Martin’s Ground Beef Hash

Thursday, it was unclear whether or not we were going to be able to serve anything in the city on Friday night. I had spent $400 of personal funds to make the TKJ-mobile operational again. Our personal budget was blown for the month. There was not enough money to buy any food and drink for Philadelphia, for the guys on the street. I shared the last post on Facebook with the tagline: “We are out of money and out of food for the street. The car is fixed, out of personal funds, so we are out of money for the month. But I deserve to end up homeless, so don’t send money to help the poor.”

One friend responded with a $100 donation. So I called up Tony and told him to get himself up here to help me cook and gear up for the street. Friday morning, we shopped, then Tony peeled and diced potatoes while I cooked.

Ingredients:

  • 9-1/4 lbs. 80% lean Ground Beef
  • 7 lbs. red potatoes, peeled, diced to ~1/2″ cubes and rinsed
  • 3 lbs. yellow onions, diced
  • 5 large, sweet red peppers, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 head Garlic
  • 1-1/2″ fresh Ginger
  • Black Pepper Grinder
  • Ground Red Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Ground Coriander

In the largest cast iron skillet you own, start to fry up a large handful of Ground Beef. Add a diced Onion or two and some of the Sweet Pepper. Add a bunch of the diced potatoes. Grate some ginger onto it. Crush a clove or two of Garlic onto it. Shake some Paprika, Red Pepper and Coriander on. Grind some Black Pepper on. Keep stirring and turning this until all the beef is cooked and the potatoes are looking delicious, but not crispy. Dump into large, agate roaster pan and repeat. Try not to have the skillet so full that you end up with your range full of potatoes and onions at the end of the process (voice of experience). Stir everything together in the turkey roaster pan. Cover. Place in the oven and slow roast for three to five hours at 190º.

Notes: Do not short circuit this recipe by failing to slow roast it. That is the secret to its success! The initial sauteeing released all the flavors, but the slow roasting allowed the subtleties of them to blend throughout the dish.
Coriander adds a very subtle, earthy flavor note. It is more important as a nutrient. It is helpful to the kidneys. Ginger is a bit of a surprise, but subtle in this amount. It plays a bit with the garlic. Only the more sensitive palates will notice, but they will smile.

It’s a low sodium recipe. We let people add their own salt. Very few people did. This is the first time in 30 years we served hash. The guys were enthusiastic! They told us to make it part of our regular rotation. We said we would try. Now we just need to try not to become homeless ourselves, and find some regular support.



We’re on the road again!

The King’s Jubilee resumed serving on the street last night. Tony and I made soup and hot chocolate. We picked up a case of bottled water and cups. Our best driver, Will Toy, drove the newly, half-painted orange, yellow and green TKJ-mobile to Philadelphia. We made three stops to find people and serve the hot soup and hot chocolate and water. Tony went down into Suburban Station giving out water and inviting people up. Several people expressed their love for us and their joy at seeing us again after so many weeks absent. We also met a couple of young men from Minneapolis, who were so grateful for so many hospitable groups in Philadelphia.

It felt good to be on the road again. We had good, honest conversations on the way there and on the way home. Tony shared some of his vision for the future of The King’s Jubilee. He said that we will rebuild it from the ground up to be bigger and better than before. He sees it being more integrated with other agencies and thus, better equipped to help with various needs of our homeless clientele to help them move off of the street. He also works at Tindley Temple UMC’s Soup Kitchen, so there is already another connection, with our people. Most of the staff there are senior citizens, so he sees additional services involving seniors and for seniors. He is hoping to widen our base of volunteers so we can truly help men and women break out of the homeless culture and reintegrate into neighborhoods.

Of course, we cannot do any of this without support. We desperately need monthly pledges. It can be done easily and painlessly using Paypal, utilizing any of your credit or debit cards. Make a $25/month pledge today, so we continue to serve the poor and homeless. We operate on a frayed shoestring and give everything to the poor.

Thank you!



Rising From the Ashes

It was an overreaction to state that our doors were closing. The truth is serving meals on the streets of Philadelphia was never intended to be the core of the ministry of The King’s Jubilee. It was just what the inmates at Graterford Prison set for me to do personally as I was starting the ministry. The prophetic ministry that has angered so many people was much more at the core of the ministry, as the goal of TKJ is not just to facilitate almsgiving, but to realize the King’s jubilee as Isaiah described it in his great jubilation song of chapter 61, which Jesus quoted in Luke 4, when he introduced his public ministry, and the ministry of all who would be his true disciples!

So people have gotten upset with me and say I shouldn’t be political and claim that the Gospel isn’t political. Well if the Gospel isn’t political, why were all the people enraged and wanted to stone Jesus? These were the political power brokers of Jerusalem. Yes. They were church people, just as they are today. Yes. they had no time for Jesus rearranging their lives and laying claim to what they mistakenly thought were their riches, just as they don’t today. The sounding of the “Jubal”, from which we even derive the word tuba, signified the Jubilee which meant that all the land and everything in it belonged to YHWH. The Law prescribed a radical redistribution of the land (the most basic capital in an agrarian society), freeing of all slaves, cancelling of all debts, and a rest for the land and for the draft animals.

This was not just for the Jews and to be forgotten. This was the core lesson of the whole Old Testament. The Jews never kept the sabbath years and the Jubilee. For this, they went into captivity. “These things were for our admonition.” Then Jesus quotes Isaiah’s Jubilee proclamation to initiate the new era in Luke 4. The early Christians took this seriously. That’s why they were martyred so regularly and why so much change took place. They went out and gave proper burials to the pagan poor and slaves whose bodies had been thrown on the trash heap, honoring every human being equally. They rescued babies who were left to die because they were the wrong gender or families had too many, and raised them as their own, respecting and having compassion for every life without discrimination no matter the cost. They honored and protected women, as they revered Mary as she who bore Jesus, establishing monogamy and chastity as the standard. Women were apostles and deacons and some say Priscilla was a priest. She is adorned so in an icon in a chapel under the Vatican. They were a mighty army of radical love; an army that died, but never killed. This is what Jesus called us to.

I am still a follower of Jesus. I have been abused by too many clergy to feel comfortable in church. I suffer with CPTSD from non-sexual clergy abuse. I don’t sort out saved and lost. Jesus forbade that, when he said, “Judge not.” and “Judge nothing before the time.” I don’t care if you or I are atheist today or tomorrow or not, or Muslim, or Jew, or Hindi, or any number of religions or philosophies with which I am not familiar. We are all subject to where we fell out of our mother’s wombs on this orb, as to what we believe, what nationality we are, what language is our primary, etc. It’s interesting, but nothing to be judged on. We welcome anyone to serve with us.

You will see on our site and on our literature that we serve in Jesus’ Name. The Hebrew sense of serving in someone’s name was not to be calling out their name all the time or even ever. It was to be serving according to their will and wishes. So what we mean is that we attempt to follow the Golden Rule. We serve people with dignity and respect. We do not look down upon those we are serving or make them feel as if they are anything but equals, brothers and sisters. We never use an institutional approach. Every one is special and unique. There are no cookie cutter solutions.

So, where from here?

We intend to continue to do and develop our services to those transitioning off of the street. We had hoped to not be serving people on the street by this time at any rate, hoping there would be no need. We already have our Clean Start and Kitchen Jumpstart programs that need continued support and participation. We also have our Rent Party program which we will be expanding and promoting as this is a vital need to help folks move off of the street. We will be developing a one on one or posse friendship program to help people make the move off the street. It can be very hard for people. Homelessness is not just the lack of walls in our city. It is its own subculture. People need something to replace that with if they are to succeed. This is where city volunteers come in.

I will be working, finishing my cookbook / nutritional guide for ministries serving the homeless. We have raised the bar over the years nutritionally, and would like to see others follow suit. I want to share this knowledge of the hows and whys and what nots, before they escape from memory.

Please join us in this next phase of The King’s Jubilee. We need your regular monthly support, even if it’s just $10. Use the Donate button below. Thank you. God bless you.




The artwork above is available at 24″x24″ for sale in a custom, handcrafted frame. It is entitled “Phoenix”. Most of my artwork will be on display Father’s Day weekend at Teich & McColgan Daylilies & Hostas, next to Peace Valley Winery. See you there!

Bitter Cold on the Streets of Philadelphia

On the last couple of Thursdays, volunteers have called me to see if we were still going out to serve, since it was Code Blue in the city. I explained on each occasion that, yes, we would be going. Many of the people we serve are not fully homeless. They live in rented rooms, but have no place to prepare food. Some of them have to choose between rent and food for the month or week. Many we serve are the hardcore of the homeless who refuse to go in to shelters due to fear for their own safety or fear of being picked up on an old bench warrant, or just not wanting to admit that they are that homeless and dependent. Then there is the cold, hard truth, that even with the expanded capacity and outreach of Code Blue, there isn’t enough space for everyone to come in from out of the cold.

It’s a sad state of affairs. There are lots of heated, vacant spaces, if we only had more compassion. Train conductors used to be allowed to look the other way and let homeless ride and sleep on the subway all night, maybe without collecting a fare. Now there are cameras and they’d lose their jobs. The trains are running. It costs nothing more. It hurts nobody. It saves lives. We all descended from poor and homeless people at some point. Now we are afraid of them, so we don’t let them ride.

Those of us serving were well bundled up with layers. We served about 50 people. I thank God we had blankets and new socks and some clothing to give away. We served hot, thick hamburger and cabbage soup, spicy tagine, spaghetti, and hot chocolate, along with our usual complement of fruits, eggs, sandwiches, etc. We gave just about everything away! Somebody even left a huge bag of foil wrapped chocolate coins on our front step along with a cash donation. It was a joy to share those as a special treat on such a cold night. The cash helped someone stay out of the cold in a room. We were freezing and so ready to get back into cars with heat, by the time we left, 45 minutes after we arrived. My hands are still cold and stiff more than 12 hours later, even though I was wearing gloves the whole time (since they got frostbit in 1969). But we got to go home to heat and basically unlimited hot water, coffee, microwaves, tea, etc. We left these people, our brothers and sisters, on the street to try to survive more sub-zero, windy, Code Blue days and nights in a city whose main concern is that they not be seen in public.

May God forgive us.



Tonight’s Meal

Love Pack
Love Pack

Just because I said on Tuesday that we did not have the resources for Thursday night’s meal, does not mean we are not serving Thursday night’s meal. It just means somethings got to happen to make this possible. Not only are we serving a meal; we are serving a feast! I am making a turkey soup with beef broth. Miss April is making a vegan side and buttery cabbage and pasta side. Holy Annunciation are bringing peanuts, eggs, oranges, bananas, and pastries. Pennridge South Middle School are bringing blankets and “Love Packs” with toiletry items and snacks & water for later. Bob is bringing bags of socks. Esther is bringing spaghetti. I’m bringing iced tea, hot sauce, salt and pepper!

I forgot to mention sandwiches! I don’t remember who all are bringing sandwiches, but we will have plenty, so people will have enough for a late night snack or breakfast or lunch tomorrow.

Thank you, people, for coming through again!

Thank God!



Moroccan Style Rice

This is the vegan dish that I mentioned a few posts ago that Miss April made for us to serve on the street, which delighted our South African friend so much. A few of our readers asked for the recipe, so here it is.

Ingredients:

  • 3 or 4 Very large Spanish Onions
  • 12 oz. Apricots – chopped
  • 1 box of raisins
  • 2 bunches fresh Cilantro
  • 2 bunches fresh Parsley
  • 1½ cups Wild Rice
  • 2 lb. Basmati Rice
  • 3 Tablespoons Turmeric
  • 3 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 lb. Carrots – sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt

Cook rice. Chop onion, parsley and cilantro fine in food processor. Sauté with spices in olive oil. Toss everything together in a turkey roasting pan. We slow cooked it at 200º or 250º until it was time to leave for the city. It basically needs to be baked until the carrots soften.

This recipe makes a large turkey roasting pan full.



A South African Smile

The other week, Miss April made Moroccan Rice as the vegetarian alternative. One of our regular customers is a well-spoken, South African man. He truly appreciated this dish. He told me it reminded him of home, because, you see, Morocco, in north Africa, has the same climate as South Africa, being about the same distance away from the equator. They share a lot of the same ingredients in their cuisines; and borrow many recipes back and forth, as a result. I am always happy to learn new things and to make connections with food. This really tickled him that we had served this. He asked if I was of African descent. This is the first time in my life I have been asked this question. (He has very dark skin. ) I said No, but we just like to draw on all different backgrounds for ideas in cooking, and that our daughter, April, is especially adventuresome.

He asked me if I used African recipes,  as well, at times, because they tasted quite tasty and familiar. I laughed. I told him that I never follow recipes. I just write them, but I use a lot of African root vegetables and spices from South Africa and India. He thanked us again for taking such care in making excellent food every week. He said, it gave them something to look forward to for Thursday nights.

A big thank you to everyone who makes this possible! God bless you!



Turkey Royale

On Thursday, December 18, I was moving pretty slowly. I was so tired from Wednesday. I don’t know if it’s the medications, the pain, the CPTSD, or the kidney disease that makes me so tired and sleepy, but most days it is hard to stay awake for more than two hours in a row. So I planned a fairly simple soup this week; simple to make, that is. It had very interesting and complex flavor notes. We served all of it, yet added very little hot sauce or salt and pepper to it for our customers. Here’s the recipe.

Start by baking an 18 pound turkey in a covered roasting pan with about 3 inches of water in it with about a tablespoon of ground ginger in it. I use an oven with a probe, so I set that to 170º and let it go past it to about 174°.

Once that is halfway done, get your food processor, canner, 22 quart stock pot, old hand towel, and the rest of your ingredients out:

  • 2 quarts homemade Turkey Broth
  • 1-3/4 cups Royal Purple Rice aka Black Rice aka Havasta
  • Olive Oil
  • ~ 4 sticks of Celery
  • 1 pound Carrots
  • 2 Red Onions
  • 2 Yellow Onions
  • 2 Fennel
  • 3 inches Fresh Turmeric
  • 2 inches Fresh Ginger
  • 1 pound Radishes w/o greens
  • 1 oz. fresh Parsley
  • Mixed Peppercorn grinder
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Star Anise

When the turkey is about halfway done, place the homemade turkey broth in the 22 quart stock pot and begin to heat it up. Mine was frozen. That’s why I said, place. Start the rice. I use a simple rice cooker. Pour in some olive oil. Add the black rice, then a Tablespoon of turmeric, then the appropriate amount of water. It takes a little more water than brown rice.

Throw the Fresh Ginger and Fresh Turmeric into the blender and pulverize it, until they are as fine as you can get them. Cut the carrots into 3 inch lengths and throw them into the blender or Ninja chopper bowl with the ginger and Turmeric. Hit Pulse a few times, until the carrots are all bite size or smaller, but not pureed. Dump into stock pot. It may take a few loads to get all the carrots. Then do the same for the onions, including the parsley with one of the loads. Similarly chop the celery, the fennel, including the feathery tops, and, finally the radishes. Rinse out the blender or Ninja bowl with hot water and ad that to the stock pot. You should be stirring this every time you add something.

When the turkey is done, drain all the liquid into the stock pot and leave the turkey on the counter to cool until you are able to tear it up to put it into the soup. Add the Coriander and the Star Anise and ~ 1 Tablespoon fine ground, mixed Peppercorns. Stir. Get your canner and place your old hand towel, folded in half, in the bottom of it. Put about 2-1/2″ hot tap water into it. Place the stock pot into the canner and move it onto the burner. Now you have a giant double boiler, so as long as there is water in the canner, it is impossible for you to burn the soup. Take a teapot or measuring cup and fill the canner to about 2″ shy of the top for maximum heat transference without it bubbling over. Keep the cover on the stock pot as much as possible.

As soon as the turkey is barely cool enough to handle, rip it up and add it to the soup, stirring it in frequently. On the first dip under, the meat will appear green. After a few more dips, it will appear brown or purple. It is not a pretty soup. It is ideal for serving in the dark. So right around the winter solstice, outdoors, is ideal. It is very tasty! And nutritious. The wild purple royal rice has a lightly sweet flavor. It actually has been known to lower blood sugar in some people. It is so named because it was reserved for royalty in China. The earthy turmeric actually draws out this flavor and is a powerful anti-inflammatory, which improves liver function, can replace Lipitor, fight arthritis, diabetes, and 40 other ailments. Ginger is also a powerful anti-inflammatory with some of the same effects and an added benefit of preventing migraines. Anise and fennel are good for the digestion and the teeth and gums. Coriander is especially good for the kidneys and the bladder. The rice, also known as black rice, has more flavonoids  ounce for ounce than blueberries, so it is great for fighting or preventing cancer. These are all great things for people who have limited access to regular healthcare.

billTedWe realize that one meal in the week is not a solution. We publish these recipes in the hope that we can raise the bar for others serving and, perhaps set the pace. I would hope as we have learned more about diet and health, we have improved our own diets and the way we cook for ourselves. This just comes under the Golden Rule: to do for others as we would have done unto us. Or as Bill and Ted said it: “Be excellent to each other! And party on, Dudes!”

And it was a party. Bethann & I are on the verge of being foreclosed on again. When we went down there, we had nothing in our or TKJ’s bank accounts. The only money in my wallet was committed to help someone else with their rent. We gave away hundreds of sandwiches, 21 quarts of soup that was really stew, a cabbage potato side, spaghetti, loads of hard boiled eggs, oranges, bananas, Girl Scout made cupcakes, ice tea, peanuts in the shell, goodies, underwear, coats, socks, and blankets. We received word from a grinning Grigory that his son was back from the Ukraine alive! He doesn’t have to go back until March. We were rejoicing with tears of joy together. (There are worse places to be than homeless on the streets of Philadelphia.) Rashawn reminded me to buy him a cake for his birthday next week. I told him, No, I will build him one!

I am so thankful for the families that faithfully make sandwiches every week, or once a month. I am so thankful for the people who donate regularly to make what we do possible each week. I am so thankful for all the people who bailed us out this year when we were going to lose our house. I am so grateful for the people who have not given up on me, or at least, have decided not to punish the homeless on my account.

The last two Thursdays, I had people lined up who were coming, who I was pretty much counting on to drive. They clean forgot. I understand that. I have done that with fairly important appointments. These days, I miss an average of one doctor’s appt. per month. I’ve had six strokes and I never used calendars before. Both weeks, we had a driver show up, so, no problem. On Thursday morning, I felt like I didn’t want to go. I was just that tired. I had to finish making a Christmas gift to bring along to deliver, as well. I got kind of a late start to the day. Then the pace picked up, and it was so worth it! For me, it is unthinkable to miss a week going down if I can at all make it. It’s what I was made for! I understand if this is not your cup of tea, yet you are willing to fill in here and there. Not everyone can be crazy like me. I am too stupid to be afraid in just about any situation. I am comfortable around all kinds of people, in all kinds of mental states. But I don’t have the patience to faithfully make loaves of sandwiches for people I don’t even see week after week after week. That is a real gift of hospitality! I don’t have a means of earning the money to support this ministry or the work I do for it. But I enjoy giving your alms away for you.

I’ve rambled long enough. Thank you for supporting the ministry to those of you who do. We need much more if we are to continue to serve with the quality we have grown accustomed to.

Please consider a year end gift and a monthly automatic donation.

Peace.



Christmas Events 2014

socksChristmas would hardly be Christmas without new socks and underwear! It’s a guy thing. Dads expect it. What  else is there to buy them? After all, most men just buy whatever they need or want whenever they want to. Well, middle class and up men, that is. For the last few years, we have had the privilege of bringing the joy of new socks and underwear to about 200 homeless men and women at Tindley Temple United Methodist Church’s Soup Kitchen’s Christmas Party. This year it is on Wednesday, December 17, at noon. That is only 9 days away. We need to raise about $500 to make this happen. We prefer money, so we can go shopping and get all the proper range of sizes to meet the need, in an orderly fashion. Then we will help serve the meal and give away these gifts along with some toiletries from the ladies auxiliary from the church.

christmas-cookiesThe following week is Christmas. Since Christmas and New Year’s Day both fall on Thursday and Friday is under-served, we are going to serve on Friday both of those weeks. On Friday, Dec. 26, we hope to bring lots of home made cookies along to give away, as a special treat, and a touch of home. So, if you bake, please make an extra plate or two for us and get it to our house by 6:30 pm,that Friday, or call me to see who else may be able to bring them down.

This is a great opportunity for younger children to come down, since it will not be a school night. We will be serving hot chocolate those nights to add to the festive atmosphere. Come join the fun! Make it a family outing!



O, me of little faith!

On Wednesday, I published a blog article in which I stated that this was going to be the first time in 16 years that we would not be able to give out dollar coins in honor of St. Nicholas for St. Nicholas’ Day. A family who read that, took it to heart and did what they could to address the situation. Thursday afternoon, $100 in rolls of dollar coins were dropped by our kitchen while I was preparing soup. I was a little nervous with just $100. The last couple of years we have distributed far more than that. I figured, we would just have to see how it goes and if it meant not giving each person $3, well we would have to adjust.

Brian, Tony and I arrived in the TKJ-mobile and unloaded the iced tea, 4 dozen hard boiled eggs, 71 PB&J sandwiches from a LaSalle High School Hockey alum, 6 loaves of ham sandwiches from Serge & Alex, 22 quarts of turkey, rice, cabbage, etc. stew from me, and bread pumpkin pudding from Miss April (All the servers raved over the smell as soon as I opened the lid. They were hoping for leftovers, but no such luck) and added them to the line on the park benches. Presvy. Joanna and Russ and Sophie were already there with peanuts, oranges, bananas, goodies and a table for the iced tea. As we got ourselves organized, Sean and Zakiyya McKelven arrived with a crew  with their ministry from Philadelphia Community Church with packs of toiletries and socks & underwear. They set up at the end of our line. McGraws arrived with more sandwiches and spaghetti. We were set to start!

I asked Sean to say the blessing. He did and we were off! It was the first week of the month and the folks who were serving at the Love Park were giving away some nice stuff, so we had a much smaller crowd than usual. I waited until everyone had gone through the line once and we had put out the clothes and blankets. I then  quietly worked my way around through the remaining people and gave each person three $1 coins telling them it was in honor of St. Nicholas’ name day on Dec. 6. It was mainly our core group who stuck around, along with with a couple of alumni, old timers who showed up for the occasion. A couple of the people even got doubles. I had $5 in dollar coins in my pocket in my personal change so that covered the last two requests, with the 100th dollar from the rolls. God provided.stnick

After I had given all the coins away and gotten all the clothes and blankets out, I saw Grigory, the Russian man. He came up to me very concerned. We have been praying for his son who is in the Russian Army, fighting in the Ukraine. He tries to call him every day. He told me he hasn’t gotten any word from him in four weeks! He fears that he is dead. He told me that Putin has reneged on paying for service members’ burials. Grigory is just beside himself. Grigory is feeling blessed to be homeless in the US rather than being betrayed in Russia. It’s just hard to know where to go with that, but I can relate on quite a personal level just now.

Mark showed up with bananas about the time Gloria asked for a blessing. She embraced me weeping. I blessed her. She  said, “My name is Gloria, rev! Now I need a real blessing. I’m in need!” So she hugged me tighter, and I hugged her and I dug deeper and I prayed and I sought a proper blessing for a drug addicted, high, street walker, who wanted to turn a new page in her life. When we were done, we were both crying. She was a bit confused, but she was thankful and happy. I told her that the only way to hold onto her blessing was to continue to make right choices, even if they are the harder ones to make. Matthew 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you as well.”  A minute or two later she was asking for tokens to get home. I told her that I didn’t have any, and I didn’t have any money to buy any because I had already given it all away earlier. She asked if I knew if anyone else who had any. I said everyone in the gathering had a few dollar coins, because I had just given them to them. Well, the first person she happened to ask was Mark, who was very willing to help, but he also recognized her condition. She wasn’t making consistent sense. Mark was going to be leaving from there to go to the airport to pick up his wife, so he offered to drive her home; a much better solution.

The team had finished packing up the TKJ-mobile, etc. We headed for home, dropping off Tony & Greg at their place on the way. Brian & I got back to my place on fumes. Then Brian continued home in his car. Another successful outing. Our mortgage still isn’t paid. I still cry 24/7 for the unjust killings in the streets, but for a few hours on a Thursday night, there was no race, no gender, no us and them, no rich and poor, no suburb and city, no saved and lost, no religions, no non-religions, just people muddling through together with love and a little respect and brutal honesty. I believe that is approaching what is meant by “in Jesus’ Name.”