Grillo Center Labyrinth

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

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - August 5, 2006

Christie, Jan and I had a very nice walk this morning and then had coffee at Caffe Sole. Each of us has volunteered for the Saturdays in the remainder of August:

August 12 - Jan
August 19 - Christie
August 26 - Susan

We talked about two books - the one that Jan is reading and likes very much is The Doctor's Wife, a first novel by Elizabeth Brundage.

From Publishers WeeklySet against the backdrop of the battle for abortion rights, this timely but stilted debut thriller features a perfect yuppie couple. Michael Knowles is a successful OB-GYN and his wife, Annie, is a popular journalism professor; they have two precious kids and a big, airy home in upstate New York. But once Michael accepts a position at the only abortion clinic in town, the already heavy strain that his doctor's schedule puts on their marriage sends Annie into the arms of a colleague, notorious painter Simon Haas. Meanwhile, Michael receives increasingly hostile threats from creepy antiabortion activists, suggesting that one, or both, of the Knowles are targets of a vicious terror campaign. The painter's childlike young wife, Lydia, as a menacing, tormented Bible-thumper scarred by a harsh, loveless upbringing, is the enigma that fuels Brundage's examination of what happens when we are drawn to the very things that promise to destroy us. But the lessons here are heavy-handed and the characterizations mechanical. The bad guys wear mirrored sunglasses as they force Michael off the road; the good guys wear jackets emblazoned with angel's wings; and the dialogue is delivered in short sound bites scripted for a TV cliffhanger. The Knowles' storybook marriage takes a number of dark, twisted turns, but the lack of character nuance and depth blunt Brundage's stab at psychological suspense.

I just finished Eat, Pray, Love, a memoir/spiritual journey by novelist Elizabeth Gilbert. I highly recommend it - she has a dry, sense of humor not unlike Anne LaMott. You may notice a theme in my reading material lately!

From Publishers WeeklyStarred Review. Gilbert (The Last American Man) grafts the structure of romantic fiction upon the inquiries of reporting in this sprawling yet methodical travelogue of soul-searching and self-discovery. Plagued with despair after a nasty divorce, the author, in her early 30s, divides a year equally among three dissimilar countries, exploring her competing urges for earthly delights and divine transcendence. First, pleasure: savoring Italy's buffet of delights—the world's best pizza, free-flowing wine and dashing conversation partners—Gilbert consumes la dolce vita as spiritual succor. "I came to Italy pinched and thin," she writes, but soon fills out in waist and soul. Then, prayer and ascetic rigor: seeking communion with the divine at a sacred ashram in India, Gilbert emulates the ways of yogis in grueling hours of meditation, struggling to still her churning mind. Finally, a balancing act in Bali, where Gilbert tries for equipoise "betwixt and between" realms, studies with a merry medicine man and plunges into a charged love affair. Sustaining a chatty, conspiratorial tone, Gilbert fully engages readers in the year's cultural and emotional tapestry—conveying rapture with infectious brio, recalling anguish with touching candor—as she details her exotic tableau with history, anecdote and impression.

I haven't done much cooking this week but I am planning to make the following recipe tonight - its one I've done before and it is quite good:

Fettucine with Wild Mushroom Sauce

Serving Size : 4

2 cups hot water 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 pound mixed mushrooms -- sliced 4 large garlic cloves -- chopped 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 tablespoon fresh thyme -- chopped 3/4 cup low-salt chicken broth 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 3/ 4 pound fettucine

1. Soften porcini mushrooms for 40 minutes, drain and reserve liquid.

2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Add fresh mushrooms, garlic and saute until brown, about 6 minutes. Add porcini mushrooms and saute until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Add butter and thyme and stir 1 minute.

3. Add broth and 11/4 cups soaking liquid. Boil until thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Mix in 4T cheese. (Can do about 1 hour ahead and let stand at room temperature.

4. Add cooked pasta to sauce and top with Parmesan cheese.

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My niece, Mandy, sent me the following recipe from a friend of hers this week - I think that Jacob and I will make it while he's here along with the blueberry cake that I'll include below (both are over the top outrageous!):


2 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
3/4 cup butter, cut into pieces
3 (4 oz) bars premium semi-sweet chocolate, broken into chunks (buy Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/4 cups egg substitute (egg beaters - can not use real eggs because this does not cook all the way through and could make you sick with real eggs)
3/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup flour
powdered sugar

Brush 16 muffin pans with 2 tbsp of melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with cocoa, shaking out excess. Place in refrigerator to firm butter.

Place 3/4 cup butter and chocolate in large heavy saucepan. Cook over low heat stirring often until butter and chocolate melt. Slowly whisk in cream, set aside.

Combine egg and sugar in mixing bowl, beat 5 to 7 minutes until slightly thickened. Add chocolate cream and flour, beat until blended. Pour into muffin cups to within 1/4" from the tops. Cover and chill 1 hour or up to 24 hours (you can also freeze this for up to 1 month, take out the night before and place in fridge to thaw before baking).

Bake at 450 for 10-11 minutes. Let stand 3 minutes before placing a knife around edges to loosen. Invert pan. Place one on a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve immediately. Good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and raspberries!

And here's my friend Marilyn's recipe for blueberry cake that she made for a "ladie's lunch" that she hosted when I was in Maryland:

Blueberry Cake

1 Cup Sugar
3 Tablespoons Soft Butter
2 Eggs
½ Cup Milk
2 Cups Flour
2 Teaspoons Baking Powder

1 Pint Blueberries

Beat first four ingredients and add flour and baking powder.
Mix well.
Pour into greased 9” x 13” pan and top with blueberries.

1 Cup Sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Stick Melted Butter

Mix sugar & flour together and sprinkle over blueberries.
Drizzle melted butter on top.
Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

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