11/24/14

Celeriac! (and Butternut Curry)


Photo by Janet for her 2012 recipe for curry.  She has other celeriac recipes here.  I first published this post at 8:07pm on 11/24/14 and updated it for formatting  at 11:20am on 11/26.

The November 24 (and last 2014) farm share from Glade Road Growing is slated to include celeriac, kale, lettuce mix, butternut squash and napa cabbage, oh my! (Sally and Jason will be at the Blacksburg Farmers Market in December on the 6th, 13th and 20th with root veggies, meats, some greens and winter squash. They'll be back there in April and the 2015 farm share sign up will probably open in December.)

Today's recipe features celeriac.  Who can resist something that roasts or pickles so well and tastes yummy raw, something like a cross between celery and parsley. 

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By day, Janet is a physician in Toronto, after living for a year in Houston, Texas. By night, she's a food blogger and photographer at The Taste Space and also shares recipes with Kahakai Kitchen.

She made the above curry with pumpkin, but after all, that's just one type of winter squash and this week we'll be getting butternuts. It turns out she adapted her recipe from one by Sarah Breton, who used squash.  Here's my remake of her remake...

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Serves 6

1. In a countertop convection or conventional oven (on a cookie sheet), roast veggies for 1/2 hour and let cool enough to prep:

1 large onion
1 carrot
1 lb celeriac
4 garlic cloves
1.5 lb pumpkin or butternut squash

2. While veggies are roasting, cover 1 cup of dried red lentils with water and bring to boil. Cover with lid and let sit for 5 minutes. Rinse well , cover with fresh water plus 1 cup, cover with lid and  back to boil and and let sit.

3. In a separate pot, do the same for 2 cups of raw quinoa.

4. Peel veggies and cut into cubes. Finely chop two T fresh ginger root.

5. Chiffonade kale, keeping stems separate.

6. In the bottom of a steamer pot, combine veggies, ginger, lentils, and the following spices:
1/2 t red pepper flakes
1 t coriander
1 t cumin
1 t tumeric
1/4 t dry mustard
1/2 t gound fenugreek seeds
1/4 t ground cinamon
1/8 t ground cloves
1/8 t ground cardomon

7. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to medium and steam first the stems, and then the leaves of the kale until tender, but bright green.  Add kale to curry.

8. Serve over quinoa (or cooked yellow rice) and garnish with celery leaves or cilantro leaves.

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If you're not going to make this recipe tomorrow, refrigerate the celery root in an unsealed plastic bag for up to 2 or 3 weeks. To prepare, trim the leaves (if present) and root end. Scrub well. You can roast it to make it easier to remove the skin and any brown bits. If you’re using it raw, peel quite thickly and place cut the pieces in water with a squeeze of lemon juice to prevent discoloration.

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"British chef" (other than for all those exquisite cream and fruit pastries) may sound like an oxymoron, until you think about Nigella Lawson.  As of today, I'm adding Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I came upon his feature at The Guardian when I was looking for celeriac recipes. Just take a look at this  salad he composed.  Since we don't have endive in this week's farm share, think about a chiffonade of kale with cashews (or your favorite nut) and orange or apple slices.


Fearnley-Whittingstall has been "championing food integrity + consumption of local, seasonal produce since 1998" River Cottage on the Dorset/Devon border and he LOVES celeriac. He writes, as compared to a potato, it's
even more unprepossessing, with knobbly, knotted looks that only a mother could love – or a cook who has unearthed its inner beauty. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that celeriac might just be my favourite root of all time. It's nothing less than a winter wonder.

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Want more celeriac recipes?  Here are some that look yummy:



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BTW, did anyone make it to the farm November 21 for the final 2014 farm stand which included a meat show case? Besides the veggies, there was a fresh supply of goat and pork cuts, sausages, fresh chicken, duck eggs, and more, along with cooking tips.

If you didn't make it, you missed some good eating. I heard a lot of folks say they had no room for dinner after stopping in for samples. (My own black bean and rice dinner had to wait until the next day.)

Here's the scoop on this years samples, as best as I can remember (sorry I didn't take notes):
  • goat sausage congee and goat bone broth from Hoof Harted Farm
  • a variety of ham steaks (my fav was Lisa's lemon rosemary) from Ben's  pastured pig, plus his cracklings and Lisa's spinach and ground pork fritatta
  • hard boiled eggs and Lisa's squash or pumpkin curd  featuring Sally's ducks
  • gizzard stew, a brined roast  and a roast with fennel from Sally's Freedom Ranger chickens. 


11/23/14

Honeybeelujah! Reverand Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir take on Big Ag


Photo from Sarah Galo posted on twitter and used by permission.

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"Lots of Bee-atitude, hard-working and sticky sweet. Honeybeelujah!"

Lucky freelance writer Sarah Galo snapped the above photo, while she was at  Joe's Pub at the Public in NYC watching Billy Talen  and his choir taking on "Big Ag," especially Monsanto, and the struggle it causes bees (which we need to pollinate our food) and thus the rest of us.

I got to watch Billy Talen  live online and even if you missed it, you can, too (starting at 2:10).


More later on these activist artists and how they've taken on mountaintop removal.  (I met Billy and his choir at Appalachia Rising where we both performed.)  For today, just let's talk about the performance.  (I'll write more on what's happening to the bees later, too.)

Billy appeared, as usual, in Swaggart-like finery and the choir dressed  as Pilgrims, in preparation for their Thanksgiving protest at the corporate headquarters of Monsanto on November 27.  Special surprise guest was Joan Baez, who had also appeared with Billy and the Choir at a fundraiser for Ferguson activists on November 21.



Here's Erik McGregor (aka Minister Erik R. McGregor) photo used with permission of  Joan Baez with Billy and the choir at Joe's Pub from his photo set.



Here's another (used with permission)  of Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, the latter in their incarnation as the "Honey Bees" taken in Boston from their IndieGoGo campaign to swarm corporate headquarters of Monsanto. 





In addition to covering Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir, he document the actions of other NY-based activist groups including
* Sane Energy Project
* Food Not Fracking
* United For Action
* Food & Water Watch
* 350NYC
* Occupy Wall Street movement and the different affinity groups spawned from it.


Monsanto's world headquarters are in prosperous Creve Coeur (French for heart broken), a small city in St. Louis County, just 9.7 miles from Ferguson, where a jury is still deciding on the verdict--first slated for today--regarding the death of  Michael Brown.

Evidently the police chief there is prepared for the verdict:












11/22/14

The Ridgeliners at The London Underground, Black Twig Pickers at Cellar in Blacksburg Saturday November 22


Mike Gangloff just let me know about  The Ridgeliners will be playing the London Underground Wake Up Call gig this morning Saturday November 22 from 10-12 (with Mike on fiddle and  some or all of the following: Debby Freed on banjo; Becky Barlow on upright bass; Charlie Anderson on fiddle, washtub bass and step-a-tune, Kevin Roberts on guitar and maybe even Cara Gangloff on washboard?)  As Mike told a common friend of ours via facebook, "This is a rare occasion when an old-time band will assemble while the sun is still ascending...without necessarily have played through the entire night before."

One of Mike's other bands, the Black Twig Pickers plays The Cellar this evening

Doug Thompson caught the Ridgeliners (and Kim Kirkbride dancing with other members of the audience) for his video when they played The Friday Night Jamboree in Floyd, Virginia on August 22, 2014 (posted with his permission.)

The Ridgeliners from Doug Thompson on Vimeo.


You can also check them out playing "Big Fish" for Couch by Couchwest:



BTW, Matt Peyton, who is one of the coordinators for Couch by Couchwest  has some other sites online you might want to check out:
Feel Bad For You Monthly Mixtape – any song, any genre, any year
A Truer Sound - a southwest Virginia located music blog
@Truersound

11/19/14

Hatfield McCoy Recreation Authority fails to follow WV state purchasing, ethics and employee bonus laws

I've always thought that the name of the Hatfield McCoy Recreational Authority perpetuated stereotypes as did the Hatfield McCoy Mountains tourism region (as compared to say, the name of the Raleigh County Recreation Authority for Beckley or the names of the other regions: New River-Greenbrier Valley, Mountain Lakes, Metro Valley, Mountaineer Country, Eastern Panhandle, Potomac Highlands, Northern Panhandle and Mid-Ohio Valley.)

But I had questions beyond stereotyping after reading AP's WV statehouse reporter, Jonathan Matisse (AP archive, @jonathanmattise, jmattise@ap.org) account that "$1.3 million in leases, insurance policies, labor, catering and other contracts" have benefited board members, the executive director or family, according to a preliminary report by Legislative Auditor Aaron Allred:

- Liability insurance for about $386,300. A board member owns the insurance agency.
- $820,400 in labor. The executive director and another authority board member serve on the contractor's board.
- Industrial storage building lease from the Wyoming County Economic Development Board for about $34,800. One authority board member is a development board employee. The executive director and another board member are development board members.
- Others include: almost $5,900 to a catering company owned by the executive director's mother; $24,300 for vehicle maintenance through a company owned by a board member; $28,400 to a building maintenance company whose board includes the executive director; $23,300 in printing services from a company owned by the executive director's dad; and $36,700 from the state Division of Tourism, for which the executive director serves as a board member.
I wonder about the excuse that authority officials used with the WV leg members today, that it has "has wrongly operated like a nonprofit, not a state agency, for its entire 18-year existence." Such an explanation seems pretty thin, given that a non-profit's bylaws could (and I would say should) prohibit conflicts of interest and nepotism and that its fiscal policies should require competitive bidding and so forth.

Also I wonder what kind of oversight that WV is providing to its state grantees to get away with such for 18 years.

I tried to read up on the history of the trail authority, but  the authority denied me permission to read its blog. And maybe because of snow, the legislature's website (including the code section establishing the trail authority) was down on the evening of 11/18.  As recently as November 2, http://www.register-herald.com/news/mountain-state-s-atv-trail-system-is-the-new-tourism/article_f9f25926-a2b6-5269-b83f-772e00cbbff6.html

So here are my last questions.  Are there any other state-created authorities, and if so, how many other, if any, are behaving this way? Also does similar corporate behavior exist among "real" non-profits with state contracts.

I'd love to have some follow-up from Mr. Mattisse and the other WV statehouse reporters.

11/17/14

Purple Carrot Tarts


Photo  by JJ of the food blog 84th&3rd  accompanied her recipe for July 4, 2012.

The 11/18/14 farm share for Glade Road Growing is slated to include cabbage, kohlrabi, purple carrots, celery and tetsukabuto squash.

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Although purple carrots are now more exotic than their orange counterparts, they were actually the norm originally cultivated around Afghanistan with its pigment based on anthocyanins also found in berries.  Since the pigment turns brown upon cooking, I thought I'd feature this recipe which unlike some others, preserves the original color. While JJ makes her version with a spelt crust and uses apple sauce and almond milk, mine uses an almond crust and whole almonds and apples in the filling.

To prepare the almonds:

Blanch 1/2 cup of almonds and remove skins.  Soak overnight.

to make the crust:

The night before you're going to bake the tarts, mix together 2 cups of blanched almond flour, 1/2 tsp sea salt. Cut in 2 TB extra virgin coconut oil, butter or extra virgin olive oil.  Stir in 1 beaten egg.  Divide into six balls and press into tart pans, starting at the center.  Refrigerate, which will allow the fat to congeal.

To make the filling:

1  Wash 1/2 pound of carrots and cut in half  vertically and then into 1  inch pieces.  Wash two apples and core and cut into eights.  Steam carrots and apples  approximately 10-15 minutes until very soft.

2.  Puree carrots, apples and almongs in blender with with 3/4 cups of water  until smooth.  You will use 4 cups of the mixture for this recipe.

3.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

4.  Lightly beat 3 large eggs and whisk together puree and the following:
1 tsp ginger
1/3 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 TB honey

Assemble and bake:

Fill tarts and put any extra in a greased shallow dish.  Bake tarts and side dish until center barely jiggles, about 30 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream or a bit of vanilla ice cream, gelato or sorbet..


11/13/14

De Nile Ain't Just a River


Photo of Tommy Davis lost his son Cory along with a brother and nephew at Upper Big Branch by Chris Lawrence to accompany his 4/2/14 story, "Upper Big Branch families want Blankenship prosecuted."

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Former Massey CEO Don Blankenship is  "a "tireless advocate for mine safety."

In what alternative universe would folks believe such a description by his attorney William W. Taylor IIIThe science fiction version of the coal industry arrived today in response to today's federal indictment regarding the Upper Big Branch (UBB) explosion that killed 29 miners back in 2010. Blankenship's  record is so egregious (and personality so defiant) that West Virginia native and national journalist and editor Michael Tomasky called him "the coal industry's most gleefully Dickensian figure" back in 2009 and Jeff Goodell described him after UBB as the "Dark Lord of Coal Country" and "the industry's dirtiest CEO."

Ever since the disaster, there have been calls to prosecute Blankenship including a demonstration by some of the family members on the courthouse steps back on April 2, 2014.  Those relatives got some manner of satisfaction today, when U.S. District Attorney Booth Goodwin issued a statement  that Blankenship faces up to 31 years in prison if convicted.

Back in 2010, Pam Napper told the story of her son Joshua's premonition that a disaster  would kill him, but still said the explosion was a "freak accident."  After all the investigations and today's indictment, she has changed her viewpoint about Blankenship.

I think it's about time...He was a big part of this. He knew what was going on in that mine and continued to let it go. I hope he gets what he deserves. I am so excited. They aren't sad tears today. They're happy tears.
Goodwin announced early on that he would not prosecute Alpha Natural Resources (the coal company which bought Massey), saying the corporation was "not a life, it's not a being, it can't go to jail." At the same time, he stressed that he would continue to pursue the evidence. My first thought today, When I received his statement via email was Goodwin has made good on his word.

The charges

Blankenship stands accused of four charges: two counts of conspiracy (to violate mandatory federal mine safety and health standards and to impede federal mine safety officials), one count of  making false statements to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission  and another of committing securities fraud, the latter two stemming from Massey's "willful violation of safety laws" at  UBB:


Blankenship knew that UBB was committing hundreds of safety-law violations every year and that he had the ability to prevent most of the violations that UBB was committing. Yet he fostered and participated in an understanding that perpetuated UBB’s practice of routine safety violations, in order to produce more coal, avoid the costs of following safety laws, and make more money.
The denials are nothing new, just creative lawyering


Taylor's responsed in a similar vein, when David Hughart, president of a Massey Energy subsidiary, admitted he had conspired with the chief executive officer when he pled guilty to two conspiracy counts before a federal judge in Beckley and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
Blankenship "did not conspire with anybody to do anything illegal or improper....
To the contrary, Don took every step to make the mines under his responsibility safer....We are not concerned about Mr. Hughart's recollections. People often remember untrue things when they are attempting to reduce a possible prison sentence.
Hughart didn't mention Blankenship by name, but Massey only had one CEO and Taylor links to the news story that includes the denial at his website.

Taylor also    brags on that website that he is "well-known for his creative motions practice" and that he "[o]btained dismissal of all criminal charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who was accused of sexual assault in a New York City hotel.

Blankenship would rewrite history

Taylor's denials are of  a piece with Blankenship's "documentary," Upper Big Branch, Never Again, claims UBB was caused by a "natural gas inundation," not his safety-law violations.  In July, Blankenship was complaining to Lee Fang about "reg-cecession...a recession caused by excessive regulation.”

As Ken Ward, Jr. pointed out back in 2011, it's hard enough to go after coal companies and their executives.  Can you imagine the pillage in the alternate universe where we do away with such regulations as exist?  I'd prefer a universe where the regulations are strengthened and enforced.  How about you?  Goodwin's prosecution of Blankenship is at least one step in that direction.

11/10/14

52 Books in 52 Weeks: Revival by Stephen King

Robin McCormack's book challenge continues. (Reports are due every Sunday.)



Stephen King, Revival,  Scribner, 416 pages, November 11, 2014, ISBN 9781476770383.

Tsimmes


Photo is a screenshot from this video on the Food Network.



The November 11 farmshare from Glade Road Growing is slated to include  sweet potatoes, roasting radish, rutabaga, turnips, fennel, and napa cabbage.  Sally asked for something for folks who don't much like turnips.

I'm guessing some find the taste too sharp when they're raw; roasting will make them taste milder.  You can make them milder yet, if you cook them with veggies with more natural sugar, such as this week's sweet potatoes and/or carrots, onions and beets.  You can even add a bit of honey or sugar and/or dried fruit.

All this brings me to a recipe from the Jewish tradition, tsimmes, which is a sweetened combination of vegetables (or of meat and vegetables), which has been stewed, roasted  or baked.  Joan Nathan has a bunch of great recipes, which inspired mine for this week.

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Serves 8

1.  Wash and halve, a sweet potato, roasting radish and  rutabaga.  Wash, and trim turnips and fennel of root end and any greens.  (Reserve the greens for another use.)

2.   Peel and halve 2 onions.  I also like to use 2 tart apples, 4 carrots,  and one beet.

3.  Roast (cut side up, if applicable) for half an hour at 450 degrees F in convection oven or or wrapped in aluminum foil on a cookie sheet in a conventional oven.

4.  Cool enough to handle and remove skin from sweet potatoes, radish, rutabaga and turnips.  Chop all the veggies and apples into large pieces.  Boil 2 cups of water with 2 TB honey or demerara sugar.  Add roasted veggies and apples and return to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Stir in 2 TB of orange juice concentrate and 1 TB of butter or extra virgin olive oil  and cook until softened and the flavors combine.

5.  Serve warm, topped with toasted walnuts.

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Or if you like turnips just fine raw, you can make a nice shaved salad of the turnips, fennel, radish, carrots and nappa cabbage.