Archive | November, 2012

I LIVE For This

27 Nov


Jada Pinkett-Smith, when asked why she let her daughter, Willow, shave her head:

“This subject is old but I have never answered it in its entirety. And even with this post it will remain incomplete. The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power, or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit, and her mind are HER domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It’s also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother’s deepest insecurities, hopes, and desires. Even little girls should not be a slave to the preconceived ideas of what a culture believes a little girl should be. More to come. Another day.” 

I Heart Huxtables

18 Nov
If Clair Huxtable ain’t some damn kefi, I don’t know what is.

Words to Live By

14 Nov
“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
-Nathaniel Hawthorne

French ‘Cake’ Kef

14 Nov

[Chef Kefi Ed Note: JSK could not stop raving–simply RAVING–about this. I did not get a chance to try it GF, so for now it is full o’ flour only.  I will try it with GF flour this weekend and let you know how I did.]

The best part about being in Paris is seeing old friends.  And eating with old friends.  My friend FabKef’s girlfriend, HeleneKef (who is herself, of course, a friend now too) has made this delicious ‘cake’ a few times since I’ve been here, and I die for it every time.  Careful: in French, ‘cake’ (pronounced as it is in English) means like ‘really delicious bread thing’ and not ‘cake.’  I have not seen one of these without eating like 6 pieces. It’s Keftastic.



Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 c flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • just under 1/2 c vegetable oil (sunflower if possible)
  • 1/2 c of whole milk, warmed (but not scalded!)
  • 1/2c gruyere cheese, grated
  • 8 oz goat cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 c walnuts, crushed
  • 1/4 c raisins
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 pinch of pepper


Assembly
1. Preheat oven to 350. Put raisins in cool water to moisten for about 10 minutes. Strain and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. In a mixing bowl, beat together the eggs, the flour and the baking powder.  In a separate small bowl, combine the goat cheese, nuts, and raisins.
3. Gradually add the oil and warm milk to egg mixture. Stir in the gruyere.  Incorporate the already mixed goat cheese, nuts and raisins into the big mix and get everything all mixed up well (you like my translation skills from the French recipie, no?)
4. Put into a non-greased bread pan and cook for 45 minutes.

Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

8 Nov

Queijo Kef and I will always have Fall.  The birthdays, the pumpkin, the scarves… it’s enough to make two working women spend all day emailing each other delicious-looking pumpkin-themed treats. Oh wait…

A few weeks ago, these sweet potato and ricotta gnocchi were the object of our 9-to-5 distraction.  I have always wanted to toss my hat into the ring of gnocchi-building and, cheered by Queijo Kef’s enthusiasm, these seemed like the place to start. 

I followed this recipe for the gnocchi themselves, and then doctored up the sauce to include (what else?) PUMPKIN!

And finally–one of the most valuable culinary lessons was bestowed on to me many moons ago when I was just Kefaki, and I shall now bestow it unto you.  The “gn” makes a sound very similar to the “ny” in Kenya– so this word is pronouned “nyoki.” No hard “g.” Pass it on.

Sweet Potato Ricotta Gnocchi with Pumpkin Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2/3 cup whole milk ricotta, drained
  • 1-1 ½ cups flour (I used all-purpose GF. You do you.), separated into 1/2 c and two 1/4 c portions
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

—-

  • 1/2 c coconut milk
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 c pureed pumpkin (Libby’s is the best, but use whatcha got)
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 3 TBS flour (I again, I used GF)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • pepper to taste
  • 3/4-1 c gruyere cheese, shredded

  • kale, washed and shredded. 

Assembly

1. For the gnocchi: Preheat the oven to 425. Bake the sweet potatoes until tender all the way through when poked with a fork, which will take 30-45 minutes depending on the size of the potato. Once done, rip open the skins and dump the hot flesh into a large mixing bowl (this is beginning to sound like an episode of Dexter…). Using a fork, mash the potatoes and move them around so a thin layer forms around the bowl–basically, you just want to avoid having a heap o’ potato that will trap the heat and get mushy. Let cool to room temp.

2. Drizzle the yolk, shred the ricotta, and sprinkle 1/2 c flour over the potatoes. Cut them into the potatoes using a spatula.  When combined, add an additional 1/4 c flour and combine (you will probably need to use your hands at this point).  Form the dough into a ball. If dough is not firm (cookie dough consistency), add another 1/4 c flour.

3. From the ball, shape the dough into a compact rectangle and let rest for 5 minutes.

4. Cut log into 8 individual segments. Roll one segment out at a time into 1” thick logs–resist the temptation to do this between your hands and use a cutting board for even rolling. Cut logs into individual pieces, about 1”. It will begin to look like this:

5. Cut your logs into individual gnocchi pieces and place them on a baking sheet. Refrigerate if you’re not going to make sauce and cook gnocchi right away. You will have about 60 pieces–whatever is left you can freeze (first on a baking sheet to avoid sticking together, then in a freezer bag)  and cook later easily!


For the sauce:
1. Combine coconut milk, cream, and pumpkin. Heat over medium heat until warm–be careful not to let it scald or boil. Set aside.
2. Melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and salt, whisk together. It will get clumpy.
3. Add the heated pumpkin mixture. Whisk constantly until sauce thickens, 3-4 minutes.
4. Remove from heat. Add spices and cheese. Whisk to combine.  Set aside, stirring occasionally to avoid the formation of sauce skin (if you’ve ever seen it… you know what I mean).

To combine:
1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Add gnocchi.  Allow to cook 2-3 minutes. They are done when they float to the top (it is awesome!).
2. While gnocchi cook, place shredded kale on plate. 
3. When gnocchi are finished, pull them out of the boiling water with a slotted spoon to strain. Place directly on kale. Add desired amount of sauce. Serve immediately.

Love is, Actually, All Around

8 Nov
The First Family remains a shining example of what happens when enduring love, fiery passion, and true partnership rule the roost

… and more importantly:


Wisconsin elects the nation’s first openly-gay Senator


Hawaii sends the first Japanese-American woman to the Senate, and she will join a Congress with a record number of women members


AND FINALLY….


Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, and Washington become the four newest states to recognize justice, equity under the law, and a more inclusive understanding of love!

5 a.m. Musings

5 Nov

Understand, I’ll slip quietly
Away from the noisy crowd
When I see the pale
Stars rising, blooming over the oaks.
I’ll pursue solitary pathways
Through the pale twilit meadows,
With only this one dream:
You come too.
—From “First Poems,” Rainer Maria Rilke

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