Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
Meander and Meet....designed by George Peters and Melanie Walker of Airworks For more information contact Susan at

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - August 27, 2006

Hi all,

Sorry you couldn't be with Barb, Jan and I yesterday morning. We had a rainy walking tour of the Newlands neighborhood and up to Hawthorn, across to the Community Gardens (near my house) and south on the path back to Community Plaza. If you haven't been to Breadworks lately, you're in for a treat - they've expanded in size and in offerings - lots of breakfast possibilities as well as a simple pastry - Barb and I had frittatas (sp?) and Jan had a very unique French Toast dish.

Book Reports this week:

Jan wanted to let us know that she finished listening to Upstate (reviewed in an earlier post) and loved it but definitely recommends listening to it rather than reading it!
She is now reading (not listening!) to:

Citizen Vince by Jess Walter:

From Bookmarks MagazineJess Walter, who steps back in history for his third novel, brings back an "utterly inventive" tale of crime and politics (Washington Post). Walter, whose previous books include Land of the Blind and a non-fiction account of the Ruby Ridge massacre, Every Knee Shall Bow, seems to have found his stride as a novelist. Critics praise the author’s ability to straddle—or shatter—the conceits of the mystery novel, while offering a sincere, at times hilarious, rumination on the challenges of citizenship and the price of freedom. Except for the Seattle Times’s vote against the stream of consciousness chapters that delve into Reagan and Carter’s minds, the pundits all agree: Citizen Vince is the real deal.

Susan just finished Duplicate Keys by Jane Smiley- it is a suspense thriller murder mystery (not my usual genre) - it was pretty compelling most of the way through and then I got bored by the end - actually irritated with the characters and wishing she'd just wrap it up. Here's a review from Amazon:

Book Description"Sharp and memorable...Finely wrought."NEWSDAYThey were six friends from the Midwest who moved to New York City with high hopes of making it big in the music industry. Although the dream had faded, they had all remained friends--or so it seemed. One brilliant day, two of the group were shot in an apartment for which they all had duplicate keys. A riveting suspense story about the emotional aftermath of murder--the jealousy and hatred, the deception and rage, and the shocking secrets that lie between even the closest of friends.

Cooking and Food Reports this week:
It hasn't been much of a cooking week for me until yesterday - I made a meatloaf that was very well received, Moroccan couscous (see earlier post for recipe), plum torte (see earlier post for recipe) and I also made a Tres Leche cake - it turned out pretty well but I would make some modifications next time.

Blue Plate Special Meatloaf - - this recipe instructs you to make 2 individual loaves but I actually made 1 loaf in a regular loaf pan - it took a bit longer to cook that

Tres Leche Cake - here are the instructions that the proprietor of Aji Restaurant kindly shared with me and I pretty much followed it - I would suggest using 1 cup of each of the milks. I used a white cake mix from Whole Foods (some funky organic brand) and baked the cake in a 9 x 13 pan (don't line the pan with wax paper like I did - big mistake - just butter and flour the pan before pouring in the batter). Once the cake was finished baking I let it sit for about 10 - 15 minutes, then poked the holes and poured the milk mixture over the cake. I let it cool a bit and then stored it in the frig. I would take it out of the frig for a bit before serving so it is not ice cold. A note about the cream topping - I just whipped the cream and sugar until it just thickened. You don't need to create stiff peaks - it is more like a thick sauce on top of the cake. You can garnish with fresh fruit like strawberries and kiwis and perhaps a berry puree or chocolate syrup (guess what I used!):

"Thank you for your feedback on your experience at Aji. Some thoughts about the Tres Leches cake -- use any white cake mix you can find at any store. Poke holes in the cake. Soak that cake in equal parts whole milk, evaporated milk, and sweetened condensed milk. Enough to completely submerge the cake. The cake needs to soak for approximately 20 minutes. The cream used to dress the cake is whipped heavy cream and sugar. For every pint of heavy cream use approximately a quarter cup of sugar. Whip cream in a blender, starting on low. Garnish with some nice fresh fruit -- we have used kiwi, mango, strawberry, etc. Thanks again, and I hope all goes well."
Gerald Manning

A request from Barb for brunch recipes, please: Do any of you have any tried and true, make ahead brunch recipes you'd like to share? Mandy, how about that French Toast you told me about?

Here's a fritatta recipe that Chris made at last year's Literary Sojourn in Steamboat - it is not make ahead but it sure was wonderful!

Steamboat Breakfast Frittata

Recipe By : Chris Rich
Serving Size : 8
-------- ------------ --------------------------------
2 cups frozen shredded or country style potatoes
4 large eggs or egg-substitute equivalent
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cheddar cheese -- shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese -- shredded
1/4 cup tomatoes -- chopped
1/4 cup steamed asparagus -- chopped
dried green chilies
breakfast sausage, ham, ground beef, turkey sausage (any of these) -- browned and drained
1/4 cup green onions -- sliced
1/4 cup artichoke hearts -- chopped
any fresh herbs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

In a large skillet with oven-safe handle, heat oil. Add potatoes and heat.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, and salt. Pour over the potatoes.
Sprinkle with whatever veggies or meat you choose. Cover and cook over low heat for 5 - 7 minutes, then sprinkle with cheeses. Continue cooking until center of the frittata is set.
Heat the broiler. Broil the frittata 6 inches from the heat until cheese is melted and lightly browned. Let the frittata stand on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Two last notes, if you want to find something in one of my earlier e-mails, just go to my blog and do a keyword search.

We have another "blogger" in our group - Terri has created a blog where she shares her experiences and thoughts on being a single mom. - check it out and share it with anyone you know who might be interested.

That's it for now - have a great week! Don't forget that this Saturday, September 2, we're back at Caffe Sole for a walk and planning session for September's schedule. I'm sure we'll be hearing from Barb later in the week.


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