Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 15, 2011

If I had a dime for every cup of coffee I ever drank. Man, would I be rich! I don't think it's the coffee itself, but the honor of who you're drinking it with and the time spent in the process. Yes, I have my times of solitude. Those are often less eventful, when writing is a sabbatical gone fishing or time of walking with just my mug and me. Sometimes, even over the phone conversations with old friends and relatives that are coming to visit soon. The Proud Mary of conversation is always about food. It could be the darkest hour of the night or the hottest day of the year, and I'd still be talking about food in one way or another. Remember the five senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing and sight. In cooking, there is a sixth sense where all of these fall together like a wheel in motion. I call it Cause and Effect. It's the mental imaging of all those senses when you throw yourself into your work and all you care about is the enjoyment you give to others. The beating of a new heart. The glow of that smile. The warmth of recognition. A lot of times when I cook, it's not about me at all, but for others and making their day a reality. A change for the better. Even at 5:07 A.M. as I'm writing this, I'm thinking about the Bananas and Guava Paste sitting in front of my face. Last nights dinner was no exception to the rule. I had bought some Ground Chuck at the store the other day and I wanted something different. My mind kept wandering back to a juicy hamburger that just kept melting in my mouth. So, the wish was installed and I was creating again. I'm not a grill guy, so things are done in the oven or on top of the stove. I just started adding things to my Chuck and the creation for AWESOME! Salt, Pepper Egg, Milk, Italian Bread Crumbs, Barbecue Sauce and Maple Syrup. I think that was it. Formed it into four large patties and placed them in the fridge on wax paper. I let them sit for about an hour. When it was time to do the cooking, I removed them from the holding area and heated a large saute pan over medium heat with a touch of cooking spray. Placed 2 at a time in the pan and cooked for about 3 minutes on each side, covered with a lid that just only covered the burgers, not the pan itself. This causes a steaming effect that makes the burgers juicier because during the cooking process, you're not bothering  them. They're just doing their own thing. At the end, I covered with some Sharp Cheddar Cheese; put the lid back on, and cooked for another 45 seconds or so. Laid it on top of toasted Wheat Bread with Lettuce and Sliced Pickles. Cause and Effect! Served it with some Homemade Sweet Potato Fries that were baked with Cinnamon and Sugar and then drizzled with a pinch of Sea Salt. Cause and Effect! Solidified the meal with some fresh White Peg Corn. Then, to top it off: Sliced Watermelon for dessert. It was a great feast for a bright, but cooling mid-May day. The smiles were inviting. The conversation was lively. The wind blew through the open windows and Spring actually felt good. No banging on the door for unpaid bills. No thinking about tomorrow. Cause and Effect! Now that's Beauty!

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