In the past, we’ve covered the whole spectrum of cooking all the way from the cooking essentials to Morningside’s exquisite dishes. This week, we challenged our fearless chef Matt Powell to enter where maintenance seldom ventures—the dorm kitchen. Contributor Marcus Levine offered to descend with him to the lowest depths of foodie hell. Matt recounts the adventure:

"But there's nothing on this list!"

In my time writing this column, I have been met with my fair share of criticism. My love of exotic ingredients, over-equipped kitchen, and enthusiasm for cooking (especially arugula), has at times seemed out of place in the scruffy dorm kitchen.

So what happens when you take away my usual kitchen amenities, ingredients and the rest? Will the enthusiasm remain? I showed up to last week’s Bwog meeting fully unaware of the challenge that would behold me. Marcus stood out from the group when he pointed out that he had duck prosciutto in his fridge. I figured that duck prosciutto was indicative of a student having at least a bit of culinary knowledge.

For my challenge, I was allowed only a single ingredient and one piece of kitchen equipment. Stripped I was of my fancy ingredients, my spice cabinet, my cookware, even my good plates and lighting equipment! How could I choose just two things? In the end, it came down to my trusty oven-proof nonstick skillet and figs.

Much to my surprise, I arrived to the Hartley suite to find that Marcus was not much of a food enthusiast. He didn’t even have salt and pepper! What he lacked in kitchen staples he made up by quite a selection of charcuterie and cheese. He had but a cutting board and dull ceramic knife, while no baking sheet or oven mitts could be proffered. So, putting my limited tools to good use, I created this little wonder.

Figs Wrapped in Caramelized Duck Prosciutto and Goat Cheese

Yields 10 bite-sized appetizers:


  • 5 green figs
  • 10 slivers of soft goat cheese
  • 5 thin slices of duck prosciutto, sliced in half lengthwise
  • A couple tablespoons of brown sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. De-stem the figs and slice in half. Place a sliver of cheese on the flat side of each fig half. Wrap one half of a duck prosciutto slice around each fig half, securing with a toothpick.
  2. Over medium-high heat, sauté the appetizers in a non-stick pan for 5 minutes until fat just begins to render, flipping the appetizers carefully with your fingers (that’s right, no utensils necessary).
  3. Sprinkle the brown sugar in a shallow bowl. Roll each appetizer in the brown sugar, just enough to lightly coat. Place the appetizers back in the skillet and set in the oven. Bake for 5-7 minutes, just until the brown sugar begins to caramelize on the outside of the prosciutto. Remove the skillet from the oven with the help of lots of paper towels. (please wear oven mitts if you have them)
  4. Serve with stale crackers. Heh