Culinary Chaos: Challenging Swifty’s

Now that our resident culinary expert, Swifty, has been tragically lost at sea after attempting to ride a jet ski across the Atlantic ocean, the chef hat has fallen to me for the week.

Despite my nonexistent experience in the field and the rare ability to somehow burn and undercook scrambled eggs at the same time, I felt perfectly confident I could cook anything Swifty had, and I set out to prove it.

I chose to attempt three recipes that Swifty guaranteed would prevent boredom, with each recipe being more difficult than the last.

Beginner: Cacio e Pepe

The process of making this recipe was definitely the easiest, although I still ran into some slight issues with the cheese clumping and not saving enough pasta water.

I made a couple of other changes, as I chose to measure the amount of cheese I added with my heart (because that is the only way to do it) and added garlic (because it belongs in everything). I thought it was a really good dish and I would definitely make it again and try adding in some different ingredients to change the taste.

This was served to my family, along with the following chicken recipe and a caesar salad. Out of my four family members, all of them approved, but my younger sister said it was “too dry.” I’m still unsure if she actually thought that or just wanted to be a food critic.

Intermediate: Basil, prosciutto, and provolone chicken roulade

This recipe was the hardest for me. As someone who has never made chicken anything before, I found this to be a unique challenge. I also do not own a meat mallet, so I ended up tenderizing the meat by hand. My final challenge was that I completely forgot to buy kitchen twine, and ended up using toothpicks to hold together the rolls.

Despite the challenges, I did successfully pull off the recipe and it tasted incredible. Although it did take me an embarrassingly long time to make (around 2 hours), the payoff was definitely worth it. The best part of this recipe was proving my dad wrong when he thought I was going to give my entire family food poisoning.

My youngest sister, who is the pickiest eater I know, asked me to make the recipe again, so I believe that speaks to its quality. I, once again, thought it could use some garlic.

If you are a fan of meal prepping, I would not recommend this recipe for that. While the cacio e pepe did reheat well, the chicken roulade did not taste very good reheated.

Difficult: Raspberry cake with whipped cream filling

Feeling demoralized by tenderizing chicken without a mallet, I called on a friend of mine to help me with this last recipe because he had more of the necessary equipment than I did. The recipe was not too difficult for the two of us, but it’s still the hardest thing I have ever baked.

It requires a lot of specific tools and gadgets to make, so I would not recommend it if you don’t have access to a lot of equipment (including a food processor, cooling rack, and multiple cake pans). This recipe also takes a lot more time (around three hours) than the others between prepping, baking, cooling and assembling the cake.

The recipe was easy to follow and fun to make! The cake was a little on the sweet side, but overall pretty good. It also still works if you substitute blackberries for raspberries, which we found out after both of us managed to misread the recipe and buy blackberries instead. It just turns out more purple than the artist intended.

I can safely conclude that these recipes can be made by anyone, and are perfect for curing boredom. However, I am no culinary expert, so in the future, I intend to leave these recipes to the Swiftys of the world.

If you think you can do better than my culinary chaos (and believe me, it was very chaotic), please send an email to [email protected] and let us know you have what it takes.

Graphic by Neako Hallisey.