News Roundup April 21, 2017

Vientiane Cafe Philadelphia

Vientiane's Adventurous Eats Dinner Is Not for the Squeamish

Cuisine imported from other countries is usually, out of necessity, adapted to the local palate. The original ingredients might not be readily available, or the heat and spice might be more than the average American taste buds can handle. But Vientiane Cafe is throwing caution to the wind with an Adventurous Eats dinner inspired by the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.

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Redevelopment authority selects firm to redevelop houses destroyed in MOVE incident

The Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority selected AJR Endeavors to redevelop three dozen properties that were involved in the infamous MOVE explosion that took place in 1985 and marred a neighborhood, the city and its mayor.

The effort by the city agency looks to have those properties redeveloped and, though it won’t erase history, it has the potential to set that part of Philadelphia on a new course.

Read more

Philly Black community leaders launch iBuyBlack discount card

A new program is being launched with the idea of keeping your dollars in your community.

African American business owners say this program is aimed at encouraging city residents to spend their dollars at black owned businesses. And with a discount card, the hope is they will do just that.

Read more

Horticultural Society to plant trees in honor of slain activist

The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society will plant trees in honor of a slain local activist, beginning with 31 in University City and will place a tree in Clark Park. The planting will be in honor of Winnie Harris, a greening activist who was slain in February.

A walking procession will begin at 10 a.m. on April 22 from the City School — Spruce Hill campus parking lot, 4115 Baltimore Ave., to a ceremony that will be held at Clark Park, in the 4300 block of Baltimore Ave.

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Solar co-ops help homeowners harness the sun’s energy

Sal Fede's house isn't much to look at from the street. With a low roof and a drab-colored wall hiding the windows in the front, it could almost be mistaken for a bunker or a fallout shelter.

 "It's called the 'backward house' on the block," says Fede, who's 52.

Read more

Kudos for a One-Man Community Development Corporation

For many years, the nicest building at the intersection of 40th and Chestnut streets in University City was the one with the sign reading “Chestnut Villa” on top of it. Neat and tidy, with crimson awnings over its storefront windows, it was a signal that at least one person cared about this sometimes-bedraggled crossroads on the fringe of the University of Pennsylvania campus.

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Local attorney hopes to become nation's first male trans judge

Columnists don't usually single out a candidate running for office unless it's newsworthy.   

That certainly is the case with Henry McGregor Sias.  Should the 40-year-old lawyer emerge victorious  in the May 16 Democratic primary for a Common Pleas Court seat,  he'll have cleared a major hurdle toward becoming the nation's first transgender man to be elected a judge.

Sias, who has clerked under various local judges and also started his own law practice, hopes his unique story will help boost voter turnout in his favor.

Read more

Green Bean Fries

These green bean “fries” are perfect as a snack or served along with sandwiches. Kids love them with creamy low-fat dressing as a dip.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano, dried
  • 3 tablespoons lemon zest (optional)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium stockpot, bring 3 inches of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and cook for 3 minutes, remove from heat, drain and immerse in cold water to cool. Drain and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and oregano with the onion and garlic powders.
  3. In a wide bottom bowl, blend together the eggs and milk. Place half the flour on a wide plate, and half the bread crumbs on another plate. Working in small batches, place green beans in the flour and coat well. Remove the beans from the flour, shaking off any excess, and place them into the egg wash and coat well. Use a pair of tongs to remove the beans from the egg wash and place into the breadcrumb mixture. Coat well with bread crumbs and place the coated beans onto a large baking sheet in a single layer. Repeat the steps with the remaining beans.
  4. Bake the beans for 18-20 minutes until crisp, remove from the oven and serve, garnished with fresh lemon zest.

 

Reprinted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes and a whole lot more at www.strongertogether.coop

Cauliflower “Couscous” with Asparagus and Peas

In this brightly flavored side dish, cauliflower stands in as a wheat-free alternative to couscous. With cauliflower as the backdrop, all of the fresh spring flavors shine through. 

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 12 ounces asparagus
  • 10 ounces frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons mint leaves, julienned
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Break the cauliflower florets apart, cutting the larger ones down until all the pieces are roughly the same size. Place the florets in a food processor and use 8-12 quick pulses to reduce the cauliflower size and texture to slightly smaller than a grain of rice.
  2. In a 12-inch skillet, heat 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt to a simmer. Add the cauliflower in a single layer. Bring back to a simmer, reduce heat a little, cover and cook cauliflower 5 minutes, or just enough to take the raw edge off, but not so much it becomes soft or loses texture. Remove the cauliflower from the skillet and drain in a colander or mesh strainer, then place in a medium serving bowl.
  3. Heat a small, dry skillet over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and stir frequently. Toast just until they smell nutty and have begun to turn golden, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Remove the woody ends of the asparagus, then cut each spear on the bias into 1-inch lengths. Wipe out the skillet used for the cauliflower, add the olive oil and heat over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté gently for a couple minutes, until translucent. Add the asparagus and continue sautéing a few minutes more, just until the asparagus is al dente. Add the lemon zest and juice, fresh thyme and salt and pepper and cook another 30 seconds or so.
  5. Add the shallot-asparagus mixture, peas, pine nuts and mint to the cauliflower. Drizzle with a little olive oil and toss gently to combine. Adjust the salt and pepper, and lemon juice to taste. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Artichoke Pasta

This quick and simple pasta salad is packed with delicious flavor.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound pasta shells
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, quartered, drained, and rough-chopped into large pieces
  • 1/2 cup mixed chopped olives or chopped, pitted kalamata olives
  • 2 teaspoons capers
  • 1 teaspoons juice from capers
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 4 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preparation

  1. Cook pasta until al dente and drain.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the bell peppers and garlic for 2-4 minutes.
  3. Add artichokes, olives, capers, and caper juice and sauté a couple minutes more.
  4. Toss the pasta with the sautéed vegetables and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, lemon juice, basil, salt, pepper, and Parmigiano Reggiano. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Serving Suggestion

Delicious served with green salad and garlic bread. For a non-vegetarian pasta dish, serve with Italian sausage or meatballs.

 

Authored by Seward Food Co-op Deli. Reprinted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes and a whole lot more at www.strongertogether.coop

Pineapple Green Smoothie

Pineapple Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 cups spinach leaves, washed
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 medium frozen banana, sliced

Preparation

Place ingredients in a blender in the following order: milk, yogurt, spinach, pineapple and banana, and secure the lid. Blend on high until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

Serving Suggestion

For a thicker smoothie, use frozen pineapple chunks as well as the sliced, frozen banana. Make your own frozen fruit for smoothies by cutting up fresh pineapple and bananas and freezing the pieces on a baking sheet; then transfer to a zip-close bag for storage. Drained canned pineapple freezes just as well as fresh.

 

Reprinted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes and a whole lot more at www.strongertogether.coop

UPDATED: How the soda tax affects shopping at Mariposa

Philadelphia Soda Tax

Here's what you need to know.

What is it?

Last year, Mayor Kenny passed the Philadelphia Beverage Tax that went into effect on January 1, 2017. The Philadelphia Beverage Tax, also deemed the Soda Tax by the local media, is a $0.015 tax per ounce on sugary beverages. What’s a sugary beverage? Well, it actually entails more than just soda.

Sugary beverages include any non-alcoholic beverage, syrup, or other concentrate used to prepare a beverage that includes any form of caloric sugar-based sweetener, including, but not limited to:

  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • High fructose corn syrup
  • Artificial sugar substitutes, including Stevia, aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), saccharin, and advantame

Excluded beverages include baby formula, products that contain more than 50 percent milk, fresh fruit, and/or vegetables.

What products are taxed?

Philadelphia Soda Tax

Updated: Taxed items include, but are not limited to:

  • Blue Sky Sodas
  • Grab and go drinks including Honest Tea, Highball Energy Drinks, Guayaki Yerba Mate, etc. 
  • Non dairy milks with added sweetener

To determine if a product is affected by the Soda Tax, look for a yellow box beneath the price on the shelf tag. If "Soda Tax" is printed within the box, the price will be added to your purchase at the register. 

Who pays the tax?

The distributor is responsible for paying the tax. However, our prices have increased on certain items due to the price increases from our distributors. 

Where does the tax go?

The tax money is to go to community schools, rec centers, libraries, parks and pre-k schooling. This tax policy is popular among European countries, but Philadelphia was the second American city to pass this law after Berkley, California. San Francisco, Oakland, and Boulder have since followed suit. Read more about it here.

DIY: Natural Egg Dye

Easter Eggs

Egg dyeing is a fun way to celebrate this time of year—and it's a tradition that goes way back—as much as 5,000 years when Persians celebrated springtime with eggs colored with plant-based dyes. Plant dyes can be just as useful today and they're plentiful; in fact you very well might have dye-worthy ingredients in your kitchen already.

Here are some great plant-based dyes—fruits, vegetables, spices and flowers.

Items Needed

  • White eggs (or try brown, keeping in mind color results will vary)
  • Egg carton
  • Stock pan(s)
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Slotted spoon
  • Natural materials for dyeing (see table).
Natural Egg Dye

Optional: Tape, string, rubber bands, cheese cloth squares, natural beeswax crayons to create designs on eggs, and vegetable oil for an extra sheen. 

Directions

Beet dye including pulp (top), onion skin dye with celery, bay and ivy leaves wrapped in cheese cloth (middle two), turmeric dye with rice wrapped in cheese cloth (bottom).

Hot Bath Method

  1. Place uncooked eggs in a stainless steel stock pan. Add water 2-3 inches above eggs. (When using bottled juice, fill 2-3 inches above eggs. Do not add water.) Add natural dye ingredients and 1-2 tablespoons vinegar per quart of water.

  2. Cover and bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove eggs with a slotted spoon and air dry.

Cold Bath Method

The process for cold dyeing is much the same as the hot method except the eggs and dyes are cooked separately.

  1. Simmer the dye ingredients (water, vinegar and dye matter) for 20-30 minutes or longer, until the dye reaches your desired shade.
  2. Allow the liquid to cool and submerge hard-boiled eggs in the dye for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Carefully remove eggs with a slotted spoon and air dry.  

Notes, Tips & Techniques

Color variation

Colors may vary depending on steeping time and foods used to dye eggs.

Deeper colors

The longer the eggs stay in the dye, the deeper the color will be; leaving the eggs in the dye for several hours or overnight (in the refrigerator) is recommended for achieving deep colors. Allow the liquid and eggs to cool before refrigerating and ensure that the eggs are completely submerged in the dye. Eggs will be speckled if the dye matter remains in the liquid. For more uniform colors, remove the dye matter from the liquid, by straining the liquid through a coffee filter, before refrigerating.

Egg flavor

The flavor of the egg may change based on the dye, so if you plan to eat your dyed eggs, a shorter dye bath and fresh ingredients may be preferable.

Drying

Make a drying rack by cutting the bottom off an egg carton and turning it upside down.

Decorating

  • Wrap onion skins around eggs, then wrap the entire egg with a cheese cloth square and secure it with string before placing the eggs in the dye.
  • Wrap string or rubber bands around eggs before dyeing to create stripes (use rubber bands for cold dyeing only).
  • Draw designs on hot, warm or cold hard-boiled eggs with crayons. When using hot or warm eggs, the crayon may melt slightly on contact with the egg (if eggs are hot, hold eggs with a potholder or rag to prevent finger burns). Crayon covered eggs should only be dyed in cold dyes as the crayon wax will melt in hot liquids.
  • Gently wipe dry dyed eggs with vegetable oil to give eggs an added sheen.

 

Reprinted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes and a whole lot more at www.strongertogether.coop

Jerk Tofu with Pineapple

Tofu takes on full flavored jerk sauce and pairs wonderfully with the sweetness of baked pineapple.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, pressed to remove water and cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes
  • 1 pound fresh pineapple, cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper

Jerk Sauce

  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce or habañero sauce
  • 2 tablespoon fresh chives, minced (reserve 1 tablespoon for garnish)
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. To press tofu: wrap it in a clean, lint-free towel or place it between two plates, then add a 2 to 3 pound weight on top (a cookbook works well) and let it sit for 15 minutes or more to remove excess water.
  2. In medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the jerk sauce ingredients. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the sauce for dressing the tofu when cooked.
  3. Marinate the pressed, cubed tofu in the jerk sauce for 30-60 minutes or overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. Place the tofu and marinade onto an oiled sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes; then gently stir or flip the tofu and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the tofu is firm and the sauce is absorbed. On a separate oiled sheet pan, bake the pineapple cubes for 20 – 25 minutes until they just start to brown.
  6. Toss the pineapple and tofu together. Drizzle with the remaining 4 tablespoons of jerk sauce and garnish with chives and diced red pepper. Serve over a bed of greens or crisp lettuce.

Serving Suggestion

Double up the sauce recipe, then heat the sauce, tofu and pineapple together in a skillet and serve warm over steamed rice, or as a wrap sandwich, with fresh greens and sliced sweet onions.

 

Reprinted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes and a whole lot more at www.strongertogether.coop

News Roundup April 7, 2017

Historic marker for '85 MOVE bomb site

The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has approved a historical marker for the West Philadelphia site of the 1985 MOVE bombing, near Osage Avenue and Cobbs Creek Parkway.

The marker was nominated by students of the private, Southwest Philadelphia-based Jubilee School who for two years have studied the 1985 incident in which Philadelphia police dropped a bomb on a residential neighborhood, leaving 11 dead — including five children – and 61 rowhomes destroyed.

“The students were determined to get the whole story and not just one perspective,” said Karen Falcon, history teacher and director of the Jubilee School. “They understood that the neighbors had a different perspective than the MOVE members, and that everybody’s perspective – other than the city government – had some relevance. The students had a very complex view of what happened.” Read more

This creative project grant started from a loan a business consultancy gave to an ice cream business

It was when Little Baby’s Ice Cream was first starting out that cofounder Pete Angevine met Kate Strathmann, CEO and director of Center City-based small business consultancy Elysian Fields.

After some consulting on financials and business development for the local ice cream business, which has since expanded to Baltimore, the two became friends through their experiences as company leaders — something that Strathmann admits might initially seem weird to people questioning how a business consultancy has anything to with a place that sells ice cream. Read more

Fight Islamophobia in West Philly Schools

West Philadelphia Coalition Against Islamophobia is raising money to donate books featuring Muslim kids to local neighborhood elementary schools. We invite you to join us in this exciting project making an important, concrete step towards building the self-worth of our young, Muslim community members and toward increasing intercultural understanding locally. Donate now

10 Philly transwomen who made history

Philadelphia celebrates Trans Day of Visibility today, an international holiday to highlight transpeople, their experiences and the issues that affect them. Yesterday, City Council adopted a resolution to observe it.

Since today is also the last day of Women’s History Month, we decided to delve into the city’s trans history to find some of the pathbreaking local women who’ve left a mark or are forging one. Read more

Eggless Chocolate Mousse

A true mousse is an airy concoction, in which rich chocolate is held aloft by thousands of tiny bubbles. Aquafaba does an amazing job of lifting and holding a gorgeous egg-free whipped texture.

Ingredients

  • 4 ounces semisweet vegan (optional) chocolate, not chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup aquafaba
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Preparation

  1. Melt the chocolate and allow it to come to room temperature.
  2. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine the cream of tartar and aquafaba. Mix on low just to combine, then raise the speed to high. Beat for 10 minutes, until the mixture reaches firm peaks. Sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat for 2 minutes, sprinkle in the remaining sugar and beat for 3 more minutes.
  3. Drizzle the chocolate gently over the aquafaba mixture, and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the chocolate into the whip. It will deflate quite a bit, but stay fluffy. Transfer to goblets, a bowl, or storage tub and refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes, then serve.

 

Authored by Robin Asbell. Reprinted by permission from StrongerTogether.coop. Find articles about your food and where it comes from, recipes and a whole lot more at www.strongertogether.coop