I was having lunch the other day with the famous Swedish chef from The Muppets when several questions came up. As we studied the menu, the Swedish chef looked at me square in the eyes and asked “Vat ist coooking and bork, bork de soonds?”
I, on the other hand, had a few other pertinent posers on my mind as he continued studying the menu with a glazed- over glare. Do I want the Spinach Salad with a glass of Napa Valley Riesling? Or do I go with the Bacon Bleu-Cheese Jalapeno Burger, the Curly Fries and a bottle of St. Pauli Girl?
Food and cooking have tested us for centuries. Cooking is actually neither a science nor an art. It is a puzzle that requires common sense and maybe a bit of adventure.
So let’s get started.
A recipe is like a chemical formula and to fully master a formula like a scientist in the lab, you must first read the formula. In fact, the process involves reading the recipe three times.
First, read the recipe to get an understanding what you are getting yourself into. A recipe for a Spinach salad obviously involves spinach. But there is more to it than just spinach.
The second reading is when you assemble all the ingredients and utensils you will need when preparing your recipe.
The third reading is the actual preparation of the dish.
There are a few simple rules to follow when actually doing the recipe.
Add the ingredients in the order they are listed.
Measurements are critical.
Understand the various stages of heat. Don’t boil something that calls for a simmer. Medium heat means just that. Set the dial on the stove halfway for medium heat.
All recipes have cooking times as well as temperatures. These times have been tested so 30 minutes at 350 degrees does not mean 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
Finally, pay attention.
Spinach Salad w/ Mandarin Oranges
6 Slices bacon, Cooked and Crumbled
¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
2 Tbs. Mixed Fresh Herbs, Minced
½ Red Onion, Thinly Sliced
1 Tsp. Sugar
Salt/Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 Bunch Fresh Spinach, Washed and Trimmed
½ Cup Mandarin Oranges
3 Hard-Boiled Eggs, Quartered
Combine vinegar, oil, herbs and sugar in a bowl and mix. Season with salt and pepper.
Place spinach in a large salad bowl and add vinegar/oil mixture,
Heat reserved bacon drippings until it just begins to boil. Drizzle drippings over salad. Sprinkle bacon bits on salad and garnish with oranges and eggs.
As the famous Swedish chef from The Muppets says; “Bork, bork de soonds everybody.”