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, 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........


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