episode vi: return of the Sous Chef

…and with him came a week of favorites in my kitchen.

Most of the time it’s all me in the kitchen from start to finish. But every time a college break rolls around, my little sous chef jumps right back in and the kitchen dynamics change in the most wonderful way. Sous Chef is amenable to almost anything – trimming, peeling, dicing, washing, frying, serving, cleaning up…he is my go-to for everything but kitchen dancing. That remains a firm, dispassionate NO. We still don’t speak of the “Squeeze Box” incident of 2020, but honestly it was no worse than when I drove through middle school carpool wearing my giant yellow chicken costume. And yes, I flapped.

summer grilling – no different than the other 3 seasons

Because I like to over-do, or so I’ve been told, I planned some of his favorite recipes as well as a few he had yet to experience other than through this blog. Welcome Home Monday was Chimichurri Chicken, coconut rice and Sweet Potatoes with Cilantro and Indian Lime Pickle. Daddy made these exotic sweet potatoes so often from 2016-2018 that it was temporarily banned by unnamed family members…see, I come by it naturally. Sous Chef carries the more is more gene so we are bringing it back.

Tuesday’s dinner was centered around two yummies that I picked up to celebrate my full nest: a lovely country pâté and a huge wedge of Sous Chef’s favorite cheese, Délice de Bourgogne. So here’s the thing, I can do many, many things quite adequately: I can hang crown moulding, I can juggle and I can install a disposer, a sink fixture or a whole-house stereo network. And there are even a few things I’ve practiced for years to become pretty good at like packing a car with logistical perfection or snapping a tack-sharp mid-air touchdown photo. But I am pathetic, just awful, and I mean truly abysmal, when it comes to decorative arrangements – tchotchkes, flowers and especially charcuterie boards. Really, it’s bad. So this week I called in the master, Louise of the East, and I played sous chef too. Not a bad gig.

Wednesday we made those Afghani dumplings which I’ve gone on and on about for the last few posts so I’ll spare you the details. That’s code for go make them. Then Thursday we made our simple house standby of lemon chicken cutlets, only amped-up with cacio e pepe, a carrot medley and grilled asparagus. I introduced Sous Chef to the new meat bammer, taught him about sautéing in oil and butter together and we grilled the fresh veggies he chose to undo a little of the week’s gluttonous damage.

The term sous chef, or sous-chef de cuisine, refers to the second ranking person in the kitchen, after the executive chef. Part of that responsibility is keeping an orderly, clean environment and managing the less sexy tasks of the kitchen. But it is an opportunity to learn techniques and advance your culinary repertoire. At least that’s how I’ve billed it. Maybe one day I can even get him to dance with me again.

Cilantro & Lime Pickle Sweet Potatoes

Sous Chef preps the lime pickle mayo
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes
  • 6-8 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs Indian lime pickle, big pieces minced
  • 1-2 Tbs sriracha
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems, chopped
  • 3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped
  • kosher salt & pepper to taste

Cook, peel and dice the sweet potatoes in any manner you can tolerate. Honestly, I just poked holes and microwaved 2 giants for about 6 minutes.

In a large bowl combine mayo, lime pickle, sriracha, cilantro and green onions. Add diced sweet potatoes and cashews, toss lightly to coat.

Serve chilled after a couple of hours with more chopped cashews and a sprinkle of cilantro leaves.

ps. I also really stink at cookie decorating

3 thoughts on “episode vi: return of the Sous Chef

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