Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - November 12, 2006

Hi everyone!

We had a great walk yesterday touring the CU campus - it really is quite beautiful. Barb led the way accompanied by Susan, Jan, Andrea and Laila (a friend that Andrea met who recently moved to Colorado from Alaska) - welcome Laila! Mary met us for bagels and coffee at Einstein's on Baseline.

A few books to tell you about:

From Laila:

She recommends Barack Obama's new book Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream and recommends it along with his first book, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. She does think you should read them in order.

From Publishers Weekly on Dreams from My Father
Elected the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, Obama was offered a book contract, but the intellectual journey he planned to recount became instead this poignant, probing memoir of an unusual life. Born in 1961 to a white American woman and a black Kenyan student, Obama was reared in Hawaii by his mother and her parents, his father having left for further study and a return home to Africa. So Obama's not-unhappy youth is nevertheless a lonely voyage to racial identity, tensions in school, struggling with black literature?with one month-long visit when he was 10 from his commanding father. After college, Obama became a community organizer in Chicago. He slowly found place and purpose among folks of similar hue but different memory, winning enough small victories to commit himself to the work?he's now a civil rights lawyer there. Before going to law school, he finally visited Kenya; with his father dead, he still confronted obligation and loss, and found wellsprings of love and attachment. Obama leaves some lingering questions?his mother is virtually absent?but still has written a resonant book. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour.

From Publishers Weekly on Audacity of Hope
Ilinois's Democratic senator illuminates the constraints of mainstream politics all too well in this sonorous manifesto. Obama (Dreams from My Father) castigates divisive partisanship (especially the Republican brand) and calls for a centrist politics based on broad American values. His own cautious liberalism is a model: he's skeptical of big government and of Republican tax cuts for the rich and Social Security privatization; he's pro-choice, but respectful of prolifers; supportive of religion, but not of imposing it. The policy result is a tepid Clintonism, featuring tax credits for the poor, a host of small-bore programs to address everything from worker retraining to teen pregnancy, and a health-care program that resembles Clinton's Hillary-care proposals. On Iraq, he floats a phased but open-ended troop withdrawal. His triangulated positions can seem conflicted: he supports free trade, while deploring its effects on American workers (he opposed the Central American Free Trade Agreement), in the end hoping halfheartedly that more support for education, science and renewable energy will see the economy through the dilemmas of globalization. Obama writes insightfully, with vivid firsthand observations, about politics and the compromises forced on politicians by fund-raising, interest groups, the media and legislative horse-trading. Alas, his muddled, uninspiring proposals bear the stamp of those compromises.

From Susan:

I am almost finished with Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks - I can recommend it without reservation. It is a non-fiction account about Islam and women in the Middle East during the time that Brooks served as a correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. In addition to being a wonderful storyteller (see her novels, Year of Wonder and March), she writes a very insightful and informative account of this complicated world.

From Publishers WeeklyHaving spent six years covering the Middle East for the Wall Street Journal, Brooks presents an exploration of the daily life of Muslim women and the often contradictory forces that shape their lives.

Cooking and Food:

Some recipes to share:

Always Rare Roast Beef from The Craftsman's Cookbook (a request from Mary):

3 - 8 pound beef roast
freshly ground pepper

Place the beef in a roasting pan and sprinkle it generously with pepper. As salt extracts juices, salt it only after it is cooked.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and cook the roast 5 minutes per pound of meat. Then turn the oven off, but do not open it. The roast must remain in the gradually diminishing heat for a total of 1 hour per pound. It can stay in the oven as long as you like, but it must remain there the prescribed amount of time. A 3 pound roast must cook a total of 3 hours, with the oven at 500 degrees for the first 15 minutes. If you have an 8 pound roast, it must stay in the oven a total of 8 hours, with the oven at 500 degrees for the first 40 minutes.

This recipe is ideal when you can't be sure of your serving time. The beef will be warm, but not hot; it will be juicy, but not dripping "blood gravy"; it will always be rare, no matter when you take it out of the oven

Shrimp Scampi Pasta - from Gourmet Magazine - - simple and really delicious!

Boneless Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Thyme - from EatingWell Magazine - flavors were great - be sure to pound those chops so they're nice and tender - I might try it next time with slices of pork tenderloin.

Lentil Soup from Giada Di Laurentiis - The Everyday Italian - this is simmering on my stove right now for Sunday night dinner - based on the aroma and some tastings, I'm pretty sure this will be a "keeper". If it turns out otherwise, I'll let you know.,1977,FOOD_9936_26670,00.html

I'm serving it with Jamie Oliver's Fried Ricotta with Tomato Basil Salad (actually I'm cheating and using salsa). I can't review it yet but I'll let you know next week how it turns out.

In light of the Thanksgiving holidays fast approaching, I asked everyone yesterday to share any special hints or tips that have worked well for them. I will also share some other "interesting" tips that have nothing to do with a turkey:

Barb - soak a paper bag in oil and cover the turkey with it - you do not have to baste the turkey. During the last 1/2 hour of cooking add 1 - 2 cups of white wine in the pan.

Mary - recommends following Alton Brown's Good Eats method of brining the turkey -,1977,FOOD_9936_8389,00.html

Jan - uses a turkey cooking bag and creates a sling out of kitchen twine to assisting in lifting the turkey out of the pan.

- if you're stuffing the turkey (more and more I see it recommended not to do that), put the stuffing in the center of multilayered cheesecloth square and tie up in a bundle. It makes pulling it out so much easier. Also, like Jan, I create a sling using heavy duty aluminum foil folded over to form a multilayered 4 or 5 inch strip.

Barb - also mentioned that you can get a collapsible turkey rack with handles at Bed, Bath and Beyond - that makes it so much easier to transfer the turkey from the pan to the cutting board.

Now here are some random and pretty outrageous ideas:

Prepare fish (wrapped in foil) or lobster in the dishwasher!

When washing and drying an enormous amount of greens or spinach for a crowd - put them in the washing machine on the rinse cycle - Barb has done this!

If any of you have any other great ideas to share, please let me know!

Have a great week!


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