6/17/17

Spring Rolls With Shredded Kohlrabi

Photo by Andrew Scrivani for the New York Times

Kohlrabi will be in the farm share this week from Glade Road Growing.  You can cook this milder sweeter descendant of wild cabbage in a variety of ways.  When it comes to the bulbs, you can  bake or roast 'em, pickle 'em,  stew 'em (I love them in curries),  saute 'em and braise 'em.  Or don't cook them at all.  This recipe is in the last category, because, hey it's hot come summer. 

The greens and stems, by the way, are also edible.  I'd suggest that you fix them as you would kale or collards.  Or, if they are too tough, after steaming them lightly, puree and add to soups, hot or cold.)

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Serves 4

The inspiration for using kohlrabi in a spring roll was Martha Rose Shulman, but her recipe uses rice sticks, while I prefer mung bean threads.  She uses tofu and I use tempeh. 

Ingredients:


2  ounces mung bean threads
1 package of tempeh, sliced into pieces 1/2 inch wide by 1/4 inch thick
1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
2 small kohlrabi, peeled and cut into matchsticks (make sure to remove fibrous layer just under the skin before shredding)
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, cut in julienne
1/4 teaspoon of demerara sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro, plus 16 sprigs
1/2 cup of slivered basil, plus 8 leaves
1/2 cup of chopped mint leaves, plus 16 leaves
8  8 1/2-inch rice flour spring roll wrappers
1 tablespoon of ground, roasted peanuts
1 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon of miso
1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

Directions:

1.  Place the bean threads in a large bowl and cover with boiling water.  Soak for 15 to 20 minutes until the noodles are pliable, then drain and transfer  to another bowl. Using kitchen scissors, cut the noodles into roughly 6-inch lengths. Pat dry. Leave the warm water in the bowl for softening the wrappers.

2.  Blanch carrot in boiling water until softened, about 45 seconds. Drain. Rinse under cold water to stop cooking.

3. Toss the shredded kohlrabi with salt to taste and let sit in a colander placed in the sink for 20 to 30 minutes to drain. Squeeze out excess liquid and toss with the sugar, lime juice carrot, ginger, chopped cilantro, slivered basil and chopped mint leaves. Let stand 5 minutes.  Drain the pickled vegetables, reserving the marinade.

4.  One at a time, place a rice flour wrapper in the bowl of warm water until just softened. Remove from the water and drain briefly on a kitchen towel. Place the softened wrapper on your work surface and put a line of tempeh slices in the middle of the wrapper, slightly nearer the edge closest to you, leaving a 1 1/2-inch margin on the sides. Place a small handful of noodles over the tempeh, then place a handful of the shredded vegetable mixture over the noodles. Lay a couple of sprigs of cilantro and a Thai basil leaf and a couple of mint leaves on top. Fold the sides of the wrapper over the filling, then roll up tightly. Arrange on a plate and refrigerate until ready to serve.

5. Cover rolls with damp paper towels and then plastic wrap.

6.  To make dipping sauce, whisk together peanuts, sesame oil, miso and pepper flakes and thin, as desired, with the marinade.  Refrigerate.

Serve within four hours.

*
Some past recipes for kohlrabi:
Roasted Veggie, Chickpea and Collard Salad with Tahini Dressing Kohlrabi Home Fries
Kohlrabi Fritters with Tzatziki (Greek Cumber Yogurt Dill Sauce)Kohlrabi Apple Carrot Slaw

6/11/17

Fennel, Radish and Strawberry Salad with Sumac


Photo by Yuki Sugiura  for The Guardian.


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JP tells me the June 13, 2017 farm share for Glade Road Growing will include fennel, baby greens, summer squash, cilantro, beets with greens, and red radishes.

The Guardian had this lovely picture by London based photographer Yuki Sugiura of a salad with fennel and radishes with pomegranate seeds.  Given the season and what's available locally, might I suggest strawberries instead?  I've seasoned this salad with ground sumac, often added to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking to add tartness.  While the staff at Eats told me that they don't stock sumac in their bulk spices, they suggest you might try Oasis.  You can also harvest sumac here in the fall.  (Poison sumac has white berries, but for more identification, see this post from the Ashville, NC foraging company, No Taste Like Home.)

*

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 tbsp lime juice
1 fennel bulb, about half a pound trimmed
1/2 pound of red radishes, trimmed
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cups of strawberries, trimmed and halved
1 tsp sumac (optional, if you can't find it)
Sea salt

Directions:

1.  Wash the fennel and trim the root end off the bulb and discard.  Trim off the stems and fronds and cut the bulb into quarters  and slice thinly.  Place in a bowl of cold water with 1 tablespoon of the lime juice to keep from discoloring.  Reserve stems and fronds for another purpose.  (I like to coarsely chop and steam the stems and puree them like I would celery in soups.  I like to puree the fronds with nuts, olive oil and Parmesan, Romano or Asiago cheese to make a pesto.)

2.  Wash the radishes and trim off the roots and discard. Trim off the leaves, if any and finely slice the radishes.  If there are leaves, you can use reserve them for another use.  (I like to chop and saute them, as I would turnip greens.  They also add a peppery taste to salads.)

3.  Wash the strawberries, drain immediately.  Trim off the top stem and leaves.  Cut in halves, or quarters, if large.

3.  To make dressing, whisk the oil and remaining lime juice together.

4.  Drain the fennel and toss gently with the radishes and strawberries. Drizzle over the dressing and serve on individual plates, dusted with sumac and a little salt.  Serve immediately.




6/4/17

Quick Pickled Carrots and Beets


Epicurious credits the photo of the carrots to Chelsea Kyle and Anna Stockwell in April 2015. Epicurious lists the photo of the beets as from the December 2000 issue of Gourmet Magazine, with no photographer credited.

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J.P.  tells me that this week's farm share from Glade Road Growing will include lettuce mix, carrots, fresh dill and kale and I thought it would be great time to develop a recipe for quick pickles.  (You could also use the marinade to pickle fennel and salad turnips, which are also in season.)

*

Yield:  about 2 1/2 cups of pickled carrots and 3 cups of pickled beets

*

Marinade:

2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 TB water and 1/2 cup demerara sugar;  or 1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon mustard seeds

Vegetables:
1 pound carrots
1 pound beets
1/4 bunch fresh dill, chopped

Preparation:

1.  Bring the ingredients for the marinade to a boil in a 2- to 3-quart saucepan, stirring until sugar is
     dissolved. Cover and simmer 30 minutes.Cool marinade, then chill, covered, 1 day to allow
     flavors to develop. 
2.  Peel and slice carrots and slice on the diagonal into 1/8-inch-coins and place in mason jars.
3.  Remove beet greens, if any, and reserve to refrigerate until ready to cook as greens.  Cook beets in
     a saucepan of boiling salted water until tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Drain and cool. Slip off skins, 
     trim root and top and cut into 1/2-inch pieces and place in mason jars.
4.  Bring half of marinade to a boil and pour over carrots, let cool to room temperature, then cover
     and refrigerate for at least one day.
5.  Pour other half of (cold) marinade over beets, then cover and refrigerate for at least one
     day.

Serving suggestions:

You can serve the pickles as a side, topped with a sprinkle of the fresh dill or as a condiment for cooked kale or other greens.

You can also use the pickles in a great main course salad.  For each serving cover the bottom of a plate with a thin bed of lettuce, spinach or arugula or a combination thereof.  Top with 1/2 cup of cooked green or French lentils and garnish with both kinds of pickles, halved hard boiled duck or chicken eggs, topped with crumbled goat cheese and a sprinkling of fresh chopped dill.

5/27/17

Stir Fried Bok Choy and Carrots with Spring Onions

Photo from Chef Curtis Stone's website (of the LA Restaurant, Maude)

May 30 starts the 2017 farm share for Glade Road Growing.  Sally tells me there will be carrots and bok choy, so I came up with this recipe for a side, which can be expanded to a main dish with the addition of your choice of protein and starch.

*

Serves 4


Ingredients:
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon peeled, smashed and minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
4 bok choy (about 3 pounds total), cut crosswise into 1-inch-wide ribbons
2 carrots, peeled, shaved into ribbons
1 4-ounce spring onion, sliced thinly, tough dark-green top removed (may substitute 3 to 4 scallions,
   white and light-green parts)
4 teaspoons of miso thinned with water and 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar with 1 teaspoon of
   demerara sugar stirred in until it dissolves

OPTIONAL: 
If you want this to be a main dish, rather than a side, you can add 1 package thinly sliced tempeh or 2 cups of cooked white beans or 2 cups of cooked chicken or 2 cups of cooked pork and serve the mixture over 4 cups of cooked brown rice or rice noodles.

Directions:


1. In a large cast iron skillet or wok, heat the oils over medium high heat.

2.  Add the garlic, ginger and red pepper sauté for 30 seconds, or until fragrant and tender.

3.  Add the sliced onion and cook stirring for one minute.

4.  Add carrots and cook stirring for 2 to 3 minutes.

5.  Add the bok choy.  Cover and reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 10
     minutes, or until the green parts of the bok choy have wilted and the white parts are crisp-tender.

6.  Add in the protein (see OPTIONAL), if desired, and heat until warmed through. 

7.  Take off heat and stir in the miso mixture.

8.    Divide evenly among 4 plates and serve right away.

2/22/17

THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU by E. Ethelbert Miller


Alexa Zalopany Casey took this photograph January 30, 2017 facing Henderson Lawn at Virginia Tech, as we gathered to express our support for immigrants and especially our Muslim neighbors, after the Executive Order banning immigration.  Used with permission.

*

In the morning some of us will be missing.
Some of us never came home. Some of us
were rounded up and taken away. Some of
us disappeared. Some of us said nothing.
Some of us said it didn't matter. Some of us
didn't care.

This is how it begins.
It begins slowly like air.
It begins invisible like fear.
It begins like rain before clouds.
It begins when listening is no longer heard.
It begins when blood is red like eyes.
It begins with silence breaks into pieces.

All of us are strangers.
All of us will be taken.
All of us are crying.
All of us are angry.

This is what I wanted to tell you.
This is how it begins.
Every ending begins with someone.
Every beginning begins with us.

We can stop this.
We can stop this now.

This is how it begins.
Not with some of us but with all of us.

This is what I wanted to tell you.
Now tell someone else.

*
My friend poet and literary activist Ethelbert Miller posted his poem this morning on Facebook.  In the spirit of the last line, I share it with his permission.  It brings to my mind not only the immigration bans, but the forced removal of native water protectors and their supporters from the Oceti Sakowin Camp today.  For more information on the forced removal see the Lakota People's Law Project.





Instagram photo posted by the Oceti Sakowin Camp four days ago with the caption, "Today a dump truck tried to run over 3 Water Protectors. The Oceti community addressed it peacefully. The matter was pretty much resolved, but they I guess they thought they would like to show a little bit of force."

1/5/17

Moonlight: A Moving Depiction of Inner City Miami



Poster for Moonlight,
Barry Jenkins' film based on “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue,” Tarell Alvin McCraney's shelved semi-autobiographical 2003 60-page memoir.
" [Liberty City] is a unique place in that the same things that exist in other urban general populations exist for us, and yet there are palm trees and beautiful sunsets and you can smell the ocean five miles away. "

~
Tarell Alvin McCraney

*

Moonlight has two more showings at Lyric Blacksburg tonight at 7:00 and 9:15 pm. I saw it last night and had been looking forward to it since filmmaker Catherine Pancake recommended it. I preferred the first two sections of the film to the last and am wondering about his depiction of the adult Chiron, v.s. that of Jenkins.  I couldn't find a copy of his memoir to make a comparison.


How one of my favorite scenes got shot

Gregg Kilday at Hollywood Reporter explains the shooting of my favorite scenes: Juan (Mahershala Ali) — a local drug dealer who has befriended a wary 10-year-old Chiron (Alex Hibbert)--teaches the boy to swim in the Atlantic Ocean.

A massive storm front, with clouds ominously gray, was moving in...The schedule called for a five-hour shoot, but ...[Jenkins] knew he'd only have 90 minutes to capture the sequence before the cast and crew would have to seek shelter...

"Once we realized the weather wasn't going to cooperate, I knew I had two things — a kid who didn't know how to swim and a camera that would be half in, half out of the water.' He took Ali aside and told him not to worry about hitting the dialogue, just teach the boy to swim. Nine takes and one lens swap later, they had the footage and beat a hasty retreat....

"What you're watching...is real life. A grown black man teaching a young black kid how to float and how to swim in the Atlantic Ocean as a storm is coming in. Sometimes pressure and duress work in your favor. If I had tried to get every line we had scripted, I would have tried to control things in a way where we wouldn't have had this moment in the film."

How Jenkins and McCraney began their collaboration.

They never met as boys
in Miami’s inner city neighborhood of Liberty City all they grew up a few blocks from each other and both had mothers afflicted by drug addiction. They met met as adults when McCraney’s script found its way to Jenkins through the Borscht Corporation, a Miami-based film nonprofit.

According to Kilday, Jenkins and McCraney began exchanging what Jenkins calls "loopy emails.
I explained what I saw as the film version, but I'm a straight man and I felt Tarell's voice needed to be preserved.

McCraney by then had received a 2013 MacArthur Grant and was involved in other projects; he gave Jenkins his blessing to write the film. McCraney talks about the adaptation in NY online magazine, The FADER, which is where I got the quote that starts this post.

The Music in Moonlight

Interestingly, Jenkins led the discussion of Twelve Years a Slave at Telluride, and found himself talking with producers Jeremy Kleiner and Dede Gardner, partners with Brad Pitt at Plan B Entertainment. According, again to Kilday, "The two had been fans of Medicine [Medicine for Melancholy, his 2008 film] and wanted to know what Jenkins planned to do next. He promised to send them the Moonlight screenplay when it was finished."

Composer Nicholas Britell came to write the score because he had worked with Kleiner on The Big Short. Kleiner encouraged him to read Jenkins' script.  Britell says,
One of the first takeaways I had was that it felt like poetry — beautiful, intimate, sensitive.
 And so Kleiner arranged a meeting, and Jenkins and Britell immediately clicked.
I had the same feeling of poetry when I saw the early cuts of the film...and that immediately impacted the musical ideas. I started asking myself right away, 'What is the musical analog to the movie's poetry?' Among the first things I sent to Barry was a piece called 'Piano and Violin Poem,' which became 'Little's Theme' in chapter one and evolves into 'Chiron's Theme' in chapter two and then becomes what we call 'Black's Theme' in chapter three. So those immediate feelings I had about the screenplay and the film really paved the way for some of the groundwork of what the movie would become.
Jenkins told Britell about how he loved "chopped and screwed" Southern hip-hop, where the tracks are slowed way down.
When you slow them, the pitch goes down....So you get these tracks that are deepened and enriched in their sonic quality. I said to Barry, 'What if we applied that technique to the orchestral technique? What would happen?
Kilday explains that Britell "began slowing and bending the piano-and-violin theme he'd written. In the schoolyard fight in chapter two, for example, Britell slowed it way down, nearly three octaves down, layering the piece on top of itself and running it through vinyl so it has a vinyl hiss."
It's almost unrecognizable...It's like a rumbling in the subwoofers of the theater. You can hear what almost sounds like bells, but that's actually the piano notes that have morphed into this totally other formation.

11/23/16

If You're Questioning the Election Results, We Need an Audit. Or Even if You're Not...



Graphic from "Want to Know if the Election was Hacked? Look at the Ballots" by J. Alex Halderman published on November 22, 2016.  Caption: "The pink counties predominately use optical scan paper ballots, which can be examined to confirm that the computer voting machines produced an accurate count. Blue counties use paperless voting systems, which require forensic analysis."

*

For the second time in sixteen years, the winner of the popular vote in the election will not be inaugurated as president. (Something that happened only three other times in the history of our country--with the other instances all happening in the 19th century.)

Suggestions swirl around the internet.  Write the electoral college to reverse the results!  Maybe Trump didn't even win the electoral college vote!  Call the Justice Department!  Petition the Secretaries of State! 

Among what seems to me to be a spinning of wheels,  this IS interesting

Ron Rivest and Philip Stark explained in USA Today  on November 18 how the presidential vote could be audited before December 13, when the States have to file their results with the Electoral College.
We know that the national results could be tipped by manipulating the vote count in a relatively small number of jurisdictions — a few dozen spread across a few key states. We know that the vast majority of local elections officials have limited resources to detect or defend against cyberattacks. And while pre-election polls have large uncertainties, they were consistently off. And various aspects of the preliminary results, such as a high rate of undervotes for president, have aroused suspicion.
Auditing .5% of the ballots would do the trick

Rivest (Institute Professor at MIT and a member of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission Technical Guidelines Development Committee) and Stark (associate dean of mathematical and physical sciences at the University of California, Berkeley and a one-time appointee to the board of advisers of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission)  say a “risk-limiting” audit--in which a random sample of just 1 percent of the paper ballots cast  is examined--“could give 95% confidence that the results are correct in every state. And it might not even require 1% of the ballots. An audit would first
check the results in the states Trump won. If auditing confirms those results, there’s no need to audit in the states Clinton carried: Trump really won. That means auditing about 700,000 ballots in the 29 states Trump won, about 0.5% of the ballots cast in this election.


On November 18, Rivest and Stark linked to a Verified Voting  petition at Change.Org addressed to the Secretaries of State of Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan, asking for an audit. Author Justin Krebs has a petition at Moveon.Org addressed to Clinton, Trump, Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Secretaries of State in Michigan , Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 

Ditch the phone campaign to the Justice Department


Relying on the good will of the Secretaries of State seems a stretch.   Although less of a stretch than calling the Justice Department to demand an audit.  Even if, according to Gabriel Sherman, National Affairs Editor for New York Magazine,  
...some Clinton allies are intent on pushing the issue. This afternoon, Huma Abedin’s sister Heba encouraged her Facebook followers to lobby the Justice Department to audit the 2016 vote.
(Well, actually, his link goes to a Daily Beast writer who posted a screenshot of Heba Abedin's facebook page.  You or I can't even see the facebook posts, even if you follow her and her twitter page no longer exists.)

As Washington Post reporter Matt Zapotosky noted  spokesman David Jacobs has issued a statement:
The Justice Department does not tally the number of callers to determine whether federal action is warranted...Investigatory decisions are based solely on the facts and evidence as they relate to the federal statutes the department enforces.
Ignore New York Magazine's anonymous "scoop" on voting machine fraud

Other media writers, including by CNN's political producer Dan Merica, linked to Gabriel Sherman, not for his coverage of the campaign to phone the Justice Department, but for his "scoop" from a "source briefed on the [conference] call with Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and campaign general counsel Marc Elias.  The source says a  group including voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, told Podesta and Elias that they had found evidence that in
Wisconsin, Clinton received 7 percent fewer votes in counties that relied on electronic-voting machines compared with counties that used optical scanners and paper ballots. Based on this statistical analysis, Clinton may have been denied as many as 30,000 votes; she lost Wisconsin by 27,000....complicating matters, a senior Clinton adviser said, is that the White House, focused on a smooth transfer of power, does not want Clinton to challenge the election result.
Does New York Magazine have the rigorous sourcing requirements depicted in All The President's Men of how the Washington Post covered the Watergate scandal? Sherman, in particular, has been criticized by the The New York Times's Janet Maslin as setting "a record for blind items and the untrustworthiness they engender" in his bio of Roger Ailes. Clinton communications director Jennifer Palmieri did not respond to Sherman's request for comment. Neither did Bonifaz or Halderman.  The latter also failed to respond to requests for comment yesterday evening from CNN's Merica.

Alex Halderman, the subject of the scoop, says Sherman got it wrong

In his own post on post on Medium, Halderman writes that Sherman,
includes somebody else’s description of my views, incorrectly describes the reasons manually checking ballots is an essential security safeguard (and includes some incorrect numbers, to boot).
Let me set the record straight about what I and other leading election security experts have actually been saying to the campaign and everyone else who’s willing to listen....Were this year’s deviations from pre-election polls the results of a cyberattack? Probably not. I believe the most likely explanation is that the polls were systematically wrong, rather than that the election was hacked. But I don’t believe that either one of these seemingly unlikely explanations is overwhelmingly more likely than the other. The only way to know whether a cyberattack changed the result is to closely examine the available physical evidence — paper ballots and voting equipment in critical states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, nobody is ever going to examine that evidence unless candidates in those states act now, in the next several days, to petition for recounts...
Support Jill Stein's recount as the most practical short-term action

State laws call for recounts at a candidate’s request as long as he or she can pay for it. Green Party candidate Jill Stein announced a fundraising campaign on her website to ask for a recount in Wisconsin by the Friday deadline. She is also raising funds for a recount in Pennsylvania by November 28 and Michigan by November 30.

According to Ballotpedia, Wisconsin machines have a paper trail. Michigan uses paper ballots. Pennsylvania (as is the case in Virginia) has no statewide paper trail. A pattern, if found, would have to hold true for all three states in order for the electoral college vote to favor Clinton.

We must do a lot more before 2018

Current post-election verification is inadequate, Halderman explains:
After the election, human beings can examine the paper to make sure the results from the voting machines accurately determined who won. Just as you want the brakes in your car to keep working even if the car’s computer goes haywire, accurate vote counts must remain available even if the machines are malfunctioning or attacked. In both cases, common sense tells us we need some kind of physical backup system. I and other election security experts have been advocating for paper ballots for years, and today, about 70% of American voters live in jurisdictions that keep a paper record of every vote.

There’s just one problem, and it might come as a surprise even to many security experts: no state is planning to actually check the paper in a way that would reliably detect that the computer-based outcome was wrong. About half the states have no laws that require a manual examination of paper ballots, and most other states perform only superficial spot checks. If nobody looks at the paper, it might as well not be there.
And superficial spot checks are not enough, as Black Box Voting points out.

Sad how long I've been writing about  problems with electronic voting machines

Following the 2000 election, billions were spent on new voting machines. My first post about the problems was in 2005.  Halderman has suggestions for how to fix the mess:
States still using paperless voting machines should replace them with optical scan systems, and all states should update their audit and recount procedures. There are fast and inexpensive ways to verify (or correct) computer voting results using a risk-limiting audit, a statistical method that involves manually inspecting randomly selected paper ballots. Officials need to begin preparing soon to make sure all of these improvements are ready before the next big election.