Friday, January 27, 2012

Programs for the Week of 1/30

I’ll be on vacation all next week and we put our heads together to come up with a line-up from the Here on Earth archives we think might be

Jean’s Pick of the Week (watch video): An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines: It’s not often that you come across a Holocaust story that has not yet been told. But, thanks to Here on Earth producer Marika Suval who discovered Filipino filmmaker Noel “Sonny” Izon, last Monday’s show broke the story of 1,200 Jews who were rescued by the people of the Philippines at a time when most other nations, including the United States, turned them down. What’s more, the story was corroborated by several listeners who called in to testify that they had first-hand knowledge of some of the very Jews who were rescued. It was inspiring and exciting.

Monday: Tree of Life (Encore): Terrence Malick's ambitious and controversial film is up for an Academy Award this year. It was both booed and cheered before it won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. The film raises deep existential questions about the meaning of life, death, and pain, and we managed to find the perfect guests to talk about it. My hunch is that a lot of the people who walked out on The Tree of Life might stick around to hear what Barbara Newman and David Sterritt had to say about it.

Tuesday: Healing the Heart of Democracy (Encore): Parker Palmer is always good for what ails us, but never more so than right now as we hit the shoals of this year’s presidential election. In his new book, designed to re-invigorate American democracy in its most localized settings, and to connect it to those larger global movements that both inspire and disappoint us, he spells out what we can do to form habits of the heart conducive to embracing democracy's endless conflicts.

Wednesday: The Runaway Little Free Libraries Project (Encore): Rick Brooks and Todd Bol caught a tiger by the tail when they decided to promote worldwide literacy and build communities one Little Free Library at a time. This was far and away one of our most popular programs of the season.

Thursday: American Born Chinese (Encore): I had great fun with Gene Luen Yang, the creator of this graphic novel which Publisher’s Weekly describes as "more than just the story of a Chinese-American childhood: it's a fable for every kid born into…a life they wish they could escape."

Friday: Twain's Feast (Encore): I loved this slightly far out Food Friday show about the attack of culinary homesickness Mark Twain suffered while traveling through Europe during the winter of 1879, eating bad hotel food. His fantasy menu, which included more than 80 mouth watering items, tells us so much about the astonishing variety of local specialties Americans regularly feasted on when the country was still wild.

I’ll be back on Monday, February 6, with a program about Swedish Nobel laureate Tomas Transtromer I’ve been longing to do for a long time. You come too!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Programs for the Week of 1/23

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Bill Strickland: Bill Strickland is one hell of a guy. A man who grew up in one of the worst neighborhoods in Pittsburgh in the ruins of the steel industry, he built a world class jobs training and community arts center right in the middle of that same neighborhood where the lives of at-risk teenagers, welfare mothers, and ex-steel workers are radically transformed. He has somehow managed to combine the soul of an artist with the entrepreneurial instincts of a robber baron. No wonder Harvard Business School is studying him.

Monday: An Open Door: Jewish Rescue in the Philippines: Most of us have heard of Schindler’s List, but how many of us know about the shiploads of German and Austrian Jews who were rescued in the Philippines beginning in 1935, when most other nations turned them away. Filipino filmmaker Noel Izon, who owes his life to a German Jewish refugee, sets out to document the story of Jewish rescue in the Philipines in his new film, An Open Door.“It is my hope, & indeed my expectation, that the people of the Philippines will have in the future every reason to be glad that when the time of need came, their country was glad to extend to a persecuted people, a hand of welcome.” - Manuel Quezon, President of the Philippine Commonwealth, April 23, 1940

Tuesday: Abraham’s Family: Three principal members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s LUBAR Institute for the Study of the Abrahamic Religions join me for a candid conversation about their own personal religious beliefs, how faith illuminates their lives, and what they have learned from one another.

Wednesday: The Muslim Brotherhood: In the wake of the pro-democracy protests in Tahrir Square, many Western observers are dismayed by the electoral success of the Muslim’s Brotherhood’s in Egypt. Dr. Tariq Ramadan, grandson of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, joins us to talk about what the Brotherhood’s leadership means for the future of Egyptian democracy.

Thursday: A Peace Maker in Syria: In her memoir, The Bread of Angels, Stephanie Saldana wrote about an Italian Jesuit who restored a tenth century monastery near Damascus, and then dedicated it to Muslim/Christian dialogue. Father Paulo was recently forced into exile by the Assad regime, but he’s back. Stephanie joins us with an update.

Friday: The French Slow Cooker: Who knew that cooking Provençal vegetable soup, red-wine braised beef with mushrooms, chicken with forty cloves of garlic, and even bouillabaisse could be as easy as setting a timer and walking away? Lori Skelton talks with Michele Scicolone about recipes from her new cookbook, The French Slow Cooker.

Batten down the hatches, here comes Ol' Man Winter! Stay safe and warm!


French Slow Cooking on Friday 1/27

The French Slow Cooker – recipes for WPR's "Here On Earth," January 27

For all these recipes, you will need a slow cooker with at least a 5-quart capacity (“large slow cooker”). If you have a smaller slow cooker, you may need to cut the recipe in half and reduce cooking time.

Thanks to author Michele Scicolone, for giving us permission to post these recipes before her interview. I hope you enjoy cooking and sharing comfort food with a bit of French sure to call in with your comments next week!

The French Slow Cooker – recipes for January 27

Recipes by Michele Scicolone. You can find these and more in her new cookbook “The French Slow Cooker.

For all these recipes, you will need a slow cooker with at least a 5-quart capacity (“large slow cooker”). If you have a smaller slow cooker, you may need to cut the recipe in half and reduce cooking time.

Spinach and Egg Bouillabaisse (serves 6)

6 russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 large onion, chopped

3C. chicken broth, vegetable broth or water

3C. water

salt and fresh-ground pepper

1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed

6 large eggs

1 baguette, cut into ½ thick slices and toasted

grated Parmesan cheese, aioli or rouille (recipe follows)

In large slow cooker, combine potatoes, onion, broth and water. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook on high for 6 hours, or until potatoes are very tender. Stir in spinach and cook for 15 minutes, or until spinach is hot.

When ready to serve, break 1 egg into a small cup. Remove cover from slow cooker and, holding cup close to surface, pour in the egg. Repeat with the remaining 5 eggs, placing them about an inch apart on the surface of the soup. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, or until eggs are done to taste.

Place a slice or two of toast in each bowl. Carefully spoon an egg and some soup over the toast. Sprinkle with cheese, and pass aioli or rouille. Serve hot.

Aioli (Garlic Mayonnaise)

2 large garlic cloves (or to taste), peeled

½ t. salt

2 large egg yolks

1t. Dijon mustard

1C. extra-virgin olive oil (for a milder flavor, use blend of olive and vegetable oil)

1-2t. fresh lemon juice

In a food processor, combine garlic and salt and process until finely chopped. With machine running, add egg yolks and mustard and process until smooth. Very slowly drizzle in the oil. It’s important to go slowly so that the sauce does not break. Once you have added ½ cup of the oil, you can add the remainder a little more rapidly. Add lemon juice to taste.

If aioli curdles, place a tablespoon of mustard in a bowl, then with a whisk gradually beat in the aioli a spoonful at a time. Serve immediately or store in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


½ C. roasted red bell peppers (jarred or homemade)

1 large garlic clove, peeled

1C. mayonnaise

2T. extra-virgin olive oil

1t. fresh lemon juice

pinch of piment d’Espelette or cayenne pepper

In a blender or food processor, finely chop peppers and garlic together. Add the mayonnaise, oil, lemon juice and piment d’Espelette (or cayenne) and process until smooth. Serve immediately or store in a covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic (serves 6)

2-3 garlic heads

12 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed

1T. chopped fresh rosemary

salt and freshly ground pepper

½ C. dry white wine

2T. fresh lemon juice

Separate garlic into cloves. There should be about 40. Discard any loose skin from the cloves, but do not peel them. Scatter the garlic in a large slow cooker.

Sprinkle the chicken with the rosemary and salt and pepper to taste. Place the chicken pieces in the slow cooker. Pour in wine and lemon juice. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

To serve, transfer chicken and most of garlic to a large platter. Cover and keep warm. Remove and smash the remaining garlic cloves and stir them back into the liquid. Discard the garlic skins.

Pour the liquid into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Cook until reduced and slightly thickened. Taste for seasoning. Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve hot.

Bargemen’s Beef Stew (serves 8)

olive oil

4lbs. boneless beef chuck, well trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

3T. all-purpose flour

salt and freshly ground pepper

3 large onions, thinly sliced

6 anchovy fillets

6 garlic cloves, peeled

¼ C. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

2T. Dijon mustard

2T. red wine vinegar

Oil the insert of a large slow cooker. In a large bowl, toss meat with flour and salt and pepper to taste. Scatter half the onions in the slow cooker. Add half the meat. Add remaining onions and top with remaining meat. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until meat is very tender.

In a food processor or blender, chop anchovies, garlic and parsley very fine. Add mustard and vinegar and pulse until just blended.

Skim the fat off the stew. Stir in anchovy mixture. Taste for seasoning and serve.

Saffron Vegetable Stew (serves 6-8)

2T. olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2C. chopped canned tomatoes, with their juice

2t. salt

¼ t. saffron threads, crumbled

freshly ground pepper

4 medium boiling potatoes (such as Yukon Gold), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 medium cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets

1-2t. chopped fresh thyme or basil

In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden but not browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomatoes and juices, salt, saffron, and pepper to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, until thickened.

Put potatoes in large slow cooker. Place cauliflower over potatoes. Pour tomato sauce over all.

Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, or until vegetables are tender when pierced with a knife. Sprinkle with thyme or basil. Can be served hot, warm or room temperature.

Lemon Pots de Crème (serves 4)

1/3 C. fresh lemon juice

½ t. grated lemon zest

½ C. sugar

4 large egg yolks

1C. heavy cream

Stir together lemon juice, zest and sugar until sugar is dissolved.

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and cream until blended. Stir in lemon juice mixture. Pour mixture into four ½ cup custard cups or ramekins.

Place a rack in the insert of a large slow cooker, or crush a sheet of aluminum foil into a ring shape and place that on the bottom of the insert. Carefully place cups on the rack (if using foil, you may need to make two rings, one slightly smaller inside the other). Pour about 1 inch of hot water into the cooker, being careful not to splash water into the cups. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours, or until the creams are softly set and slightly jiggly in the center. Uncover and let stand for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cups from the cooker, wearing sturdy rubber gloves so as not to burn your fingers.

Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 2 hours, or up to 3 days, before serving.

Creamy Cherry Clafoutis (serves 6)

unsalted butter

1 12-ounce bag frozen pitted cherries (about 2 ½ cups), thawed, or substitute fresh or drained canned cherries (not cherry pie filling)

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

2 large eggs

½ C. sugar

¼ C. all-purpose flour

¼ C. whole milk

½ t. grated lemon zest

Generously butter the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of the insert of a large slow cooker. Scatter the cherries in the cooker.

In a food processor or blender, combine the cream cheese, eggs, sugar, flour, milk and lemon zest. Process or blend until smooth and creamy. Pour the mixture over the cherries.

Cover and cook on high for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until the center is just set. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve warm, scooping clafoutis out of the insert.

Chocolate Pain Perdu (serves 8)

Unsalted butter

1 baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)

2 C. whole milk

10 oz. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped

4 large eggs

½ C. sugar

1 C. heavy cream

1 t. vanilla extract

Ice cream, whipped cream or Crème Anglaise (recipe follows)

Butter the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of the insert of a large slow cooker. Scatter the bread cubes in the cooker.

Heat the milk in a small pan over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges. Remove from heat. Set aside ¼ cup of chopped chocolate. Add the remaining chocolate to the hot milk and stir until smooth and melted.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until foamy. Beat in the chocolate milk, cream and vanilla.

Pour the milk mixture over the bread in the cooker. Scatter the reserved ¼ cup of chocolate pieces on top. Cover and cook on high for three hours, or until softly set in the center.

Let cool slightly. Scoop from the insert and serve with ice cream, whipped cream or Crème Anglais.

Crème Anglais

1 C. heavy cream

1 C. whole milk

1 vanilla bean or 1 ½ t. vanilla extract

3 large egg yolks

1/3 C. sugar

pinch of salt

Combine cream and milk in small saucepan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise with a small, sharp knife. Scrape the seeds out of the bean and into the cream mixture. Add vanilla pod. If using vanilla extract, add it while sauce is cooling.

Cook the cream mixture over medium heat until small bubbles appear around the edge. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Remove vanilla pod and discard.

In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt. Gradually whisk in the warm cream mixture. Transfer sauce to saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until small wisps of steam appear and the sauce coats the back of a spoon (test by dipping a spoon in the sauce and carefully – it is hot – run your finger down the back of the spoon…if it leaves a distinct track, the sauce is done). Do not allow the sauce to boil, or it may curdle.

Immediately pour the sauce into a clean bowl, set into a larger bowl of ice water. Let cool, stirring occasionally. Cover and refrigerate until serving time or for up to 2 days.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Programs for the Week of 1/16

Jean’s Pick of the Week: Through the Door of Life: I never expected to identify so closely with a transgender woman, but Joy Ladin’s life story, told so beautifully in her memoir, Through the Door of Life: A Jewish Journey between Genders, is really about the search for the authentic self. It’s a deeply spiritual journey at is heart, and Ladin is completely candid about her life-long struggle with suicide and the angel’s voice who finally rescues her from it.

Monday: Bill Strickland: Meet a man who transformed his own life from inner-city desperation to successful social entrepreneur. Today, he rescues at-risk school kids by using the arts to teach them life skills. He also created a model for turning displaced adults into productive workers. His work has helped re-invent America’s approach to social entrepreneurship.

Tuesday: A Semester At Sea: Established in 1963, Semester at Sea is the only study-abroad program of its kind in the world. On a ship that becomes a traveling campus, a community of faculty and students live and learn together, exploring a different world region every semester.

Wednesday: The Museum of Underwater Art: Can a sculpture garden save the world's coral reefs?: Amazingly enough, we discovered a story reported in National Geographic about an underwater sculpture garden situated in the Caribbean somewhere between Cancun and Isla Mujeres that is attracting a new kind of coral reef. Here’s a description:They stand in a submerged world of watery silence: hundreds of life-size sculptures, depicting scenes from everyday life. A portly man watching TV, a woman staring into the deep-sea abyss; someone slumped over the hood of a VW Beetle. Yet, each statue is a constantly changing, highly coveted habitat for choral, fish and other marine life—just like the sculptor intended. The Museum of Underwater Modern Art shows what a sustainable, symbiotic relationship with nature may look like.

Thursday: Talking with the Taliban: The Taliban announced this week that ten years after 9/11, it is finally willing to talk with the United States. There’s only one catch: in return, the Obama Administration has to release at least five senior Taliban officials held at Guantánamo. President Emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights Michael Ratner joins us to talk about prospects for peace, and the future of Guantánamo.

Friday: Feeding the Dragon: In 2005, Mary Kate and Nate Tate set out on a 9,700 mile trip across China, collecting recipes from the country’s myriad culinary traditions. From the snow-capped mountains of Tibet to the scorching deserts of Xinjiang, the brother-sister duo create a mouth-watering blend of food, culture and travel.

Enjoy the snow!


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Programs for the Week of 1/9

Monday: The Jewish Annotated New Testament: What would a New Testament edited by Jewish scholars tell us about the Judeo-Christian heritage? Growing up as a secular Jew, Hebrew scholar Amy-Jill Levine remembers being accused of killing Christ even though she knew and loved many of the stories from the New Testament. In an attempt to reconcile the two traditions, she’s now the co-editor of The Jewish Annotated New Testament which places the Christian scriptures in their original Jewish context.

Tuesday: Mindfulness for Beginners: Is meditation at the top of your New Year’s resolutions? Jon Kabat-Zinn, who has done so much to secularize the practice of meditation and to integrate it into the mainstream medical establishment in the U.S., has come out with a new book which stresses its health benefits and is especially designed for the beginning meditator.

Wednesday: The Tiger’s Wife: Author Téa Obreht is only 26, but her debut novel has been hailed as “the runaway book of the year.” Set in the war-torn Balkans, The Tiger's Wife explores the relationship between a wise elder and his granddaughter who, much like Obreht herself, is undergoing a rite of passage. Straddling the line between myth and realism, the novel shines a light on the delicate work of putting a society fractured by conflict back together.

Thursday: Through the Door of Life: Professor Jay Ladin made headlines around the world when, after years of teaching literature at Yeshiva University, he returned to the Orthodox Jewish campus as a woman—Joy Ladin. In her book, Through the Door of Life, Joy allows us inside her transition as she changes genders and, in the process, creates a new self.

Friday: TBA:


Sunday, January 1, 2012

Programs for the Week of 1/2

Happy New Year to all our devoted Here on Earthians! Due to our reduced staff during the holidays, this week’s bulletin might be a little late, and a bit on the light side:

Monday: UPRISING: According to Time magazine, the word protest appeared in newspapers and online more this past year than at any other time in history. Political analyst John Nichols is working on a new book about the uprisings of 2011. He says that for once the United States is in solidarity with the rest of the world. He joins us with a look back at the global protest movements of 2011. Which ones are most likely to succeed?

Tuesday: The Exile of a Peace Maker in Syria: Father Paolo is an Italian Jesuit priest who has worked to foster and maintain a real interfaith dialogue between Muslims and Christians for the past 30 years in Syria. Recently, he was exiled by the regime for expressing his concerns about living under a totalitarian dictatorship, stating that "Fear has oppressed us too long." Stephanie Saldana wrote about him in her memoir, The Bread of Angels. She joins us with an update.

Wednesday: Mindfulness for Beginners: Is meditation at the top of your New Year’s resolutions? Jon Kabat-Zinn, who has done so much to secularize the practice of meditation and to integrate it into the mainstream medical establishment in the U.S. has come out with a new book which stresses its health benefits and is especially designed for the beginning meditator.

Thursday: The Ancient Navigators of Micronesia: Imagine being in a hand-made canoe in the middle of a vast ocean, guided only by the sun, stars and wind. For centuries, ancient navigators in the Pacific did just that: guided themselves by nature's clues and the knowledge handed down by their ancestors. Wisconsin-born James Campbell set out to find and sail with some of the last master navigators of Micronesia.

Friday: Dining on the Trans Siberian Railroad: At over 5,000 miles long, the Trans Siberian Railroad is the longest railway on Earth. To ride it from end to end would take over six days. Some say those could be the loneliest six days of your life. Unless of course, you participate in the most famous past time aboard: making friends and sharing food.

From all of us Here on Earth, have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve! We look forward to more enlightening radio hours in 2012.

With all best wishes,