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The kids have been home and that means I get to cook for more than just the two of us. And, we joined Fresh Fork market share program, so each week we pick up a huge green bag of yummy local produce.

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A few weeks back, while pouring over the Vegetable Revolution article in the July 2013 issue of Bon Appetit,
I met my dream utensil! The Paderno World Cuisine spiralizer! I immediately ordered one from Amazon and as soon as it arrive and was out of the box, there was no vegetable in the house safe from spiraling. The device itself is plastic, easy to operate, dishwasher safe AND it comes with three blades. One makes super thin spiral slices and can turn a cucumber into a cucumber slinky! The other two produce long spaghetti like veggie strands in two thicknesses.
First up – Zucchini!

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Zucchini goes through the device very easily and the resulting strands are long enough to twirl on your fork. I didn’t bother to peel the vegetable first because I like the look of the dark and light green. Once the whole vegetable goes through the device, you are left with a round little plug that can also be cut up and cooked.

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To serve the zucchini pasta, I made a sauce of onions, garlic, canned fire roasted tomatoes, red peppers and basil. Once the sauce veggies had cooked through I stirred in some tomato paste and then put the zucchini strands on top of the cooked veggies and covered the pan with a lid to steam the zucchini for about 3 minutes..

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Then, invert it all in a big pasta bowl and serve with lots of fresh shredded Parmesan.

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What could we spiral next? Apples work great. Nice thin spiral slices for a healthy snack. Cucumber run through the larger strand blade and then chopped a bit made a perfect tzatziki sauce for lamb kabobs.

We have also been experimenting this summer with brining and smoking salmon on the grill. I think we have it down.

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Grilled salmon goes well with thinly spiralized Yukon gold and red skin potatoes and onions from another recent Fresh Fork bag.

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Spiraling for breakfast, anyone? A breakfast skillet made almost entirely from last week’s Fresh Fork bag included potatoes, chorizo, onion, farm fresh brown eggs and havarti cheese.

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I am clearly not the only obsessed consumer. This blog post from July’s Epi-blog at Epicurious Magazine shares my enthusiasm. As my son was preparing to head back home to Charlotte, NC. he mentioned he would miss us – and the spiralizer. Thanks to Amazon’s speedy service, one was waiting for him when he got home!

TransAtlantic by Colum McCann

August 14th, 2013 | Posted by Lackey in My Creating Life - (0 Comments)
I loved Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin and was really looking forward to TransAtlantic, which has the same sort of interconnected story lines – this time about three memorable journeys in three distinctly different time periods.  Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown flew the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic carrying mail in 1919.  Frederick Douglass visited Dublin in 1845 to rally people around the Abolitionist cause.  And George Mitchell traveled to Belfast in 1998 to participate in peace talks in bitter Northern Ireland.  Interlaced with the stories of these men are the women whose secondary roles become primary in the latter portion of the book.  An Irish housemaid from the Douglass section becomes the mother of Emily and grandmother of Lottie who write about and photograph the Alcock and Brown flight and supply a piece of iconic mail that is the focus of the final section of the novel.  The symbolic unopened letter is passed from on generation to the next.  McCann writes, “We seldom know what echo our actions will find, but our stories will most certainly outlast us.” TransAtlantic is a lushly poetic novel and McCann a master of spinning an engaging historical novel.

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How to Read the Air was reviewed as one of several recommended summer “road trip” novels, but I remember becoming interested in Dinaw Mengestu back when he was chosen by the New Yorker in 2010 as one of the 20 Under 40 authors to read. This is no ordinary road trip novel and Mengestu is an extraordinary storyteller. The book traces two trips – one taken by Ethiopian immigrants Yosef and Mariam to Nashville and one taken by their adult son, Josef who is anxious to retrace his parents’s tragic travel so that he might learn what truth it can shed on his own his own trouble marriage. Alternating between chapters set in the past and the present, the reader is gradually given a glimpse of the strife of acclimation – to a new land, a new language, a new job, a new relationship, and even the promise of a new life. Lush with contemplative passages about how to read the signs of life, I found myself wanting to take the journey of this novel slow.

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I love it when my reading prescience is spot on!  Instructions for a Heatwave showed up in the New York Times Book Review as I was reading it.  Gretta Riordan’s husband, Robert, has walked off – gone missing – in the midst of the English drought and heatwave of 1976.  In the opening section of the novel she calls each of her three children home – two from England and one from New York City – to help her deal with the disappearance.  The novel is a character study of sibling rivalry and buried secrets.  I thoroughly enjoyed O’Farrell’s storytelling.  That the novel ends in Ireland with the family sitting down to eat freshly baked soda bread makes it even more appealing to me.  Back when I was teaching AP English, we used to talk about novels with central characters who appeared only briefly or not at all.  Robert Riordan is one such character who appears (spoiler) just when I expected him to – on the last page.