Archive for June, 2013

Grilling from Your Garden

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Guest Author: Judith Fertig

JudithFertigGardening and grilling are all about having foods you like. You might grow pots of patio tomatoes because you love the taste of fresh-picked. Or you might grow fava beans or edamame  because they’re difficult to find fresh in the pod in your area.  Likewise, you grill foods because that cooking process makes them taste better.

In our new book The Gardener and the Grill (Running Press), Karen Adler and I show you how to take those garden-fresh foods and grill them for maximum flavor and color.

Grilling is a very easy way to cook vegetables and fruits to retain their color and flavor. A simple brush of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt are all you need.

Herbs from your garden can also go into condiments, marinades, sauces, and vinaigrettes that add an easy  “wow factor” to simple grilled foods, such as hamburgers, chicken, steaks, fish fillets, shellfish, pork tenderloin or chops, and lamb.

Fresh-picked fruit from your garden and the heat of the grill can be a Gardener_and_Grill_cover_jpgfabulous combination. Grilling fruit intensifies its flavor and sweetness. The look of grilled fruit is appealing, too, with deep brown grill marks that indicate caramelization plus a rustic appearance.

With more and more people talking about “farm to table,” we think it’s time for “garden to grill to table.” That said, it’s important to keep things simple. Gardening means you’re already spending time doing that, plus harvesting and readying the herbs/veggies/fruit for the grill. We’re going for techniques that are easy for beginners but satisfying enough for the experienced gardener and griller. We’ve also included some gardening tips, especially as they address the area around your outdoor kitchen or grill.

Our Grilled Peaches with Lemon Balm Gremolata shows just how easy it is to go from garden to grill, simply and deliciously.

Grilled Peaches with Lemon Balm Gremolata

Adapted from The Gardener and the Grill by Karen Adler and Judith Fertig (Running Press).

This recipe is very simple, yet full of flavor. A traditional gremolata has parsley, lemon zest, and garlic, but this is a sweeter version delicious with fruit. If you don’t have lemon balm in your garden, substitute mint and add more lemon zest.

Serves 4

Lemon Balm GremolataGrilled_Peaches_Lemon_Balm

1/4 cup packed lemon balm leaves

1 tablespoon packed mint leaves

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Pinch of kosher or sea salt

4 peaches, halved and pitted

Prepare a medium-hot fire in your grill.

On a cutting board, chop the lemon balm, mint, and lemon zest together until very fine. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the leaves and chop again. Set aside in a small bowl.

Place the peach halves cut side down on the grill. Grill for 4 to 6 minutes, turning once, until the peaches are tender and blistered.

To serve, place 2 peach halves in each bowl and sprinkle the Lemon Balm Gremolata over all.

 Author Bio:

Award-winning cookbook author Judith Fertig lives, cooks, bakes, grills and writes in Overland Park, Kan. She is the author of “Heartland: The Cookbook” and “I Love Cinnamon Rolls,” and the co-author of “The Gardener and the Grill” and the IACP award winning “The Back in the Swing Cookbook.”

Check out her website for more information:

R.I.P Richard Matheson (1926-2013)

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Author: Sherry Helms

richard_mathesonLegendary American fantasy, sci-fi author and screenwriter Richard Matheson, much of whose work was adapted for the television and big screen, died on Sunday in Los Angeles, after a long illness at age 87. This very sad news was confirmed by a spokesperson for the Academy of science Fiction.

The celebrated writer is best known for his seminal work I Am Legend, a 1954 horror novel that has been inspired three different film adaptations, including 2007′s American post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller movie of the same name starring Will Smith. Along with I Am Legend, he penned 16 episodes of the original “Twilight Zone” television series for Rod Serling. He was also the screenwriter of Steven Spielberg’s 1971 TV movie debut “Duel“.

Born in Allendale, New Jersey to Norwegian parents, prolific Robert Matheson began his 6-decade-plus career in 1950 with a short story “Born Of Man And Woman,” that was published in The Magazine Of Fantasy And Science Fiction and his first novel Someone is bleeding was published in 1953 by Lion Books. As a youngster, he displayed an interest on a musical career, but his eager craving for fantasy ignited his imagination and blazed his passion. He crafted several stories that skillfully transitioned to both the big and small screens.

Several of his well-known works were adapted into movies, including Hell I Am LegendHouse (1953), I Am Legend(1954), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1956), A Stir of Echoes (1958), The Omega Man (1971), and What Dreams May Come (1978). Internet Movie Database credited him as the writer of at least 80 film and television productions over the course of his career.  

Richard Matheson’s also helped inspire a generation of genre writers. One of them was Stephen King, who dedicated his novel “Cellto Matheson, along with film producer George A. Romero. Moreover, American Gothic fiction writer Anne Rice cited him as the biggest influence on her own work.

During his lifetime, Richard Matheson received various awards. He won a Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation for The Incredible Shrinking Man, which he shared with director Jack Arnold. He received both the World Fantasy (1984) and the Bram Stoker (1991) Awards, both for Life Achievement.

Matheson was scheduled to receive the Academy of Science Fiction, Horror and Fantasy Films’s Visionary Award on Wednesday. The award will be presented posthumously. Moreover, the organization declared that 39th annual ceremony will now be dedicated to him.

Richard Matheson live in our hearts and will forever be remembered for his contributions to the world. 

Click here to see all of Richard Matheson’s books


The Round House by Louise Erdrich: A Bittersweet Coming-Of-Age Story

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The Round HouseThe Round House, National Book Award winner, is a riveting, moving and emotionally compelling story by an unbeatable, generation-spanning chronicler of Native-American life—Louise Erdrich. In this page-turning masterpiece, Erdrich illustrates that how racial abhorrence, old crimes, and a history of social injustice can reverberate for generations. Second book in the planned trilogy, The Round House repeats the same characters from her 2008 novel “The Plague of Doves.”

The author’s 14th novel plunges the reader back to a fictional North Dakota Ojibwe reservation that she has plotted in so many of her earlier works and made as indelibly real as Joyce’s Dublin.  As the novel opens, we are made to experience 13-year old Joe’s perspective about the brutal rape and beating of his mother, and of his suspicion that the police investigation has been less than thorough, and realization of his father’s limited power to rescue his own family.

The horrible and traumatic event took place somewhere in the vicinity of the round house that gives the novel its title. It was built as a sacred place where Ojibwe practiced their religious ceremonies. The Joe, his father and mother are Chippewa Indians, but the suspect is non-native and tribal courts can’t prosecute him, until it’s known where jurisdiction lies. When Joe comes to know that his father, a tribal judge, can’t do anything in this case and is helpless before absurd laws, he determines to track down his mother’s attacker with the help of his trusted friends Cappy, Zack, and Angus.

What is so compelling about the novel is the sexual assault against Native women, its investigation and its consequences that how a premature Joe is jarringly ushered into an adult world for which he is ill prepared. Louise Erdrich has created an intense portrayal of real-world injustice and turned this bedrock truth into a powerful human story in this novel. Erdrich clarifies in her afterword that the complexities of heritage and law have long made it difficult to take legal action against whites for crimes committed on or around reservation land.

Erdrich writes so thoughtfully and brilliantly about the vibrant community and gives out the details of the life of an Ojibwe reservation that is unfamiliar to most of us. Moreover, her novel is not only wrenching and tragic but also embraces a touch of comedy, while she instills the teen crushes with a sense of potential and optimism. The most noteworthy and pleasing aspect of Erdrich’s writing is that while her stories sometimes grows slack or rambling, the language is always tight, witty and lyrical.

This novel shines for many reasons, mainly because of deep and vivid descriptions of American Indian life. All the characters in the novel are realistically drawn and author brings the characters and tales together with refinement and certainty. Moreover, the aftermath of rape is explained in unflinching and lively prose without any manipulation.

So, all in all, The Round House is a gripping tale of justice and revenge with an earnest message that touches on the hearts and souls of us all.

To grab a copy click here


The New Grief: The Transformation of Death and Dying

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Guest Author: Dr. Joseph Nowinski

My maternal grandfather died suddenly when I was in high school. He was in his late fifties and died, I only later learned, from emphysema—a condition had its origins in his youthful work in Pennsylvania coal mines. My grandmother, in contrast, lived to the age of 100, but suffered a long, slow decline. She was, it turns out, a harbinger of what modern medical technology is able to do, which is to stave off death for longer and longer periods of time.

A colleague, Dr. Barbara Okun, lost her husband to cancer after a prolonged struggle. His story, too, was emblematic of modern medicine. It’s a story we’ve all come to know well, either from personal experience or by reading about the struggles of well-known people like Steve Jobs and Elizabeth Edwards.

A mutual acquaintance of Barbara and myself—an editor at Harvard who herself is a cancer survivor—came up with the idea of getting us together to see if we might be able to write something about this “New Grief” that is the result of medical advances. It is, in a sense, the dark side of these advances, which is a long and protracted crisis that ensnares not only the person who receives a terminal diagnosis, but his or her entire family.

What Barbara and I discovered, through informal conversations with other colleagues and friends, was that virtually everyone we knew could personally relate to this process that is the new grief. It is remarkably different from the grief a person typically experiences when a loved one dies suddenly, as was once much more common than it is today. We also learned that this new grief was akin to what several people described as an “emotional roller-coaster” that had the potential to wear down even the most devoted caretaker, the most loving spouse or child. The challenge we faced, however, was to see if there was any way to make sense of this process, or, to put it differently, to see if there was any way we could construct a sort of “road map” that others could use when they find themselves in this situation—as they surely will.

The method that Barbara and I chose was to seek permission from several major cancer and medical treatment centers to recruit and confidentially interview both patients and family members, either as they struggled with terminal illness, or afterward as they looked back on the experience. What we found, somewhat to our surprise, that there was in fact a great deal of commonality across the stories we heard. Though each story was of course unique, we were nevertheless able to discern clear patterns, and even “stages” in the new grief, the first of which we simply named crisis, because a terminal diagnosis immediately throws both the patient and the family into a crisis.

The book that emerged from our work, Saying Goodbye: A Guide to Coping with A Loved One’s Terminal Illness, presents the collected wisdom we were able to distill from those who generously shared their experiences. Our hope was that it will in turn be a source of information, comfort, and sound advice to others as they enter into the new grief.

 Author Bio:

Joseph Nowinski, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist. He has held positions as Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Francisco,  Associate Adjunct Professor of Psychology at the University of Connecticut, and Supervising Psychologist, University of Connecticut Health Center. Dr. Nowinski currently has a private practice and does consulting.

Dr. Nowinski is the author of numerous books, both for professionals and the general readership, as well as articles and book chapters. He is the principal author of Twelve Step Facilitation Therapy which is listed in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.

Dr. Nowinski’s most recent books include Saying Goodbye: A Guide to Coping with a Loved One’s terminal Illness, and Almost Alcoholic: Is Your (Or Your Loved One’s) Drinking a Problem? For additional information visit

Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven: The Perfect Blend Of Romance And Suspense

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Author : Sherry Helms

First published in September 2010 and translated into a feature film in 2013, Safe Haven is an epic love story by New York Times Bestselling author Nicholas Sparks. Known for his sappy romance novels, Nicholas Sparks’ Safe Haven has everything-drama, romance, mystery, suspense, pain, and tragedy that simply made this novel a joyful read.

Nicholas has written 17 novels; seven of them have been adapted into movies, which have brought in more than $650 million. Therefore, it is not difficult to understand why Hollywood loves doing business with him. Safe Haven is his eighth novel that is recently made into a movie. He wrote this huge 365-page novel in a short frame of over 6 months and needless to say, he has done it brilliantly.

This is a wonderful love story, introducing us to a mysterious 27-year-old woman Katie Fieldman with a dark past, who has just rocked up to a small North Carolina town of Southport where she can just live life on her own terms, secure from all fears. Meek and gorgeous, Katie catches the eye of a widower named Alex- retired army officer and the owner of the biggest store in the Southport- and his two lovely kids. She also becomes friend with her outspoken neighbor, friend and supporter, Jo.

From the very starting of the story, it seems clear that Katie is skittish and hiding something and this dark secret preventing her from getting happy in the close-knit community. Despite her fears, she gradually realizes that the love is the only right safe haven in the darkest hours and therefore she starts to let down her guards and with time becomes more and more emotionally involved to Alex and his family. But even as Katie begins to fall in love, her dark secret still creeping up slowly and steadily to create havoc in their lives.

Although the beginning of the novel keeps steady pace yet towards the end of the book, everything starts to go by faster and faster. However, the author’s portrayal of the sudden mood swings and suspicious behavior of the main character- Katie- is terrific. Even all of the characters in Safe Haven are presented so well that by the end of the novel, the reader feels as though they have known them.

Slightly different from his earlier novels, which embrace the usual overdose of romance, Safe Haven is an interesting and skillfully plotted novel that eschews all of the normal love story formulas. Sparks expertly dealt with the two psychological maladies of domestic abuse and death very well that inspire both compassion and antipathy. The ending of the novel is quite tense yet exciting that makes you feel a part of the storyline.

Overall, Safe Haven is a fantastic novel that is well written, well organized and has a power to satisfy and hook the reader until the end.


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