Archive | July, 2012

…And They’re Off!

29 Jul

It is truly the most wonderful time of the year!

Every year my brother JetSet Kef and I take off on vacation together, usually in the Augustish part of the summer. Inspired by our Mediterranean brethren, the Italians, we have come to refer to this tradition as Ferragosto.

Below, please find some highlights of Ferragosto through the years:

 2009 was Kanafe and Catastrophe. JSK was living in Ramallah, so I scidaddled over there for some fun in the sun.
We also bid a fond farewell to a dear friend, the Burka of the Beach. May her memory be eternal.
2010 was the year of the Berry Loop. We met in the Pacific Northwest to explore the finer points of slower, organic American living. Although the food was enough to keep us in that part of the country forever, we grew tired of people asking us to slow down our talking and driving. East Cost for life!
In 2011 we actually had TWO vacations. First, a trip to the motherland, Greece!
At dinner in this restaurant, Cooking up Kefi was born. Thank you, Lindos!

Later that week, JSK and I got up to our usual shenanigans + wine and traditional Greek dancing. The next morning was less awesome.
After Greece, we jetted off to Mozambique (where else?) for some scuba diving and life-changing scenery.

Just rotate your laptop. It’s really a cute pic.
This year, it’s a return to Greece. See you in two weeks, folks!

Lakis: May His Memory Be Eternal

20 Jul

On this, his name day and anniversary of death, we remember my grandfather. Pictured above enjoying kefi with his lifelong friend Costas and below at the opening of the Fireside Diner. It is undoubtedly his presence in heaven that has kept Barack Obama from successfully staging the modern American military coup. Take it easy, take it easy!

Carrot Ginger Salad

17 Jul

I have fallen in love with the Carrot Ginger salad available for $7.99/lb on the Whole Foods salad bar.  While I was studying for boards, I could talk myself into buying and devouring half a pound in the name of time-efficient brain food… but boards are no more. So, this morning I endeavored to replicate it myself.

I LOVE this easy summer salad–it’s sweet and tangy, which is increasingly finding a preferred place on my palate. It took me about 6 minutes to make, and this recipe easily makes enough to bring to a party, picnic, or potluck.  Enjoy!

 In other news (mostly because I took a vertical picture but don’t have enough preamble to fill this space), the annual Chef Kefi and JetSet Kef trip (aka: Ferragosto) is a mere fortnight away, which means shenanigans and culinary delights will abound!


For the salad:

  • 5 carrots, washed and ends chopped off 
  • 1 zucchini, washed and ends chopped off 
  • 2.5 inches ginger, peeled 
  • 4 cloves garlic

For the dressing: 

  • 5-6 TBS olive oil
  • 5-6 TBS sherry vinegaretter
  • 1.5 TBS honey

1. Grate your carrots, zucchini, ginger, and garlic however you like–grater, food processor, pre-purchased, whatever.
2. In handfuls, squeeze out extra water from carrots and zucchini. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
3. Combine grated vegetables in a big bowl.
4. Immediately before serving, combine olive oil, sherry, and honey in a small bowl and mix furiously with a fork. Pour over vegetables and serve.

Nurse Kefi Makes Salmon Cakes

16 Jul

Five years ago, I graduated from college.  Roughly two weeks after I graduated, I figured out that I wanted to be a nurse.  Which means that for the last four years and 50 weeks, I have been wanting to be a nurse, waiting to become a nurse, and going to be a nurse someday. Well my friends– someday is here, and I am, in fact, a real, live, Registered Nurse.

This is, for many reasons, no small miracle.  To my friends and family who supported me, cheered me on, bought me coffee, and prayed for me through all those tests and months of studying: there will never be enough thank yous. Please recharge your batteries for the next few years because becoming an Nurse Practitioner will require a very, very large miracle. To BFKef, the great love of my life, who was there through alllllll the breakdowns (and there were many)– I owe you another big, fat, juicy steak. And to my parents who were kind enough to give me a low-interest loan better than the deal Barack Obama leveraged from that wench Sallie Mae– I will make sure my nicest nurse friends take care of you in the nursing home when you are old. Haha.

Finally attaining a benchmark I had set years ago got me thinking about goals, and how we make progressively fewer of them as we age.  We used to have milestones every few months–first to tie our shoes, write our names, ride a bike, defeat King Koopa, and then to make the team, beat a PR, graduate from high school, maybe college, get a job, keep the job, and then…. what? Why is it that when we finally make it to this strange place called the Real World, our goals become fewer and farther between?  Why do we trade the clearly-stated (if sometimes trivial) goals of our younger selves to settle for a long list of “maybes”, “somedays,” and ‘if I have time I’ll…”?

I don’t know the answer to those questions.  I’m not even really sure where this is going, or what it has to do with the truly delicious mango salmon cakes whose recipe is below.  Perhaps I’ll make it a goal to finish this thought and figure it out.  But what I do know is that finally reaching this goal has me feeling more proud of myself now than when I graduated from college the first time, and I can’t wait to see where my life as a nurse takes me.

Chef Kefi, RN’s First Recipe: Mango Salmon Cakes with Corn and Avocado Salad


  • 1/2 mango, peeled and diced pretty small
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 c cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 oz of salmon (I used canned- just make sure its skinned and peeled)
  • ~1/3c Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 c unseasoned breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free) 
  • Olive oil for frying, about 5 TBS
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 cobs of corn, with corn cut from the cob
  • juice of the other half of the lime


1. Put 2 tsp olive oil and coriander in saute pan over medium heat. After about 90 seconds, add mangoes and stir around. Cook for about 5 minutes, until mangoes are soft and fragrant.
2. Set mangoes aside and cook diced onion in same pan without cleaning it.  Cook for 5 minutes over medium heat, until onions are tender.
3. Combine all ingredients up to breadcrumbs, with breadcrumbs last.  Let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes to absorb–this will make the frying easier.
4. Shape the batter into patties, about 1/3c at a time. Use your palms to make them flat. Do not place them on top of one another.
5. Heat 1-2 TBS of olive oil over medium heat in same pan.  After about 90 seconds, put first batch of salmon cakes in– I was able to make 3 at a time. Cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side, or until patty is firm and easily flippable. Depending on your pan and stove, it may take longer. If you find patties burning but not flipping without breaking, turn down your heat.
6. Combine avocado, corn, and lime juice in bowl and serve on side, or just heap it all on top like I did:

In Sickness and in Health, on MSNBC or on Fox

9 Jul
Congrats, Barney and Jim!

Uncle Rush Stands Up for Frank Ocean

5 Jul

    “Today is a big day for hip-hop. It is a day that will define who we really are.  How  

    compassionate will we be? How loving can we be? How inclusive are we?
    I am profoundly moved by the courage and honesty of Frank Ocean.  Your decision to   
    go  public about your sexual orientation gives hope and light to so many young people
    still living in fear. These types of secrets should not matter anymore, but we know they
    do, and because of that I decided to write this short statement of support for one of the
    greatest new artists we have.  
    His gifts are undeniable.  His talent, enormous.  His bravery, incredible.  His actions this
    morning will uplift our consciousness and allow us to become better people.  Every single
    one of us is born with peace and tranquility in our heart.  Frank just found his.
    Frank, we thank you.  We support you.  We love you. “
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