Alchemy: The Basics

Well today has started the very best it could!  Instead of any of my previous bad habits of sleeping in too long, lounging in bed too long, even as far as not sitting down in front of my PC!(unheard of)  I chose to bake some bread with my youngest son.  He was excited the entire time.  I explained every step as he had the hands on approach.  This is a marvelous break through as in individual and as a father.

While explaining each step in detail, I realized I have already reached part of my life goal!  I have talked about becoming an Alchemist, a person who transforms or creates something through a seemingly magical process.  I have been an Alchemist for 15 years already.  In the art/craft/skill of cooking.  Cooking, in and of itself, is Alchemy.

The principles of Alchemy are being able to change the state molecules(that already exist!) by manipulating the four elements.  I know that sounds complicated, but lets really shatter the illusion that Alchemy is magic.

Understanding that there are many definitions of the 4 basic elements, the four elements, Fire, Air, Earth, and Water, will be defined by me as;

Fire is both hot and dry(you know, the stuff that burns your hand!)                                          Air is both hot and wet( think vapor)                                                                                                Water is both cold and wet                                                                                                                  Earth is both cold and dry

Starting from there, let us open this up a bit.  Each element has only it’s 2 properties alone.  BUT, as we all know, they also subsist with the 2 nearest it.  Picture a square, each side represents 1 element.  Yup, now you get it.

Now, lets go back to talking about cooking, it IS Alchemy.  I take a filet of fish.  This is nearly non edible in it’s current form for most of us.  If I apply the element of heat, the filet “transforms as if by magic” into something our body can now use more effectively!  This is great if you are just hungry as the day is long, but not if you want to enjoy what you just stuffed in your face.  I then choose the elements Air and Water, in differing parts and measures to add some better qualities to the once unappealing fish.  Getting the picture?  The next step is to add parts of the 3 base elements(again, my version) Animal, Mineral, Vegetable.(Just like 20 questions!)

-Side note- In the Western world I live in, Alchemy is no more credible to the public as a street charlatan or conjurer of cheap tricks(thanks Gandalf).  While it holds a place in nearly every previous belief system, or philosophical structure.  This does not mean the science does not exist or is not practiced.

I digress like few others!  Back to our once sad, sullen, and sibilant fish filet.  Adding some minerals like salt, some plants(vegetable’s generic term) like ground peppercorns, some oil extracted from olives themselves(using 100% extra virgin olive oil), ground paprika, crushed dried oregano leaves or powdered as you like.  Then we mix our alchemical ingredients into a proper medium(lets use a pyrex baking dish).

For an 8 ounce filet of fish, we’ll just pick tilapia.  Apply some of that olive oil to the bottom of the baking dish, just where your fish will sit, no need to waste any more.  Next, place your cold and crude raw fish into the pan, right on that oil slick you just made.  You see this base item..this this moment, it’s nothing.  Nothing you would eat anyways!       Time for Alchemy!  Spread those minerals and herbs over the top of the fish, lightly.  Add just a little water into the fish pan. Nope, not enough to wash off those herbs and spices.  Just enough to add moisture to the air as it all heats up.  There ya go. Cover that pan with a soft and VERY malleable metal.  It looks like metal paper.  Take a moment to think about it.  Did you come up with aluminum foil?  That will keep the water element in our medium as the brazier adds the heat. With a tooth pick, poke 3-4 holes in the foil in random spots.  After preheating your brazier(or oven if your grill is not able to be used right now) to 325(conventional), place the whole kit and kaboodle into your oven, or on your grill.  Close that grill lid!  When 7-12 minutes has passed, check on your fish.  The alchemical process can very WIDELY depending all all manner of outside influences.

You should know how to properly handle hot items and feed yourself at this point. 😀         Time to talk about the the Alchemy what we just did, in a little more understandable way!  We took a base item(Fish) added a couple other base elements(herbs and spices).  We added them to a medium(pan).  We then started to “magically” manipulate the molecules in that fish with the use of fire, water, and air.(had you added earth, the 10 second rule applies).  Now, 7-12 minutes later what was once dreary, droopy, dismal, and disdainful has transformed into a superior, succulent, scrumptious, and satisfying material.  ALCHEMY!

I’ld like to challenge anyone reading this.  Send me one of YOUR recipes in ANY language.  I will translate it, then consume it(if it’s food). Once I understand it, I’ll add it to this cook book.  Please choose one that means something to you.  I’ll explain why later( Alchemy is WAAAAAY more than than just physical).

*Personal note.  I do not believe in selling my knowledge or “IP”.  I’m not interested in making profit off of what I have learned.  The flip side it, I can’t afford to write full time, work full time, school full time, father full time, friend, etc…  I am juggling it all the best I can!  If you visit my page, you will see that I seek assistance with my overall goals, financially(realistically I can’t do this all myself…I don’t think).  Many have reached out to me, with their personal struggles and expressed their support.  I’m working as fast as I can to find our cure.  I will find it.  Just keep the faith.  Some say Karma is a bitch, I say Karma is youthful mistress of compassion and kindness.  You are not alone, but I only have a finite amount of time in each day and a multitude of previous responsibilities and duties to take care of.  I also want to buy a pair of Under Armour shoes, designed by the Rock!’s the friggin ROCK!  Dwayne Johnson!  I would like to look stylish and cool during my son’s trip to DC that I will be chaperoning.*

So you see, I’ve been an Alchemist all this time, I just never knew it.

Thanks to each and every one of you for stopping by.  Don’t hesitate to contact me any way you can.  You are not alone..WE are not alone, nor forgotten.

4-13-2017 added

Recipe 2;  Vampire Resistant Fowl in Wet Egg&Flour Strips

We start this transmutation with 6 ounces of flightless, fury filled fowl.  (breast meat cut into strips about 1/4″ wide each).

*Side note, please read the instructions all the way through, first.  Ingredient list won’t be listed in obvious fashion*

Ignite a small brazier and set it fire to med-low(slow burning helps release more flavors and excites each chemical interaction more completely, rather than just flaring it out.(keep the fire low, no need to rush this one)Place your preferred medium on the brazier and allow it to start warming.

This will be the start of your Alchemy lesson!  Start with a liquid base, with a scorch point.  I normally choose Ελαιόλαδο.  (use google translate, if you are not fluent in Greek).  Cover the bottom of your medium(darn you for not having more words for medium!)  with about 2 oz of aforementioned olive oil.  When you hear the heat agitate the oil, carefully place down your four or five fowl strips into the HOT oil.  If it pops or sizzles TOO aggressively, turn the heat down.  You should hear a nice soft sizzle sound to signify the sealing of the outer surface.  We then add my preferred mix of minerals and dried vegetables(Salt, pepper, oregano powder and a new one, garlic powder.  Everyone welcome garlic, he’s going to be joining us a LOT more in this book.)  After allowing the fowl to firm, lets add some diced fruit.  It’s red…acidic…and if you make a fruit salad out of it, you would call it Salsa…Yup, tomato!  We’ll also use some sliced small fungus pieces.  For just a little difference, we’ll toss in some onions, YOU choose the type, they all have different properties to enjoy.  It’s my idea, but YOUR dinner:D (could not make onion sound fun, their scent is all you need to excite your nose) minced.  Let some time pass as you lovingly lavish your dish with YOUR FULL ATTENTION.  While using Alchemy, you have nothing better to do.  If you do, stop, clean up everything, and go do anything else.

Once your fowl has finished it’s heat based transmutation, we’re going to add the piece of resistance(Lego Movie, watch it) fresh crushed garlic clove.  Put in just enough to add flavor, not overpower the vampire population of Brooklyn.  Lets let our 3 elements do their thing for about 2 minutes.  Grab a handful of your favorite egg&flour bits/strips/elbows/spirals.  Each shape will alter the flavor bouquet you experience in the end.  Drop those noodles right in that pan, carefully.  You will then apply the motion and friction action to the noodles in your medium.(Toss it, resist using utensils unless utterly unavoidable).  Cover this pan with it’s own lid or equivalent, such as a pan of the same size or slightly larger.  Turn the heat down to low and lets allow those ingredients to share properties for about 3 more minutes.

Once all of these step are taken, place ALL of the ingredients into your dinner bowl(going to be oil and stuff, use a pasta bowl or similar.  Not that plate…not that one either.)  Let the dish sit in a calm state for another 3-5 minutes.  Using a strainer, carefully remove the excess oil that you won’t enjoy consuming, AFTER it has rested, not before.  Bon apetite, mon petite chou.

Keep your minds and palettes open for everything!

#3  <a request from my son> 4/17/2017

For this fine feast of bovine brilliance we shall unleash it’s busty beautiful bouquet of flavors with the use of very simple ingredients and techniques.  I would suggest you have your young alchemists assist you.(Easy enough that younger kids can participate).  Summon your fire elements(oven to 375).  In a nice heating medium, you will place 1 pound of raw ground bovine meat and 1 container of premixed sauce/spice/seasoning(15.5oz can of sloppy joe sauce).  Heat this concoction to boiling over medium to high heat.  Stir occasionally to ensure proper consistent heating.

Now time for you little apprentice to jump in!  We have elected to use 1 can of Pillsbury refrigerated breadsticks. Put the dough on a cutting board or other sanitary surface with a light smattering of flower to help prevent sticking.  Have your helper harness his or her internal bakers man and unroll the dough into 12 separate stick.  You should then cut those sticks into 4 pieces each.

Time to start the REAL fun!  Pour your perfected portion of powerfully flavored beef into a baking dish, 12×8 works good.  Let your assistant place the pieces of dough in a single layer over your combined works.

Bake uncovered for 13ish minutes(always start low and keep an eye on your projects).  Yourself and your assistant shall now, in unison, spread the finishing touch upon your team work, Sprinkle your favorite type of cheese on top and let it heat up until the cheese melts.  Viola!  C’est Magnifique!  Let it rest and cool down, to let the flavors set in.

*Side note, if you don’t have an apprentice, just hit me up, I’ll come help you* 🙂



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