This morning I was reading a blog called Loving Food, Fashion, and Life. Her entry was all about cheeseburgers and as that was what I had planned to make for dinner, it caught my attention. Her opening line was “If you’ve never had a plumpalicious burger stuffed with cheese in the middle that clearly oozes out cheesiness with every bite, well—you’re missing out on a good portion of life.” As I was imagining this burger, it dawned on me that the cheeseburger is one of those basic black dresses (or suits) that I have talked about as it applies to broth and grilled cheese sandwiches.
There really are only two basic essentials to a cheeseburger: the burger and the cheese. The bun, in some respects, has become just one more accessory to the cheeseburger. One would think that there is not much to making a burger, but the blend of meats varies from person to person and restaurant to restaurant. They do not even need to be made with beef. One could use ground turkey, chicken, lamb, or a mixture of vegetables, beans, and grains to make a vegi burger. I have made some burgers out of baked beans and oatmeal. I have also taken other meats and added them into my ground meat. For example, I have mixed chorizo or Italian sausage or bacon into my burger patties before cooking them. Read More
A while back I talked about a
basic vegetable stock and compared it to the basic black dress Tim Gunn
said she be in every woman’s wardrobe, well at least for those who wear dresses.
My friends have told me that the basic dark pants and jacket is the equivalent
for men. This basic black dress, or dark suit, theory applies to food and our
spiritual lives as well. Any thing one creates has its basic elements and then
it is accessorized. The secret is to identify the essentials, then accessorize
So for example, one can take your classic grilled cheese
sandwich. This is a dish that just about anyone, who has not grown up vegan,
has experienced. With the development of vegan cheese products, even my vegan
friends, can now experience grilled cheese. The basic grilled cheese sandwich
has three essentials: bread, cheese, butter. Together, they are the basic black
dress. At its most basic form, the grilled cheese sandwich is American cheese on
white bread. There seem to be two different techniques for the butter. Some
melt the butter in the pan and then put the sandwich in the butter to toast the
bread; others spread the softened butter evenly on the bread and then put it in
a hot pan.
A former professor once told that the way to entice people to read your blog or peak their interest in your sermon was to come up with a catchy title. So if you are reading this, then hopefully that means my title worked. I was playing with the tile “parsley, sage, rosemary, and time”, but decided I liked Herbal Essence better because it really got at the essence of what I have been thinking about this week: herbal essence.
There was a time (not thyme), when I never used fresh herbs and spent my entire cooking life using dried herbs and spices. Then I expanded my repertoire and began using fresh herbs. However, as a scripture says, “for everything there is a purpose under heaven.” This is true of herbs as well. There is a time for dry and a time for fresh. There is a thyme for every seasoning under heaven. (Hope you do not mind my humor). However, the essence of my herbal humor is true. Read More
Cooking for me, as it is for many foodies and chefs, is a form of art. Others may use pastels, oils, acrylics, etc. I paint with words in my blogs and writings and with food when I am cooking. Even when something looks simple, like tomato soup, I want people to appreciate the layers of flavor, which are beneath that red silky appearance. I have come to realize how important a few things are for me to be present in my studio and what facilitates my being in the state of flow, or optimal experience, and what can throw me out of it. One thing, for example, is not being able to find the spice or other ingredient I need at a crucial moment. Read More