Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

Today's recipe comes from Mixt Salads: A Chef's Bold Creations by Andrew Swallow, with Ann Volkwein

"In Mixt Salads, the co-founder and executive chef of San Francisco's beloved boutique salad joints shares his inventive, flavor-forward creations."

The Noodle
Soba Noodles with Enoki Mushrooms

Borrowing from traditional Asian flavor combinations, this salad combines toasted sesame seeds, refreshing cucumber, and cool noodles. Miso is a fermented bean paste that I use in the dressing to add richness to this light, healthy salad without adding fat.

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon white miso
1 cup canola oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

12 ounces soba noodles
1 cucumber
2 (3 1/2-ounce packs enoki mushrooms
4 teaspoons sesame seeds
2 cups pea sprouts
2 red bell peppers, seeded and julienned
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil on the stove.

To make the dressing, combine the rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, sugar, and white miso in a blender. Slowly add the oil in a stream and blend until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Boil the soba noodles for 4 minutes, until al dente, then rinse under cold water and set aside.

Peel the cucumber, then slice in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds by running a spoon down the middle of the cucumber. Slice it into half-moons.

Gently peel the mushrooms apart from each other and set aside. Toast the sesame seeds in a dry saute pan over medium heat for 6 minutes.

To plate each serving, toss together 1 cup soba noodles, 1/2 cup pea sprouts, 1/2 cup bell peppers, 1/2 pack mushrooms, 1/2 cup cucumber slices, and 2 tablespoons of the dressing. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

Suzy's Pick

The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey

From Susan Casey, the bestselling author of The Devil's Teeth, an astonishing book about colossal, ship-swallowing waves, and the surfers and scientists who seek them out.

For centuries, mariners have spun stories of gargantuan rogue waves, one hundred feet high or more, appearing seemingly from nowhere. Until recently scientists dismissed these stories as typical sailor tales--because waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics.

But on the past few decades, a startling number of ships vanished in the depths of the ocean--massive freighters sunk so quickly there was often no time for an SOS call--and credible eyewitness accounts emerged, such as one from the captain of the Queen Elizabeth 2, who swore the liner was hit by a wave taller than the ninety-five-foot bridge. Faced with mounting evidence, marine scientists realized something truly scary was brewing in the planet's waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when the British research vessel RRS Discovery was trapped in the North Atlantic in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves, including several that approached one hundred feet.

As scientists scramble to understand the phenomenon of immense waves, another breed of people view them as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers, who scan global weather updates on dedicated Web sites and fly around the world looking for the ocean's monsters. That this is possible at all is due to the pioneering technique of legendary surfer Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to ride terrifyingly high waves of seventy to eighty feet. When a surf company offered a huge bounty to be given to the first person to ride a hundred-foot wave, less-accomplished surfers entered the sport and the stakes became life or death.

Susan Casey does a magnificent job painting the extraordinary sub-culture of the unique tribe of people--their codes, their addiction to risks that others would view as borderline insane, their amazing physical feats, and their feeling for the infinite strength of the ocean. In Casey's mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow extreme surfers are juxtaposed against the scientists' urgent efforts to understand the annihilating power of waves, from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 (and the tsunami that could arise in the Atlantic and sweep the East Coast of the Untied States), to the threat to the global shipping system, to the 1,740-foot wave that leveled part of the Alaskan coast.

With inexorable, adrenaline-fueled verve, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.

(synopsis from the publisher)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Capitol Reads

July's Capitol Read is Billy Creekmore by Tracey Porter

He is a motherless child,
a coal miner,
a circus star,
a con artist,
a seer,
a hero,
and a survivor.

This is the tale of Billy Creekmore, a young boy with mystifying powers and the gift of storytelling. But his life in the Guardian Angels Orphanage is cruel and bleak, and when a stranger comes to claim Billy, he sets off on an extraordinary journey. From the coal mines of West Virginia to the world of a traveling circus, he searches for the secrets of his past, his future, and his own true self.

Friday, July 15, 2011

New Library Grand Opening: Kanawha County Public Library Elk Valley Branch

Kanawha County Public Library is excited to announce the grand opening of the brand new Elk Valley Branch Library at 313 The Crossings shopping center in Elkview. The building is located in the new section of the shopping center, behind and to the left of Kmart.
Please join us to celebrate the completion of the first project in our Open a Modern Classic campaign.

10 a.m. - 8 p.m. games, crafts, prizes
3:45 p.m. ribbon cutting and refreshments

The new, fully accessible building has expanded hours, a drive-up book drop, 16 public computers, three study rooms, more books and audiovisual items, two community meeting rooms and free wireless internet access.

The current facility in Big Chimney will close to the public beginning July 24.

If you need to return items or have any questions about your account between July 24 and August 8, please contact one of our other branches, call the Main Library at 304-343-4646 or visit www.kanawhalibrary.org/branches/elk_valley, where you will find a list of frequently asked questions and a schedule of programs at the new facility.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

Today's recipe comes from The Comfort Table by Katie Lee Joel

"In The Comfort Table, Katie dips into her archive of family recipes and updates all the classics from her childhood growing up in West Virginia."

Layered Pea Salad

For every family reunion or church dinner, my grandmother made her layered pea salad. She would put it in her big yellow Tupperware bowl, and I'd get so excited when I saw it in the refrigerator. When I make it, I like to put it in a clear glass bowl so that everyone can see the beautiful layers.

1 head of iceberg lettuce, chopped into 1 1/2 pieces
1 cup chopped celery (2 stalks)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper (1 medium bell pepper)
One 10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
8 scallions, white parts only, chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon bacon, fried until crispy, drained, and crumbled
1/2 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Place the lettuce in a large clear bowl. Top with a layer of celery, then the red bell pepper, the scallions, and the peas.

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sugar, and parsley. Spread the mayonnaise mixture evenly over peas. Sprinkle with the cheese and bacon. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

(Yield: 6 to 8 servings)
Prep time: 15 minutes

Monday, July 11, 2011

Follow Through: Smart Tactics for Job Seekers

On July 20th at 2 to 3 PM EDT LearningExpressLibrary's Job & Career Accelerator will hold a webinar on "Follow Through: Smart Tactics for Job Seekers" with career management expert, Lisa Chenofsky Singer. Ms. Singer has been featured on NPR Marketplace and NBC Nightly News, quoted in The Wall Street Journal, CNN Money, and more.  Successfully navigating the post interview follow-up process is often a gray area for many job seekers. Follow through tactics can often make or break the final hiring decision.

This webinar is valuable for anyone who is seeking a job or is helping job seekers.

The link to register for this webinar is: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/552358200

For West Virginia librarians needing continuing education credit, please contact Sharon White, sharon.k.white@wv.gov, 304-558-3978, ext. 2027.

Staff Pick of the Week

New Fiction

The Great Night: A Novel by Chris Adrian

Acclaimed as a “gifted, courageous writer”(The New York Times), Chris Adrian brings all his extraordinary talents to bear in The Great Night—a brilliant and mesmerizing retelling of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

On Midsummer Eve 2008, three people, each on the run from a failed relationship, become trapped in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park, the secret home of Titania, Oberon, and their court. On this night, something awful is happening in the faerie kingdom: in a fit of sadness over the end of her marriage, which broke up in the wake of the death of her adopted son, Titania has set loose an ancient menace, and the chaos that ensues will threaten the lives of immortals and mortals alike.

Selected by The New Yorker as one the best young writers in America, Adrian has created a singularly playful, heartbreaking, and humorous novel—a story that charts the borders between reality and dreams, love and magic, and mortality and immortality. (Synopsis from the publisher)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Survey Request from the West Virginia Library Commission

The West Virginia Library Commission is looking to improve its online presence and make its website a valuable tool to assist state employees in their work. The West Virginia Library Commission’s website may be accessed at http://www.wvlc.lib.wv.us.

To assist them in this endeavor, please complete the short, six-question survey about your use of the Library Commission’s website. The survey is located at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SVFPTK8.