The area's leading online source for news!
Louisa-Lawrence Co, KY

In God We Trust - Established 2008



The other day, as part of a practical culinary final, I was served a kale salad by an Advanced Techniques student. I thought at that moment that the circle had finally been closed, the connection between the real world and what we teach in lab was complete.

But alas I was only partially correct; seasonal eating had been established, at least with that student, trends in eating had been observed and copied, but the actual production of the dish suffered from a lack of extensive research to determine exactly which type of kale was suitable for raw salad and what type of techniques needed to be used to make the salad edible.

Kale is a funny green, one of the most nutritious of vegetables it portrays itself as tough and bitter. Buy organic, as conventional tends to be grown along with nitrogen rich fertilizers which create an overabundance in the kale which is naturally nitrogen soluble. Buy in cooler weather, or if you must buy young tender leaves.

The best kale comes in the late fall after a good frost when the kale turns sweet. My favorite is the dinosaur or lacinato kale and spring winter or fall we look for the youngest, tender leaves to grill, roast, sauté and wilt under a warm bacon vinaigrette. Had the student known all or any of this their salad would have been markedly better, but still they got high marks for creativity.

The best kale comes in the late fall after a good frost when the kale turns sweetThe best kale comes in the late fall after a good frost when the kale turns sweetThe best kale comes in the late fall after a

good frost when the kale turns sweet

And that is where a gap continues to exist, from the mind to the plate. Too much is made of the new and exciting ways to twist food in many directions. Too little work is done by student and chef alike to actually understand the food they are working with. Should we be turning things into foams and powders without a full knowledge of the best use of the product, simply to attract attention?

Does the act of disguising one food as another, done since the advent of the restaurant in post royal France really accomplish anything more than a parlor trick? I do not attempt to denigrate anyone’s culinary skills and I know I am horribly out of date with most but what can replace a perfectly roasted chicken, and shouldn’t we focus on that first?

If I were to re-design a culinary curriculum I would start with a trip to a supermarket, a farmers market and a farm in that order. The trip from familiar to the exotic to the otherworldly couldn’t help to have an impact on most culinary students. It wouldn’t include the pedantic rant of the moment, how we all should be eating local and organic.

Rather it would focus on true identification of fruits, vegetables, herbs and animals. In using this technique you start from the beginning of the process and in a student’s head that backs the thinking up to a few steps before the food magically arrives in the labs born form the commissary and delivered by the commissary manager. With this technique the dialog between student and teacher takes on a deeper more relevant tone, one that Thomas Keller touched on with his “rabbit story” revealed in The French Laundry cookbook.

In order to really cook the rabbit well you had to not only be the cook of the dish but the taker of life, only then could you understand the connection and respect its roots. Chef Keller’s food can be playful, flirt with science, and still stay true to the essence of the product. It’s done primarily through meticulous research, sourcing and incredible technique, all things that cooks should aspire to and culinary schools should focus on.

And the general consumer should not be left out, nor should they abdicate their role in cooking from the ground up. While it may be fun to play around in the kitchen, it can become very expensive in a short amount of time. There is also the role that every home cook plays in the trends of the moment. There is a rising tide of cooks both professional and amateur who will deal only in organics, leaving out a large segment of growers who do a great job of agricultural husbandry.

This attitude can be counterproductive for a large part of our society that can’t afford organic but would buy local if offered a chance. Farmer’s markets react by planting and selling more organics and raising prices to make their bottom line. Left out is the consumer who just wants some kale to cook, the way they learned to cook it when they were the student and an adult was the teacher.

Opportunity is lost by one group when the trend of the moment is embraced by another. Restaurants can even rise on fall directly on the wrong choices they might make on what’s really popular. I would prefer to focus on what’s really good, whose technique is sharp, where the quality local goods are sold and maybe at the end, a twist I hadn’t seen coming or a method I wasn’t familiar with. But it should start with an understanding of the food, a respect for where it comes from and a love of bringing the best out of it that we can, almost like raising a child!

The many ways I like kale

I do not have many memories of kale, mine are more of cabbage, with corned beef or on its own.

Early in my culinary career kale was what we garnished trays with, hard and brittle but durable as a border for cheese and fruit trays. The dinosaur or lacinato kale intrigues me with its versatility and flavor. At The Sage Rabbit we often strip the rib out (save for stock!) dress it with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast it until crisp and slightly brown in a hot oven.

Tossed in a pan with a bit of fresh tomato, garlic and a little balsamic it’s a great side to roast pork or chicken. If I’m tossing it as a salad I’ll blanch it quickly in boiling water and then chill it. If that’s too limp for you look for very young kale or it will be too bitter and tough. Once wilted it great with grain salads and a strong mustard vinaigrette.

Finally I will treat it like spinach and simmer it with some cream, the richness of the cream taking some of the natural edge off.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

John Foster is an executive chef who heads the culinary program at Sullivan University’s Lexington campus. A New York native, Foster has been active in the Lexington culinary scene and a promoter of local and seasonal foods for more than 20 years. The French Culinary Institute-trained chef has been the executive chef of his former restaurant, Harvest, and now his Chevy Chase eatery, The Sage Rabbit.

To read more from Chef John Foster, including his recipes, click here.


 Average yearly salaries are $38,000 or more

Veteran Chris Bowyer guards a grow. (NYT photo by Ryan David Brown)Veteran Chris Bowyer guards a grow. (NYT photo by Ryan David Brown)A booming business in Colorado is connecting military veterans with jobs protecting legal marijuana businesses, Julie Turkewitz reports for The New York Times. More than 200 young veterans have taken jobs as security for Colorado's cannabis industry—legal in the state since 2014, but not under federal law.

"They spend their days and nights in urban marijuana shops and suburban warehouses and on rural farms, warding off the burglars who have become hallmarks of this cash-heavy, high-value business."

"For some, a cannabis security job is a way station toward the police department or law school," Turkewitz writes. "For others, though, it is a vocation with purpose, a union of two outsider groups leaning on each other in a nation uncertain about how to accept them."

The cannabis handles lots of cash "because the federal government considers marijuana illegal" and many banks won’t work with producers and buyers, Turkewitz writes. With 978 marijuana-shop licenses and 1,393 growing licenses in Colorado. that's a lot of untraceable cash floating around. Making all that cash more enticing to criminals is that "a pound of marijuana worth $2,000 in Colorado can be sold for $4,000 or $6,000 across state lines."

Another problem is that some businesses fail to report break-ins, for fear that it will make them easy targets for criminals and attract the attention of inspectors looking for violations, Turkewitz writes. While pay the isn't the draw—jobs typically starts at $12 an hour, with an average yearly salary of $38,000—it's the camaraderie, the feeling that the former soldiers are back working in a unit to offer protection. Veteran Chris Bowyer told Turkewitz, "This is my therapy. This is what we did in the military.” (Read more)

Written by Tim Mandell Posted at 9/08/2016 12:01:00 PM

With a baby on the way, it’s twice as important to get the support you need to quit smoking.

The Kentucky Tobacco Quit Line is a FREE phone counseling service, and has specially-trained female coaches to help expectant moms to become non-smokers. This program offers at least 5 calls during pregnancy and at least 4 calls after the baby arrives. Text messaging is also an available option. The FREE program is available in either English or Spanish during normal operating hours of 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. (EDT) at 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669).

To be eligible, one must be a resident of Kentucky and currently pregnant. (If you are postpartum, you can enroll in the regular program and receive standard services.) The program is open to those 15 years of age or older with no parental consent required.

As an added bonus, the Kentucky Quit Line will provide cash incentives for pregnant participants. Call today for to enroll or to receive more information. The number again is 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669).

September 2, 2016

Public warned of deadly, dangerous drugs

(From Lawrence Co. Health Dept. director Debbie Miller)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sep. 1, 2016) – Kentucky’s top health officials are warning state medical providers and community leaders of a pending public health crisis involving dangerous drugs.

Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Hiram Polk said officials wanted to issue the warning before the holiday weekend, when they expect a rise in recreational drug use.

“Recent law enforcement reports cite a new supply of heroin laced with the drug Fentanyl coming into the state – especially Louisville,” said Dr. Polk. “These drugs are much more toxic and can cause respiratory failure and death.

Over the coming days, DPH is asking hospitals and facilities to prepare for increases in drug overdoses so that individuals can be properly treated, deaths prevented and we are better informed about the prevalence and nature of these occurrences.

Hospitals are being asked to:

Expand emergency room (ER) and intensive care unit (ICU) staff appropriately
Have pharmacies stock up on Naloxone immediately, ideally by noon Friday
Have special counselor’s available to assist patients who may need long term drug treatment

“There is a public health crisis brewing – much like a tornado forming – with a new supply of heroin and other drugs coming into this area,” continued Dr. Polk. “This is a serious public health threat tied to a number of overdoses, hospitalizations and deaths across the county and needs public attention now.”

Dr. Polk said based on what they have learned from law enforcement about the drug influx this week, he and his staff are worried that local emergency rooms will be overrun this weekend. And he is warning hospitals that they need to be ready to stand up and have the ability to expand their emergency room staffing.

Secondly, he said, they need to stock up on Naloxone, the “antidote” to heroin and other drug overdoses.

“It can take as much as three times the amount of Naloxone to reverse a given overdose with these mixed drugs as it would normally,” he said.

Hospitals should also be ready to offer resources like consultations with social workers and behavioral health staff and referrals to treatment and other providers.

The state DPH also has several hotlines and resources in place to assist local providers. Assistance is available by calling the Department for Public Health at 1-888-9REPORT (973-7678) or Kentucky Emergency Management System at (502) 607-1638 or toll free (800) 255-2587.

“Many of these services are available 24 hours a day,” Dr. Polk said.

Date: 08-14-2016

New inpatient rehabilitation center set to open in Pike

Those fighting the battle against substance abuse will have a new ally when Brookside inpatient rehabilitation facility opens in Pikeville.

Aaron Frye is a therapist at Brookside, which is located on Venters Lane. The clinic will open Sept. 1, and provide addiction treatment. Brookside is located in the same building as ASAP Consulting.

“Brookside will be a fully-functional residential treatment center,” Frye said. “We offer substance abuse and mental health counseling. If a person comes in with a substance abuse problem, and possibly has a diagnosis for depression or another mental health issue, I will see them for either of those, or both at the same time.”

Brookside will have room for 20 patients, 10 female and 10 male. The clinic hosts areas for outside activities, kitchen access and family visits, dorms and recreational areas. 

One service that will be offered by Brookside is non-medical detox.

A non-medical detox, Frye said, is when a patient stops taking drugs such as pain killers or stimulants such as cocaine or meth.

“We will provide a place where patients can be monitored by a nurse, and have a private place, which is safer than coming off a substance on one’s own,” Frye said.

The clinic will have a medical staff that includes nurses and three doctors. 

Frye said Brookside is a voluntary facility. Patients can come in and leave at any time. If they want to stay a week or six months, it’s their decision, he said.

Another service provided by Brookside will be a program to help patients stop taking Suboxone, a drug prescribed to help people with opioid addiction.

“What sets us apart from any other place I have heard of is that we are going to use part of our facility for a Suboxone step-down program,” Frye said. “Every person I have worked with that takes Suboxone says that they don’t want to be on it the rest of their life. So, we are giving them an opportunity to get off it. You are monitored as you are coming off it, you will be in a place without any kind of temptations. There will be individual and group therapy. It’s a better environment for someone to try to do that than doing it by themselves.” 

Patients can walk in, or be referred to Brookside. Medicaid and private insurance is accepted. For more information, call (606) 437-0097.

By Julia Roberts
Appalachian News-Express