Stuffed Fresh Tomatoes

Photo from Richmond-based food writer Tim Vidra's recipe for Aftertaste.


The tomatoes are in!  While they've been on sale at Glade Road Growing's farm stands for weeks, they've finally arrived in sufficient quantities for the vegetable share, along with basil, garlic, summer squash, onion and a pepper (plus a beets or kohlrabi, which I'm not including in this recipe, as I featured them last week.

If it were cooler, this might sound like the perfect time for ratatouille.  But, arrgh, it was in the nineties this weekend and will still be high eighties now that the heat wave is "over."  Who feels like cooking?  I don't.  Last week, in her newsletter, Sally suggested grilling or using a crock pot in the evening to keep the house cooler, but I thought, why not something raw?

If the tomatoes in your bag are the large heirloom slicers, as shown above, great.  If not, no problem.  I'm not sure how many tomatoes you'll be getting, so, if there are fewer, enjoy what you get and use any extra stuffing in pitas or tossed with cooked pasta and/or beans that have been chilled.  The original recipe called for cukes and dill (and no squash, sweet pepper, onion, garlic and basil) so I made some changes.


3-4  tomatoes, topped and cored with a paring knife
1 summer squash, stem and end cut off and diced
1/4  sweet pepper, stemmed, seeded and diced 
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped, divided into two portions
2 teaspoons onions, chopped finely
1 garlic clove, peeled, smashed and diced finely
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

1.  Sprinkle the inside of each tomato with salt. This will pull the juices from the tomato and into the well.

2.  To make the dressing, combine olive oil, vinegar, garlic, onion and a pinch of salt and pepper, whisking to combine.

3. Dice the tomato top/core and add to the prepped squash, sweet pepper, crumbled feta and half of the  basil. Pour the dressing over the diced ingredients and stir to combine.

4.  Scoop the salad into the cored tomatoes and garnish with remaining basil. 


Roasted Veggie, Chickpea and Collard Salad with Tahini Dressing

Photo accompanied Rachel Schwartzman's recipe at  Lillian Zhao's site, Further Food.

The July 19 farm share from Glade Road Growing will include potatoes, onion, kohlrabi, beets and collards.  Here's a roasted salad inspired by Rachel Scwartzman's recipe (she had sweet potatoes, beets and collards to work with.)


Serves 4


1 cup dried chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 bay leaves
potatoes, washed and cut into quarters or eights, depending on size
beets, washed and quartered
kohlrabi, washed and cut into eights
1 onion, washed, peeled and cut into eights
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
collard greens, washed and  coarsely chopped

1/3 cup sesame raw sesame seeds
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup water

1 large garlic clove
1 tablespoon of orange  juice concentrate
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoon of cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon miso paste


1.  The night before, cook 1 cup dry chickpeas,  in a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom and a tight-fitting lid, cover with 2 cups water, and and bring to a boil.  Rinse.  Return to pot, add ½ teaspoon sea salt and 2 bay leaves and bring again to a boil again.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Let stand over night or for at least one hour. Rinse a second time two cups of water and bring to a boil again and simmer on low heat until soft, about 1 hour.

2..  Prep  potatoes, beets, onion and kohlrabi.  Toss in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper to coat.  Roast in 425 degree F oven for 15 minutes. 

3.  While the vegetables are roasting, chop collards.   Remove vegetables from oven, and when cool enough, peel beets and kohlrabi, discarding peel.  Toss in chopped collards and return to oven to finish roasting, 10 minutes more.

4.  While the vegetables cook, to make dressing,  toast sesame seeds in a hot, lightly oiled cast iron skillet, until they just begin to pop.  Reserving 1 TB for garnish, combine the remaining roasted seeds with  water, garlic, orange juice, cumin and cilantro in blender and process until smooth.

 3.  Toss vegetables and chickpeas in dressing and refrigerate.  Serve chilled garnished with roasted sesame seeds and cilantro. (In the winter, you may want to serve this as a hot dish.)


As a bonus, here's Emily Horton's recipe for a raw (or lightly blanched) collard salad with potatoes and chickpeas  (photo by Deb Lindsey for the Washington Post.)


Fennel and Lemon Salad

Photo from Bistrot Cenisio 10, Milan, Italy

1 fennel bulb, sliced thin (use a mandoline, if you have one).
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped; can also chop 1/2 cups of fennel fronds, if they are included with the bulb and reserve the rest for another use.

Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, and cilantro (and fennel fronds, if available) in a salad bowl until blended. Add the sliced fennel and toss until coated. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes before serving.

If you'd like you can also include 1 cup of fresh blueberries and top some shaved goat cheese or crumbled feta.


Creamy Coleslaw

Photograph by Samantha Fromm Haddow from her food blog, Carpe Cibus (Seize the Food.)


The July 5 share from Glade Road Growing will include cabbage, kohlrabi, carrots, bunch onions, kale and golden beets.  Here's my recipe for cole slaw. The cabbages this week are green.  This also looks lovely with red cabbage.  Some folks like their coleslaw with vinegar.  My mother always made hers with lemon juice and I follow her example, substituting lime juice on occasion.


Serves 6


2 cups of cabbage, cored and shredded
2 cups of carrots shredded
2 cups of Granny Smith apples shredded
1/2 cup of green onions, chopped
1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup of mayonnaise or 1/2 cup of yogurt plus 1 1/2 tsp. corn starch
juice from 1/2 lemon or lime
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1.  In a large bowl combine cabbage, carrots, apples, green onions and cilantro with mayonnaise and juice.  Season with salt and pepper.  If you are using the yogurt, to keep it from separating first mix the corn starch with an equal amount of yogurt and then stir into the rest of the yogurt.

2.  Cover and chill for at least a half an hour to meld flavors.

3.  Serve cold.


Aloo Ghobi Chana Masala (Curry with Potatoes, Cauliflower and Chickpeas)

Photo from Cook's Illustrated


The expected vegetables in the Glade Road Growing farm share for the week of June 28 will include cauliflower and potatoes.  Here's a recipe for one of my favorite Indian curries.

Serves 4

1 cup dry chickpeas
1 cup raw basmati brown rice
1 onion. peeled and chopped
1 pound of  tomatoes chopped or cherry tomatoes halved or 1 can diced tomatoes
1 pound of potatoes chopped
1 cauliflower, separated into florets
1/2  pound of green peas (frozen will work)
1/2 tsp gound cumin 
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 fresh basil leaves, reserving 4 for garnish
1/2 cup of plain yogurt


1.  To cook 1 cup dry chickpeas,  in a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom and a tight-fitting lid, cover with 2 cups water, and and bring to a boil.  Rinse.  Return to pot, add ½ teaspoon sea salt and bring again to a boil again.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Let stand over night or for at least one hour. Rinse a second time two cups of swater and bring to a boil again and simmer on low heat until soft, about 1 hour.

2.  In a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom and a tight-fitting lid, combine 1 cup basmati brown rice , 2 cups water, and and bring to a boil.  Rinse.  Return to pot, add ½ teaspoon sea salt and bring again to a boil again.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and leave for 40 minutes until water is absorbed. 

3.  While rice is cooking, prep the veggies as described above.  Steam the cauliflower and potatoes separately for 5  minutes until slightly soft.  If you are using raw peas, rather than frozen, you can steam them also.

4.  Measure out the spices (except for the salt,  black pepper and basil leaves) and toast in a dry cast iron skillet and set to the side.
5.   Heat 1 TB extra virgin olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, cauliflower, potatoes,  spices, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Stir in the cooked chickpeas.  When the pot has returned to a boil, reduce heat and simmer,  covered,  for about 15 minutes. Add cooked or frozen peas and warm through.  Remove the curry from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of fresh basil leaves.

7.  Uncover the rice and fluff with a fork. Divide among four bowls and top with curry and a garnish each bowl with a dollop of  plain yogurt and  a basil leaf.


Come On Dems, (and R's) Let's Have a Smart Gun Bill

In the wake of the latest gun violence in Orlando, Democrats in House of Representatives--led by civil rights icon John Lewis--seemed to be rising up on their collective haunches as they staged a protest to demand gun control legislation.  The R's called the protest a "stunt" and "anti-democratic," blocked a vote and turned off the cameras (so that C-SPAN couldn't air its coverage.) The feisty  D's started broadcasting via cell phone. 
It turned out "NoBillNoBreak" was an empty threat when the R's adjourned in the middle of the night.  Lewis tweeted:
We got in trouble. We got in the way. Good trouble. Necessary Trouble. By sitting-in, we were really standing up.
A friend with a long history of civic engagement had "just called John Lewis' DC office to thank him for his acts of bravery and determination."  I went in search of media coverage on the content of  the Democrats' legislation.  I came up only with a June 22 post by Gawker's editor-in-chief Alex Parene, "The Democrats Are Boldly Fighting for a Bad, Stupid Bill.  Despite any reservations you may have with colloquial title and the site's  click-bait and copyright violaiton habits and its focus on celebrities, I'd encourage you to  read the piece.

Parene writes,
The no-fly list is a civil rights disaster by every conceivable standard. It is secret, it disproportionately affects Arab-Americans, it is error-prone, there is...no effective recourse for people placed on the list, and it constantly and relentlessly expands. As of 2014, the government had a master watchlist of 680,000 people, forty percent of whom had “no recognized terrorist group affiliation.” This is both an absurdly large number of people to arbitrarily target in gun control legislation, and far, far too few to have any meaningful effect on actual gun ownership, let alone gun violence.
To Parene's links to the ACLU,  I would add its critique of proposed gun legislation here and I've asked the organization, via twitter, for an update on the statistics on the watchlist. 

Also, watch Jon Oliver's brilliant video on gun control and the influence of the NRA.  (You'll need to watch it on YouTube, if it's disabled here.  It's at the head of the episode (S03E06).  The segment labelled NRA there is truncated.)  As he says, the NRA doesn't have very many members and its opinions are not popular, but they are persistent.  "If you want serious changes, you have to show up every f*cking day."

Parene his piece like this:
Since the San Bernardino shootings (or even before), an easy, cynical predication has been that the only form of gun control with a realistic shot of being enacted in the near future would be measures that would ban only Muslims from purchasing guns. As is too often the case, Democrats seem determined to prove cynics right.
Lewis tweeted:
This  is not over. We have more work to do. Keep the faith and keep your eyes on the the prize.
I'd ask Lewis to go after a better prize. Why channel rage about Orlando towards the No-Fly List?


If you want to call, Congressman Lewis's number is: (404) 659-0116. His direct email is johnlewis@mail.house.gov.  You can also write his chief of staff, Michael E. Collins: michael.collins@mail.house.gov.

Call your own members of Congress (you can find their contact info via thepeoplegov.org

At while you're at it, call Paul Ryan (paul.ryan@mail.house.gov, 202-225-3031) and Mitch McConnell (senator@mcconnell.senate.gov, 202-224-2541), too. Ryan's Chief of Staff since last year, is revolving door lobbyist David Hoppe: dave.hoppe@mail.house.gov.  McConnell's is Brian T. McGuire: brian_mcguire@mcconnell.senate.gov


Roger May: Laid Bare

EDITOR's NOTE:  Photo and text copyright photographer Roger May for his current project, "Laid Bare," used by permission.  All rights reserved to the author.

Last night Roger posted on Facebook this photo and interview with the woman portrayed.  When I saw it this morning,  I found it eloquent and heart breaking: the last of the subject's  words evoke the Old Testament of Job-ian dimensions, the first echoes Esau being conned by Jacob: “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?" 

With Roger's permission I've combined part of his explanation of the project from his website with post from last night. 
If you’ve been "impacted by mountaintop removal mining or worked in the fight to end it," he'd love hear your story and photograph you (nude) in your ravaged landscape.  And, by the way, before he asked ask anyone else to pose nude for him, he went first in this short video.)


My point of entry as a photographer was an attempt to photograph the large-scale destruction of mountaintop removal mining in the coalfields of Central Appalachia. Overwhelmed and frustrated by the magnitude of what I was up against, the enormity of strip mining and the perceived threat of anyone speaking out against it, I stopped trying to make those pictures and moved on, but the issue was something I’ve never been able to move on from.

Now, I’m returning to the visual conversation of mountaintop removal mining with the series I’m tentatively calling Laid Bare, which introduces the nude form into the decimated landscapes left behind from this kind of mining. Framing form and land together to explore loss and vulnerability, I hope to collaborate in creating moments of beauty in the midst of vast destruction as a form of protest.


This past Saturday, in Mingo County, West Virginia...[a woman] told me part of her story. I trust you'll find it as powerful as I do.

The lawyer for Hobet Mine Company called me to say that, by the time the home place was divided amongst all the living heirs, there’d barely be enough land for each of us to have space for our own graves. I was a newly-separated mother of three living far away in Texas, trying to scrape up enough money for daycare and my kids’ school lunches. I sold my share to Hobet for $178.

Twelve of my childhood summers unfolded in that holler, in the house of my dead daddy’s parents—the closest thing to home I knew. The last time I’d been there before the lawyer called, both my granny, grandpa and great-granny were already dead, and kudzu was snaking up the outside walls of their houses, threatening attic windows. That day, as I drove out of there, carrying photographs, old land deeds and one of my grandpa’s mine pay envelopes with a forgotten dime pressed into its corner, a gigantic construction crane loomed over the mountain like a creature in a Japanese sci-fi film.

That was twenty-odd years ago.

Now, on the King Coal Highway, time has been carved away from these mountains until there is too much space, too much sky. I find myself in another country, thinking that we are not meant to be navigating these mountaintops so effortlessly. We were never meant to be up here at all, so near the sun in restless, rarified air that has become a constant wind. It’s as if the churned up ground has surrendered it stories into an eternal sigh that worries the leaves of trees we cannot name.
Let me lie down in these trembling grasses. Let the scouring wind find my skin. I will let the harsh sun burn me. I will listen for the pulse in the wound and answer it with my own.

Chris Cook's: Organic and Agroecologic Farming CAN feed the World

According to a new report authored by journalist Chris Cook and staff members of the Friends of the Earth, scientific evidence of the last forty years shows that agroecological farming, including diversified organic agriculture, is the most effective way to promote future food security, given threats such as climate change, soil erosion, water scarcity and loss of biodiversity.