• Jill O. Patrick

Brother on the Stove

by Bernard Hayes

It is indeed a delight to have the multifaceted, Rev. Bernard Hayes aka Brother on the Stove, as a guest blogger. Rev. Hayes is a family man, who loves God, people, singing and cooking just to name a few of his interests and credentials. Over the years he has been blessed to compose an extensive collection of recipes, photographs and stories which began many years ago as a little boy attending family gatherings at his grandmother’s house.

Please join us in reading Rev. Hayes’ beautiful blog, which not only highlights his culinary skills, but also as a storyteller.

I can easily recall so many years ago, once church had ended the family would go to my grandmother’s home to gather for Sunday dinner. As the women of the family gathered around the kitchen table, each was involved in an assigned task, and sharing news and stories of the day. Fresh aromas coming from the kitchen heightening my senses. Some of you too may have had similar experiences as children of my generation were not allowed in these female-dominated domains. Nevertheless, this is the foundation upon which I would begin my love for cooking. The memories are as fresh as the collard greens that came from those well-seasoned and blackened pots used on grandma’s stove. As I transitioned from that young boy to an adult, within the past few years I have begun writing from those memories that have been deeply etched into my southern culinary soul.

In recent years, like those generations before me, I too have stories to share and meals to prepare. Occasionally, the meals are made alone and other times with family members and friends, and at times shared through word of mouth, or social media accompanied with a story and photographs.

When I cook, it bridges memories of the past with lifestyles of today, still lifting my hat up to those aunts, mothers and grandmothers who sat around crowded metal kitchen tables on Sunday afternoons.

In one of my recent posts I shared how I had incorporated harvested peppers to fashion a meal I call Grilled Salmon and Eggs. A dish you too can prepare in less than 30 minutes using the following steps and ingredients. With delicacy, flavor, health and ease as contributing factors when deciding on home cooked meals, the following meal was prepared using previously grilled salmon. After flaking (breaking apart) the grilled salmon and setting it aside until later in the cooking process, I added chopped fresh spinach to the sautéd aromatic vegetables. I began by sautéing minced garlic, sweet onions, bell peppers and jalapeño peppers in avocado oil. I have found avocado oil to have a higher heat resistance than other oils, which is why I tend to use it when I have a desire for a different taste during sautéing.

I then added aromatic ingredients. Feel free to use as much of the aromatic ingredients as you would like. Should you have difficulty with the spice of the jalapeno peppers, you can reduce the heat by removing the seeds and the inside of the pepper leaving only the skin. When choosing aromatics (vegetables, seasonings and flavoring), do not limit yourself to the aromatics I chose, combine other spices and vegetables to enhance the flavor and satisfy your taste. At this stage in preparation, it is time to join the flaked grilled salmon to the sautéed ingredients in your pan, allowing the flavors to merge. Cover again so steam can heat the salmon before you set this portion aside.

When that portion of the meal was completed, I began to fry an egg. Another round of spices was added to the egg with a layer of cheese. When you flip your egg over the cheese will begin to melt and cook as well. I crowned the egg with Roma tomatoes, a personal preference due their firmness in holding up to frying. I then garnished the dish with white corn chips for a delicious compliment to the meal, releasing the savory flavor with each bite. My friends, it was good!!!!

Until the next time, be blessed, stay safe and enjoy. Bernard Hayes aka Brother on the Stove


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