Teflon Tuesdays

The cartoon "Moral Mondays" by Kevin Siers (twitter, website) appeared July 30, 2013 in The Charlotte Observer.  


On "Moral Mondays"  North Carolina citizens protest legislation from the newly Republican-controlled state government:  cuts to education funding, restrictions on abortion and voting  and more--a total of 50 laws take effect tomorrow according to the AP's Gary Robertson (twitter).  The protests, which started in April failed to move the legislature or governor.

September 23, the 19th protest took place in small- town Yadkinville--which although a county seat, has fewer than 3,000 citizens.  This photo is by Lauren Carroll (twitter) accompanied John Hinton's  (twitter) report on the protest for the Winston-Salem Journal.

Ironically, Civitas,  a conservative think tank criticized for collecting data on the protesters for possible harassment has refuted the Governor's claims of outside agitators.  Of course, the analysis was based only on those arrested. It has, however, criticized the organizing umbrella and its groups with receiving public funding:

Wilted Arugula Salad with Pears and Cheese

Photo from  The Kitchn, an online daily.

Sally tells me that the October 1, 2013 farm share will include Greenstar Arugula (larger leaves), bok choy, sweet peppers, salad turnips, cinnamon basil and beets with greens.

The cinnamon basil (also known as Vietnamese basil, Saigon basil or húng quế) contains cinnamate, the same chemical that gives cinnamon its flavor.  It's good  in hot drinks and with fruits or used in Asian soups, salads and stir fried dishes. 

Arugula is a dark green with a spiky leaf and a peppery mustard flavor.  It's traditionally found in Mediterranean cuisine.  Younger, smaller arugula leaves are milder and less bitter. The larger leaves are better wilted and served with and acid and  cheese to cut the sharpness. If they are too strong for your taste you can combine with other milder greens. It's good served with a variety of fruits and berries or with roasted beets.

Other names include Rockette, Rocket, Gargeer,  Roka, Roquette, Rucola and Rugula, 

Serves 4

8 large handfuls of arugula rinsed in cold water and patted or spun dry (about 1 1/2 #)
4 fresh garlic cloves thinly sliced 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
2  ripe pears
4 ounces of soft blue cheese (shown) or feta or chèvre or shaved Asiago, if you prefer

Heat oil a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is fragrant but not browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Add arugula; cook, stirring constantly, until slightly wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Add vinegar; cook, stirring constantly, until most of the vinegar has evaporated, about 1 minute. Stir in salt; season with pepper. Serve immediately. Arrange on four plates. Slice the pear thinly and lay over the arugula, then crumble the cheese over.

If you'd like, before wilting the arugula you can also saute one red pepper seeded and  cut in strips. For a main course, you can also toss in 2 cups of cooked garbanzo or navy beans or 1/2 cup of pecans, walnuts or sliced almonds.


Marissa Alexander Gets New Trial!

Photo of Marissa Alexander by Lincoln B. Alexander, her former husband (and supporter.)  I originally published this post on 9/27/13 at 6:51 p.m. and most recently updated it at 7:50 p.m. on 9/28/13 to include information on further media coverage and art and activism on Alexander's behalf.


Gary Fineout (twitter) reports that the appeals court has ordered a new trial  for  Alexander in his on September 26, 2013 AP story, "Fla. woman who fired gun at husband gets new trial." Here's the ruling written by Judge Robert Benton.  (H/T Aura Bogado (email, twitter, bio) of Colorlines.)

Last year Marissa Alexander, a woman with no record, got 20 years after being convicted of firing a single warning shot during an domestic dispute with her abusive ex-husband.  No one was hurt. Compare that with Zimmerman in the case of Travon Martin's death. (See my blog post of May 19, 2012, "Marissa Alexander: Inequal Use of Gun Laws in FL.") 

Other media coverage

Irin Carmon (twitter) has written a good summary of the trial and the new court order for MSNBC.

Benton's ruling specifies errors in jury instructions about self-defense, but prohibits use of Florida's Stand Your Ground defense.  Alexander’s appeal attorney, Bruce Zimet told Cyd Hoskinson of WJCTpublic broadcasting, 
We’re gonna go in front of the judge and make the motion to allow Marissa to be free on bail before her trial.  She’s now presumed to be innocent and that presumption will stay with her all the way through the case.
Prosecutors with the state attorney’s office have said they want Alexander to remain behind bars until her new trial.  Corey, the prosecutor in both this case and Zimmerman's has maintained in the past that the evidence refutes Alexander's testimony.

Lest you think this is purely a liberal cause, "moderately conservative" attorney Aaron Laramore (twitter, (LinkedIn), a program officer with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation lays out his reading of the evidence and why he supports Alexander.  While his entry is undated, Black Conservative linked to Laramore's post on July 17, 2013.

Art and  activism on behalf of Alexander

Here's a poster  uploaded July 24, 2013  by Dignidad Rebelde (website), a graphic arts collaboration between Oakland-based artist-activists Jesus Barraza (bio) and Melanie Cervantes (bio). 

September 14, Alexander's 33rd birthday, supporters held  rallies throughout the country  calling for her freedom  (facebook page, facebook event, map). Chicago's Project NIA (website, twitter) held a teach-in and posted the curriculum September 26.  (In Swahili, NIA means "with purpose." Ultimately, the main purpose for Project NIA is to prepare communities to get involved in creating an effective strategy to address violence and crime.)

 Here's the poster from Philly:
And here's a poster by A.N.S.W.E.R. organizer Autumn Morales (twitter, facebook), which she posted at tumblr on September 8.

Members of WORD (Women Organized to Resist and Defend--website, fb page) are among those calling  for Alexander's immediate release after the court ruling.  The Washington DC chapter plans a Speak-Out at noon on October 5 at Tivoli Square.


Studio Swine's "Can City"

Screen shot from the short film Can City by Dutch filmmaker Juriaan Booji, now based in London. (website).


Studio Swine (Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Exploration--website ) is a collaboration between Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves. Here's how they describe their  "Can City" project from Behance, a platform to share creative work with fellow-artists and with the public.

Studio Swine has made a mobile foundry that smelts aluminum cans using waste vegetable oil collected from local cafes as a fuel. Waste collectors known as Catadores mine the streets for materials to produce a furniture series with vernacular aesthetic, providing a portrait of the streets.

The Can Stools are made simply with sand casting technique using readily available construction sand from local building sites, and by casting an assemblage of objects found on the streets. The furnace and the tools are made with salvaged materials and a scrap beer barrel.

Can City suggests a future possibility where Catadores (waste collectors) can adopt this system to make use of free metal and free fuel to produce an infinite range of individually crafted aluminum items.

According to  architect and sociologist Teodora Zapartan (twitter), writing at Inspiratonist, Studio Swine emphasizes not only sustainability, but aesthetics, believing that "desire is the greatest agent of change."

Photo from Behance.

According to Eoghan Macguire and Sofia Fernandes writing for CNN, Business Commitment for Recycling (CEMPRE) estimated in 2010 that there were roughly one million catadores in Brazil
Many are the formerly homeless, ex-convicts or individuals who have stumbled upon hard times, selling what they find to recycling companies.

Waste Land (movie website) told the story of Brazilian-born artist Vik Muniz’s collaboration with catadores who mined the world's largest dump outside Rio.  "Can City" is the next installment of collaboration.  Any artists in our region want to start up a similar project for economic development in Appalachia?


Lentil and Cabbage Borscht

Photo by Alea (no last name provided) accompanied her post on AllRecipes.com


Glade Road Growing's farm share for September 24 is expected to include cabbage, Greenstar organic lettuce mix, garlic, delicata winter squash, and spinach. 

Most Southern mountaineers and many who call Appalachia our adopted home love our cole slaw.  There's even a slaw line, similar to the kudzu line or the sweet tea line.  Here, though, is a cabbage recipe that might be new to you.

This sweet and sour cabbage soup uses many of the same ingredients as my (late) mother's  stuffed cabbage rolls.  While retaining the flavors of one of my favorite comfort foods, it's much less labor intensive, since you don't have to painstakingly pull off all the leaves, keeping them whole and undamaged--which usually requires multiple steamings.  Nor, do you have to worry about the rolls falling apart.  

I've replaced the rice with potatoes, so that you won't have to stir the soup frequently to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. And to make this recipe attractive to vegans and vegetarians, I've substituted lentils for ground beef. 

If you prefer a meat-based soup, I'd suggest 1 and 1/2 pounds of chuck roast or short ribs, which you would brown in an iron skillet or dutch oven, before adding to the soup.  You will have to cook longer until it is tender (maybe an hour) and can add the tomatoes and tomato paste right away, as they tenderize the meat, while, paradoxically, they have the opposite effect on beans and keep them from getting tender.  If you want to make this with both meat and lentils, therefore, cook the lentils separately for 10-20 minutes until tender and add last.


Serves 6

The night before or at least 1 hour before you make this soup or bring a generous cup of dried lentils to boil in at least 2 cups of unsalted water.  Turn down heat, cover  and simmer for 5 minutes.  Skim any foam and leave to cool and soak until lentils at least double in volume.  Drain and rinse until water runs clear. (This method not only  softens lentils, shortening the cooking time, but makes them easier to digest.  You can also use this method to cook dried beans and split peas.)

Wash cabbage and trim bottom, any discolored leaves.  Quarter head.  Depending on the size of the head, you may need to use 1/2 to 3/4 to yield 2 cups of chopped cabbage.  You can store the rest for another use (such as slaw!) in an airtight container in the main part of the refrigerator, or in a plastic bag in the crisper.  For each quarter that you use, cut out the core and chop coarsely.  Then thinly slice the leaf section.

Cut 1 or 2 bell peppers in half, depending on size.  Remove stem and seeds and slice in strips to make 2 cups.

Thinly slice 1 medium sized onion or equivalent sufficient to make 1 cup.

Thinly slice 3 stalks of celery or equivalent to make 1 cup.

Scrub and cube 1/2 lb of potatoes.  (I prefer Yukon gold or red potatoes.  White potatoes are fine, too.  I'd avoid baking potatoes such as russets as they don't hold up well in soups.)

Smash, peel and mince 3 or more garlic cloves.

Chop 2 cups of vine-ripened tomatoes.  If unavailable, you can substitute a can of diced tomatoes.

Put soaked lentils (which will measure about 3 cups by the time they cook)  in the bottom of a 3 quart or larger stainless steel pot with an inset steamer and cover with 3 cups of water. Add 2 bay leaves  and pepper.  Bring to boil and steam cabbage until translucent and add to bottom of pot. Steam potatoes for ten minutes or until tender and remove to a plate.

While the cabbage and potatoes are steaming you can start sauteing the onions and garlic, then the green peppers and finally the celery and add to pot.  Once the lentils are tender, add tomatoes, up to one small can of tomato paste (to taste), 1/4 cup or more of brown sugar and salt to taste.  You want this to be sweet and sour.  If the tomatoes aren't tart enough you can adjust this component with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. 

Serve in bowls, topped with cooked potatoes and with yogurt.  For vegan version, you can find a tofu "sour cream" here


Nathan Salsburg and Nathan Bowles at Trad in the Attic

Photo of Nathan Salsburg, while at a 2012 residency at Space Gallery in  Portland, ME accompanied an  interview by Nat May (email), Executive Director of the gallery.


Nathan Salsburg (blog), of Louisville, KY, curates the  Alan Lomax's archives for The Association for Cultural Equity.  He was in Blacksburg September 23 to perform most of the songs on his  his second album "Hard to Win and Can't Be Won" at Trad in the Attic in Blacksburg.

The album contains, in addition to  one sung ballad,  "Coll Mackenzie," written by Archie Fisher, eight of Salsburg's guitar instrumentals:

First Field Path
Mrs. Gristles Reel
Paraffin Turpentine
Dog At Bay
Chief Wants
To Welcome the Travelers Home
What Can't Be Won

Salsburg set up playing "Coll Mackenzie," by saying he had learned the tune in the traditional way for music to be passed down from earlier generations in the 21st century --YouTube.  Salsburg had written Fisher for the lyrics and gained his permission to record it.

Salsburg also played  others' music including Norman Blake's "Whiskey Deaf and Whiskey Blind" with  his friend Nathan Bowles of The Black Twig Pickers sitting in on banjo.

Afterwards, Salsburg screened clips from the Lomax archive.  You can find many of the videos (but not the bawdiest, evidently) on YouTube.  For instance, here's a screen shot of the video of  Tommy Jarrell playing "Breaking Up Christmas" in 1983:


Linda Ronstadt and her Simple Dreams

Photo Linda Ronstadt taken 9/17/13 by Amy Sussman (website, email) accompanied John Carucci's 9/20/13 story, "Linda Ronstadt confronts Parkinson's disease."


Simon and Schuster released Linda Ronstadt's memoir, Simple Dreams on September 17, 2013. The title echos her 1990 album of the same title, which included covers of Buddy Holly's "It's So Easy," Roy Orbison's "Blue Bayou," the traditional "I Never Will Marry," the Rolling Stones' "Tumbling Dice" and Warren Zevon's "Carmelita" and "Poor Poor Pitiful Me." The title, I'm guessing comes from a song on that album, J. D. Souther's "Simple Man, Simple Dream.

In the course of promoting her book, Ronstadt appeared on Fresh Air September 17. She talked about how she had already stopped performing before she received the diagnosis which explained why she was having more and more trouble controlling her singing voice:  Parkinson's disease.

So I was surprised,  when a friend told me at the Richard Thompson concert at the Lyric Friday night that she saw Linda Ronstadt was on Letterman recently, even after her diagnosis of Parkinson's--singing with Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton.  Does anyone know about a link?

I'm wondering, if instead, it were a re-broadcast of this performance of Neil Young's "After the Goldrush" from their album Trio II (recorded in 1994, but released  in 1999).  According to Nashville Business Journal, the three promoted their album on Letterman March 24 of that year.

The reason I'm guessing it was a re-broadcast is because most Letterman appearances are associated with new releases.  For instance, Harris is currently promoting an album with Rodney Crowell (not Parton and Ronstadt)  and appeared earlier this year with Crowell on Letterman.  (Harris is now on a concert tour with Crowell, which includes  some performances  with Richard Thompson...)

For those of you who enjoyed the Fresh Air Interview, you might enjoy this one from earlier this year at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco.


Tempeh and Tatsoi

This photo is from the recipe blog of Joan E. Marrero (email), CSA Director for J. R. Organics in Escondido, CA 85 acres under organic cultivation by  Joe Rodriguez, Jr.

For the September 17th delivery, Glade Road Growing expects to include tatsoi, broccoli, bell pepper, onions, cilantro, and summer squash.  YUM!  If you don't know, tatsoi is an Asian green, also known as Spinach mustard, Spoon mustard, or Rosette bok choy, but it's a bit more delicate than regular bok choy and works really well in recipes calling for wilted greens.  You can also eat it raw as a salad green.  Here's a recipe you can try.


Serves 4

Cut one package (8 ounces) of tempeh into strips.  If you prefer, you can use a package of tofu cut into 1/4 " cubes, or 2 cups of cooked chicken or cooked beans (or a combination of chicken and beans.)

Wash tatsoi and dry on a clean kitchen towel.

Unless you already have some from a prior time, toast 1 TB or more of sesame seeds in a cast iron skillet until they just pop.  You can store any extra in a glass spice  jar after they cool.

Smash, peel and mince 2 fresh garlic cloves and 1 TB fresh ginger root.  In a small bowl, make a slurry of   1 1/2 tsp of corn starch and an equal amount of water.  In the bowl whisk together the garlic and ginger and slurry with:
1 TB miso
1 TB brown sugar
1 TB lime juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

In a cast iron skillet, heated and lightly coated with extra virgin olive oil, saute tempeh or tofu over medium heat for 5-7 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Remove from skillet. Re-coat skillet with oil and add tatsoi; once wilted, add sauce. Reduce heat to low and cook just until sauce slightly thickens.

This is cook served over cooked brown rice or Japanese soba noodles mixed with chopped cilantro or parsley. Divide greens on plates. Top with tempeh or tofu. Drizzle with remaining sauce, and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve immediately.

If you are making this recipe with cooked chicken or beans, fold them in as sauce thickens and cook until warmed through.


Moroccan Squash and Eggplant Stew

Photo by Kana Okada for Epicurious (website)

The September 10 farm share for Glade Road Growing is slated to include Salad turnips, Greenstar organic salad mix, eggplant, garlic, delicata winter squash, and a poblano (a mild chilli pepper.)  Here's a recipe to try.


Yield: 6 servings

Coarsely chop  3 cups of onions.
Crush and finely chop two cloves garlic.
Finely chop 1/2 TB of fresh ginger
Slice 2 cups of carrots (about 1/4 #)

Cube 3 cups of delicata squash.  To do this,  run the squash under warm water and scrub away dirt with your hands. If there are any hard spots on the squash, you can scrape them off with a butter knife.  With a sharp knife, cut delicata in half lengthwise. This should be easy; the squash is more tender than butternut and just as sweet.  With a spoon scoop out the seeds and discard or save and  prepare like pumpkin seeds.  Cut each delicata half into 1/2 inch segments and peel, creating moon-shaped pieces that have slight bumps around the curve.

Cube 3 cups of eggplant (about 1 #)
Slice poblano or sweet pepper in strips.
Slice 2 cups of summer squash (about 1/2 #) (optional)
Chop 2 large vine ripened tomatoes or equivalent (about 2 cups--you can used diced canned when not in season)

Measure out these spices:
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamon
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes if you are using a sweet pepper, rather than the poblano
1/2 tsp paprika (optional)

Chop 1/2 cup cilantro or mint.
Thinly slice 1/2 cups of whole raw almonds

If you have a dutch over, you can use one pot or you can saute in a cast iron skillet and transfer to a stainless steel pot (at least 3 quarts in size) for cooking.

Saute onions in extra virgin olive oil for 2-3 minutes until translucent.  Add garlic and spices, stirring continuously. Saute the vegetables in the order given, so that the starchier ones will cook the longest.  Cook until the color deepens.  Stir in 3 cups of cooked, rinsed and drained garbanzo beans or 1/ 1/2 beans and 1 1/2 cups diced roasted chicken, along with half a cup of raisins and the almonds.

In dutch oven or large pot combine all ingredients with 1/2 cup of tomato juice or water.  Cover and simmer on low heat until all the veggies are tender.  If you'd like this stew will be good served over cooked couscous, brown rice or quinoa or it can be eaten as just the stew, garnished with cilantro.


Arsenio's back!

Screenshots from Mark Lamont Hill's 9/6/13 interview with Arsenio Hall.


I was a fan of the Arsenio Hall Show the first time around from 1989-1994...Arsenio has serious chops, and not just as a comedian...he's a great an interviewer, as you can see as he talks with Magic Johnson about HIV.  And speaking of chops, take a look at Columbia education professor, activist and journalist  Marc Lamont Hill interview Hall on the new show.  I'm not the biggest fan of HuffPo, especially how it treated its unpaid contributors, but Hill makes it worth it to tune in...

According to Hall's website, first week guests include:
Tonight--Chris Tucker
Tuesday--Ice Cube, Lisa Kudrow  and rapper Mac Miller
Wednesday--Magic Johnson, George Lopez and rapper Nas
Thursday--Mark Harmon, Penn and Teller, Ariana Grande
Friday--Angela Bassett  and trio Emblem3

Hall has opted to sign again with CBS/Paramount so that he will have access to the archive for his original show.  It will air here, however, on Fox at 11 p.m.


Bok Choy Slaw

Photo from Dawn Hutchins (email, bio) from her similar recipe in 2010.

Sally just let me know that the September 3 farm share from Glade Road Growing is slated to include bok choy, summer squash, a pint of salad tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, and basil.  Here's a a lighter alternative to traditional slaw you might enjoy.

Serves 6 as salad or 4 as a main course with the addition of a protein. 2 cups of cooked, chilled beans (white or garbanzo) would be nice.

Finely dice:
1 TB  raw onion
2 cloves of fresh garlic
1 TB fresh ginger

In a jar with a tight lid combine with other ingredients for dressing and shake:
1/4  cup lime juice
1 TB apple juice concentrate
2 tsp ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Store for several hours or overnight to let flavors combine and raw ingredients marinate.  If you are using beans, you can add them to the dressing to make them more flavorful.

Trim and thinly slice a pound of bok choy (about 6 cups)

Trim and thinly slice 1 or 2 sweet peppers, depending on size

Core and thinly slice or shred 1 Granny Smith or other tart, crisp apple and coat with lime juice  to keep from darkening.

Finely chop 3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro and 3 table spoons of green onions.

Toss with dressing to coat.  Drizzle with 1 TB or more toasted sesame oil.  Top with toasted sesame seeds and raw sunflower seeds.  Serve immediately