Friday, June 29, 2007

Daddy wore a tie, mamma never fried a chicken

Ballet, Straight A's, Most Likely to Succeed
Well, Trace got it part right. I can't quite remember my dad ever wearing a tie - he's more of a Hawaiian shirt kind of guy. But the rest of it? Straight on the mark. Especially the part about the chicken. The closest we got to fried chicken was that stuff that came in a bucket with a picture of the man in white. And even that was an uncommon occurrence.

But its been a good day, giving me confidence to attempt something new and scary - fried chicken. I was inspired by Bobby Flay's Throwdown a couple weeks ago. This may sound a little cocky, but if Bobby can do it..... okay, that's not really what I thought - but it did plant the seed in my head. And it was a success! Well success in that the chicken turned a beautiful golden color on the outside and a beautiful "cooked all the way through" color on the inside. (which is more than I can say about Bobby's first batch). I need to work on the seasoning prior to the frying - these were good and fried, but they were lacking in oomph. And far be it for me to serve something lacking in oomph.



But Kate versus the chicken? Kate wins. Hands down.



Buttermilk Fried Chicken
2 chicken breasts
salt
pepper
oregano
1/2 cup buttermilk
flour
vegetable oil

1) Season chicken breast with salt, pepper, oregano - this is where I may have been a little light handed next time I might add a little more of this stuff and maybe something with kick like chipoltle chili powder or ancho chili powder or something........
2) marinate chicken in buttermilk for half an hour
3) Coat chicken in flour (Jess - I put the flour on a plate and press the chicken into it to coat)
4) Heat oil over high heat, then lower the heat to medium before throwing the chicken in there
5) Fry chicken for 10 minutes on each side

Step gingerly children, I don't know if it will hold

Well, I do believe Hell has officially frozen over. Funny, I thought it'd be colder. Of course, since it is Hell, maybe I shouldn't be too surprised.

I got back my Contracts essay today. I passed. And not the fake pass like last week where I really passed but she crossed off "pass" and wrote "fail." This time it was a real honest to goodness pass. And not only did I pass, the only comments written on the essay? "Great use of IRAC for each issue! Keep up the good work! You're doing great!" So either Bar/Bri has completely given up on me and decided they might as well just pacify me, someone wants me to feel like my money is well spent, or I'm not as horrible a person as my previous essay grader led me to believe.

In other "Hell has frozen over" type news. Apparently they're now flavoring cocaine. Anyone know where I can pick some of this stuff up? It sounds like "Lipsmackers" for grownups.I think my favorite part of the article is where they talk about how this is just another marketing ploy. Yeah, first Vanilla Coke, now Coconut Cocaine....cause really, the cocaine business just isn't what it used to be. Customers aren't buying it in the mass quantities the way they used to and frankly packaging it with toys didn't increase sales the way cocaine executives were hoping for.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Confessions of a Lazy Cook

We have a grill. I hardly ever use it. Know why?
1) It takes forever to heat up
2) It takes forever to clean up
So most of the time I use my grill pan, but I have an alternative cooking method. It's a lazy girl's guide to cooking steak.

1. Preheat your oven to 325 F. Rub steak with olive oil; coat with salt and pepper.

2. Sear in hot skillet for 2 minutes per side. Rest seared steaks on wire rack over shallow baking pan. Baste seared steak with a garlic-infused, extra-virgin olive oil. Place baking pan with rack of steaks in oven.

3. Finish steaks in 325 F oven for up to 25-30 minutes "to reach a rosy pink medium."

The End.





Slayer? I hardly knew her!

New approach to the Bar. Deadly force IS necessary. I could spend hours comparing the California Bar to a blood-sucking creature of the night, but for any of you who are in the process of studying, or have already faced the beast, this is not a revelation.




So what does any good slayer do in preparation of the Apocalypse? I've watched enough Buffy to know the answer to that one. First you train. Then you find a really hot guy you can never be with. Hopefully he helps you in your quest, but if not, well he is a hot guy. Then its staking time.

Training:
The key to training is both physical and mental and emotional.
Physical training: I got it down. Maybe that's the plus side to this bar thing, but between my evening runs and my weights I don't think my arms have been this defined since I was on the diving team. Diane was concerned I might not be working out (see every Watcher looks out for their slayer). Not to worry Diane. I spent so long on the Erg yesterday some little old lady stopped by to ask if I had rowed to Catalina. And then she proceeded to sing to me. (Now I remember why I started running and stopped going to the gym).

Mental training: 10-12 hours of studying a day? Ummm yeah....I think my brain is fried.

Emotional training: I'm totally psyching myself up for this. I CAN beat this thing. I CAN beat this thing. No mercy. It's kill or be killed and I'm in no mood to be killed. Of course, I've also looked into becoming a permanent dog washer, you know, just in case. I'm good with dogs. And there's always basketball.........

The hot guy I can never be with:
Jon vetoed. Stupid Jon. I guess he doesn't want me to pass the Bar. Selfish.

The Tools:
Anyone else noticed that a sharpened No. 2 pencil bears a striking resemblance to another sharp pointy object used to kill vampires? Coincidence? I think not.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Remedial Measures

Remedies. Seeeeeriously? Seriously. 4 hours of lecture with Conviser. Conviser has no sense of humor. And I honestly believe he made things unnecessarily confusing. Granted, I didn't take remedies in school, but every class covers remedies. Every Bar/Bri lecture covers remedies. Every practice bar essay I've written has covered remedies. Remedies are my bitch. Then Conviser puts in his two cents. All of a sudden today I look at the remedies practice essay and only two words come to mind: "Say what?" I haven't a clue. I've never been so clueless in my life. I can't even begin to figure out what to write. CONVISER WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME?

I mean, I understand remedies. Papa Smurf hires Lazy Smurf to fix a hole in his roof. Lazy Smurf takes a nap and doesn't fix the roof. That night there's a rainstorm and Papa Smurf's house floods. Well obviously Papa Smurf is upset. Obviously he's going to be seeking REMEDIES to recover for Lazy Smurf's breach. What are his remedies? Money for the stuff that was damaged. Money to repair his roof. Can't force Lazy to fix the roof - we call that slavery. See, I get it. So how come the essays leave me cold, clammy, and calling for mommy?








And for those of you who were a little concerned that Chicken week took a turn in the wrong direction last night, I assure you, we are back on track. Tonight was "What's Cooking Recipe of the Week" night. This week? Parmesan Chicken and Rice. Jon thought it would be too much like our Chicken Parmesan, but its a drastically different dish. And you will be very surprised to find out that I stuck to the recipe almost precisely. My only change? I used pre-cooked rice instead of the uncooked rice so I omitted the chicken broth.

The dish came out very similar to risotto, which Jon and I both like. And as you'll here later this week the mushrooms went over real big with Jon who is going through a mushroom phase right now.

Alright, 9 minutes to SYTYCD. If anything can get my mind off of remedies, its dancing. Well, not my dancing, cause that would probably incur damages, but other people? That's a different story.



Parmesan Chicken and Rice
(Source: Cooking Light)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add the onion, garlic, thyme, and mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add chicken; sauté 4 minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned. Add wine, salt, and pepper; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates.

3. Stir in rice. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

4. Stir in cheese and parsley.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Gather round the campfire kiddies

It's singing time!

What do you do with black bean salsa?
(sung to the tune of What do you do with a drunken sailor)

What do you do with black bean salsa?
What do you do with black bean salsa?
What do you do with black bean salsa?
On a Tuesday evening.

Put it in the fridge until its moldy.
Put it in the fridge until its moldy.
Put it in the fridge until its moldy.
On a Tuesday evening.

Search through blogs for a recipe.
Search through blogs for a recipe.
Search through blogs for a recipe.
On a Tuesday evening.

Turn it into a taco salad.
Turn it into a taco salad.
Turn it into a taco salad.
On a Tuesday evening.

What do you do with black bean salsa?
What do you do with black bean salsa?
What do you do with black bean salsa?
On a Tuesday evening!

Honestly, tonight was "get rid of leftover night". I actually had seen this recipe for taco salad on Chelly's blog. It's perfect when you want to get rid of black bean salsa because pretty much it has all the same ingredients. AND I was lucky enough (or unlucky enough) to also have yellow rice leftover so pretty much this only required me to add lettuce and ground beef.

Jon got nervous when he saw me putting this together. Well maybe nervous is the wrong word. I think disappointed might be a better word. This boy never learns. Every two bites he had to tell me how amazing dinner was.

J: No really, this is really good.
K: Um, okay. You sound surprised. Is it like the best thing I've ever made?
J: I don't know about that, but I think I wasn't expecting it to be this good when I saw you making it.
K: What does that mean?
J: I saw you just throwing leftovers together, I wasn't expecting much. But this is REALLY good.

My tortilla bowls weren't nearly as good as Chelly's were. Luckily they were meant to be eaten and not framed, and I'll keep working on them until they're actually bowls and not a 2 sided triangle.



Chelly's Taco Salad in Tortilla Bowls

Tortilla Bowls:
Invert two ramekin cups on a baking pan, coated them with cooking spray and lay the tortillas on top. Brush them with some olive oil and bake them at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, until browned and crispy.

Taco Salad:
Cooking spray
1/3 lb. ground beef
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cups cooked yellow rice (Chelly used brown rice, I used yellow, cause its what I had)
1/3 tsp. ground cumin
1/3 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
6 cups torn romaine lettuce (about 10 oz.) (I used green leaf lettuce)
3 cups chopped tomato (about 1-1/4 lbs)*
1 cup frozen whole-kernel corn, thawed*
1/2 cup chopped red onion*
1 (15-oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed*

Dressing:
1/3 cup fat-free sour cream
1/3 cup salsa
1/3 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cumin

Remaining ingredient:
1/2 cup (2 oz) reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese (I used glouster cause we're going through a glouster phase in my house right now)

To prepare salad, heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add beef and garlic, and cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain; return beef mixture to pan. Stir in rice through next 4 ingredients (through pepper). Cool slightly. Combine lettuce and next 4 ingredients (through beans) in a large bowl; toss to combine.

To prepare dressing, combine sour cream, salsa, chili powder and cumin, stirring with a whisk. Spoon dressing over lettuce mixture; toss to coat. Place lettuce mixture on plate or in tortilla bowl. Top with rice mixture and shredded cheese.

*Instead of these ingredients I just used my black bean salsa. Yes I AM a genius.

"Curiouser and Curiouser" cried Alice

One of my all time favorite books is Alice in Wonderland. When I was in high school I tried to work a quote into every paper I turned in (how many appropriate quotes can you think of that apply to "The Crucible"?)

And the book is especially applicable to studying for the Bar.
For instance, how many times have you looked at your outlines, listened to the lectures and thought: "Speak English! I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and I don't believe you do either!"

How about after reading the Conviser Mini Review?: "'what is the use of a book,' thought Alice, 'without pictures or conversations?'"

Basically I feel as though I have dropped down the rabbit hole, and down down down I go. I'm certain I'll come up on the other side of the world when this is all through, after all everything around me is already nonsense.

Today another quote popped into my head.

I had just finished my second set of "Released questions" today's topic? Torts. Yesterday was contract. On both I'm scoring ridiculously high. Above 80%. This is quite the jump from the 66% I was consistently studying before the Practice MBE. Curious. And I took a week off from Multistate questions after the Practice MBE. Curiouser and Curiouser. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is part of the ultimate Bar/Bri ploy to make you believe the thousands you spent on the course is worth it. "I know! We'll create impossible questions before the Practice MBE, even more impossible questions for the Practice MBE itself and make them all think they're going to fail the bar. Then after they're good and depressed we'll whip out the easy questions. They'll start doing well and attribute it to all the Bar/Bri lessons!" Too bad I'm smarter than you Bar/Bri. I figured out your little trick and I'm on to you. So you better bring it. Especially after these ridiculous performance test workshops.

I leave you with my final piece of wisdom which applies to those of us studying for the bar:
"But I don't want to go among mad people,"Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

Monday, June 25, 2007

It's Chicken Week!

If last week was pasta week, then this week is Chicken week. Roast chicken, chicken with black bean salsa, and tonight? Something real easy. Chicken Parmesan. (what's that you say? Chicken AND pasta? It must be Monday) Honestly, its a really easy meal because
1) It doesn't take a lot of time - basically it takes as long to cook the chicken as it does to make the pasta.
2) It tastes like its bad for you, but it isn't (I think that's Jon's favorite part)

The only problem? The meal was a little lacking in vegetation. I was just a little too wiped out to make a salad/defrost some green beans, whatever - but I kinda feel like I can get away with that with Italian food. Maybe I'll work some extra green in tomorrow night.


Easy Cheesy Chicken Parmesan
Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
Italian breadcrumbs
Marinara Sauce
Mozzarella cheese - I buy it fresh and then grate it

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350
2) Coat chicken in breadcrumbs, place in baking dish and bake for 20 minutes
3) Top chicken with marinara sauce - I use about 3 Tbsp a breast. Sprinkle grated mozzarella over marinara sauce.
4) Broil chicken for 5 minutes until cheese melts

Parade of Horribles


Wanna know what I learned in class today? I'm not going to make it to the bar. Basically our lecturer spent three hours telling us of every impossible scenario that will occur between now and the test day. They'll be a traffic accident, a hotel fire, brain damage, amputations, zombies will amputate your brain and then eat it, earthquakes, locusts, and the slaying of your first born. 3 hours of this. Somewhere along the line he made the point that even if this happens you'll pass the bar. Everyone passes the bar. People with brain damage pass the bar. Now I'm sure he meant this to be reassuring, but what he's really saying is "You'd have to be a complete and total imbecile not to pass the bar." I'm sure that will make me feel real good about myself come November when the zombie nurse who has eaten my brain wakes me up to tell me I failed.

And just to bring matters home, a guy in my class had his laptop stolen last week. Seriously? Anyone up there? This is NOT the time to be messing with those of us studying. I'm sure its a laugh riot to watch tightly wound people wind themselves up even more, but GIVE IT A REST! And to all my friends out there, don't stand to close to me. Apparently studiers are cursed (and here I was blaming it on the girl in the bowling alley!)

It was a dark and stormy night

José Dolores Garcia stood in the door of his saloon, looking out into the night. It was the last sight he would ever see. That night Garcia was struck by a bullet, fired from the gun of a hired killer, a man hired by town citizens who wanted the land the saloon stood on.

Garcia left behind his wife and the home he had built for her. Unable to continue living there, Refugia Yorba Garcia sold the home to Albert Pryor. Pryor himself was no stranger to loss. His father had died a few years earlier from strichnyne poisoning. Pryor lived in the house until his death. And then he remained. His ghost can still be seen sitting on the porch smoking a cigar. No tenants remained after that.

When Jon and I went the visit the famous Garcia/Pryor residence yesterday, it would have been more fitting if it HAD been a dark and stormy night. Instead it was noon on a Sunday. The sun was beating down (and I have the red shoulders to prove it).

Undeterred by the beautiful weather, Jon and I ventured into the home which has been turned into a museum. The house was built in the 1870s and still retains the original ceilings, floorings, frame, some furniture, and patches of wallpaper. I could just imagine living there. One of the great things about the historic district of San Juan Capistrano is that you really do feel like you've taken a step back in town. And Jon and I were the only people in the museum. As we looked out the kitchen window I could see just what the owners had seen as they washed their dishes. We spent the rest of the day wandering around the historic district before heading home to get dinner ready.

Apparently we either passed the test with Bill and Liz or they were anxious to not have to make dinner because they accepted a dinner invitation from us. I wanted to make something simple so I wouldn't be in the kitchen all day, or when they were over for dinner. Chicken with black bean salsa fit the bill perfectly. And know what's even better? Cara put up her second Platinum Chef Challenge after I had made this decision. AND this dish had three of the five ingredients. That, my friends is called karma.

Dinner was great, and I'm not just talking about the food. Bill and Liz are like people you've known forever - in fact, Jon and Bill keep finding they know more and more of the same people. And Liz brought us a special treat. The kind of treat that causes you to lose sleep thinking about. She brought us a cream pie for dessert (now I do have to point out something that endeared me to Liz immediately, she asked if she could bring dessert instead of just showing up with it so I didn't have to do that awkward "which dessert do I serve" shuffle). When Liz said she was bringing a cream pie I pictured something like Chelly's One.Big.Eclair, but what Liz brought was sooooooooooo much better. It was more like an actual pie, with a crust and everything. Cream and SNICKERS filling, topped with a chocolate fudge covering and homemade whipped cream. Jon was warned that it was a rich dessert, but as we all know, Jon doesn't heed advice. I gave him a gigantic slice and he just finished it. He was talking about seconds, but that never materialized.

One quick note about the black bean salsa....Jon really liked it. Which is a good thing. Cause we have a ton leftover. This week's going to look a lot like chicken with black bean salsa, steak with black bean salsa, black bean salsa pancakes, spaghetti and black bean salsa. I would recommend cutting the amount in half and you'd probably still be able to serve 4.



Chicken with Black Bean Salsa
Ingredients:
2 cups black beans
1 cup corn
Juice of 1 lime
4 Tbsp chopped red onion
1 jalepeno, seeded and chopped
14 cherry tomatoes, quartered
salt
pepper
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
Cooking spray
4
skinless, boneless chicken breasts
Dash of salt
Dash of freshly ground black pepper
Lime slice

Directions:
1) To prepare salsa, combine first 9 ingredients, tossing well to combine.

2) Heat butter in a small nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with dash of salt and black pepper. Add chicken to pan; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Serve with salsa and lime slice.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Look! Up in the Sky! It's a Bird! It's a Plane!


It's Super Kate!

Seriously, I cannot believe how much I got accomplished yesterday. I definitely must have some superhuman powers. I'll give you an overview and then break it down a bit:

7:30-9 Got up, showered, got dressed, headed to class
9-12:40 Bar/Bri
12:40 - 1:30 Drive home from Bar/Bri (are you kidding me? 40 miles, 50 minutes! I hate Orange County Drivers. If you want to go 70 mph GET OUT OF THE FAST LANE - or at least get off your cell phone so you can see the line of cars on your ass)
1:30-6:30 Review Civ Pro, Outline two Civ Pro Essays, write 3 Civ Pro Essays, roast a chicken, make ice cream
6:30 -7:30 Dinner and dessert
8-9 Bowling
9:40-11:30 Movie

Do you see all that? That's like a month's worth of activity in one day!!!


The nice thing about roasting a chicken though, is its pretty easy. I use a recipe I got off of Spark People which basically involves sticking a marinated chicken in the oven for 4 hours on low heat, so I'm not standing over a stove keeping an eye on anything. It's really the perfect dinner for a study/work day. And pop a couple of potatoes in the toaster oven....dinner. The end. No muss, no fuss, and its one of those "Oh, woe is me, I slaved over a hot stove all day" kind of meals.



Now we don't usually do dessert, but two nights ago Jon decided he wanted cookies at 9 PM so I was scooping frozen dough onto a cookie sheet. I think I permanently destroyed my wrist - frozen cookie dough is HARD! Tonight I was prepared for him, I "made" my own ice cream by mixing low fat vanilla ice cream with a reduced pomegranate sauce. Jon's eyes got big when he saw it in the freezer, but when he found out the swirl was pomegranate he got "that look" on his face.

K: What?
J: I don't like fruit on my ice cream
K: It's not on the ice cream, its swirled in. And its not fruit, its a syrup.
J: Whatever
K: Fine, don't eat it. More for me. But I know you're going to want some later.

And as usual I was right. After dinner I scooped him up an entire bowl and put some apricot/triple sec sauce on top with fresh raspberries (fruit and more fruit. Take that!) . He might have been complaining, but I couldn't hear anything over the scrape of his spoon against the bottom of the bowl.

K: So you like it?
J: Yeah
K: Hmmm so that's three things I've made you didn't think you'd like, and each time you've ended up really liking it. Do you think there's a lesson to be learned here?
J: Like what?
K: Like maybe you shouldn't be so judgmental?
J: Naw, I don't think I learned that lesson.

Bowling was fun. I started out good, then a group of teenagers moved in next to us. That's not the problem. I don't really have a problem with teenagers. Except one of the girls kept using MY ball. Hellloooo go get your own ball. As soon as she started using it I started throwing gutter balls. I think she cursed it. And I broke two nails. Seriously, if I had a voo-doo doll........




Then we went to see Surf's Up. Jon's choice. Jon doesn't even like cartoons. But this one was about surfing. Jon stops to look at billboards if they're about surfing. So we went to see a cartoon about penguins. It was cute, predictable, but since it was aimed at 7 year olds maybe it wasn't so predictable for them. Jon stared glassy eyed at the screen the whole time. When it was over he complained that it ended too soon. I was a little worried.
K: I bet you'd like to be a penguin huh?
J: Why?
K: So you could surf all day.
J: Umm, that's not what penguins really do
K: Okay, just so long as we're clear that this wasn't a real documentary




Spark People's Sticky Chicken
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons paprika

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1 teaspoon thyme

  • 1 teaspoon white pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 3-4 lb. roasting chicken

  • 1 cup chopped onion

1. In a small bowl, thoroughly combine all the spices. Remove giblets from chicken, clean the cavity well and pat dry with paper towels. Rub the spice mixture into the chicken, both inside and out, making sure it is evenly distributed and down deep into the skin. Place in a re-sealable plastic bag, seal and refrigerate over night.



2. When ready to roast chicken, stuff cavity with onions, and place in a shallow baking pan. Roast, uncovered, at 250° F for 4 hours. After the first hour, baste the chicken occasionally (every half hour or so) with pan juices. The pan juice will start to caramelize on the bottom of the pan and the chicken will turn golden brown. If the chicken contains a pop-up thermometer, ignore it. Let chicken rest about 10 minutes before carving.



Pomegranate Ice Cream with Apricot Sauce and Raspberries
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1/4 cup apricot preserves
3/4 Tbsp triple sec
raspberries

1. In a small saucepan bring pomegranate juice to a boil. Boil about 10 minutes. Let cool.
2. Remove ice cream from freezer and let sit out for 20 min. until slightly softened
3. Spoon ice cream into medium bowl. Stir in reduced pomegranate juice. Return to freezer until ready to serve.
4. When ready to serve, combine apricot preserves and 3 Tbsp water in a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat, until preserves are melted. Remove from heat and stir in triple sec.
5. Spoon apricot sauce over ice cream and top with raspberries.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Well Helllooooo Civ Pro

Somewhere between graduation and yesterday I might have lost my mind. (If you see it, please return it - it sounds like something I might have use for). I've actually been really excited about Bar/Bri these past few days. (Although I'm sure I would have been just as excited if classes didn't take place on a Saturday) Why? Because we've been doing civil procedure. I <3 Civil Procedure. Federal, California, it doesn't matter. Unlike every other subject it makes sense!

Think of law as a board game, like monopoly. Civil Procedure is the rules to that game. If you don't know them, you won't pass go and you won't collect $200. The rules don't change and they're not negotiable. You take your turn, I take mine. If you don't make the move you wanted to on your turn, too bad, so sad, but you can't go back.

And the California rules? Well, that's like going to play monopoly at someone else's house. "Look, I know how you're supposed to play monopoly, but in our house, when you pass go you have to yell "Gimme my money!" If you don't, you don't get $200." You wanna play the game? You're gonna yell when you pass go. You want to litigate in California, you just gotta play by their rules.

And I can do rules. In fact, I thrive on rules. None of this "theory" nonsense, or "there is no right answer - but you're wrong" stuff you find in every other subject.

"A day in the park" or "Maybe we shouldn't have children"

So last night I finished up studying and it was still daylight out. This is a rather rare occurrence so Jon and I made the best of it. We took our shiny new basketball to the park. Turns out I'm amazing at basketball. As long as no movement is involved. Standing and shooting? I got it down, but if my legs get involved? Let's just say Jon did a lot of laughing yesterday.

After basketball we headed to the playground so Jon could go down the slide. Cause I'm all of about 9 I stuck the basketball under my shirt.
Me: Will you still love me when I'm pregnant and look like this?
Jon: Turn sideways....(I turn sideways) Ummm, probably not.

At this point Jon grabs the basketball and jumps on the swings yelling "Baby likes to fly" before kicking the basketball from the top of his arc.

And this is why we're in no hurry to bring a life into this world.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Some people just don't get it

Studying for the bar sucks. But you know what sucks worse? People who don't understand that you're studying for the bar.
Case Study #1:
My friend X wrote me an email complaining that she's sooooo busy on the weekends. I'm sorry. Weekends? What are those again? I don't seem to remember since I'm in class from Monday-Saturday and then in the library directly after. YOU'RE busy weekends? Don't complain to me.

Case Study #2:
When I was planning my wedding I became friends with a group of girls. We spent a lot of time on gmail during the day email each other. And then it became fairly obvious, there were a couple of girls who never really learned the fine art of communication. They began monopolizing the email threads talking about themselves and topics that makes grass growing look interesting. The gmail threads began getting smaller and smaller as people stopped participating because frankly, how many times can you hear about wall colors? (and I'm not joking, that is really the topic of conversation) Then came the immaturity where they started talking about how much they hate the OC Nesties, who I adore. When I started studying for the bar I looked at it as my way out of these soul sucking email chains. I told the girls to take me off the threads, which is all well and good except one of the selfish idiots can't quiet understand what the phrase "please don't email me" means and I continue to get threads that are hundreds of emails long. Look, I REALLY don't have the time to read emails, especially when they're about nonsense that NO ONE wants to read. Todays topic? Moving refrigerators...I kid you not.

They're Heeeeeeeeere


August 6, 2006: Kate and Jon get married
August 8, 2006: Photographer Leah Lee posts teaser pics from the wedding on her blog.
September 5, 2006: Photographer posts online proofs
September 10, 2006: Kate and Jon get Kolo box of proofs
June 10, 2007: Kate and Jon finally get around to ordering wedding pictures.

Yeah, we're slackers. We never ordered wedding pictures. We have no wedding pictures up in our apartment. Its almost as if *gasp* we were never married. Well not any more my friends, not any more. Last night we got our wedding pictures and I made Jon hang one of them up immediately. Hey, its a start! I need to run to Kohls for their "buy one get one" frames so we can put up a couple more. Its pretty exciting. I really love our photographs and it'll be nice to have actual proof other than our rings, wedding gifts, and honeymoon debt. Here are some of our favorites:




Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Kate versus the Eggplant, Volume 1

In other news, its about time I tell you about my relationship with eggplant. Its a unique relationship, maybe most similar to trying to hang out with the cool girl in highschool. I want to like eggplant. Everyone else likes eggplant. I continue to subject myself to eggplant, and every time eggplant makes fun of me with her friends when she thinks I can't hear. But I am unphased. Again and again I try. I don't have this problem with any other food. I have no desire to eat asparagus, or fish, but for some reason, eggplant ranks high on my "you should like me" list.

I came across some delicious sounding Israeli Eggplant Salads and decided to try again. This one is the eggplant and tomato salad. This is kinda a misnomer since there aren't any REAL tomatoes in the salad - just ketchup and tomato paste.

When I opened it up in class today I was sure I would instantly make numerous friends. The onion and garlic were almost overpowering. I took that as a good sign, since I love onion and garlic (and onion, garlic, and tomato? Well that's a sure fire knock out, right?). First couple of bites were good (yay! I can eat eggplant). And that's when I started to get that old familiar feeling. Eggplant and her friends were laughing at me. And my laughing, I mean doing quite the number on my stomach. Feeling sick, I had to stop eating. Curses to you eggplant, you got me this time! But like anyone of your sycophantic fawns, I'll be back oohhing over you in no time.


Israeli Eggplant and Tomato Salad
Ingredients:
Vegetable Oil
1 medium eggplant
1/2 large onion, sliced
3 Tbsp tomato paste
3 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp ketchup
1 clove minced garlic
salt
pepper

Directions:
1) Heat large pan over medium high heat and add 2 inches of oil.
2) Cut eggplant in half and cut flesh into 1/2 inch cubes. Sprinkle with salt.
3) Working in batches, place eggplant in oil until it is golden. With a slotted spoon, remove eggplant from oil and place in glass bowl.
4) Add onions, tomato paste, water, ketchup, garlic, salt, and pepper to taste.
5) Refrigerate overnight.

With a Rebel Yell

Billy might have gotten it wrong, because my rebel yell certainly sounds more like "No More, No More, No More." I left Barbri early today. (ooooooooooo) Anne said she was going to tell on me and I won't be able to take the bar. Now, I'm not an idiot. I don't believe Anne for a second - Anne who keeps skipping lectures to go to lunches with mentors, but still I have that "sick to my stomach" feeling about leaving. Kinda like my life support theory. I am sure that this afternoon the lectures have given away all the secrets to the California Bar, along with the answer key. But I'm not going to dwell on it. Why? Cause I don't have time! I have at least four hours of work to get in here at the library today. As Scarlett O'Hara said "Fiddle dee dee, I'll worry about that tomorrow." Ahh Scarlett, now there's a girl after my own heart. Nothing to worry about but sitting back and looking pretty. And for those of you who think maybe I didn't watch the whole movie, I am WELL aware that there was a little war going on and her life was destroyed, but I still contend that the Civil War had NOTHING on the Bar.

I also stopped on the way home to pick up a basketball. I felt the need to get a basketball. Now, I should point out that I don't play basketball. I've never played basketball. But today? I want to play basketball. So after I finish all my work I'm taking it to the courts (of course, this plan will only work if the courts are deserted and its dark enough that no one will see me). I'd love to come up with some great analogy comparing studying to basketball, but as I said. I don't play basketball. I guess the closest I can come is hoping to have some skill to fall back on when I inevitably fail since I skipped half of class today.

Kate's Tip: How to Short Sheet a Bed

I got kicked off the couch last night. I'm not kidding. Jon asked me to move to the other couch so he could stretch his legs out. STRETCH HIS LEGS OUT? He would rather stretch his legs out than sit next to his wife? I think the marriage is over. Okay, probably not, but I know someone who's getting his sheets shortened tonight. (Let's see how well he stretches his legs out tonight!) I have the added bonus of time on my side since Jon is on a surf-date this evening with one of his friends.

For those of you who have never been to camp, or aren't familiar with "short sheeting a bed" I'll fill you in. To short sheet a bed is to fix the sheets so they look normal, but when the sleeper crawls into the bed they find they are unable to get in past halfway. Now, normally I wouldn't recommend doing this if you share a bed,but I'm lucky enough that Jon is almost a foot taller than me. That means I can short sheet the bed enough to make me comfortable, and he's still going to be affected. Or even better, I can make myself busy round bedtime and wait for him to get into the bed. Either way, I win - he loses.

Rather than go through a step by step, I found this handy dandy video to walk you through it. (Google is your friend):

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I believe the word is "modified"

It's been a rough day kiddos. Heck, who am I kidding, its been a rough week. And it shows no sign of letting up anytime soon. We had our first Multistate practice test yesterday (6 hours of multiple choice questions). Today and tomorrow? 6.5 hours each day going over it. That means I first start doing my assignments/studying at 5:00, I dash out for my run and collapse at home wanting nothing more than to sleep, but alas there are mouths to feed. Which has led to an obscene amount of pasta for Jon and I. Obscene. As in, I can hardly remember NOT eating pasta.



I wanted to make the WC Recipe of the week, which is (surprise surprise) a pasta dish. To be exact it is Orzo Salad. Except....I didn't have any orzo.....or feta cheese. And I most certainly don't want to wait an hour and a half for it to chill. Basically its like a whole new recipe. I hope it still counts! Instead of Orzo I used whole wheat rotini. Instead of feta I used goat cheese. Otherwise, I used all the same ingredients. Jon, who wasn't interested in a cold pasta salad for dinner had leftovers - but of course, when it turned out mine wasn't going to be cold he spent the whole night looking at my bowl and drooling. You know how puppies get "those eyes". Yeah, I got them all night. Maybe next time someone won't be so quick to judge. Even though it was hot and not orzo it was a really great dinner. Made my whole day kinda melt away. Pasta and goat cheese can do that to a girl.


Cooking Light's Orzo Salad
1 cup hot cooked whole wheat rotini
1/2 cup frozen green peas, thawed
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

1. Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, and toss well to coat.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Candy is dandy, but platinum lasts longer

When I first started visiting What's Cooking I thought Cara was the coolest girl on the board. She made the most amazing food, actually started a catering business, AND inspired me and gave me confidence to make my first Challah. I still think she's pretty amazing and read her blog whenever she updates it. So as soon as I saw she was hosting a blogging event, I knew I had to take part.

Here's the deal, its called the WC Platinum Chef Challenge. The current host chooses 5 ingredients for the challenge and participants must create a meal using those ingredients in either 1 or 2 dishes (but if more than one dish is used, each dish must use at least two of the ingredients).

This week, Cara picked Basil, Strawberries, Nuts, Tomatoes, and Zucchini as her 5 ingredients. I made 2 dishes because, well, I don't really know how you would make a dish with all five (and I'm kinda an outside of the box thinker). So without further ado, I bring you: Pesto Primavera and Molten Chocolate Cake with a strawberry basil sauce.


Pesto Primavera:
Remember that pesto I made this week? Well can you THINK of a better use? I mean its got nuts and basil already in it so that's two ingredients down. For the primavera part, I turned to my Italian expert, Giada DeLaurentis. I modified one of her recipes, combined it with my pesto, and voila! dinner. I loooved the veggies - the color they brought to the dish, the added flavor, and of course the way they complemented the pesto. As much as I love tomatoes though, I don't think the raw tomatoes added anything to dish, and next time I would just leave them out.


Ingredients:
3 carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
2 medium zucchini cut into thin strips
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 orange bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/4 cup olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon dried Italian herbs
Penne Pasta, cooked and drained
14 cherry tomatoes, halved
Pesto (I promise I made it and it has pine nuts, walnuts, and basil in it)

Directions:
1) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2) In a large bowl toss all of the vegetables with the oil, salt, pepper, and dried herbs to coat.

3) Place the vegetable mixture to another heavy large baking sheet and arrange evenly over the baking sheet. Bake until the carrots are tender and the vegetables begin to brown, stirring after the first 10 minutes, about 20 minutes total.

4) Add the veggies, tomatoes and pesto to the pasta and toss to coat.



Molten Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Basil Sauce:
Remember how I said to stay tuned for that molton chocolate cake I was going to make to use up the rest of the "cream cheese frosting gone awry"? Well I did it! Except, after reading about the challenge, I decided to make a strawberry basil sauce instead. Especially since I was so excited about my new basil plant. The cake is Emeril's but I take full credit for the sauce. And it was incredible! Jon was super skeptical. Super. As in, didn't want to try it...but after smelling it and dipping his finger in it, he was all in. The basil really complemented the strawberries and also cut the sweetness. And together with the chocolate? Fuggetaboutit. Strawberry, Chocolate, and Basil? It's the new black.


Ingredients:
Molten Chocolate Cake (from Emeril Lagass
1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter, plus 1/4 pound (1 stick)
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt

Strawberry Sauce
8 ounces fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
4 -5 tablespoons confectioners' sugar, or to taste
6 fresh basil leaves

1) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease and flour 4 (6-ounce) ramekins or baking dishes with the 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter and 1 teaspoon of flour in each, tapping out the excess flour. Set on a baking sheet.
2) In a double boiler, or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the remaining 1/4 pound of butter with the chocolate, cream, and powdered sugar, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat.
3) In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt until thick ribbons form, about 3 minutes. Sift 2 tablespoons flour into the egg mixture and fold together. Fold the chocolate into the egg mixture. Divide among the prepared dishes and bake until the sides of the cake are set and the tops are puffed but still soft, about 12 minutes.
4) Remove from the oven and let cool in the ramekins for 2 minutes, then unmold onto dessert plates.
5) To make the strawberry sauce, combine all ingredients in the food processor and process until smooth.
6) Pour the sauce over the cakes and serve.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Happiest Place on Earth



HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! As soon as we moved to Southern California my dad and I instituted an annual tradition of going to Disneyland every year for Father's Day. My dad loves Disney. LOVES Disney. My mom insists that the only reason he had kids is so he didn't feel like a pervert going to Disney movies. The day after we moved to Orange County, my dad loaded us all into the car and we went to get annual passes. My mom? Not the biggest Disney fan. So Father's Day was always our day - my dad got to spend the whole day with someone who actually wanted to be there, and my mom got a free day.

This year the whole family got in on the action. Partly because as much as my mom doesn't like Disney, she loves spending time with all of us. So mom, dad, Jon, Alex, and I headed to the happiest place on earth.


We spent the day going on all my dad's favorite rides and getting him all his favorite Disney foods. Yay for dads! I got him light up Mickey ears which he wore all day...even to dinner.


For dinner we went to Chakra, because I was craving some Indian food. Mom and Dad? They're a little skeptical about Indian food, partly due to the fact they're not familiar with it. I love the spices, the flavors, the way the food is perfectly counterbalanced between hot and sweet.
We all got different dishes, which I love cause I can sample everyone's foods.
Jon got lamb hyderabadi, which was rich and moist.

My mom and I both got the Chicken Tikka Masala, which is one of my favorite dishes (so cliche, I know). I love the sweetness of the Masala sauce which is basically Indian marinara. The added spices balance the dish so its not too sweet.

Alex had the Chicken Chettinad which was the spiciest dish at the table, next to my masala, it was my favorite. In fact it was my favorite until I took a bite of my masala and remembered how much I love the sweetness.

And my dad had the Chicken Bhuna, which tasted very much like the Chicken, but with less spice. This mild dish was probably the perfect "introduction" for my dad.


Of course we rounded out the meal with some Naan. I love Indian food.

We came home with full bellies and sunburnt faces, but definitely happy.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Little ditty, 'bought Jack and Diane

Except Mark doesn't know I call him Jack. We had Mark and Diane over for dinner tonight. It's always nice to have them over because Diane loves everything I make. Even more than Jon. Its a super ego boost. Sometimes I wish Diane ate with us every night. I spend so much time in the library that its a wonder I'm able to hold a conversation at all, so these dinners are both necessary and potentially awkward.

Reasons I love Diane:
Diane is the perfect accomplice. You want to do something? She's in.
Diane jumps with both feet into everything she does. She decides she wants to run, she signs herself up for a marathon. She wants to start boxing? She buys herself a boxing ring.
Diane is the best workout buddy ever. Ever.
Diane lends me books even though she hates lending people books.
When Jon goes out of town, Diane takes it upon herself to make sure I never go lonely.

Reasons I hate Diane:
Diane and I made a pact in January which involved working out and losing weight. Diane lost at least 30 lbs. Me? Not so much.
Diane lives in a beautiful home.
Diane has one of the world's cutest puppies (its true, even Jon thinks so)

Since Diane is eating so healthy now and Mark has always eaten healthy I wanted to make something that would appeal to both of them. So I turned to my Cooking Light Cookbook (have I mentioned how much I love that book?) and made Thai Salad with Beef. This has got to be one of the easiest recipes I have ever made. Seriously - marinade 10 minutes, broil 12 minutes? This could easily become a fall back dinner. Ah Cooking Light, how I adore thee. I believe there are not chefs in the Cooking Light kitchens, but magicians. Possibly graduates from Hogwarts. If Harry doesn't pass his final exams, he should apply for a position.

The recipe was (surprise, surprise) a success. Diane loved it (surprise surprise) and aside from a few snide comments from the peanut gallery about how I should sacrifice beauty for substance, the peanut gallery was also happy. Happy enough to make it a regular meal? Only time will tell. Oh yeah, life goes on.


Cooking Light's Thai Salad with Beef
Ingredients:
1/2 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp Thai fish sauce
2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 lb flank steak
1 1/4 cup red onion vertically sliced
3 plum tomatoes, each cut in 6ths
8 cups romaine lettuce, torn
1 1/4 cup sliced cucumber
2 Tbsp chopped mint leaves

Directions:
1) Preheat broiler.
2) Combine first 6 ingredients in bowl. Place half of this mixture aside, and the other half in a ziploc bag with the steak. Place in fridge for 10 minutes, turning over once.
3) Spray broiling pan with cooking spray and place steak on pan. Broil for 6 minutes each side.Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before slicing against the grain.
4) Heat nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Add cooking spray. Cook onions for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
5) In large bowl combine onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, and mint. Toss throughly.
6) Put salad on plates. Top with steak. Drizzle with remaining half of the lime/chili mixture.

Friday, June 15, 2007

SYTYCD Week One

Okay, so I'm not terribly disappointed that Ricky and Ashlee got voted on. Ashlee's final dance? Was that even a dance? It kinda looked like when I jump around the apartment to music....when I'm pretending I'm a professional dancer. Or like that Saturday Night Live routine where there are modern dancers who leap about and throw themselves around.

And as for Ricky? I truly and honestly believe Cat tipped the judges $10 to get rid of that guy. Cause he's a pretty good dancer, but he's WEIRD. And he can't stop touching her. And making inappropriate comments. He makes me uncomfortable and I don't have to stand next to him. Did you see how he wouldn't let go of her hand? Cat totally threw that one.

The best dance of the week though was definitely Lacey and Kameron. Seriously. I was near tears. It helps that I love Lacey too. I'm pulling for her. She's talented and this dance proved she can do more than just swing. HOT.

In the Words of the Infamous Cole Porter

It's Too Darn Hot. Seeeeriously. Now that I'm back to running outside I can definitely feel it. I run pretty late, after I'm done studying, and its STILL hot. I've determined it must stay hot until the sun sets, and I don't really want to be running in the dark. Not with the coyotes, and the creepos (not that I've seen either, but I've heard they exist and who am I to question).

And there's nothing better to beat the heat than a nice cool drink. And by drink I mean something with alcohol. This is the PERFECT summer drink because it has the key ingredients of summer: limes and mint. Honestly, I'll drink anything with limes in it - Margaritas, pacificos, gimlets, collins, tonics......limes are the best! And mint is sooo cool and summery. This drink uses vodka, which normally Jon isn't too thrilled about, but with all the other great flavors he agreed this was the perfect way to end a hot week.

Here's my little secret, this recipe is supposed to serve 6 people, but when I put it in our giant pilsner glasses it served just the two of us. Does that make us alcoholics? The spinning room tells me it might.



Kate's Summer Kiss
4 limes
2 cups mint leaves
1 can condensed limeaid, thawed
2 cups vodka
2 cups sparking water

Directions:
1) Combine sliced lines, muddled mint leaves, limeaid and vodka in pitcher.
2) Refrigerate 1 hour
3) Add water
4) Serve in glasses filled with ice.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Dude, I'm totally baked


At least that's what my pasta would say if it could talk. Other than lasagna, I don't usually do baked pasta. Again - LA-zy. I mean, when the pasta's done in the pot its eatin' time! But I stumbled upon a WC cooking "challenge" and had to partake. "WC" for the uninitiated stands for "What's Cooking" an online community run through "thenest.com" Actually, I believe its now called "What's for Dinner" but for those of us who have been around from the beginning, it will always be What's Cooking. When I started studying for the bar I stopped almost all my online activity, save for reading blogs and emails.

I miss my online communities though, which will sound odd to any of you who haven't partaken in this experience. But I've grown to know and love the women with whom I chat with, and I've even MET some of them (and they've been even better in person). And only a few of them are crazy/psycho/don't-give-them-your-real-name-or-they'll-show-up-at-your-door-at-2-AM-with-a-knife.

I digress. So as I was reading one of the WC blogs I noticed that the amazingly talented women of what's cooking have started a "recipe of the week." I wanna play I wanna play! Its a way to stay "close" right? This week it was Cooking Light's Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomato, and Cheese. Here's the original recipe. I made some changes based on taste/what we had on hand. I used whole wheat pasta (because that's what we predominately use), Trader Joes chicken spicy italian sausage (cause its healthy), canned plum tomatoes with basil (cause I had some in the pantry), and sliced mozzarella cheese (cause I hate shredding cheese).

The result? Cheesy, tomato-y goodness. I don't know if this will make it into the regular rotation, but it was good enough for Jon to eat half of it tonight. Uggghhh HALF? That's a lotta pasta and cheese. Someone's not going to be feeling so hot in a couple hours. But as always, I'll take that to mean it was good. He especially liked the sausage...and the cheese.....and the fact that it was hot...and that it was made from food....



Cooking Light's Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomato, and Cheese

1 (1-pound) package uncooked whole wheat penne
1/2 pound chicken spicy Italian sausage
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 28 oz can plum tomatoes and basil, undrained
Cooking spray
8 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain the pasta, and set aside.
3. Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage, onion, and garlic in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, and tomatoes, and bring to a boil.
4. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Combine cooked pasta and sausage mixture. Place half of the pasta mixture in a 3-quart casserole coated with cooking spray. Top with half of mozzarella and half of Parmesan. Repeat layers. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A kiss on the hand might be quite continental,

but a grill pan is a girl's best friend. Of all our wedding presents, I think the one I use most is my grill pan. Now, that's not to say that I don't LOVE my kitchenaid, but my kitchenaid is more like that sexy black dress you have in the closet. You pull it out for all your special occasions because you know it makes you look good and it always works. My grill pan on the other hand is like that worn in pair of jeans that you live in. Everyday.

I think one of the reasons I love my grill pan is because I'm lazy. Too lazy to wait for our grill's coals to heat up. Too lazy to wait for chicken to bake in the oven. But with the grill pan, a couple a minutes on the stove top and I have plump, healthy, flavorful chicken. (Or steak, or pork chops, or veggies, or portabello mushrooms) I especially love the grill marks that make it look like it I slaved over it. Tonights dinner was marinated in some homemade salad dressing (olive oil, oregano, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic). I served it with some "southern rice" and edamame. Easy peasy - but you wouldn't know to taste it! And all thanks to *drumroll* the grill pan.