the hotel lobby and went to the show. The queue had been all the way to the street. Tourists, Asians with their flashy flashes, families with young children, passionate about science fiction like Andy. The four of us sat in line and it happened that Olga was flanked by Greg and Andy, while I was sitting on the right next to the boss. I did not feel when the lights went out and what was set in motion: everything seemed so real that I seemed to be floating in a parallel universe. The optical illusions looked so real that I hadn't even realized what had happened, I hadn't heard Olgai scream, I hadn't seen Andy's hand on her knee in a twitch of horror near the borgs, and I hadn't seen Greg's fist flying without way.

That night we broke up without words. All the ideas of the conference, the dishes from Benihana, the cocktails from Fortuna and Firefly were swirling in my head, thinking that I didn't want to be in Andy's shoes looking for a new job.

The next morning I ate in silence. Greg and Olga had not made their appearance as usual, and only at noon, while I was running the report and looking at the exchange rate, I noticed that the dollar was equivalent to 0 lei. How was it possible: 0? For a glass of tequilla sun rise I studied the problem on all sides: there was no mistake in our software, the problem was in the conversion tables, in the data I had received overnight.

With a thread-like voice, I presented the chief's report to him, and his thunderous voice, "What is it?", Made me talk cautiously about the Romanian lion. Something bizarre was happening, I couldn't understand how a dollar was equivalent to 0 lei, when until yesterday everything had been fine.

-Civil war? proposed Greg

-The invasion of the boroughs, Andy had thought

"The government has fallen," Olga had suggested.

In the afternoon I was late for the symposium, trying in vain to call Romania. I had met Olga again in the toilet, tall and silent, and when she saw me with the phone in her ear, she couldn't help but tell me that she had quarreled with Greg again, that she had confessed to him that she would never leave her wife. , which had annoyed her to the core.

-What I'm doing, it almost screams in my ears, clinging desperately to me & # 8230 I didn't take my master's degree. He's my only chance to advance in this company, he told me.

-Go back to school and get it, I answered and then I apologized to my friend on the phone who told me that nothing had happened, the government was in place, only the lion had changed had passed to the lion new.

I hung up with a sigh of relief and, for the first time, I went to take Andy by the arm, to wander through the casinos with the idea that what was happening in Vegas remained in Vegas. Broken loves, unfinished studies, the invasion of the bourgeoisie.

Chicken hibachi

4 chicken breasts cut in half and boned

1 medium zucchini (or zucchini)

2 cups sliced ​​mushrooms

Cut onions and mushrooms and zucchini into small pieces to fit in the fork. Put 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium heat and 1 tablespoon in another pan over high heat. Fry the chicken in the first pan. Add 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, one tablespoon of butter and a little pepper to the pan in which the chicken is. Fry the onion with zucchini in the other pan, finally adding the soy sauce, butter, salt and pepper.

Fry the vegetables while the chicken is cooking, taking care to mix in both pans. When the chicken is fried for about 2 minutes or it is done on both sides, put the lemon juice over the chicken and then add the mushrooms. Put 1 tablespoon of soy sauce over the mushrooms, add a tablespoon of butter plus salt and pepper. Mix in both pans. Remove the chicken to 4 plates by placing each chicken breast on a plate and divide the vegetables evenly in the other pan. Prepare the beans in the same pan in which you made the vegetables by putting 2 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper. Bake for a minute or two until the beans are tender and then sprinkle sesame seeds on it.

Supa New England clam chowder

50 gr. diced fried pork ham (or Transylvanian breast)

1 cup chopped onion and fish

1 can of shells (clams if found) (250-300 gr)

1 cup boiled shell juice (canned, commercially available)

2 small boiled potatoes peeled and cut into small cubes (as for beef salad)

In a large skillet, fry the ham in butter, adding the onion, garlic, and spices (parsley, basil, tarragon, and flour), stirring slowly over low heat. Slowly add the shell juice, stirring carefully as in the Romanian ciulamaua. When it comes to a boil, add the fatty milk and cook for about 20 minutes. Add the mussels, potatoes and pepper. Do not bake too much because the shells become stingy.

Tequila Sun-Rise

3 tablespoons grenadine syrup

Pour the tequila into ice cups and then pour in the orange juice. Add the grenadine syrup, carefully pouring from one side of the glass. This syrup is very dense and therefore goes to the bottom of the glass creating the impression of sunrise. It can be garnished with a slice of orange on the edge of the glass.

ADRIANA GURĂU is a writer, our special correspondent in the United States.

Oven fish in the oven with seafood

Oven fish in the oven with seafood it is a very elegant and refined dish with which you will present yourself especially well if you have guests at home.

Unitarian fish is a fish with a light aroma and very few spines, widely consumed in Spain. Today, there are many recipes for cooking it, but this baked fish with seafood will definitely become a favorite because it is very simple and the result is one of the best. If you prefer, you can also make it with seafood and add shells, prawns or mussels.

Do you want to create a luxury menu for your guests? Combine the oven fish in the oven with an octopus carpaccio or marinara shells with brandy and you will triumph. You will see that they will visit you again soon!

Shells in sour cream sauce with baked potatoes! Incredible recipe!

These shells are delicious due to the cream sauce, white wine and parsley.


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 finely chopped onions
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
600ml dry white wine
a few sprigs of parsley
2kg of fresh shells, well cleaned
3 tablespoons cooking cream

For potatoes

4 baked potatoes
4 tablespoons sunflower oil

Method of preparation

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Cut the potatoes into slices, but do not clean them. Put in a non-stick pan, add oil, salt and spices. Cook for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the shellfish oil in a large pan and cook the onion and garlic for 10 minutes.

Add the wine and parsley and boil, then lower the heat, add the shells and put the lid on. Boil for 5 minutes, until they open. Throw away the undisclosed ones.

Strain the sauce into a pot, boil and cut in half. Reduce heat, add sour cream and season. Put the shells in a large bowl and add the sauce. Serve with potatoes sprinkled with sea salt.


Bake in the oven


70 g large shells
10 ml of coconut milk
5 ml of truffle oil
3 g garlic
5 ml white wine
10 g sesame seeds
2 oranges
2 tangerines
2 grapefruit
3 g sugar
20 g Parma ham
30 g green onions
5 g butter
10 g sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Numar de portii: 2

Method of preparation:

1. Taiati scoicile in cuburi si puneti-le intr-un bol.

2. Adaugati usturoiul zdrobit, laptele de cocos si semintele de susan si amestecati bine. Puneti-le intr-o tigaie pentru a se rumeni putin.

3. Pastrati pulpa fructelor si zeama acestora pentru sos. Puneti zeama intr-o craticioara, fierbeti pana scade jumatate din cantitate, apoi adaugati zahar, unt, ceapa calita in prealabil, usturoiul, vinul si usturoiul zdrobit.

4. La sfarsit, adaugati smantana, scoicile si prosciutto taiat foarte fin. Transferati ingredientele din craticioara intr-o tavita si introduceti la cuptor, timp de 45 de minute, la 90º C. La sfarsit, asezonati cu sare si piper dupa gust.

Bake in the oven cora septembrie 22, 2017

Invazia borgilor /Poveste și rețete: pui hibachi, supa de scoici, tequila

Probabil că la prima vedere Las Vegas nu părea a fi destinaţia ideală pentru o conferinţă – în special de securitate pentru tranzacţiile pe internet – însă era. Îmi convinsesem şeful şi, proaspăt instalată la hotel Hilton, mă hotărîsem să dau o raită prin cazinouri şi magazine. Conferinţa începea a doua zi aşa că aveam de petrecut o seară în oraşul aproape ireal de kitsch, capitala ultimă a distracţiei. Lucram la una din cele mai mari firme de investiţii din America, extrem de interesată de securitatea pe internet şi în afară de mine optaseră pentru conferinţă Andy, şeful investiţiilor pe termen scurt, un tip scund şi şters, mare amator de povestiri ştiinţifico-fantastice, şeful meu, Greg, şi Olga, frumoasa rusoaică blondă despre care toţi colegii ştiau că au o idilă. Andy însuşi o plăcea la fel ca şi marea majoritate a barbaţilor din departament. Toţi se plângeau că nu se mai putea munci, că frumoasa blondă era o piedică în desfăşurarea bunei activităţi, dar toţi se înghesuiau să îi intre în graţii, atât ei cât şi lui Greg, sperând că dacă idila avea să se termine, Greg avea să plângă pe umărul lor sau – şi mai bine – aveau sanse la farmecele Olgăi. Până atunci însă viaţa în firmă era ca o televonelă.

Iniţial Andy nu voise să vină cu mine prin cazinouri însă în cele din urmă mi se alatură, inciudat că cei doi se încuiaseră în cameră deşi Greg ne spusese în avion o minciună cusută cu aţă albă despre nu ştiu ce întâlnire cu un fost coleg, în nu ştiu ce hotel.

-Fii serios, i-am spus, suntem în Vegas, să ne simţim bine.

Am mers pe Strip pe o căldură toridă oprindu-ne să bem ceva în barul hotelului Belaggio ceea ce l-a făcut pe Andy să spună că o plăcea într-adevar pe Olga dar că, era conştient că nu avea nici o şansă. Plus că era pus în situaţia proastă de a nu-i putea face observaţie deşi gresea lucrările şi nu de puţine ori pusese alţi oameni să repare ce făcuse ea, însă i-ar fi iertat totul pentru o noapte de amor. După încă două cokteiluri în care părea că îşi caută inspiraţia îmi mărturisi că voia de mult să îi spună lui Greg cât de incompetentă e Olga şi că asta afecta bunul mers al lucrurilor.

-Nu te băga, i-am spus, asta e o situaţie foarte delicată care nu te priveşte câtuşi de puţin.

Nu părea să mă asculte. Vorbea cu paharul, uâtându-se prin mine de parcă nici nu aş fi fost acolo. Mă întrebam dacă avea să îşi aducă aminte de discuţie a doua zi.

-Va trebui să îi spun. Greg ar trebui să pună bunul mers al firmei mai presus de afacerile personale şi să o concedieze. E de datoria mea să îi spun. Sau o anunţ pe nevasta-sa.

E drept că în birou glumisem şi ne gândisem să îi trimitem zilnic flori Olgăi ca din partea unui admirator secret, ca să-l înnebunim de gelozie pe Greg, însă totul rămăsese la stadiu de glumă colegii mei erau prea seriosi şi îşi vedeau de munca lor amuzându-se numai de idilă.

Pe Olga o găseam deşteaptă, calculată şi rece. Mă gândisem deseori să le spun colegilor în bucătărie că se agitau degeaba: Olga nu iubea pe nimeni şi nu căuta decât să se folosească de avantajele momentane pentru a urca pe scara ierahică, însă m-am abţinut. Cine eram eu să o judec?

-Uite, spusese şeful la masa de seară, pe care o luasem în Benihana din cadrul hotelului – au atâtea spectacole încât trebuie neapărat să vedem câteva.

Masa nu era gata. Aşteptam la bar, la Fortuna, carând după noi un dispozitiv luminos ce avea să ţiuie cînd trebuia să ne cheme la masă. De abia apucase şeful să deschidă discuţia şi Andy s-a lansat în comentarii despre spectacolul pe care trebuia să-l vedem cu orice preţ “Invazia borgilor”, în timp ce Greg şi Olga surîdeau discret, ferindu-şi privirile şi evitând să îşi vorbeasca în timp ce întreaga lor făptură emana prospeţimea şi fericirea unei după amieze între aşternuturi.

Ezitasem înainte de a comanda o bautura alcoolica, însă eram în afara orelor de serviciu, nu aveam nimic de făcut iar şeful dăduse tonul aşa încit am ales şi eu o tequilla sun rise. Andy ceruse apă minerală necontenind să povestească câte auzise despre întoarcerea borgilor şi care episoade din Star Trek fuseseră folosite pentru realizarea spectacolului.

În cele din urmă chelnerul ne anunţă că masa era gata şi ne conduse într-un separeu printre mese în care bucătarii jonglau cu mâncarea şi executau adevarate numere de circ în faţa celor aşezaţi în jurul lui. Mai fusesem la Benihana dar acesta – conform spuselor chelnerului – era cea mai mare locaţie din lanţul de restaurante cu acest nume iar spectacolul mâncării era în ton cu atmosfera de vacanţă din resort. Eu şi Olga am comandat pui hibachi în timp ce Greg optase pentru fructe de mare iar Andy pentru vită.

-Aş mânca vită ori de câte ori am ocazia, spuse, în timp ce Greg îl tachina pentru că probabil făcea parte din categoria pentru care sosul de pe pizza şi cartofii prăjiţi erau legumele zilnice. De fapt silueta lui bonomă o arăta întrucitva, în timp ce Greg, deşi mai în vârstă, exersa în mod regulat şi nu putea pricepe cum de noi, femeile europene, puteam fi atât de slabe.

Dându-şi seama că spusese prea mult a schimbat repede vorba comentând despre mâncare, arhitectură, lumini şi atracţiile de tot felul.

-Oh, de abia aştept să văd “Invazia Borgilor”, vă daţi seama? E una dintre atracţiile oraşului, un spectacol în 3D cu actori şi senzaţii tari, spuse Andy, la aperitiv, felul principal şi desert, ca şi cum ar fi fost refrenul zilei.

O privea pe Olga de parcă ar fi fost sfârşitul lumii, în timp ce Greg îşi dregea vocea sorbind un whisky MacCallan şi trasându-mi sarcini.

-Nu uita de raportul zilnic, îmi spuse. Cred că cel mai bine e să-l rulezi la pauza de prânz, când pe coasta de est e de abia dimineaţă. Culegi toate datele şi mi-l dai înainte de sesiunea de după amiază. V-aţi ales fiecare la ce prezentări mergeţi?

Întrebarea era pusă pentru mine şi Andy întrucit Olga şi el aveau să meargă la aceleaşi prezentări sau cel puţin aşa presupusesm din tăcerea ei preocupată şi din felul în care se juca cu degetul pe marginea paharului de suc de portocale.

-E Vegas, a spus înainte de desert. Celebrităţile de tot felul vin aici să se distreze. E oraşul distracţiilor supreme şi ştiţi vorba: ce se întâmplă în Vegas, rămâne în Vegas.

Nu ştiam dacă era vreo aluzie subtilă la relaţia lui cu Olga am luat totul ca pe o glumă, inclusiv comentariile lui despre jocurile de noroc şi invidia celor din birou.

Am decis că ce se întâmpla între el şi Olga nu mă privea din simplul motiv ca ţineam prea mult la serviciul meu ca să mă implic în vreun fel. Lucrurile acestea nu se terminau niciodată bine. Cu Olga mă întâlnisem de două ori la toaletă şi schimbasem amabilitaţi. Din cauză că proveneam din Europa de est avea o simpatie deosebită faţă de mine şi îmi povestise că mai avea doi fraţi şi nişte părinţi bolnavi în Leningrad şi de aceea voia neapărat să reuşească în viaţă. Avea un singur regret: că nu apucase să-şi ia masterul. Am dat din cap pe un ton aprobator şi am evitat-o sistematic, bucurându-mă că la secţiunile la care aveam să particip a doua zi nu aveam să-i mai vad nici pe Andy nici pe cei doi.

A doua zi la prânz am mers la un bar în apropiere, Firefly, unde am comandat o margarita şi am rulat rapoartele cerute de şeful. Era interesant cum peste tot erau maşini cu fise, clipind din luminile lor multicolore ca nişte clovni, îmbiindu-te să joci. Cazinoul era deshchis tot timpul: perpetua vacanţă. Până să-mi termin băutura mi-am aruncat ochii pe cursul valutar, aşa cum făceam de regulă când rulam rapoartele: voiam să văd fluctuaţia leului faţă de dolar. Nimic spectaculos. Părea că se îndreaptă în sfârşit şi economia românească. Ceea ce nu se putea spune despre cea rusească. La prânz Olga avea ochii roşii de parcă plânsese toată dimineaţa dar nu spusese nimic. Şeful îşi aruncă ochii peste raport mormaiind un bine în timp ce chelnerul ne adusese supa (New England clam chowder), iar Andy nu contenea să laude seminarul la care fusese, şi după câteva fraze, reveni la “Invazia Borgilor”.

-Seminarul la care am fost eu a fost aşa şi aşa, preciză şeful, însă n-am înţeles dacă fusese la el sau se referea la o posibilă ceartă cu Olga, care tăcea, făcându-şi de lucru cu lingura în supă. Dupa ce mi-a mai dat o lista de lucururi de făcut şeful ne-a precizat că seara nu aveam să mâncăm împreună şi că eram liberi să facem ce vrem. Am privit-o pe Olga întrebându-mă dacă anunţul şefului însemna un “nu mă deranjaţi” pentru ca era ocupat cu ea sau pentru că efectiv voia să se ducă într-un cazinou să joace carţi.

Andy tremura de bucurie: avea în sfârşit să vadă spectacolul. Cât despre mine, mă programasem deja la manechiură şi masaj şi aveam să-mi petrec seara citind. Oricum era prea cald să ies afară iar compania lui Andy nu ma îmbia câtuşi de puţin.

Ma obişnuisem deja cu ideea că, cu cât munca era mai stresantă, cei din funcţii mari aveau comportamente bizare iar firma la care eram nu era excepţie. Mă amuza foarte tare să particip ca spectator la toate aceste evenimente însă cel mai mult mă distra să văd dimineaţa ştirile de la BBC încercând, după mersul pieţelor europene şi asiatice să ghicesc ce avea să se întâmple la New York Stock exchange în timpul zilei. Uneori ghiceam, alteori greşeam, însă era micul meu joc matinal la care nu renunţasem nici acum, în timp ce Andy mă aştepta jos clocotind că nu avea cui să povestească despre Borgi. Greg şi Olga probabil savurau micul dejun în pat şi numai la prânz, când i-am dat raportul i-am văzut la masă, proaspeţi şi recomfortaţi de parca seminarele despre algoritmii de criptare ar fi fost mai eficienţi decât ultima cremă de întins tenul.

Oricum Andy nu reuşea să înghită nimic din cazua entuziasmului cu care vorbea. Spectacolul fusese exact cum îşi imaginase şi trebuia să îl vedem şi noi. Borgii erau fabuloşi, în special când alergau să pună mâna pe spectatori iar efectele erau atât de reale aveai senzaţia că eşti pe altă planetă iar mie îmi venea să-i spun, dar chiar eşti amice, nu vezi că Olga e plictisită?

Am renunţat, însă ,i-am spus numai seara că era cazul să îşi ia gândul de la Olga, după ce rulasem în grabă ultimele rapoarte şi mă asigurasem că leul devenea din ce în ce mai puternic încât începusem să mă întreb dacă nu era mai bine să-mi ţin economiile în lei.

-Ce are Greg, întreba Andy, după două cocteiluri cosmopolitan şi eu nu am?

-Putere, i-am raspuns, nu ştii că cel mai mare afrodisiac e puterea? Pe de altă parte poţi oricând să comanzi o mireasă rusoaică pe internet, i-am precizat.

Nu ştiu dacă spusele mele îl impresionaseră pentru că a doua zi începuse din nou să povestescă despre borgi de parcă nu ar mai fi găsit alt subiect de discuţie în preajma Olgăi până când, şeful, plictisit, în timp ce îşi arunca ochii pe rapoartele mele la prânz, aprobase plictisit:

-Bine, bine, hai să mergem să-ţi vedem borgii diseară.

Imediat după cina la Benihana – începuse să ne placă acolo – ne-am întâlnit în holul hotelului şi am intrat la spectacol. Coada fusese pâna în stradă. Turişti, asiatici cu bliţurile lor fugare, familii cu copii mici, pasionaţi de science-fiction ca şi Andy. Ne-am aşezat toţi patru în linie şi întâmplarea a făcut ca Olga să fie flancată de Greg şi Andy, în timp ce eu stăteam la dreapta, lângă şeful. Nu am simţit când s-au stins luminile şi ce anume s-a pus în mişcare: totul părea atât de real încât pluteam parcă într-un univers paralel. Iluziile optice arătau atât de reale încât nici nu-mi dădusem seama ce se întâmplase, nu auzisem ţipătul Olgai, nu văzusem mâna lui Andy pusă pe genunchiul ei într-o crispare de groaza la apropierea borgilor şi nici nu văzusem pumnul lui Greg zburând fără de voie.

În noaptea aceea ne-am desparţit fără cuvinte. Mi se învârteau în cap toate ideile conferinţei, felurile de mâncare de la Benihana, cocteilurile de la Fortuna şi Firefly, gândindu-mă că nu voiam să fiu în pielea lui Andy să îmi caut serviciu nou.

A doua zi dimineaţă am mâncat în tăcere. Greg şi Olga nu îşi făcuseră ca de obicei apariţia şi numai la prânz, pe când rulam raportul şi mă uitam la cursul valutar am observat că dolarul avea ca echivalent 0 lei. Cum era posibil: 0? Preţ de un pahar de tequilla sun rise am studiat problema pe toate parţile: nu era nici o greseală în software-ul nostru, problema era în tabelele de conversie, în datele pe care le primisem peste noapte.

Cu o voce cât un fir de aţă i-am prezentat raportul şefului şi, vocea lui tunătoare “ce e?” m-a facut să povestesc cu precauţie despre leul românesc. Se întâmpla ceva bizar, nu puteam înţelege cum un dolar era echivalent cu 0 lei, când pâna ieri fusese totul în regulă.

-Război civil? propuse Greg

-Invazia borgilor, fusese de parere Andy

-A cazut guvernul, sugerase Olga.

După masă am întârziat la simpozion încercând în zadar să sun în România. Pe Olga o întâlnisem din nou la toaletă, înaltă şi tăcută şi, văzându-mă cu telefonul la ureche, nu se putuse abţine să-mi spună că se certase cu Greg din nou, că îi mărturisise că nu avea să-şi părăsească niciodată soţia, ceea ce o enervase la culme.

-Ce mă fac, aproape ca îmi ţipă în urechi, agăţându-se cu disperare de mine… Nu mi-am luat masterul. El e singura mea şansă să înaintez în compania asta, îmi spuse.

-Mergi înapoi la scoala şi ia-ţi-l, i-am răspuns şi mi-am cerut apoi scuze prietenei de la telefon care îmi preciza că nu se întâmplase nimic, guvernul era la locul lui, numai leul se schimbase se trecuse la leul nou.

Am închis telefonul răsuflând uşurată şi, pentru prima oară, m-am dus să îl iau de braţ pe Andy, să colindăm prin cazinouri în ideea că ce se întâmplă în Vegas rămâne în Vegas. Iubiri frânte, studii neterminate, invazia borgilor.

Pui hibachi

4 piepţi de pui tăiaţi în jumătaţi si dezosaţi

1 zuchini mediu (sau dovlecel)

2 căni ciuperci tăiate in felii

Tăiaţi ceapa şi ciupercile si zuchini în bucati mici cât să încapă în furculiţa. Puneţi 1 lingură de ulei într-o tigaie la foc mediu şi 1 lingură în altă tigaie la foc mare. Prajiţi puiul în prima tigaie. Adăugaţi 1 lingură de sos de soia, una de unt şi puţin piper în tigaia în care e puiul. Prăjiţi ceapa cu zuchini în cealaltă tigaie adăugînd în final sos de soia, unt, sare şi piper.

Prăjiţi legumele atât timp cât se coace puiul având grijă să amestecaţi în ambele tigăi. Când puiul s-a prăjit cam 2 minute sau e făcut pe ambele parţi puneţi zeama de lămâie peste pui apoi adăugaţi ciupercile. Puneţi 1 lingură de sos de soia peste ciuperci, adăugaţi o lingură de unt plus sare şi piper. Amestecaţi în ambele tigăi. Scoateţi puiul pe 4 farfurii punând fiecare piept de pui pe câte o farfurie şi împărţiţi în mod egal legumele din cealaltă tigaie. Pregatiţi fasolea în aceeaşi tigaie în care aţi făcut legumele punând 2 linguri de sos de soia, 1 lingură de unt sare şi piper. Coaceţi un minut sau două până ce fasolea devine fragedă apoi presăraţi seminţe de susan pe ea.

Supa New England clam chowder

50 gr. şuncă de porc prăjită tăiată cubuleţe (sau piept ardelenesc)

1 cană ceapă tăiată peştişori

1 conservă de scoici (clams dacă se găsesc) (250-300 gr)

1 cană de zeamă de scoici fierte (din conservă, cum se vinde în comert)

2 cartofi mici fierţi curăţaţi de coajă şi tăiaţi în cubuleţe mici (ca la salata boeuf)

Într-o tigaie mare prăjiţi sunca în unt adăugând ceapa, usturoiul, şi mirodeniile (pătrunjel, busuioc, tarhon şi faina) amestecând încet la foc mic. Adăugaţi încet zeama de la scoici amestecând cu grijă cam ca la ciulamaua românească. Când ajunge la fierbere adaugaţi laptele gras şi fierbeţi cam 20 minute. Adăugaţi scoicile, cartofii şi piperul. Nu coaceţi prea mult pentru că scoicile devin zgârcioase.

Tequila Sun-Rise

3 linguri sirop de grenadina

Turnaţi tequila în pahare cu gheaţa şi turnati apoi sucul de portocală. Adăugaţi siropul de grenadină turnând cu grijă dintr-o parte a paharului. Acest sirop e foarte dens şi din această cauză merge la fudul paharului creând impresia de răsărit de soare. Se poate garnisi cu o felie de portocală pe marginea paharului.

ADRIANA GURĂU este scriitor, corespondentul nostru special in Statele Unite.

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