Shelly Simond Contests Court Decision Calling Election a Tie

The drawing for the winner of Virginia 94th House of Delegates in Newport News race has been cancelled as Shelly Simonds (D) takes her case to court.

A ballot showing votes for both the incumbent David Yancey (R) and Simonds, with the latter's name crossed out had been discarded as invalid and
At the end of the day, Republican and Democratic officials alike stated that they were satisfied with the process and outcome.
But a volunteer observer working for Yancey — John Alvarado, who also happened to be Yancey’s campaign manager — had seen Mallory’s discomfort during the recount. State law limits the ability of observers to communicate with election officials during the recount, but afterward, Alvarado sounded the alarm with Yancey’s legal team...  

Yancey took the case to court and the three judge panel,
all of whom were elected by a Republican-controlled legislature — agreed, leaving the race tied at 11,608 votes each for Yancey and Simonds.  
Simonds is a former teacher and member of the Newport News School Board since 2012.  She has a Masters in Communications from Stanford University and worked as a journalist before moving to Newport News in 2000.   She got her start in Virginia politics as a member of the Legislative Contact Team with the League of Conservation Voters.

Yancey has emphasized his "proven record of supporting legislation that makes it easier for Virginia businesses to operate and grow," and putting "criminals behind bars," as well as his support for funding for storm water management and the solar industry.  He had been endorsed by the local newspaper, the Daily Press.

If the election isn't resolved by January 10, no one will be seated. If Simonds wins, the House of Delegates will be evenly split.

For updates, see twitter's #StandWithShelly and Yancey4Delegate.


Beth Macy: The Serfs of Appalachia

This MICHAEL WILLIAMSON/THE WASHINGTON POST photo accompanied Beth Macy's review of Ramp Hollow in the Wall Street Journal.


"The Serfs of Appalachia, " Beth Macy's review of Ramp Hollow that appeared in the Wall Street Journal is behind a paywall, but your library may have a subscription. You can also read it, if you go to the link you get when you search on Google for the title.
Beth has written a better review than JD's condescending one. Consider the authors. In publishing Beth, the Wall Street Journal did a much better job of selecting an outside reviewer than did the New York Times in choosing Vance. In fairness, the latter paper ran an earlier (positive) review from its book critic, WV native Dwight Garner, who now lives in Harlem:

The Washington Post has yet to run a review of Ramp Hollow, while it printed a positive review of Elegy by Amanda Erickson.

Interestingly, Executive Editors Gerard Baker and Marty Baron let you know how to email them and members of their staffs. Dean Baquet of the NYT and its writers in general don't list email. Maybe we should write Baker to thank the paper, Baron to request a review and tip off Baquet here.

The Post printed a story referencing Vance and citing his book by a Philadelphia/DC reporter Karen Heller, who says Vance is a reluctant spokesman for our region. Maybe he's being disingenuous?

It also printed a piece on food sympathetic to Vance's description of foodways by Sonny Bunch, executive editor of the Washington Free Beacon, who previously served as the film critic for the Washington Times and the assistant editor of books and arts for the Weekly Standard, all conservative publications.

When you go from working-class to professional-class, almost everything about your old life becomes unfashionable at best or unhealthy at worst. At no time was this more obvious than the first (and last) time I took a Yale friend to Cracker Barrel. In my youth, it was the height of fine dining—my grandma’s and my favorite restaurant. With Yale friends, it was a greasy public health crisis.

Oh please, Mr. Bunch, don't take Vance's description as a stereotype of how all folks in our region eat. Kentucky natives Lora Smith and Ronni Lundy and WV native Wendy Johnston, just for starters, could explain otherwise. So could chef Tunde Wey, even though he's from Nigeria.

The Post did publish this piece, already circulated here by employment attorney Betsy Rader, who is running for the Democratic nomination for the 2018 Ohio 14 Congressional race:

BTW, here's ProPublica's review by Alec MacGillis, one from the New York Journal of Books by Thomas McClung and one from Publisher's Weekly by Sarah Jones.


I got to hear Beth talk about her upcoming book, Dopesick, thanks to the Radford (VA) public library.  I'm looking forward to reading it. As usual, she was entertaining and thought provoking. Here's Beth's 2012 series in the Roanoke Times, "The Damage Done", in which she started writing about the topic and and her 5/28/16 article in The New York Times Magazine on Suboxone, a treatment for oxycontin that many law enforcement officials, former addicts and their families argue "only continues the cycle of dependence and has created a black market that fuels crime

And while I'm on the topic, you may remember fellow Southern Appalachian Writers' Cooperative member Michael Henson's article, which appeared in Still: The Journal. The New Yorker article to which he refers, "The Family That Built an Empire of Pain" is by Patrick Radden Keefe. There's another article on the Sackler family in the October 16 Esquire by Christopher Glazek.

The llustration is by Ben Wiseman from the The New Yorker article "The Family That Built an Empire of Pain" by Patrick Radden Keefe.



Joe Giarratano Writes About Marie Deans

Yesterday, I when I got home I found a review copy of Peppers' A Courageous Fool: Marie Deans and Her Struggle against the Death Penalty (Vanderbilt, 2017), ISBN 9780826521613.  When I opened it this morning,  I saw that Joe Giarratano had written the eloquent introduction. 

On December 11, I had gotten a facebook message from poet and young adult novel author Mary Crockett Hill suggesting I might want to review this book written by Todd Peppers, a professor she knows from Roanoke College for the Roanoke Times.  I wrote her back, telling her that I remembered Marie Deans. who died in 2011, from when I wrote about Joe Giarratano for the New River Free Press, both when Wilder pardoned him in 1991 and when I visited him with my friend Ruth, after he started teaching Peace Studies at Augusta in 1992 with the help of journalist and peace studies teacher Colman McCarthy.   In looking up how to spell Joe's name, I was glad to read that he had been granted parole from Deerfield in November 2017 and that he's expecting to be released this month. 

According to his attorney, Stephen A. Northup, Giarratano plans to move to Charlottesville and work as a paralegal with lawyer Steven D. Rosenfield. He also hopes to work with the University of Virginia Law School’s Innocence ProjectHere's Joe's blogpost on his parole. 

In 2009, many folks including McCarthy asked then Governor Tim Kaine to release Joe.  Kaine refused to do so.  This release is too long in coming.  The last time I wrote about Joe, it was in May 2012 about his description of the effects of solitary confinement while serving at Red Onion.

After several dead ends, this afternoon, a Roanoke Times features writer Mike Allen suggested if I want to review the book, I should contact his editor.  I've written reviews for the paper before, as well as The Journal of Appalachian Studies, LLRX, The New River Free Press and have interviewed authors about their books for The Guardian.  We'll see if she'll assign a review.  If so, I'll post a copy and a link, here, at The Writing Corner.  If not, I'll write the review here.


Ken Ward, Jr. Selected for Partnership by ProPublica

Illustration is by Lyndon Hayes and used with permission.  It accompanied "Sustained Outrage: Ken Ward Jr. stayed home to make a difference," Brent Cunningham's 11/28/2011 interview with the Charleston Gazette-Mail (WV)'s Ken Ward, Jr. in the Columbia Journalism Review.  At the time Cunningham was managing editor of CJR and went on to become deputy editor.  Since January 2015, he has served as managing editor of the Food & Environment Reporting Network (FERN),  a non-profit news organization which produces in-depth and investigative journalism on food, agriculture, and environmental health.  Cunningham served as the statehouse correspondent for the Charleston Daily Mail (which merged with the Charleston Gazette) from 1990-4.


After ProPublica announced October 5 its project to pay for a local reporter to do investigative journalism across the country, they thought they'd get 75 applicants. Instead there were 239 applicants from 45 states and one of the seven selected is the Charleston Gazette-Mail of WV's Ken Ward Jr.

Ken Ward Jr., a reporter at the Charleston Gazette-Mail since 1991 who covers the environment with a focus on coal mining, mine safety, the chemical industry and workplace safety. In 2014, when a chemical leak contaminated the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of people, Ward exposed significant flaws in federal safety guidelines for the chemicals and in the state’s water sampling program. His disclosures led to the appointment of an independent scientific team to examine the spill’s impacts. 'I can’t think of many places that are in need of good journalism more than West Virginia is, or what higher calling journalists have than to try to write stories that make their home a better place,' Ward said in an interview with the Columbia Journalism Review a few years back.

 Charles Ornstein, a senior reporter at ProPublica, covering health care and the pharmaceutical industry, has been selected to be the senior editor of the local reporting network.
I couldn't be happier with this project.  I love that that ProPublica is partnering with local reporters rather than parachuting in to report on national issues. The New Yorker, The New York Times, Washington Post and others could (should) do the same.

I couldn't be happier than with the selection of Ward.  He's a great partner and reimbursing his salary will help out the Gazette-Mail.  I've admired Charleston Gazette for years, which merged with the Daily Mail.  Would love for them to use the money to add Paul Nyden back into the mix, since they retired him at the time of the merger.  The link is Ward's overview of Nyden's career, in which he writes,
So much of what I know about the coal industry, organized labor, and journalism I learned from him. Every time I write a story about coal, I’m standing on his shoulders. Lately, I’ve been trying in the paper and on this blog to write about what comes next for the coalfields. But it turns out, if you go back and read Paul’s dissertation, Miners for Democracy: Struggle in the Coalfields, Paul in his own way framed far better than I ever could the heart of the challenges the people of our region faced 40 years ago and are still struggling with today:
Today, thousands of railroad cars leave the mountains every day, overflowing with coal. When they return, they are empty. The people of Appalachia have nothing to say about how that coal is used nor about who reaps the harvest of riches from their mines. Someday, the vast riches of Appalachia will no longer flow into the hands of a few powerful individuals, but into the hands of the whole Appalachian and American peoples.

In addition to monetary support, Propublica promises to offer editorial guidance.  That guidance could (should) go both ways, in the case of Ward.  The other newsrooms and reporters selected by ProPublica are:


The masthead below, is from Ward's blog, The Coal Tattoo, which he maintains for the Gazette-Mail, in addition to reporting for the paper.  The paper's Brenda Pinnell designed it using (with permission) a photo of the mountaintop removal site near Kayford, WV by from the National Geographic's Dennis Dimick's and a family photo of Bud Morris from his widow Stella Morris. His death in December 2005 was part of a Gazette series on coal-mine safety published after the Sago Mine disaster in 2006.


It saddens me that U.S. Senator Al Franken announced today that he will resign his Senate seat

Photo by Jacquelyn Martin, AP accompanied an NBC story. Caption: "Sen. Al Franken holds hands with his wife, Franni Bryson, as he leaves the Capitol after announcing his resignation."

It's an odd photo.  Franken smiling as he leaves the Senate, Frannie looking like she's being tugged along.  And what's with the guy to the right of Franken staring intently at the camera.  His demeanor had been more serious during his statement announcing he will be resigning.  Listening to him in the Senate during this speech and those before it, or when he was questioning Trump's nominees for the cabinet, I always felt he was representing me, as well as the citizens of Minnesota--representing me better than my own Senators, although both are members of his party.

Politico had published a list of the extensive number of Democratic Senators who pressured Franken to resign.  As Dahlia Lithwick (JD, Stanford, 1996) wrote in Slate.com yesterday

By every metric I can think of, it’s correct. But it’s also wrong. It’s wrong because we no longer inhabit a closed ethical system, in which morality and norm preservation are their own rewards. We live in a broken and corroded system in which unilateral disarmament is going to destroy the very things we want to preserve.

Charlie Pierce added today in Esquire:

Lithwick is dead right. There is no commonly accepted Moral High Ground left to occupy anymore, and to pretend one exists is to live in a masturbatory fantasyland. It’s like lining yourself up behind Miss Manners in a political debate against Machiavelli. Until the Democrats are willing to think asymmetrically about the very real political danger posed by the president* and his party, the danger will grow until it becomes uncontrollable, and that point is coming very soon, I fear. By the time the Democrats admit to themselves that their political opposition has moved so far beyond shame that it can’t even see Richard Nixon any more, the damage wrought to our political institutions may be beyond repair.

Oh, and just a reminder, out there touring a book right now are veteran conservative ratfckers Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. Lewandowski grabbed a female reporter on the campaign trail and Bossie once invaded a hospital room and berated the mother of a young woman who’d committed suicide. You look across a political landscape like the one that the last few decades have created, and the Moral High Ground looks like the lichen-mottled ruins of a dead civilization.
The New Yorker's Masha Gessen, whose “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia,” won the National Book Award in 2017 opined,
the force that is ending his political career is greater than the truth, and this force operates on only roughly half of this country’s population—those who voted for Hillary Clinton and who consume what we still refer to as mainstream media....
Franken...didn’t take his apologies back now, but he made it plain that they had been issued in the hopes of facilitating a conversation and an investigation that would clear him. He had, it seems, been attempting to buy calm time to work while a Senate ethics committee looked into the accusations. But, by Thursday morning, thirty-two Democratic senators had called on Franken to resign. The force of the #MeToo moment leaves no room for due process, or, indeed, for Franken’s own constituents to consider their choice.
MN attorney Carol Overland (website), my fellow member of Energy Justice Network's No New Coal Plants! email list, who works on utility regulatory issues with clients directly affected by utility infrastructure and policy, wrote on Facebook December 6:

What's on my mind? I don't want to lose Senator Al Franken, don't want him to resign. He has been the one challenging the tRump appointments in committee, and "our Amy" has been mostly silent, voting against, but not on the front line in questioning their qualifications and lack thereof. He has stood up on health care, net neutrality, other issues, vocally and eloquently. Yes, I'm stating this publicly, on the record, this feminist #metoo attorney does not want Al Franken to resign.
In announcing his resignation, Franken said,

...this decision is not about me. It’s about the people of Minnesota. And it’s become clear that I can’t both pursue the Ethics Committee process and, at the same time, remain an effective Senator for them.

Let me be clear. I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice. I will continue to stand up for the things I believe in as a citizen, and as an activist.

But Minnesotans deserve a Senator who can focus with all her energy on addressing the challenges they face every day.

There is a big part of me that will always regret having to walk away from this job with so much work left to be done. But I have faith that the work will continue, because I have faith in the people who have helped me do it.

I'm glad he will continue to speak.  I just hope folks will be listening.  The complete statement is eloquent. The video and transcript are here. I suggest you read it, rather than selected soundbites.  And while you're at it, you can listen to some of what we'll be missing. Here are just three:

12/4/17:  Franken on net neutrality

12/1/17:  Franken on the Republican tax bill

11/13/17: Franken on the Russian investigation


Teri Blanton: "American people need to know that the EPA has cooked the books to justify its decision to repeal "

Portrait of Teri Blanton from Robert Shetterly's series, "Americans Who Tell The Truth."


Yesterday, while I was writing about retired miner Stanley Sturgill and his testimony against repeal of the Clean Power Plan, I looked at the list of the folks who had signed up to speak.  There, almost at the top of the list of speakers for 11/29 was my friend Teri Blanton, former chairperson of Kentuckians for The Commonwealth.  I wrote her last night and asked if she would share her comments here.


My name is Teri Blanton. I am a Kentuckian. I grew up in Harlan County, in the heart of our Appalachian mountains. My community today is a toxic mess, poisoned by acid mine drainage, coal slurry, and industrial waste. After more than a century of mining coal, we remain one of the poorest and least healthy counties in America. Harlan County has been losing coal jobs for decades. First the industry replaced miners with explosives. Lately mining jobs have fallen off a cliff due to competition from cheaper energy. Most of us understand those jobs are never coming back.

Despite this hard reality, good people are coming together in Harlan County and all across Central Appalachia to build a brighter future. Our people have been producing energy for this nation for over 100 years. We’re proud of our heritage. But there is no reason we should stay stuck in time as the world changes. Why shouldn’t eastern Kentucky be in the forefront of a clean energy revolution? Why shouldn’t we seize this moment to create jobs in wind, solar and hydropower? Appalachian people are resourceful, skilled, and hardworking. We can put our communities back to work – today – by making our homes energy efficient and installing small-scale renewable energy systems. That’s true energy independence. This EPA climate plan can and should do much more to help us make this transition to a clean energy economy.

I’m also a grandmother to three wonderful grandchildren. My family lives within 40 miles of 3 coal burning power plants in Kentucky. All 3 of my grandchildren suffer from asthma or other COPD related illness. For us this debate is not just about reducing the threat of climate change. It is also about reducing exposure to toxic pollution from burning coal that contributes to high rates of asthma, premature death, and chronic heart and lung diseases all across KY. This EPA Clean Power Plan can and should do much more to protect our health and the health of all people living in frontline communities where dirty energy is extracted and burned.

I am sickened by the shameful, harmful, and corrupt actions of the EPA under President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. Your decisions to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord and repeal the Clean Power Plan are indefensible. Undoing the Clean Power Plan threatens the health and safety of our communities, families, and economy. It flies in the face of science and common sense.

The American people need to know that the EPA has cooked the books to justify its decision to repeal the Clean Power Plan. For example, the EPA under President Trump and Scott Pruitt refuse to accept overwhelming health data that reducing soot and smog from coal burning power plants will prevent thousands of premature deaths and asthma attacks. Instead, the agency has embraced a false theory that there are threshold levels of air pollution below which it is “safe” for us to breathe. With this wave of a magic wand, the agency claims that the Clean Power Plan would produce no health benefits. But we know the opposite is true. The costs of complying with the Clean Power Plan are far outweighed by the benefits in terms of lives saved and sick days and hospitalizations avoided.

We should be talking about ways to strengthen the Clean Power Plan, not scrap it. This rule is the very least that this country should do to protect the health of people living in frontline communities and reduce the risks of global climate disruption. The fact is, the Clean Power Plan was never strong enough. But it was a start. It was designed to encourage states and utilities to plan for and begin a gradual transition to low-carbon energy systems. It gave states flexibility and time to find their best path forward.

When Scott Pruitt announced his decision to seek the repeal of the Clean Power Plan, he came to Hazard, Kentucky and promised that this action was going to bring back coal jobs. What a pathetic lie. The Clean Power Plan has never been implemented due to legal challenges. It is responsible for exactly zero lost coal jobs in Central Appalachia, and its repeal will do nothing to bring new investment or jobs to our region.

My friends, family, and neighbors know that coal is not coming back. And we’re so damn tired of politicians who endlessly fight a fictional war-on-coal but refuse to support or invest in actual solutions that could help our people.

So in 2015, a grassroots organization called Kentuckians For The Commonwealth decided that if our politicians wouldn’t lift a finger to begin planning for how to comply with the Clean Power Plan, we’d do it ourselves. We led an 18-month public planning process. More than 1,200 Kentuckians participated from Pikeville to Paducah. We asked everyone to share their vision for Kentucky’s energy future, and their best ideas for moving in that direction without leaving people or workers behind. We did an environmental justice analysis of our state to learn which communities are most affected by cumulative pollution and poor health outcomes, and to better understand the relationships between poverty, race, and exposure to pollution in our state.

Then with all of that input we designed a plan we call the Empower Kentucky Plan. You can view all of the recommendations and a description of our process at www.empowerkentucky.org. It is loaded with homegrown solutions to protect health, create jobs, lower people’s energy bills and shape a just transition to a cleaner energy system in Kentucky.

Here’s what you need to know about the Empower Kentucky Plan: Our plan produces better results for Kentuckians in terms of jobs, health, and lower average bills than the business-as-usual scenario. Specifically, our plan would create 46,300 more net jobs over 15 years and lower average home energy bills by 10%, compared to business-as-usual. And it would slash CO2 pollution from Kentucky’s power sector by 40% over 15-years, far exceeding the requirements of the Clean Power Plan.

In other words, our People’s Energy Plan for Kentucky exposes Scott Pruitt’s Big Lie. The Empower Kentucky Plan shows that the steps needed to address climate change are actually better for jobs and ratepayers – and much better for health – than sticking our heads in the sand and doing nothing. And if we can do that in Kentucky, we can do it everywhere.

I therefore urge the EPA to follow the science and reject the corrupting influence of the fossil fuel industry. Drop this awful proposal. Defend and implement the Clean Power Plan. Return to the Paris Accord. Do your job.

We must do everything possible to protect our health and climate. For the sake of my grandchildren, and all of our children and grandchildren, the EPA has got to get this one right. We have got to get this one right.


BTW, Related to the Empower Kentucky plan, see MACED's How$martKY project, highlighted by Anthony Flaccavento at the Indivisible New River Valley meeting November 13 on Bottom Up Economy. Six rural utility cooperatives in Eastern Kentucky (Big Sandy RECCFleming-Mason RECCGrayson RECCFarmers RECCJackson Energy and Licking Valley) are teaming up with MACED (Mountain Association for Community Economic Developmentto provide energy retrofits as part of utility service under the KY Energy Retrofit Rider.

Flaccavento has announced his bid for the Democratic Party nomination for the 9th U.S. Congressional District in 2018, the seat currently held by Morgan Griffith. (website)


Stanley Sturgill on Our Health: "Scott Pruitt and President Trump are accelerating and cheering on the damage"

Photo by Chris Dorst of the Charleston Gazette-Mail via the Associated Press, as it appeared in Brady Dennis's (twitter) 11/28/17 Washington Post story, "In the heart of coal country, EPA gets an earful about Clean Power Plan’s fate."  Caption:  "Lindsay Pace, of Chattanooga, Tenn., testifies as retired coal miner and mine inspector Stanley Sturgill holds her son, Theo, during an Environmental Protection Agency public hearing Tuesday in Charleston, W. Va., on Tuesday. Both spoke against repealing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan." 

Our friend and my hero Stanley Sturgill, age 72, who mined coal for forty years in Kentucky, drove to Charleston, West Virginia to testify before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (a misnomer under this administration) 11/28/17 on what he thinks of Scott Pruitt's proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.  Below, you'll see how you can participate and how I learned of his testimony on 11/29/17 and first posted on 11/29/17, but first, here's Stanley's complete statement, which he provided to me via email on 12/1/17.  This post was last updated on 12/1/17 at 10:55 am.

My name is Stanley Sturgill and I live in Lynch, Kentucky located in Harlan County KY. I’m a 72 year old coal miner with 41 year’s of service to the underground mining industry. I have “black lung” and COPD.

In July, 2014 I traveled over 1300 miles to Denver Colorado, to speak at an EPA hearing and I told the EPA at that time I had “black lung” and other respiratory problems. I must stay inside most all the time. Emissions from coal fired power plants and other airborne pollutants across my state of Kentucky were affecting, not only my health, but the public’s health too. I told the EPA, “Do your job and protect our people and our health.” I told the EPA, “We’re dying, literally dying for you to help us.” That was 2014.

Well guess what? You didn’t help us. You didn’t do your job and now you say you are withdrawing the “Clean Power Plan,” the past administration put into place on August 3rd 2015, to try helping us and our climate, so I’m back to let you know, nothing has changed, “We’re still dying, we’re still literally dying for you to help us.”

I would like for the EPA to show me in your new plans to gut the EPA and destroy our climate just how many people must pay the supreme price of “death” for a few, rich, greedy people to bank roll a few more dollars? Can you honestly answer that question? I’d like to know.

You may be wondering why my wife and I would get up at 3 this morning and drive several hours from Harlan County Kentucky to Charleston? It’s plain and simple, we may be old but we still love living. We both know that living in the far southeastern tip of Kentucky, all the polluting, emissions from electrical power plants (no matter if coal, gas, oil, etc.) are a part of the air we breathe each day. The jet-stream moves across our state from “WEST” to “EAST” we live 6 miles from the Virginia border, so we get all the pollution.

Actually the state of Kentucky (according to a Jan. 2016 report/alternative daily) is #3 in a “top 10” list of most polluted states in America. But, even more pollution to choke on each day is the fact Kentucky borders many of the other top ten list of most polluted states. #9-Illinois; #6-West Virginia; #4-Tennessee; #2-Ohio; and the #1-most polluted state in the U.S. Indiana.
We need the EPA’s immediate help and not their abandonment?

Now to be realistic, do I really think that this administration cares what this old worn coal miner has to say? I don’t know. I really doubt it. But I had to be here and as long as I can draw a breath I’m going to keep working to fight climate change and protect the land and country I love.
Our health, environment and global climate are actively being destroyed. And it is clear to me that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and President Trump are accelerating and cheering on the damage. I have come here today to ask you to stop. For the sake of my grandchildren and yours, I call on you to strengthen and defend, not repeal, the Clean Power Plan.

There is an old Appalachian saying, “What we do to the land, we do to the people.” EPA, just look at West Virginiaand the surrounding states as you travel back to D.C. and you’ll see we’ve paid a terrible price in the miles of destroyed mountains, our streams, in our health, and in our declining economy.

Believe it or not “Climate Change” is real and it’s not only costing billions in dollars in public health challenges, it’s also destroying our nation and our world right in front of our of our eyes. This year, 2017, will most likely be a prime example due to the many hurricanes, fires and rains wreaking death and havoc as never before.

In conclusion, I’m here to say that repealing the Clean Power Plan is immoral and indefensible. I respectfully demand that the EPA withdraw this proposal. Stop listening to the corrupting power of the coal, gas, oil and all other fossil fuel industries. Start following the science and common sense, and do everything possible to protect our health and climate.

EPA, please never forget this old Cree Indian Proverb: “When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned. Only then will you realize you cannot eat money.


Ken Ward Jr. shared an announcement 11/2/17 in the Charleston Gazette-Mail that  as part of the formal process for repealing the Clean Power Plan, the EPA  announced that date that it would hold hearings yesterday and today in Charleston, WV and maybe 11/30, if the agency receives “a high volume” of requests to speak. The speakers list is here for 11/28 and here for 11/29, with time set aside after these speakers for others who wished to comment and present supporting information.

Scott Pruitt signed the notice 3/28/17, indicating the EPA’s intent to review the plan, following Trumps's Energy Independence Executive Order the same date.  The details can be found in the 10/16 Federal Register and at the EPA webpage for the proposed repeal.for doing that, the agency.  If you did not attend the public hearing, your written statements and supporting information will be considered with the same weight, so long as they are submitted during the public comment period which was extended on 11/8 to 1/16/18. Comments should be identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2017-0355 and may be submitted by one of the methods listed here.  The online comment form is here.  The website indicates that as of 11:59 PM on November 28, the website had received  For more information contact Peter Tsirigotis, Sector Policies and Programs Division (D205-01), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711; telephone number: (888) 627-7764; email address: airaction@epa.gov.


I first saw that Stanley had testified in Charleston 11/28 through the Washington Post story, which I read via Roy Silver of the Appalnet list serve.  The author, Brady Dennis, is a national reporter for The Washington Post, focusing on the environment and public health issues. Before that he covered the economy and was a finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for a series of explanatory stories about the financial crisis. Before that, he was a reporter for the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times. He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Through an image search and some sleuthing, I also found the AP story by John Raby (twitter) and Michael Biesecker (twitter), which was the source for the photo: "EPA hears worries about climate in heart of coal country." It appeared without a byline in Chattanooga's Times Free Press.  

Environment and Energy Publishing's hub on the Power Plan is here.

Although I didn't initially find Ken Ward, Jr,'s story on the hearings, I checked his twitter feed and found a link to a story he posted "EPA greenhouse gas rule hearing in WV draws supporters, opponents," on 11/28.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Toasted Pecans with Maple Miso Dijon Dressing

The photo was at the website for Bon Appétit Magazine -- no photographer credited. *
Ooh. This looked good. So I made up a recipe, even though my recipe duties are done for Glade Road Growing are done for the year and my Brussels sprouts from Catawba Valley Farms are long gone since 
Leighton Hodges stops bringing produce to the Blacksburg Farmers Market in October.


Serves 6

½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved (about 30)
6 TB extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 TB Dijon mustard
1 TB miso
1 TB maple syrup
1 TB balsamic vinegar

1. Toast pecans in a single layer until fragrant in a small dry cast iron skillet that has been heated until a bead of water will evaporate. Let cool.

2. Toss Brussels sprouts in 3 TB oil. Arrange sprouts, cut sides down, on baking sheet (or in stainless steel steamer basket if using a countertop convection over and roast until tender

3. Meanwhile,, whisk mustard, miso, maple syrup, and vinegar in a small bowl. Gradually whisk in remaining 3 Tbsp. oil until dressing is thick and emulsified, then whisk in wate. a little at a time, to thin. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Once Brussels sprouts are cool enough to handle, transfer to a platter and drizzle with miso dressing. Top with toasted pecans.


Fennel, Red Pepper and Purple Carrot Salad

Photo by Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

JP tells me that the final main season share from Glade Road Growing for 2017 will include about a pound of purple carrots, a fennel bulb a red sweet pepper and an onion.  This combined with some potatoes and garlic would make a great pureed soup, but it would not take advantage of the visual of the purple carrots, so I decided on a salad instead. Mine includes lentils, so that it will make a whole meal.

The first of the purple carrots were available at the farm stand this past Friday.  They were purple on the outside with an orange core (go Hokies, eh?), so I suggest shaving them lengthwise into ribbons with a vegetable peeler.

The photo above doesn't include the carrots (or the lentils), so let me give you an idea of what the carrot ribbons will look like in this photo by Marie (no last name given) of the blog Proud Italian Cook:


Serves 4



2/3 cups of lentils, cooked and cooled
1  trimmed fennel bulb, quartered and cut into very thin crosswise slices (reserve the stems and leaves to puree in smoothies)
1 red sweet pepper, seeded and cut in thin 2-inch slices
1 tablespoon minced onion
4 purple carrots trimmed and shaved lengthwise into ribbons
2 ounces of shaved Parmesan or Asiago, shaved into ribbons


4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 small garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoon of fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoon miso
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


1.  To cook lentils, cover with 1 1/3 cups of water and bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes.  Rinse until water runs clear.  Add water to original level, add a bay leaf and return to a boil and then simmer until soft and water is absorbed.  Remove bayleaf, drain if necessary and chill in the refrigerator.

2.  While lentils are cooking, prep veggies and combine in a large bowl. When lentils are cool, add them and cheese and toss together. 

3.  Whisk dressing ingredients in a small bowl.  Toss with the salad and serve.


Cauliflower Couscous with Dried Fruit and Almonds

Photo for Epicurious by Chelsea Kyle.


JP tells me this week's bag from Glade Road Growing should include cauliflower.   While I like my cauliflower in florets or steaks, you can also use it in "rice" form as a low-carb and gluten-free substitute for semolina (a coarse grind of high-protein durum wheat) in couscous.

Apparently, Trader Joe's has found its "cauli-rice" so popular that it instituted rationing this summer, as reported by Well and Good.  While folks have never been able to nab a location of that popular chain for Blacksburg (or even Roanoke), it's easy to make your own "cauli-rice," using a grater (or food processor). 

For other ways to serve cauliflower, check out my recipes for Beet, Chickpea and Cauliflower Salad and Aloo Ghobi Chana Masala (Curry with Potatoes, Cauliflower and Chickpeas).



1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 medium head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cut into quarters.
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons miso
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup golden or conventional raisins or dried cranberries
1/4 cup sliced dried apricots (I prefer California apricots which are tarter)
1 medium Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
1/2 parsley, cilantro, basil or a combination chopped


  1. 1.  Toast almonds in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until lightly browned, 8–10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl.

    2.  Using the largest holes on a box grater, grate cauliflower into a large bowl until rice-like in texture.  If you prefer to use a food processor, fitted with a blade, you can coarsely chop the cauliflower and pulse, working in batches as needed.  This will make about 4 cups.
  2. 3.  Thin miso with water and whisk together with honey in a small bowl.
  3. 4.  In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high. Add cumin, turmeric, paprika, and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Immediately add cauliflower and stir to coat. Season with pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until cauliflower is softened, 3–5 minutes. Add honey-miso mixture, raisins or cranberries and apricots; stir to combine. Cover and continue to cook until just tender, 3–5 minutes more.
  4. 5.  Transfer cauliflower mixture to a serving platter and stir in half of almonds. Top with remaining almonds and chopped apples and herbs before serving.


Lima Bean And Dill Kuku

Photo from Sanam Lamborn of The Persian Kitchen blog.

This week, JP tells me Glade Road Growing's bag will contain dill.  While it's too late in the season potatoes or cukes--two of my favorites with fresh dill--the herb is used as a common ingredient in Persian cooking.  You can combine it with rice or try my adaptation of Sanam Lamborn's recipe for Lima Bean Kuku, which is she describes as a Persian version of a frittata or quiche. 

Since pomegranates are in season, you might want to pair this with a Persian salad consisting of salad greens topped with pomegranate sees, walnuts and feta, with a dressing made of pomegranate juice or molasses, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper.

Lamborn's recipe, shown, serves four and is cooked in a non-stick skillet.  I don't like non-stick skillets, so I  bake mine in the oven.  For a more ornate version served by chef  at the Obama White House, see this New York Times recipe.

Serves 6


1 pound of lima beans (frozen or fresh)
1 medium onion peeled and diced
6 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
6 duck or chicken eggs
1 ½ teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper1 bunch of fresh dill, washed and roughly chopped
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice flour
1/4 extra virgin olive oil

1.  Add lima beans to salted boiling water and wait for water to return to a boil.  Then turn down heat and simmer until tender.

2.  Heat cast iron skillet until a drop of water evaporates and turn down to medium low heat.  Melt butter and coat pan.  Sauté until translucent, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and cook until both are golden in color.  Cool to room temperature.

3.  Heat oven to 400 degrees and line a 9-x-12-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

4.  Crack eggs in a mixing bowl and pierce yolks with a fork.  Add salt, pepper, rice flour and baking soda and whisk together.  Fold in onions, garlic lima beans and lemon juice.

5.  Brush prepared baking dish with 1/4 cup oil. This may look like a lot, but it gets absorbed into the batter. Add batter, smoothing out the top and pushing it to the sides. Bake until center is set, about 20 minutes, and transfer to a cooling rack.

6.  Cut into 6 equal pieces. Serve hot or room temperature, with pita and yogurt, if desired.


Beer-Braised Greens

Photo by David Loftus


Braising greens makes them more tender.  My recipe uses porter or stout for a richer taste.  The alcohol evaporates.  If you'd rather not use beer, you can substitute 2 tablespoons of tomato paste thinned with water to make 1/2 cup.


Serves 4


Kale, beet greens or chard or spinach, turnip greens, collards, and/or arugula, rinsed well and torn into 2-inch strips to make 4 cups.  I prefer a mixture.

  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, smashed, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup stout or porter
    2 cups of cooked, drained black or white beans (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons miso, thinned with a bit of water
  • Directions:

1.  In a large pot bring 2 quarts of water and a large pinch of salt to a boil. Add greens a blanch for 1 minute.  Remove to a colander to drain.

2.  In a large skillet heat oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and  sauté  for 1 minute. Add greens, pepper flakes and beer, cover simmer until tender (about 6 minutes). If you'd like to make this a complete meal, add 2 cups of cooked, drained black or white beans and stir to warm through.  Remove from heat.  Stir in thinned miso and serve.


Bok Choy and Tempeh (or Chicken or Pork) Stir Fry with Mushrooms, Sweet Peppers and Onions

Photo by Susanna Liang at Divine Healthy Food.  Her recipe uses a red chili pepper so it's spicier.


Sally wrote me after I had developed recipes for tomatillo salsa, to say that the bag for Glade Road Growing this week would instead include bok choy, salad turnips, red pepper, red onion, arugula, lettuce mix and tomatoes.  Here's my recipe for a stir fry using the bok choy, red pepper, red onion and tomatoes with tempeh.  If you prefer, you can use cooked chicken or pork, sliced thin and added in with the tomatoes.

Plus check out the recipe Sally found for the newsletter for  grilled bok choy and turnip rice bowls with soy sesame sauce by Oregon "farmer turned foodie Andrea Bemis" at her blog Dishing Up The Dirt.  (And while you're there, check out the other recipes!)


Serves 4


2 cups of brown rice
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil
2 tablespoons of sesame seeds
8  cremini mushrooms, sliced (sometimes called baby portobellos)
1 red onion, thinly sliced with one tablespoon finely chopped and reserved for garnish
1 package of tempeh, cut into thin strips (or 1 cup cooked chicken or pork)
1 sweet red pepper, stemmed, seeded, membrane removed and cut into thin slices
4 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and chopped
fresh ginger, chopped to make 1 tablespoon
4 medium bok choy, chopped into thin slices
2 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons of balsamic or rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons of miso
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro chopped


1.  45 minutes before you start the stir fry, bring 2 cups of brown rice and 4 cups of water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed lidded pot.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Rinse rice until water is clear, add water up to the original level and bring again to boil for another five minutes.  Cover pot, turn off the heat and let steam for 40 minutes until the water is absorbed.

2.  Heat a dry cast iron skillet over a medium heat until a drop of water boils off.  Toast sesame seeds until they pop.  Immediately transfer to plate and reserve for garnish.

3.  Add olive or peanut oil to the skillet and heat until a bead of water sizzles.  Add mushrooms and cook until tender.  Add the onions and cook until translucent.  Add the garlic, ginger, paprika, red pepper flakes, red pepper and bok choy and cook the vegetables are tender. 

4.   While the veggies are cooking, in a small bowl, make a paste of the cornstarch, water, miso, sesame oil and vinegar.  Turn down the heat to low and add mixture to the skillet, stirring until it thickens.  Stir in tomatoes (and meat, if you are substituting for the tempeh) and turn off heat and let warm through.

5.  Stir the rice with a fork to fluff and divide among four bowls.  Top with stir fry, garnished with toasted sesame seeds, chopped cilantro and  reserved, chopped red onions.

Photo by Andrea Bemis of her grilled bok choy and turnip rice bowls with soy sesame sauce.


mer turned foodie, Andrea Bemis


Three Tomatillo Salsas: Chopped, Blended OR Grilled

Photo accompanied a recipe by Kate Ramos at Chowhound (no photographer listed).  You can find more of her "nueva Latina" recipes at her blog, ¡HOLA! JALAPEÑO.

JP tells me that this week's bag from Glade Road Growing will include tomatillos and other makings for salsa.  I've included my favorite recipe for an easy peasy fresh salsa, plus more traditional recipes for a blended salsa verde and a roasted tomatillo salsa.

All of these recipes can be served immediately or covered and refrigerated for several days.  In that case, let the salsa come to room temperature before serving.

1.  Chopped:  Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

Makes about 5 cups


1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and diced small
1 medium onion (white or yellow) peeled, root  and stalk end trimmed and diced small
1 or 2 medium jalapeños, seranos or chipotles, seeded with membranes removed and chopped coarsely
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
2-3 fresh limes, halved and squeezed (or enough to make 1/4 cup juice)
2 teaspoons sea salt


Place all ingredients in a glass mixing bowl, stir to combine, adjust seasoning as necessary, and serve.


2.  Blended:  Tomatillo Salsa Verde

Photo by Danny Kim for Bon Appetit

Makes about 2 cups


1 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
½ medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 jalapeños, serano or chipotle chile, seeds and membrane removed and chopped coarsely
¼ cup fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon sea salt


Purée tomatillos, onion, garlic, chile, and cilantro in a blender, adding water as needed, until smooth; season with salt.


3.  Grilled:  Grilled Tomatillo Salsa

Photo by Colin Clark for Fine Cooking.Makes about 1 1/2 cups


10 medium tomatillos, husked and washed
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2-3 fresh limes, halved and squeezed (or enough to make 1/4 cup juice)
1 medium clove garlic, smashed peeled and chopped
1 jalapeño, serano or chipotle chile, seeded, membrane removed and chopped coarsely
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
1/4 cup  scallions chopped


1.  Grill the tomatillos on gas or charcoal grill, covered, until charred on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn and cook until charred on the other side, 3 minutes more.  If you don't have a grill, you can roast them on a rimmed baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler.

2.  Purée the tomatillos, onion, lime juice, garlic, chiles and a pinch of salt in a blender until it makes a smooth sauce.

3.  Transfer the salsa to a serving bowl.  Add the cilantro and scallions, and season to taste with salt just before serving.


Red Pepper, Spinach and Sweet Potato Hash

Photo by Karielyn Tillman

This week the bag from Glade Road Growing will include sweet peppers, and baby spinach. This hash makes a nice side to serve with leftover roast chicken or pork.

If you'd like to make it a vegetarian meal instead, after the hash is cooked, stir in 2 cups of cooked drained black beans.  Divide the hash into four sections.  Make a slight well in the center of each section and crack a duck egg (or chicken egg) into each well.  Turn down heat to medium low and cover and cook for for another 4 minutes.  For a vegan version, substitute tofu "sour cream" for the eggs, but only heat until it's warmed through.

Serves 4


2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely diced
1 red bell red bell pepper, diced
1 or more cups of  baby spinach, chopped, with 2 tablespoons reserved for garnish
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed peeled and minced
fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped to make 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1.  Add oil to a cast iron skillet and heat on medium until a bead of water evaporates.  Saute'  onions, garlic and ginger until translucent and add the sweet potatoes, red pepper flakes, cumin, cardamom, poppy seeds, salt and pepper.  Continue cooking until the sweet potatoes are soft and slightly crispy on the outside.

2.   Add the diced red bell peppers, chopped spinach (except for the reserved amount) and gently toss for about 1-2 minutes until the spinach is wilted.  Remove from heat, garnish with fresh chopped spinach and serve.


Peperonata (Sautéed Bell Peppers With Tomato, Onion, and Garlic)

Photo by Vicky Wasik for Serious Eats.

The bag from Glade Road Growing this week will include salad mix, bell peppers and tomatoes.  If your bell peppers have a reddish or yellowish tint, you can let them ripen on the counter and they will be sweeter.  The traditional southern Italian recipes I've seen call for the colored peppers, but this is delicious with green peppers, too.  You may want to add demerara  sugar or  honey, though, at the end, a little bit at a time, until the flavor is balanced, to make up for the lack of sweetness.

This makes a nice side veggie hot, or chilled, it's a great spread on bread or can be tossed with cooked pasta or quinoa.  If you want to make it a whole meal, along with the pasta, stir in 2 cups of cooked chickpeas or white beans or lentils and serve over salad mix.


Serves 4


6 tablespoons of  extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 medium cloves garlic, smashed, peeled, root end removed and thinly sliced
1 medium yellow onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 large bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and sliced lengthwise 1/2 inch thick
Tomatoes, chopped, to make 2 cups
1 sprig basil,  sliced into ribbons, with stem discarded (or save for veggie broth) or 1/2 teaspoon dried
Sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper


1.  In a cast iron skill, heat 4 tablespoons of the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until just starting to turn golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in onions, increase heat to medium-high, and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until starting to soften, about 20 minutes.

3.  Transfer to a large pot and add tomatoes and basil and stir to combine. Bring to a gentle simmer, then lower heat to maintain simmer. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until peppers are very soft, about 1 hour. Stir in remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Stir in vinegar and the sugar or honey, if necessary.  Serve right away, or chill, then serve reheated, slightly chilled, or at room temperature.


Beth's Vegan Chili

Photo for Tracey Medeiros's The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook by Oliver Parini of Burlington, Vermont, which features a recipe for the chili served at Burlington's City Market/Onion River Co-op.

JP tells me that this week's bag share from Glade Road Growing will include tomatoes and peppers, so I thought I'd give you my recipe for vegan chili.

Last week, I mentioned that I had attended a pot luck on Sunday.  One cook, a vegan, told me that she never used fake meat when she cooked for herself or her husband, but that she used it to make recipes my "special" for meat eaters.

I disagree!  Meat eaters know what meat tastes like and fake meat and tvp, besides being highly processed, really don't taste like meat.  Instead I suggest that you use spices and whole ingredients. To add a bit of richness, my chili recipe includes cocoa powder, cinnamon and paprika, in addition to the more traditional spices, plus some miso, instead of salt to give depth of flavor.  You could also deepen the flavor by adding diced roasted sweet potatoe instead of the carrots and some sautéed chopped mushrooms.  To get the texture of the meat or tvp, I suggest cooked barley, or if you're gluten intolerant, quinoa.  Because I don't have any Mexican oregano, I also use some fresh chopped basil in the garnish.

I top my chili with greek yogurt or labneh, but of course that's not vegan.  Instead you can use this recipe for tofu "sour cream."


Serves 8

2 cups dried beans (your choice of black, navy, kidney, red beans or lentils, or a combination thereof)
1 cup of barley or quinoa

1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 poblano pepper, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
1 bell pepper chopped
4 garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups diced heirloom tomatoes (about 2 medium--you can use canned diced unsalted tomatoes, when tomato season is over)
2 cups of water
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
4 tablespoons of miso, thinned with water

Greek yogurt or "tofu sour cream"
1 cup of chopped heirloom tomatoes
1/2 cup of fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup of fresh basil, cut into slivers
1 shallot, peeled and sliced thinly (or substitute a bit of red onion)


1. The night before or at least 3 hours before you start the soup, bring beans to boil with 4 cups of water in a heavy-bottomed pot with a tight lid then turn down heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse well. Bring back to a boil, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes and then let soak for an hour or overnight. Rinse a second time and bring back to boil with a bay leave and cook until soft. Drain.

2.  After you start the beans, bring the grain of your choice to boil with 4 cups of water in a heavy-bottomed pot with a tight lid then turn down heat to simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse well. If you are using quinoa, bring back to a boil, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes, turn off the heat and leave covered for at least 20 minutes until it absorbs the water.  For barley, you will need to cook it longer for it to be tender, so after it sits for the 20 minutes, cover the barley with water and bring back to a boil and then simmer until it is tender and the water is absorbed.

2. In a dry, seasoned cast iron skillet, toast the spices and set aside.   Add the oil to the skillet and cook onions, until they are softened. Add the celery, the peppers, the carrots and the garlic and cook the mixture, stirring, for 4 minutes.  Transfer to a large heavy-bottomed pot.  Add the tomatoes and water, the tomato paste, the cocoa, the cooked beans and grain and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

4. Stir in the spices and simmer the soup, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

6. Take off the heat and season soup by stirring in the thinned miso.

7. To serve, divide soup into  individual bowls, garnish with yogurt or tofu sour cream, chopped fresh basil, cilantro, tomatoes and shallots.