Galway Kinnell: Bearer of Witness

Photo accompanied Emilie Stigliani's story.

Glenn Russell of Burlington Free Press caught Vermont's poet laureate Galway Kinnell as he hugged his son Fergus at the end a celebration of Kinnell's work at the statehouse in Montpelier August 7, 2014. He died yesterday at his home in Sheffield at 87.

Kinnell bore witness through his poems and his actions, supporting the peace movement, freedom of expression, the environment and civil rights.


Spiced Roasted Winter Squash and Fennel

Photo by Lisa Hubbard for the October 2004 Bon Appetit

The October 28 farm share for Glade Road Growing is slated to include butternut squash, spinach, arugula, green peppers and fennel.

The following recipe can be served as a side with chicken  or turned into a main dish by the addition of  2 cups of cooked garbanzo beans.  It can be served on a bed of cooked rice or chilled and served on a bed of mixed greens such as the spinach and arugula.

Fennel is also delicious raw sliced thinly in a salad, such as this one from the summer, but substituting fall fruits such as pears and apples for the peaches and tomatoes


Serves 4

1.  Prepare veggies for roasting by cutting butternut squash in half lengthwise and brushing the  cut edge with extra virgin olive oil. Trim one fennel bulb, cut in half lengthwise and brush the cut edge ith extra virgin olive oil.  Peel one large onion and trim root end, but leave connected and cut lengthwise in half and brush with extra virgin olive oil. Smash and peel 4 or more cloves of fresh garlic.

 2.  Roast squash, fennel, onion and garlic in convection on a rack or conventional oven on a baking sheet at 450 degrees F until softened and fragrant about half an hour. Let cool enough to be able to handle. Peel squash and scoop out seeds and cut lengthwise into 3/4 inch-wide wedges.  Cut fennel lengthwise into 1-inch-wide wedges.  Cut onion into 1/2 inch wedges.

3. Combine squash, fennel, onion and garlic in bowl.  Add 2 TB extra virgin olive oil and toss to coat.

4.  In a small bowl blend the following spices:

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

5.  Sprinkle spice mixture over veggies and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.  Continue cooking in cast iron skillet or heavy saucepan on stove until veggies are tender, turning once, about 10 minutes. 

6.  Transfer to a shallow dish and serve.


52 Books in 52 Weeks: Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood and The Children's Act by Ian McEwan

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

Stone Mattress: Nine Tales by Margaret Atwood, Nan A. Talese, 288 pages, September 16, 2014,
ISBN 978-0385539128

The Children Act by Ian McEwan,
Nan A. Talese, 240 pages, September 9, 2014, ISBN 978-0385539708


Quick Napa Kimchi

Photo accompanied Christine Gallary's recipe for kimchi when she was food editor in the test kitchen at Chow.  She is  now the Food and Cooking Editor at The Kitchn.


The 10/21/14 farm share from Glade Road Growing is slated to include napa cabbage, head lettuce, daikon or watermelon radish, hot and green sweet peppers,cilantro and carrots.  Sally asked if I could provide a kimchi recipe. Kimchi is a condiment of fermented vegetables seasoned with ginger, garlic, chile, and fresh or preserved seafood. Traditionally it was made in large quantities and buried to ferment for at least several months.

This  same-day version, even quicker than Gallary's, is adapted from Lilian Chou's recipe from when she was an editor at the late, great Gourmet.  Like Gallary, Chou uses fish sauce to deepen the flavor quickly. I like her recipe for her use sesame seeds, as well as grated Asian pear instead of sugar.  If you want a hotter version, instead of the pear you can follow Gallary's lead and use 1 1/2 teaspoons demerara sugar and 1/2 pound of the daikon radish, peeled and cut into 2-inch matchsticks. 

This recipe will make about 2 quarts.  You can keep your kimchi in the fridge in lidded mason jar(s) and  it will grow stronger as it ages. If you are going to age it for at least several days to a week, you can follow Gallary's lead and add 2 teaspoons Korean salted fish for a more authentic flavor.


1.  Quarter the napa cabbage lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 2-to 3-inch pieces. Toss it with 3 tablespoons sea salt in a large bowl and let it stand, tossing occasionally, for 2 hours.  Rinse well and drain.  Squeeze out excess water with your hands and transfer to a large bowl.

2.  Toast 3 TB of sesame seeds in a lightly oiled cast skillet until they start to pop and remove from heat.

3.  Chop one bunch of scallions enough to make one cup.

4.  Smash, peel and chop 6 cloves of fresh garlic or enough to make 2 TB.  Peel fresh ginger root and chop enough to make 1 TB (or more up to 1/4 c.)  Purée until smooth with 2 TB Asian fish sauce and 2 tsp of distilled white vinegar.  Pour over cabbage. Add sesame seeds, scallions and 2-3 TB coarse Korean hot red-pepper flakes and toss.

5.  Cut one large Asian pear in half and remove stem, core and seeds.  Grate on large holes of a box grater, add to cabbage and toss.

6.  Marinate at least an hour.

There are many kinds of kimchi, as oulined in this brochure from a museum devoted to the condiment in Korea.    Here are some family recipes by Korean-born  Emily Kim who lives in Manhattan and posts under the moniker Maangchi — hammer in Korean — a name she used while playing the online game "City of Heroes."


If you'd like a milder recipe that uses the carrots, cabbage, cilantro and red peppers, you can make a slaw from the napa, inspired by either of these recipes from last year:
Or if you like Salvadorian food, the carrots and cabbage are delicious in curtido (pictured below), a pickled slaw served with pupusas.  You can find recipes for both here.


52 Books in 52 Weeks

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

The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories by Hilary Mantel, Henry Holt & Co., 256 pp (ISBN 978-1627792103, September 14, 2014)

Rachel Caron:  Witness for Nature by Linda Lear Henry Holt & Co., 634 pp (ISBN  978-0805034271, 1997)


Rustic Shallot, Mushroom and Cheese Tart

Photo of Carla Hall's Rustic Tart of Onions and Leeks, which I've adapted since the October 14 farm share from Glade Road Growing includes a first--at least since I've been doing the recipes--shallots!  (Also expect  spaghetti squash, cherry bell salad radishes, a sweet pepper and a green kohlrabi--plus lettuce for those of you who can eat it.) 

And, if you don't feel like baking, think what a nice salad you could make with raw, thinly sliced shallots,  radishes, sweet pepper, kohlrabi and some lightly steamed green beans in a Dijon vinegrette.


Shallots are in the genus Allium, along with the more common onions and garlic. The flavor is similar to an onion, but richer and more potent with a hint of garlic.  When shallots are called for in a recipe, but unavailable, you need to use twice as many onions and maybe a clove of garlic.

There are two types of traditional shallots featured in French cooking, gray (allium oschaninii) and red (allium cepa var. aggregatum), which are grown from bulbs. The original botanical name for red shallots, allium ascalonicum, points to their origins in the Middle East and refers to the Port of Ascalon, in Palestine, which is now known as the Ashkelon seaside resort in Israel.

Then there are Dutch shallots, which can be grown from seed (and despised as inferior by the French--although the botanical guide I looked at also classified them, as are the red shallots as allium cepa var. aggregatum.)  Here's a fascinating account of the shallot wars from the French gardening blog,  L'Atelier Vert.  

And just to make things even more confusing, there is a wild Persian shallot (allium hirtifolium Boiss.)


Serves 4

To make crust:

Cut 2 sticks of unsalted butter into 1/2 inch dice.  In a medium bowl, combine  2 1/4 cups of white whole wheat flour, 1 TB sugar and 1/2 tsp sea salt and stir with a rubber spatula or a fork to combine. Add the butter to the bowl. Rub the cold chunks of butter between your fingertips, smearing the butter into the flour to create small (roughly 1/4-inch) flakes of fat. Form into a ball and flatten into a disk and refrigerate until very cold.

Let the chilled dough sit at room temperature to soften slightly—it should be cold and firm but not rock hard. Depending on how long the dough was chilled, this could take 5 to 20 minutes. When ready to roll, lightly flour parchment paper on a counter and position the rolling pin in the center of the dough disk. Roll away from you toward 12 o’clock, easing the pressure as you near the edge to keep the edge from becoming too thin. Return to the center and roll toward 6 o’clock. Repeat toward 3 and then 9 o’clock, always easing the pressure at the edges and picking up the pin rather than rolling it back to the center until you have a 12-inch round. Slide the parchment paper with the dough on it onto a half sheet pan, cover lightly and put back into fridge.

To prepare shallots and mushrooms:

Peel shallots, cut off root end and cut in half lengthwise.  Drizzle with 1 TB of extra virgin olive oil and roast at 400 degrees F until softened and golden about 30 minutes.   (It will take less time, if you are using a convection oven)

While the shallots are roasting, slice 3/4 pounds of mushrooms to make about 4 cups.  Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushroom juices release and evaporate and the mushrooms start to brown, about five minutes.  Add 1/4 cup dry white wine, bring to a boil and simmer until it evaporates.  Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper  and remove to plate.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

To make cheese mixture:

In a large bowl, stir together until mixed well:
3/4 cup of ricotta or cottage cheese,
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, at room temp
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigano-Reggiano cheese
3 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

To assemble tart:

Take the round of dough out of the fridge and spread the cheese mixture evenly over it, leaving a 2-inch border. Spoon the mushrooms in an even layer over the cheese and top with shallots arranged cut side up.  While it will be a round tart as at the top, the shallots will be arranged more like this:

Fold the border of the dough over the mushrooms, pleating the dough every two inches. Immediately transfer to the oven. Bake until the crust is golden brown - about 25 minutes.  Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.


Here are additional shallot recipes (each of which serves 4) which  I've translated (best as I could) from the official site, Echalote Traditionnelle.

Shallot Vinaigrette
Finely chop 1 or 2 shallots and add them 6 1/2 oz. of wine vinegar in a covered jar and refrigerate overnight.

Shallot Confit 
Melt 2 oz. unsalted butter and 2 oz. salted butter in a heavy pan. Peel 16 Shallots and cut in half lengthwise and saute over low heat with two branches of thyme until shallots are dark golden in color and very soft.  Remove the thyme.  (You can use the butter again, which will be flavored by the shallots and thyme by pouring it through a sieve to remove any debris, then allowing it to cool, pouring it into a covered jar and storing it in the fridge.

This is especially good added to baked chicken [or roasted potatoes] which have been cooked halfway and then coated before finishing  in a sauce made from toasted black sesame seeds cooled and combined with 1.5 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, ½ tablespoon soy sauce and 5 1/2 TB extra virgin olive oil.

Cream of shallot and mushroom soup

Slice 15 shallots and 1  pound of mushrooms into strips and saute in butter or olive oil  over low heat, for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper.  In a saucepan, heat 7 cups of stock.  Add the shallots and mushrooms and 1 cup of cream and blend.  The original recipe called for garnishing with smoked duck and croutons, but you can pick a garnish of your choice or none. 


Wondering what to do with kohlrabi? Here are two previous recipes:


52 Books in 52 Weeks: Linda Parson Marion's Motherland

Cover art by Rachel Travis for  Linda Parson Marion's Motherland (Iris Press, 2008, 96 pp).  I first published this post on 10/12/14 at 11:00 PM.  I last updated it on 7:05 PM on 10/18/14.

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

This week I read Linda Parson Marion's Motherland, her narrative poems about leaving at the age of 11 from the home of her bi-polar mother (not to be diagnosed until age 73) to join her father and her young stepmother (who had married her father at age 20) and of subsequent visits back and forth. 

The images (and the story) are riveting.

UPDATE:  I reconnect with Linda on Facebook on 10/18, having last seen her (and met her) at a reading at  Radford University in June 2011.  I had just found this piece from last month (with additional artwork by Travis, who, it turns out is her daughter).  I wrote to let Marion know that I'd be doing a real review once I caught up, but that I wanted to let her know about this post and that her book was "a real lesson in how to write about hard things." 

This was her response, which she gave me permission to reprint here, since I think it gives insight in the writing process:

I like that, Beth, a lesson in how to write about hard things. The challenge is always to craft the raw emotion and memory into a semblance of art, to distance yourself enough from the pain or horror, yet not lose the truth and depth of the experience so that it becomes as much universal as personal.


Salad of Shredded Pears, Watermelon Radishes and Hakurei Turnips Served with Asian Dressing and Greens

This photo accompanied a  Sanura Weathers recipe in Frugavore. Check out her blog, My Life Runs on Food (at the link for her name) for more of her creations. Weathers used kohlrabi and a balsamic vinaigrette, but I adopted the recipe for a more Asian flavor, using the October 7 farm share from Glade Road Growing, which is slated to include: tat soi, bok choy, a watermelon roasting radish, cilantro, red onion, salad turnips, and arugula.

Weathers and I both like to combine something sweet such as pears with  the sharp taste of greens like arugula (last year's recipe) and brassica root crops such as turnips and radishes.  If you find the turnips and radishes too sharp for your taste when raw, you can make them milder by lightly sauteing with the onion and letting them cool before adding to the dressing.

1.  Wash tatsoi, bok choy, arugula, and cilantro and dry using a salad spinner or by setting in a colander lined with a clean kitchen towel.   Remove the cilantro from its stems and reserve stems for another use, such as a vegetable broth or pesto.  If arugula is mature, wilt in a lightly oiled skillet and set aside to cool.

2.  Smash, peel and mince a couple of cloves of garlic.  Peel and finely mince fresh ginger root to make 1/2 TB.  Combine in a covered jar with the juice of one lime, 2 TB of extra virgin olive oil, 1 TB of miso,  a dash of freshly ground black pepper, a small pinch of crushed red pepper

3.  Separate turnips from greens, reserve greens for another use. Trim root end.  Peel red onion and discard peel or save for making a vegetable broth. Cut in half and reserve one half for another use.  Trim ends from watermelon radish and peel. (If the greens are included separate and reserve as you did for the turnips.) Peel one under ripe bosc pear, trim ends, cut vertically in half and use spoon or melon baller to remove tough center and seeds.  Using a box grater, coarsely grate the turnips, onion, radish and pear into a large bowl.

4.  Lightly toss the grated salad and dressing. Let marinate for at least an hour at room temperature.
Toss again before serving.

5.  Prepare a bed of shredded tatsoi and/or bok choy either on a large platter or in individual bowls.  Top with grated salad and garnish with arugula and cilantro.  If you like, you can also top with  crumbled goat, feta or blue cheese and nuts such as walnuts, pecans or almonds.

Tatsoi is one of my favorite greens. You can use just the bok choy for this salad and save the tatsoi to make my tempeh recipe from last year.  The tatsoi would also be nice in a salad with clementines, bell pepper, red onion and almonds in a dijon vinaigrette, similar to the one shown in this photo from Shabnam Arora Afsah's Flavor n' Spice blog post:

Or, Martha Stewart has a nice recipe for poached sweet potatoes and tofu with tatsoi  photographed by one of my favorites, Romulo Yanes.


52 Books in 52 Weeks: Howard Reich, Naomi Shihab Nye, Christopher Green, Jeff Daniel Marion

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

Howard Reich will be at Virginia Tech Newman library Monday to discuss his book and the resulting documentary (which shows at the Lyric on Tuesday.

Other books I read this week:

Naomi Shihab Nye:  Transfer (poems):

Christopher Green:  The Headmasters Wife (literary novel)

Jeff Daniel Marion: Father (poems)