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St. Louis area sees uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations

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St. Louis area sees uptick in COVID-19 hospitalizations

ST. LOUIS — For the first time in several weeks, overall COVID-19 cases nationwide are on the rise, and St. Louis County is also experiencing a slight uptick.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force confirmed COVID-related hospitalizations in the area increased to 246 on Friday from 240 on Thursday. That number had been flat or inching downward until today.

Health officials said there are a number of reasons for the slight increase. They point to unvaccinated individuals who are more likely to spread the coronavirus.

St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page said more people need to get vaccinated. About 54% of county residents are vaccinated.

“On Tuesday, the task force was starting to express some concern about the slight uptick that we’ve seen, perhaps from waning vaccinations from folks that are ready for their booster, perhaps from people gathering inside and starting to relax a little bit,” said Page.

Page said the county’s number-one priority is keeping children in schools for the remainder of the year. He said he will follow the advice of local health officials, and the county mask mandate will likely stay in place for the rest of the year.

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11-year-old girl shot while at family gathering in Penrose neighborhood

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11 year old girl shot while at family gathering in Penrose neighborhood

ST. LOUIS – An eleven-year-old girl was recovering in the hospital Monday morning after she was shot in the arm Sunday night.

That shooting happened at about 6 p.m. along Bessie near Shreve in the Penrose neighborhood of north St. Louis. One of her family members told the Post-Dispatch that the girl was at a gathering at her grandmother’s home when an altercation led to gunfire. It is unknown at this time if anyone is in custody related to this incident.

FOX 2 will continue to update this story with more information as it becomes available.

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Red curry lentils, quick-braised chicken and more recipes

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Red curry lentils, quick-braised chicken and more recipes

By Emily Weinstein, The New York Times

One thing I miss from the pre-COVID era is eating at friends’ homes, which I do sparingly at this point, and only with the precautions that you’d imagine. I love seeing what my friends decide to make, a fascination that is surely related to the fact that I’m a professional recipe recommender. Trying their dishes, another joy, is an altogether different thing from eating off the menu at a restaurant — though I miss that, too.

Last weekend, a friend made baked eggs in cream for lunch, which I wouldn’t have thought to do, along with a green salad that had a lightly sweet shallot vinaigrette. It was both simple and wonderful, and it made me want to shake up my repertoire. Other friends recently made us quiche, which I never, ever make, but which I completely devoured. As my editor Krysten Chambrot once said, “Quiche low-key rules.”

It’s not exactly the same thing, but tell me the recipes you’re cooking at dearemily@nytimes.com. Here’s what I’m making, in addition to the weeknight dishes below: birthday cake for my younger kid (but with pink frosting and a metric ton of sprinkles), whole-grain pancakes, Bolognese sauce, black bean-chorizo stew, citrus salad, mapo tofu.

1. Red Curry Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Spinach

Linda Xiao, The New York Times

Red curry lentils with sweet potatoes and spinach in New York on Dec. 30, 2019. Food Stylist: Monica Pierini.

In this vegetarian main inspired by Indian dal, lentils are cooked with an aromatic blend of Thai spices — fresh ginger, turmeric, red curry paste and chile — then simmered in coconut milk until fall-apart tender. Browning the sweet potatoes before cooking them with the lentils brings out their sweetness, balancing the heat from the chile and curry paste, while baby spinach tossed in just before serving adds fresh flavor. Serve over steamed white or brown rice, or with toasted flatbread on the side.

By Lidey Heuck

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (about 2 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 red chile, such as Fresno or serrano, halved, seeds and ribs removed, then minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 (13-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 (4- to 5-ounce) bag baby spinach
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
  • Toasted unsweetened coconut flakes, for serving (optional)

Preparation

1. In a Dutch oven or pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high. Add the sweet potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the browned sweet potatoes to a plate and set aside.

2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the pot and set the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the curry paste, garlic, ginger, chile and turmeric, and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

3. Add the lentils, stock, salt and browned sweet potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil over high. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are just tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Add the coconut milk and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced and the lentils are creamy and falling apart, 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Add the spinach and stir until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the lime juice and season with salt to taste.

6. Divide among shallow bowls and top with cilantro and coconut flakes, if using.

2. Quick-Braised Chicken With Greens

There’s a family of dishes that are both tangy and cozy: hot and sour soup, braised collard greens, puttanesca, brisket and now, this pot of braised chicken and greens. Its bite comes from hot pickled peppers and their brine, while the comfort comes from browned onions, tomato paste, cumin and chicken broth — and the knowledge that you can make this dish quickly with boneless thighs and any dark, leafy greens in your fridge. Eat the stew on top of something starchy to soak up the broth; it’s especially good with crunchy olive oil-fried toast (see tip below).

By Ali Slagle

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)
  • 1/2 cup sliced hot pickled Peppadew, cherry or pepperoncini peppers, and 2 tablespoons brine reserved, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 to 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 pounds (1 to 2 bunches) dark leafy greens, such as kale, Swiss chard or escarole, de-stemmed and coarsely chopped
  • Fried toast (see tip), pasta, boiled or mashed potatoes, mashed cauliflower, or grains, for serving

Preparation

1. In a large pot over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion, season with salt and cook, stirring just a few times, until translucent and browned, 6 to 9 minutes. Add the peppers, tomato paste, brown sugar and cumin, and cook, stirring constantly, until the paste is a shade darker and starts to stick to the bottom of the pot, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add the broth, chicken, greens and pickled-pepper brine. Season with salt and stir to combine. Cover the pot, keep on medium-high and bring to a simmer. Uncover, reduce heat to low, and cook uncovered until the chicken is cooked through and the greens are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Using two forks, shred the chicken right in the pot into pieces, then stir to combine. Taste and adjust with salt, sugar (if it’s too tangy or spicy) and brine (if it’s too sweet or flat). Eat with starch of choice.

Tip

To make olive oil-fried toast, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium in a large skillet, add four 1/2-inch-thick slices of crusty or sourdough bread and fry until crispy on both sides, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Sheet-Pan Shrimp Gratin

The best part of a gratin is the crispy crust, and, here in this shallow sheet-pan version, there’s more of it. Flaky panko breadcrumbs — with a sprinkling of mozzarella and Gruyère — form a crisp, almost chiplike topping that tastes not unlike the edges of garlicky, cheesy Texas toast. In fact, the topping comes off in large, snackable pieces. As this bakes (for just 10 minutes!), the spice blend perfumes the kitchen, thanks to herbes de Provence. The shiitakes add earthy heft and incredible umami, but for a more delicately flavored gratin, you can leave them out. Serve this with a big green salad or eat it straight out of the pan.

By Eric Kim

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound peeled, deveined shrimp, tails removed, shrimp cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium zucchini or yellow squash, thinly sliced crosswise into coins
  • 3 1/2 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, tough stems removed, caps thinly sliced
  • 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  • 3/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence
  • Kosher salt (Diamond Crystal) and black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup shredded low-moisture mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Gruyère
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Preparation

1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, toss together the shrimp, zucchini, mushrooms, shallot, garlic, paprika, red-pepper flakes, 1/2 teaspoon herbes de Provence, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1 tablespoon oil until well combined. Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch sheet pan or shallow baking dish in a single layer.

3. In the now-empty bowl, toss the panko with a pinch of salt, the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/4 teaspoon herbes de Provence to combine. Evenly pour the cream over the shrimp mixture in the pan, covering all the nooks and crannies. Sprinkle the panko mixture over the shrimp, then top first with the mozzarella, followed by the Gruyère.

4. Bake until the cream is bubbling and the panko and cheese are light golden brown all over, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving with the fresh lemon wedges, which should be squeezed over the gratin just before serving.

4. Vegetarian Skillet Chili With Eggs and Cheddar

This soul-warming weeknight chili is made in a skillet because the shorter sides of the pan allow the liquid to evaporate more freely, encouraging it to thicken faster than it would in a traditional pot. Eggs are nestled right into the chili, so the whites cook and the yolks stay molten, in a preparation similar to a shakshuka, another popular eggs-for-dinner dish. Shower the chili with cheddar, simmer for a few minutes, and there you have it: a hearty vegetarian meal. Serve with any toppings you like and something starchy like tortillas to mop everything up.

By Ali Slagle

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed or diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans of beans, such as pinto, black or any bean you like in chili, with their liquid
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar
  • Cilantro sprigs, for serving (optional)
  • Warm tortillas, tortilla chips or tostadas, for serving

Preparation

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Terrance Carroll: What made King’s rhetoric so effective, today renders it ripe for abuse

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Terrance Carroll: What made King’s rhetoric so effective, today renders it ripe for abuse

In the best of times, it is difficult to write about the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. His presence looms large in America’s history.

But King’s legacy is also problematic because his rhetoric can be invoked by so many who are so far apart on so many issues.

King employed a rhetorical tactic that caused his listeners and readers to engage with the founding principles of this nation in a manner that placed the civil rights movement squarely at the center of America’s founding narrative.

Dr. King’s skill and renown for soaring rhetoric grounded in the words of the Founding Fathers and the teachings of orthodox Christianity made this tactic effective. He found a common language in the words of those things most white Americans found sacred, which in turn created a moral dilemma because it demanded an answer to the question of whether or not this nation would hold itself accountable to its founding principles.

King’s most famous speech, “I Have a Dream”, is often misused to argue his legacy is the creation of a colorblind society. A careful review of the speech reveals this speech is about America’s unfulfilled promise. The vast majority of the speech is an indictment of America’s failure to fully embrace its own principles. However, this has not kept the likes of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz from tweeting approvingly of King’s words while simultaneously opposing the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the Freedom to Vote Act. Cruz tweeted:

“On this day, 56 years ago, Dr. King gave his mighty I Have a Dream speech from the steps on the Lincoln Memorial. His vision—of equality, of justice, of humanity—resonates today with trembling power. Today, listen again to the entire historic speech.”

One of the most visible signs of America’s unfulfilled promise is our failure to protect the right to vote. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, in 2021, 34 laws restricting access to the ballot box were passed in 19 states and there are plans for at least 88 more voter suppression bills in 2022. Fundamental to American democracy is the right to vote and access to the ballot box. Democracy is a hollow shell if the right to vote is rendered meaningless. In fact, the most important symbolic and substantive badge of citizenship is the right to vote.

As we celebrate this Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, I am disheartened that his words continue to be remarkably contemporary. On March 1965, Dr. King wrote “Civil Right No. 1 – The Right to Vote” in the New York Times Magazine. There he penned it is “proved that voting is more than a badge of citizenship and dignity—it is an effective tool for change.”

Many, if not all, of voter suppression legislation, disproportionately impact the ability of voters of color to take political action and elect their preferred candidates. For example, a 2020 study by John Kuk, Zoltan Hajnal, and Nazita Lajevardi demonstrates strict voter ID laws place a disproportionate impact on voters of color. Specifically, their research finds these laws create a racial gap in voter turnout. This is a moral failure and a failure of the promise of American democracy.

One of the most effective uses of King’s tactic, embracing the Founding Fathers while pushing for better, occurred in April 1963 when King penned his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.” Dr. King was in Birmingham to lead non-violent protests against segregation. America in 1963 was consumed by political turmoil, demands for voting rights, and demands for racial justice (not much has changed in the past 59 years it would seem). It is against this backdrop King wrote to his fellow ministers:

“We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with the destiny of America. Before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson scratched across the pages of history the majestic word of the Declaration of Independence, we were here.”

Here, Dr. King unambiguously placed the struggle of African American people for freedom within the larger promise of America as freedom’s refuge. In 1963 as well as today, this paragraph is a not-so-subtle reminder that African Americans and our demands for justice did not magically appear at pivotal times in American history. We are here and have always been here as a testimony to America’s unfulfilled promise.

In a nation that prides itself as being a beacon of democracy, our current state shows a democracy in disrepair in a recommitment to very principles Dr. King lived and died to make real. Our democratic experiment will remain an unfinished project as long as we continue to tolerate the retreat from the promise of the vote. To paraphrase Dr. King, this nation’s retreat from full enfranchisement is not only a deprivation of a constitutional right; it also degrades each of us as human beings.

Terrance Carroll is a former speaker of the Colorado House. He is the Executive Director for Unite Colorado. Unite Colorado is committed to bridging the growing partisan divide in order to tackle our largest challenges and leave a better state for future generations. He is on Twitter @speakercarroll.

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