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, November 25, 2007

Saturday Morning Walkers - November 18, 2007

Hi all,

Mary took Jan, Christie, Andrea, Laila and me on an "oldie but goodie" walk heading east off of Marshall Road; then we headed over to Caffe Sole. Nice way to start the weekend!
Some of us are headed out of town for Thanksgiving and some of us are hosting the big event - check below for some of our recipes and tips to make preparation easier.

Book Report:

I finished Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and would certainly recommend it - it is a poignant story that is sometimes emotionally tough to read. I was completely engaged with the characters and circus life in the early part of the 20th century. It is also a revealing look at aging in our culture. (see last week's blog for a professional review)

I'm still plodding through Jane Hamilton's When Madeline Was Young - jury's still out on that one. (see last week's blog for a professional review)

Jexy and her book group recently read Atonement by Ian McEwan.

From Publishers Weekly
This haunting novel, which just failed to win the Booker this year, is at once McEwan at his most closely observed and psychologically penetrating, and his most sweeping and expansive. It is in effect two, or even three, books in one, all masterfully crafted. The first part ushers us into a domestic crisis that becomes a crime story centered around an event that changes the lives of half a dozen people in an upper-middle-class country home on a hot English summer's day in 1935. Young Briony Tallis, a hyperimaginative 13-year-old who sees her older sister, Cecilia, mysteriously involved with their neighbor Robbie Turner, a fellow Cambridge student subsidized by the Tallis family, points a finger at Robbie when her young cousin is assaulted in the grounds that night; on her testimony alone, Robbie is jailed. The second part of the book moves forward five years to focus on Robbie, now freed and part of the British Army that was cornered and eventually evacuated by a fleet of small boats at Dunkirk during the early days of WWII. This is an astonishingly imagined fresco that bares the full anguish of what Britain in later years came to see as a kind of victory. In the third part, Briony becomes a nurse amid wonderfully observed scenes of London as the nation mobilizes. No, she doesn't have Robbie as a patient, but she begins to come to terms with what she has done and offers to make amends to him and Cecilia, now together as lovers. In an ironic epilogue that is yet another coup de the tre, McEwan offers Briony as an elderly novelist today, revisiting her past in fact and fancy and contributing a moving windup to the sustained flight of a deeply novelistic imagination. With each book McEwan ranges wider, and his powers have never been more fully in evidence than here. Author tour. (Mar. 19)Forecast: McEwan's work has been building a strong literary readership, and the brilliantly evoked prewar and wartime scenes here should extend that; expect strong results from handselling to the faithful. The cover photo of a stately English home nicely establishes the novel's atmosphere.

Website of the Week: Reading Glasses: The Wine Club for Book Clubs - now this is something I could get excited about! "Women & Wine knows that part of the fun of getting together with your book group is connecting with friends and sharing a glass of wine. That's why Women & Wine created Reading Glasses Wine Club for Book Clubs. For only $12-15 per person (including tax and shipping), you'll receive wine that is paired to suit the setting or theme of the book that your group is discussing. We'll also enclose tasting notes and suggestions of what food or cheese to serve to make the experience complete."

Podcast of the Week: WGBH's Morning Stories

Vocabulary Word of the Week: Akimbo - this word appeared in Water for Elephants and it really appealed to me!
Akimbo is a human body position in which the hands are on the hips and the elbows are bowed outward, or bent/bowed in a more general sense [citation needed] (e.g. "the sailor sat with his legs akimbo").
A person with arms akimbo

Cooking and Dining Report:

For those of you who like mussels, here's a great recipe - Jack and I had this the other night: Spaghetti with Mussels, Tomatoes and Oregano

Here are two yummy vegetarian recipes from Terri:

Peruvian Quinoa Stew
½ cup quinoa
1 cup summer squash (I used zucchini)
2 cup onion (I used 1 cup chopped)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
1 bell pepper (I used red)
28 oz tomato (chopped tomatoes)
1 cup vegetable broth
2 clove garlic
½ tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp oregano

Cook quinoa in one cup water, set aside.
Chop all veggies.
Sauté onion and garlic for five mins, add carrot and celery, cook for another five mins. Add remaining ingredients and cook covered for 15-20 mins until veggies are tender.
Stir in quinoa and serve.
Can be topped off with cheese (cheddar or jack) and fresh cilantro.
4 HUGE servings.

Roquefort Pear Salad
1 head leaf lettuce torn into bite size pieces
3 pears -- peeled, cored and chopped
5 oz Roquefort cheese, crumbled (I used feta)
1 avocado -- peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup pecans

1/3 cup olive oil
3 TBSP red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp white sugar
1/1/2 tsp prepared mustard
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh ground pepper to taste

In a skillet over medium heat, stir 1/4 cup of sugar together with the pecans. Continue stirring gently until sugar has melted and caramelized the pecans. Carefully transfer nuts onto waxed paper. Allow to cool and break into pieces.

For the dressing, blend oil, vinegar, 1 1/2 tsp sugar, mustard, chopped garlic, salt and pepper.

In a large serving bowl, layer lettuce, pears, cheese, avocado, and green onions. Pour dressing over salad, sprinkle with pecans and serve.
Are you responsible for an appetizer or side dish on "Turkey Day"? Here are a few suggestions:

Mary's Artichoke Dip
Blend 8 ounces of cream cheese with 1 cup sour cream. Add 1/3 cup finely chopped onion, 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 can quartered artichoke hearts, chopped fine. Mix thoroughly. Add 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce. Bake @ 350 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes until top starts to brown.

Mary's recipe for steamed carrots:
Combine a bag of mini-carrots, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup white wine. Steam over low heat for about 45 minutes in a tightly sealed pan.

Susan's Herbed Summer Squash (you could use yellow squash or zucchini) and Potato Torte With Parmesan from Bon Appetit - - this is great to make ahead and then just zap in the microwave at the last minute.

Susan's Sauteed Mushrooms with Oregano from Romeo Salta - a great old restaurant in NY - this recipe serves 4 but it is easily doubled. The mushrooms do cook down quite a bit so always make more than you think you need - they won't go to waste. This is a must have at all of our holiday dinners.

1 1/2 pounds mushrooms (not too large), leave whole
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1. Wash and dry the mushrooms. Heat the oil in a skillet; mix in the mushrooms, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano.
2. Cook over low heat about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

A few Turkey Day tips:
Use kitchen string or folded cheesecloth to create a sling for your turkey before you put it in the oven - makes lifting it out of the pan so much easier.
Use cheesecloth to create a bag for your stuffing - makes removing it from the cavity so much easier.
Consider a brine to turn out a really moist, flavorful turkey -
Try a ricer to make your mashed potatoes -
If you need a place to go for a great meal and good company on Thanksgiving, go to Mary's house!

We're off to Louisville, Kentucky to join Libby and David, Cora and David and their family for Thanksgiving and then a wedding celebration with friends and family in Louisville. We'll be back next Saturday and I'm sure I'll have lots to tell you about the trip.

Wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday - I am so grateful to have all of you in my life.



No comments: