Grillo Center Labyrinth

Grillo Center Labyrinth
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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 - 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 - - 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.


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.


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.


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 -,,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 -,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 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) 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!


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