The Pantry Kitchen’s ‘Weeknight Challenge’ yields stuffed squash recipes and many unexpected gems

The goal with the first challenge of Season 2 of the Pantry Kitchen Challenge was to get everyone in an autumnal mood, and to introduce the new “wild card” rule designed to throw a different wrinkle into each round. Wellll …. perhaps we should have been more specific?

Round 1 was “The Weeknight Challenge” with a 30-minute prep time limit, and squash, apples, nutmeg and soda as the ingredients. We didn’t foresee that folks would interpret the 30-minute limit in two different ways: 30 minutes to prep the dish and get it ready for cooking or 30 minutes from prep to plating.

Oops.

So to be fair, we selected the top three finishers in both categories. (And props to those of you who saw “30-minute prep” and decided this meant 30 minutes total!) You hustled and came up with some pretty impressive stuff. This challenge garnered 45 entries! Many of you saw the ingredients list and thought stuffed squash or butternut squash soup. So bonus points for those who went above and beyond those two staples.

In the “30-minutes from prep to plating” category, Paul Shapiro wins for butternutchos, turning butternut squash into tortilla chips for a unique plate of nachos. Runners-up: Darci Rogojin, whose autumn doughnut holes with nutmeg cream soda icing looked delectable, and Beth Cavalli, who combined Western ingredients with Mexican and Asian flavors — tamarind soda! — to create a tamarind stir-fry!

In the “30-minutes prep, then cook to your heart’s content” category, the mother-daughter tandem of Joan and Keri Segna wowed us with this gorgeous stuffed pumpkin dinner called Filled with Goodness. Runners-up: Thomas Finnegan transformed the ingredients into an interesting chicken curry with squash and apples, while Jeff Abrams also stuffed a pumpkin in spectacular fashion to produce pumpkin and apple English pudding with root beer glaze.

Here are the top 12 submissions! Thanks for playing. See below for details on Round 2.

Season 2 Round 2 “The Entreé Challenge”

Ingredients:

Rules:

  • You have to use all four ingredients, but you can use as many additional ingredients as you desire. 
  • Wild card rule for Round 2: You have to make an entrée. Defined as: more substantial than appetizers. You cannot make dessert for this round. Sorry dessert lovers!
  • Deadline: Create a dish, tell us how successful you were and email photos (JPG files!), your recipe and a description of your dish to food editor Stefanie Loh ([email protected]) by Friday, Oct. 16. 
  • Judging will be based on creativity, how well you incorporated the four ingredients, presentation and adherence to the wild card rule. We’ll name the top three entries and select several of the most interesting submissions to be published in a future edition of The Mix.

Pantry Kitchen Challenge Season 2 Round 1 Best Reader Submissions

*To download a PDF of recipes from this round, click here.

Butternuchos (30 minutes flat)

Paul Shapiro turned slices of butternut squash into tortilla chips for this plate of “butternuchos.”  (Courtesy of Paul Shapiro)
Paul Shapiro turned slices of butternut squash into tortilla chips for this plate of “butternuchos.” (Courtesy of Paul Shapiro)

The

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State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit to challenge House Speaker Michael Madigan for leadership post he’s held for decades

Four-term Democratic state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit of Oswego said Thursday she will challenge longtime Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan for leadership of the chamber when the new General Assembly is seated in January.

Kifowit is one of a handful of House Democrats who have called for Madigan’s resignation since federal prosecutors unveiled a deferred prosecution agreement with Commonwealth Edison in July in which the state’s largest utility admitted to a yearslong bribery scheme aimed at currying favor with the powerful speaker.

A Marine Corps veteran, Kifowit has been in the House since 2013 and is running for reelection unopposed in the November.

Kifowit said in a statement that she called for Madigan to resign “for compromising the integrity of the office and undermining public trust.”

“The response from Michael Madigan was to double down and has remained that way,” Kifowit said. “It is clear to me that he doesn’t hold the same values that I do and falls short of what the public expects from an elected official.”

Kifowit’s decision to challenge Madigan a month before the election puts vulnerable House Democrats and Democratic candidates, particularly in the suburbs, into an even more awkward position leading up to the election—whether to back Madigan or her or someone else.

It is a question many were hoping to wait out until after the election despite repeated attacks by Republicans on the issue. But her run provides new fuel to the issue.

There are also questions about the extent of support for her candidacy. Madigan still holds the power and controls the purse strings in the Democratic caucus and has made loyalty paramount during his decades long tenure as speaker.

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Madigan has not been charged in connection with the ComEd probe and has denied any wrongdoing.

At the request of House Republican leader Jim Durkin of Western Springs, a special House committee is investigating whether Madigan engaged in “conduct unbecoming to a legislator.” The committee heard testimony from an executive with ComEd parent Exelon this week, but Madigan and other witnesses have declined the invitation to testify.

Madigan has been speaker since 1983, with the exception of two years in the 1990s when Republicans took control of the House. House Democrats have been nearly unanimous in voting for him to remain speaker, with only a few dissents. Most recently, Rep. Anne Stava-Murray of Naperville voted “present” in 2019, as did then-Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood in 2017.

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House Committee Says U.S. Spy Agencies Are Failing China Challenge

WASHINGTON—A House Intelligence Committee report concludes that U.S. spy agencies are failing to meet the multipronged challenge posed by China and calls for changes to focus on pandemics, trade and other issues often given less attention by intelligence professionals.

The report, most of which is classified, portrays the $85 billion-a-year U.S. intelligence community as overly focused on traditional targets such as terrorism and adversaries’ militaries. Pandemics, as evidenced by the coronavirus, and China’s technological prowess in areas like artificial intelligence present an equal threat, according to a summary of the report released Wednesday.

The report recommends fundamental changes in the way intelligence agencies operate, including providing greater support to the Commerce Department, the National Science Foundation, public health organizations and other agencies outside the usual national security bureaucracy.

“Absent a significant and immediate reprioritization and realignment of resources, we will be ill-prepared to compete with China—diplomatically, economically, and militarily—on the global stage for decades to come,” said the committee’s chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.).

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which coordinates the work of 17 U.S. intelligence organizations, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The report and two others published this week are part of a growing consensus on Capitol Hill that new thinking and bipartisan support are required to address Beijing’s challenge to U.S. global primacy. The reports and their findings suggest that harder-line China policies are likely to prevail in the coming years, whether in a second Trump term or in a Biden administration.

The China Task Force, a group of 15 Republican members of Congress, in its own report calls China the “greatest national and economic security challenge of this generation.” It offers more than 400 recommendations, ranging from providing safe harbor to people fleeing China’s democracy crackdown in Hong Kong to working on a trade agreement with Taiwan.

China is investing heavily in fifth-generation cellular telecommunications technology.



Photo:

Ng Han Guan/Associated Press

The task force, headed by Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, said it gave priority to recommendations with bipartisan support, many of which have been included in legislation that has been passed by either the House or the Senate.

Another report, from a bipartisan House Armed Services Committee group named the Future of Defense Task Force, calls for a “whole-of-nation strategy addressing the rise of China,” said Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), who headed the group alongside Rep. Seth Moulton (D., Mass).

The report urges the Defense Department to rethink national security, including by investing in artificial intelligence, quantum computing and biotechnology. Many of its suggestions go beyond the Pentagon. For example, it recommends expanding voluntary national service programs to promote engagement in U.S. democracy.

The House Intelligence Committee report says intelligence agencies failed to adapt to “a changing geopolitical and technological environment increasingly shaped by a rising China and the growing importance of interlocking nonmilitary transnational threats.”

While Russia, Iran, North Korea and terrorist groups also pose threats, “it was China, however, that has used the past two

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U.S. Court Lets House Move Forward With Challenge to Trump’s Border Wall | Top News

(Reuters) – A federal appeals court handed a win to the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, saying the Democratic-led chamber could proceed with a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s diversion of funds to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Reversing a lower court judge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said in a 3-0 decision that the House had legal standing to sue Trump for using money to build the wall that was appropriated by Congress for other purposes.

The case now returns to a lower court, where House Democrats will argue that diverting the funds violated the separation of powers doctrine laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, which argued for the administration in the case, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The wall was Trump’s signature 2016 campaign promise, and at the time he insisted that Mexico would pay for it. Mexico never agreed to that and has not done so.

The three-judge panel cited an Aug. 7 ruling by the same court that a House panel could sue to enforce a subpoena issued to former White House Counsel Don McGahn. That case was later dismissed on other grounds.

In February 2019, after a protracted political battle and a government shutdown, Congress approved $1.38 billion for construction of “primary pedestrian fencing” along the border in southeastern Texas, well short of Trump’s demands.

To obtain additional funds for the wall, Trump declared a national emergency and his administration said it planned to divert $601 million from a Treasury Department forfeiture fund, $2.5 billion earmarked for Department of Defense counterparties programs and $3.6 billion from military construction projects.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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U.S. court lets House move forward with challenge to Trump’s border wall

By Jan Wolfe



a man standing in front of a building: FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump visits the U.S.-Mexico border in San Luis, Arizona


© Reuters/CARLOS BARRIA
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump visits the U.S.-Mexico border in San Luis, Arizona

(Reuters) – A federal appeals court handed a win to the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, saying the Democratic-led chamber could proceed with a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s diversion of funds to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Reversing a lower court judge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said in a 3-0 decision that the House had legal standing to sue Trump for using money to build the wall that was appropriated by Congress for other purposes.

The case now returns to a lower court, where House Democrats will argue that diverting the funds violated the separation of powers doctrine laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, which argued for the administration in the case, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The wall was Trump’s signature 2016 campaign promise, and at the time he insisted that Mexico would pay for it. Mexico never agreed to that and has not done so.

The three-judge panel cited an Aug. 7 ruling by the same court that a House panel could sue to enforce a subpoena issued to former White House Counsel Don McGahn. That case was later dismissed on other grounds.

In February 2019, after a protracted political battle and a government shutdown, Congress approved $1.38 billion for construction of “primary pedestrian fencing” along the border in southeastern Texas, well short of Trump’s demands.

To obtain additional funds for the wall, Trump declared a national emergency and his administration said it planned to divert $601 million from a Treasury Department forfeiture fund, $2.5 billion earmarked for Department of Defense counterparties programs and $3.6 billion from military construction projects.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

Video: Trump asks court to let WeChat ban proceed (CNBC)

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Court revives House’s challenge of Trump wall funding

A federal appeals court on Friday revived a House challenge of President Donald Trump’s use of Defense Department money to build a border wall after Democrats refused to provide funding he requested

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia reversed a lower court’s dismissal of the House Democrats’ lawsuit. The appeals panel found the House had been wrongly cut out of its “constitutionally indispensable legislative role” when Trump unilaterally moved about $8 billion to border wall construction.

Congress’ power to appropriate spending “is a core structural protection of the Constitution — a wall, so to speak, between the branches of government that prevents encroachment of the House’s and Senate’s power of the purse,” the panel wrote.

The case now returns to the court of U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, who had initially ruled that Congress lacked the authority to sue in April 2019.

The Justice Department did not immediately comment.

House Democrats sued three months after the end of the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, triggered by Trump’s demand for border wall funding.

The president later signed a funding bill that included $1.4 billion for border barriers, short of the $5.7 billion he had demanded from Congress. But he then declared a national emergency to secure billions more in funding denied by Democrats controlling the House, in part by taking money for military housing and counterdrug programs.

The move triggered several legal challenges, including the one by House Democrats. Another appeals court ruled in June against the transfer of money from military construction projects. But the U.S. Supreme Court in July declined to order wall construction stopped while the case continued. The high court’s four liberal justices dissented. One of those four, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died Sept. 18.

The three-judge panel consisted of Senior Circuit Judge David B. Sentelle, nominated to the court by former President Ronald Reagan, and two nominees of former President Barack Obama: Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins.

Building a border wall was one of Trump’s signature campaign pledges four years ago, though he promised then that Mexico would pay for the wall.

The U.S. Border Patrol says it has completed 321 miles (517 kilometers) of wall during the Trump administration, though almost all of that is replacing existing barriers.

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Court sides with House Democrats in challenge to Trump’s border wall spending

The Constitution gives Congress spending authority, the court said, and it “requires two keys to unlock the Treasury, and the House holds one of those keys. The Executive Branch has, in a word, snatched the House’s key out of its hands,” according to the opinion from Judge David B. Sentelle, who was joined by Judges Patricia A. Millett and Robert L. Wilkins.

House Democrats went to court claiming Trump violated the Constitution by ignoring congressional spending limits and diverting more than $6 billion allocated for other purposes to fund the wall at the border with Mexico. The administration invoked statutes it said allowed the president to repurpose appropriations.

The D.C. Circuit panel on Friday said the Trump administration had essentially cut the House out of the appropriations process “rendering for naught” its vote to withhold border wall funding. The judges also rejected the Justice Department’s argument that the House cannot go to court to protect its interests without consent of the Senate.

“The ironclad constitutional rule is that the Executive Branch cannot spend until both the House and the Senate say so,” according to Sentelle’s opinion. “Unlike the affirmative power to pass legislation, the House can wield its appropriations veto fully and effectively all by itself, without any coordination with or cooperation from the Senate.”

Sentelle was nominated by President Ronald Reagan. Millett and Wilkins were nominated by President Barack Obama.

In August, the full D.C. Circuit held that a single house of Congress did have standing to pursue litigation against the administration and sent the case back to the three-judge panel to consider other aspects of the administration’s challenge to the House’s claims.

The three-judge panel was reviewing a 2019 decision from District Court Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump nominee, who held that the House lacked legal grounds or standing to bring the lawsuit.

The ruling Friday is unlikely to be the final word in the controversy. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The Pantry Kitchen Challenge is back! Take part in Round 1 of our fall season with these 4 ingredients

Stefanie Loh

We’re back! The beginning of fall brings a new season of The Seattle Times Pantry Kitchen Challenge — with a new twist!

The inaugural season of the challenge went five rounds and culminated in a champions round in July that Alea Abrams won with her shrimp and grits recipe.

Now, we’re starting over in Season 2 and hoping to inspire everyone to get creative with fall ingredients.

We’ll go another five rounds and the top three finishers in each round will be invited to participate in the champions round sometime in December. The winner of the champions round will receive a $50 gift card to a grocery store of their choice!

Rules are basically the same, with one new caveat, in the interest of keeping things fresh — think about all the different iterations of the long-lasting TV show “Survivor”! — we’ll add a new “wild card” rule to each round. This can be anything from a prep time limit, to a course (say: “dessert” or “entrees”), a dietary restriction (“vegan” or “gluten-free”) or something else our judges manage to concoct.

So, definitely read the rules before submitting.

And here we go!

The four ingredients for Round 1 (“The Weeknight Challenge”) of the fall season are:

  • Apples
  • Squash (of your choosing)
  • Soda
  • Nutmeg

Rules:

  • You have to use all four ingredients, but you can use as many additional ingredients as you desire.
  • Wild card rule for Round 1: The prep time for your dish of choice cannot exceed 30 minutes!
  • Deadline: Create a dish, tell us how successful you were and email photos (JPG files preferred!), your recipe and a description of your dish to food editor Stefanie Loh ([email protected]) by Friday, Oct. 2.
  • Judging will be based on creativity, how well you incorporated the four ingredients, presentation and adherence to the wild card rule. We’ll name the top three and select several of the most interesting submissions to be published in a future edition of The Mix.

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