Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rosemary Salmon with Lemon

Delicious, healthful, and Crohn's friendly? Why, YES!

It was a quiet, Saturday evening as Penny (yes, the dog) and I were listening to Debussy. We decided a light, sophisticated meal was in order to accompany our mood and I had two bunches of fresh rosemary on hand and frozen salmon fillets in the freezer. I love salmon. First, it's pink. Not many healthy foods are pink. But most of all, it's not chicken. Because we very rarely eat red meat or pork, chicken (or beans) have become our go-to protein, and a girl can only take so much poultry.

This recipe is as simple as it gets, and imparts a delicate flavor on the salmon. I can imagine it atop a bed of baby greens dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Another bonus? It's Crohn's friendly (for many of us) to boot. Enjoy!

Rosemary Salmon with Lemon
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • several sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 salmon fillets
  • coarse salt and pepper
  • olive oil, to drizzle
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Salt and pepper salmon on both sides. Arrange half the lemon slices in a single layer in a baking dish, and then layer rosemary sprigs. Top with salmon fillets. Layer with remaining rosemary sprigs, and top with remaining lemon slices. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the salmon is easily flaked with a fork.

I hate washing dishes, so I squished asparagus spears in the same baking dish.

Yeah, I do fancy.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Matt's Apple Crisp

Last week Matt and I went apple picking, which is a Fall right of passage in my book. We loaded our basket with gala, yellow delicious, winesap, and jonathan apples. Then we decided it would be an injustice to eat them the healthy way in their pure form, and Matt took it upon himself to whip up a super quick 'n' easy crisp. This crisp has a nice ratio of crunch to the apples (that is, if you like your brown sugar and butter topping, and boy, we sure do).

Matt's Apple Crisp

  • 7 apples, peeled and sliced (use tart or a mixture of sweet and tart)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 stick butter (room temp)

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a bowl, combine apples and vanilla. Layer sliced apples in a 9 x 9 pan. Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and oatmeal in a bowl. Crumble in butter and then sprinkle the mixture over the apples. Bake 45 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream.

He dices, I eat. I'd say that's about fair.

Perfect with a hot cup of tea to cut the sweetness.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Quality daily reading material, if I do say so myself.

Matt said I shouldn't post this as I'll further alienate any readers. I told him I already talk about my poop and picking my nose, so I really don't see how any further damage can be done. So here it is: STFU, Parents. This site is pure genius and the writer has some killer wit. It posts screen images that readers submit of Facebook statuses (and responses) that some parents leave on the site. Now, I don't dislike children. I've never been around them much, so it's unfair to say I dislike them: I don't know them, or get them, I'll give you that. But this site isn't about the kids: it's taking a dig at the helicopter, over-protective, over-coddling, "look at me and my precious child" type of parent. An example may be that you were discussing your bad day, and they had to interject something totally off-topic about their child. Or have to share every tiny minutia of their child's potty-training (seriously, and with photos!!! The horror!! Even I don't go that far). This is a very peculiar breed of parent, and their selfishness exists for easy mocking, so I say enjoy.

I <3 insurance execs

Will Ferrell can do no wrong. Well, with the exception of Land of the Lost earlier this year, and Semi-Pro last. Okay, so the boy's track record isn't so hot lately. Nevermind that, and watch this.

Click here for his very informative PSA.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Song of the Day: "Rabbit Heart - Raise It Up"

In the fall I'm on the road a lot (or on a train) for my work. There's not much you can do after the second hour in the car: you know, pick your nose, eat a bagel from Dunkin' Donuts, or listen to great music. I do all three. (Don't chide me! I just asked Matt, "Do you think everyone picks their nose?" and he responded, "Of course. I'm sure Jesus did." I'm not religious but I can't argue with that logic so I'm keeping the nose pickin' part in, and if you're recoiling, then sweet thing, you're just not being honest with yourself.)

So I'm loading up my mp3 player (note I did not say iPod as I heave whenever I see those self-righteous, sanctimonious Apple ads). There are two types of perfect trip ditties: sad songs and power ballads. Sad songs so you can do the whole faux introspection thing while taking a late-night Amtrak train, and power ballads so you can pass the line of tracker trailers on the turnpike. The below song is the latter. If you like Kate Bush and Tori Amos then maybe you'll like Florence, too.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mr. China, Panda Pavillion - Your services are no longer needed

Sometimes a recipe really excites me. Today, that recipe is Hot and Garlic-y Chicken with Chinese Eggplant (I'm a wordsmith, what can I say). While at Produce Junction (the mecca of cheap, bulk produce) we spotted these peculiar, lanky eggplants and upon inspecting them the women in front of us chirped up and said, "Oh, Chinese eggplant, I just love to saute those." That was good enough for me, and we left the store with six of them (remember, they come in bulk).

The original recipe only calls for the eggplant, but I thought I'd make it a meal with the addition of chicken and a green pepper. I also added garlic and didn't have some of the fancier stuff on hand, so you're going to get my down and dirty interpretation, below. Down and dirty? Maybe. Delicious? Absolutely.

Even Penny thinks they're peculiar looking.

Hot and Garlic-y Chicken with Chinese Eggplant

  • 2 long Chinese eggplants, cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 4 Tb. soy sauce
  • 3 Tb. rice wine vinegar (or red)
  • 3 Tb. sugar
  • 3 tsp. corn starch
  • 1 Tb. sesame oil (we used olive)
  • Sriracha sauce (which is an Asian hot sauce - add to taste - we used about 2 tsp.)
  • dash of red pepper flakes (to taste)
Saute or grill chicken.

Place the eggplant cubes into a large bowl, and sprinkle with salt. Fill with enough water to cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Rinse well, and drain on paper towels.

In a small bowl, stir all ingredients listed after garlic . Set the sauce aside.

Heat some oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Saute the green pepper, garlic and eggplant until it is tender and begins to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Pour in the sauce, and cook and stir until the sauce is thick and the eggplant mixture is evenly coated. Add chicken. Serve immediately over rice. (If you're feeling fancy, garnish with sesame seeds.)

Better than take-out. (With the exception of egg rolls; nothing - nothing - beats an egg roll.)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Asparagus and Mushroom Frittata

What's a girl to do when when we have tons of old asparagus and baby portabellas? Have her husband make a frittata, of course. (Obviously...come on now.) Here is a frittata Matt cooked up this evening. Please notice how one side is much cheesier than the other. That's right - that little sneak double-cheesed his side!

Asparagus and Mushroom Frittata
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (We used dry.)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a skillet, heat olive oil and throw in asparagus. Cook until the asparagus is tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms, and continue cooking about 5 minutes.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, water, and thyme. Pour into the skillet, and reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Bake 10 to 15 minutes, until eggs are no longer runny. Top the mixture with Parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. Turn on the broiler, and broil until cheeses are melted and lightly browned.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Soda no more

I like soda. I do. I think drinking soda is a bit trashy - it's sugar in a can - but I find it delicious. I can no longer drink diet soda due to Crohn's. The sugar substitute, aspartame, wrecks havoc on my digestive track and when I find myself in the bathroom Matthew is often on the other side of the door, mocking me in motherly voice saying, "Kathryn...did you have diet soda again?! Tell the truth! Now did you?!"

Matt loves the granddaddy of all sugary, trashy soda: the pukish yellow of what is Mountain Dew (Okay, fine, I like it all its eco-hazard-colored glory). At times I have stolen from his Dew stash, which I swear he monitors. "Where is my Dew?" he'll bark. That's when I slowly lower the can I was sipping on to under the bed. (Who doesn't drink soda in bed while typing on the laptop?)

Although I love soda, I would much rather have my daily allotment (which I too often exceed) in food. Food trumps everything: I adore food, but often find myself buying a can of this sugary crack from the vending machine to accompany my food.

Which brings me to the subject of this post. The below ad. Kudos to NY's Health Department: I think I'll finally be able to kick my soda habit.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Zany (Z)antics at the Zoo

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to the Philadelphia Zoo with two of my favorite people: Priscilla, my sister-in-law, and Matt (and, well, you know Matt). Here's a short pictorial of our day.

There are those dashing Hopkins siblings.

Me and my better half.

This baby croc was terrifying. He didn't move for a good five minutes, although his eyes followed you. Shudder.

This creature in the background was like a donkey-zebra. Matt hated it, so I made him pose with it. I really find nothing that insulting about a donkey-zebra, so I'm not sure where he gets off.

There is nothing better than a bronze (is it bronze?) statue and two willing family members to act pretend-terrified. Nothing.

Matt doing some nefarious with a hippo statue. (It's funny how all my photos are of statues and not real, live, animals.)

Pretend-milking a pretend cow. Obviously.

Gettin' frisky with the aforementioned pretend cow.

Well, well, well....the sign says, "Goat and Sheep Clubhouse: No Humans Please!" I see how it is. I'm lookin' at YOU, white goat. Elitist.

A giraffe is how I see myself in the animal world. You know, tall, elegant, regal, a lady...NO LAUGHING!

Nothin' like some frisky tribal paintings on the way to see the rhinos.

Speaking of risque...

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

This has been all over the internet for a couple of months now, but I was reminded of it after perusing one of my favorite tongue-in-cheek sites, Stuff White People Like. I'm talking about Where the Wild Things Are trailer, which has me in tears each time I watch it. Come on, it's so predictable: amazing cinematography and whimsy, directed by Spike Jonze, adapted for the screen by Dave Eggars, and set to the Arcade Fire. How can you not cry? Also throw in a good dose of nostalgia, self-pity that you are indeed not a child anymore, and conversely, wanting a child, you get a full-blown sob fest. There's something magical about it all. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Caramel Pear Cobbler

So somehow our raggedy pear tree produced a few handfuls of pears this season and I took it myself to do something constructive with the fruit. Here's a recipe recommended by my mom, and now very much recommended by Matt. (He said it's "almost as good as a spider drawing" -- see the previous post.) It's syrupy and sweet, and pear-fect (it's hard to be this corny, it really is) for fall. (I know it's not fall, but tell that to the grocery store, which has a mums and pumpkin displayed outside.) Now I just need some mulled cider.

Caramel Pear Cobbler

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch ground cloves (I used Allspice, which I had on hand.)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 medium pears, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (Optional)
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup boiling water
  • Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, optional


In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients; beat in milk until smooth. Stir in pears and pecans. Spoon into an ungreased 2-qt. baking dish. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, butter and water; pour over batter. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 45-50 minutes. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream.

This is your dopey author and cook, modeling her new chef hat. One word: hotness. (You do know I'm being sarcastic, right?)

Those pears are genuine Hopkins fruit tree pears.

No joke: this is what it looks like before it goes into the oven. You pour the syrup over the cake mixture and bake.

And this is what it looks like fresh outta the oven. Gooey and yummy in my tummy.

Personally, spider drawings are priceless

Below is an email conversation that an Adelaide, Australian man (David Thorne) claims he had with a utility company pursuing payment for a bill. Matt sent me this, and his father is Australian...I don't know, you make the connection. ;-)

It's funny, nevertheless:

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Wednesday 8 Oct 2008 12.19pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Overdue account
Dear David, Our records indicate that your account is overdue by the amount of $233.95. If you have already made this payment please contact us within the next 7 days to confirm payment has been applied to your account and is no longer outstanding.
Yours sincerely, Jane Gilles

From: David Thorne
Date: Wednesday 8 Oct 2008 12.37pm
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Re: Overdue account
Dear Jane, I do not have any money so am sending you this drawing I did of a spider instead. I value the drawing at $233.95 so trust that this settles the matter.
Regards, David.

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Thursday 9 Oct 2008 10.07am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Overdue account
Dear David, Thank you for contacting us. Unfortunately we are unable to accept drawings as payment and your account remains in arrears of $233.95. Please contact us within the next 7 days to confirm payment has been applied to your account and is no longer outstanding.
Yours sincerely, Jane Gilles

From: David Thorne
Date: Thursday 9 Oct 2008 10.32am
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Re: Overdue account
Dear Jane, Can I have my drawing of a spider back then please.
Regards, David.

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Thursday 9 Oct 2008 11.42am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Overdue account
Dear David, You emailed the drawing to me. Do you want me to email it back to you?
Yours sincerely, Jane Gilles

From: David Thorne
Date: Thursday 9 Oct 2008 11.56am
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Overdue account
Dear Jane,
Yes please.
Regards, David.

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Thursday 9 Oct 2008 12.14pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Overdue account

From: David Thorne
Date: Friday 10 Oct 2008 09.22am
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Whose spider is that?
Dear Jane, Are you sure this drawing of a spider is the one I sent you? This spider only has seven legs and I do not feel I would have made such an elementary mistake when I drew it.
Regards, David.

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Friday 10 Oct 2008 11.03am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Whose spider is that?
Dear David, Yes it is the same drawing. I copied and pasted it from the email you sent me on the 8th. David your account is still overdue by the amount of $233.95. Please make this payment as soon as possible.
Yours sincerely, Jane Gilles

From: David Thorne
Date: Friday 10 Oct 2008 11.05am
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Automated Out of Office Response
Thank you for contacting me. I am currently away on leave, traveling through time and will be returning last week.
Regards, David.

From: David Thorne
Date: Friday 10 Oct 2008 11.08am
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Re: Re: Whose spider is that?
Hello, I am back and have read through your emails and accept that despite missing a leg, that drawing of a spider may indeed be the one I sent you. I realise with hindsight that it is possible you rejected the drawing of a spider due to this obvious limb omission but did not point it out in an effort to avoid hurting my feelings. As such, I am sending you a revised drawing with the correct number of legs as full payment for any amount outstanding. I trust this will bring the matter to a conclusion.
Regards, David.

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Monday 13 Oct 2008 2.51pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Whose spider is that?
Dear David, As I have stated, we do not accept drawings in lei of money for accounts outstanding. We accept cheque, bank cheque, money order or cash. Please make a payment this week to avoid incurring any additional fees.
Yours sincerely, Jane Gilles

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 13 Oct 2008 3.17pm
To: Jane Gilles
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Whose spider is that?
I understand and will definitely make a payment this week if I remember. As you have not accepted my second drawing as payment, please return the drawing to me as soon as possible. It was silly of me to assume I could provide you with something of completely no value whatsoever, waste your time and then attach such a large amount to it.
Regards, David.

From: Jane Gilles
Date: Tuesday 14 Oct 2008 11.18am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Whose spider is that?