Grillo Center Labyrinth

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

Monday, December 25, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - December 25, 2006

Ho! Ho! Ho! everyone!

We're having a bit of a lull in the festivites at our house so I thought I would put my feet up and catch up with all of you. Hope you're all enjoying the holidays and taking time to relax and enjoy the season. It has been a wild and crazy weather week here and much focus on our relatives getting in or out of town. We're disappointed that Jeff couldn't get here but we still have quite a full house and Libby's new puppy Violet is arriving this evening. Our Saturday morning walk turned out to be a Saturday morning coffee date - I'm sorry I missed you all.

Last night we had our traditional Cincinnati Chili with a twist - instead of ground beef, we used ground dark meat turkey - turned out great!
See the recipe posted on my November 5 blog.

Tonight, we're having roast tenderloin of beef with a port wine and shitake mushroom sauce (Janet has made this sauce and loves it)
and Giada' De Laurentiis Roman Style Chicken and Roasted Potatoes and Onions (see both recipes posted on my September 24 blog.

Tomorrow night, no cooking for me - we'll be having dinner at Brasserie TenTen - one of our favorite places in Boulder -

Jacob and I did a bit of baking earlier in the week and turned out some wonderfully decorated Hanukah cookies along with my rugulah, biscotti and chocolate whoppers (the best chocolate cookie ever!) - chocolate whoppers,,FOOD_9936_28255,00.html?rsrc=search - chocolate chip anise biscotti,,FOOD_9936_35322,00.html?rsrc=search - rugelach
- this recipe calls for raisins but we also made them with chocolate chips - Libby's preference

Not much time for reading this week but we did manage to get out to see Charlotte's Web on Thursday - we had the theater to ourselves. Jacob seemed a little bored by it but Jack, Jexy and I enjoyed it very much - it is such a wonderful story.

Let's hope that the weather will cooperate with us this coming Saturday and we can get out for a walk - I sure will need it by then!

Enjoy the week!


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - December 17, 2006

Hi everyone!

First of all, I want to send love and "mazel tov" to Rae and family (her daughter, Dawn, son-in-law, Michael, Adam and Jeremy) on the arrival home of her new grandaughter (that makes 8 grandchildren!), Maria. Rae and Dawn brought 6 month old Maria home from Guatemala on Friday and they are just thrilled to welcome her into the family.

We had a great turnout yesterday for our walk/hike. Andrea, Laila, Barb, Mary, Christie and I went out in search of the Mesa Trail. We drove up to NCAR and headed out. As soon as the trail looked a bit perilous to me (It doesn't take much!), I opted to head back and Andrea graciously kept me company. Apparently the others had a great hike but never actually made it to the Mesa Trail. Of course, we all re-grouped and headed back down to Caffe Sole where Jan joined us for coffee and such. Mary will let us know where next Saturday's walk/coffee will be.

Everyone is pretty busy with holiday preparations, so not much reading going on. Barb is taking her dad out to see A Christmas Carol to celebrate his 97th!!!! birthday - Happy Birthday, George!!
Laila is taking her granddaughter to see The Velveteen Rabbit at the Boulder Dinner Theatre. The Wadles are excited about all the kids coming "home" this week - Jex and Jacob arrive on Monday evening, Jeff arrives on Thursday morning, Libby, David and new puppy, Violet arrive on Thursday evening and Joe arrives on Christmas Eve. We'll have a full house - eased thankfully by Andrea's generous offer to use her house and refrigerator while she's away.

Jacob is very excited about Hanukah this year and Jex has come up with a great plan to play down the over-stimulation of gift receiving. As you may or may not know, Hanukah lasts for 8 nights and part of the tradition is that you get a gift each night - it gets to be a bit overwhelming especially when Hanukah falls at the same time as Christmas. This year, Jacob got a gift on the first night, on the second night he bought a gift to donate to another child, and tonight they are having friends over to light the Menorah and do a Hanukah craft (no gifts) - they'll repeat the process until Hanukah ends on Friday evening.
Here's a description of the significance of Hanukah:
Hanukah, the festival of lights, commemorates the time in days of yore
when the Maccabees went to rebuild the temple, which had been
destroyed during a war with the Syrians. When they went to light the
lamp in order to begin the process of rebuilding the temple, they
found, much to their dismay, that there was only enough oil to last
for one day. When they lit the lamp however--"nes gadol haya sham"--a
great miracle happened there. On Hanukah, we celebrate this miracle,
and eat potato pancakes called latkes, which are appropriate for
Hanukah because they are cooked in oil. Here is a recipe for
everyone's favorite Hanukah treat.

POTATO LATKES12 potatoes
2 carrots
1 onion
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
A dash of pepper
1 teaspoon baking powder (use with flour)
1/3 cup sifted flour, matzo meal, or bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten

Grate carrots, onion, and potatoes last, as they discolor quickly.
Drain off darkened liquid, add eggs and sifted dry ingredients. Drop
by tablespoonful into a skillet heated with 1/8-1/4 inch oil. Brown
and turn. Serves 8-10 adults.

Recipe compliments of Pearl Ruth Feder (note: I have not tried this recipe but it looks good!)

Our book group met this past Monday - Chris was our host and her book selection was 3 Weeks With My Brother by Nicholas and Micah Sparks. As usual we were more pre-occupied with her wonderful tapas menu and Prosecco wine to talk much about the book but here's the review from Amazon:

From Publishers Weekly

When bestselling author Sparks (The Notebook; Message in a Bottle; etc.) receives a brochure offering a three-week trip around the world,it's not hard for him to persuade Micah, his older brother, to join him in touring Guatemala's Mayan ruins, Peru's Incan temples, Easter Island, the killing fields in Cambodia, the Taj Mahal and Ethiopian rock cathedrals. His account of the trip is refreshingly honest and perceptive. At each stop, the brothers, both deeply committed to their families, cover the crucial moments in a life full of familial love and tragedy: Nick's role as the middle child always feeling left out; his marriage in 1989; the loss of Nick and Micah's mother two months later after a horseback riding accident; the death of Nick's first baby and the physical problems of his second son; the death of their father in a car accident; and the passing of their younger sister from a brain tumor. As the brothers travel together through these mythical sites and share candid thoughts, they find themselves stunned by fate's turns,realizing that a peaceful moment may be shattered at any time. Weaving in vignettes of tenderness and loss with travelogue-like observations, Sparks's account shows how he and his brother both evolved on this voyage. "Somehow there was a chance we could help each other, and in that way, I began to think of the trip less as a journey around the world than a journey to rediscover who I was and how I'? developed the way I did."

Here's a recipe for one of the dishes that we had:

Seared Shrimp with Pimenton and Sherry from Fine Cooking Magazine

1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined, patted dry
Kosher salt
3 tbls olive oil
6 medium cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
Heaping 1/4 teaspoon sweet pimenton (or paprika)
Heaping 1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tbls thinly sliced chives
3 tablespoons of dry Sherry (I used dry white wine)
Fresh lemon juice

Sprinkle shrimp with 3/4 tsp kosher salt, toss, and let sit for 10 minutes for refrigerate for up to 1 hour.
In a 12-inch skillet, heat olive oil on high heat. Pat shrimp dry, addto skillet. Sprinkle with 3/4 tsp kosh salt and sear until they're pink and a little golden on one side, about 1 minute. Sprinkle the garlic,pimenton, and red pepper flakes over the shrimp, and saute, stirring,until the shrimp are almost completely pink, about 1 minute. Add the sherry and cook, stirring to deglaze the bottom of the pan, until theshrimp are pink all over (the sherry will evaporate quickly, but youshould still have some juices in the pan).
Remove from heat. Toss with the lemon zest and chives. Pour the shrimp and juices into a serving dish, squeeze on lemon juice to taste and serve.

Note: Pimenton is a spice - it is smoked paprika
Note about Barb's recipe for Caviar Pie that appeared last week: Be sure to use regular block cream cheese, not whipped or lite.

Just a couple of quick reminders of upcoming events:
Lafayette Oatmeal Festival will be Saturday, January 13 - that's become somewhat of a tradition for us so let's talk about plans to do that together - info at
Tattered Cover Writers Respond To Readers will be Saturday, January 27 - registration is Monday, January 8 and it fills up fast - let me know if you're interested.
Okay, Okay - that's it for now! Have a great week!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Saturday Morning Walkers - December 3, 2006

Hi Everyone!

Well, we had a snowy morning yesterday and missed all of you. Barb and I had a lovely time together and were so happy to run into Jackie and Keith. Unlike the two of us, they were on their way for a day of cross-country skiing.

I do have books to talk about and many recipes to share, also a restaurant review, so here goes.

Susan: I finished The Memory Keeeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. I definitely was pulled into the story and moral dilemma it posed - very reminiscent of Jodi Picoult's work.

From Publishers Weekly
Edwards's assured but schematic debut novel (after her collection, The Secrets of a Fire King) hinges on the birth of fraternal twins, a healthy boy and a girl with Down syndrome, resulting in the father's disavowal of his newborn daughter. A snowstorm immobilizes Lexington, Ky., in 1964, and when young Norah Henry goes into labor, her husband, orthopedic sur geon Dr. David Henry, must deliver their babies himself, aided only by a nurse. Seeing his daughter's handicap, he instructs the nurse, Caroline Gill, to take her to a home and later tells Norah, who was drugged during labor, that their son Paul's twin died at birth. Instead of institutionalizing Phoebe, Caroline absconds with her to Pittsburgh. David's deception becomes the defining moment of the main characters' lives, and Phoebe's absence corrodes her birth family's core over the course of the next 25 years. David's undetected lie warps his marriage; he grapples with guilt; Norah mourns her lost child; and Paul not only deals with his parents' icy relationship but with his own yearnings for his sister as well. Though the impact of Phoebe's loss makes sense, Edwards's redundant handling of the trope robs it of credibility. This neatly structured story is a little too moist with compassion.

Jack: Jack just finished Erik Larsen's (The Devil in the White City) new book, Thunderstruck and he loved it. Once again Larsen weaves two true historical events and creates a work of non-fiction that reads like a novel

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. [Signature]Reviewed by James L. SwansonIn this splendid, beautifully written followup to his blockbuster thriller, Devil in the White City, Erik Larson again unites the dual stories of two disparate men, one a genius and the other a killer. The genius is Guglielmo Marconi, inventor of wireless communication. The murderer is the notorious Englishman Dr. H.H. Crippen. Scientists had dreamed for centuries of capturing the power of lightning and sending electrical currents through the ether. Yes, the great cable strung across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean could send messages thousands of miles, but the holy grail was a device that could send wireless messages anywhere in the world. Late in the 19th century, Europe's most brilliant theoretical scientists raced to unlock the secret of wireless communication.Guglielmo Marconi, impatient, brash, relentless and in his early 20s, achieved the astonishing breakthrough in September 1895. His English detractors were incredulous. He was a foreigner and, even worse, an Italian! Marconi himself admitted that he was not a great scientist or theorist. Instead, he exemplified the Edisonian model of tedious, endless trial and error.Despite Marconi's achievements, it took a sensational murder to bring unprecedented worldwide attention to his invention. Dr. Hawley Harvey Crippen, a proper, unattractive little man with bulging, bespectacled eyes, possessed an impassioned, love-starved heart. An alchemist and peddler of preposterous patent medicines, he killed his wife, a woman Larson portrays lavishly as a gold-digging, selfish, stage-struck, flirtatious, inattentive, unfaithful clotheshorse. The hapless Crippen endured it all until he found the sympathetic Other Woman and true love. The "North London Cellar Murder" so captured the popular imagination in 1910 that people wrote plays and composed sheet music about it. It wasn't just what Crippen did, but how. How did he obtain the poison crystals, skin her and dispose of all those bones so neatly? The manhunt climaxed with a fantastic sea chase from Europe to Canada, not just by a pursuing vessel but also by invisible waves racing lightning-fast above the ocean. It seemed that all the world knew—except for the doctor and his lover, the prey of dozens of frenetic Marconi wireless transmissions. In addition to writing stylish portraits of all of his main characters, Larson populates his narrative with an irresistible supporting cast. He remains a master of the fact-filled vignette and humorous aside that propel the story forward. Thunderstruck triumphantly resurrects the spirit of another age, when one man's public genius linked the world, while another's private turmoil made him a symbol of the end of "the great hush" and the first victim of a new era when instant communication, now inescapable, conquered the world

Cooking Report:

I made 3 successful meals this week:

Meatballs and Spaghetti from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa -,,FOOD_9936_34023,00.html?rsrc=search

Basil Chicken Hash from Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa -,,FOOD_9936_35293,00.html?rsrc=search

Flat Iron Steak with Red Wine Sauce from Giada De Laurentiis, The Everyday Italian -,,FOOD_9936_28065,00.html?rsrc=search

I've had a request from my friend, Lynn for my biscotti recipe - they're great to make for the holidays and for gifts - they're actually called Chocolate Anise Cookies from Giada DeLaurentiis -,,FOOD_9936_28255,00.html?rsrc=search

A terrific recipe from Barb for make-ahead mashed potatoes that she got from the NPR website:

Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes
(Serves 8 to 10), November 21, 2006 · Be sure to bake the potatoes until they are completely tender; err on the side of over- rather than undercooking. You can use a hand-held mixer instead of a standing mixer, but the potatoes will be lumpier.

5 pounds russet baking potatoes (about 9 medium), scrubbed and poked several times with a fork 3 cups heavy cream, hot
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Salt and ground black pepper

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Microwave the potatoes on high power for 16 minutes, turning them over halfway through the cooking time. Transfer the potatoes to the oven and place them directly on the hot oven rack. Bake until a skewer glides easily through the flesh, about 30 minutes, flipping them over halfway through the baking time (do not undercook).

3. Remove the potatoes from the oven, and cut each potato in half lengthwise. Using an oven mitt or a folded kitchen towel to hold the hot potatoes, scoop out all of the flesh from each potato half into a medium bowl. Break the cooked potato flesh down into small pieces using a fork, potato masher, or rubber spatula.

4. Transfer half of the potatoes to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the potatoes on high speed until smooth, about 30 seconds, gradually adding the rest of the potatoes to incorporate, until completely smooth and no lumps remain, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides and bottom of the
bowl as needed.

5. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in 2 cups of the cream, followed by the butter and 2 teaspoons salt. Gently fold in up to 1/2 cup more of the cream as needed to reach your desired serving consistency. Once the desired serving consistency is reached, gently fold in an additional 1/2 cup cream (the potatoes will be quite loose).

6. To Store: Transfer the mashed potatoes to a large microwave-safe bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for up to 2 days.

7. To Serve: Poke lots of holes in the plastic wrap with the tip of a knife, and microwave at medium-high (75 percent) power until the potatoes are hot, about 14 minutes, stirring gently halfway through the reheating time.

Source: Editors at America's Test Kitchen

From Chris Rich a recipe from Martha Stewart for Sweet Potatoes with Carmelized Apples:

Restaurant Review: Restaurant 4580 at 4580 Broadway, Boulder - this is the trendy restaurant that was opened in "NoBo" by the former manager of the Flagstaff Restaurant. It is a more casual, hip sort of place, featuring small plates. The food was very good - Jack had Limoncello Flamed Jumbo Shrimp with Garlic Chips and Jalapeno Gremolade and Tomato Risotto; we shared a very nice Bibb lettuce salad with Cabrales (Spanish blue cheese), red onion, Marcona almonds and herb vinaigrette; I had Marinated Skirt Steak with Salsa Verde, Balsamic Onions and Frites.
The atmosphere was not great - lots of cold, hard surfaces, noisy, and an unappealing view into the kitchen. The prices were pretty reasonable.

Until next week........