Thursday, September 25, 2008

Team Darryl Granola Bars

Team Darryl is a group made up of friends and family of Darryl Goss. Darryl is an extraordinary person, who I was lucky to meet while we both were riding our bikes in the 2006 "Tri State Trek" fundraiser for the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS-TDI). Darryl has ALS, and has inspired us all by the way he is meeting the realities of this disease.

Team Darryl rode bikes and worked as support crew for the Tri State Trek in 2008. Together Team Darryl will raise over $20,000 in 2008, which goes directly to fund research at the ALS-TDI in Cambridge MA, a non-profit biotech company with the sole mission of finding a cure for ALS. I'm not sure what the total for all riders is, but I think it is more than $400,000! On September 21 2008, some members of Team Darryl met to have some fun riding bikes again, in the 2008 "Hub on Wheels" ride through the city of Boston. I made the Granola Bars using the recipe below.

"Team Darryl" Granola Bars

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup dried apricots or dried mango, finely chopped
1 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup nonfat powder milk
1/2 cup raw wheat germ
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup honey (use buckwheat for stronger malty flavor)
1 cup almond butter (can sub peanut butter or cashew butter)
Canola oil (just enough to lightly coat baking tray)

Preheat oven to 350F

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well with wooden spoon.

Oil baking sheet (10x14" fit well) with canola oil; spread mixture flat and evenly. Salt the slab lightly, or to taste. (Salt was not in original recipe but I think it helps both in taste and for replacing salt lost during activities like biking or running or biking or hiking or biking. Remember our leader Mat Mendel's advice: "Enjoy the pickles!")

Bake 10-15 minutes, until just showing signs of crispness around edges, or to your preferred degree of toast.

Let cool completely, then cut into bars (but leave in pan). I used a pizza wheel and knife.

Place uncovered in fridge or freezer to harden.

Remove bars from pan and wrap individually with waxed paper or foil (wax paper is the greener option).

This recipe was published in the Boston "Weekly Dig" newspaper, and was attributed there to "Kevin Hays, Category 4 bike racer and speedy metabolizer".
If you like the Team Darryl Granola bars, please consider making a donation to help Darryl meet the extraordinary expenses he is facing to cope with ALS. You can give me (Joe) a check for any amount made out to "FBO Darryl" or mail it to FBO Darryl, 14 Connecticut Avenue, 2nd FloorSomerville, MA 02145.
If you want to join Team Darry, and ride or crew for the 2009 Tri State Trek (July 24-26 2009) just let me know, and I'll ask our mascot bear to pay you a visit!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Barbequed Shrimp Recipe

Here is a favorite recipe for BBQ'd shrimp, of a style you might find in New Orleans, where sometimes crawfish might substitute for the shrimp. Traditional presentation would be with sauce coating shrimp with shells intact. I usually do the shelling in the kitchen prior to cooking the shrimp in the recipe. Another alternative would be to prepare the sauce only, and then cook shrimp "on the barbie" outside. Don't be daunted by the long ingredient list. Some can be left out, or have fun improvising. Thickness of sauce can be tweaked by chef too.

1/4 cup butter (half stick, cut into chunks)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon crushed rosemary leaves (a mortar and pestle is helpful)
2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (or 1/4 chopped fresh)
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup dry white wine (Gewurztraminer or Pinot Gris work well but anything tart is fine).

2 pounds large shrimp (can be in shell or peeled, as you prefer).

In a large wide skillet, melt butter and saute garlic on very low heat for two minutes only. You don't want the garlic to brown at all. Stir in bay leaf, rosemary, paprika, black pepper, lemon juice, basil, oregano, salt, brown sugar, cayenne and Worcestershire sauce and cook for 1 minute.

Increase heat to medium, add shrimp and shake to coat with seasonings, about 2-3 minutes. Add wine, heat, being sure to not overcook shrimp. Serving suggestion: in bowls with sauce poured over with crusty french bread on the side.

Monday, March 31, 2008

No More Victims

Arlington singer/songwriter Vance Gilbert showed off his many talents -- invoice and on guitar -- last night at the Arlington Center for the Arts. What a joy it is to hear him sing and play! Check out his work at He was performing at a benefit, attended by 140, to help a group that raises money for Iraqi children maimed in the current war. The group is called No More Victims ( You can see a story about Omar, a boy the group is helping, here:

Omar and his dad were present last night.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Red Midnight

I just finished reading "Red Midnight" by Ben Mikaelsen (2002). My young friend J (17 years old) was reading it for high school. He was quite enthusiastic about this book so I thought I'd give it a read. It is about a young man named Santiago, about J's age who is an "indigeno" in Guatemala in 1981. During this time, government forces committed many atrocities on native people, in the name of preventing the spread of communist regimes in central America. One night soldiers descend upon Santiago's village, killing everyone and burning the village to the ground. Santiago manages to escape, along with his sister Angelina.

They take a sea kayak, called a "cayuco" that an uncle had built, and attempt an escape to America by sea. This requires great courage and perseverance by Santiago. As I read the book, it occurred to me why J might like this book. Santiago is a character that J can relate to. J is at a stage in his life where he is venturing into the unknown, and having to learn new things fast. There is some danger. J is physically strong and resourceful like Santiago, and rises to the challenges as they present, with a confidence that calmly accepts what is required. J also has the qualities of duty to family and tenderness, as did Santiago. Thanks J for a good book recommendation, and best of luck to you as you set sail on your great adventure of life.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lunar Eclipse February 20 2008

Photo by Alin Tolea, Baltimore MD, USA

On Wednesday night, February 20th there was a total lunar eclipse, viewable from ~8PM-midnight in the Eastern US. The moon was full and bright as viewed from Arlington MA, temperatures in the 20s (F), clear and cold. Thin wispy clouds veiled the spectacle for short periods, but for the most part the viewing conditions were superb. As shown in the sequence photos below, the shadow started on the lower left, and proceeded across until only a thin crescent of brightness remained. Although not shown in the photos, an interesting pattern of stars flanked the moon, especially visible near the peak of the eclipse. These stars made a kite-like pattern with the moon. I viewed from my house, but did venture out for periods to see it directly (no intervening window) and feel the night air. I bundled up and sat in an Adirondack chair on the front patio. The colors were truly remarkable, Alin Tolea's photo being quite close to what I experienced in Arlington, Massachusetts. Thanks to Alin, and to Herman Heyn, Baltimore's "Street Corner Astronomer" for sending me the stunning photo. This was the most dramatic celestial event visible to the naked eye that I have seen in a long time.

Photo by Jay Hagenbuch, Arlington, Massachusetts USA (Click to see larger image, this clip doesn't do justice to this gorgeous composite that Jay created).

Photo by Stan Honda, Titusville, Florida USA

Photo by AP, Stedman, North Carolina, USA

Pay a visit to MR ECLIPSE at for more info on eclipses.
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Saturday, February 9, 2008

BSO at Symphony Hall

A delightful Boston Symphony Orchestra program at Symphony Hall on Saturday night (2/9/2008):

FRANK MARTIN (Swiss, 1890-1974): Petite symphonie concertante, for harp, piano, harpsichord, and double string orchestra (1946)

SERGE PROKOFIEV (Russian, 1891-1953): Violin Concerto No. 1 in D, Opus 19 (1923)

CAMILLE SAINT-SA√čNS (French, 1835-1921): Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Opus 78, "Organ Symphony"

Charles Dutoit conductor

Ann Hobson Pilot harp
Randall Hodgkinson piano
Mark Kroll harpsichord

Viviane Hagner violin

James David Christie organ

The Martin piece opening the program was new to me - an exploration of what can be done with strings: plucked by a harpist, struck by a pianist, plucked by a harpsichordist, bowed by a solo violinist (or viola, cello, bass), or pizzacoto. Some familar lush sounds, but also some unusual interplays, rhythmic effects and tone colors. I would have been hard pressed to guess the year this piece was written - clearly modern in tonality, but at the same time more familiar. All created with strings alone - no woodwinds, percussion or horns.

The Prokofiev violin concerto was also unfamiliar to me, although the program notes tell of frequent BSO performances since the BSO gave the US premier in 1925 with soloist Richard Burgin, Serge Koussevitzky conducting. Gypsy-like at times, now the solo violin has its usual support from orchestral strings and woodwinds, brass, percussion and harp. Some passages where the soloist and harpist played together were reminiscent of the previous (Martin) piece.

Photo from Boston Globe (2/92008): Charles Dutoit conducts violinist Viviane Hagner, making her debut with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, in Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 at Symphony Hall last night. (Michael J. Lutch)

The Saint-Saens Symphony - what a great chance to hear the magnificent Aeolian-Skinner organ, in this unusual two-movement symphony. The organ enters stealthily in the first movement, with some tones so low you feel that you can count the vibrations/second on your fingers. You can certainly feel them come through the air and floor of the hall, even in the far corner of the 2nd balcony. The second movement especially brings some familiar themes. This time the organ has a dramatic entrance with a huge chord. Definately not an organ concerto, rather the organ is presented more like another instrument of the orchestra, although with a huge range of pitch and color.

When I lived near Philadelphia, I remember seeing Charles Dutoit conduct summer concerts at the outdoor "Mann Center" which overlooked the Philly skyline. Some nights were very hot, and he labored in the heat. I always felt he had an exceptionally clear beat, and would be a conductor that musicians would like playing under - clear but poetic and exciting.