Easy Creamy Cucumber Salad with Raw Sunflower Seeds

Photomontage from Community Table, Bates Nut Farm and Serious Eats. (I couldn't find a photograph from a similar recipe.)


The June 30 farm share from Glade Road Growing is slated to include kohlrabi, cucumbers, summer squash, basil, kale, and lettuce and baby spinach mix.

I have a friend who likes tzatziki  and didn't have any dill.  And while I rebuild bone and muscle,  I needed to come up with easy, wholesome meals with enough protein.  This was so yummy that I eat it every day, so I thought I'd share it with you this week.

The principle ingredients are cucumbers and plain non-fat yogurt (or plain yogurt of your choice or a vegan tofu "sour cream" which is at the link for tzatziki.  Plus raw sunflower seeds.  Plus green onions.  If you have them, it's nice to add  fresh chopped basil or dill or mint.  If you have a week when there are no cucumbers, it's also excellent with roasted summer squash or beets with potatoes, raw radishes or salad turnips, chopped kale or nappa or just about anything, I think.

Serves 4 as a main course

Combine in a large bowl:

2 cups of chopped cucumbers
4 cups yogurt
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup of green onions (or 1/4 cup of finely chopped onions)
1/2 cup, if available, of finely chopped fresh herbs
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

Stir and refrigerate over night, if you have time, so that the flavors will have time to meld.  It will keep for several days. You can eat this as a main course, as a dressing for your favorite greens or as a dip.


Since we have basil this week, I plan to make pesto hummus, too.

Photo of week 5 share by Michael Sutphin.


Today Only at Blacksburg Farmers' Market: Berries from Talking Hill Farm

Photo of goumi berry (elaeagnus multiflora) by HEN-Magonza on Flickr

Today, at the market, Bill Whipple ((AKA Dr. Barkslip) of  has set up a display of his berries for folks to taste and buy.  He offered at least three kinds of gooseberries, red currants, tart cherries, black cherries, black raspberries, mulberries and one I couldn't identify.

It turned out those were goumi berries, a sweet-tart red fruit (aka gumi, natsugumi, or cherry silverberry), a native of China, Korea and Japan, which he has grafted on to the more common Autumn olive (or maybe Russian olive...I can't remember which)  in the same family.  I read it's  regarded by the USDA as an invasive--that's probably because all of them have the ability to fix nitrogen and thus can grow places where more delicate plants suffer.

Next to the table, he had set out a large branch from a tart cherry tree  in a pail of water, with a sign "pick your own"  sign. I bought a box of mixed berries which included the goumis. He talked about how he lets his trees decide if they're fit for propagation, by whether they thrive without spraying.


 Bill homesteaded his farm in Monroe County near Union, West Virginia starting decades ago and began planting fruit trees as he  pursued a career as a studio furniture maker.  He has furniture on display at Henderson, NC's Silver Fox Gallery and has made traveling violins which he calls wipLstix, pictured at the end of this post.  I'm not sure if he still makes them, as he lists his address on the site as Union, WV, rather than Asheville--I'll have to ask him about the wipLstix when he comes back to Blacksburg with his pears.  That's  how I met him last year, through baker Aaron Grigsby.


If you want to read more about Bill's adventures in horticulture, you can read his blog, where he posted before he started a website for his farm and fruit school.  He has also published on grafting in Permaculture Activist (#87 Weeds to the Rescue, Spring, 2013, "W.E.E.D:  World of Excessive Extracurricular Dendrology") and is one of the founders of the Buncombe Fruit and Nut Club. At one time he was caretaker for the George Washington Carver Edible Park.   In the small world department, it turns out that that park is managed by Bountiful Cities Project, which also manages my friend Randal Phlegar's project, Grass to Greens.

Photo from Bill's site  and three videos from YouTube.

And finally a chin and shoulder rest adaptation from Australia's Animato Strings.


Senators Move to Restore Pre-Clearance in Voters Right Act

Photo by  Heather Rousseau for the Roanoke Times


Rev. Sylvia Ball of Roanoke's Sweet Union Baptist Church (left) and Rev. Leslie Watson Malachi, director of African American Religious Affairs with People for the American Way joined  others in Elmwood park for a three-hour rally calling on Republican House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte, to update (and preserve) the pre-clearance formula of the Voters Right law, struck down two years ago in the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Shelby County v. Holder.

“Hold a hearing, Mr. Chairman,” Brenda Hale, president of the Roanoke Branch NAACP, urged Goodlatte. “You’ll hear the evidence.”

The previous day, Dems Tim Kaine and Mark Warner co-sponsored Patrick Leahy's Senate bill S.1659 seeking to restore the pre-clearance provision. The bill establishes a “rolling” trigger so only states with recent records of discrimination would be targeted and expands the authority of the courts to order that troubled jurisdictions be put under pre-clearance.

Upon its introduction, Senator Leahy explained the rationale for the bill:

Mr. President, this year marks the 50th anniversaries of the March from Selma to Montgomery and the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act. Passage of the Voting Rights Act was the result of the blood, sweat, and tears of so many brave Americans who marched for justice--and the decades-long work of countless other men and women committed to seeing our country live up to its promise of equality and justice for all. Their actions transformed our Nation. On this 50th anniversary year, we pay special tribute to their legacy, but there is still work to be done. Each generation must contribute to the fight for equality. Each of us must answer the call to move this Nation toward a more perfect union.

In the coming weeks there will be continued celebrations of the passage of the original Voting Rights Act. Unfortunately, two years ago, the Supreme Court voted to dismantle a core piece of that vital legislation. In Shelby County v. Holder, five Republican-appointed justices on the Supreme Court drove a stake through the heart of the Voting Rights Act. Under Section 5 of the Act, the Federal government has the authority to examine and prevent racially discriminatory voting changes from being enacted before those changes disenfranchise voters in covered jurisdictions. By striking down the coverage formula that determined which States and jurisdictions were subject to Federal review, the Court effectively gutted Section 5. And in holding that the formula was based on outdated information, the Roberts Court disregarded thousands of pages of testimony and evidence from nearly 20 congressional hearings held when the law was reauthorized in 2006.
Within weeks of the Supreme Court's devastating ruling, Republican governors and State legislatures exploited the Shelby County decision. Several States with a documented history of racial discrimination in voting implemented sweeping laws that disproportionately suppressed the voting rights of minorities, the elderly, and young people.

For example, Texas immediately implemented the most restrictive photo identification law in the country. Although, a Federal judge found the law to be an ``unconstitutional poll tax'' that could disenfranchise up to 600,000 voters and disproportionately impact African Americans and Latinos, the law was allowed to disenfranchise voters this past election.

In North Carolina, the Republican legislature and Republican governor passed a far-reaching bill that restricted its citizens' right to vote. The bill cut early voting down from 17 days to 10 days, eliminated teenagers' ability to preregister before their 18th birthday, and eliminated same day voter registration. It also enacted a strict photo identification requirement, which is currently being challenged in court.
These are just a few of the numerous discriminatory voting restrictions that have been enacted since Shelby County was decided. We cannot sit by as the fundamental right to vote is systematically undermined. We must not retreat from our commitment to civil rights and the great accomplishments we celebrate this year. As my friend Congressman John Lewis has stated, voting ``is the most powerful, nonviolent tool we have to create a more perfect union.''


Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson on the Charleston, SC Terrorism

This photo of the victims was used on a memorial poster.  The original, in color, had accompanied news accounts.

Top row: Cynthia Graham Hurd, 54, manager of St. Andrews Regional Library branch at Charleston County Public Library; Reverand Clementa Pinckney, 41, the senior pastor at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church; Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45,  speech language pathologist at Goose Creek High School, a track coach there and an assistant pastor at the church.

Middle row:  Daniel Simmons Sr., 74, a retired pastor; DePayne Middleton Doctor, 49, an enrollment counselor at Southern Wesleyan University's Charleston Campus; and Tywanza Sanders, 26, a 2014 graduate of Allen University in business administration, who was a poet and rapper.

Bottom row:  Myra (Quarles) Thompson, 59, teacher at  Brentwood Middle School, now known as Meeting Street Elementary School at Brentwood, in North Charleston, during the 1980s and 1990s; Ethel Lance, 70, a retired custodian at Gaillard Municipal Auditorium and sexton at the church; and Susie Jackson, 87, Lance's cousin and Sanders's aunt.

For those wishing to donate, 

Throughout his ministry, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney worked with many non-profit organizations, including the Palmetto Project, to address social and economic challenges facing youth and marginalized communities in South Carolina.  In coordination with the City of Charleston, the Palmetto Project has created this special fund to continue this work in those communities in which Reverend Pinckney served as a pastor. The Fund is guided by an advisory board of his colleagues, friends, and family along with representatives from congregations he served including Emanuel AME Church.

Also, at the request of her family, the library will have a fund to continue Ms. Hurd's work there.

The City of Charleston has also been collecting funds for the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund for the victims' families, with any surplus to go to the church. 


What to say about the killings in Charleston?  I'm heartsick and at a loss, other than to say that this was an act of terrorism.  And so I turn this page over to my friend and community organizer Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson of Chattanooga, who calls on us to respect the local leadership in her post on Facebook, which I'm republishing here with her permission.  Ash is connected to both Concerned Citizens for Justice in that city and Atlanta's Project South.  Both organizations are signatories of  The Movement for Black Lives statement on Charleston.  The picture is her current profile picture on Facebook.  That's her in the center standing behind Margaret Block (oral history pdf), one of the leaders of the Mississippi Freedom Summer.  For another piece by Ash, see her post on fighting mountaintop removal.


I'm feeling some sorta way about folks who aren't from Charleston, some who aren't even in Charleston, encouraging folks to flock to the city, to flock South, for the funerals/memorials.

1) anti-Black racism is everywhere. Including where you live. What you doing on your home turf?

2) the activists and organizers worth their salt are working nearly 24/7 to get folks free in that city. It's where their focus should be (healing from this trauma, taking care of themselves and their community, and fighting like hell to get free), not comforting those of us that aren't most immediately impacted by this tragedy. We're all impacted, sure, but not in the same ways or to the same degree.

3) these communities and, even more, these families deserve to have their moments to collectively grieve without being watched like they're in a reality tv show that they never asked to participate in.

Black tragedy is NOT a tourist attraction. It shouldn't be made into an extractive industry. Don't buy into or perpetuate it.

Things to think about before going:

Did someone from or living in Charleston ask you to come?

Are they connected to and accountable to a crew that supported that invitation?

What can you contribute that will support their local work? What are you leaving behind to increase their capacity to change Charleston for the better?

Can you handle the emotional and physical toll it will take on your body, so as to not burden the local folks who are going through it right now.


Kohlrabi Home Fries

Photo by Andrew Scrivani, the food stylist for The New York Times accompanied Martha Rose Shulman's 3/7/2012 recipe, which was posted as part of her Recipes for Health column.

The expected Glade Road Growing farmshare for the week of June 23 will include beets, collards, summer squash, scallions, and kohlrabi.


If there's not enough kohlrabi to suit your taste, you can augment the serving by making home fries from the (unpeeled) summer squash and, of course, potatoes and sweet potatoes.

1.  Peel the kohlrabi  thoroughly including the thick, hard fibrous layer under the surface, which will not soften when cooked.  If greens are included, they're edible, so reserve and cook like any other kind of turnip greens. Cut kohlrabi into thick sticks, about 1/3 to 1/2 inch wide and about 2 inches long. If you want to can store the kohlrabi sticks in the refrigerator for several hours.

2.   Place 1 tablespoon of whole wheat, chickpea or rice flour in a large bowl, season with salt if desired and quickly toss the kohlrabi sticks in the flour so that they are lightly coated.

3.  Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil (or more if needed) over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet (cast iron is good).  When the oil is rippling, carefully add the kohlrabi to the pan in batches so that the pan isn't crowded. Cook on one side until browned, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then, using tongs, turn the pieces over to brown on the other side for another 2 to 3 minutes. The procedure should take only about 5 minutes if there is enough oil in the pan.

4.  Drain on paper towels, then sprinkle right away with the seasoning of your choice such as chili powder, ground cumin, curry powder or paprika. Serve hot.

Here are some previous recipes for kohlrabi:
Kohlrabi Apple Carrot Slaw
Kohlrabi Fritters with Tzatziki (Greek Cumber Yogurt Dill Sauce)


Robert Gipe's Trampoline

Looking forward to returning to McConnell Library at Radford University tonight to attend Robert Gipe's reading from his illustrated novel, Trampoline (hardcover, 360 pages, Ohio University Press,  3/17/15, ISBN 978-0821421529.)

This reading is part of the Highland Summer Conference.  With more than two hundred drawings throughout the narrative, this debut novel this would be a good addition to the English and Appalachian Studies collection at the Virginia Tech Library, so I submitted a request today.   Gipe is  also a playwright whose work has attracted the attention of the NYT.

Readers here know of many folks in Appalachia, young and old, who equate the fight to save mountains and  to stay in their native home and make life more sustainable with love and survival, rather than its opposite. Gipe sets his story in Kentucky, where his narrator, teenager Dawn Jewell's  father Delbert has died in a coal mines leaves her mother Tricia  a grieving drunk while her grandmother Cora fights to stop mountaintop removal.

The publisher's summary is that  Dawn must decide "whether to save a mountain or save herself; be ruled by love or ruled by anger; remain in the land of her birth or run for her life."   Does Gipe truly view things as a dichotomy or is this Dawn's point of view or is the publisher thinking this is a dramatic "elevator pitch." I've yet to lay my hands on a copy of the book to read it but I'm looking forward to finding out.


Napa Slaw with Garbanzo Beans

Photo by Katie Trant from her blog post on The Muffin Myth

Katie Trant suggested a recipe that I've adapted to my taste by marinating in a dressing and topping with toasted sesame seeds, adding ingredients from Glade Road Growing's farm share for week of June 16 (which is expected to include: sugar snap peas, napa cabbage, summer squash, garlic scapes, and lettuce.


Serves 6

1.  The night  prior or at least two hours before serving, cover one pound of garbanzo beans in cold water and bring to a boil in a heavy bottomed lidded pot..  Rinse on bring to a boil a second time and simmer for 5 minutes and then leave to soak for at least an hour or overnight.  Rinse again , cover with water, boil, then simmer until soft. Rinse in cool water. This will make about 6 cups of beans.  You will use half of them for this salad and reserve the rest in a covered jar in the refrigerator to make hummus.

2.  In a seasoned cast iron skillet toast  at least 2 tablespoons of  raw whole sesame seeds until they brown and start to pop.  If you toast more than you need you can store them in a covered jar in the refrigerator and use to make hummus or as a garnish for salads, soups and entrees.

3. Wash and prep the following vegetables:
    1 head of Napa thinly chopped
    3 medium carrots, grated
    3 stalks of celery thinly cut on the diagonal
    1 bunch garlic scapes thinly sliced
    1/2 #  sugar snap peas  thinly cut  on the diagonal
    1 cup of radishes or salad turnips thinly sliced and then cut into half moons (optional)
    1 tablespoon of ginger root, finely chopped
    1 cup of coarsely chopped cilantro   

4. In the bottom of a large salad or mixing bowl, to make dressing, whisk together with ginger root:
    1 tablespoon of maple syrup or demerara sugar
    1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
    1 tablespoon of miso paste
    1/4 cup of your favorite vinegar
    1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes

5.  Cut   2 lemons or limes cut into wedges for garnish

6.  Add veggies, sesame seeds and garbanzo beans and toss to coat.  Let marinate in refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour to combine flavors.

7.  Divide among six bowls, top with citrus wedges and serve chilled. 

Week 3 share by Michael Sutphin.


Rita Quillan and Robert Gipe Coming to Radford University

Rita Quillen and Robert Gipe will be giving public readings in Radford next week.


Beth Macy's Factory Man is Out in Paper!

Yes friends, Beth​'s Factory Man came out in paper today from Back Bay Books,  Tom​'s made a video and just look who's playing "Old Jack Gillie" (Yep, that would be the Black Twig Pickers from their 2010 album, Ironto Special (review in Pitchfork by Stephen Deusner).


Beet and Feta Burgers

Photo by David Frenkiel, which accompanied Luise Vindahl's recipe at Green Kitchen Stories post for July 22, 2013.


Sally has started posting the Glade Road Growing farm share here and June 9 is slated to include broccoli, rainbow chard, beets, summer squash, scallions, and head lettuce. If you're not going to cook the beets right away, trim the greens as soon as you get your share home and store them separately in a large plastic bag.


Serves 6-8

I've adapted this recipe for the beets and scallions from one of my favorite food blogs, Green Kitchen Stories, based in Stockolm, where David is a photographer/writer and Luise is a nutritional therapist.

1.  Wash beets in two rinses of water.  Trim beet greens and reserve.   Peel beets and discard peels.  Grate 3 cups of the peeled roots on a box grater into a large bowl (or you can use a food processor with the grating blades attached.)

2.  Wash scallions in two rinses of water.  Trim greens  and reserve.  Peel bulbs and grate along with two cloves of peeled garlic.  Peel and finely chop another two cloves of garlic and reserve to cook with the greens.

3.  To the bowl with the beets, onions and garlic add and mix well:

1.5 cups rolled oats
2 eggs
2 TB extra virgin olive oil

4.  Add in 7 ounces of crumbled feta cheese (you can  firm tofu, to make this vegan), a handful of fresh basil, sea salt and fresh-ground black pepper.

5.  Set aside in fridge for at least 30 minutes, so that the oats absorb the liquid and the patties will hold together.

6.  While beet mixture is setting up, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Blanch beet greens for 2 minutes until tender.  Transfer immediately to a bowl of cold water to stop cooking and preserve color, then drain and squeeze the water out from its leaves. Chop coarsely.

7.  Chop onion greens.  Heat 2 TB extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a large, cast iron skillet.. Add the finely chopped garlic and 1/4 tsp hot red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant and translucent, 30 to 60 seconds. Stir in the greens. Stir for a couple of minutes, until the greens are nicely seasoned with garlic and oil. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat.  Set aside to serve as a bed for the burgers.

8.  Peel and slice 2 ripe avocados and a mango for use as a garnish.

9.   Add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a cast iron skillet and heat.

10. Try shaping a patty with your hands. If the mixture is to loose, add some more oats. Divide into six to eight portions.  Shape as many patties as will fit in your skillet and fry until golden on both sides.  Transfer onto a plate.  Continue making patties and frying until all the mixture is used.

11.  Serve patties on  whole-grain sourdough buns on a bed of the cooked beet greens and garnished with mango and avocado.  If you have extra greens, they will keep in the refrigerator for several days.

Photo of week 2 share by Michael Surphin.


Broccoli and Zucchini Bowls with Tahini Sauce

Photo from ProduceGeek

The first farm share from Glade Road Growing on June 2 is slated to include broccoli. kale, lettuce mix, scallions and zucchini.  Here's a recipe that features the broccoli, scallions and zucchini.

Serves 4

1. To make tahini sauce, in a blender, combine until smooth
1/3 cup roasted sesame tahini
2 tablespoons lime  juice or rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
4 tablespoon miso paste
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 clove of raw garlic

2.  Prepare veggies for cooking:
Slice 3 washed zucchini on the bias into ¼” to ½” slabs
Peel and thinly slice broccoli stems and break heads into bite-sized florets
Thinly slice 4 cloves of fresh garlic
Coarsely chop 3 scallions for garnish

3.  In each of  4 bowls cover bottom with 1 cup of  cooked starch (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat or corn pasta, or sorba or rice noodles or your choice) topped with 1/2 cup of a cooked protein
(garbanzo or other beans, cubed chicken, thinly sliced  tempeh or your choice).  Set aside and cook vegetables

4.  To cook veggies, pre-heat 3 tbs olive oil in a 3-4” deep frying pan over medium-high heat
Add garlic, cook until translucent
Add zucchini and broccoli, season with salt and pepper
Cover with lid for 1-2 minutes to self-steam
Uncover, sauté for 3-4 minutes stirring and flipping frequently, until vegetables can easily be pierced with a fork.

5. Top each bowl of starch and protein with 1/4 of  veggie mixture,  drizzle on tahini sauce and garnish with scallions. Serve immediately.

Photo of the first share by Michael Sutphin.