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, February 24, 2008

Saturday Morning Walkers - February 24, 2008

Hi everyone!

I joined Christie, Jan, Barb and Laila for part of their hike on the South Boulder Creek Trail on Saturday morning. I left them part way to head over to my CPR class and they apparently continued on for a great 4 mile hike.

Book Report:

Terri read and enjoyed a book that I had recommended to her - The Mezuzzah in the Madonna's Foot by Trudy Alexy - this is an amazing account of Jews who survived the Nazis and World War II.
Book Description
Acclaimed in the Progressive's "Best Reading of 1993," these thrilling and harrowing firsthand stories of survivors and their rescuers vividly reveal the secret history of the Jews who found asylum from Hitler's Final Solution under Franco's Fascist regime.
Cass told us about a book that she just loved - she read it with her Spanish Book Club and it is due out in the English version in just a few months. The title is La Isla de los Amores Infinitos by Daina Chaviano. Apparently, Amazon is taking advance orders. Unfortunately, the review on Amazon right now is only available in Spanish!

I am on the last few pages of a wonderful new historical novel by Geraldine Brooks - People of the Book. She weaves a fascinating story about the journey throughout history of a precious and sacred Jewish manuscript, the Sarajevo Haggadah. It is both historical fiction and somewhat of a mystery/detective story.
Amazon Significant Seven, January 2008: One of the earliest Jewish religious volumes to be illuminated with images, the Sarajevo Haggadah survived centuries of purges and wars thanks to people of all faiths who risked their lives to safeguard it. Geraldine Brooks, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March, has turned the intriguing but sparely detailed history of this precious volume into an emotionally rich, thrilling fictionalization that retraces its turbulent journey. In the hands of Hanna Heath, an impassioned rare-book expert restoring the manuscript in 1996 Sarajevo, it yields clues to its guardians and whereabouts: an insect wing, a wine stain, salt crystals, and a white hair. While readers experience crucial moments in the book's history through a series of fascinating, fleshed-out short stories, Hanna pursues its secrets scientifically, and finds that some interests will still risk everything in the name of protecting this treasure. A complex love story, thrilling mystery, vivid history lesson, and celebration of the enduring power of ideas, People of the Book will surely be hailed as one of the best of 2008. --Mari Malcolm

I am enjoying a new cookbook that I got recently - Alice Waters, of Chez Panisse fame, has written a wonderful book called The Art of Simple Food. Waters has been promoting and preparing organic, seasonal and local foods for many years. Chez Panisse is her fabulous restaurant in Berkeley, California. Jack and I were so lucky to have dined there many years ago. The book is a primer on preparing simple, uncomplicated foods, emphasizing the freshest ingredients. It is a perfect gift for both the newest and most experienced home cook. Check out the recipe below that we had last night!
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. The delicious dishes described in the latest cookbook from Chez Panisse founder Waters, such as a four-ingredient Soda Bread and Cauliflower Salad with Olives and Capers, are simple indeed, though the book's structure is complex, if intuitive. After a useful discussion of ingredients and equipment come chapters on techniques, such as making broth and soup. Each of these includes three or four recipes that rely on the technique described, which can lead to repetition (still preferable to a lack of guidance): a chapter on roasting contains two pages of instructions on roasting a chicken (including a hint to salt it a day in advance for juicy results), followed by a recipe for Roast Chicken that is simply an abbreviated version of those two pages. The final third of the book divides many more recipes traditionally into salads, pasta and so forth. Waters taps an almost endless supply of ideas for appealing and fresh yet low-stress dishes: Zucchini Ragout with Bacon and Tomato, Onion Custard Pie, Chocolate Crackle Cookies with almonds and a little brandy. Whether explaining why salting food properly is key or describing the steps to creating the ideal Grilled Cheese Sandwich, she continues to prove herself one of our best modern-day food writers. (Oct.)

Website of the Week: a great used book site -

Podcast of the Week: The Get it Done Guy - A Quick and Dirty Guide to Work Less and Do More -

Vocabulary Word of the Week - Emeritus
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Emeritus (pronounced /ɨˈmɛrɨtəs/) is an adjective that is used in the title of a retired professor, bishop or other professional. Emerita (/ɨˈmɛrɨtə/) was used for women, but is rarely used today. The term is used when a person of importance in a given profession retires, so that his or her former rank can still be used in his or her title. This is particularly useful when establishing the authority a person might have to comment, lecture or write on a particular subject.

The word is typically used as a postpositional adjective but can also be used as a preposition adjective. It is frequently capitalized when it forms part of a title. The word originated in the mid-18th century from Latin as the past participle of emereri meaning to "earn one's discharge by service". Emereri itself is a compound of the prefix e- (a variant of ex-) meaning "out of or from" and merēre meaning "earn". The word is always associated with the title, not the name, of a person. For example, "Professor Emeritus of Mathematics Alex Robertson".

Emeritus does not imply that the person must be retired from all duties of his or her previous title.

Cooking and Dining Report:

A lot more cooking has been happening around here this week, now that the cook is healthy again!

From Fine Cooking Magazine, we had Seared Flank Steak with Shallot-Mustard Sauce - a great, quick cooking and tasty dish -

Last night we had a great recipe from The Art of Simple Food for Linguine with Clams- her basic recipe is for a white sauce but I tried one of her variations using fennel and tomato sauce - really interesting flavor:

Wash well under cold water, 2 pounds small clams (I used Littleneck)
Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Heat in a heavy-bottomed pan: 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
When hot, add 1 medium fennel bulb, chopped fine. Cook over medium heat until almost soft, about 5 minutes, then add the clams, 5 finely chopped garlic cloves, pinch of dried chile flakes and 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I used marinara sauce). Cover and cook over medium high until the clams open, about 6 or 7 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook 3/4 pound of linguine according to package directions in the boiling salted water.
Once the clams have opened, stir in 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley and 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil.
Drain the noodles well, toss with the clam sauce and more salt, if needed, and serve.

Two other cooking projects today - one is Crisp Roast Chicken prepared according to Cook's Illustrated technique for most crispy chicken. That turned out great - we enjoyed it for dinner tonight.
"For best flavor, use a high-quality chicken, such as one from Bell & Evans. Do not brine the bird; it will prohibit the skin from becoming crisp. The sheet of foil between the roasting pan and V-rack will keep drippings from burning and smoking."


1 whole chicken (3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds), giblets removed and discarded
1 tablespoon kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Place chicken breast-side down on work surface. Following photos above, use tip of sharp knife to make four 1-inch incisions along back of chicken. Using fingers or handle of wooden spoon, carefully separate skin from thighs and breast. Using metal skewer, poke 15 to 20 holes in fat deposits on top of breast halves and thighs. Tuck wing tips underneath chicken.
2. Combine salt, baking powder, and pepper in small bowl. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and sprinkle all over with salt mixture. Rub in mixture with hands, coating entire surface evenly. Set chicken, breast-side up, in V-rack set on rimmed baking sheet and refrigerate, uncovered, for 12 to 24 hours.
3. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees. Using paring knife, poke 20 holes about 1 1/2 inches apart in 16- by 12-inch piece of foil. Place foil loosely in large roasting pan. Flip chicken so breast side faces down, and set V-rack in roasting pan on top of foil. Roast chicken 25 minutes.
4. Remove roasting pan from oven. Using 2 large wads of paper towels, rotate chicken breast-side up. Continue to roast until instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 135 degrees, 15 to 25 minutes.
5. Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees. Continue to roast until skin is golden brown, crisp, and instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast registers 160 degrees and 175 degrees in thickest part of thigh, 10 to 20 minutes.
6. Transfer chicken to cutting board and let rest, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Carve and serve immediately.

The other cooking project is in the oven right now and will be our dinner tomorrow night - it looks and smells promising! From Fine Cooking Magazine, Slow-Cooked Pot Roast with Mustard and Horseradish Gravy. I am not preparing it in a slow cooker but rather in a dutch oven in a very slow oven.
Well, that's all for now - have a terrific week!


No comments: