Oneness Ministry

We are One

My Secrets to Cooking

The following consists of a few of my thoughts on cooking from a creative point of view. I love taking standard recipes and making them my own. I also love using what I have and creating something yummy. It really is easy, though it does take practice.

The secret to making a meal is simple really and consists of 4 parts. A sauce, a vegetable, a starch, and a meat. Think of the sauce as the base. There are 4 options here, broth (vegetable or meat), cream based (milk or lactose free), oil based (Olive oil or many others), or cheese based (like nachos or broccoli soup). Some of these options can be combined like in broccoli soup. In the broth category I include tomato sauce.

The next layer is a vegetable and includes many options. It is possible to skip this option as long as the vegetable is served on the side. We all need our veggies! Often the veggie is the main course as well, it just depends on the meals purpose and who is eating it. The whole balanced diet thing we were taught is school, does make sense, so don’t stray from this too far.

The next layer is the starch, which is optional. Many folks will use this as the base, as in rice or pasta. Technically peas and corn are starches, so sometimes a meal will have more than one starch. Other starches include potatoes, legumes, nuts, and any of the grains.

The last layer is optional and includes any meat, land or sea based. Take fried chicken for instance, this is a meat and should be served with a veggie and a starch like cornbread or mashed potatoes. Meat often serves the purpose of adding flavor to the meal and nothing else. Nothing wrong with this, just remember that protein comes from many different foods like certain veggies, starches, and sauces.

This approach was inspired by cooking fondue, where the first thing is to choose a base sauce to cook in and then the item to be cooked, like veggies, meat, etc. Cheese fondue with crusted sourdough bread and a dash of hot sauce… WOW. Hot pot would be another version of this cooking method, though Asians are not big on cheese, which is why I prefer it as I am lactose sensitive. Cooking by recipe can be a great way to get started and as you practice certain patterns will emerge. Certain foods go together as do certain spices. The topic of which spices to use fills entire books, so do your research. Then, practice makes perfect, so jump in and give it a go. There is no right or wrong, although the goal is to create something tasty and nourishing which doesn’t always happen. The other principle I follow when cooking is the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Sequoia). Keep the number of ingredients to a minimum. I go by the five-item rule. There are always exceptions, to every rule; however, unless following a recipe you know is good, stick with the rules.

The other thing to consider is the pH of the food. Tomatoes are acid and help to break down tough foods like certain meats. It works really well with pot roast and Salisbury steak. Cream sauce is base and goes well with seafood. Since I don’t do milk anymore, I prefer to use oil and wine with my seafood. Wine is another acid I like to use because it adds lots of flavor. Stick with the standard, red wine for red meat and white wine for light meats and seafood. Another way to use pH is in marinades. By soaking food in a brine solution this can help make it juicer and softer when cooked. Alcoholic beverages, citrus juice, vinegar, etc. can also be used in a marinade. It all depends on what needs to be accomplished. For instance, gamey flavor of wild meats softened, cheap cuts of meat improved, or bland meats enhanced with deeper flavor.

If you are looking for a good source of recipes, I suggest using Allrecipes.com and Alton Brown’s recipes. Of course, there are many other good resources, so go where your gut takes you. Bon Appetit!

Sequoia Elisabeth

Oneness Ministry

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