The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

OscarWaoThe Epilogue Book Club had a great meeting yesterday to discuss “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz.

Most members agreed that the numerous footnotes and the prolific use of Spanish words and terms throughout the book made reading the book very challenging. Most agreed that having a glossary of Spanish words and terms used in the book would have helped. All-in-all, the book club thought the book was worthwhile reading.

I, personally, found the book to be quite thought provoking. I finished the book with tears in my eyes and the characters in the book stayed with me for several days afterwards.

We meet again at 2:00 pm on Sunday, May 31 to discuss “Gilead” by Marilynne Robinson.  The location for the next meeting is still to be determined.

If you’d like to learn more about the Epilogue Book Club or join us to discuss the next book, please call me at 678.321.6526 or send me an email.

The Epilogue Book Club is reading Pulitzer Prize winning novels.  To view our current reading list, see Epilogue Book Club: Current Reading List.

Slavery by Another Name by Douglas A. Blackmon

image I had not heard of this book until I listened to a podcast (OnPoint with Tom Ashbrook) interview between Tom Ashbrook and the author, Douglas Blackmon. This book just won the Pulitzer Prize in non fiction (2009).

The interview was fascinating and I find the subject matter very interesting. This is an important book that I will make a point to read.

See Slavery by Another Name for more information.

The Golden Compass

Golden CompassI decided to read The Golden Compass after seeing a sign at a local car repair shop that warned parents about letting their kids read this book….How ridiculous!

The Golden Compass is a great read, full of imagination, interesting characters and with a compelling plot. I especially appreciate that the heroine of the story is a little girl (versus a little boy – boys always seem to have all the fun in these kinds of stories). I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, the other books in this collection.

Green Beans Amadine

2 tablespoons butter
1 ounce sliced almonds
2 garlic cloves minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash Ground pepper (fresh)
3 cups green beans trimmed and halved, cooked until tender

Instructions

Heat butter over medium heat in Wok until bubbly and hot; add almonds, garlic, parsley, salt and ground pepper.
Sauté until almonds are golden (2-3 minutes).
Add green beans and cook, stirring occasionally until heated through (2-3 minutes). 

Turkey Giblet Gravy

1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, minced
1 carrot, diced
giblets removed from turkey cavity
4 cups water
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
Salt & pepper to taste  

Instructions

While turkey roasts, melt butter in saucepan over medium heat; add onion and carrot and sauté for 10 minutes. Add giblets and water. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour or until meat is easily removed from neck. Strain and reserve broth.

Remove meat from neck, mince it and the giblets. Return meat & giblets to broth and set aside.

When turkey is done, remove from roasting pan leaving juice in pan. Place roasting pan directly on low to medium heat, holding it firmly, use wooden spoon to scrape and mix all pan juices as they begin to boil. Sprinkle flour into juices and continue to stir until flour and juices are combined and no particles stick to the bottom.

Slowly add broth with giblets and stir until mixed. Let boil for 2 minutes. Add salt & pepper to taste. Warm as needed.

Orange-Glazed Carrots

Fresh ginger
1 pound fresh baby carrots
1/3 cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons Dijon style mustard

Instructions

  1. Peel small pieces of fresh ginger with vegetable peeler or sharp knife. Grate enough ginger with ginger grater or finest side of box-shaped grater to measure 1/2 tsp. Set aside.
  2. Cook carrots (heat 1 inch lightly salted water in 2-quart saucepan over high heat to a boil. Immediately add carrots. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 10 – 12 minutes for fresh carrots or until crisp tender.
  3. Drain well, return carrots to pan.
  4. Stir in marmalade, butter, mustard and ginger. Simmer, uncovered, over medium heat 3 minutes until carrots are glazed, stirring occasionally.
  5. At this point, carrots may be transferred to a microwavable casserole dish with lid. Cover & refrigerate up to 8 hours before serving. To reheat, microwave at HIGH 4 – 5 minutes or until hot.

Cornbread Dressing

4 tablespoons butter
2 large onions chopped
1 rib celery chopped to make 1/2 cup
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3 cups corn bread crumbs *
3 cups biscuit crumbs *
4 eggs, beaten
3 cups chicken stock 2-1/2 to 3 cups of stock is appropriate
1 tablespoon sage (fresh) or 1 tsp dried
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
Salt & ground pepper to taste  

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a heavy saucepan. Add onions and celery and cook until tender. Melt remaining 2 tbsp butter in 9×13 ovenproof baking dish in oven.

Remove onions and celery to a large bowl and mix in remaining ingredients. Turn into baking dish and bake until browned, about 30 minutes.

* Instead of baking from scratch, use cornbread mixes & refrigerated biscuits.

Apple Cranberry Bake

6 Granny Smith, Wine sap, or Golden Delicious apples
1 pound fresh cranberries
2 ounces butter (melted)
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch
12 ounces apricot preserves
1/4 cup walnuts or pecans (chopped)   

Instructions

Peel apples and cut into eighths; place in 8×12 Pyrex baking dish (sprayed with Pam); cover with cranberries.

Topping: Mix sugar & cornstarch; mix together melted butter, vanilla, and preserves. Pour mixture over fruit & sprinkle with nuts.

Bake at 375 for 50-60 minutes. Time will vary depending on tartness of apples.

Douglas County RideShare: Providing Alternative Transportation to Residents

Multimodal Transportation Centerb
Douglas County Transportation Center

Gas prices have fallen over the last couple of days, but if you’ve got a long commute to work or school, your commute costs are probably still more than you’d like to pay.  You might want to check out the alternative transportation options you can get through Douglas County’s RideShare program.

Douglas County’s RideShare program provides VanPools, Express Bus Service to major metropolitan destinations, and Carpool matching services to Douglas County residents.  The RideShare program was formulated in 1986 and its offices are located in the Douglas County Transportation Center that is behind the Courthouse.

Continue reading Douglas County RideShare: Providing Alternative Transportation to Residents