at 6:30PM, I decided my dinner was still waiting for me in the ocean.
It wasn’t the best conditions. I didn’t see any flashlights in the water from the cliff above. There were no other cars along four miles of coastline. There wasn’t a sound, except the waves crashing below on the rocky shoreline, and the DANGER: Rattlesnakes sign made me listen carefully. Yes, strength and perseverance always pays off, I thought to myself. I hopped the fence and descended the cliff.
This is what the dive spot looks like in the summer. It’s not so bright and colorful in the dark.
When I got in the water, it felt like the beginning of Wall-E, where everything was dead except Wall-E and the cockroach (lobster…is an underwater cockroach, really…change your frame- YUM! 🙂 ) Except the problem is this cockroach was nowhere to be found. I discovered some large Uni, a few nice fish (I left the speargun in the truck bed so they went unharrassed) and made a conscious decision to leave everything that wasn’t a lobster alone. Pounded by wave after wave on the rocks, only seeing short (undersized) lobsters for 3 hours, I headed home. One of the interesting(damning, really) physical aspects of freediving is the calorie:physiology component. It is the “2nd most calorie burning sport” (after competitive ax-chopping), so to burn 1000 calories an hour is cool and all, but to freedive well, you want to dive on an empty stomach (otherwise the blood will fill your stomach, rather than be close to your lungs). So you’re in a catch 22 – do I want a longer breath-hold so I can see more things? Or do I want to eat. So to burn those calories on an empty stomach, me thinks me stomach be eating itself.
We don’t always have amazing days. So here I am, at 1am. And my dinner is still in the ocean. #humbled
Despite everything, I’ve got lots of Spanish Granache and a belly full of plants. (How manly). Just now I made 1.5 pounds of string beans, tomatoes, onions and some chopped confited chicken gizzard/heart just for flavoring, and gotta have fried, runny eggs on top of rice. (fried and wet scramble) I know this is not a diary of my diet… but I also sautéed some okra in shrimp paste! I feel like my skills for protein are in order – flaky fish, tender meats and that’s how I judge mains, I’m a bit clueless as to the craft of cooking vegetables. I judge restaurants mainly on their proteins, less on their salads, and least on their cooked vegetables, unless you’re talking about breakfast potatoes which deserve Where’s Waldo Scrutiny. Desserts fall somewhere in the middle of the…hierarchy of importance.
So!!! The other day I got a call to work in the Kali Dining kitchen, both in the back and the front (prepping, cooking, plating) & maître d’; Well, it was a beautiful open setup, so there was no front and back. Though the chef said it’s not my job to keep people’s waters filled, I’ve been fortunate to dine in some nice restaurants and wanted to give it a shot. I give myself a B. Better than some nice restaurants, but not tops. Because I was helping to sauté and plate, there was 1 course I fell behind and plus I need to learn to pour champagne better. This won’t be so hard to practice ;).
Some food. Apologies for the crappy writing the pictures will pick it up.
Venice Beach penthouse.
Making bread and portioning 75grams per ramekin
Rosemary bread w/ Plugra butter, dehydrated Niçoise olive, greens from the garden
Mandoline some taters, rinse, drain, fry
I messed up so I went to buy some Lays.
Base for a winter squash soup: dehydrated squash, basil oil, pepper cream (squash soup will be poured in)
the biggest compliment a chef can get. the dishwasher appreciates it, too
this was a skirt steak dish infusing hickory smoke w/ a smoke gun
skirt steak, barley, red wine shallots, corn, parsley paste
a play on Beets: Humboldt Fog Panna Cotta, Black Olive Sponge, & Candied Greens (In case you’re wondering, the dishes were taken inside a LightBox.)
At the end of the night, I was asked if I could work this project full-time. I work 3 jobs already, so I said…SURE. (half-joking). I can’t work full-time, but will dedicate 2 nights/week to this endeavor. Although Modern/Art is not my style of cooking because I think a lot of places put more emphasis on art than executing protein consistently and perfectly, I will continue to learn. Join me! There, I feel better about the lack of lobster last night. 🙂
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.