Readers, considering my lack of posts, you may have been wondering lately: What happened to Desi? Did she go into hiding? Become a kitchen-bound Anne Frank? Did she overdose on millet? Not wake up from her last food coma? Or the very worst: Death by baking? Hm. Actually. That’s a pretty good way to go, if you ask me.
Yes, The Palate Peacemaker has been out of commission. Not much recipe-creating. Not much writing. Not much peace being made with very many palates. Well, not in the collective, recipe-sharing sense. On a personal level however, I’ve been making SO much peace with my own palate, that the very act of such peace-making is what has kept me away from contributing to the blogosphere over the last few months.
I’ve struggled with how much of my life to include in this blog. ThePalatePeacemaker.com is supposed to be about trumpeting my love for food as loudly as possible, and more fundamentally, my love for being alive. It seems easier – more sensible, even – to celebrate Life through the very thing that sustains and nourishes it: Food. But to me, food is not just about food. As ingredients travel in my kitchen from cutting board to pan, from dish to spoon, they bring with them memories, emotions, reminders of Who I Am. Cooking is Affirmation. And that is why writing this blog about any given recipe always seems to inspire me to write even more broadly, to write about the life that recipe is feeding: My Life.
I think I answered my own question. So with that, I arrive at this:
As I mentioned, I’ve been busy doing some peacemaking over the last few months. Peacemaking with myself. I’m a type A, if you haven’t guessed. A perfectionist. Excessively pro-active. I also have an over-developed sense of empathy. I am incredibly accepting of flaws in others. I’ve found it much more difficult to accept my own flaws, though. This is a not-so-delicious recipe, people. I don’t recommend it. It’s left me with three cross-country moves within less than two years, desperate to make the “right” choice and somehow “win” at life ever since leaving my cozy bubble of playing “student” for so long. By February, the stress from all the pressure I was putting on myself to know exactly what to do with my life and to get it right on my very first try started manifesting itself physically. In fact, it may have already started making guest appearances as physical symptoms for a full year or two before then, but by February, it was at its worst. I was fatigued and sluggish. My immune system was crippled. My skin suddenly became a painful battleground for acne worse than anything my teenage self had ever encountered. My hormones turned fickle. “Balanced” was the most inaccurate word to describe my physical and emotional health. In fact, obtaining control to keep my life perfectly balanced had become such an obsession that, if anything, I was actually making balance impossible for myself.
The third move was exactly two months ago. I dragged my confused body from North Carolina away from my Scott, all the way to the West Coast sun in Los Angeles completely alone. And I hit some sort of rock bottom, and wandered around there aimlessly for about two weeks, crying in all sorts of public places. Then I realized I cry a lot. So I stopped. And one day, I abruptly checked out of Rock Bottom. In fact, I suddenly reached… rock top…? I was on top. Of the rock. Some rock… I was on top of everything. I still marvel at what happened to me during that time. I can’t explain it, but I believe everything changed due to an unexpected and somewhat illogical pairing:
1) Giving up, letting go, and accepting everything just as it was. And
2) Choosing to be different.
I started talking to strangers all the time. Kind, loving people seemed to be waiting for me along my path each day. I made one new friend- literally- on a sidewalk, watching a squirrel behave strangely. Minutes later, that same new friend and I spent an hour wandering around the organic grocery store on the corner, laughing hysterically when the cashier guessed we’ve been best friends since childhood.
I started feeling strong. Not because I’d gained any knowledge or learned the secret to living life like a pro. I just became strong despite not knowing. I became brave despite not having the answers. I became courageous in believing, in having faith that somewhere down the line, I would have answers.
I found the most incredible Naturopathic Doctor, who has been healing and fortifying my body with liver and kidney cleanses, an anti-candida diet, supplements to restore my thyroid, and plenty of daily detox “chores” like castor oil packs and dry skin brushing (to which I’m now addicted). I’m looking and feeling healthier. Clearer. Whole.
The greatest part was bidding farewell to my ungrounded, irrational Fears. Those guys are tough to pin down in one simple description, but I can give you snippets of their favorite conversation starters: You’re destroying your relationship with Scott by leaving, You can’t do grown-up things, You don’t know how to survive alone, You won’t be able to get any auditions, You won’t make any friends and you’ll become an anti-social hermit. Nice, huh? The moment I released these fears from my grip, not only did they disappear, but their respective opposites actually became The Truth. Scott and I are happier and more solid than ever. I am succeeding at functioning like an adult human being. I’ve had so many auditions and booked so many jobs, that I’ve actually had to turn some offers down. I make new friends in the oddest, most unexpected places, nearly every single week. And I’ve found peace being alone with myself. And these are just the headlines (I fear including details would make the length of this post bore you!). But rest knowing this: it’s as though my reality has bloomed right along with the lavender trees outside my window.
I am not concerned any more with being on the “right” track. I just want to be on a track. A track I can say is mine. I am on it now, and I think that alone is what makes it right.
Is there a formula for triggering life to deliver your every wish at your feet? I’m not sure. But I know it can happen. And if I had to guess at it, I’d assume the equation would look something like this:
“They who in every least thing are wholly honest with the spirit of life, find life supporting them in all things.” ~Charles Johnston
Abandon yourself to the care of the Universe.
Sundried Tomato Baked Cod
This fish isn’t anything special. It’s simple. But that’s why I like it. My life has been pruned and Simple is what remains. Beautiful Simple.
2 12 oz skinless fish fillets (any white fish will do – I used Black Cod)
1/2 Tbsp oil of choice (I use coconut oil or ghee due to the dangers of heating oils)
2 Tbsp shallots, minced (about 3-4 shallots)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup dry white wine (or vegetable stock)
6 sundried tomatoes (not oil-packed), minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp fresh thyme, minced
1 Tbsp fresh basil, minced
extra virgin olive oil to taste, for serving (do not omit! This makes it!)
1) Preheat oven to 400˚
2) Sauté shallots in 1/2 Tbsp oil of choice until softened.
3) Add garlic, lemon juice, white wine/stock, sundried tomatoes. Cook over med/high heat until sauce has reduced to 1/2 cup (about 2-4 minutes).
4) Add salt and pepper, heat one more minute.
5) Coat fish lightly in sauce and spoon the rest on top. Place in baking dish.
6) Sprinkle remaining fresh herbs on top of fish.
7) Bake 8-10 minutes or until fish is opaque, but still flaky and tender. (Cooking time will vary depending on type of fish and its thickness).
8) Remove from oven. Serve with extra virgin olive oil drizzled on top.