Live On World Cafe: Our Favorite Performances Of 2017

Ryan Adams performs live at the World Cafe 25th anniversary concert in Philadelphia.

Joe Del Tufo/WXPN

hide caption

toggle caption

Joe Del Tufo/WXPN

Over the past year, we’ve had some unbelievable artists walk through our studio doors and melt our musical minds. Laura Marling nailed a live vocal performance so perfect you might swear you’re hearing a studio mix she’d worked on for weeks rather than a live one-off. David Crosby rearranged CSNY harmonies for a young band of Brooklyn’s brightest on the Joni-Mitchell-penned tune “Woodstock.” Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit rocked. Tash Sultana shredded. Blondie soared. Ryan Adams wailed. Rhiannon Giddens moved us. And Father John Misty delivered a live rendition of “Pure Comedy” that, dare I say it, is even more powerful than the album version.

As we near the end of 2017, we’ve assembled two full hours of World Cafe moments from the past year that made us go “whoa.” Listen (and also go “whoa”) in the player above.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

A Beautiful And Wild Winter Day In The Adirondacks

Noonmark Mountain, a crag of rock.

Brian Mann/North Country Public Radio

hide caption

toggle caption

Brian Mann/North Country Public Radio

Wintry weather can be a pain. For people who like getting outdoors it can also be intimidating. All that ice and cold, the early darkness.

But winter can also be beautiful and wild and even familiar places can seem a little exotic. A couple weeks ago, I hiked a trail up Noonmark Mountain in New York’s Adirondack Park.

Right out of the gate, I passed an alpine pond framed by bluffs sheathed in ice. I also found a surprising amount of sun sweeping through the snowy woods. There are views this time of year you just don’t find in the summer: a ledge of icicles framed against bright green moss, streams full of golden brown water sheathed in silver, gangs of chickadees chirping wildly as they swept by overhead.

A ledge of icicles framed against bright green moss.

Brian Mann/North Country Public Radio

hide caption

toggle caption

Brian Mann/North Country Public Radio

It was icy enough on the trail that I strapped little crampons to my boots, known as microspikes, to give me a little more traction and confidence as I worked my way up the rocks. I stopped often to hydrate and to listen. The woods are quieter in winter, more subtle, but I could hear trickles of water moving under the snow and the soft wind moving in the birch and pine.

By early afternoon it was so warm I stripped to my T-shirt. It was then that I came across my favorite discovery of the day, a garden of tiny ice sculptures known as “needle ice.” These glittering delicate formations are created when water is squeezed up out of the frozen ground.

When I brushed my hand across them, they dissolved with a sound like something out of a fairy tale.

Needle ice is caused by water squeezed up out of the frozen ground.

Brian Mann/North Country Public Radio

hide caption

toggle caption

Brian Mann/North Country Public Radio

I hiked on, scrambling over icy ledges. The trail finally opened to sky and more sun and a crazy big horizon of snowy peaks. From this high vantage, the Adirondacks looked a little like water, with wave after wave of rock and snow stretching in every direction.

I sat for a while taking it in, but soon the wind came up, bitter cold now, the sun already dropping below a ridge. Time to bundle up and start for home.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Ellyn Rucker On Piano Jazz

Ellyn Rucker’s light, sensual vocals and smooth, swinging piano produce a wonderfully intriguing mixture. Hailing from Colorado, Rucker broke into the jazz big leagues in the 1980s after she took up her musical career full-time. She remains a staple on the Denver music scene.

On this 1993 episode of Piano Jazz, her versatility is evident when she performs Cole Porter‘s “Everything I Love.” Marian McPartland then joins in to play the title tune from one of Rucker’s albums, This Heart Of Mine.

Originally broadcast in the winter of 1993.

SET LIST

  • “After You/Everything I Love” (Porter)
  • “But Beautiful” (Burke, Van Heusen)
  • “This Heart of Mine” (Freed, Warren)
  • “Twilight Worlds” (McPartland)
  • “Like Someone In Love” (Burke, Van Heusen)
  • “Desafinado” (Jobim, De Mendonca)
  • “Sometime Ago” (Levey)
  • “Blackberry Winter” (Wilder, McGlohon)
  • “Blues The Most” (Hawes)

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Zimbabwe Swears In A New President, In The First Transfer Of Power Since Independence

Zimbabwe’s new interim President Emmerson Mnangagwa gives an address after his swearing-in ceremony in Harare on Friday, marking the final chapter of a political drama that toppled his predecessor Robert Mugabe after a military takeover.

Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

For the first time since the country gained independence from white minority rule in 1980, Zimbabwe has a new leader. At a packed stadium in the capital city Harare, Emmerson Mnangagwa promised not to “squander this moment” to change the culture of politics in his country.

The outgoing president, Robert Mugabe, had said he would not attend the day’s festivities because he “needed time to rest.” The 93-year-old Mugabe resigned a few days ago after 37 years in power, in the face of military pressure and mass demonstrations. He has said he will remain in the country, and Zimbabwe’s state-run Herald newspaper says Mnangagwa has assured him and his family of their protection.

As NPR’s Ofeibea Quist-Arcton has reported, the past few weeks have been a time of political upheaval in Zimbabwe. On Nov. 6, Mnangagwa was fired as vice president by Mugabe, and fled to South Africa, saying he feared for his life. But the military refused to accept Mnangagwa’s dismissal, and warned that the army might intervene to restore stability. The next day, the military, which is an integral part of the governing ZANU-PF party behemoth, seized control and confined Mugabe to his residence. Under mounting pressure, the president stepped down Nov. 20.

Mnangagwa has overcome this moment of political chaos, but he faces many challenges as he steps into the presidency: corruption, economic troubles, and international condemnation chief among them.

As The Associated Press reports, “President Emmerson Mnangagwa is making a range of promises with the aim of reviving a once-prosperous economy that has collapsed amid mismanagement and international sanctions.” In his inaugural speech, he promised the international community that “all foreign investment will be safe in Zimbabwe,” and promised his people that democratic elections will be held next year as scheduled.

Still, some Zimbabweans are skeptical. As NPR has reported, it’s not clear how much of a policy change the new leader will herald.

“Zimbabweans I know — I’m Zimbabwean — we’re ululating all around the world, and we are celebrating,” journalist Michelle Faul told Weekend All Things Considered, “but we need to be cautious. This is not a revolution to bring reform. This is about an internal ZANU-PF coup to ensure that ZANU continues its one-party rule of Zimbabwe.”

“He’s no savior,” Ofeibea reported last week. “He’s cut from the same cloth [as Mugabe], the cloth that has seen Zimbabwe’s economy tumble. This was the breadbasket of southern Africa. He’s also seen as having been absolutely brutal in the ’80s in Matabeleland when there was a massacre. So people shouldn’t think of Emmerson Mnangagwa, who may come back and head an interim government, as being a savior for Zimbabwe — certainly not.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Less Waste, More Taste: A Master Chef Reimagines Thanksgiving Leftovers

Chef Massimo Bottura creates a meal from Thanksgiving leftovers in NPR’s kitchen. “The leftover is a big problem if you don’t have a vision, if you don’t have the knowledge of what you can do,” he says. Above, he checks the breadcrumbs to make sure they’re dry and fine enough to turn into a pasta called passatelli.

Beck Harlan/NPR

hide caption

toggle caption

Beck Harlan/NPR

Food waste is a huge problem globally — starting with our own refrigerators. Over this Thanksgiving week, Americans will throw out almost 200 million pounds of turkey alone, according to figures from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

But before you toss that bird, read on. We asked Massimo Bottura, one of the world’s best chefs, to help us figure out what to do with our holiday leftovers.

Bottura is a rock star in the food world. His restaurant in Modena, Italy, Osteria Francescana,has three Michelin stars. But at this moment, he’s in the kitchen of NPR’s cafeteria, bent over a compost bin. He’s looking for … ingredients.

“I found something very interesting — onion peels and celery,” Bottura says as he straightens up again. He also plucks out the stems of a bunch of Italian parsley and declares them “perfectly fresh.”

Bottura kneads the breadcrumbs with some eggs, nutmeg and grated Parmesan cheese to create a dough for our pasta.

Beck Harlan/NPR

hide caption

toggle caption

Beck Harlan/NPR

Bottura is a firm believer that nothing should be wasted in the kitchen. Most Americans aren’t so conscientious. A recent NRDC survey in three U.S. cities found that the average American tosses out 2.5 pounds of perfectly edible food each week. At the top of the list: produce and leftovers.

“The leftover is a big problem if you don’t have a vision, if you don’t have the knowledge of what you can do,” Bottura says.

Bottura’s vision for our Thanksgiving leftovers is a traditional dish from Emilia-Romagna, the region of northern Italy that he calls home. It’s a pasta dish served in broth: “Passatelli!” he says, letting each syllable roll out slowly on his tongue. It’s his daughter’s favorite dish, he says.

To make passatelli, you’ll need a turkey carcass, leftover bread, eggs, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and nutmeg. As for the rest? It depends on what you have on hand. Bottura takes the scraps he found in our compost bin — celery, parsley, an onion which he chops roughly, skin and all — and lays them next to the turkey bones on a baking sheet. Then he adds something most of us toss out: the leafy green tops of carrots. He breaks off some of the greens and dips it in olive oil for me to taste: It’s very flavorful.

People don’t realize how many ingredients you can discover if you are curious,” Bottura says.

Bottura puts a turkey carcass, nestled on a baking sheet with veggie scraps, in the oven to roast and unlock its flavor. After about 45 minutes, the bones go in water to boil to become the broth for passatelli.

Beck Harlan/NPR

hide caption

toggle caption

Beck Harlan/NPR

The turkey bones and vegetables go in the oven to roast for about 45 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, though we check on the bones often to make sure they don’t burn. (Roasting coaxes more rich flavor out of the bones.) When improvising in the kitchen, Bottura says, it’s important to use your nose as a guide. When the aromatic scents from the oven smell just like Thanksgiving dinner, we know the bones are ready to make broth.

We cover the bones in a big pot with water, add more veggie scraps and a Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind that Bottura found in the NPR fridge. (He says it called out to him: “Use me! Use me! Touch my soul!”) The rind, he says, will be important to creating a savory broth.

While the broth heats, we turn to breadcrumbs — a good way to use up those stale rolls from Thanksgiving. If the bread isn’t dry enough, you can toast it in the oven first for about 20 minutes at 250 degrees. Then, grind up the bread in a food processor.

blending bread crumbs in the blender

Credit: Maia Stern/NPR

Or do what Bottura did to get an even finer texture: roll over the crumbs with a glass bottle, a trick he learned from his grandmother.

NPR’s food processor wasn’t producing a fine enough texture for Bottura, so he decided to manually crush the crumbs by rolling over them with a glass bottle from the kitchen.

Beck Harlan/NPr

hide caption

toggle caption

Beck Harlan/NPr

“If my grandmother could see my doing this now in Washington, she would laugh,” he says as he works.

The breadcrumbs go into a bowl with eggs, some grated Parmesan and nutmeg.

bread mush

Credit: Maia Stern/NPR

Bottura kneads it all into dough, then squeezes it through a ricer to make thick noodles. (You can also roll the dough by hand into gnocchi-like shapes.) By now, our broth has been simmering for about 40 minutes and is full of flavor, so we plop in the noodles and raise the heat to high. Once it reaches a boil, the pasta is ready.

pasta being squeezed out of a ricer

Credit: Maia Stern/NPR

The result is delicious, warm, hearty — perfect for a cold day.

“Food costs? Nothing. Emotion? A lot,” Bottura says as we savor his handiwork.

The finished product: passatelli in brodo, a traditional Italian dish perfect for a chilly day.

Beck Harlan/NPR

hide caption

toggle caption

Beck Harlan/NPR

The cost of not eating our leftovers, on the other hand, is big — for our wallets and the planet.

“The average household of four is wasting about $1,800 annually on food that they buy and then never wind up eating,” says Dana Gunders, senior scientist at NRDC, citing the group’s latest figures.

About This Book

Bread Is Gold was born of Refettorio Ambrosiano, a project Bottura started in 2015 in Milan, Italy. It’s a soup kitchen, designed to look like a high-end restaurant, serving meals from donated ingredients to the city’s neediest residents. He recruited dozens of world-class chefs – including Gastón Acurio, Ferran and Albert Adrià and Alice Delcourt — to cook there; many contributed the recipes they created to the new cookbook. Proceeds from Bread Is Gold go to Bottura’s nonprofit, Food For Soul, which is setting up soup kitchens stocked with surplus flood in cities around the world.

“Households are actually the biggest contributor to the amount of food going to waste across the country — more than grocery stores or restaurants or any other sector,” Gunders says. Food is the no. 1 contributors to landfills, and as it decomposes, it releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

But Gunders says changing our habits at home really can make a difference. That means things like planning before shopping so we don’t buy more food than we can use in a week, freezing food before it goes bad — and learning to love leftovers.

For Bottura, changing the culture around wasting food has become a passion. His new cookbook, Bread is Gold: Extraordinary Meals With Ordinary Ingredients, is full of recipes and tips for home chefs to improvise with whatever is in the fridge. His goal is to create more confidence in home kitchens. “This is not a charity project,” he says. “It’s a cultural project.”

“You’re going to spend less, you’re going to have better food, you’re going to save money and fight waste,” he says. “Because it’s about you, your creativity.” All proceeds from the book go to Food For Soul, Bottura’s nonprofit that is setting up soup kitchens stocked with surplus flood in cities around the world.

“This is a mission,” Bottura says. “You know, cooking is an act of love. And so if you can transfer that to people, you can change the world.”

Changing the world … one leftover meal at a time.


Massimo Bottura’s Passatelli in Turkey Broth

Editor’s note: This is the recipe Bottura improvised in NPR’s kitchen. It’s based on a recipe handed down from his grandmother, which we’ve also included below.

For Passatelli:

10 oz dried breadcrumbs

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

3 eggs

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground pepper (either black or white is fine)

Grated nutmeg to taste**

To make the breadcrumbs, you can run stale bread through a food processor. Make sure the breadcrumbs are dry – you’ll want them to be almost powdery when ground up. If your crumbs aren’t dry, toast them in the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes (but don’t let them burn).

In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs, Parmigiano and nutmeg. Mix in the salt, pepper and eggs. Bottura’s advice: Start by adding one egg at a time so that you don’t end up with dough that’s too watery. Bottura started by adding 1 whole egg plus one yolk (because he loves the taste), then added another egg after finding the dough was still too dry. You don’t want dough to be too mushy or too dry – just wet enough that it holds together.

Gather the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap and set it aside for 20 minutes. When done resting, push the dough through a ricer and drop the noodles into the turkey broth (once it is ready). (Note: If you don’t have a ricer, you can roll the dough by hand instead but may need to use more eggs to create a more malleable dough.)

For turkey broth:

Turkey bones

Onions

Carrots

Parsley

Celery

Parmigiano-Reggiano rind

Lay the turkey bones out on a baking sheet or pan with an edge. Add the onions, chopped roughly, skin and all, green carrot tops, parsley. (The vegetables enhance the flavor of the bones.) Roast in at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes, checking the bones every 10 minutes or so to make sure they don’t burn, as that will alter the flavor of the broth. After about 20 minutes, use tongs to turn over the bones to ensure even roasting.

When roasted, put the bones in a pot and cover them with cold water. Add fresh onions (no peels this time), more carrots and celery (not the vegetables you just roasted). Bottura added the Parmigiano-Reggiano rind he found in the NPR fridge for added flavor.

Let the broth simmer on medium-low heat for at least 40 minutes(an hour or more is ideal). Once it tastes right (nice and meaty), drop the passatelli into the broth and raise the heat to high. When the passatelli surfaces (about 1 minute), it’s ready. (Over-boiling will result in mushy pasta.)

Serve passatelli in broth, topped with Parmesan cheese.


Nonna Ancella’s Passatelli

Courtesy of Massimo Bottura and his wife, Lara Gilmore

Breadcrumbs are the epitome of the “waste not, want not” food ethic. If there is an important lesson we have learned from the Italian kitchen, and one that we can to pass onto future generations: never let edible food go to waste! We share this message in the shape of my grandmother Ancella’s recipe for passatelli in broth.

This classic Emilian recipe, passatelli in broth, has been passed on from generation to generation in the Bottura family. Our daughter, Alexa, learned to make passatelli from her grandmother Luisa. Massimo learned how to make them from his grandmother Ancella. It is a rite of passage in many Modenese households. The recipe is so easy and child-friendly, we encourage teaching the whole family to get their hands messy and cook with their parents.

For the broth, a classic vegetable or chicken broth is best. However, in an emergency, Massimo often prepares a Parmigiano-Reggiano rind broth. He keeps all the rinds from grated cheese in the refrigerator until he has a good amount – say ½ pound. The cheese rinds can be added to big pot of cold water and simmered for a couple hours. As the rinds melt, they give off flavor and thicken the broth with the proteins and fats from the cheese. This broth is very simple but can be great to have in a pinch. Of course, the cheese rinds can also be added to classical broths to enrich the flavor as well.

Ingredients:

1 ½ cup (150 grams) breadcrumbs

1 cup (100 grams) grated Parmigiano Reggiano

3 eggs

pinch of ground nutmeg

34 ounces (1 liter) of chicken broth

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

Kitchen tools:

potato ricer with large holes

large pot for broth

ladle

Place the breadcrumbs, Parmigiano Reggiano, nutmeg and lemon zest in a shallow bowl. In the meantime, bring broth to a low simmer. Break the eggs and add to the dry ingredients. Mix together into a uniform ball of dough. Place the dough in a ricer and press it directly into the boiling broth. Cook the passatelli until they surface, about 1 minute. Serve hot with broth in a bowl.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Episode 807: Anatomy of a Hustle

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort leaves federal court following a hearing Thursday. Manafort and his former business partner Richard Gates pleaded not guilty to a 12-charge indictment.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Before serving as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort spent years as a lobbyist for foreign leaders in some dicey countries. It was a very profitable business. One of his best clients was Viktor Yanukovych, of Ukraine. But, according to Robert Mueller’s indictment, Manafort hid the millions he made from Yanukovych, and sneaked them into the United States.

To do that, he used some pretty inventive avenues, like beautiful suits, and very expensive rugs. And Range Rovers. And it might have worked, too, but Paul Manafort decided to step into the spotlight, running Trump’s campaign. In the end, prosecutors would end up using Manafort’s lavish lifestyle as evidence to build a case against him.

Today on the show: A political consultant goes to Ukraine to work for an ally of Vladimir Putin — and finds himself jostled awake years later when the FBI raids his home.

Plus a convicted felon explains on how Manafort could have done a much better job of hiding his money.

Music: “The Duchess,” “Soft Soulful Scene.” Find us: Twitter/ Facebook.

Subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, PocketCasts and NPR One.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Mosque Attack In Egypt's Sinai Kills More Than 100

Egyptians gather outside a mosque in the Sinai Peninsula where assailants carried out a bombing and shooting attack during Friday prayers that killed at least 184 people, according to the state news agency.

Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

A terrorist attack that targeted a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has left at least 184 people dead and as many as 125 wounded Friday, that country’s state news agency reported.

The death toll makes it the biggest attack since the conflict in the North Sinai started six years ago.

The Middle East News Agency said the bombing and shooting attack took place in the city of Arish, which is about 30 miles from the border with the Gaza Strip.

Police officers told the Associated Press that men in four off-road vehicles shot at worshipers who were at the al-Rawdah mosque for Friday prayers.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has chaired a meeting with security officials in the aftermath of the attack.

It is not known yet who planned and carried out the assault on the mosque, but there has been an Islamist insurgency in the region for several years. Officials said a midair explosion of a Russian jet in 2015 over the Sinai was the work of terrorists. Sissi said the plane bombing was meant “to hit relations with Russia,” which has conducted military interventions in Syria’s civil war ostensibly to target the Islamic State there.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)