Day 51: I Become a Teacher’s Pet

Chef Sixto and I are bonding. I don’t know if he’d describe it like that, but I think I’m hitting his soft spots. Case in point? Today I had to brûlée (burn, no really) an onion to add color to our pot au feu, or beef stew. I had two onion halves on my flattop charring away when chef came running over with a classic line, “WHAT IS THIS CACA?”

“Uh…an onion?!” I replied, stifling my laugh.

He points to the hairy root I forgot to trim off, and then proceeded to tell me, “I’m going to make you eat this.”

“Okay,” I say, laughing.

“No. You’re too cute to make eat dirt.”

Ah ha! Proof. My twelve-year looks finally come in handy. A strict chef takes pity on my stupid mistake because it’s hard to yell at a girl who still gets carded when she sees R-rated movies. (Okay, that only happened once. But still.)

Pot au Feu

TIP OF THE DAY: Want to make a killer pot au feu? Easy. For about four servings, buy six short ribs and cut them into individual servings (cut on either side of the bone). Throw them in a pot and cover with water. Add garlic, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, and parsley stems. Add a small amount of mirepoix (half a carrot, half a celery, and half a leek greens). Let it cook for 2 to 3 hours. Thirty minutes before the soup is done, add some quartered potatoes, turnips, carrots, and leeks wrapped in cheesecloth. Cook until the vegetables are tender and the meat is at a fall-off-the-bone status. Season to taste and serve in a bowl with each of the cheeseclothed vegetables and a hunk of meat (take out the bone first).


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