Sunday, June 12, 2011


I have been doing a lot of cooking lately but today instead of a recipe I want to talk about garlic. Now I have always loved garlic and known it has health properties that match its wonderful taste. I have put garlic in most every savory dish I have prepared for years but until last month I had always just minced and added it to the dish as it cooked. So what this all is leading to is my discovery of the versatility and smooth, slightly more subtle, flavor of roasted garlic.

Roasted garlic works better blended in sauces, it is spreadable on bread, and its subtlety makes it easier to deal with because it’s not too strong to be eaten in larger pieces which can be easily tossed in to accent any meat. Also roasted garlic is already cooked so if you decide a dish is missing something you can toss it in without adding to cook time.

Best of all it’s easy and stays good for at least two weeks. (I bake 3 bulbs at a time, so they haven’t lasted long enough to go bad)


1. Peel off extra skin, you want the bulb to stay together but the extra papery outer layers of skin can lead to burning.

2. Cut off tips of each clove, again to avoid burning.

3. Rub bulbs with just enough olive oil to cover.

4. Wrap individual bulbs in foil.

5. Place on cookie sheet or in muffin tin and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes*.

*You should check the bulbs at 30 minutes. I use an older and slightly unreliable oven so cooking varies. After 30 minutes the bulbs are pretty well roasted but not quite tender enough for spreading on bread, especially the center cloves.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life.

Instead, it turns out to be her last.

Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

(Synopsis from

1. This is a coming of age story with wonderful character growth. There is the twist that all the growth occurs after death.

2. The writing starts off very dry and straightforward. There are very concise, well formed sentences. Very school-like writing; it lacks much style. The writing grows with the character.

3. The character starts off very typical. Sam is popular and fits in very comfortable to her suburban life. She’s aware of it, she likes the predictable nature of her days, hell, she worked hard for them. The character, the world she lives in, and the writing all start off pretty plain. The premise of a last day being relived over and over is what keeps one reading. The author, through Samantha’s internal monologue, even makes reference to the very “Groundhog Day” plot when the repeating begins. But it’s good that one keeps reading, because the story becomes its own. Little Samantha Kingston, who went along with the way things just go, learns a lot of worthy lessons and they are definitely worth going through with her.

4. I recommend this to anyone trying to making it though the world. This book contains some great revelations, and, if you’ve learned the lessons before, some great reminders. It isn’t one of the best books in the world, like is being said in some YA circles right now, but it’s pretty great.