On June 8th, I wrote, “Hopefully, we’ll launch Dolce Vento before June 20th. Keep your fingers crossed and think balmy weather thoughts.” Someone didn’t cross their fingers or think right, because on Wednesday, June 15, we received the news — one of our marine contractor’s technicians, who, hopefully, is now seeking unemployment benefits, miss-measured and then cut the opening through which the drive shaft enters the boat, a mistake of less than 1/4″, and didn’t tell his boss about it for three days. The result is three days of major fiberglass and drive shaft alignment rework by Josh, the prince of fiberglass, and Billy, the kahuna of engines. These guys are laboring through the weekend, including on Father’s Day, to rebuild the opening. A real sticky-wicket of a situation as our British friends would say.
The crisis cost us our launch date, but not additional costs, because our contractor is a stand up young guy. Our reaction? Sometimes shit just happens, as John and I faced similar situations during our careers when employees didn’t measure up. We learned that angry, yelling customers divert valuable attention from cleaning up the mess. So, instead of freaking out, which would do no one’s blood pressure any good, John and I acted like the customers we always wanted to deal with. We sucked up our frustration, decided we can wait another week or so before Dolce Vento slips into the water, because we have two years ahead of us on this boat and we don’t want to have any problems from the get-go. We directed our energy toward more productive activities.
John’s installed the fireport, a hole into the engine room so we can extinguish an engine fire without opening the room by lifting the companionway steps. Together we selected and purchased a portable printer, scanner, laptop and new mobile phones. Then switched our mobile service carrier for better internet/cell coverage as we go south. We also conducted another purge, this time a 12 feet high stack of books. However, my personal most magnificent contribution was to create the Dolce Vento Recipe Book which will replace all but three small cook books we will take on our journey.
For years John has ripped recipes out of the New York Times, printed them off the internet and from the dozens of books we’ve collected. The result is a hill of papers dating back to 1996. With John’s permission to sort and cull, I completed a three-step organization process.
Step 1, as seen in the photo to the left, included extracting the recipes from their original content. Along the way, I lost those which did not set right with my own taste buds — really, who wants five ways to cook sweetbreads?
Step 2 required sorting the recipes by type of food. The original six categories – vegetables, pasta, meat, and other stuff turned into 17 vegetable categories, and 1 category for each –appetizers/dips, sandwiches, pasta/risotto, desserts/fruits, spices/rubs/dressings, fish, meatloaf/meatballs, chicken, lamb, veal, port and duck.
Step 3 required trimming and taping recipes as efficiently as possible to reduce the number of pages. In the end I have two compact binders (one for veggies and another for everything else) with old fashioned plastic slip sheets that make extracting and posting a recipe at eye level easy.
To test the efficacy of my recipe selections and organization, I pushed John out of the kitchen for a couple of days. Each day, I looked in the fridge, picked a veggie and a protein, then searched the recipe book and got cooking.
The dinners were a hit — dinner one included cumin and mustard baked pork chops with a cannelloni bean and asparagus salad with lemon-touched dressing; dinner two included seared ahi tuna marinated in garlic, soy sauce and ginger served with pasta dressed in pistachio basil pesto, and a tomato, avocado and fresh basil salad. All of this will be easy to do on a boat as well. I consider the recipe books a success.
Tonight, John’s back in his beloved kitchen. He selected a recipe for a Classic Pan Seared Rib-eye. I’m making a lovely salad with orange, goat cheese, walnuts and dried cranberries to go with it.