Archive | March, 2014

African Sweet Potato Soup with Black Eyed Peas

20 Mar

I love this recipe! I don’t know much about African food (it’s a continent remember, so that’s a LOT of different, regional food we’re talking about there), but I do know that I really like this soup. I ate a meal with African refugees at one point in time, but it did not include either sweet potatoes, beans, or chilis. It was simple, with chicken and spaghetti noodles. One did not use utensils. We did use utensils for our meal last night however, and it was good. I made this soup for a friend recently, she was pregnant at the time, with no jalapeno. I also made a double batch of this soup for our pre-Thanksgiving Day potluck, but something happened with the peanut butter, and it was more like peanut butter soup… not good actually. People said they liked it, but maybe they just really like peanut butter. This soup has a lot going for it, it doubles well (if you watch the PB ratio), it freezes really well, tastes good as leftovers, it can be made as spicy as you like, or not, and it can easily be made as a stew, by using less broth, which is what I generally do.  You can also use any combination of beans and peppers that you like. What makes this soup special is the PB, sweet potatoes, broth, and curry, so don’t leave any of those out.


This recipe is adapted from Gluten Free Goddess– you should def check her website out, her recipes are great.


1-2 tablespoon coconut oil (any oil will do, or butter).

1 tablespoon red or green curry paste- hot or mild, to taste

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 medium red onion, peeled, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 medium sweet potatos or yams, peeled, diced

1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced

1 jalapeño or other hot chile pepper, seeded, diced fine

1 14-oz. can black-eyed peas, rinsed, drained

1 14-oz. can white beans, rinsed, drained

1 14-oz. can black beans, rinsed, drained

1 quart broth (2 1/2 cups for a stew)

1/2 cup 100% natural peanut butter melted in a half cup of boiled hot water (for one cup total)

1/2 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes, or more, to taste

2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Juice from 1 big lime

2-3 teaspoons organic brown sugar or raw agave nectar, to taste

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

For garnish:

Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley



Heat oil in large soup pot. Add the curry paste and cinnamon; stir for a minute to infuse the oil with spice. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, yellow pepper and jalapeño. Stir and cook the veggies for 5-7 minutes, until softened.

Add beans, broth, melted peanut butter, red pepper flakes and cilantro. Bring the soup to a high simmer, cover, and lower the heat; keep the soup on simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Stir in the lime juice and sugar. Season with sea salt and ground pepper, to taste. Warm through and taste for seasoning adjustments.

Serves 4-6.




Black history is American history. African-American Studies at Henry Clay High School in KY

17 Mar

I’m proud of my big brother. He’s doing important work as a teacher.

Read the article here:

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 6.11.44 PM

” “I want them involved,” McClintock explained. “I want them doing something with this history they’re learning.”

Throughout February, his students researched interesting factoids to post on the school’s marquee every other day. On the reverse, they left up this message: Black history is American history. The overarching question they debated was whether Black History Month is still necessary.

“I think we should keep it because it’s valuable for the African Americans who were here,” said senior Dayshona Raglin. “And it’s history – our actual history. Sometimes U.S. History doesn’t cover African Americans as a whole.”

Classmate George Cummins agreed, adding, “It’s needed as a reminder of where we came from and the people who’ve been successful.”

The African-American Studies class enables students to delve even deeper during the year-long course. McClintock presents material chronologically starting in Africa and continuing through the late 2000s. His students just finished Reconstruction and are headed into the Jim Crow era.

“It’s a class that’s pretty serious – it’s not a lot of fun. To some students, it’s depressing material,” McClintock acknowledged. “There are rays of hope, but it’s harder to see the farther back you go.”

The museum field trip was a mid-year reward for hanging in there and a chance to focus locally.”

Reading Photography

7 Mar

I got this big ol’ photography book, Women, for my birthday in December.

IMG_2958I’ve always enjoyed Annie Leibovitz’s photos, walking through the grocery store, I would look at all the stars on the cover of Vanity Fair, staggered and staged in those decadent spreads. The subject of these collected photographs is, well, women, with an essay by Susan Sontag. Women was published in 1999 and has a lot of stars, with photographs of some regular folk, as well. I am guessing it’s a selection of photos from Leibovitz’s magazine work, along with some personal work. The sixth image you see in this book is of a random woman at a public restroom; I have a feeling no one commissioned her portrait. There are a few other photos, of two sisters, and their children, at a gas station, that I assume are also happenstance. I would love to see more happenstance portraits by Leibovitz, but the fact is that she photographs stars, athletes, musicians, performers, writers, and politicians for a living, you know, people of interest, so that’s what is mostly featured in this selection. Leibovitz’s subjects always have a dignified austerity to them, a composure, and a grandiosity of figure. I wonder if it is in their professional nature, I mean, stars take classes on how to pose for pictures, right? But then you see this austerity and grandiosity in non-assuming portraits too, like this one

Karen Fedrau, Farmer, Fedrau Famil Farm, Newcastle, California

Karen Fedrau, Farmer, Fedrau Famil Farm, Newcastle, California

I am sure Karen never took a class on how to pose for a photograph. It must be Annie Leibovitz then. I want her to take my portrait. How would I look?

I love this “portrait” she did of Cindy Sherman. So fitting for an artist who works in disguise. Guess which one is Sherman…Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 2.01.32 PM

Another photography read I made recently was the Aperture 211 Summer 2013 edition. It’s such a pretty publication, all big, and smooth, and chock full of interesting photo news. If you’ve never gotten your hands on one, you should. I discovered Robert Cumming, an unknown artist dude from the seventies who happens to have taken some ingenious and fantastic images. Here are two you might like:


Watermelon/Bread, 1970, Robert Cumming


Institutional Faucet, 1971, Robert Cumming

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