Congratulations and congratulations to my daughter who earned her bachelor's degree! We love you so much.
Monday, May 13, 2013
We’re going all the way… to Niles! Get your rib bibs out, Cash Mobsters, and meet us at Niki’z Pub this Saturday, May 18. Besides the ribs special, you can order a chicken parmesan dinner, or any of the other appetizers, salads and baskets on the menu, which can be perused here: http://nikizpub.com/menu.html. Meatless meals include a vegetarian pita and a cheese quesadilla. We met owner Nick Logan at the Walrus Subs cash mob and they’re looking forward to our visit.
Youngstown Cash Mob
Sat. 18 May, noon – 6:00 p.m.
509 Mason St., Niles
Ribs and Chicken Parm Dinners
Clam, Shrimp and Chicken Baskets
Quesadillas, Wings, Burgers
Dine In or Carry Out
It sounds a little crazy to say that Niles is a road trip, but we’re trying not to spread ourselves too thin. There are so many fantastic locally owned businesses we want to put in the spotlight. We’re still hoping someone in the Warren/Trumbull Co. region steps up and starts a cash mob, to talk up the great places in our neighborhoods to the north.
Congratulations to Maggies Magic Muffins, winner of the June Cash Mob! Maggies has two locations, in Boardman and Austintown. Besides incredible muffins and cupcakes, Maggies features a full and delicious lunch menu. We’re bumping up the cash mob date to Saturday, June 8.
Thanks to local artist Lisa Zitello for designing Youngstown Cash Mob merchandise for us. Check out the organic cotton t-shirts and canvas totes, and vinyl window stickers. They will only be available online, and only until June 1. You can pick them up at the June Cash Mob at Maggies Magic Muffins, or pay a small shipping fee to have them delivered to you. This is not a fundraiser for the cash mob, merely a fun way to spread the word about our organization, while supporting a local artist. http://zitellofineart.com/
For our July cash mob we’ll be trying something completely different: an activity cash mob! On our Facebook page there have been many suggestions: a themed hike at Mill Creek Park, an art or writing class at the Y, bowling or putt-putt golf. We will take nominations on Facebook the first Sunday in June, and vote the following weekend.
If you come to Niki’z Pub Saturday, stop by the table to put your name in for a free drawing for a gift certificate from Nona’s Family Closet. Nona’s and the North Lima Business & Shopping Complex came in close second and third in a lively vote with Niki’z. They, and the many businesses that have been nominated, have obviously earned the respect and affection of our communities.
Thanks for helping us spread the word!
Friday, May 10, 2013
I'm on a streak of winner new recipes lately. I've been trying to pay attention to the companies that make the ingredients I cook and bake with. I've already sung the praises of Bob's Red Mill, so I'll just add one more note, along with a refrain for King Arthur and Organic Valley, both worker-owned companies. I can get Organic Valley butter, eggs, milk and cream cheese. I've given Stonyfield the boot - their unholy alliance with Walmart made me nervous, but when they came out against labeling GMOs, they lost me. Bob's Red Mill even makes baking power and cornstarch!
The recipe for these muffins came with my energy bill from Wisconsin Public Service. My god, those recipes were amazing. I always tried them. I took these to the open studio at the Old Ward Bakery, and lots of people knew about the recipe, so this is old news.
Glorious Morning Muffins
2 c. flour (King Arthur makes a whole wheat white flour, a cross between whole grain and refined. It’s too heavy for, say, layer cake, but works wonderfully in a recipe with fruit, nuts, oatmeal or other kinds of texture. We just learned that diverticulitis is a new disease, brought on by super-refinement of flour, so we're on the lookout for ways to un-refine.)
1 T. baking powder
2 tsp. allspice
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 ¼ sugar (I’ve been using organic coconut sugar for baking. It’s not quite granular and not quite powder. It doesn’t dissolve well in, say, coffee, but it’s fantastic for baking.)
¾ c. oil
4 eggs, slightly beaten
¾ lb. carrots, shredded
8 oz. crushed pineapple, drained
1 ½ c. raisins (I used a mixture of organic red flame raisins and mission figs. I love that Fig Newton-seediness of figs, and they were wonderful here.)
1 c. nuts, chopped (We had some so-so cocktail peanuts that weren’t being eaten, and the peanuttiness was most excellent in combination with the other flavors.)
Preheat oven to 375. Combine first seven ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and stir only until wet and dry ingredients are combined. Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin tins. Bake 15-20 min., until top springs back. Makes 24. (I used mini-muffins, and they were spectacular. I kept three pans in circulation and it made about a gazillion.) (I prefer not to use papers, to get a better muffin edge, but I had some papers to use up and it worked fine.)
New York Cheesecake
I clipped this one from the newspaper. It calls for a graham cracker crust, but I’m a bit of a snob in that department. I think graham crackers are bitter and pedestrian, especially for cheesecake, which is elegant and expensive. Why not go all the way? It’s the only time I buy cookies, but I linger over the Pepperidge Farm display. I chose lemon this time, and they were terrific, but chocolate, ginger, shortbread, really any flavor, would be delicious, since the neutral creaminess of the cheesecake sets off any crust.
Basic crumb crust:
1 ½ c. cookie crumbs (I freeze leftover cookies, too, and this is a great way to use them.) (If you're using graham crackers, add 1/4 c. sugar.)
6 T. butter, melted
Drop into springform pan bottom. Don’t smush it down – the cheesecake will hold it together, and if it isn’t plastered onto the bottom, it will slide right off the pan for easy serving.
2 lb. cream cheese (I like Organic Valley, or Neufchatel (light). A lower fat cream cheese should just be cream cheese, no starch or other fillers. Avoid carrageenan!)
¾ c. sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
2 T. cornstarch
1 c. sour cream
Preheat oven to 400. In large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth and light. (Walk away. Let this whirl for five minutes to eliminate lumpiness.)
Beat in eggs, vanilla and cornstarch, only until mixed.
Stir in sour cream. Pour onto prepared crust and bake 45 min. Allow cake to cool in oven, with door propped open slightly, for three hours. Chill.
The top will be a bit shrivelly and unattractive, so I like to top it with something right before serving. For this one, I shaved dark chocolate with a peeler, and the chocolate set off the lemon crust nicely.
This recipe was clipped from a flour bag.
1 ½ c. flour
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1` egg, beaten
1 c. sugar
½ c. butter, melted
½ c. shortening
1 T. molasses
¼ c. milk
1 ¾ c. oatmeal (I use Bob’s Red Mill thick cut oats, and it makes for a wonderfully chewiness.)
1 c. raisins or nuts, chopped, or ½ c. each (I used organic red flame raisins, which aren’t overpoweringly raisiny. Would also be great with chocolate chips or pieces.)
Preheat oven to 350. Grease baking sheets.
Sift together the dry ingredients. Blend in the remaining ingredients and drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake 10-12 min., until edges are golden brown. Makes about six dozen.
Peggy Potts won first place in 2004 for this recipe, my newspaper clipping tells me. And no wonder.
½ c. butter
1 (12 oz.) package of white chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli. I began boycotting Nestle in high school, and they’ve been continuously evil since then.)
2 large eggs
½ c. sugar
1 c. flour
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. almond extract
½ c. seedless raspberry jam
¼ c. toasted sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 325. Grease and sugar a 9” baking dish.
Melt butter in microwave on high for one minute. Add one cup chips, do not stir; let stand.
Beat eggs until foamy. Add sugar and beat until light lemon color (about five min.). Stir in chip-butter mixture.
Add flour, salt and extract. Mix at low speed until combined.
Spread 2/3 mixture in pan. Bake 15-17 min. until light brown. Remove from oven. Heat jam in microwave for 30 sec. Spread over top of mixture. Stir remaining chips in batter and spoon on top of jam layer. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake 25-30 min. or until edges are browned. (Center will be soft.) Cool. (Eat a little spoonful warm. Mmmm.) Cut small – these are so rich, and so lovely.
Monday, April 29, 2013
We seem to be in a strange place right now, or maybe all societies are constantly measuring themselves against the real and imagined past to assess the present. I see us longing to turn back the clock in weirdly conflicting ways.
First, the positive. I’m encouraged by our conversation on work and the material world. It feels like we rode the wave called progress and now here we are, out to sea on a floating mound of plastic and toxins, working around the clock without any chance to rest. The prophets among us call us to turn off our devices and read books, and have conversations. How old school!
I’m getting used to unhomogenized milk in glass bottles. I remember the milk box on our porch at the duplex in Erie when I was seven, but I don’t remember the chunks of milk. It has always been kind of, well, not chunky in my lifetime, and retro milk is sort of odd, texturally, but so, so delicious. I read about how harmful plastic is – you do, too, I know – my god, we go to war for the petrochemicals that end up housing our milk for a few weeks – that’s insanity, right there. The fact that it leaches a toxic soup into our food, and is filling the ocean with its broken-down-pellety self, eaten by seabirds and leviathans until they starve… that’s past insanity, that’s evil.
There’s a big buy local/cottage industry movement afoot, and again, that’s more turning back the clock, saying a collective NO to the idea of economies of scale. It seems that only a few benefit from the transition to a box store economy. Producers, consumers, communities and resources are not among them. To stick with milk, who is better off in our plasticized, homogenized dairy world? Not the cows, certainly. Not people, who are ingesting hormones, antibiotics and petrochemicals, even if our government subsidies make milk cheaper. Not the land, where manure runoff is an environmental catastrophe. Not local farmers who don’t get paid enough to live on. But way up at the tippy top of that ladder is a few fat cats.
So I think those are wise movements, and I guess instead of framing them as retro, we can say we’re moving forward to a more thoughtful way of living. Americans seem to care more about how their lives impact the world, whether or not buying a cheap t-shirt at Walmart leads to a death by crushing or fire in a massive factory in Bangladesh or China.
But there are other efforts in the works that feel to me like we’re un-evolving. The way we pay for work is one of them. We’re racing to some kind of serfdom system, allowing, insisting! private and public employers drop wages until people qualify for poverty programs, and then we’re furious with people for qualifying for assistance, because… they’re lazy. We have more people living in poverty now than we did when President Johnson began the war on poverty, and more inequality than the Old World when our ancestors swarmed to America for a fresh chance. We are so segregated by wealth that a child’s zip code is a greater determiner for success than any other. That’s pretty vintage of us. Countries in our situation have seen revolutions. But I guess we’re still in that poor-people-are-lazy time in our national thinking. The buy local/cottage industry will help us reverse the trend, but alone, that will take more time than we have. Too many Americans are living in cars and under bridges.
Which is a pretty irrational time to be restricting reproductive services, but that isn’t stopping us.
We also seem to be very eager to take justice into our own hands. Let’s all have our own weapons, and trick out our kids with bullet proof vests, and live like they did… when? How far back do we have to go to find a society with no law and order? I think we’re talking The Iliad, although we might look to Yemen and Somalia for current references. It’s wild how rational people think they are. Someone just this weekend was telling me how angry he is about Obama. What do you mean, specifically? I asked.
You know, he wants to get rid of the Second Amendment.
I said, You mean repeal the Amendment? Change the Constitution?
He nodded. That’s right.
But the president can’t do that. Only Congress can draft a change to the Constitution.
I know, he said, nodding deeply, and indicating that the president is so outrageous, so power hungry, he was going to try to do it himself.
My friend, if you are stockpiling weapons to take over the country, let me say that you are the last person I want taking over our country. And if you’re arguing that the Founding Fathers wanted violent offenders and the violence-obsessed to be cleared to buy semi-automatic ammo over the internet, then you should be seriously questioned.
And the one that really gets me thinking is this idea that we should all strive to be independent. You know the rhetoric: I built that, socialized medicine makes us dependent on government, etc. Again, that’s crazy talk. Even the pioneers, who loaded up their bumpy wagons with tooth-breaking biscuits and headed out into wolf lands relied on each other in inter-connected ways.
We are no different. The teacher of my child is dependent on taxpayers for her salary; on her principal for a positive environment; on the state and federal government for specific standards that inspire her to work hard, but also respect her; on the parents of her students for valuing education, for reading to their kids and taking them to mind-enriching places. She is dependent on the free market for food, housing, energy and a car. She is dependent on the government for her retirement, for drivable roads or a bus or train, for clean water and air. Her local, state and federal government depend on her to pay taxes, and to live safely and within the law. The restaurants in her community depend on her and her colleagues to eat in them occasionally, as all the other businesses in her community would shut down without customers. The parents in her district depend on her to do well by her students, to enlighten them, excite them about learning, provide a community for them to know and love their classmates. The kids in her class depend on her to give them a chance to live up to their potential, and to instill in them a love of learning by rewarding intellectual risk-taking and creativity.
This inter-dependence asks a lot of all of us. And certainly sometimes people refuse to do their fair share, and we have to decide to either carry them or let them starve. Sometimes we have to pick up their trash, pay for their children's shoplifting, provide addiction counseling to their brothers and sisters, or chemotherapy to their impoverished parents. But that's a lot different from fantasizing that we're all living our individual lives, and because of our good choices, we shouldn't have to pay taxes or living wages to our employees, or watch out for each other.
We are interdependent. Our work, children, food, environment, justice, everything is interwoven, and creates a whole. We are at our best when we consider these things together, and when we strive to move into the future, learning from, without worshipping or rejecting out of hand, the past.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Countdown to our Saturday Cash Mob at Walrus Subs in Austintown! This is another new kid on the block, and judging from their Facebook posts they’re having a blast creating tasty-looking sandwiches and pizzas. The restaurant is not wheelchair accessible, but if the weather’s good, they’ll have a tent outside. We’ll be there from lunch through dinner – stop by to put your name in for a gift certificate from Sugar Showcase.
Youngstown Cash Mob
Sat. 27 April, noon – 7:00 p.m.
1305 S. Raccoon Rd., Austintown
Philly Cheesesteak, Gyros, Pizzas, Vegetarian Subs
As if that weren’t enough happiness, this falls on National Cash Mob Day! It’s been fun seeing what cash mobs around the country are up to. The Webster (Mass.) Cash Mob will be working along with their local business alliance at a community clean-up. The North Rockland (NY) group will visit a local hardware store and a luncheonette whose owners’ homes suffered damage from Hurricane Sandy. There are hundreds of cash mobs around the country, working to refocus attention on homegrown businesses and community building.
For our May Cash Mob, we invited nominations from outside our usual geographical range, in wider Trumbull and Mahoning Counties. It’s our hope that folks will be inspired to create more cash mobs in our region, so we don’t have to spread ourselves too thin. But it will be great visiting Niki’z Pub in Niles on Sat. May 18. Here were the other terrific nominees and the words of praise that came in with their nominations:
End of the Commons General Store, 4366 Kinsman Rd., Mesopotamia
I love to stop there for penny candy and ice cream.
Enzo’s Restaurant, 2918 Elm Rd., Warren
Enzo’s has delicious food and the owners are invested in the community, supporting activities for young people in the city.
Gardener’s Green Thumb, 157 W. Market St., Warren
An adorable little shop downtown selling great local goods.
Hopewell Farm & Craft Market, Mesopotamia, Northern Trumbull County, a therapeutic community farm. You can buy maple syrup and fresh eggs, as well as a great selection of art and crafts. The wood shop is turning out some incredibly nice cutting boards and wine racks. The farm is a place of healing for up to 40 mentally ill adults. And it is a beautiful place. You will feel good when you are there too.
Myrddin Winery, 3020 Scenic Ave., Lake Milton
This little boutique winery is located off of SE River Rd. about a mile and a half south of Mahoning Ave. Being located on the banks of the water affords a great view and relaxing visit.
Nona’s Family Closet, 36 Youngstown Warren Rd. (Rt 422 - Pinetree Square Plaza), Niles
Nona's is a well stocked, exceptionally priced clothing resell store.
North Lima Business & Shopping Complex, 11836 South Ave., North Lima
It is the old South Range high school, and consists of 30 small businesses and a restaurant. Each classroom contains personally owned business.
StoneYard Grill, 41 S. Main St., Niles
The food is absolutely delicious.
Tykes Toybox, 1600 Salt Springs Rd., Warren
They sell both new & used Little Tykes & Step 2 Toys. Because a lot of the used toys, such as playhouses & climbers, are already assembled, they also offer delivery.
The Shenango Valley Cash Mob continues to thrive, and is inviting us to their third event this Thurs., a two-for-one cash mob at Clarencedale Cake and Designs by Gee in downtown Sharon from 5:30-6:30 p.m. They meet afterwards to share a drink and conversation and plan the next event. Cheers!
One of many great things that’s come out of our online presence is the way Facebook allows us to share news about locally owned businesses that are opening, or moving, or (sadly) closing. Dorian Books, the site of our very first cash mob, is remodeling, and invites us to come and help lighten their load at significant discount. And farewell to nominee Second Time Around in Austintown; we wish the owners good journey as they relocate to a warmer climate.
If you come to Walrus Subs Saturday, please stop by to say hello. Whenever you buy something, we encourage you to think local first. It’s great for Youngstown in so many ways.
Thanks for helping us spread the word.