August 25th 2018
"I don't have to agree with you to like you or respect you." -Tony Bourdain.
Summer is dwindling to an end, a bittersweet few months of losses, gaining perspective, and awkward exchanges. Between the periods of existential dread (there were several), it has been great, hot (hottest on record for August in PDX), and humbling. To all my people, who lost people, my heart goes out to you, life is always full of change and loss, I will never again assume that just because someone is here today they will be here tomorrow. My focus is on being empathetic to others and to leave judgement to the bored, and unintelligent folks who feed off of the pain of others. I’m not self conscious anymore about letting those special to me know I love them, life’s too damn short, I know it's fucking cliche, but it's so true. You don’t know if you will get another chance to tell them you love them (death, earthquakes, scientology, asteroids!), Keeping expectations low in return is good for character development. Love is the most beautiful and intoxicating of human feelings…..its trumps any drug I’ve ever done! Feel good about being mature enough to be vulnerable.
The death of Chef Anthony Bourdain by suicide was pretty demotivational for me. Like many folks I was inspired by him and his writing and saw myself in him. I wrote something a while ago about him before his death, I remember not being able to sleep and having to type it out:
“By the time I had given up on college and gave in to cooking, while being a student at a 3rd rate cooking school, the best selling book Kitchen confidential was all the rage. I read it and of course loved it, which led to reading Anthony Bourdain's following works. I didn’t love it for the shock factor most got out of it, I was raised in restaurants and bars therefore, I was raised by the types of characters that readers found so shocking in Bourdain’s expose about the industry. These are my peeps, the criminals, the crazies, the misfits, the lost boys (and girls) of the blue collar biz. I learned to pour a keg beer at age four, so really none of his wild tales seemed out of this world to me, but the pleasure of the read was being able to relate and read a tale that you have in essence experienced to some degree, New York, NY is a bit different than my hometown and my current town of Portland, but I instantly felt a camaraderie with him.”
I think he will always remain a reminder to me that we are all mere mortals and that even those with what we want have their own demons to contend with. There were other losses of those I grew up with and at this time I don’t think I should elaborate more than saying that I never felt so hyper aware of how fragile existence is and how heavy it is…..dark….I am so worried mine will pass and I won’t appreciate it enough.
School is going back into session on Monday, and with every year that passes (way to fast!) I realize I don’t have any more babies….my son said something funny the other day, I was making him some soup for lunch, as I served him a bowl he looked at it and said “what?! No garnish?” he just turned 7 on the 4th of July. I put a quenelle of pesto on it and he looks at me and says “now that’s more like it”, he is sooo spoiled, to his future spouse...I’m sorry(kinda), but you better be able to cook..or at least good with garnishing LOL!
I like cooking a lot, but I don’t know if I want to try and emulate/cook other chefs food forever. Besides the fact, I would like to try my hand at running my own thing….Portland’s food scene for all its splendor doesn’t have as much souvlaki as a beer drinking city needs to have. I already have a pretty killer playlist put together for service...LOL. I’ve learned so much at every restaurant I have worked, and that education is beyond valuable, I am so much better than I was when I was actually way more confident in my skills. The more you hone your craft the more you realize you don't know Jack! I am not ready to put my money where my mouth is anyhow. It takes a lot of courage, and financiers to run a risky biz like a restaurant. Like my dad always said growing up “Money talks, jive ass walks”. Plus having a restaurant, and doing it right, takes your entire life and dedication, I want desperately to travel as many places as I can. There has been a void in me ever since the mid nineties when my parents closed the restaurant, I think part of me feels that my work isn’t done here until I continue to keep the recipes and traditions of my blended family alive...I guess I do it here a little, but I love to cook for others and show my love to them, just as my family before me had. #itscomplicated I guess we will see what evolves….on that note I made surf and turf gyros!
I made the pita myself using Bon Apetit's Recipe recipe, I added some toasted sesame seeds to the dough.
I grilled 2 pounds flat iron steaks marinated in my souvlaki marinade
Grilled shrimp, sprinkled them with “lemon pepper” before grilling on skewers
Not so secret sauce:
- Greek yogurt
- Lemon juice
- Olive oil
- 3 cloves roasted garlic
- Herbs, a few tablespoons of fresh, I think parsley, dill, oregano, basil.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Dash of red wine vinegar
Combine till smooth
You really can choose your own adventure here... I meant to add red onion but forgot!
Place ingredients on bread and enjoy!