Needed some Vietnamese basil for dish last week, but market only had it by the pound ($3!!!) so making a jade pesto for something later this week. Thinking about firing up the gril and some swordfish…

Ingredients for Jade Pesto

Patty Melt Bandwagon

One of the greatest food items is the patty melt. It’s a burger, it’s a sandwich, it’s delicious.

Aaron Jorbin celebrates the Patty Melt and I couldn’t agree more. I don’t do beef, so usually use a gardein beefless burger but recently made them with portobella mushrooms and they were outstanding.

The key is the onions. When caramelizing onions, slow and low is key. You’re not making fajitas, so you don’t want your onions charred, you want them a deep golden brown.

Perhaps that would make a good quick food blog post. I shall try to take pics next time I’m filling the cast iron with onions.

An Epiphany: How to Finally Resurrect My Cooking Blog

There are probably 6 of you who know me either in real life or online who read my tweets/blog that know that A)I was a chef in another life, B) I have a cooking blog.

Every 9 months or so, I get these grand ambitions to resurrect the blog, but my grandiose visions overwhelm the realities of my daily life, and they never transpire. That’s not to say that I don’t still love food, that I don’t every day in my current profession as a guy who makes and manages web sites (do they still call it webmaster?) use my experiences as a chef, both in the work place dealing with people and changing focus at the drop of a dime, as well as the art itself. It’s ephemeral, here today, gone in 20 minutes, a delicate balance between art and science.Still Life-ish

The epiphany is, keep it simple stupid. It may not surprise 4 of you 6 that I read weekly the Miami Herald, NY Times, Chicago Tribune, LA Times food sections as well as our local über cool food writer Jeff Houck. Not to mention the many tweets and links that come through my streams weekly. I often want to share these, with a short anecdote, or comment. That’s what a couple of my favorite bloggers – Gruber and Kottke – do already. It was really the basis of blogging 6-7 years ago. Then, just maybe then, I won’t feel the overwhelming (self imposed) pressure to write long form. Those can just occur naturally.

My question to the 3 of you still reading this? I should probably not push these to my regular Twitter account, right? I should just tell folks about the re-positioning once it’s done, and let them subscribe to the feed. Possibly create a new Twitter account to push those updates to those who prefer to use Twitter instead of Atom feeds for updates? Should I link directly to the source article, ala Gruber, or simply link in the post with my anecdote ala Kottke?

And full disclaimer, I do have advertising on that site, that despite it’s languishing in purgatory, pays for a significant amount of my hosting costs. That has nothing to do with my desire to kick start the site however, but just want to be clear, ads will continue on the site.

Jeff Norton Inspired Me

I was a quasi punk teenager when I first traveled to Hyde Park to experience “art”. Sure, I’d done the Ybor thing, but this was high end stuff as far as I had experienced it. A live performance of actors was way more than seeing Black Flag do 3 songs then run off stage. This was School of Night. I honestly don’t remember the skits, but I do remember Jeff and another actor doing a scene from a Sam Shepard piece ( I think it was from True West).

As I grew older, I took advantage of the opportunities to experience Jeff’s larger performances with troupes like American Stage. During this time, I was introduced to Jeff through a mutual acquaintance. He was humble, brooding. Everything I had pictured an artist to be. I was jealous.

I thought him an older but kindred spirit, not a celebrity. He was an artist. I got a glimpse of a genius. Someone who was so comfortable with his art; perhaps tortured in the fact that he was such a craftsman of his art that he could perform it in a burgh such as Tampa. He trusted that there were like minded souls who also parked their tent in this god-forsaken mosquito ridden peninsula of peninsulas a genuine art scene would evolve. I know I cooked food with that same passion. I regret I didn’t stay true to my own passion…

I for one apologize for being so shortsighted I didn’t realize it sooner–yes, I wanted a dynamic, brilliant local scene. And there is one. Theatre, food, dance… it’s all there. Maybe not how I envisioned it because I wanted brilliance such as Jeff’s to be national news, and in my youth I lost my vision.

However, in the twilight of my own perspective, and in the sunset of the passing of Jeff Norton, I reflect on that first night in a little corner bistro at Howard and Azeele, and pray that the baton of pure passion and art will continued to be passed.

God speed Jeff Norton, god speed.

Austin: Why don’t you just try another neighborhood, all right?
Lee: What’sa’ matta with this neighborhood? This is a great neighborhood. Lush. Good class a’ people…”

From True West

(ed. note) This post contained two videos of Jeff, which have since been removed from Youtube. I respect their decision