Grillo Center Labyrinth

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

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - March 25, 2007

Hi everyone!

Lots to cover this week! I'm sorry that I missed our Saturday morning walk. I was taking a CPR class which is required for my nanny and doula positions. It was an excellent class and I highly recommend that everyone considers taking CPR. The company that gave the class is called Colorado Heartsmart - it was held in Boulder and the cost is very reasonable. Check them out at www.coheartsmart.com.

It sounds like a bit of rain didn't stop our friends yesterday - after coffee at the Eye Opener Cafe in Niwot, a few people ventured out for a walk in the rain. Even though I wasn't there to note books being read, I do know what some of us have been reading.

Book Report

Cass - just finished reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon - she really loved it and so did my book group when we read it a couple of years ago.


From Publishers Weekly

Christopher Boone, the autistic 15-year-old narrator of this revelatory novel, relaxes by groaning and doing math problems in his head, eats red-but not yellow or brown-foods and screams when he is touched. Strange as he may seem, other people are far more of a conundrum to him, for he lacks the intuitive "theory of mind" by which most of us sense what's going on in other people's heads. When his neighbor's poodle is killed and Christopher is falsely accused of the crime, he decides that he will take a page from Sherlock Holmes (one of his favorite characters) and track down the killer. As the mystery leads him to the secrets of his parents' broken marriage and then into an odyssey to find his place in the world, he must fall back on deductive logic to navigate the emotional complexities of a social world that remains a closed book to him. In the hands of first-time novelist Haddon, Christopher is a fascinating case study and, above all, a sympathetic boy: not closed off, as the stereotype would have it, but too open-overwhelmed by sensations, bereft of the filters through which normal people screen their surroundings. Christopher can only make sense of the chaos of stimuli by imposing arbitrary patterns ("4 yellow cars in a row made it a Black Day, which is a day when I don't speak to anyone and sit on my own reading books and don't eat my lunch and Take No Risks"). His literal-minded observations make for a kind of poetic sensibility and a poignant evocation of character. Though Christopher insists, "This will not be a funny book. I cannot tell jokes because I do not understand them," the novel brims with touching, ironic humor. The result is an eye-opening work in a unique and compelling literary voice

Another recommendation from Cass - Stiff - The Unusual Life of Cadavers by Mary Roach

From Publishers Weekly

"Uproariously funny" doesn't seem a likely description for a book on cadavers. However, Roach, a Salon and Reader's Digest columnist, has done the nearly impossible and written a book as informative and respectful as it is irreverent and witty. From her opening lines ("The way I see it, being dead is not terribly far off from being on a cruise ship. Most of your time is spent lying on your back"), it is clear that she's taking a unique approach to issues surrounding death. Roach delves into the many productive uses to which cadavers have been put, from medical experimentation to applications in transportation safety research (in a chapter archly called "Dead Man Driving") to work by forensic scientists quantifying rates of decay under a wide array of bizarre circumstances. There are also chapters on cannibalism, including an aside on dumplings allegedly filled with human remains from a Chinese crematorium, methods of disposal (burial, cremation, composting) and "beating-heart" cadavers used in organ transplants. Roach has a fabulous eye and a wonderful voice as she describes such macabre situations as a plastic surgery seminar with doctors practicing face-lifts on decapitated human heads and her trip to China in search of the cannibalistic dumpling makers. Even Roach's digressions and footnotes are captivating, helping to make the book impossible to put down.


From Susan - I read Brooke Shields' memoir about her postpartum depression, Down Came The Rain - it is a very moving and disturbing account of her struggles with depression following the birth of her first child.

From Publishers Weekly
In 1980, when she was 15, Shields starred in The Blue Lagoon. In the movie, her character accidentally becomes pregnant, and when her son is born, he intuitively finds his way to her breast as Shields looks on with love and contentment. The irony of this scene isn't lost on the grown-up Shields, who not only did not become pregnant accidentally—numerous IVF cycles and a miscarriage preceded the 2003 birth of her daughter—but suffered a devastating aftermath to that birth. "I was in a bizarre state of mind," Shields describes, "experiencing feelings that ranged from embarrassment to stoicism to melancholy to shock, practically at once. I didn't feel at all joyful." Shields assumed she'd bounce back in a few days, after resting from her difficult labor. Instead, her feelings intensified: "This was sadness of a shockingly different magnitude. It felt as if it would never go away." While Shields denied anything was wrong, the persistence of friends and her husband persuaded her to seek treatment through medication and therapy. This brave memoir doesn't shy away from Shields's most difficult moments, including her suicidal thoughts, clearly showing the despair postpartum depression can wreak. While the writing is sometimes repetitive and clichéd, it does emphasize the depth of Shields's depression. This tale will bring awareness of a problem that so many mothers have been afraid to discuss; look for this book to touch off a flurry of lifestyle pieces.

Podcast recommendation - do check out Diane Rehm on WAMU, the Washington, D.C. NPR station - www.wamu.org - either go directly to the site or go to iTunes and search for Diane Rehm. I used to listen to Diane when we lived in Maryland and am so delighted to be able to listen to her archived shows on the computer or on my ipod. She conducts interviews in a most intelligent and civilized manner.

Food and Dining Report

I wanted to tell you about the restaurants that Jack went to last week in Los Angeles and this week in Toronto. He absolutely loved an Italian restaurant called Pace in the Laurel Canyon section of LA. http://peaceinthecanyon.com/. It was Italian again in Toronto - Verona Ristorante - http://verona.sites.toronto.com/. In case you haven't noticed, we are passionate about Italian food!

Speaking of Italian cooking, I made a fabulous dish this week - Jack had this last year when he was in Las Vegas and the chef was nice enough to send me the recipe.

Veal Milanese from Trattoria di Lupo in The Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas

1 pound veal scallopine, pounded thin (could substitute turkey cutlets)
4 ounces baby arugula, washed and dried
6 ounces (1 large) vine ripened tomatoes, diced
1/2 teaspoon parsley, leaves roughly chopped
1 ounce parmigiano-reggiano shaved
1/4 ounce lemon juice
1.5 ounces creme fraiche
1/2 fennel bulb, shaved
1/2 ounce fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cup bread crumbs, untoasted
2 ounces olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Season the veal with salt and pepper and lightly coat them with creme fraiche.
Then dredge the veal in the breadcrumbs. Pan or ddep fry the veal until golden brown, then season lightly with salt and rest on a paper towel to absorb the residual oil.
Mix the diced tomatoes with 1 ounce of the olive oil, the parsley, a few drops of lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Mix the arugula, fennel, orange juice and remaining ounce of olive oil together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place the veal on a platter or individual plates and divide the marinated tomatoes over the cutlets. Top each with the salad mixture and then garnish with the parmigiano-reggiano. Veal should be warm or room temperature.

Another tasty treat is Giada de Laurentiis' Balsamic Glazed Drumettes - good for a party - http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_35997,00.html?rsrc=search

A yummy dessert from Giada - Individual Orange and Chocolate Cheescakes - http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_36219,00.html - in addition to the orange zest/sugar topping, I shaved some dark chocolate and sprinkled on top.

Some health related tips:

We're anticipating a rough allergy season ahead and Jan recommends using Freeze-Dried Stinging Nettles - they are available in pill form and she gets them at Vitamin Cottage. You can probably find them at most health food stores http://www.umm.edu/altmed/ConsHerbs/StingingNettlech.html

Mary recommends an on-line source for vitamins and supplements - www.ourhealthcoop.com - good quality products at very reasonable prices - check it out!

Have a great week!

Love,
Susan

Monday, March 19, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - March 17, 2007


Hi everyone!

Jack and I are thrilled to announce that Libby and David are engaged to be married! We're very happy for them and excited about planning for their wedding - no date or details yet! Check out the blog for a picture of the happy couple - http://cookinandbookin.blogspot.com

We had a great walk on Saturday morning out at the Teller Farm trail off of Arapahoe. Christie, Barb, Mary, Laila and I were happy to welcome a new walking friend, Nora Barth and her sweet little puppy, Khammi (sp?). Nora recently moved here from Ohio and is living near Laila in Superior. Please note her e-mail address and add this to your group list - nrbarth@yahoo.com.

Some great news from Mary - she has a contract on her house and will close by the end of April. Of course, now she has to find a place to live! Congratulations, Mary!!

We ended up at the Deli Zone in Lafayette (Southeast corner of 95th and Arapahoe) for a great breakfast - wonderful breakfast sandwiches and reasonable prices - http://delizone.net/index2.html

Book Report:

Susan - I am reading a wonderful book called Like Never Before by Ehud Havazelet - it is a collection of inter-related short stories tying together 3 generations of a Jewish family. It really is about the struggle to reconcile long-standing traditions and assimilating to present culture that impacts families of all backgrounds.

Amazon.comThe 10 interrelated stories that make up Ehud Havazelet's Like Never Before revolve around one big, if not invariably happy, family. The author introduces us to the Birnbaum clan--Max and Ruth, and their children, David and Rachel--as well as an assortment of the people they love and hate and date and marry and divorce. Yet the central focus in this sprawl of relationships is that between father and son. Theirs is also the most troubled connection. Max is an immigrant, a true if sometimes desperate believer, while David, even as a youth, is "aggrieved, put upon, a boy who carries anger like a stone in his pocket to caress." Growing up in Queens in the 1960s, the rapidly assimilating David rebels against the heritage Max has transported so carefully from the Old World. Yet David's defiance brings him little joy. "David," Rachel says, "was a boy constantly on the edge, of laughter, of panic, of some unaccountable act of friendship or some meanness that would leave you stunned."
David is unsparingly drawn and quite miraculously lovable. However, all of the central figures are just as deeply realized--and Havazelet's frequently entertaining, frequently agonizing skill at presenting each as an alarming composite of beauty and ugliness gives this intensely realistic work what Annie Dillard once called a "broad and sanctifying vision." Near the end of her life, Ruth Birnbaum muses unhappily that "despite everyone's good intentions ... love hurts more than it heals." Havazelet's gift is to let us feel both how right and how wrong she is. --Daniel Hintzsche

Barb - is reading Barack Obama's latest memoir called The Audacity of Hope for her book group. We've reported on this before but its probably worth mentioning twice. Barb is finding it very moving. I'm anxious to read it now that I've finished the first book.

Nora - shared a favorite mystery novelist, James Lee Burke. It looks like his most recent is Pegasus Descending: A Dave Robicheaux Novel. Nora does recommending starting with the first in the series (actually his sixth novel), The Neon Rain. Nora particularly enjoys the way the Burke creates atmosphere in his writing. His next book, The Tin Roof Blowdown deals with Hurricane Katrina and is due out in July.

From Publishers WeeklyBurke's sixth novel pits New Orleans homicide detective Dave Robichaux against the mob, the contras, the Feds and just about all the other cops. The trouble starts when Robichaux insists on investigating the murder of a young prostitute and discovers that it isn't only the crooks who don't want the truth to come out: the police don't want it revealed, either. The underworld and the authorities combine to cobble up a frame against Robichaux, and suddenly he's on the run. Burke's maverick detective and his gritty, realistic dialogue and convoluted plotting are reminiscent of Elmore Leonardwhose latest novel, Bandits, has a contra angle, too. The matter of subterranean government policy running amok suits the world of suspense fiction well, serving it in the 1980s the way Cold War themes fed the genre in earlier decades. With its fine local color and driving action, this novel is both chilling and first-rate entertainment.

A new addition - Podcast Report - as some of you may know, I received an Ipod for Christmas from my daughters. They now know that they have turned their mom into an Ipod addict! I know that most people use their Ipods to listen to music or books but I have discovered the world of podcasts and I would like to share one of these with you each week. All of these can also be listened to from your computer so you don't have to have an Ipod. The downside for me is that I'm realizing that podcast listening is cutting into my reading time! Here's Wikipedia's definition of podcast:

A podcast is a media file which is distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on portable media players and personal computers.[1] Like 'radio', it can mean both the content and the method of syndication. The latter may also be termed podcasting. The host or author of a podcast is often called a podcaster. The term "podcast" is a portmanteau of the name of Apple's portable music player, the iPod, and broadcast; a pod refers to a container of some sort and the idea of broadcasting to a container or pod correctly describes the process of podcasting.[2] More about the name itself can be found in the History of podcasting article.
Though podcasters' web sites may also offer direct download or streaming of their content, a podcast is distinguished from other digital audio formats by its ability to be downloaded automatically, using software capable of reading feed formats such as RSS or Atom.

This week's podcast recommendation is Satellite Sisters - this is a radio broadcast (I receive it on XM Satellite radio) featuring the 5 Dolan sisters talking about countless topics and hosting great guests - they are so entertaining and make you feel like you're hanging out and chatting with your girlfriends. You can access it directly from their website www.satellitesisters.com (click on podelite) or go to www.Itunes.com to download it to your portable media player.

Food and Dining Report:
One morning last week, Janet and I took our morning walk and ended up at Trattoria Radda (next to Ideal Market) for breakfast - we had been there for dinner a few weeks ago and I complained about the noise level but loved the food. This was a much quieter experience. The menu is very simple and I have two strong recommendations. The brioche and in-house made sausage patties were fantastic!

Two recipes to share this week:

Flatiron Steak with Red Wine Sauce from Giada De Laurentiis - http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_28065,00.html - I actually used tri-tip steaks - very yummy!

Slow cooked Broccoli with Pancetta and Garlic from Fine Cooking's Side Dish Magazine - http://www.taunton.com/finecooking/recipes/broccoli_garlic_pancetta.aspx - This is delicious and is great to serve either warm or at room temperature.

Lemon-Almond Buttermilk Loaf with Balsamic Strawberries - http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/recipe_views/views/101367 - great combination of flavors - if you've never tried strawberries with balsamic vinegar (many ways to do it), you're in for a treat. We've done strawberries, with balsamic vinegar and brown sugar over ice cream. Try reducing simple balsamic vinegar into a thick, sweet syrup and serve it with Parmesan Reggiano or Grana Padana cheese, walnuts and ciabatta bread.

This week's random tips! - Looking for a job, a service, have something to sell or buy? Don't forget about Craigslist - www.craigslist.org and Backpages - www.backpages.com - they're free and I've had good luck finding nanny jobs and baby equipment on them. Another list that Nora told us about is Angieslist - www.angieslist.com - this seems to be strictly for finding service providers and requires membership.

Have a great week!
Love,
Susan

Friday, March 16, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - March 10, 2007


Hi everyone!

Before I begin, I'd like to introduce my newest granddog, Violet. She's just a puppy but is on her way to growing into a very substantial dog! Very cute and much loved!

We had a delightful morning this past Saturday. Christie, Barb, Andrea, Laila and I walked around Wonderland Lake and worked up quite an appetitie, so we treated ourselves to breakfast at Lucky's. They have a terrific menu and it is just a great neighborhood place in North Boulder.

Not much pleasure reading going on this week (other than books that have already been reviewed and books on breastfeeding and doulas) but I would like to report on a couple of children's books that I sent to my nephew this week - they are favorites of Jacob.
Both of these are by Lore Segal:

Morris the Artist - about a little boy shopping for and bringing a gift to a friend's birthday party.

From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 4-Morris can only see what he wants for himself when his mother takes him shopping for a present for a friend, so he selects a set of paints and heads off to Benjamin's party. After the other children give the birthday boy his gifts, Morris finds that he cannot, after all, part with the paints. But the package gets larger and larger as Morris holds it, preventing him from taking part in the festivities. Finally, when the box is about to crush him, and the other children are playing with Benjamin's new toys, Morris opens the gift and begins to paint a large self-portrait. Suddenly all the children want to participate, and they do, creating large and lovely pictures of the toys they have brought, and then painting one another. This simple and realistic tale is made fantastical by Kulikov's bizarrely sophisticated paintings. These otherwise normal children dress like old-fashioned grown-ups; have huge, mature heads; and tiny limbs-they look like puppets. Birds with human heads flit about, paint appears and disappears, and objects grow and shrink in this mad and delightful world of creative play. Youngsters will enjoy the story, take the odd perspectives in stride, and maybe even learn a thing or two about friendship and generosity. Huge fun.

Tell Me A Mitzi - 3 stories about children living in the city

From Publishers Weekly
PW stated that "Segal's antic words and Pincus's color pictures make a hilarious picnic," an opinion shared by other reviewers. A Mitzi is one of the three mad stories about the children in a city family, usually Mitzi. Unbeknownst to her parents, she takes her baby brother one night and orders a cab driver to drive them to her grandparents, whose address she doesn't know. The outcome of this exploit, and the two following, are anything but predictable.

Cooking and Dining Report:

Two winner recipes this week - one is an old family favorite - Camden Yard Crabcakes - and the other is a more recent favorite - BracioleBoth are from the Food Network:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_11929,00.html - Camden Yard Crabcakes - authentic Maryland crabcake recipe

http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_25307,00.html?rsrc=search - Braciole - a stuffed and rolled flank steak

Some far-flung restaurant mentions courtesy of Jack and Libby - Jack's are from his recent trip to Atlanta and Libby's is from NYC.

From Atlanta (in case you're ever in the neighborhood!) - Ray's in the City - http://www.raysrestaurants.com/ritc/index.htm - Jack particularly raved about the Corvina (a fish I'm not familiar with but apparently similar to grouper) with a horseradish crust - I've requested the recipe and will share it if I get it.

Also, The Buckhead Diner - Jack has been there several times and his favorite is the Veal Meatloaf and for dessert, Creme Brulee with Chocolate Chunks. Here's the recipe for the Veal Meatloaf - needless to say the quantities would have to be adjusted - I would halve everything and assume it would serve 6

BUCKHEAD DINER’S VEAL & WILD MUSHROOM MEATLOAF


5# Ground Veal

2# Button Mushroom

1# Shiitake Mushroom

2tbsp Olive Oil

2tbsp Garlic (minced)

2tbsp Shallot ( minced)



EGG MIXTURE



6ea Eggs

¾ c Heavy Cream

1tbsp Dijon Mustard



2tbsp Chives (chopped)

1tsp Thyme (chopped)

¼ c Parsley(chopped)

1oz Worcestershire

½ c Bread Crumbs

4tbsp Course salt

1tbsp Black Pepper

METHOD



1. Sauté mushrooms w/ olive oil, garlic & shallots cook until mushrooms are cooked throughout , then drain & cool.

2. Place ground veal into mixing bowl & mix for 5 minutes

3. Mix eggs, cream and mustard together

4. Add chilled mushrooms & egg mixture until incorporated.

5. Add herbs, bread crumbs salt & pepper, mix thoroughly

6. Take mixture & mold out into a large log shape on a sheet pan

7. Spray non- stick spray over the outside to prevent foil from sticking, mold foil around the loaf & place into a 350-degree pre heated oven for 45minutes

8. Remove the foil & cook for another 15 minutes

9. Pull the loaf out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

10.Cut meatloaf into wedges and serve with celery root mashed potatoes, tomato –arugala salad and gravy





From NYC - Libby and David had a wonderful dinner at Piano Due right in mid-town Manhattan - http://www.scalinifedeli.com/main.html - Libby loved the Tuscan Bean Soup and we're hoping to get that recipe to share with all of you.



Local restaurant recommendations -

Andrea recommended Akiyama in Gunbarrel - here's a review from the Camera - http://www.dailycamera.com/bdc/boulder_at_night/article/0,1713,BDC_11136_4742900,00.html .

Barb and others recommended the Taj in the Basemar Shopping Center at Baseline and Broadway - here's a review from Boulder Weekly - http://www.boulderweekly.com/archive/080901/exactfare.html

Random tip



Low cost printing for business cards - www.vistaprint.com and www.123print.com - both sites offer ridiculously low prices especially if you use one of their extensive selection of stock logos/designs. I just order business cards for my postpartum doula business and paid about $14.00 (including shipping) for 250 cards.



Have a great week - enjoy the weather!



Love,

Susan

Monday, March 05, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - March 5, 2007

Hi everyone!

I was so happy to be back "at the table" on Saturday! Mary, Jan, Christie and I met at Caffe Sole. It was a beautiful morning but somehow we neglected to walk - oh well! Maybe next week....
We did do our monthy schedule:
March 10 - Susan
March 17 - Christie
March 24 - Jan
March 31 - Mary

Book Report:
Susan is reading Barack Obama's first memoir Dreams From My Father - we're reading it for book group. We did review this in the November 12 blog (just go to http://cookinandbookin.blogspot.com) - needless to say, it is so timely and I'm really glad to be learning so much about his background.

My sister-in-law, Lucinda, is reading a wonderful book which I read last year, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. This is a very compelling story and prompted some great discussion in our book group. As you will see in this review, Picoult is a very prolific writer and a terrific storyteller.

From Publishers Weekly
The difficult choices a family must make when a child is diagnosed with a serious disease are explored with pathos and understanding in this 11th novel by Picoult (Second Glance, etc.). The author, who has taken on such controversial subjects as euthanasia (Mercy), teen suicide (The Pact) and sterilization laws (Second Glance), turns her gaze on genetic planning, the prospect of creating babies for health purposes and the ethical and moral fallout that results. Kate Fitzgerald has a rare form of leukemia. Her sister, Anna, was conceived to provide a donor match for procedures that become increasingly invasive. At 13, Anna hires a lawyer so that she can sue her parents for the right to make her own decisions about how her body is used when a kidney transplant is planned. Meanwhile, Jesse, the neglected oldest child of the family, is out setting fires, which his firefighter father, Brian, inevitably puts out. Picoult uses multiple viewpoints to reveal each character's intentions and observations, but she doesn't manage her transitions as gracefully as usual; a series of flashbacks are abrupt. Nor is Sara, the children's mother, as well developed and three-dimensional as previous Picoult protagonists. Her devotion to Kate is understandable, but her complete lack of sympathy for Anna's predicament until the trial does not ring true, nor can we buy that Sara would dust off her law degree and represent herself in such a complicated case. Nevertheless, Picoult ably explores a complex subject with bravado and clarity, and comes up with a heart-wrenching, unexpected plot twist at the book's conclusion.

Rae - read and recommends The Prince of West End Avenue by Alan Isler. She wasn't so sure about it at first but really ended up liking it very much and is now re-reading it. I picked up a copy at The Bookworm and look forward to reading it.

From Library JournalAt first glance, this novel is a deceptively humorous take on life in a Manhattan Jewish retirement community. The narrator, Otto Korner, is writing a journal of the events surrounding a production of Hamlet at the Emma Lazarus Home, a production beset by catastrophe as various cast members jockey for power within the theatrical group. Yet this affectionate look at the foibles of old age becomes a moving meditation on the guilt of survivors and the means by which those who have experienced the unspeakable continue to exist despite the emotional baggage they carry. Korner, who lost his entire family in the Holocaust, spends his days plotting to gain the role of Hamlet and directorship of the drama, but this activity is only an attempt to keep the doors of memory firmly closed. Isler deftly limns the denizens of the home to create a vital world. For general collections.

Cooking and Dining Report:
I have a few recipes to share:

Lemon-Garlic Roast Salmon on New Potatoes from The Splendid Table - http://splendidtable.publicradio.org/ - this is a wonderful public radio program/website and they put out a great weekly newsletter which I heartily recommend. This is a good recipe but I have a confession to make - try as I may, since it is so healthy, I really don't love salmon. But for those of you who do love salmon, this is worth a try.

Lemon-Garlic Roast Salmon on New Potatoes
Copyright 2007 Lynne Rossetto Kasper. All Rights Reserved.

Serves 4 generously and multiplies easily

For this Greek-inspired roast dish, all you'll need on hand is some boiled potatoes. Before putting the salmon in the oven, look at the tips after the recipe to help with timing.

Marinade:

1/2 cup good tasting extra-virgin olive oil
5 large cloves garlic
Juice of 1 large lemon
Salt and fresh ground black pepper taste
The Fish:

4 1-inch thick salmon steaks (wild if possible), or Pacific cod or halibut
2 to 3 medium sized, unpeeled red skin potatoes, boiled to barely tender and cooled
2 generous teaspoons pickled capers, rinsed
Leaves from 2 to 3 branches parsley
4 small handfuls baby salad greens, curly endive, or baby arugula
1. About a half hour before cooking, heat oven to 400 degrees. In a food processor, puree together the olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the salmon steaks and refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Have a shallow baking dish that can hold the salmon steaks with some room to spare. Sprinkle in a little olive oil to coat the bottom. Peel and thin slice the potatoes, then overlap slices to cover the bottom of the dish.

3. Moisten the potatoes with a little of the marinade and sprinkle with half the capers. Top with the steaks and the rest of the marinade and capers. Bake the steaks 8 to 10 minutes, or until the center of a steak is no longer raw looking (make a small cut to see). If the fish was cold when it went into the oven, it could take 4 to 6 minutes longer to cook. Sprinkle with the leaves of parsley, and serve atop a pile of the fresh greens. The pan juices will "dress" the leaves.

Variations:

Chutney Roast Fish: Make the marinade, but reduce the oil to 1/4 cup and add 1/4 to 1/3 cup fruit chutney after everything is pureed. Mixture should be chunky. Finish the recipe as directed, but do not use the capers.

Coconut-Chile Fish Pan Roast: Instead of olive oil, lemon and garlic, marinate and roast the fish in a blend of 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce, a generous tablespoon each minced ginger and garlic, and fresh hot chile to taste. Top the finished dish with fresh lime juice and chopped fresh Thai or sweet basil, or fresh coriander.

LYNNE'S TIPS FOR COOKING FISH

Fish needs some attention and a little fiddling. Once you have the knack, success will come. It's all about timing.


Start with the standard rule of 10 minutes cooking time per inch of thickness of the fish. Because of variables like how cold the fish is when it goes into the oven, how high your oven temperature is, and whether or not your oven is properly calibrated (most are not), I suggest you start testing the fish after 8 minutes to the inch.


Test by pressing the fish gently; properly done fish is almost firm. When you think you are close, make a small slit in the center of one steak and check for doneness. There should be no sign of raw fish — you want flesh that is opaque, but it should not flake. Fish that flakes is overcooked. If you have any doubt, better to slightly undercook and let the fish stand 10 minutes before serving. It will continue cooking and will be perfectly done

Spaghetti with Pinot Grigio and Seafood from Giada De Laurentiis - The Everyday Italian - http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,,FOOD_9936_36092,00.html?rsrc=search - this was really good - very light sauce and perfect with a simple salad.

Vanilla Gelato Bites with Chocolate and Hazelnuts from Giada De Laurentiis - The Everyday Italian - http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_36000,00.html - this was a fun one - a little tricky - they didn't look as good as they might have but they were pretty yummy.

A few restaurant reviews:

Christie and Mary told us about an Italian Restaurant in Lafayette (near Boulder) called Pulcinella Ristorante http://www.pulcinellaristorante.com/. Christie thought it was very good; Mary wasn't thrilled with it. Check it out for yourself - we're always looking for a good Italian restaurant.

I had lunch with Lucinda on Saturday at The Huckleberry in Louisville (near Boulder) http://www.thehuckleberry.com/. It's a lovely restaurant and we both enjoyed our lunches. I actually had the appetizer Quesadilla with Three cheeses, mixed peppers, onions, pico degallo, and sour cream, on a spinach tortilla. Lucinda had the Chicken Apple Salad with Mixed greens,

Have a great week and send me your book suggestions, recipes and restaurant reviews!

Love,
Susan