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, September 03, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - September 2, 2006

Happy Labor Day Weekend! A few books to let you know about and some cooking adventures to report:

Susan just finished a very compelling book called 102 Minutes by Kevin Flynn and Jim Dwyer, New York Times writers who recount the events that occurred from the moment that the first plane hit the North Tower of WTC until the collapse of both towers. It is an enlightening and revealing account pieced together by interviewing survivors and rescuers and eyewitnesses.

From Publishers Weekly
Drawn from thousands of radio transcripts, phone messages, e-mails and interviews with eyewitnesses, this 9/11 account comes from the perspective of those inside the World Trade Center from the moment the first plane hit at 8:46 a.m. to the collapse of the north tower at 10:28 a.m. The stories are intensely intimate, and they often stir gut-wrenching emotions. A law firm receptionist quietly eats yogurt at her desk seconds before impact. Injured survivors, sidestepping debris and bodies, struggle down a stairwell. A man trapped on the 88th floor leaves a phone message for his fiancée: "Kris, there's been an explosion.... I want you to know my life has been so much better and richer because you were in it." Dwyer and Flynn, New York Times writers, take rescue agencies to task for rampant communications glitches and argue that the towers' faulty design helped doom those above the affected floors ("Their fate had been sealed nearly four decades earlier, when... fire stairs were eliminated as a wasteful use of valuable space"). In doing so, the authors frequently draw parallels to similar safety oversights aboard the ill-fated Titanic nearly 90 years before. Their reporting skills are exceptional; readers experience the chaos and confusion that unfolded inside, in grim, painstaking detail. B&w photos.

Libby told me about a memoir she is well into and enjoying very much - The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - after reading the description on Amazon, I realized that I saw Jeannette Walls interviewed (probably on Oprah) and it is a fascinating story.

From Publishers WeeklyStarred Review. Freelance writer Walls doesn't pull her punches. She opens her memoir by describing looking out the window of her taxi, wondering if she's "overdressed for the evening" and spotting her mother on the sidewalk, "rooting through a Dumpster." Walls's parents—just two of the unforgettable characters in this excellent, unusual book—were a matched pair of eccentrics, and raising four children didn't conventionalize either of them. Her father was a self-taught man, a would-be inventor who could stay longer at a poker table than at most jobs and had "a little bit of a drinking situation," as her mother put it. With a fantastic storytelling knack, Walls describes her artist mom's great gift for rationalizing. Apartment walls so thin they heard all their neighbors? What a bonus—they'd "pick up a little Spanish without even studying." Why feed their pets? They'd be helping them "by not allowing them to become dependent." While Walls's father's version of Christmas presents—walking each child into the Arizona desert at night and letting each one claim a star—was delightful, he wasn't so dear when he stole the kids' hard-earned savings to go on a bender. The Walls children learned to support themselves, eating out of trashcans at school or painting their skin so the holes in their pants didn't show. Buck-toothed Jeannette even tried making her own braces when she heard what orthodontia cost. One by one, each child escaped to New York City. Still, it wasn't long before their parents appeared on their doorsteps. "Why not?" Mom said. "Being homeless is an adventure."

Janet made this wonderful chicken dish and two salsas this week - the recipe is from the current issue of Fine Cooking Magazine:

Grilled Chicken with Tomato, Lime & Cilantro Salsa
Serves 4

2 cups ripe tomatoes (2 -3 medium tomatoes) -- seeded and diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro -- finely chopped
4 scallions (white and green parts) -- thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon zest of 1 lime -- finely grated
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons chipotle chile canned in adobo -- minced
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)

Prepare a medium-hot grill fire (you could also do this on an indoor grill pan).

In a medium bowl, combine the tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, lime juice, 1 T of the oil, 1 1/2 t sugar and the lime zest. If your tomatoes aren't perfectly ripe and sweet, add another 1/2 t sugar. Season with 1/2 t kosher salt and 1/4 t pepper, or to taste.

In another medium bowl, mix the chipotle, the remaining 2 T oil, 1/2 t kosher salt and 1/4 t pepper.

Trim the chicken. If the tenderloins are still attached remove them and save for another use. Use the flat side of a meat mallet to pound each chicken breast to an even 1/2 inch thickness. Add the chicken to the chipotle mixture and toss well to coat.

When the grill is ready, lay the chicken on the hot grill grates and cook, covered, until the chicken has grill marks and the edges turn opaque, 2 -3 minutes. Flip the breasts and continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through, 2 - 3 minutes more.

Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice each breast crosswise on the diagonal into 1/2 inch thick slices. Arrange the chicken on a platter and top with the salsa.

Serving Ideas : This dish is also declivous served cold or at room temperature over salad greens. You can also make it ahead: Grill the chicken, let it cool for 20 minutes, refrigerate (for up to 8 hours) and slice just before serving with the salsa. The salsa ingredients may be prepared up to 2 hours ahead, but mix them together just before serving.

NOTES : An alternative salsa is the Summer Corn Salsa ( see recipe below).

Janet served the chicken with a lovely, light salad featuring butter lettuce, fennel, and radishes with one of those light refresher dressings - you could just do a light lemon vinaigrette. She also served this with Spanish rice. Dessert was a recipe for fresh grilled peaches featured in this past week's Daily Camera -,1713,BDC_2517_4951824,00.html - I'm not wild about the flavor and consistency of goat cheese but would try this again with cream cheese - it is quite an elegant and simple dessert.

Serving Size : 6

1 cup corn kernels -- stripped from cob
1 cup cherry tomato -- halved or quartered, depending on size
1/2 cup red onion -- chopped
1/4 cup basil -- chopped or very thinly sliced
1 tablespoon mint -- chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Combine all ingredients and let sit 20 minutes before serving.

Hors d'Oeuvre idea from Janet and Susan: create a platter featuring fresh figs (Janet used 3 different varieties - Costco has beautiful ones right now, got the others at Whole Foods) and cantaloupe wrapped in proscuitto (she used an American made (would you believe Iowa?) proscuitto with lime juice and fresh mint to sprinkle over the figs (really adds the right spark). Also on the platter was a hunk of Grana Padana cheese (same cheese as Parmesan Reggiano, not aged as long nor priced as high), walnuts, honey, balsamic reduction - Janet did take a picture which I will ask her to send to me and I will insert it on my blog. It was lush and gorgeous looking. Janet really is so creative and artistic in her presentation. The inspiration for this came from my description of feasting on figs, proscuitto, melon, cheese and wine at the house we stayed at in Lucca, Italy - now that's heaven on earth!

I made two recipes this week - definite keepers:

Giada's (The Everyday Italian) recipe for Sausage and Peppers - way beyond the ordinary and relatively healthy using turkey sausage -,1977,FOOD_9936_33168,00.html - I didn't have Marsala wine on hand so I used red wine instead - worked just fine

Ina Garten's (The Barefoot Contessa) recipe for Shrimp Scampi with Linguine - I used regular spaghetti -,1977,FOOD_9936_32175,00.html

Oh, one more thing - Jan was looking for a dressing for a pasta salad - I mentioned my Tortellini Salad which I'll share with you here - it is not a creamy dressing but it sure is good!
This recipe actually originated with an old girlfriend of Rae's brother Ralph - it goes back a ways! Great for a potluck!

Tortellini Salad
1 pound meat filled tortellini -- cooked al dente
1 pound cheese filled tortellini -- cooked al dente
2 bunches scallion -- sliced
1 medium red onion -- diced
2 green pepper -- diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes -- halved
few slices proscuitto -- diced
any other diced fresh veggies you like:
artichoke hearts
red pepper
pitted black olives

Dressing Ingredients:
1 scant teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
t teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2-3 cloves
crushed fresh garlic
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
juice of 3 lemons
1/4 cup wine, tarragon or balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
a splash of white wine
a splash of Worcestershire sauce

1. Mix dressing ingredients - use whisk or shake in a jar.

2. Add to tortellini, veggies and proscuitto in large bowl - toss and serve.

Really, just one more thing -

Barb Lamm's Pepper Steak Salad for 6 (from Colorado Cache)- very yummy main dish salad

3 cups rare roast beef, cut in thin strips (about 3/4+ pound)
2 tomatoes, cut in wedges (I used cherry tomatoes)
1 green pepper, cut in strips (I used yellow peppers)
1 cup sliced celery
1/3 cup sliced green onions (I used a chopped red one)
1/3 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
4 cups mixed greens

Marinade dressing:
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce (I used soy sauce)
1/3 cup dry sherry
1/3 cup salad oil
3 tablespoons white vinegar (I used rice vinegar)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Combine beef, tomatoes, pepper, celery, onion and mushrooms. In a screw top jar combine ingredients for marinade. Shake well & pour over beef/vegi mixture. Toss to coat well. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or more. Drain, reserving the marinade. Place greens in large salad bowl, top with marinated meat and vegetables. Toss adding more marinade to taste.

Looks like we did a lot more cookin' than bookin' this week - hard to resist the last of the summer season's fresh wonders.

Until next time.......

Love, Susan

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