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Watch: José Andrés Inspires Washington, D.C. Graduates

Watch: José Andrés Inspires Washington, D.C. Graduates


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José Andrés' commencement speech encouraged the graduating class to take on the challenges of the world with confidence.

On Sunday, May 18th, acclaimed Washington-based chef José Andrés delivered the commencement speech for the graduates of George Washington University, class of 2014.

Andrés, who is a noted advocate of humanitarian issues like immigration reform and sustainable solutions to world hunger, also received an honorary doctorate of public service from the university.

First, in response to some public criticism that the chef lacked the profile to serve as this year’s commencement speaker, and chef Andrés introduced a satirical video in which several celebrities were asked to speak before Andrés. The video includes appearances from U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman, Owen Wilson, and others.

“My name is José Andrés, and I am a cook,” the chef begins.

“When I found myself alone in a new country, I didn’t buy a lottery ticket. I didn’t hit the jackpot. I just kept going... All these years later, my path has brought me here, as your path as led to you here, to this day, to celebrate your accomplishments.”

GW Commencement 2014: José Andrés from The George Washington University on Vimeo.

Karen Lo is an associate editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @appleplexy.


Life Advice from a Chef: Don’t Follow a Recipe

When Chef José Andrés took the stage to address the graduates of George Washington University at their commencement May 18, even he seemed surprised to have been the one chosen for the honor. “Wow,” Chef José said after the crowd had offered its perfunctory applause. But after humbly introducing himself — “My name is José Andrés and I am a cook” — the Spanish-born chef, who made his name and popularized small plates at restaurants like Jaleo, in Washington, D.C., gave a speech that built an instant buzz in the food world and beyond.

José’s speech, which began with a funny video showing some of his more famous pals (Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Owen Wilson, Al Roker, Eric Holder and others) turning down the gig, was as inspiring as it was amusing.

It included advice like: “There will always be critics and naysayers telling you what you cannot do, that it is impossible. There will always be more people bringing you down than lifting you up. It seems that way sometimes. But let me tell you: Get a cocktail shaker (if you are over 21). Add your heart, your soul, your brain, your instinct and shake it hard. Serve it straight up, but let me give you a secret ingredient. Add a dash of the criticism on top because those naysayers play an important role too. They motivate you to rise above, to challenge yourself, to prove them wrong.”

Chef José continued to say, “What could you do when life takes an unexpected turn? Friends, my advice: Don’t follow a recipe. Funny coming from a cook, no? When we go by the book, we lose our ability to adapt, to be creative. Sometimes you will find yourself without an ingredient or two. It will seem like everything is going wrong. If things don’t go as expected, make the unexpected work in your favor. Change the name of the dish.”

The grads and their guests seemed to devour every word of José’s advice, and when he wrapped things up, 25 minutes later, they stood and cheered for the humble chef who advised them to work toward making an impact on the world.


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Start Now.

We all possess the power to initiate change, in ways both small and large. Regardless of our situation or current challenges we can each start now. We can start with what we have, what we know, our human network, and with the knowledge gained from experience. We can begin with the lessons of the wise, and the optimism and fresh perspective of the young. We can start with simple gestures of kindness. We can start with clarity of purpose. We can start with a new outlook.

TEDxMidAtlantic 2013 showcased the stories of those who have led by example, and the ideas that can help us reframe the most intractable problems in new, imaginative ways.

José Andrés

Named “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation and recognized by Time magazine on the “Time 100” list of most influential people in the world, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator. Andrés teaches at Harvard and The George Washington University. He is also the founder of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit which aims to feed and empower vulnerable people in humanitarian crises around the world.

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Andrés teaches at Harvard and The George Washington University. He is also the founder of World Central Kitchen, a nonprofit which aims to feed and empower vulnerable people in humanitarian crises around the world.

Cameron Russell

Cameron Russell has spent the last decade posing as a supermodel. Occasionally she writes about grassroots public art and political power, and experiments with making art for the internet and the street. Cameron’s 2012 TEDxMidAtlantic talk has been viewed over 3 million times. She is the director of The Big Bad Lab, which creates participatory art and media platforms dedicated to including people in radical demonstrations of positive social change, and she recently founded Interrupt Mag, a participatory magazine.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal

General Stanley McChrystal is the co-founder of McChrystal Group and is a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs where he teaches leadership. He also heads the Aspen Institute Franklin Project to encourage and promote national service. The General is a former Commander of US and international forces in Afghanistan and his career in the U.S. Army spanned 34 years.

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His memoir “My Share of the Task” is a New York Times best seller.

Rep. Jim McGovern

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McGovern has authored important legislation to increase Pell Grant funding to allow more students access to higher education to provide funds to preserve open space in urban and suburban communities and to give tax credits to employers who pay the salaries of their employees who are called up to active duty in the Guard and Reserves.

A strong proponent of healthcare reform, his legislative efforts included reducing the cost of home health care, giving patients the dignity to be cared for in their own homes with the help of medical professionals.

McGovern voted against the initial authorization of force in Iraq in 2002, and has been among the most prominent Congressional voices on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. McGovern introduced a bipartisan, bicameral bill calling for a flexible timetable for withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan as a matter of national security and fiscal responsibility.

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Shiza Shahid

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The Malala Fund quickly took shape as that platform. Vital Voices, an organization devoted to empowering women, offered to temporarily host the Malala Fund while the permanent organization was being registered. The Malala Fund is now up and running, supported by an advisory committee, including a VP at Google, the CEO of Vital Voices, Malala, and Shiza.

Seth Goldman

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Shaw chairs The Explorers Club State of the Oceans Forums highlighting solutions to the crisis facing the world’s oceans. She is a keynote speaker at universities and major venues around the world. In November 2011, she delivered the keynote address on marine pollution at the Swedish Society for Marine Sciences Conference Visions of the Sea that was attended by King Carl Gustav.

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Mickey Edwards

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Michel Nischan

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National Geographic Emerging Explorer Lale Labuko witnessed the unspeakable and spoke out. At age 15 he saw elders from his tribe in Ethiopia tear a two-year-old girl from her mother’s arms. The child was never seen again. On that day, he heard the word “mingi” for the first time, an ancient term to describe a cursed infant deserving death. He co-founded Omo Child to stop the ritualistic killing of infants and children.

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Austin Troy

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Watch Derek Braun’s talk »

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Born in Madrid and an American citizen since 2009, he worked closely with Sergiu Celibidache in Germany for more than six years. He also studied with Pierre Boulez and Iannis Xenakis in France. Mr. Gil-Ordóñez serves as advisor for education and programming for Trinitate Philarmonia, a program in Leon, Mexico, modeled on Venezuela’s El Sistema, conducting its youth orchestra and choir several weeks per year.

A specialist in the Spanish repertoire, Mr. Gil-Ordóñez has recorded four CDs devoted to Spanish composers, in addition to PostClassical Ensemble’s Virgil Thomson and Copland CD/DVDs on Naxos (Artist of the Week for both releases).

In 2006, the king of Spain awarded Mr. Gil-Ordóñez the country’s highest civilian decoration, the Royal Order of Queen Isabella, for his work in advancing Spanish culture around the world, in particular for performing and teaching Spanish music in its cultural context. Mr. Gil-Ordóñez received a WAMMIE award from the Washington DC association of professional musicians in the category of best conductor in 2011.

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A journalist by training, Ms. Guernsey has been a technology and education writer at The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education and has contributed to several national publications, including Newsweek, Time, The Washington Post, and USA TODAY. She also blogs occasionally at The Huffington Post and is on Twitter @LisaGuernsey.

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Laurenellen McCann

Laurenellen McCann is the Sunlight Foundation’s National Policy Manager, working to help build, expand, and support transparency and, in particular, open data initiatives around the country and the world. She leads Sunlight’s work on state and local issues. Laurenellen also directs Sunlight’s largest annual community gathering, TransparencyCamp, an “unconference” for knowledge exchange between open government advocates that’s inspired similar events across the globe.

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Prior to joining Sunlight, Laurenellen worked at NPR and affiliate stations. When not fighting for smarter civic data, she’s often found thinking about how we interact in public space and cooking with vegetables. She graduated from Wesleyan University with a BA in Government and a passion for the information commons.

Anwar Dafa-Alla

Anwar Fatihelrahman Ahmed Dafa-Alla,PhD, is Adjucant Professor of Computer Science at Sudan University for Science and Technology and Neelian University and head of Information Technology department at Garden City College for Science & Technology in Khartoum, Sudan. Anwar is a special guest of TEDxMidAtlantic this year and is beloved by the TEDx community for his giving spirit and tireless efforts to advance knowledge throughout the world.

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Anwar is deeply involved in efforts to develop the Sudanese intellectual community, and he reports about the happenings in Sudan to the rest of the world. He is restless, a multi-tasker, and a huge fan of Hans Rosling.

City of the Sun

City of the Sun was created in 2010, in the subways, streets, and local bars of New York City. They began as “buskers,” or street performers, and their driving rhythms and fluid melodies immediately caught the attention of New York locals. Describing City’s sound can be a bit of a challenge—words never seem to give it justice. It is distinctly eclectic—a mélange of flamenco, blues, and indie/folk rock.

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The band’s influences include Rodrigo y Gabriela, Led Zeppelin, Al di Meola, Dave Matthews Band, David Broza, Pink Floyd, John Mayer, Paco de Lucia, John Butler Trio, Jack Johnson, Bob Dylan, and Bon Iver. Their smooth tones are accompanied by technical flourishes that only enhance the musical experience. Audiences are amazed by the skill the young self-taught guitarists have cultivated—fans have described them as “tremendous”, “powerful”, “mesmerizing”, and “a re-invention of acoustic music.”

Today City of the Sun is made up of lead guitarist John Pita and rhythm guitarist Avi Snow. The band’s notable performances include famed production Sleep No More, acclaimed Broadway show Once cast parties, and Paul Rowland’s Ford Project Gallery. In early 2013 they supported rapper/poet K’naan on his nationwide U.S. tour and opened for Chromeo and DJ Questlove at a Seeds of Peace charity event in New York City. This fall, they have been invited to play several TED Conference events and most recently opened for Marky Ramone (The Ramones) at Irving Plaza . They continue to develop their sound, building upon the guitar rhythm and riff foundation with vocals, percussion and electronic soundscapes.

Jen Oxley

Jennifer Oxley was born in Hollywood, California and caught the filmmaking bug early – she made her first film at the age of seven. Since then she has directed fifteen short films for Sesame Street, as well as the award-winning adaptation of Spike Lee and Tanya Lewis Lee’s children’s book, Please, Baby, Please. Her latest film, The Music Box, was acquired by The Museum of Modern Art for their permanent children’s film collection.

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Jeremy Jones

Jeremy Jones is a young entrepreneur from Bowie, Maryland. He specializes in brand marketing, promotion and advertising for local businesses, entertainers and corporations. In 2010, Jeremy and his business partner Matthew Talley jumpstarted the DMVFollowers brand. With various business ventures with AT&T, recording artist Wale, and a host of others, Jeremy has made a great splash in the business and entertainment culture in the D.C. area, as well as the Atlanta area with the brand GAFollowers.

Jackie Savitz

Jacqueline Savitz is Oceana’s Vice President for U.S. Oceans. In this role she oversees Oceana’s Responsible Fishing, Seafood Fraud and Climate and Energy Campaigns. She also recently led a feasibility study to develop plans for Oceana’s Save the Oceans, Feed the World project. Over the past decade, Savitz has developed and led Oceana campaigns including its Climate and Energy Campaign, its Mercury Campaign and its first pollution campaign which was focused on cruise ship pollution.

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Prior to working with Oceana, Savitz served as Executive Director of Coast Alliance, a network of over 600 organizations around the country working to protect U.S. coasts from pollution and development. In the mid-nineties, Jacqueline worked as an environmental policy analyst with the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C., where she focused on the public health effects of water and air pollution and authored a series of reports on water pollution, air quality standards, fish contamination and medical waste disposal. Jacqueline first worked as an environmental scientist with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation where she spent five years working on Chesapeake Bay issues.

Bayeté Ross Smith

Bayeté Ross Smith is an artist, photographer, and educator living in New York City. He began his career as a photojournalist with the Knight Ridder Newspaper Corporation. His collaborative projects “Along The Way” and “Question Bridge: Black Males” have shown at the 2008 and 2012 Sundance Film Festival, respectively. His work has also been featured at the Sheffield Doc Fest in Sheffield England and the L.A. Film Festival.

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He has also been involved in a variety of community and public art projects with organizations such as the Jerome Foundation, Alternate Roots, The Laundromat Project, the city of San Francisco, the city of Atlanta, the Hartford YMCA and the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency.

Bayeté’s accolades include a FSP/Jerome Fellowship, as well as fellowships and residencies with the McColl Center for Visual Art, Charlotte, North Carolina, the Kala Institute, Berkeley, California, the Laundromat Project, New York, NY and Can Serrat International Art Center, Barcelona, Spain.

His photographs have been published in numerous books and magazines, including Dis:Integration: The Splintering of Black America (2010), Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present (2009), Black: A Celebration of A Culture (2005), The Spirit Of Family (2002) SPE Exposure: The Society of Photographic Education Journal, Black Enterprise Magazine, and Working Mother Magazine.

As an educator, He has taught on the collegiate level and mentored youth through community based art programs. He has worked with the International Center of Photography, New York University, Parsons, the New School for Design, the California College of the Arts, and numerous K-12 and college level courses. Bayeté is currently the Associate Program Director for KAVI (Kings against Violence Initiative), a violence prevention non-profit organization in New York that has a partnership with Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.

He is represented by beta pictoris gallery/Maus Contemporary.

Misra Walker

Misra Walker is currently a junior at Cooper Union and is a Fine Arts Major. Her work blurs the line between activism and art by interrogating the history and politics that make up the backbone of her community. She is the founder of The House of Spoof, an art collective in Hunts Point, The Bronx, that hosts gallery shows for emerging artists and provides free art classes for the community in honor of their friend Glenn “Spoof” Wright who passed away in 2009.


Mexico President López Obrador frets about the spreading virus of fake news, but not COVID-19

1:30 AM on Jun 16, 2020 CDT

On May 6, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador opened his daily morning news conference by expressing grave concern about the “virus that is spreading” in Mexico. Most viewers would think he was talking about COVID-19. He was not.

He was referring, instead, to what he called an “epidemic” of fake news and Twitter bots that he says have continually attacked his administration since he took office. The president said Facebook and Twitter should reveal who is behind the bots and organized social media smear campaigns that he alleged are operating in Mexico.

A few days later, an investigation by the NGO Article 19, the Mexican news website Aristegui News, and the Western Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESO) provided an answer to his question. The investigation revealed that the Mexican government’s own state news agency, Notimex, had created a network of bots and fake accounts, and was using them to attack prominent journalists, such as Dolia Estévez, who has served as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for many of Mexico’s leading media outlets, and Carmen Aristegui, founder of Aristegui news.

Much like his neighbor and ally, President Donald Trump, López Obrador attacks the media on a near-daily basis. He frequently dismisses legitimate questions or fact-based criticism as “fake news,” calls journalists “criminals,” and accuses media outlets of having been paid to “orchestrate a disinformation campaign” against him.

In one revealing exchange, López Obrador complained that the news magazine Proceso had not “behaved well,” adding that “the best journalists in Mexico’s history … all took a side” and supported “transformations,” implying that the press should support him. A reporter countered that the “role of the press is not to behave well” but “to inform.” On May 26, the president publicly threatened two major Mexican newspapers El Universal and Reforma, saying he “didn’t want to keep calling them out” but he urged them to “change their attitude, because if not, I’ll be forced to.” Many journalists who question López Obrador face attacks by social media troll gangs using hashtags like “prostituted press” and “corrupt press.”

Meanwhile, with Mexico’s COVID-19 daily death rates now among the highest in the world and still climbing, President López Obrador has decided to end social distancing measures and begin the “new normal.” On the day that the country surpassed 1,000 daily COVID-19 deaths, López Obrador was on a weeklong trip to the Yucatán Peninsula, where he held events to celebrate the reopening of tourism in Cancún and the continued construction of two of his pet projects: an oil refinery and a train in the jungle. One of his only mentions of COVID-19 was to accuse the national newspaper Reforma of attacking him by publishing the official COVID-19 death statistics released by the Health Ministry.

The Mexican government, under successive administrations, has had a terrible record on media freedom and this is not the first time it has been implicated in cyberattacks on journalists. A 2017 investigation revealed that Mexican intelligence services had been extensively using the spyware program Pegasus to surveil many high-profile journalists and human rights defenders. Despite the ensuing scandal, WhatsApp and the Citizen Lab reported in October 2019 that the spyware program remained in use, though they didn’t identify the targets.

The president needs to take decisive steps to protect free speech, a fundamental pillar of democracy. He should start by immediately condemning and putting a stop to the social media attacks that the evidence suggests are done by his own government and calling for a full and impartial investigation into official involvement in the recently revealed bot attacks on journalists. If López Obrador doesn’t take these steps, he will send the message that attacks on the independent press are allowed and welcome on his watch.

José Miguel Vivanco is the Americas director at Human Rights Watch. He wrote this column for The Dallas Morning News.


POWER UP BY POWER AIR FRYER OVEN

POWER UP BY POWER AIR FRYER OVEN is not an ad but my experience with making changes in how this southern gal now appreciates “frying” without the guilt and my own attempts/successes with my healthier way of cooking. I had a great response and interest in the first blog post and wanted to give everyone another chance to view my new way of cooking. #blog #powerairfryeroven #healthyeating #cooking #southernstyle #eating

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Grilled Spring Onions with Romesco Sauce

I’m not into celebrity chefs, per se. My favorite cookbooks are penned by self-taught home cooks with an interesting story to tell and a reverence for the craft of writing. Paula Wolfert, Nigel Slater, David Tanis, even Nigella Lawson. I want more than recipes. Give me history, culture, tradition. Let me be lost in your story and see the world through new eyes. I’m drawn to people who have a contagious enthusiasm for life. José Andrés is one of those cooks. He’s joyful and driven in his mission to share Spanish food with the world. Sure he is a celebrity, but to me, he’s not a celebrity chef. It’s substance and meaning and a new spin on traditional recipes that give his food depth. When I traveled to Washington D.C. for the first time (in April), eating at one of José Andrés’ restaurants was at the top of my list.

During the trip, my traveling companion and I ended up at Jaleo for lunch, José’s tapas restaurant just off the National Mall. From the street I just happened to see the big red letters on glass spelling out, “Jaleo,” and broke free from the crowded sidewalk, in through the glass doors, to be greeted by an über-professional hostess dressed in black from head-to-toe. It was a slick operation, the kind of service I miss out here in Boulder, Colorado. I was struck by the balance of genuine friendliness and confident professionalism exuded by the restaurant staff. The hostess led us through a lively restaurant with bright colors and modern decor, and we were seated at a table for two by the window. I eagerly grabbed a menu, scanning it for recognizable dishes I might have cooked from José’s books. I’ve got a real thing for Spain – the language, the small plates and brash flavors, the artisanal meats and cheeses, afternoon siesta, eating late- I love it all.

When it came time to pick a wine off the iPad wine list, I knew it had to be rosé. Each spring I look forward to the first bottles of blushing pink wine from Spain. Drinking rosé is a ritual meant for happy times and celebrations. I ordered us two glasses of Llopart Brut Rosé, 2008, an effervescent blend of Monastrell, Grenache, and Pinot Noir grapes. The cava was bone-dry with essences of strawberry and a minerality that begged to be paired with charcuterie, so I ordered a plate of Chorizo Palacios (spicy cured pork sausage flavored with pimentón) and the famous Jamón Ibérico Fermin (a salt cured ham). The Spanish are passionate about their pork, taking great pride in raising the rare breed of black-footed pigs native to the Iberian Peninsula. It’s a slow food, and after a life of grazing and happily munching on acorns, these pigs are slaughtered and cured in salt, hung in a breezy mountain cabin window to dry, then aged for up to two years until “the time is right.” The result is Spain’s answer to Italy’s prosciutto: jamón. Thinly sliced sheets of marbled ham, Jamón Ibérico tastes unlike any other- sweet and nutty, savory and mildly salty. I thoughtfully selected a slice to taste, and the meat was so delicate it practically melted in my mouth. The chorizo, a scattering of coin shaped slices on the wooden cutting board, tasted of that immediately recognizable Spanish spice – pimentón (smoked paprika), a brick red, lip-staining, smoky-sweet spice infused throughout the hard sausage of pork meat and fat. We lingered over each bite, washing it down with a sip of quenching rosé.

The whole idea of tapas is a steady stream of small plates, and we followed the charcuterie with a couple of dishes I recognized from José Andrés’ cookbook, Made in Spain: Pimentos del Piquillo Rellenos de Queso (seared red piquillo peppers filled with Caña de Cabra goat cheese) and Papas Arrugás (baby potatoes cooked Canary Island-style). The succulent, sweet red piquillo peppers with roasted, black-charred skins oozed soft-ripened goat cheese. One bite revealed a mingling of tangy cheese and mildly spicy, fruity, smoky red pepper. We finished off the stuffed peppers in a flash. I wished for more, but was promptly distracted by the bowlful of tiny potatoes, tan and wrinkled, crusted in salt, like beach bums who fell asleep sunbathing. I had cooked these potatoes in my kitchen at home, following José Andrés’ recipe inspired by melting pot cuisine of the Canary Islands, technically a part of Spain but geographically off the coast of Africa. The potatoes are simmered in heavily salted water until wrinkled and tender, then finished in a dry pan until their salt coating begins to crystallize. I popped one into my mouth and bit through its soft jacket into an unbelievably fluffy interior. Two sauces accompanied the wrinkled potatoes: mojo verde (green sauce) and mojo rojo (red sauce). The green sauce, a paste of cilantro, garlic, cumin, and sea salt thinned out with sherry vinegar and olive oil, had an electric zing from bright, herbal flavors and the sharp kick of raw garlic and vinegar. Maybe it was the American in me, that penchant for ketchup with fries, but I preferred the red sauce, a blend of garlic, cumin, pimentón, dried chile pepper flakes, olive oil, and sherry vinegar. Silently we popped potato bites, enthralled by their unique texture and earthy flavor so beautifully complimented by piquant sauce.

Before we could get too depressed by our empty potato bowl, the soup arrived. This is the beauty of tapas- each small bite leaves you wanting more. A bowl of Gazpacho, pretty much the national dish of Spain, was placed in front of me. I felt obliged to order it, this joyful purée of sun-loving vegetables: tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers, thickened with bread and served chilled. It was indeed refreshing, but I coveted the bowl of Sopa de Ajo steaming in front of my friend. The aroma of garlic infused broth wafted in my direction and I was compelled to ask for a taste. Kindly, my dining companion complied, and I looked into a bowl of golden broth topped with a tiny poached quail egg. I brought a spoonful of steaming garlic broth to my lips and was overcome by the intensity of flavor. The taste of this simple broth was deeply comforting, like a mother’s embrace, yet held a mystery. I recognized it as umami, the strange and wonderful fifth taste associated with savory, meaty flavors we mammals can’t help but respond to- it’s in our genes. Reluctantly, I passed the bowl of Sopa de Ajo back to my friend and finished off my Gazpacho. Like Bilbo Baggins from Lord of the Rings, I just wanted one more taste of “my precious.”

Fortunately, before I could lunge at my dining partner, the waiters came to clear the table and drop dessert menus. Dessert! I was back to my old self again. In my opinion, every meal must end with a little something sweet. We agreed to share a decadent dark chocolate mousse and hazelnut ice cream, and ordered two espressos to keep us going the rest of the day. The chocolate was decadent and the hazelnut ice cream vibrant with rich, nutty character. The dark, strong espressos jolted us back to reality, and we got up from our table, passing back through the crowded restaurant, waving goodbye to the hostess and exiting the large glass doors back onto the busy streets of Washington D.C. As the doors closed behind us the sounds of plates clattering and diners bantering faded away. I thought of the name, “Jaleo” which means “revelry” or “uproar” in Spanish. José Andrés credits the restaurant name to John Singer Sargent’s painting “El Jaleo,” which depicts a flamenco dancer frozen at the height of her performance- arms raised, skirt dramatically fanned. The term, el jaleo refers to the moment of music-induced fever inciting a spontaneous “Olé!” during the climax of a performance. During lunch, my friend and I had reveled in the spirit of Jaleo, experienced the joy of Chef José Andrés’ food and savoring every bite of Spanish tapas. Looking back towards the restaurant I whispered a heartfelt “Olé!”

I returned home to Boulder, Colorado, inspired by the beauty of simply prepared ingredients and the brash Spanish flavors of brightly colored, spicy chili peppers. Nostalgia for that beautiful meal at Jaleo made me pick up José Andrés Tapas cookbook in the hopes of creating an Olé! Moment. I selected the most glorious, peak-of -season vegetable at the farmer’s market: a bundle of long, thin stalks of Egyptian Walking Onions, and remembered the Spanish tradition of celebrating spring outdoors with grilled spring onions.

In the Tapas book, José Andrés shares a recipe for Calçots al Estilo de Valls (Early Spring Onions with Romesco Sauce). Calçots are a type of spring onion, thicker than a scallion, with a sweet, mild flavor. In early spring they are harvested and friends and family gather in celebration to enjoy the onions grilled on a wood fire until charred and infused with smoke, then wrapped in newspaper and allowed to steam. It’s a messy, eat with your hands kind of meal that really reminds me of the revelrous spirit of Jaleo. The outer charred layer is pulled off the calçot, which is dipped in romesco sauce and eaten whole by lowering the onion carefully into the mouth. Romesco is a rustic, ruddy colored sauce made by blending smoky sweet chiles with onions, garlic, and olive oil in a purée flavored with Spanish smoked paprika (pimentón) and sherry vinegar. Ground almonds and breadcrumbs add body to the sauce, allowing it to cling to the slippery grilled onions. The spring tradition of grilling the calçots and sharing them with friends is known as a calçotada, and José believes it has a “great future in America.” I enthusiastically agree. We could all use a bit more jaleo, that Spanish flair for uproar and revelry, in our home cooking.

Each week I contribute an article to the Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder website expanding on one of the 10 Ways Tuesday ideas. This week I shared a recipe for Grilled Spring Onions with Romesco Sauce. For the entire article and recipe, click on the icon below.


TODAY THE WORDS ARE OCTOBER SCENTS

No blog message on the October Scents would be complete without the scents of mountain air and beautiful leaves with their awesome display of color. This video was composed from our recent changing of the leaves vacation.

When I was young and always ready for something Momma had baked I looked forward to her tea cakes, her pound cakes (which we would always catch her out of the kitchen and jump up and down to cause it to fall bless Momma’s heart it was years before she realized her cakes would have been beautiful if we hadn’t sabotaged her efforts to have it taste better), but I remember her gingerbread best of all. I could smell the fragrant aroma of the gingerbread loaf before I made it home from school. Walking up to our house, I could smell it’s wonderful smell and I was so excited. I am speaking from my heart but this was a unanimous contention for all of my siblings. It was a wonderful and joyous moment and now a great memory of those spices and more importantly, the love shown by our Mom.

We, as humans, are susceptible to smells as much as taste. We are usually expressive either pro or con about smells and aromas. Fall presents strong aromas and seemingly tied to family gatherings and holidays. This brings me to my focus for this message.

Tis the season … for pumpkin spice, that is. This seasonal spice blend might have its naysayers who believe that the pumpkin spice love has gotten a little out of control, but to them, we say: bring it on. Even Trader Joe’s is embracing pumpkin spice mania — or, as they put it, “Pumpkintopia”.

If you don’t know what pumpkin spice is, we have to say, you are missing out. Contrary to the name, it doesn’t contain any actual pumpkin, but the warming blend of spices pairs oh-so-well with pumpkin pie and the famous concoction that has stolen our hearts over the years: the pumpkin spice latte. Unfortunately, the most mainstream example of our beloved latte, the Starbucks PSL, is not and cannot be made vegan, but worry not — it’s easy to make your own vegan pumpkin spice latte at home.

Bonus: this homemade version comes with some health benefits. Let’s break down the reasons why.

Ahh, pumpkin spice … A warming symphony of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves.
Cinnamon has been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Studies have also suggested that it may have anti-inflammatory properties.

Ginger boasts a variety of health benefits, such as combating stomach ailments, reducing inflammation, reducing headache pain, aiding in digestion, and increasing metabolism.

Nutmeg is rich in manganese, which helps regulate blood sugar, absorb calcium, metabolize carbs, and helps form tissues and bones.

Allspice, also known as pimento, is rich in antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, may help improve blood circulation and more.

Cloves are a rich source of manganese and an active component called eugenol, which functions as an anti-inflammatory substance. It has also been the subject of studies on the prevention of toxicity from environmental pollutants like carbon tetrachloride, digestive tract cancers, and joint inflammation.

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice Blend at Home
Ready to make your own pumpkin spice blend? First, make sure you have your supplies. You’ll need an empty bottle (save the bottles from spices you use up just for moments like this) and a kitchen funnel. You could also make your own kitchen funnel by cutting a sheet of printer paper in half diagonally, shaping it into a cone, and taping it.

Then, combine 1/2 cup ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ground ginger, 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1 teaspoon ground cloves.

Now, you’re ready to use your homemade blend in homemade pumpkin spice lattes and more! Here are a few of our favorite recipes, courtesy of the Food Monster App:

Pumpkin Spice Latte With Homemade Pumpkin Seed Milk
This dairy-free version of the ever-popular Pumpkin Spice Latte by Courtney West is made using homemade pumpkin seed milk! The latte is a concoction of the pumpkin seed milk, pumpkin spiced maple simple syrup and cold brew concentrate. Though this may seem a little involved for a coffee drink, the recipe will make enough for about four drinks, so you can keep sipping on PSLs all week long

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Now for the deeper thought……As our senses tell us what aroma is filling the air we need to be as conscious of who and what is filling our lives. We need to “sniff”our home environment and smell out what children are hearing and watching.

We need to appreciate the warm, comforting times we spend with our family and friends. We can seek out God more and take time to thank Him for all the sweet blessings and treats of life. We want to cherish the good taste of life while we smell the cinnamon aroma of living and loving life.

FEATURED BIBLE VERSE:
Proverbs 15:17 ESV
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.

(C) Copyright 2012-2018 Arline Miller with all rights and privileges reserved


Watch the video: Paella Practice at Jaleo