Jessica Kemp is Your Best Friend / by LD


This is not an Africa-related post, you might be pointing out. You'd be right (and so, so sharp). This is the event I hinted at in a previous post before I left, and I promised I'd divulge the nitty gritty once I got the green light. Well I'm a woman of my word, so here it goes.

My best friend Jessica Kemp is now Your Best Friend, too, and she's joined the fiery comet's tail known as The Interwebs with her own blog. Jessica is one of those supernovas who radiates talent wherever she goes (do wedding necklaces ring any bells?), and her blog is no exception. Art Director and designer by day, budding chef by night, Jess's blog is a receptacle for all her dining-related prowess.

Which brings me to my point: the Monday before I left for Africa, Jess came over to her former place of residence to make us girls dinner. It was a meal she'd prepared for Tyler's birthday the night before (the term "lucky guy" doesn't quite begin to touch on the gastronomical jackpot Tyler hit when he met Jess, but let's suppose it suffices for now), and, having leftovers, she generously donated her time and whipped up some goodness in our kitchen.

Now, when I say goodness, I'm not talking a hearty bowl of pasta and some shoddy garlic bread. That's amateur hour, people, and let's remember that in all areas of life, Jessica Kemp is an artist (emphasis, Salinger! Emphasis!). Her meal was a collision of familiar flavors and wholly foreign ones; an alchemic science experience gone horribly, horribly right. I had the pleasure of documenting the meal for her so rather than wax rhapsodic about cucumber caviar and 22k gold-dusted chocolate, I'll just show you the pictures and you can do your rightful duty as an obedient Son or Daughter of the Internet and click right over to Jess's blog where she has posted full descriptions - AND! GASP! - recipes. Because while she could stop at being cool, she blows right past that finish line and goes for full-stop generosity.

Like I said: She's your new Best Friend.

She's blinding me with SCIENCE! (Or she's making cucumber caviar)

The almost-finished product

Round one: Beet & Portabello Walnut Paté on a Pumpernickel Crouton with Lemon Cashew Cream.
Gin Mini Shot with Cucumber Caviar.

Round two: Sauteéd Fennel, Leeks, Brussel Sprout Leaves, Zucchini, and Pancetta on a bed of Pistachio Cream.

Round three, vegan: Portabello Mushroom marinated in a Coffee Chocolate Rub, Pear and Pumpkin Purée, English Peas, Pasta Spheres in a Macadamia Rosemary Pesto, Pink Peppercorns, Cherry Coffee reduction.

Round three, carnivore: Filet Miñon marinated in a Coffee Chocolate Rub, Pear and Pumpkin Purée, English Peas, Pasta Spheres in a Macadamia Rosemary Pesto, Pink Peppercorns, Cherry Coffee reduction.

Round four: Figs stuffed with a Sweet Potato Anise Mousse, bruleéd, sitting atop a bed of Ginger sand flanked by Purple Potato Chips and Fried Rose Petals with Sea Salt (and my personal favorite).

Round five: Lemon Sweet Corn Cake soaked in Elderflower syrup topped with cut rose petals and strawberry powder.
Olive Oil Raw Gelato with Pear and Tamarind Carmel and a fried Stevia leaf, 22k Gold.
Pine Bud Extract, Figg Seeds, Coconut Dark Chocolate Ganache, fried Stevia Leaf, 22k Gold.

Oh! In my jetlag-addled haste, I nearly forgot the best part! These dinners aren't an exclusive one-time event. Jessica is planning on hosting them once a month for anyone who is interested in expanding their palate. And looky here: The next round is looking for willing participants. Beer pairings, anyone?