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Monday, March 25, 2013

Have Fun Playing Native American Flute at the Library!

Take advantage of this great opportunity. Have fun playing the Native American Flute at a workshop on Sunday, April 28th from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the South Brunswick Public Library. Anyone over the age of 13 is welcome. No music education background is necessary. For a nominal fee of $15, participants will leave with their own flute and the ability to play with other flute players and drummers at a novice level. There will be free follow-up sessions where you can learn more and have more fun.

The Native American Flute (NAF) is probably the most accessible musical instrument for blind and visually impaired people. It is very easy to learn. The player does not need to be able to read music to make beautiful sounds, alone or with others. Players are not limited to playing Native American music. Jazz, Blues, Hymns, Classical, Middle Eastern, and just about any other kind of music can be played on the Native American Flute. Perhaps the most fun is in improvising a personal tune. Improvisation will be an enjoyable part of the workshop on April 28.

That workshop will be followed by Flute Circles in May, July, September, and October. Each Flute Circle will contain some further instruction, some ensemble playing, and some solo playing for those who wish to do it. The workshop and each of the flute circles will take place in South Brunswick and are each limited to 15 participants. A second beginners' workshop and following flute circles will begin in September in Metuchen.

For questions or to register, call Pat Kay at 732-274-2963. Reserve your seat now; space is limited.

Participants will be eligible for membership in the Whispering Winds Flute Circle, a group that is affiliated with the International Native American Flute Association. The facilitator of that group is Pat Kay who will also lead the workshops in South Brunswick and Metuchen.

These workshops are made possible by the South Brunswick Public Library, the South Brunswick Community Development Corporation, and the partners of the Aging in Place Partnership. This Program or service is funded in part by:

Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission with assistance thru a grant provided by New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Dept of State.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Help for Job Seekers

South Brunswick Library has many ways to help anyone looking for a job. 

Many of these are online services you can use from home or in the library from our website. Just click on the Research link . You will find all of our online services in alphabetical order.

Remember, new users need to create their own username and password for each service. Once you have an account always login first.

First try Learning Express . Use their 'Popular Software Tutorials' to improve your computer skills.

Also use Learning Express' Job & Career Accelerator. Here you can search for a job or internship, create a resume or prepare for a job interview.

Next, try using  Brainfuse. Click on the Adult Learner button at the top of the Brainfuse homepage.  You will find training material for resumes, careers, Microsoft Office Software, GED and Citizenship. Resumes can be uploaded and edited by Brainfuse.

Another important resource for job seekers is  Universal Class. Here you will find the class 'Resumes 101'. You can submit any questions you have about the class material to your assigned instructor.

The last database resource is Reference USA. Use this to search for businesses to send your resume to. You can search by keyword, location and business size. Listings include current job openings.

Return to and click on Webguides. Use the Employment Webguide to connect to NJ Workforce for local Employment Services, scan local classifieds and more.

Return to and click on Event Calendar. Select monthly view to find date for next 'Effective Resume Writing' class at the library.

The library also has free public computers, WiFi and scanning and printing and copying for 10 cents a page and faxing for $1.25 for the first page and $1 for every other one.

If you need help with any of this please contact us at 732-329-4000 X 7286 or . 

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Smitten Kitchen Has My Number

The Smitten Kitchen Has My Number

When I leafed through The Smitten Kitchen cookbook at the Library, I knew that I had to start cooking from it - immediately.

Written by Deb Perelman, a home cook and blogger, The Smitten Kitchen presents each recipe with an alluring photograph and a chatty introduction.  The recipes ranged from renditions of the familiar and comforting to explorations of the sophisticated and unusual - .

Not only was Deb Perelman cooking all this great stuff, but she had a toddler at home too?  I thought, why aren’t I making these recipes?  It seemed like all the fun foods I had toyed with making, she not only had made, but perfected. 

Man, I was behind!  I had to get cooking.  So I did.  And once I tried one recipe, I couldn’t stop – I was obsessed with this cookbook.
Take out the center green part of the garlic clove to prevent bitterness in the final dish.
Beautiful Swiss chard.

The first thing I made from what I had on hand was individual Pancetta, White Bean and Swiss Chard Pot Pies.  Since I was bringing this over to a friend’s, and wouldn't have use of an oven, I only made the “stew” inside.  Quite delicious, a good start, Deb, but the pastry crust was really the showstopper here, and I’d seen individual pot pies like this before.  What else ya got?
(Sorry - did not have fresh parsley, should I photoshop it in...?)

The next day I queued up a promising recipe for Linguine with Cauliflower Pesto.  Although basil pesto is old hat, and it seems like cauliflower is ubiquitous, showing up roasted in recipes and restaurants, this recipe was unusual – the cauliflower is uncooked, whirled up in a food processor together with sundried tomatoes, capers, garlic and Parmesan cheese.  Served over imported Italian pasta cooked al dente, it was without question a weeknight winner.  Bright flavors, easy to make, healthful, and quick:  great job, Deb – points for originality, too. 
Roasted butternut squash
This galette was great looking and tasting.

The next days brought forecasts of a snowstorm, so I stocked up on ingredients and made several Smitten recipes.  First up was the Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette.  This recipe had a lot going for it:  healthful roasted veggies, a  fun technique (free form pastry shell!),  easy prep, impressive enough for guests,  and a generous quantity (two large tarts!) for serving and leftovers.

The result –a home run. Perelman really knows her pastry, this dough was easy to work, and was flaky and sturdy enough to stand up to the veggies, and made a beautiful presentation..  Bravo! This recipe, (see below), though not difficult, does require some time in the kitchen.
Mushroom tart:  hearty and delicate at the same time.

That same day, I prebaked the crust for the Wild Mushroom Tart.  The next day I made the filling, adding reconstituted dried porcini mushrooms from the Griggstown Farm Market for a flavor boost (ok, true confession - I didn’t buy enough fresh mushrooms).  The sturdy cornmeal crust was a good foil for the deep flavors of the mushrooms and gruyere– yet another winner.

That night I had a full house coming home from snowboarding, so I up baked up the Mushroom Tart, reheated the second Butternut Squash Tart, and cooked up some of the Mustard Milanese with an Arugula Fennel Salad

The Mustard Milanese was a riff on good old homemade breaded chicken, with mustard, garlic, oregano and lemon zest added to the egg mixture to jazz it up, and topped with a flounce of bitter greens dressed with a mustard vinaigrette.  This dish was a pleasing foil for the richness of the tarts. I would definitely make this again, and you wouldn't even need a recipe - just add those extras to your basic breading routine.
Prepping raspberry rugelach - oddly, looks like pizza!
Finished product - not looking, or tasting, at all like pizza!

For dessert, I served coffee and  Deb’s Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach that I had baked in the afternoon (it was a really snowy day!).  I wanted to love these:  cream cheese pastries filled with all things good - raspberry jam, chocolate chips, walnuts and cinnamon. Just for comparison purposes, I filled half of the dough with the mix from Ina Garten’s Rugelach from the Barefoot Contessa’s Parties cookbook, which is apricot jam, raisins, walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon, and I'm sorry, Deb, but I like Ina's mixture better.  The doughs are nearly identical, (and in fact Perelman credits Garten in her intro), but I do prefer the smaller rugelach as instructed from Deb's recipe.

Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette 
adapted from The Smitten Kitchen

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks (16 Tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup ice water

Whirl together the flour and salt in a food processor.  Add the butter and process until crumbs form.  Mix the liquid ingredients together in a bowl.  With the machine running, add the liquids to the processor until a ball of dough forms.  Cut in half.  Pat into two balls, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest in fridge for 1 hour or up to 2 days.

2 small or 1 large butternut squash ( about 2 1/2 pounds)
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt, divided
freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large sweet onions, Spanish or Vidalia, halved, sliced thinly in half circles
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups (6.5 oz.) fontina cheese, grated 
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped OR 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water for glaze

Preheat oven to 400.  Peel the squash, halve and discard seeds.  Cut into 1/2 dice.  Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Toss the squash cubes with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and some fresh ground pepper.  Roast for 30 minutes.

 Melt the butter in a large heavy frying pan together with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Add the onions,  sprinkle with the sugar and remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and cook over medium low heat for 25 minutes, or until soft and tender.  Sprinkle with the cayenne.

Toss the caramelized onions, cheese and thyme over the squash cubes and mix.

On a floured piece of parchment paper, roll out one dough into an 11-inch round.  Top with half the squash mixture.  Fold up 2 inches of the dough and pleat to form a 9 inch circle.  Carefully place on baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash.  Repeat with second dough ball and the rest of the filling.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until beautifully golden brown.  Let stand for 5 minutes, and serve hot, warm or at room temp.

I have to admit, I made a bunch more recipes from the Smitten Kitchen:  like I said, this book really honed in on my cooking style, will report back on more recipes from Deb Perelman next time on this blog!

Diane Whitman
Reference Librarian
Smitten with Cooking and Books

Thursday, March 7, 2013

TabTor Opens Math Lab at SBPL!

The Tabtor Lab, a new on-site iPad based learning tool for students of all ages, kicked off its service this week at the Library.

Tabtor is an award-winning, patent-pending learning platform that allows teachers to “look into” student performance at the Point of Learning, even when they are not able to physically observe each and every student, by using an iPad Lab set up in the Library.

The Library is proud to showcase this innovative technology for the community. The goal is to provide opportunities for every student to excel in their academic pursuits. The Lab allows patrons to use the program free of charge on the premises. The program offers free math worksheets and related video tutorials each week. It also includes reports and analysis for each user on a daily and weekly basis.

Details about signing up for the free program are available at the Information Desk. For more information, call the Desk at 732-329-4000, ext. 7286.
*See photos from the Grand Opening on the Library's Facebook Page.