Monday, February 28, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

Susan's Pick

Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon.

National Book Award Winner.
A 2011 Tournament of Books Title.

The racetrack of Lord of Misrule is not Churchill Downs, or the Dick Francis’ Ascot races. This fictional WV track is on lowest rung of the horseracing world with its subculture of grafters, low-lifes, used up horses, and get-rich-quick schemes, The action is not of a fast paced horse ride, but rather the slower complexity of the lives of four horses and their humans in the worn-out horse sheds and the stalls. The genius of this book is the telling of the story, slowly building intensity toward the final important race through the lyrical, colloquial narratives of the characters. At the book’s end, you will sadly walk away from the evocative world of Indian Mounds Downs.

“…. As if a compelling story, an authentic sense of places, a colorful cast of hustlers, losers, and memorable petty crooks weren’t enough, Gordon add a style at once deeply interior and vividly cinematic.” Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Soul Food

This week's cookbook is The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson; Foreward by Desmond Tutu

Black-Eyed Peas

(4 to 6 servings)

Here in the United States, black-eyed peas are best known as the basis for the Southern rice-and-beans dish Hoppin' John, which is thought to bring luck and prosperity when eaten on New Year's Day. But in fact this bean originated in West Africa, where it is a popular ingredient in any number of dishes. This version of black-eyed peas is made distinctive with coconut milk, ginger, and berbere. It's a great accompaniment to grilled meat or fish.

1 cup black-eyed peas, soaked in cold water for 8 hours and drained
1/4 cup Spiced Butter or 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 medium red onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 Scotch bonnet chili, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons Berbere or chili powder
1 cup coconut milk
1 teaspoon ground turmeric.
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
2 cilantro sprigs, chopped
1 scallion, trimmed and sliced

1. Combine the peas with 4 cups water in a large saucepan and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.

2. Melt the butter in a deep pot over medium heat. Add the onion, tomatoes, and chili and saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, berbere, and coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Stir in the turmeric and chicken stock and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

3. Add the peas and salt and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.

4. Stir in the cilantro and scallion, and serve.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Soul Food

This week's cookbook is The Soul of a New Cuisine: A Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa by Marcus Samuelsson; Foreward by Desmond Tutu

Spicy Plantain Chips

(Makes about 2 1/2 cups)

Plantains, the large, starchy cousin of the banana, are a staple throughout Africa and used in much the same way as potatoes are here. These chips make an excellent snack before a meal. Deep-fried plantains can often be a little dull and starchy, but by frying them in spiced butter and oil, and dusting them with a spicy curry powder, they get a lively, complex flavor. Green, unripe plantains make the best chips because they are firmer and hold up better during cooking.

2 green plantains
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup Spiced Butter or 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter
About 2 cups canola oil

1. Peel the plantains and slice as thin as possible with a mandoline, peeler, or sharp knife. Place in a bowl, cover with cold water, and let soak for 10 minutes to wash away excess starch. (The starch can cause the slices to stick together during frying.) Drain, rinse, and blot thoroughly dry with paper towels.

2. Meanwhile, combine the curry powder, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.

3. Melt the spiced butter in a large deep pot over medium heat, then add enough oil to come to a depth of 1 1/2 inches. Increase the heat to medium-high and heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Working in batches, carefully lower the plantains into the oil with a slotted spoon and fry, stirring occasionally to prevent the slices from sticking together, until evenly browned, about 4 minutes. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels. Dust with the curry and sugar mixture and serve immediately.

Forgotten Battles of the Mine Wars: The Fairmont Field

When: March 1, 2011 at 6:00 pm
Where:  Archives and History Library, Culture Center

This lecture is free and open to the public.

Dr. Michael Workman will present "The Forgotten Battles of the Mine Wars: The Fairmont Field" at the monthly Tuesday evening lecture in the Archives and History Library at 6:00 p.m. on March 1, 2011. Coal was nearly as important to the economy of the Monongahela Valley in north-central West Virginia as it was to the southern part of the state. However, unlike southern West Virginia, the Fairmont coal field was developed by indigenous capitalists, especially the Watson family of Fairmont. The Watsons were the coal barons of the north, controlling coal production through the Fairmont Coal Company and its successor, the Consolidation Coal Company, which became the largest bituminous coal producer in the world during the late 1920s. Workman will provide an illustrated presentation on the clash of Fairmont Field coal companies against the United Mine Workers of America during the 1920s. While there were no large-scale, dramatic confrontations like the Battle of Blair Mountain to the south, this conflict lasted longer (1924-1933) and had greater impact on national developments than did events in southern West Virginia.

Staff Pick of the Week

Robin's Pick

Origins of the Specious: Myths and Misconceptions of the English Language by Patricia T. O'Conner and Stewart Kellerman

If language fascinates you, or even if it doesn't, this book should interest you. It exposes many myths about English grammar and word origina. For example, the rule against splitting an infinitive or ending a sentence with a preposition was an attempt to impose Latin grammar on English, which is a Germanic language. So the next time you hear someone end a sentence with "at" or "on", they are correct.

Most people think SOS stands for something like "Save Our Ship." Actually it is simply the letters in Morse code, which is easy to send and understand. The book is full of these facts we think we know about the source of a word or phrase but don't. The author points out that our usage of English is what creates and changes it. New words come into the language, and old ones take on new meaning.

The book is written in a light, humorous style and includes an index. Each chapter can stand alone, so the reader can skip around if desired.

Patricia T. O'Conner has been an editor at The New York Times Book Review and has written for many magazines and newspapers. She is also the author of several other books on languages and writing. Her husband, Stewart Kellerman, is a former editor for the New York Times and has been a foreign correspondent for United Press International. They have a website

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Soul Food

This week's cookbook is The Gift of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations From Two Great American Cooks by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock

Catfish Stew

(Makes enough to serve 6)

Catfish is a Southern favorite, particularly fresh-caught for summer fish fries. Today it is farm-raised and widely available all year round, with firm white flesh that can be prepared many ways. Here we use it in a delicate, light stew--almost a soup-- that's delicious and quite beautiful too.

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons bacon fat
1 large onion, finely diced
1 shallot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
8 small new potatoes, sliced 1/3 inch thick
2 small ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped (1 cup)
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 cups water
2 pounds catfish fillet, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons finely snipped parsley
4 green onions or scallions, white and 2 inches of green, very thinly sliced

Heat the butter and bacon fat in a heavy saucepan until foaming. Add the diced onion and shallot, and cook, stirring often, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Toss the garlic, thyme, and salt into the pan, and cook 5 minutes longer. Add the sliced carrot and potatoes, and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes, white wine, and water, and bring to a simmer. Cook at a simmer, skimming the surface occasionally, until the potatoes and carrot are tender, about 15 minutes.

While the soup is simmering, season the catfish pieces liberally with salt and freshly ground pepper. When the potatoes are tender, add the seasoned catfish, parsley, and scallions to the pot. Cook, partially covered, a a very low simmer for 5 minutes. Taste carefully for seasoning, adding more salt and freshly ground pepper as needed.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Soul Food

This week's cookbook is The Gift of Southern Cooking: Recipes and Revelations From Two Great American Cooks by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock

Okra Pancakes

(Makes approximately sixteen 2-inch pancakes, enough to serve 4 as a supper or 6-8 as a side dish)

These pancakes, pan-fried like fritters, are delightfully crispy, so even those who think they hate the "slimy" aspect of okra will enjoy them. As well as making a nice supper dish, they can be served as a bread or a side vegetable or even as a cocktail nibble. In place of okra, you might stir grated raw squash or cooked eggplant or sauteed winter greens into the batter. Just be sure to eat them right away, before they lose their crispness.

1/2 cup stone-ground white cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Baking Powder (Homemade baking powder recipe is included in cookbook)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups thinly sliced okra
Oil for frying

1. Put the cornmeal, flour, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and baking powder in a mixing bowl, and stir well with a whisk to blend. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and water, then stir into the dry ingredients, mixing only until moistened. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and the freshly ground pepper over the onion and sliced okra, and toss lightly. Fold the vegetables into the batter.

2. Pour 1 inch of oil into a heavy skillet and heat to 340 degrees F. Spoon the okra batter by heaping tablespoons into the hot oil: do not overcrowd the pan. Fry until golden brown on one side, then carefully turn and continue frying until both sides are browned. Remove from the skillet and drain well on a draining rack or crumpled paper towels.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

Mary's Pick

Portobello by Ruth Rendell

In Portobello, Ruth Rendell, the reigning queen of suspense fiction, gives us a tale of psychological suspense created by interplay among sharply drawn characters. For an 80+ year old writer Rendell has created especially complex and sympathetic younger characters. One of the finest characters is London's Portobello Road itself. Long a haven for criminals and lowlifes, the road is now a prime shopping area whose character is transforming to upscale and multicultural.

The novel starts with Joel losing 115 pounds on the Portobello Road. The money is found by Eugene, an effete shop owner with an addiction to sugar-free candies, who advertises the found money on the road's lampposts. It's a foolish plan that brings rotten fortune to everyone involved- from Lance, a would-be criminal who claims the money, to Ella, Eugene's fiancee, to Gibb, Lance's uncle who found God in prison and now preaches for the Children of Zebulon.

The audiobook version is read by Tim Curry who gives fine voice to the whiney, the snobbish, the dangerous, the amoral and the good who inhabit the Portobello Road.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Soul Food

This week's cookbook is Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes by Maya Angelou


(Makes 16 Eclairs)

1 cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
4 large eggs, beaten individually
Custard filling and/or Golden Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
Chocolate Syrup (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In large saucepan, heat water, butter, and salt to full rolling boil. Reduce heat to low, and quickly stir in flour and confectioners' sugar, mixing vigorously with wooden spoon until mixture leaves the sides of the pan in a ball.

3. Remove from heat. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until mixture is very smooth. (An electric mixer at a low speed makes this procedure easier.) Force mixture through pastry tube, or shape with spatula into 16 fingers, each 1 x 4 inches.

4. Bake on greased cookie sheets for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove at once to racks and let cool away from drafts.

5. Cut the pastries in half lengthwise, spoon onto the bottoms either Custard Filling or Golden Whipped Cream, and replace the tops. Drizzle Chocolate Syrup over the eclairs.

Custard Filling

(Fills 8 eclairs)

3 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
Dash of salt
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat eggs, sugar, salt, and milk until blended in top part of double boiler. Put over simmering water and cook, stirring, for about 7 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly and coats a metal spoon. Remove from hot water and pout into bowl. Add vanilla extract. Cool and chill 1 hour.

Golden Whipped Cream

(Fills 8 eclairs)

2 cups whipping cream
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip cream until it holds peaks. Gradually add brown sugar and vanilla extract. Cool and chill 1 hour.

Chocolate Syrup

6 ounces (6 squares) unsweetened chocolate, melted, or 1 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In small saucepan, mix melted chocolate with sugar and salt over low heat. Add boiling water, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool, add vanilla extract, and refrigerate.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Soul Food

This week's cookbook is Hallelujah! The Welcome Table: A Lifetime of Memories with Recipes by Maya Angelou

Hog Head Cheese

(Makes 6 to 8 Bread-Loaf Pans)

5 pounds pig's feet
1 pound pig's ears
2 pounds pork roast
1 1/2 bottles Chardonnay
2 cups cider vinegar
1 large onion, studded with 6 cloves
8 stalks celery
5 bay leaves
10 black peppercorns
Five 1-ounce packages Know gelatin
3 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 red bell pepper
Cornichons (optional)

1. In large pot, place pig's feet, ears, and pork roast in wine and vinegar, and add enough water to cover. Place clove-studded onion, celery, bay leaves, and peppercorns in cheesecloth bag, and add to pot.

2. Mix gelatin in 2 cups cool water, and add to pot along with salt, pepper, and bell peppers. Bring to a boil, and simmer about 4 hours, skimming the surface as it cooks. Cool, then strain, reserving liquid. Carefully remove all bones.

3. Cut up pig's ears, meat from pig's feet, and pork roast. Place in large bowl, and mix well. Check seasoning and return strained liquid. Pour into 6 loaf pans, or more if needed. Cover with plastic wrap, and put into refrigerator for 5 or more hours. When cool and set, turn out of pans onto cutting board. Slice and serve like pate. Place each slice on salad plate, and add a few cornichons if desired.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Staff Pick of the Week

Heather's Pick

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

I picked this book up at the airport for a trip: it was zombies or vampires. What I thought would be some pretty light reading, turned into a page turner. The audiobook version was even better!

Written as a collection of oral histories from the survivors, World War Z chronicles the rise of the zombie plague to its eradication over a decade later. Histories are from all regions of the globe and walks of life. Due to this, Brooks is able to present a compelling story of the global collapse and rebuilding of society from multiple view points.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Soul Food

This week's cookbook is Delilah's Everyday Soul: Southern Cooking With Style by Delilah Winder with Jennifer Lindner McGlinn

Collard Green Rolls

(Makes 8 rolls)

These crispy rolls are my version of spring rolls. In true Southern fashion, I like using hearty collard greens and dipping the finished rolls in hot sauce. Once your greens are ready, this recipe comes together quickly. You can even prepare the rolls in advance and leave them, covered, in the refrigerate for several hours or overnight until you are ready to fry them. They also freeze well. Once you decide to finish the rolls, though, be prepared to serve them right away. They are best piping hot and really crispy. Let's face it--no one likes a soggy roll.

4 cups canola oil
2 cups cooked Collard Greens, drained well
8 spring roll wrappers (about 1 package)
Hot sauce, for serving

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. (The oil will appear to shimmer on the surface when it is ready.) Place the greens in a clean kitchen towel and press firmly to extract any excess liquid. (It is imperative that the greens are as dry as possible.)

2. Begin shaping the rolls. Place a spring roll wrapper on a work surface so that it appears like a diamond rather than a square. Spread the horizontal "log" of greens (about 1/2-inch wide) in the center of the wrapper, making sure there is about 1/3 inch between the end of the greens and the point of the wrapper at each end. Wet all four edges of the wrapper with water and fold the points of the wrapper at the sides over the ends of the greens. Lift the point closest to you and fold it over the greens. Roll the wrapper the rest of the way to form a compact cylinder. Repeat the process with the remaining wrappers and greens.

3. Carefully place about 3 or 4 rolls at a time into the hot oil, turning occasionally until golden brown. Remove the rolls with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels while frying the remaining rolls. Serve the rolls piled on a serving platter with hot sauce on the side.

Continuing Education Opportunities

Creating a User-Centered Website for Your Library
February 23, 2-3 PM
This webinar, presented as part of PLA's Public Libraries at Work monthly webinar series, will discuss organizing web content in an intuitive way, increasing usability and navigability, and discovering the impact of design and content on website effectiveness. There is a fee for the webinar, $28 for PLA members, $31.50 for ALA members, and $35.00 for non-members. It is pre-approved for one hour of WVLC continuing education credit. You just need to submit proof of attendance.

• LE@D Course of the Month. - Improving Your Communication Skills: Presentation Skills for Librarians (LE@D) - Most communication within libraries is of the one-on-one variety but it is also extremely important to be able to speak to groups. This course is designed to provide you with the basics and covers areas like organization and presentation of information, as well as how to present yourself to increase the audience’s receptiveness to your messages. This course is prepaid and pre-approved for WVLC continuing education credit. Click here for instructions on how to register.

ADA Update: Revised Regulations for Disability Accommodations for the Public
February 16, 3-4 PM
This webinar will last approximately one hour. Webinars are free of charge and registration is ONLY done on the day of the event on the WebEx server. No Passwords are required, see the website for tips and registration information.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Recognize Library Volunteers

Recognize the hard working volunteers in your library --nominate them for the 2011 Governor’s Service Awards. The deadline for nominations is April 13, 2011.

For additional information on this program, please contact Volunteer West Virginia, the State’s Commission for National and Community Service, at (304) 558-0111.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Soul Food

This week's cookbook is Delilah's Everyday Soul: Southern Cooking With Style by Delilah Winder with Jennifer Lindner McGlinn

Country Pork Ribs

(Serves 4-6)

When we think of ribs, we usually think barbecue but these are slightly different. Roasted with a flavorful mixture of stock, garlic, seasoned salt, onions, and peppers, they are simple and succulent. This recipe comes together quickly, and the ribs roast for less than two hours, making them a perfect addition to weeknight and weekend meals.

4 pounds country-style pork ribs
1 cup water
1/2 cup Chicken Stock
8 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon seasoned salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
2 green bell peppers, stemmed, cored, seeded, and sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F

2. Arrange the ribs in a large roasting pan or on a large baking sheet. Stir together the water, stock, garlic, seasoned salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add the onion and peppers, tossing to combine. Pour over the ribs and roast until the ribs are very tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

3. To serve, slice the ribs and arrange on a large platter.

Get Trusted Health Information on Your Mobile Phone

You can get health information from the experts at Medline Plus and the National Library of Medicine on your mobile phone at and in Spanish at  Information includes disease and wellness topics, health news, an illustrated medical encyclopedia and information on prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Postponed Due to Weather--College of DuPage Webcast


Date: Friday, February 4, 2011
Time: Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Presenters: Mike Galloway and John Ockerbloom

The February 4th teleconference, Free Content for Library Collections has been postponed due to weather. A snowstorm is headed for Chicago and this introduced the possibility that the presenters and program host could not fly in from Philadelphia and Florida.

Therefore, the decision was made to postpone the teleconference for later this winter or early spring of 2011. A past teleconference will air this Friday in its place (the specific program to be determined).

Your support and other Legislative news

WVLC appreciates the support of library directors who tolerated inadequate seating and bad weather to attend the agency’s budget presentations at the House and Senate budget hearings last week.

You may continue to watch the Legislative Update on the Library Commission homepage for information refreshed every Friday.

Visiting Lecturer Assistant Librarian Position at Shepherd University

Shepherd University's Scarborough Library is seeking a visiting Lecturer Assistant Librarian.  For complete information click on Faculty/Administration Positions.