Halloween Hike

halloween hike October 31, 2014

Matt and I decided on a hike for our mutual day off a couple of weeks ago which happened to land on Halloween. We randomly picked out a trail on the internet and ended up at the Rockland Preserve Trail in Scotland which is a small rural Connecticut town in Windham county. There was a pretty lake abutting the parking area and after careful consideration of the various trails, a decision was made to follow the trail that went around the lake. We gauged the trek would be approximately three and a half miles. No problem, except we are both apparently really bad guagers. According to my pedometer phone app, we hiked over 13,000 steps (a new unplanned record!) so it was more like six miles.

The trails were strewn with mounds of large moss covered stones which made navigating a bit tricky, but it was a lovely day– not too cold or too hot, and we had a mission.

On the way to the preserve, Matt suddenly pulled the car over to the side of a wooded roadway.

“Hang on,” he said and got out of the car.


I turned to see where he was heading but by the time I did so, he was already gone.  Where did he go?  I waited a few minutes and just as I had decided that the Lovers Lane Serial Killer of urban legend had hooked him good and was coming for me next, he emerged from the woods carrying a large white…something.   Triumphantly, he opened the car door and exclaimed,

“Chicken of the woods!”

No, not me.  Chicken of the Woods is a type of edible mushroom that grows at the base of both living and dead trees and Matt had spotted a great heaping mass of them.  They were cool and creamy to the touch and to the eye largely grotesque; but oh, man, chicken of the woods mushrooms are quite delicious and considered a delicacy to some.  So with that big fungus now among us, a scavenger hunt was born.

Armed with just a plastic bag and a jackknife, we set out with eyes peeled for lots more mushroom sightings. When the trail was less rocky, it was covered with crunchy autumn leaves. Our feet moved through the piles like oars in a river.  We soon became adept at spotting the nestled orbs under leaves, growing in clusters on fallen trees and beneath tree bark upon weathered tree stumps. Soon our plastic bag was weighed down with an abundance of woodsy scented mushrooms.  As we had never foraged before, we knew that we had to be 100 percent certain that the mushrooms were edible.  Anything less, and we could end up violently ill or worse…dead.


As luck would have it, we happened upon two fellow hikers donned from head to toe in what I would call the Lands End Mushroom Foragers Collection: sherpa fleece pullovers, cargo pants and wicker hand baskets. They asked if we were out looking for mushrooms and we admitted that it was our first time.  Unlike a fisherman who will never disclose a good fishing spot, these two guys were happy to share their knowledge and passion for all things mushrooms.  First off, we should never use a plastic bag as the mushrooms can quickly begin to sweat and will turn to mush.  As it was not a hot and humid day, our mushrooms were okay.  One look in the bag and some concerned tsk-tsks were emitted by the hiker named Robert.  He spoke with a Hungarian accent and informed us that there was a bad mushroom in our lot.  He went on to impart that porous mushrooms are always edible while their gilled counterparts not always so.  He and his family were avid foragers and had a blog, The 3 Foragers that could provide us with lots more useful information. After some more chat and foraging tips, we thanked them and went our separate ways.


Three hours later, our fruitful forage came to an end. On our way home, we decided to stop in Willimantic for dinner at CafeMantic, a well-reviewed restaurant that we had brunched at previously.  As we neared our destination, we noticed there was a police car diverting traffic.  A portion of Main Street was shut down to allow for a town and small business celebration of Halloween.  We parked on a side street and made our way to the cafe walking amid ghosts, ninja turtles and creepy clowns. It was early and the restaurant nearly empty. We had our pick of tables and chose a window seat to continue watching the odd display of trick or treaters. Our cat-costumed waitress handed us some menus and we started to peruse our choices.  Another serendipitous moment came when lo and behold there was a Chicken of the Woods mushroom special on the menu. We ordered a few different small plates including the Hen of the Woods Mushroom in Chicken Jus with Black Garlic Emulsion.  The mushroom dish was earthy and dense but light and silky on the palate and the chicken jus was absolutely delectable.  It was the perfect conclusion to a day filled with tricks and treats. And a new pastime was formed.

Have any good spots for finding mushrooms in the area? Let me know!


February, Taxes and the Death of Authenticity


Is it interesting to learn of a songwriter’s back story in the creation of a particular song?  Is it disappointing when you do?

I came across a piece of paper in the rattan basket by my bed titled:

“February, Taxes and the Death of Authenticity”

In rereading, I remembered it was something I typed up at a former place of employment having returned from a three-day bereavement period after the unexpected passing of my father. You get three days to grieve and stuff according to state law. So physically, I’d punched the time clock, mentally the clock punched me. I did have the sense to fake it though…a flurry of rat-a-tap-tapping fingernail to keyboard.

“I will just write free of form and see what comes…”

And as I read through, the plot line was confirmed.  Did I really write this? I don’t remember. But it was me. And proof, the last line typed:

“Were I to be a scrapper, a street fighter, even a boy hustler for a day, perhaps I could learn how to speak, punch the words out, strike for want of taste of blood, dirt and sweat.”

The uncarved beginning to the Grimm Generation song, “Kennedy Curse”. There, clear as day. It’s a surprise to me that someone asked about the back story to that song. And I wouldn’t have even thought about it were it not for that inquiry.

I wouldn’t have retained the foggiest notion.

The last line on the white, classroom loose-leafed paper is this:

“I can’t hear. I am off balance. I feel my mortality. I am numb in my arms and hands…”

Interestingly enough, I am not disappointed.

Reap what you Sow

80 degrees and no humidity, a few billowy clouds grace the brilliant blue sky.  It’s a perfect summer day in Hartford, and the destination is the Billings Forge Farmers Market.  The only thing better than taking in a local farmers market to load up on fresh produce and other sundries is getting the chance to entertain the crowd.  That’s what The Grimm Generation had the good fortune to do this week .  For along with area farmers, vendors and artists; local music is a part of the scene here too.  It’s a fine way to while away an afternoon and a prime destination for purchasing what’s in season.  Jason and I left with three grocery bags loaded with eggplant, pears, cantaloupe, coffee (ooh, coffee), onions, potatoes, zucchini, peppers and home made bread kindly donated by the market’s merchants.  When we returned home, I knew exactly what was for dinner.

Ratatouille (It’s not just a movie about rats)Ratatouille

  • 1 eggplant, cut into one inch pieces
  • 2 zucchini, cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup green beans, stems removed
  • 1 1/2 onions, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, cut into one inch pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into one inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • salt & pepper*
  • Parmesan cheese

*Make sure to remember to season each layer of vegetables that you saute.

  1. Let the eggplant and zucchini rest in a colander for 30 minutes to draw out excess moisture, blot dry.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, saute eggplant and zucchini in olive oil until golden, about 12 minutes.  Remove from pan.
  3. In same pan over medium heat, add green beans, onions, peppers and garlic and saute until softened but not brown.
  4. Return eggplant and zucchini to pan.
  5. Add can of tomatoes, bay leaf and thyme
  6. Reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes
  7. Stir in basil and serve with sprinkled Parmesan cheese and crusty bread.

Support Your Local Everything - http://www.thegrimmgeneration.com

The Drinkers Companion Guide to Your F***ed Up Summer – Week 6 Recipes

Slow Language is a beautifully aching love song written and sung by Jason P. Krug.  In his honor, I created the Slow Language Cocktail which includes Sambuca, the alcoholic beverage of choice on the rare occasion Jason does imbibe.  The sweet anise flavored liqueur is a great compliment to the smoky and mellow components of Cafe Patron.  Drink more than one of these and I assure you, your language will become slow.

Slow Language

Slow Language

  • 2 ounces Cafe Patron Tequila
  • 1 ounce Black Sambuca
  1. Fill low ball glass with ice.
  2. Add Cafe Patron and Sambuca and stir.

Your friends will wonder what’s in this delightfully sweet, tart and tangy inebriant.  It’s up to you whether or not you want to keep it to yourself or share.

Keep It (Like A Secret Recipe) Cocktail

Keep It (Like a Secret Recipe)

  • 1 1/2 ounce Dragon Berry Bacardi Rum
  • 1 ounce Fragoli Strawberry Liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce Amaretto Liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce Southern Comfort
  • splash of sour mix
  • splash of cranberry
  1. Add all ingredients to ice-filled cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake and strain into martini glass.

Wonder why it was The Last Record Party?  These were being served.  The cupboards were cleaned out for this cocktail.  It sounds like an odd combination but makes for a really smooth and none too sugary beverage.  The shiny, black color is pure vinyl, baby.  “Shimmy and shake!  Stutter and break!  Leave it all on the dance floor!”

The Last Record Party Cocktail

The Last Record Party Cocktail

  • 1/4 ounce Stoli vodka
  • 1/4 ounce Bacardi rum
  • 1/4 ounce Tangueray gin
  • 1/4 ounce Sauza Tequila
  • 1/4 ounce Triple sec
  • 1/4 ounce Stoli Raspberry vodka
  • 1/4 ounce Southern Comfort bourbon
  • 1/4 ounce Amaretto liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce Blue Curacao
  • 1/4 ounce Southern Comfort Peach liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce Chambord Raspberry Liqueur
  • Splash of brandy
  • Splash of sour mix
  • Splash of cola
  1. Add all ingredients to ice-filled cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake and strain into martini glass

Thanks for tuning in these last few weeks.  I’ve had a lot of fun coming up with all these cocktail creations.  Hope you have enjoyed making one or two.  Now, perhaps it’s time to give up drinking for six weeks.  Hey…isn’t that a song?

Remember Folks: Drink responsibly.  Listen responsibly.


The Drinkers Companion Guide to your F***ed Up Summer – Week 5 Recipes

“Don’t you worry about a thing, Baby.  I fall for everyone.  Everyone.”  So goes the chorus in the most ironic song I’ve ever written.  But if you do want to fall for everyone, tequila should be involved.  I would suggest using Intrigue Suave Rosa Tequila.  The pink hue (extracted from a Mexican bug, eew-ish) gives the impression of a harmless girlie drink.  However, going down, it’s a right smooth tequila.  Add a little Cointreau for a nice citrus kick.  Go easy on these or else you could end up just falling.

I Fall For Everyone ShooterI Fall For Everyone Shooter

  • 1 ounce Intrigue Suave Rosa Tequila
  • 1/4 ounce Cointreau
  1. Add ingredients to a shaker filled with ice, shake well.
  2. Strain into a shot glass.

Sweet coconut, tart apple and fruit juices are the elements for the next drink.  It’s fruity, yummy and goes down easy like any good Toy Girl should.

Toy Girl High BallToy Girl High Ball

  • 2 ounces Malibu Black Coconut Rum
  • 1/2 ounce Apple Pucker
  • 1/2 ounce cranberry juice
  • 1/4 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1/4 ounce sweetened lime juice
  1. Add all ingredients to an ice filled highball glass.
  2.  Stir.

This next shot was concocted by Special Guest Bartender and former owner of the much beloved Mayor Mike’s in Hartford, Christopher Peters.  When asked what he would drink if it were his last day on earth, this is what he came up with.  Bite into a red grape after downing a strong shot- for a nice sweet finish.  Not a bad way to go out.

End of the World Shooter

End of the World Shooter by Chris Peters

  • 1 ounce Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce Bailey’s Irish Creme
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 red grape
  1. Add whiskey and Irish Creme to shot glass
  2. Sprinkle with red pepper
  3. Throw in grape and shoot, careful to not swallow the grape.
  4. Bite into grape.

    Drink Responsibly. Listen Responsibly. http://www.thegrimmgeneration.com

The Drinkers Companion Guide to Your F***ed Up Summer – Week 4 Recipes

Week four is here and it’s time to talk about love.  And in my roundabout way, I shall get there.  But first, a little bit about me.  I’m really not a fan of any inquiry that starts off with, “what is your favorite blah, blah, blah.”  Questions such as, ‘What is your favorite song?’, ‘Who is your favorite actor?’ or ‘What is your favorite color?’  send me running in the opposite direction.  I don’t want to be held to any one answer.  There are so many choices out there, I don’t want to limit myself with just one.   If, however, I am forced to commit  myself to any one favorite thing, it is the pairing of chocolate and fruit.  And I’m not talking about a cake or confection, but the simple marriage of fruit dipped in melted chocolate.  That is a true love affair for me.   I will choose it any time it is offered.  Just don’t ask me what my favorite fruit is.

When I came across Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate flavored vodka, I knew exactly what to do.  This is The Definition of Love:

The Definition of LoveChocolate and Fruit is The Definition of Love

  • 1 1/2 ounce Absolut Mandarin
  • 1 ounce Van Gogh Dutch Chocolate
  • Seltzer Water
  • Orange slice
  1. Fill tall glass with ice.
  2. Pour in vodka and top off with seltzer.
  3. Garnish with orange slice.

SHUT YOUR EYES!  COVER YOUR EARS!  DON’T SAY ANOTHER WORD!  It’s the RELATIONSHIP that should have never happened!!  That did.  And surprisingly, left you a better person than ever you thought you could be.  Here’s to Science Fiction allegiances and all they can bring.

Hovering Shooter

  • 1 ounce Absolut Vanilla
  • 1/2 ounce Midori Liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce Coole Swan Irish Cream Liqueur
  1. Pour Absolut into a shot glass.
  2. Over a spoon, pour in Midori followed by Coole Swan.
  3. Look into the light.

Urban Dictionary defines Hipsters as “a subculture of men and women typically in their 20’s and 30’s that value independent thinking, counter-culture, progressive politics, an appreciation of art and indie-rock, creativity, intelligence, and witty banter.”  I’ve seen them.  They sometimes congregate in the diviest of bars, the young fellas sporting bushy beards and plaid shirts, the gals highlighting apathetic eyes beneath super deck eye frames.  Pabst Blue Ribbon keeps the snarky comments flowing.  But what happens to Hipsters when they are no longer in the aforementioned age group?  What do Hipsters go on to become?  Foodies, of course!  And while the Hipstervores may be dining out and in on local and sustainable,  they may still wash down their organic posh dinners with a PBR every now and again.  No one is exempt from nostalgia.

Hipster + 10Hipster + 10

  1. Prepare a meal using fresh, organic ingredients (shown here: Pan seared Chilean Sea Bass with a brown butter sauce, watermelon salsa and a potato and cheddar gallete)
  2. Serve with Pabst Blue Ribbon.
  3. Reminisce.

Drink Responsibly. Listen Responsibly. http://www.thegrimmgeneration.com

The Drinker’s Companion Guide To Your F***ed up Summer – Week 3 Recipes

“They say that a man has needs, but a woman has them too.”  I say, “Give that girl a drink!”  How about something with blood oranges from Provence and mango and passion fruit from Brazil? Mmm, yeah, that sounds right.  X-Rated Fusion Liquor promises hints of all these flavors. Now make it a martini!  Cuz the girl has really got it bad…

X-Rated Pull The Trigger Martini

X-Rated Pull The Trigger Martini

  • 1 ounce Grey Goose Vodka
  • 3/4 ounce X-Rated Fusion Liqueur
  • lime twist (optional)
  1. Chill martini glass with ice and water, drain.
  2. Add Grey Goose and X-Rated to an ice-filled shaker.
  3. Shake and strain into chilled martini glass.
  4. Garnish with lime twist if desired.

The lyrics to Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick insist upon reckless abandon.  The song, itself chugs forward at lightening speed.  Fast songs.  Fast relationships.  Fast drinks.  What else but a boiler maker?  I’ve created one using the summer flavors or watermelon and tequila.  GO!

Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick Time Bomb

Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick Time Bomb

  • 1 bottle Thomas Hooker Watermelon Ale
  • 1 ounce Jose Ceurvo Tequila
  1. Fill tall glass three quarters of the way  full with beer.
  2. Fill shot glass with tequila
  3. Drop the shot glass into the beer glass and drink it all down immediately
  4. Boom.

It’s Friday,  five o’clock.  Punch the clock, workday is done.  The day was a hot one.  Hell, the whole week was like living in the tropics.  Might as well keep with the theme and drink something that has a little bit of tropical flare (along with little bits of coconut pulp!).  Loosen your tie.  Crack open a can of coconut water…and let the weekend begin.

Book of Day Job Week Ender

Book of Day Job Week Ender

  • 2 ounces  Ciroc Coconut Vodka
  • 1 can Goya Coconut Water
  1. Fill tall glass with ice
  2. Add vodka and top off with coconut water
  3. Stir.

Drink Responsibly. Listen Responsibly. http://www.thegrimmgeneration.com

The Drinkers Companion Guide to your F***ed Up Summer – Week 2 Recipes

There’s a line that gets crossed sometimes when you drink.  One minute you’re laughing and conversing, feeling fine; and then, for whatever reason…a never-ending supply of beer flowing from a keg at an especially hot and sunny BBQ or it’s Open Bar at a wedding reception or you’re out with a large group of friends and everyone is taking turns buying rounds…whatever the situation, it happens.  You have one too many drinks and all of the sudden…it seems it would be a Splendid idea to dethrone the golden deer on display in the window of the Thai restaurant a hand’s distance away from your seat in the booth where you’ve just finished cleaning your plate of a much needed meal of green curry. Splendid!  You pluck an antler from the poor unsuspecting deer’s head and casually slide it into your purse, make your way out of the restaurant, giggling all the while with the company you’re keeping.  Chances are they’re not going to stop you as they have been over indulging as well.  And when you get to the car and pull the prize out of your purse, raise it above your head triumphantly; you look up only to find that your companion is holding an identical antler in their hand as well.  Buckling over in a fit of laughter, you notice the designated driver rolling his eyes and shaking his head.  Yup, you’ve just crossed That line.  You’ve crossed it, you’re not sure when it happened, but you have now officially entered Drunkville.  The crossing of that line was the inspiration for the chorus to Sometime’s I’m Subtle (Sometimes I’m Drunk).  And with that, I present to you a lovely Sangria concoction(using Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet, naturally) that packs a bit of a wallop.  Careful.

Sometimes I’m Subtle (Sometimes I’m Drunk) Sangria*

Sometimes I'm Subtle (Sometimes I'm Drunk) Sangria

  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/3 cup 100% white grape juice, from concentrate
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle of Carmen Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/2 cup triple sec
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • 1 lime, sliced
  • 8 maraschino cherries
  1. In a large pitcher or bowl, mix together the brandy, lemon juice, grape juice concentrate, orange juice, red wine and triple sec. Float slices of lemon, orange and lime, and maraschino cherries in the mixture. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

*Note:  Subtle portion size serves six.  Drunk portion size serves one.

In going over the song list on The Last Record Party to see if any particular tune inspired anything as far as a cocktail recipe, I knew right away that Fire &  Gasoline would have to be a shot.  Immediately, coffee came to mind.  It’s the fuel of choice for The Grimm Generation; consumed in copious amounts daily.  The choice then, to use Smirnoff Expresso 100 vodka made sense.  Add to that the fiery cinnamon flavor of Goldschlager and you’ve got yourself…well, Fire & Gasoline.

Fire & Gasoline Shooter

Fire & Gasoline Shooter

  • 1 ounce Smirnoff Espresso 100 vodka
  • 1 ounce Goldschlager
  1. Add the vodka and Goldschlager to a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well and strain into a shot glass.

Nothing Astral is a song about a hot summer evening, a drive to the park, a little bit of luck and a lot of persuading.  Whiskey might help with that, and that’s the base for this tangy lemon and lime infused drink which I’ve dubbed:

The Nothing Astral Backseat

The Nothing Astral Backseat

  • 1 1/2 ounce Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • juice of one lemon
  • juice of one lime
  • lime wedge
  1. Mix all ingredients except for lime wedge in a shaker filled with ice.
  2. Strain into ice-filled tumbler.
  3. Garnish with lime.

That’s all for today.  See you next week for another three drinks.  Until then…cheers!

Drink Responsibly. Listen Responsibly. http://www.thegrimmgeneration.com