6/24/16

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







6/22/16

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.

6/20/16

Quinoa and Chard Fresh Spring Rolls



Photo
by my one of my favorite food photographers and stylists, Andrew Scrivani, for the New York Times' Martha Rose Shulman's recipe (which is different than mine, but also delicious.)

*
Sally tells me that the Glade Road Growing bag share for June 21 will include  rainbow chard, broccoli, carrots, bunch onion, basil, and summer squash.  I thought I'd come up with a recipe for spring rolls that uses the chard as a wrapper rather than rice paper.

*

Serves 8


1 bunch rainbow chard
2/3 cup of raw quinoa
4 hard boiled chicken or duck eggs, peeled and sliced into in half lengthwise, as you would slice them for deviled eggs.
1 summer squash, cut into matchsticks
2 large carrots, cut into matchsticks
fresh basil leaves, reserve 8 for garnish
2 green onions, sliced thin, reserve some of tops for garnish
1 tablespoons miso, thinned with water
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger


1.   Make dipping sauce(s).  You will find the ingredients and recipes for a sweet  miso sauce here and/or a peanut sauce (with other nut substitutes, if you are allergic) here.

2.  Cook the quinoa.  You can find the directions here.

3. Wash and prep the veggies.

4.  Remove the large stems from the chard. Break the spine with a fork, Blanche chard for one minute. Set aside to cool and drain.

5. Mix quinoa, garlic, ginger, vinegar and miso in a bowl.  (If you have extra, you can refrigerate the excess tossed in salads.)

6.  On the large end of each large end of a chard leaf,  put a 2 T of the quinoa mixture in the middle of the leaf.  Nest half of a hard boiled egg in the center with the white side down.  Layer on matchstick veggies crosswise, green onions.  Top with basil leaves.  Fold in the sides and roll like a burrito.

7.  Refrigerate for  one hour before slicing in half, cross wise.   They will look something like this.   (If you prefer your veggies cooked, you could steam the rolls for six minutes and then refrigerate. If you do not have a steamer. you can use a pot of water with a colander and some foil for a lid. 



8.  Serve on plates garnished with extra basil leaves and green onions.  I like to put the dipping sauces in individual ramekins on the plates or you can set out in small bowls with a spoon for sharing.










6/15/16

Loundon Wainwright III's Sings of The Trumpster (with an official video by Judd Apatow)

Screenshot of Loudon Wainwright III from his video "I Had A Dream," produced by Judd Apatow for Funny Or Die.

*

May 27, 2016, singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III  released his newest song on Soundcloud (of which I was the 31,880th listener) and as a single on Story Song Records. 
Initially I didn’t want to write a song about Donald Trump but sometimes in the course of human events things get so weird that you can’t look a gift horse in the mouth, especially if the horse has a real mouth on him. In the past, I’ve taken pot shots in song at political figures of fun like Jesse Helms, Newt Gingrich, Bill & Hill, Bush, Cheney, et al., but folks - this is serious. We hold some truths to be self-evident and apparently Mr. Trump does not.
Soon, his frequent collaborator, filmmaker Judd Apatow had produced a video, which Funny or Die released  June 13.  (H/T to Rory O'Connor for pointing it out to me via Facebook.)  According to Paste Magazine, Apatow explains,
I got involved because I love Loudon Wainwright as much as I don’t love Trump....Hopefully this song will not make sense in a year—when Trump is back to running his prestigious university full time.







Here are the lyrics:


I had a dream - I don’t know what it meant,
But I dreamed Donald Trump was our president.
There on election night, right by his side -
His flunky Chris Christie, along for the ride.
But it gets worse - just wait, there’s more -
He made Jeff Sessions Secretary of War,
And, just like he promised, he built him that wall.
He blew up Cuba and he carpet bombed Montreal.


I had a dream - I woke up in a cold sweat -
The Donald was elected in a huge upset.
He made a bad deal with Putin, a secret pact with Assad.
He told the pope where to go - I swear to God.
As for the Supreme Court, he got to choose -
He filled the vacancy up with lyin’ Ted Cruz.
His face was bright orange, and his hair was just weird,
But we were made great again, embarrassed and feared.


Yeah, I had a dream, and here’s how it went -
I dreamed that the Trumpster was the president.
His little finger on the button, he was doin’ his thing -
Our new national anthem was “My Ding-a-ling.”
We were bought and sold, like in Monopoly -
He had the most hotels in the land of the free,
Locked up the opposition, and the demonstrators, too -
That would be me, and it might be you.


I had a dream - I’m not sure what it meant
When I dreamed Donald Trump was our president.
And it wasn’t even close - he won it in a landslide.
Our new hot First Lady - she was beaming with pride.
If you think that’s cool, don’t fool yourself -
He made Ben Carson Secretary of Health,
And Sarah Palin Secretary of Stealth,
And If you think that’s scary, well just you wait -
He made Newt Gingrich the Secretary of State,
And Rush Limbaugh the Secretary of Hate!


Dreams come true, and there’s prophesy,
And sometimes a nightmare is a reality.









6/13/16

Split Pea Soup


Photo from a 2009 post to the anonymous student blog, "Fried or Sizzlin: America's Economy."

One of my favorite soups is split pea and this week's bag share from Glade Road Growing has many of the ingredients:  carrots, celery, bunch onions and garlic.  (There will also be bok choy and lettuce mix.)  All you need to add for my version is some bay leaves, potatoes and miso.

*

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup of dried split peas
2 bay leaves
1/2 # of carrots, washed and trimmed and cut on a slant lengthwise
4 ribs of celery, washed and cut on a slant lenthwise (discard any strings that free themselves).  reserve some of the leaves for garnish.
1 bunch of green onions, washed, trimmed, separated into the bulb portion and the greens and chopped.  Reserve some of the greens for garnish.
1/2 # of potatoes, washed and sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed and chopped finely.
Extra virgin olive oil
4 TB miso, thinned with a little cold water.
Freshly ground black or white peppercorns, to taste

1.  To cook peas, the night prior or at least two hours before serving, place dried peas into a pot with a heavy bottom (which comes equipped with a tight lid and a steamer insert.)  Cover with 2 cups of water.  Bring to boil, cover and turn down and cook for five minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.  Refill with 2 cups of water and return to boil in a covered pot  Add bay leaves.  Cook, covered, over low heat, until the peas are soft. 

2.  Prep the vegetables as described in the ingredients.  In a well-oiled skillet, saute the bulb portion of the onions, the garlic and the celery.  Add the sauteed veggies to the bottom of the pot with the peas while they are cooking. Add another two cups of water and return to a boil. Insert the steamer to the pot and in the steamer, add the carrots and potatoes, and turn down to cook them  over the steam from the peas for at least 10 minutes until soft. Add the carrots and potatoes to the bottom of the pot and stir.

3.  I like to put about half of the soup through a blender and add it back into the remaining soup with intact veggies to thicken the soup.  When it has cooled a bit,  stir in the miso.  You can serve this soup hot or chilled.

4.  Divide the soup into individual bowls.  If you like, you can  top each serving  with a dollop of yogurt. Garnish with reserved raw celery leaves and chopped green onions.  Sprinkle with fresh ground black or white pepper.  I like to serve it with whole grain bread or you can grilled sandwiches made of  sharp cheddar or your other favorite cheese.


6/6/16

Fresh Lumpia (Filipino Egg Rolls) with Sweet Miso Garlic Sauce

Inspired by a recipe at Epicurious by Mark Bittman, food columnist for the New York TimesPhoto by Keith Ferris of the Culinary Institute of  America.

Serves 4

*

Lumpia are Filipino egg rolls, similar to crepes.  I prefer them fresh.  You can also deep-fry them.  Some folks use pre-made wrappers, but the homemade ones are easy, I promise.

Ingredients:

Wrappers:
1 duck or chicken egg
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup water
extra virgin olive oil

Sauce:
1/2 cup of water
2/3 cups demerara sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB miso
4 T   roasted peanut, chopped


Filling:

extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves,
2 green onions minced
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup shredded Napa
1 pound of roasted chicken or pork removed from bone and shredded or tempeh, sliced thin
2 teaspoons black pepper
2 teaspoons dry sherry
1 c. cilantro leaves, trimmed from stems and chopped

To make 8 wrappers:
  1. Pre-heat over to 200 degrees F.  Whisk egg until slightly beaten.  Whisk in 1 cup water and 1 cup flour until very smooth. 
  2. Heat an 8- or 10-inch well seasoned cast iron over medium heat. When a drop of water skitters across the surface before evaporating, add a teaspoon of oil and spread over pan.  Ladle 2 tablespoons of the batter into the skillet and swirl it around so that it forms a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Pour the excess batter back in the bowl. When the wrapper is just cooked through and the edges lift away from the pan, remove it without turning it over. Transfer to a ovenproof plate, cover and place in the oven to keep warm.
  3.  Repeat with the remaining batter, separating the  lumpia wrappers with parchment paper to keep from sticking and cover with large lid to keep from drying out.

To make sweet garlic miso sauce:
  1. Stir sugar and water in a saucepan and cook over low heat until slightly caramelized and thickened, about 5 minutes. 
  2. Remove from heat and stir in garlic and peanuts.  After it cools slightly, stir in miso. Set aside.

To make filling:

  1.  Coat a large skillet in oil and turn the heat to medium.
  2.  Heat a minutes and then add garlic and green onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds. 
  3. Add the napa and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. 
  4. Add the meat or tofu and heat through. Add the salt, pepper, and wine and remove from the heat.
To assemble:
  1. Lay a lumpia wrapper flat on a work surface and place 2 tablespoons of cilantro leaves on top. 
  2. Line 2 heaping tablespoons of stir-fry mixture on top of the cilantro. Fold in the sides and roll tightly, sealing the seam  with a few drops of water spread your fingertip. 
  3. Serve two on each plate, garnished with more cilantro and accompanied by a ramekin of the  sauce.

5/28/16

Spinach-Feta-Quinoa Cakes with Lemon-Dill Sauce


Photo by Allyson Zea for her blog, Domestic Superhero.

Glade Road Growing will have its first farm share on May 31.  JP tells me there will be spinach and green onions and so I created a recipe, which is similar to one on Allyson Zea's blog.

*

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2/3 cup raw quinoa
bunch of green onions
several spigs of fresh dill enough to make 4 tablespoons chopped
1 lemon
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic
10 ounces fresh spinach (You can also use kale, arugula, chard or a combination.)
2 slice whole grain bread, crumbled into soft crumbs
4 chicken or duck eggs
1/2 # feta cheese
Salt
Black pepper

To make the sauce:

1.  Finely chop 4 tablespoons of the green portion of the onions and 4 tablespoons fresh dill.
     Reserve 1/2 of the dill for the quinoa cakes.  If you have extra dill, do not wash the portion you are
     going to store.   Just shake the stems loosely and place them in a plastic bag with a piece of paper
     towel to absorb and condensation and store in the refrigerator.
2.  Squeeze the juice from one lemon and measure out 4 teaspoons and refrigerate the rest in a lidded
     jar for another use.  Zest the lemon from the peel. You will use 1/2 teaspoon of the zest from the
     skin for the cakes.  You can dry any remaining zest on a piece of parchment paper and then store
     in a small spice jar.
3.  Whisk 1 cup plain Greek yogurt and the lemon juice and add in the herbs.  Season with salt and
     freshly ground pepper.
4.  Cover and refrigerate the sauce for at least 1 hour to allow the flavors to
     meld.

To make the quinoa cakes:

1.  Cook the quinoa by bringing 2  cup of water to a boil.  Add the 2/3 cup of  raw quinoa and return
     to boil.  Take off stove and rinse well.  Add back in a scant 2 cups of water and return to stove and
     bring to a boil.  Turn down to low.  Cover.  Cook 15 minutes.  Let stand for five minutes and then
     fluff with a fork.
2.  While quinoa is cooking, finely chop the white portion of the onions to make 1  cup and the four
     cloves of garlic.  Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic, stirring
    often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Chop the spinach and cook, stirring often, until wilted, about
    3 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a medium-size bowl.
3.  Beat the eggs lightly.  Add to bowl with the onions, garlic and spinach mixture, along with the
     cooked quinoa.  Crumble in the feta cheese and bread crumbs. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of
     chopped dill, the 1/2 teaspoon of the lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper.  Let
     mixture sit for a few minutes to allow the bread crumbs to absorb the moisture.
4.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
5.   Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Form quinoa mixture into cakes about 2 1/2 inches in
      diameter and 1/2 inch thick and place on sheet.
6.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until the bottoms are brown.  Flip with a spatula and bake for
     another five minutes.
7.  Serve warm with the lemon-dill sauce.