Yeah. I've made it to Level six at school. Level six, for those who are counting, is the last level in the culinary program at the FCI. The last level! Gah. In a few short weeks it'll be au revoir, culinary program, and bonjour, pastry!
It's all very overwhelming to think about but, to be honest, I haven't really had much time to think about it. I've been busy sweating over searing pans of venison and beef, trying desperately to clarify pots full of clam consommé, attempting to keep my fingers away from the bubbling oil frying our cod cakes (apparently my fingers just can't stay away, which is unfortunate, because it's freaking hot) and getting surly, french looks from our surly, french chef.
Chef M. is very tall and very serious, and likes to say things like "zere is nuh-zing worse den 'ard beans. Make sure you cook zem all de way tru guys, eh? What are you, crazy?" To which you reply "No, Chef. Yes, Chef." This will prompt him to then say something along the lines of "Who is ze best? I am. I run zis place." Level six is great.
Here, we have a Seared Fish Combo in a Clam Consommé:
And here, Pan-Seared Venison with White Bean Ragout, Bacon, Cipollini Onions, and Caramelized Apples with Lemon-Ginger Jus:
And here, something a little less schmancy:
With all of the new Level six recipes to learn and my internship with Liddabit Sweets still going strong, I haven't had much time to venture out to the grocery store lately. After a long day of searing off beef tenderloin and making double batches of caramel, I found myself home at 8pm, hungry for dinner and staring into a practically empty refrigerator.
Sometimes, this game is fun. What can I make with an eggplant, half a box of crackers, a jar of coarse mustard and a rind of cheese? Sometimes I'm too tired to play, and I end up eating half a box of crackers for dinner. Tonight, though, I decided to skip the box of crackers and do something about the Sicilian-herbed olives and half jar of crème fraiche sitting in my fridge. This is the something I came up with.
Note - I'm not including amounts in this recipe, because I threw it together, all willy-nilly-like, and I don't think it's important to know precise measurements for this type of meal. Add however much butter and lemon and crème fraiche (and whatever else you feel like throwing in there) you like - just taste as you go, and adjust to your liking. Feel free to add red pepper flakes or some parmesan cheese to your pasta - I would have, if I'd had them around.
- Orecchiete pasta
- olive oil
- crème fraiche
- fresh lemon juice
- fennel seeds
- Mt. Athos olives with Sicilian herbs (I found these at Whole Foods)
- fresh ground pepper
- chopped parsley
Cook your pasta in boiling, salted water to al dente. Drain the pasta, and return it to the pot. Drizzle olive oil over pasta, and stir in a bit of butter. Add the crème fraiche, lemon juice, and fennel seeds, and stir to create a light, creamy sauce. Add the olives and pepper, to taste, and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.