Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's all Greek to me

If I want to make Italian food, I turn to Giada DeLaurentis. If I want to make Greek food, I turn to Elly. Technically tonight is not really Elly's and not really Greek. But because it was inspired by her, I will dub it "Elly's Greek Burgers". See what happened was, I saw Elly's recipe for Lamb Burgers. Jon loves lamb. I thought it sounded like a great twist on an old classic. Then I ran into a snag. The supermarket didn't have ground lamb. I didn't really feel like driving around. But like any good domestic goddess there is always ground meat in my freezer. I decided that I would take Elly's recipe and use it to make hamburgers. I love the idea of feta with a burger and I even more love the idea of using whole wheat pita in place of a bun. Elly served hers with a Greek village salad. I served mine with a spinach salad. We're almost twins.

Jon loved it. Said it was one of his favorite burgers I've ever made. Guess Elly has another fan.



Elly's Greek Burgers

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 Tbsp oregano
1/4 cup onion, finely minced or grated
1 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
ground pepper to taste
1 pita, halved
olive oil

1) Mix all ingredients together and shape into two patties.

2) Lightly grease and heat grill. Grill burgers approximately 4 minutes per side or until desired degree of doneness.

3) Brush or spray pita halves with olive oil and toss on the grill for about 30-60 seconds. Stuff pitas with patties and top with crumbled feta and sliced tomatoes.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Island Time

It's vacation time! And that means a trip to the island! Which island? Why Balboa Island of course! Yesterday was "sit-on-the-beach-and-eat-crap-all-day" day.

Even though I don't consider myself to have grown up in Southern California, Balboa always reminds me of my "youth" (and the word is in quotations because I am well aware that my youth is still present). It was the hangout place in high school, great for dates, beach parties, and we even spent a couple hours there pre-prom my senior year. Balboa also has my favorite Ruby's in all of California. For anyone who has never been to Rubys, its modeled (loosely) after a NY Diner. They've got jukebox music playing, a limited menu, red vinyl booths, and a checkered floor. The one in Balboa is located at the end of the pier. Every seat is a window seat looking out into the ocean, it doesn't have the commercialized crowds of Huntington, and who doesn't love a good burger, fries, and a milkshake?















We spent most of the day on the beach, watching the swimmers, skim boarders, and reading. But one of the great things about Balboa is the Fun Zone, so we couldn't leave without a walk through. The Fun Zone is a boardwalk like area with all the cheesy souvenier shops, carnival rides, and arcades. Apparantly it is also the last year of the Fun Zone as they have been unable to renew their lease. No doubt something bland and republican will fill its place, but for now the laughter of children and sunburnt bodies of tourists continue to fill the area. The Fun Zone is also a great place to pick up one of Balboa's specialties - the Balboa Bar. Although equally renowned for their frozen bananas, Jon and I prefered to split something that lacked the nutritional value fruit would bring. The Balboa Bar is a bar of ice cream on a stick. Before your eyes it is dipped in fresh chocolate and then the topping of your choice. Take that Coldstone! It's the perfect afternoon treat for a summer day. The good news is, even after the Fun Zone closes the Island has plenty of stands that will continue to sell these treats.

Now, I consider Balboa Island to encompass both the Island and the Penninsula, but in truth, all the activites described have taken place on Balboa Penninsula. It was time to venture over to the island itself. This is one of my all time favorite things to do. Cause you know how you get over to the island? You take a ferry! Walkers, bikers, and 3 cars are ferried over from the Penninsula to the Island. I mean sure you COULD drive there over the bridge, but why? Yesterday the water was full of boats - sailboats, motorboats, zodiacs, paddle boats. I'm always amazed when we don't crash. The "commercial" district of Balboa Island consists of one "Main Street" type street. There's a market, general store, art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, toy stores, candy stores, and of course a couple stores selling bananas and balboa bars. It feels like you just took a trip to a small beach town, circa 1950. We love going into the stores and exploring the various uses of shells, but eventually the stores were closing and it was dinner time. There's a great Italian restaurant on Balboa Island, Amelias. Entering Amelias takes you of the street and into an Italian bistro. Jon commented on how you could really forget everything outside once you sit down in here. The restaurant seems small and intimate. It is divided into several rooms, which increases the intimate atmosphere as each room has three to four tables. The food is absolutely incredible.

All the pasta is handmade, and tastes like it. The entrees come with a choice of soup or salad and Jon adored the clam bisque, which tastes like a cross between lobster bisque and clam chowder. It was rich, creamy, and hot! Jon got the lobster ravioli, which was the night's special. "You can tell the sauce has a lot of butter, because it tastes so good!"







I had the manicotti, which was such a treat because the pasta was so delicate and practically melted in my mouth. The filling was creamy and smooth. Neither Jon nor I could finish our dinner, but they may be do to all the junk food....

Happy Vacation to me!!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Steak Sandwiches and Symphony



There was a concert in the park last night. Now that I have free time, a concert in the park is THE thing to do. And it wasn't just any concert, it was the Pacific Symphony. My brother came with us and I packed us a picnic dinner. We sat on the grass, under the blue sky, listening to the symphony and eating steak sandwiches, grilled corn, and salad. I was actually really impressed with my little picnic because everything stayed warm! I made the steak sandwiches into Paninis with my George Foreman grill, and wrapped the corn in aluminum foil and it was just the best picnic!


It was nice catching up with my bro too, even though we live so close I don't get to see him very often because he's so busy. Last night was no exception. He had plans before our dinner, and multiple plans for after. Must suck to be so popular. I wouldn't know. He got the good genes.



Pesto Steak Paninis
3/4 cup cilantro
3 Tbsp slivered almonds, toasted
1 Tbsp chopped jalepeno
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 Tbsp non-fat yogurt
1 1/2 tsp lime juice
1 lb flank steak
4 panini rolls

1) combine first 6 ingredients in food processor. Process till smooth. Add yogurt and lime juice. Process till smooth.
2) Heat grill pan and cook steak 6 minutes each side, or until done.
3) Let steak cool, and then slice.
4) Place pesto and steak on the pannini roll and place in George Foreman Grill. Cook until grill marks show up on bread.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

What do you get...

when you combine:
8 girls
6 of whom have just finished taking the bar
1 of whom is getting married next week?

Answer: you get a bachelorette party where everyone is looking to have a good time.



Haley and Ben began dating in high school. Everyone knew they were going to be married, even Haley and Ben. This was so true, that when Ben asked Haley if she'd marry him, she didn't realize he was proposing.

When she did realize, Haley also realized she had a problem. How was she to plan a wedding AND finish her last year of law school AND study for/take the bar??? Haley's solution? A destination wedding. She hired a Hawaiian wedding coordinator and left everything up to her. She bought a dress over Christmas break. Now that the bar is over, all she has to do is show up. She leaves for Hawaii tomorrow, so last night we sent her off in style.



We started out at an amazing restaurant in Hillcrest - Gulf Coast Grill. I'm a little biased because I love cajun food. The margaritas were flowing and the jambalaya was spicy! There was so much food, and so much good times. (That can't be grammatically correct, but as Haley said, I just finished a 3 day 18 hour test, its impressive enough that I can string together a sentence)

After dinner we headed to the Lamplighter for some kareoke. Unfortunately none of us were drunk enough to take the stage. Even more unfortunately the people who did take the stage were TERRIBLE! We were covering our ears at one point in time. One rendition of White Wedding was so bad that we asked the cop among us if we could borrow her gun.

Overall it was a great evening and I'm so excited for Haley's upcoming nuptials!!!! This time next week she's going to be Mrs. Ben!!!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Day 3

Woot Woot and a Ha-cha-cha-cha. Honestly, I like the essay/PT days sooooo much better than the MBE days. This morning I ran into Eliot. Its the first time I've seen him during the test. It made me feel better, more comfortable. We had the three essays in the morning. The first a crim law/con law cross over. I have a problem with Con law. I tend to get diarrhea of the brain...I can't stop writing. Today I spent an hour and 15 minutes on the first question. I knew I had to stop. I knew I could have written more. Luckily the next two questions were pretty straight forward - Contracts/remedies and Community Property. The last was the most fun because I got to completely BS a section of the question, but I used legal words and it sounded pretty good to me. Honestly, I don't really care if it was right or not, I doubt the graders will know for sure - kinda like how one of our lecturers told us he referred to the UCC when he couldn't think of the applicable tort answer. (The UCC only applies to contracts) Giant Balls finished an hour early again. Look buddy, you're not fooling anyone. You can't write 3 essays in 2 hours. You just can't. That's 40 minutes an essay. Have you heard of facts? You might want to start including some of them.

The performance test was great - well, great meaning "I didn't pee my pants and start crying for mommy" It was a persuasive letter based on statutes and two cases. 2/3 of the test was solely statutory, as in - copy the statute and say therefore.....for the most part.

But the best part of today? IT'S OVER! I'M DONE! I can now return to my regularly scheduled life. I'm staying here for another night so I didn't have to deal with the horrendous traffic back. Jon suggested a pick up a bottle of wine for myself, so I did. But I don't have a wine opener, so I had to get one with a screw top. There's something pretty pathetic about drinking a bottle of cheap wine in a hotel room by yourself, but know what? You can't call me pathetic cause I just finished the Bar and you didn't. So there.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Day 2

Today started out okay. Walk to the test center. As I was walking this guy turns to me:
Guy: You look really familiar
(Shit, am I getting hit on? This is a weird time to pick someone up)
Turns out we went to high school together. Remember I told you I used to be in audition based singing groups? Well this guy was in one of those groups with me. And the group only had like 16 people in it, so now I feel like super-bitch for not remembering him and thinking he was hitting on me.

Sit in my assigned seat. I noticed there were a couple preggos in the room. I can't imagine it makes the test easier, but then again, they have a couple more months before work starts so maybe I missed out on a smart move. Eh, I'll stick with my puppy plans.

I love my proctor. She's a super sweetie. She gives us verbal gold stars and thanks us for making her job so easy. AND she has the good gossip. Turns out 7 people left yesterday from our room after viewing the essay questions. Closed up their computers, told the proctors they couldn't do this and were escorted out. She shook her head. "They didn't even try."

The morning questions weren't so bad. The guy in front of me left early again. He does this EVERY session. He leaves an hour early. Now, I'm not saying it takes me a full 3 hours to do the questions, but it does take me 2 hours and 50 minutes to answer the questions, go over the ones I'm unsure about, and check my answers for the ones I'm more confident about. This guy must have balls the size of Wisconsin, cause there's no way he has time to answer the questions and give them a second look.

After lunch things took a turn for the worse. The cramps started in, and I began to think those preggos might have been on to something. Then there were the questions. Bleh. They were ridiculous. There were questions on Wills! There's not supposed to be wills questions on the multi-state! And they tested on torts we never covered in school or Barbri. There were so many questions I was just clueless on. And there was a whole section of D's which always freaks me out, but reading other blogs leads me to believe it might just be an evil ploy of the test makers. And I have to admit, if my job were coming up with questions all day I could definitely see myself being evil and making a million of one letter in a row. I would also try spelling out words with the correct answers. Good thing that's not my job. Giant Balls left an hour early in this one too. I hope he fails. Seriously, at least sit in your seat and pretend to check your answers dude. You're not impressing anyone.

At least there's only one day left!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Day 1

I'm exhausted. Completely exhausted. Not to say that the day didn't go well. I got to the test center and as I sat waiting to begin I came up with this brilliant epiphany - It's only a three hour test, I just have to take 6 of them. For some reason the thought of taking 6 tests is much less intimidating than 1 18 hour test. Its like finals. I can do finals.

The person beside me didn't show up today. On one hand that kinda freaks me out. Who doesn't show up for the bar? On the other hand I have lots of extra room to spread out my stuff. Not that I need it. It's plenty roomy in the test center.

The girl two down from me is either really stupid or her boyfriend is a little overprotective. He had to help he turn on her computer, start examsoft, and place her exam number on all of her test papers. Turns out girl and boyfriend spent all summer in Costa Rica studying for the bar there. Hmmm I guess that's two more people I can knock off my competition list.

The test itself went fine. Three essays this morning - Landlord/tenant, products liability, and evidence. This afternoon was the performance exam. As I was writing this morning I decided the essays are my favorite part of the test. 1 hour and they're done. I like that I feel a sense of completion every hour. Its kinda zen. This afternoon I took out my earplugs for a couple of minutes and listened to the sound of 900,000 people typing. It sounded like rain.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Greetings from THE BAR

As soon as I opened my room, a wave of excitement washed over me. Not because I'm excited or ready to take this test. Not because I'm excited to be away from my husband for a week. I got excited because my room
1) Has air conditioning (its 1 million degrees here)
2) Smells good
3) Has a giant bed
4) HAS A FRIDGE! and not one of those sissy mini-fridges full of crap, a completely empty fridge for my water, gatorade, and lunches for the week
5) HAS A MICROWAVE! for heating up my yummy lunches. At least they will be yummy now that they can be heated up. (I made giant stuffed potatoes)
6) HAS FREE WIRELESS INTERNET!

After checking in, I walked to the Convention Center to see how far away I was. It's an 8 minute walk. One of the things no one tells you about is "the walk". I kept getting giggly as I would pass another person who was gaging the distance between their hotel and the Convention Center. I passed them on my way there, passed them on my way back. A grip of people, all walking by themselves, head down, avoiding eye contact, and then spinning around upon destination and heading back. I even watched one guy do "the drive". It didn't make me feel so good watching him make illegal U-turns up and down the street.

Hitting the Road

That's it folks, time is up. I'm about to hit the road for THE BAR. Because I'm not positive about the wireless situation where I'm staying this may be the last you hear of me for the week. I'm a raging bundle of nerves, not yet getting that sense of zen everyone keeps telling me will hit me. Then again, I did sleep through the night last night for the first time in weeks (of course, half a bottle of wine helps with that, now doesn't it?)

My packing list:
  • 4 t-shirts, including the lucky one I made (will reveal its contents at a later point in time to ensure the luckiness remains intact)
  • 2 sweatpants and a pair of jeans
  • sweatshirt and socks (in case the Convention Center is air conditioned)
  • swim suit (there's a hot tub at the hotel... we'll see what the crowds look like before I use it. Otherwise-)
  • bubble bath
  • ziplock bag with: admission ticket, erasers, lucky pencils, pens, highlighters, earplugs, watch
  • laptop, power cord, ethernet cable
  • cell phone, cell phone charger
  • 1 pg (or 2 pg) outlines
  • Performance Test skills and tips
  • In class notebook
  • Lucky Joe - the teddy bear Jon got me for our anniversary about 3 years ago. When you squeeze his hand he says "I love you, I love you"
  • mp3 player
  • PMBR cds for the drive up
  • hand weights
  • Shrek dvds
  • water bottles
  • gatorade
  • cooler of lunches and oatmeal fruit cookies
- And my last minute shout outs:
- Thank you to Mom, Dad, and Jon. I know I've been a PITA this summer. Thanks for not rubbing it in too much. I will be back to being my regular PITA self after this week.
- My Nesties. Seriously, the "good luck emails" I received after BN's email made me cry. Seriously.
- Special shout outs to WeeMo, Diane, Jess, and Sara. I love having your support.
- Special shout out to Liz. Your weekly emails checking in on me were so appreciated!

Laguna-tic

About a month ago, I thought it would be a good idea to get Jon and I tickets to Pageant of the Masters tickets for the Sunday before the bar. It would force me out of the house, and something pretty relaxing. I also thought it would be a nice last evening for me and Jon before I head off for the week.

The Festival of the Arts is a tradition in Laguna. This year its celebrating its 75th Anniversary. There's tons of great and fascinating art to look at, and unlike the Sawdust Festival, Jon and I could look without being tempted to buy anything because of the REALLY HIGH prices. We just do not have $26,000 to spend on art right now. But it sure is nice to be able to look at it!

When we got in, I noticed that Sundays they were doing an "Art of Cooking" series! They brought in notable chefs from the community to do a demonstration. I was so excited I asked Jon if we could go. Jon agreed even before he knew he would get to sample the food. Yesterday was Mexican Fiesta with Chef Octavio Montoya.



He made Gorditas - which are like mini Mexican pita pockets, stuffed with tri-tip and red salsa with California Chilis. These were sooooooo messy! They were also super tasty though. I don't know if I'll make the gorditas, but the meat and salsa? For sure going to be attempted in my kitchen.


Chef Montoya also showed us how to make Pico de Gallo and Guacamole. It was interesting to watch, because these are both things I make at home. He uses lemons instead of limes - I don't know if I'm willing to make that switch. He also doesn't use garlic. The final difference is that he is REALLY into mashing his guacamole. It is soooo smooth its almost like guacamole mayonaise. I like mine chunky.

What he did do that I will certainly add, is to squeeze his tomatoes so the juices don't over power the guacamole. I personally, think this will make the guac a lot less runny so I'm all in.

The final thing we learned how to make was Aqua de Tamarindo, which is basically Tamarind juice. We didn't love this - Jon thought it tasted like sweet pickles. But it was certainly refreshing! Probably won't be making it at home.

The real reason for going to the Festival of Arts though, was Pageant of the Masters - a tableaux vivant (or living picture) show.

This was so neat! You're not allowed to take pictures, so check out this link if you want some examples. What they do it take works of art and recreate them with actual people subbing in for the pictures of people in the work. Its fantastic. Really. The narration is great, and they include a lot of live action to "distract" you while they change scenery. My favorite part was the "builder" where they show you exactly how they create the image on stage.

We wanted to go someplace special for dinner, so we went to Claes, which is our new favorite restaurant. Jon has seriously never enjoyed a dinner out so much. Even if the food had been less than spectacular, the view of the ocean would make up for it. Luckily, the food is phenomenal.


They brought us some lobster and fried leaks to start out with. Jon ordered the scallops for dinner.

Our waiter told us that Jon was lucky to get them, since they were so popular, they almost sold out last night and only had a few left over to sell today. These things were gigantic - have you EVER seen scallops this large? And Jon loved the buttery rich sauce.

I had the NY Steak (iron iron iron) which was sooooo good. The meat was so rich, tender, perfectly cooked medium rare. Jon thought he got the better dish, but I disagree.

After dinner, we split a brown butter pear tart with marscapone ice cream. The ice cream was soooo great with the sweet pear. Jon ordered a coffee, and when it came the smile on his face was larger than I'd seen in a long time. They brought over a gigantic individual french press for him - and left it at the table. It was like the malts he loves so much!



We highly recommend this restaurant, and this day. It was just what I needed!

Rock On!

Apparently my chronic neuroses rock, at least according to More Fun Than a Barrel. I've been named a Rockin' Girl Blogger.

This means a lot coming from WeezerMonkey who's one of my "Kate's a crazy stalker" idols. Remember when you started high school and there was that Senior who you thought was totally cool and wanted to be like? Well I get that way about people. Jess already knows she's on the other end of my idol stick and I was way too scared to talk to her when I first met her. WeeMo's in that "too cool for school" boat. The first time a mutual friend made reference to the fact that she even knew my name I got one of those "Ohmigod Ohmigod Ohmigod" feelings. I am always so honored that she reads my blog, and it means even more that she nominated me for a Rockin' Girl Blogger - especially since I don't think I've rocked anything in a really long time.

I get to name another 5 Rockin' Girl Bloggers, which is easy because I know so many, and hard because I know so many. Here are my 5:

Cara's Cravings: If you don't know by now, Cara's another one of my "idols" so of course I have to name her a rockin' girl blogger. She's educated, beautiful, AND has a side catering business. What's not to love?

My Bar Tab: Seriously, Amanda could be me. Every time I start getting stressed, I turn to this blog to see I am not alone. Her studying, her running, her patient husband. The only difference is the subjects we struggle with. Her bane is Civ Pro, mine is Con Law.

Dinner a Deux
: I already told y'all how much I love this blog, it would be wrong of me not to include it!

Bitter takes the Bar: If Amanda is me, this is who I WISH I was. Smart, funny, and employed already.

Culinary Concoctions by Peabody: Hockey/baking/ice cream. This woman's got skeeeeellls. And weak ankles. I have a soft spot for people with week ankles.

Alright Rockers, now its your turn to name 5 more! Keep rockin'

Saturday, July 21, 2007

"The Constitution must be dead" or "How studying for THE BAR ruins a good time, part II"

Jon rented "The Last Mimzy" tonight....apparently whoever wrote this doesn't believe in the Constitution. Jon got mad at me because I went off in a HUGE tizzy. Here are my set offs:

1) Police/FBI/STATE ACTORS come to the main character's house and demand to come in and search:
Dad: Do you have a search warrant?
FBI: I don't need a warrant, I have probable cause.

WHAT??????? Since when do you not need a warrant TO SEARCH SOMEONE'S HOME if you have probable cause? Dad should have said "Take your probable cause to the magistrate and get yourself a search warrant."

2) Police/FBI/STATE ACTORS bring main characters to headquarters and place them in a room where they are videoed as the kid confesses to his parents. HAVE THEY BEEN READ THEIR MIRANDA RIGHTS? I scream. Jon shusshes me. YOU CAN'T BRING PEOPLE INTO CUSTODY WITHOUT READING THEIR MIRANDA RIGHTS!


Seriously Kamisar would be ALL over this shit.

I'm strong to the finich, cause I eats me spinach


anemia (ə-nē'mē-ə) Pronunciation Key
A deficiency in the oxygen-carrying component of the blood, as in the amount of hemoglobin or the number or volume of red blood cells. Iron deficiency, often caused by inadequate dietary consumption of iron, and blood loss are common causes of anemia. (from dictionary.com)

I used to get really really really tired in the middle of the day for no reason whatsoever. Sometimes it would come with really bad migraines. This was back when I used to sleep through the night and get at least 8-10 hours of sleep. Dr. Mom said it might be anemia and we increased my iron. Raisin snacks, iron supplements, and all of a sudden I wasn't tired anymore. Its self diagnosed, to be sure, and maybe its psychological, but hey, whatever works right? So in the hopes that I'll be able to keep a high energy level during THE BAR I've been upping my iron intake all week. Tonights dinner was especially high in iron because it has Shrimp AND spinach, both of which are high in iron.



I got the recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Dinner a Deux. It's one of my favorites because Jen is so funny. I especially love how she includes a quote from her husband about each dish. Jen got the dish from Bon Appetit, which already is a plus for me. I cut the recipe in half, because a pound of shrimp is a lot for two people, and Jon already has a fridge of leftovers for next week that I know he won't touch. My risotto wasn't nearly as creamy as Jen's though, and I don't know if I can blame that on the halving or not.

If I were to make this again, I would definitely add more cheese, salt, and pepper. Jen added red pepper flakes which might have been a good addition, but I held back and it was a little bland.

But I'm beginning to feel stronger already. Of course that could just be fear.


Shrimp Risotto with Baby Spinach and Basil
From Bon Appetit

ingredients
3 cups (about) low-salt chicken broth
1/2 pound uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
1 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cups chopped onion
1 large garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cups arborio rice or medium-grain white rice (about 9 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 6-ounce package baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Additional grated Parmesan cheese

preparation
Bring 3 cups broth to simmer in medium saucepan. Add shrimp. Turn off heat, cover, and let stand until shrimp are just opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to small bowl; cover with foil to keep warm. Cover broth to keep warm.

Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and stir 1 minute. Add rice and stir until edge of rice is translucent but center is still opaque, about 2 minutes. Add wine and cook until wine is absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add 3/8 cup chicken broth. Simmer until almost all broth is absorbed, stirring often, about 2 minutes. Continue to add broth, 3/8 cup at a time, until rice is just tender and mixture is creamy, stirring often and allowing almost all broth to be absorbed after each addition, about 25 minutes total. During last 5 minutes, add spinach in 4 batches, stirring and allowing spinach to wilt after each addition. Mix in shrimp, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and basil. Season risotto to taste with salt and pepper.

Spoon risotto into shallow bowls and serve, passing additional cheese separately.

This just made me feel so much better

I found this on someone's blog today:

"California Bar Exam
I've read a few blogs from those who are taking the California Bar Exam and I am a bit surprised by what they have written. Personally, I am not taking the bar exam too seriously. I've spent about 20 minutes a day, at most, reviewing the material. Since I never studied in law school (I have a photographic memory of what the professors talked about) and only visited the law library twice, I see no need to spend countless hours studying for the bar. Even if I failed, the punishment is fairly light: I get to take it over again. Oh well. The punishment in law school was far worse if one failed--dismissal. Somehow I passed. Since I passed law school, which is far tougher, I see no reason to spend extra efforts on a fairly simple exam."

1) I hope everyone follows this guy's train of thought. It will be so much easier to pass the bar if people are only "reviewing the material" 20 minutes a day.
2) "photographic memory" refers to seeing something and being able to picture the exact image in your head, you know like a PHOTOGRAPH. If you are remembering things your professor SAID this is not photographic memory.
3) Law school does not equal the California Bar Exam. My last semester of law school I took a class. I failed to purchase the book. I missed more classes than I attended. During class I didn't take notes. I started "studying" a few days before the final which consisted of me downloading other people's outlines off the internet and reading them. Not only did I pass the class, but I got a REALLY high grade on the final. Should I attempt this plan of action for THE BAR? (Can anyone else hear Honigsberg saying "Gooooddd Ideaaaaa?")

Why I'm surprised we've yet to have a woman president

Conversation between Jon and one of his friends from law school last week:

J's friend: So when do you and Kate head up to THE BAR?
J: Oh, I'm not going. Just Kate.
J's friend: You're not taking off work to go with her?
J: Why would I go with her?
J's friend: You know, so you could make her sandwiches for lunch.
J: *blank stare*

- This conversation brings up a couple very interesting points
1) It must be nice to be independently wealthy enough to take off a week of work to make sandwiches for someone.

2) Seriously, Jon didn't ask, but do you think J's friend's wife (now ex-wife) went with him to THE BAR when he took it and made him sandwiches?

3) Can a man who has made it through 12 years of pre-college education, 4 years of college education, and 3 years of legal education not make his own sandwiches?

4) For someone sooooo concerned with my well being during THE BAR, do you find it obnoxious that this fellow is spending the night at our apartment the night before I leave for THE BAR? (Otherwise known as "the night of no sleep" or "Kate's last night to freak out at home" - in contrast with "Kate's last night to freak out in the hotel" which will occur the following night) There better be a stack of sandwiches waiting for me Monday morning when I get up.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Keep it Simple Stupid

I hate Performance Tests. No really, hate them. And not that warm, fuzzy kind of hate either. Its not the subject matter of the Performance Tests, although it is partly that, its just soooooo long. AND completely impractical. Let me tell you how things are done in "the real world":
1) Partner tells you "write a memo/brief/questions for deposition"
2) You go into the firm files and find a memo/brief/questions for deposition. Using that as a guide, you fill in relevant facts to the current case.

Compare this with how the performance test works:
1) Partner tells you to write a memo/brief/questions for deposition
2) You have never done this before
3) You have no samples
4) Basically you have three hours to pull something out of your ass, which shouldn't take 3 hours, because really, there's not that much in your ass.


As much as I hate them though, I knew I had to practice at least one more before THE BAR so I sat down today to force myself to do it. And I had a special strategy. Honigsberg recommends that after you've read through the file and the library you take a little break. So I took a little break. I used my break time to make cookies. Mostly because making cookies is one of the least time consuming things you could possibly do. I laid out all my ingredients before starting the test, and after reading the file and library I dumped them in a bowl and mixed. During this time I thought about what an idiot my client was. He cashed a check that was marked "payment in full" while he was in a suit disputing the amount of money he should be getting. Now, I understand he's a patent attorney, but didn't he have to take the bar? Didn't he learn over, and over, and over, and over again that you NEVER cash a check marked paid in full????? Didn't he learn it in his property review? His contracts review? Hell even his remedy review? I have lost all sympathy for my client and thinks he gets what he deserves. Once the cookies were in the oven I sat back down to write - but I kept my opinions about what an idiot client is to myself, instead offering him numerous options of what he could do. Turns out, I was right on the money, the sample answer didn't accuse the client of being an idiot either.

The rest of the day was pretty normal:
Community Property: It's funny, in school this was not my strong subject. As I was reviewing the material today, I was thinking that the key to community property is not to examine it too closely. I started noticing things that led me to question my knowledge. Woooaaahh there, why am I questioning things now? I used to gloss over the material and felt very confident on the essays. Today I was thinking - Lucas? Pro Rata? I don't know this stuff at all! But really, I think I do, I'm just looking too deeply.

Community Property essay: See, this was an easy one so I did okay. Periera/Van Camp I can do. Pro rata contributions of community property into separate property, separate property into community property? I'm getting nervous.

Crimes: The more I study, the worse I do. I should have taken this test last week. At least I had cookies to cheer me up.

And the cookies? They definitely cheered me up. I made them with the idea that I would take them with me next week for a little mid day pick me up. This meant I had to make them 1) semi-healthy, and 2) something Jon wouldn't eat. I had seen oatmeal raisin cookies in Delilah's blog earlier this week and thought they would be perfect. Jon doesn't do oatmeal raisin cookies. Something about them not having chocolate in them. And with all those oats and raisins they were basically granola, right? And besides, I have a soft spot for Delilah since we share the same birthday, so that must make these lucky oatmeal raisin cookies. I made them even healthier by 1) using whole wheat flour (I really need to get to the store to buy AP flour) and 2) subbing dried cranberries and blueberries for half the raisins. Unfortunately, Jon saw the cookies. Still I thought I was safe, I mean Jon doesn't like oatmeal raisin cookies.

J: What are these?
K: Cookies for me to take to THE BAR.
J: Oh, are they those oatmeal cookies you get from TJs?
K: no
J: Wait, did you MAKE these?
K: yeah
J: Do you promise? (code for "are you lying?")
K: I promise. Why don't you believe me?
J: They don't look like you made them, they look store bought. (takes and eats a cookie) Woah, these are really good! And I don't even like oatmeal raisin cookies.
K: Sigh, I know, that's why I made them. I knew if I made chocolate chip cookies there wouldn't be any left by Monday.
J: Yeah......(looking slyly at the cookies)

- Looks like I'm going to have to hide the cookies.

Keeping with the simple theme, and trying to up my iron count before the test, I made steak for dinner. With one of the simplest recipes I know. Salt, Pepper, grill pan. That's it. I'd post a real recipe, but it would look something like this:
1) Rub a buttload of salt and pepper all over the steak pressing it into front, back, and the sides.
2) Heat the grillpan super-de-dooper hot hot hot. It should smoke. You should fear for nearby paper products.
3) Place the steak on the grill pan and sear both sides to lock in the juices. The steak should now be a great brown color.
4) Lower the heat significantly and cook until your desired temperature. We like ours medium rare.


-Lately I've been dressing up our steaks with marinades. Tonight was simple. And the response may sum up my new philosophy of "keep it simple."
J: This is the best steak you've made in a long time. Sometimes all you need is a little salt and pepper.


Whole Wheat Oatmeal Fruit Cookies
(adapted from Delilah's Corner)
1/4 pound (1 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1
eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 1/2
cups Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1/4
1/16
1/16
cup raisins
cup dried cranberries
cup dried blueberries

1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat margarine and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well. Add oats and fruit; mix well.
2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

Who said romance is dead?

So last night I was cleaning up the living room while Jon was getting ready for bed. He called me into the bedroom. I heard the shower running.
K: Are you taking a shower?
J: Just come here for a second, okay?

And suddenly I was pulled into a freezing cold shower. See, Jon had decided I would sleep better if I wasn't so warm. So he decided a cold shower would cool me off enough to fall asleep. That must be love.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Coffee and Chocolate

When my mom was pregnant with me, she cut out all the caffeine from her diet. Growing up, our house was caffeine free - from the coffee, to the caffeine-free diet coke. Because of this, I am very susceptible to caffeine. I tend to avoid it unless it becomes very necessary - like during finals, or the week of a show when sleep becomes "that thing other people do."

Senior year of high school I was on Senior Counsel. We were in charge of homecoming. The night before homecoming we pulled an all-nighter working on school decorations. Someone had the brilliant idea of pulling out chocolate chip cookies around 2AM. After that, I kept everyone entertained for HOURS until it was decided I should never be given sugar again. Yes folks, it is that scary when I get a shot of caffeine in my system.

Tonight, as I pulled yet another "chocolate" dish from the oven and Jon asked what was up with me and baking I decided that my body was trying to tell me something. See, I don't usually bake, and I hardly ever eat chocolate. So why was I suddenly obsessed with dishes involving chocolate and coffee? Could it be the lack of sleep is finally catching up with me? I tried taking a couple sleeping pills last night, even though Dr. Mom and Jon both vetoed the idea. Well, the pills didn't take - either that or I am far too stubborn for modern medicine. I got more sleep than the night before, but I'm still unable to sleep through the night. So it would seem like my body is literally begging for fuel. Fuel in the form of, yup, you guessed it. Chocolate and Coffee.

Chocolate

Much like the onlookers who gather around Punxsutawney Phil on February 2 hoping and praying for spring, Peabody is trying to coax fall along by making a hot chocolate cake. She combined the cake with spiked whipped cream, hot fudge, and candy canes to create a "cake sundae" (my words, not hers). I on the other hand decided this would make a great loaf cake. That way I could snack on it during the day to give me a little boost, or even have it for breakfast (Dad is great. Give us the chocolate cake!). My cake didn't look as brown as Peabody's cake did, and it didn't taste incredibly chocolaty, but the hot chocolate definitely made it sweet and yummy. And I kinda liked that it wasn't too chocolaty.

Coffee

My favorite thing to make: Bread
My favorite dessert: Tiramisu
Now lets try a trick, my favorite dessert to make? Panna cotta. For the same reason I love to make bread. It is so fabulous because it is so impressive "Oh, you made that yourself?" but it is so easy. Yes, that's right folks, you heard it hear. I am a food poseur. I like to make things that only seem difficult.

Panna Cotta, or "cooked cream" is the Italian version of flan, or creme brulee, except it is plainer than both since it doesn't have the carmel of flan or carmelization of creme brulee. It doesn't need either. It tastes like ice cream, without being frozen. Because it is served "inverted" like the flan, it looks difficult to make, but really the gelatin does all the work. You just stir and put it in the fridge. I love it.

Most of the time I make regular, "unflavored", panna cotta and top it with seasonal fruit/liquor. But earlier this week when I saw the coffee panna cotta on Sarah's blog, I knew I would have to branch out a little. I think my favorite part was softening the gelatin over rum instead of water (tee hee!). Because TJ's didn't have instant espresso, and lately I'm too lazy to store hop, I used some instant vanilla coffee I had at home. I'm not sure if this made a huge difference or not - it probably added less caffeine...I also used light coconut milk instead of regular coconut milk (hey, even good fat is still fat). My last change was to use semi-sweet chocolate instead of bittersweet in an attempt to use up a bag I had. I grinned happily as the panna cotta slid from the cup - simple pleasures. Trying to "dress" the dessert with the chocolate sauce was a bit of a problem, the chocolate kept spilling off the top and pooling around the panna cotta instead of sitting and looking pretty like I told it to. Next time I would probably try to make it a bit thinner so its own weight didn't pull it down, more like a syrup than a sauce.




Peabody's Hot Chocolate Cake

3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup prepared hot chocolate (I use my old family recipe, you can find it on your Hershey's
cocoa container)
1 TBSP butter
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used up my last AP flour last night making my pizza dough, so I subbed in Cake flour - 1 1/2 cups + 3 Tbsp)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 325F.

1) In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar until very thick; the batter should fall from the beaters in a thick ribbon. Beat in the vanilla.
2) While you’re beating the eggs and sugar, heat the hot chocolate and butter in a small saucepan to just simmering. Add the hot chocolate mixture to the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream as you continue beating.
3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring until they’re just combined.
4) Pour the batter into a lightly greased loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the cake is a deep golden brown and starting to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove the cake from the oven and cool it in the pan for 10-15 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of the pan.




Costa Rican Coffee Panna Cotta with Bittersweet Chocolate Rum Sauce
(from Chomping the Big Apple)
1 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/8 cup dark rum
5/8 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
3/8 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoons dark colored corn syrup
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tablespoon dark rum

DIRECTIONS
1) Sprinkle the unflavored gelatin over 1/8 cup of dark rum and allow to soften for 5 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, stir together 5/8 cup of whipping cream, brown sugar, and espresso powder in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring until brown sugar has dissolved.
3) Remove from heat, then whisk in gelatin mixture until dissolved.
4) Whisk in the coconut milk, vanilla extract, and sour cream until smooth. Evenly divide the mixture between four 3/4 cup custard cups or molds, cover each with plastic wrap, and chill at least 4 hours to overnight.
5) Bring 3/8 cup whipping cream and corn syrup to a simmer over medium-high heat. Once simmering, remove from heat, and stir in the chocolate until melted and smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1/2 tablespoon of rum and set aside.
6) To serve, run a knife around the edge of each mold, then set each cup into a shallow bowl of hot water for 10 seconds to loosen. Invert the mold over a serving plate and remove the panna cotta. Spoon chocolate sauce around each panna cotta.

The Remedy is the experience

The good news is, today wasn't as bad as yesterday.
Remedies - 1 page outline. Woot Woot.

Remedies Essay - ummm, helllloooo. Seriously? I mean, I had read about this question on Amanda's blog, and I thought that prepared me, but WHAT THE HECK IS A PURCHASE MONEY RESULTING TRUST? Don't you think maybe this is something someone should have taught us either in Trusts or Remedies? Naw, that would be waaaay too easy.

Professional Responsibility - 1 page outline, and I think I actually learned it this time - unlike all the other times I tried to learn it. I finally figured out that the mnemonic isn't Court Don't Prefer (which I could never figure out what the P stood for), it's Court's Feel Differently (Candor, Fairness, Dignity)

Professional Responsibility Essay - My newfound knowledge really came into play here and I hit almost all the issues, I think I may have missed one - but hey, I'm not perfect

Property - review, still working on shortening the outline

Property multistate questions - Hey! Even on PMBR I got in the 70s! (See WeeMo, I can kick this things ass if I want to) Which leads me to believe I got property down and should turn my attention elsewhere

Still to do this week:
- pick up some gatorade
- pick up some water
- make my lucky bar t-shirt
- pack
- makes some lunches

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

PMS Pizza

Yesterday must have been a fluke, either that or that old "pride cometh before a fall" thing rings true. Today was a terrible day! It started out with me getting no sleep last night. I mean it, not a wink. I watched the rise and fall of Jon's chest with envy. I was tempted to pinch or kick him, I mean, why should I have to suffer alone?

When he got up for work, I gave up with the lying in bed and got up too. I went for my run, showered, and then hauled ninety pounds of books to the library.

1) 50 Mixed MBEs - that 88%? I miss that 88%, I'm back to the 70s. sigh
2) Civil Procedure - review/shorten outline - I may be a little over 1 pg, but really there's California AND Federal rules. But the good news is...I know them both...no really. As proof:
3) 2 Civ Pro Essays - Aced them. Hit every issue. Almost - the question took place in a State Court, but they wanted us to apply the Federal Rules. I refused. I mean, if you have federal requirements in a state court, no plaintiff would ever be able t0 bring his claim. Besides, if this question were to show up, they would for sure ask us to apply California rules.
4) Contracts - listened to CD/review/shorten outline. The guy on the CD can't pronounce parol. How can I trust him? I was feeling pretty good about this subject until
5) 100 Contract MBEs - abysmal. Really. I may as well have closed my eyes and picked letters at random. But in my defense, I'm out of Barbri questions, so I'm working on PMBR ones and I think they're full of shit. I honestly believe they're giving us the wrong answers.

I came home pretty depressed. And the PMS doesn't help. I've been craving pizza for a couple weeks now, so tonight I decided to go for it. Especially when I saw Shawnda's recipe for BBQ Chicken Pizza with Grilled Pineapple, Prosciutto, and Cilantro. Except because this is a bad day, things didn't go exactly as planned. I made a huge mess in the kitchen, knocking things over right and left, getting barbeque sauce everywhere. And my pizza? Not so pretty. And it took me about 3 hours to make. Okay, not really, but we did eat dinner around 9:40pm. At least it tasted good. Just what the doctor ordered. Pizza always makes everything better. Especially pizza with pineapple.


Shawnda's Barbecue Chicken Pizza with Grilled Pineapples, Prosciutto, and Cilantro

- I made my own pizza dough, which is why this took so long to make, and I also made it on my grill pan instead of the grill which could be why it was so ugly. But, the grill pan worked beautifully and the pizza bubbled just like it was supposed to. I couldn't figure out what to do with the garlic though, next time I'll probably slice it and rub it on with the oil.

Pizza dough
Olive oil
1 cup barbecue sauce, plus more for garnish
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can pineapple slices, drained (juice reserved)
3 slices prosciutto, chopped
1 handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 450. Heat your grill to med-high.

Put 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, pineapple juice, and chicken breasts in a glass bowl to marinate for 30 minutes.

Place chicken breasts on grill and cook until juices run clear, approximately 6-7 minutes on each side. Remove from grill. Let rest for 10 minutes and then cut into chunks.

Using a rolling pin or the two-fist method, stretch out your pizza dough to the desired thickness. Brush one side of pizza dough with oil and place oiled-side down over the grill. Cook for about 3 minutes - the dough will begin to bubble on top. Oil the top side of the dough and flip, using tongs. Once the underside has cooked completely (approx 3 minutes), remove from the grill.

Brush pineapple slices with oil and grill until lightly marked on each side. Remove from the grill and cut into chunks.

Spread remaining barbecue sauce on pizza crust. Top with half of the cheese, cubed chicken, pineapple chunks, and chopped prosciutto. Top with remaining cheese and place into oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted. Top with cilantro, drizzle with additional barbecue sauce, and serve.

Platinum Challenge, Round 3, part deux

When I first saw the ingredients for this week's Platinum Challenge I wasn't especially excited. Peanut butter, honey, wine, onions, and seafood. See, I have this thing...I don't eat fish. Which is not to say that I don't eat seafood. I have very expensive seafood taste. I basically eat anything that's not kosher. Shrimp, lobster, crab. I eat shark, but honestly, the last time I made shark the apartment smelled for days, so I wasn't going down that road again.

I looked over the ingredients again. I can do this, I just have to make sure I use shrimp for the seafood dish. And shrimp and wine? That's like scampi. Easy. Of course, that left me with the task of trying to find a dish that used peanut butter, honey, and onion. Ummmmmm......So Scampi was out. Back to the ingredients.... A shrimp in peanut sauce would be excellent, throw a little green onions into the mix and 3 ingredients down. I could definitely make a dish that used honey and wine, it would be a spinoff of my Citrus Chicken that used honey but not wine. That led to my Orange Chicken at home.

I had leftover noodles from my pad thai, so Shrimp with Peanut Noodles it was. Now, this dish should be served hot, but it is SO quick and easy to make (especially if your noodles are already cooked, but even if their not it just adds another 3 minutes) that it was finished between the time Jon called me to let me know he was on his way home from surfing and the time he got home. I didn't want to heat it up, because I think hot cucumbers are gross, so we ate it cold. It was still great. One of the things I love about shrimp is that they really require no seasoning because they have such great flavor on their own. And Jon thought the noodles were perfect with dish. It was good even though it was cold!

Now that it gets dark late, Jon spends more time in the water. He goes surfing after work and stays till the sun goes down. Last night that meant 9pm. This gives me a little extra time in the kitchen, which is nice because its such a wind-down after studying. Especially now that I'm back to running in the morning before studying. I decided to make dessert for him as a way to thank him for putting up with me. I'm a total PITA these days. Anxious, snappy, and emotional - even more than normal. Yesterday, he was even afraid to help with the laundry because last time he did he got his head bitten off for doing it wrong. I came across the recipe for oreo truffles in Sarah's blog and thought they would be a perfect thank you for him. Now, this was not the first time I'd heard of oreo truffles, these are one of the most popular dishes on the Nest. And I don't just mean on the What's Cooking Board, they're also mentioned quite frequently on my home board. So I knew they had to be good. And there's not a redeeming quality about them. They have 3 ingredients, none of which are healthy - Jon would be in heaven. So I rolled my little balls of oreo and cream cheese, dipped them in chocolate, sprinkled them with crumbs, and put them in the fridge to wait. The results were dramatic:
Case study #1 - Jon: You made truffles? That's so gourmet!
Case study #2 - Jon takes a bite, his eyes roll back in his head. He might be unconscious, he was never all that loquacious to begin with, so its hard to tell. Then he looks at me and smiles a gigantic smile. (I think he likes them)
Case study #3 - Jon can only eat 2 truffles. 2! This is brilliant! This is a boy who eats an entire package of oreos in a sitting. An entire quart of ice cream at one time. Apparently the way to improve portion control is to OD on it.



Shrimp with Peanut Noodles
1/6 cup creamy peanut butter
1/6 cup water
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3/4 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp chili paste with garlic
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 tsp salt
cooking spray
Wide rice noodles, cooked
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into julienne strips
1/2 cup chopped seeded cucumber
1/4 cup diagonally cut green onions
1 1/2 Tbsp chopped roasted peanuts
1 Tbsp cilantro leaves
2 lime wedges

1. Combine first 7 ingredients, stir with a whisk, set aside
2. Toss shrimp with 1/4 tsp salt. Saute in a nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium high heat 3 minutes per side, or until done.
3. Combine peanut sauce, shrimp, noodles, bell pepper, cucumber, and onions in large bowl. Toss well. Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges.



Oreo Truffles (from Chomping the Big Apple)
the original recipe made 42 balls, which is waaaaaaay to much for 1 1/2 people (I don't really do chocolate, I somehow am missing the chocolate gene. It's too sweet for me.) So I cut it in half, and maybe made the balls a little bigger, because I ended up with about 17.

1/2 pkg. OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, divided (I used Trader Joes' Joe Joes)
1/2 pkg. (4 oz.) Cream Cheese, softened
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted

CRUSH 4 of the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor; reserve for later use. Crush remaining 18 cookies to fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 24 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.
DIP balls in chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.
REFRIGERATE until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator.

Stepping it Up

There are only 6 study days left before THE BAR, so I've upped the game a bit. Everyday I'm focusing on one multi-state subject and one essay subject. Today was Corporations and Torts. Torts I'm definitely at the comfortable stage with, but Corporations is still a scary subject for me, or so I thought.

Study plan:
1) 50 Mixed MBE questions - 88%, yay! Maybe I am learning something!
2) Review/memorize/shorten outlines for Corporations and Agency - I really love the little one page tear out for agency
3) 2 Corporations essays - Nailed these guys. Honestly, they came so easy I was worried I missed some major issues (only one duty breached? That can't be right!) but I didn't. And frankly, I think my organization of the issues was better than the sample (of course that could explain the "above average" I got on my organization/format. This was a really good boost because I felt like this was a weak spot of mine, but apparently its not as weak as I thought.
4) Review/memorize/shorten outline for Torts - got it down to one page, could have gone shorter, but I felt anxious about removing some rules that weren't tested in practice
5) Torts MBEs - I did about 50 of these too, just to keep the streak going....it didn't.
6) Listen to Torts CDs. My walks to and from the library are not as fun as they used to me. But since I'm an aural learner I'm hoping to pick up a few minor details.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fair weather friends















Today we went to the fair. Yay fair! I haven't been to the OC Fair since before I started law school, and Jon has never been. It was great to go again. We divided our day into three parts, the animals, the food, and the games.

We began with the animals. I love seeing the animals. The animals love seeing us. The llamas, the cows, the goats, chickens, sheep, and the pregnant pigs!!!! The pigs at the fair are gigantic. I mean, Charlotte's Web had it all wrong. No way Wilbur stayed a cute little piggie for very long. I mean these things are HUGE! Jon made friends with a cow. Very good friends. She began by licking his sandal, the little slut. She quickly moved on to heavier petting, using his sandal to itch all over her face. I quickly told her he was taken and she had better remove her filthy cow mouth from my husband or she would find herself in between two toasted sesame seed buns.

Of course, the best part of the fair is fair food. Calories go out the window and health concerns? Foggetaboutit. Actually I'm not as bad as (ahem) some people. My favorite fair food? Funnel cake. So I made sure I had some. Jon? He had a fried twinkie (hated it), onion rings (loved them) and his favorite fair food, cotton candy. Seriously, if this boy doesn't have a heart attack before he's 40 I will attribute it completely to my attempts to reign him in at home. And also in the food category - we went to a pie eating contest. SO much fun! They started with the under 5 group. The contest was "who can eat the pie the fastest" which one of the kids didn't get and sat there, happily munching away watching his competitors shove pie in their faces. When the contest ended, he had eaten maybe the tip of his pie. Too cute! A girl won the contest. Yay girls! Next came the 5-10 group. They understood the rules a little better, and there were also a ton more guys, which meant pie EVERYWHERE. Well, at least all over them. Jon swears he saw one of the guys throw up on his plate, but they're little kids, so everyone wins. They also did a 10-15 age group and 16 and older age group which involved blindfolds, but really? Who wants to see a bunch of preteens and grownups stick their face in pie? Not me. Its enough to make me lose my appetite for funnel cake.

We headed over to the carnival area. I have two specific rules for fairs. 1) No clowns. 2) No fair rides. I mean, really. These are rides that are MEANT to come apart within seconds. Pack them up, drive to a new town, put them up. Yeah, that feels safe to me. And have you seen the people who run the rides? They don't exactly look like people you would entrust with your life.
But Jon had never ridden on a gravitron before. He was always too afraid. WHAT? There's a ride that Jon was afraid of that I wasn't? This is unprecedent. So we rode it. This wasn't the normal gravitron where the floor drops, instead, once you are spinning a million miles an hour, the ride lifts you up and turn vertical so you are spinning looking at the ground or the sky with only centrifugal force holding you up. Jon was scared, but he survived. Jon's favorite part of the fair is the games, so he had to give his money to every barker he could find. He did win me a cute little lobster in skiball. He won me some rather ugly little prizes too, but really, I'd rather not post pictures. They're really ugly. And me? Well I love skiball as you may remember. I found a game where it was a skiball race - you tossed your balls, and depending on what hole they went in determined the speed of your character. And guess what? I WON! And not only did I win, but the prize I won? Way bigger than ANY of the prizes Jon won. So I guess you would call me the big winner of the day. I love the fair.



















Mom and Dad came over for dinner tonight. They just got back from visiting my Aunt in Arizona and this is probably the last I'll get to see of them before THE BAR. I made Cooking Light's Vegetarian Pad Thai, which is one of my all time favorite foods. (I know, how cliche). I was sooooo concerned with my dad liking it (because he hates everything) that I didn't even realize my mom didn't like tofu. I'm such a bad daughter. The good news is, there was plenty for mom to eat even without the tofu (she gave dad her tofu - yeah mom, I saw that) and ate the rest of the pad thai, the broccoli, and the salad I made. The better news, my dad says it might have been his favorite meal I've made. Even my mom said it was the best tofu she's ever had (although that's not really saying much is it?). Jon said he loved it, and wished I had added chicken or shrimp to it. Normally pad thai has chicken, shrimp, and tofu. It would be easy enough to add those ingredients to this dish, now that we know its trustworthy. I love pad thai, and this was ridiculously easy to make at home (even though serrano peppers make me cough like crazy when I cut them). This will definitely become a common dish in the household.

And to make the day even better? When I got on to my email tonight I found out that I won a handmixer from Bakespace.com! Bakespace is great, basically its a Myspace for bakers without all the scary pedophiles. Instead its a space where you can trade recipes. Babette runs the site and really, she's done amazing things with it. Its grown immensely in numbers since I've joined, which is always cool. The whole month of July they're giving away kitchaid appliances every day through "raffle" system. Yesterday I won the raffle and this pretty new hand mixer, and whisk attachment, and dough hooks will be joining my arsenal very shortly. Isn't she lovely?
You can join bakespace by clicking here. I promise they don't ask for your first born or anything weird like that.
























Cooking Light's Vegetarian Pad Thai
2/3 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 1/2 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
1 tsp chopped, seeded serrano chili
1/2 lb uncooked wide rice stick noodles
4 tsp canola oil
1 package extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
3/4 cup diagonally cut green onions
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro
1/3 cup coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts

1) combine first 6 ingredients, set aside
2) Cook noodles in boiling water 5 minutes or until done, drain and rinse with cold water, set aside
3) Heat 2 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add tofu, cook 7 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan.
4) Combine egg whites and egg, stirring well with a whisk
5) Heat 2 tsp oil in pan over medium high heat. Add garlic and saute 10 sec. Add egg mixture, and cook 30 secs until soft scrambled, stiffing constantly. Stir in chili sauce mixture and noodles. Cook 2 minutes. Stir in tofu, bean sprouts, onions, and 1/4 cup cilantro and cook 3 minutes or until throughly heated.
6) Sprinkle 1/4 cup cilantro and peanuts over noodle mixture.


Grilled Chicken Cesar Salad
1 bag romaine lettuce
1 grilled chicken breast
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups cooked broccoli
Caesar italian dressing
1/4 grated parmesean cheese

1) Toss lettuce with chicken, tomatoes, and broccoli
2) Add dressing
3) Sprinkle with parmesean cheese.

Getting Curried Away

Last night was tofu night again. This time I found a great recipe from Kake's vegan cookery for another Thai dish. I mean, its been a week since we had Thai food. It was time. This dish is Red curried vegetables with tofu. Now Kake says this is best made with his red curry sauce. I'm sure he's right, but rather than take the extra time/ingredients to make the sauce, I opted for Trader Joe's red curry sauce. I mean its Trader Joes which is usually great, and it was already made which is a plus in my book. However, because of this change, I don't think the TJ's sauce is as powerful as Kake's and the veggies were GREAT, but the tofu was a little lacking in flavor. Next time I make this, I would either add more sauce, or simmer the tofu in the sauce before adding it to the mix. But spice-wise? I thought this was just the right spiciness. I think I really like the TJ's red curry sauce (it was our first experience with it), and I think it could be a great addition to my TJ's list.

Red Curried Vegetables with Tofu
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 pckg plain firm tofu
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/6 head broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 1 bell peppers, cut into large (2cm, 3/4 inch) squares
  • 1/2 cup TJ's Thai red curry sauce
  • 1 zucchini cut into thick semicircles

1. First prepare the tofu. Drain and rinse it well. 3/4 inch cubes

2. Heat a large heavy frying pan, and oil it lightly (or heavily if you prefer). Fry each side of the tofu cubes until golden brown, and set aside (you can do this while preparing the rest of the curry, as long as you keep an eye on it). Don't stirfry it, but wait to turn it until the bottom is browned, then turn carefully, without breaking.

3. To make the curry, heat a large saucepan or wok, then add a little oil, and heat again. Add the garlic, and stir for a few seconds before beginning to add the vegetables in the order given. The curry paste needs to be added before the pan gets so full that it doesn't fry properly, but not so soon that it overcooks. I add it after the peppers.

4. When all the vegetables are in, add the fried tofu and cook for a few more minutes, then turn the heat down, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally (carefully, to avoid breaking the tofu), until the vegetables are done to your liking. Take the lid off before the end if it looks like there will be too much liquid.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

On my own

So now that Bar/Bri's over, I have all day to study. However, the paced program only gives me a couple of hours of work a day. Now maybe this is to reward me for keeping it up with the paced program, but it makes me nervous. So I've started supplementing. Extra MBEs, extra essays, eventually I will bring myself to do a performance test, but right now the thought gives me a headache. Right now me weakest spots are:
Evidence MBES (for some reason I'm amazing at the essays)
Con Law Essays (again, amazing at the MBEs)

- which basically tells me I know the Evidence doctrines, but can't always apply them
and
- I recognize Con Law issues, but don't know them by heart

I'm still scoring in the high 70s for the MBEs, so things could be worse, but the fact that there are now 11 days until the bar is starting to hit home.

On the homefront, today I turned to an old favorite for dinner. Sparkpeople's Oregeno Chicken. I used to make it about once a week during the school year. The funny thing is, its never the same twice, kind of like "Chicken surprise".





SP's Chicken Oregeno

  • 2 chicken breasts

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

  • cooking spray

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped

  • 1 lemon, sliced

  • 1 tomato, chopped

  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped

  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano (or one teaspoon dried)

  • 1/4 cup dry white wine

  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth

  • 1 medium, sweet green pepper, cut into strips



1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.



2. Lightly coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray.



3. Cook chicken over medium heat until light brown (about 15 minutes), turning once. Reduce heat.



4. Sprinkle garlic, lemon, half of tomato, onion, parsley and oregano over chicken pieces in skillet.



5. Add wine and broth.



6. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.



7. Add remaining tomato and sweet peppers, cover and continue to simmer for 7-10 minutes or until chicken is tender and cooked through.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Orange chicken at home

It's time for the WC Platinum Challenge Round 3. The ingredients this week: wine, honey, peanut butter, onions, seafood. Dish #1, Orange Chicken incorporates wine and honey. This recipe started innocently enough. I loved the citrus chicken I made last weekend, and thought I would make orange chicken. Everyone makes lemon chicken, but I thought orange chicken would be an interesting twist. Kinda like Duck a l'orange, but with chicken. And the more I thought of it, the more I kept thinking of Panda Express.

Growing up, we didn't have Chinese fast food like Pick Up Sticks or Panda Express. In my small Pennsylvania town we had one Chinese food restaurant and it was pretty "authentic" as anyone who has ever experienced both will tell you, there is a world of difference between authentic Chinese food and American Chinese Food (kinda like that "Chop Suey" number from Flower Drum Song). Combine that with the fact that my parents are New Yorkers who made their own Chinese food at home. There was almost always a duck hanging in the basement, much to the bemusement of the family dogs. My dad certainly knew his way around a wok and his peanut noodles were a family favorite.

My first experience with Chinese fast food didn't come until college when the line for Panda Express used to wrap around the Ackerman Student Union. I got in line thinking "who knows food better than college students." And of course they were right. Their orange chicken was unlike anything I'd ever eaten. I don't know if I'd classify it in the same category as Peking duck, but it was definitely tasty.

How to create this at home? Orange juice, honey, soy sauce, and sake (rice wine....it counts....I swear it counts). I made this using chicken breast because when I originally thought of it, I thought it would be more like lemon chicken. Next time I make it, I would definitely use this sauce on chunks of chicken and serve it with rice. What was so great about it was that no one flavor overpowered the other. Jon was worried the orange juice would make it too sweet, especially with the honey, but the saltiness of the soy sauce and the bite of the sake cut through the sweetness.

And know the best part of it? 1 order of Orange Chicken has 500 calories, 27 grams of fat and 810 milligrams of sodium. But because mine isn't fried, a serving has 167 calories, 6.3 grams of fat, and 580 milligrams of sodium. MUCH better.



Orange Chicken at home
2 chicken breasts
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup sake
1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp honey

1) Combine chicken, zest, salt, pepper, and garlic and refrigerate for 30 min.
2) Preheat oven to 400
3) Combine juice, sake, soy sauce, and honey in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until sauce is reduced to 2/3 cup.
4) Heat Tbsp canola oil in a large oven proof skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken breasts and saute 5 minutes. Flip the chicken over and drizzle with 3 Tbsp of sauce. Bake for 10 minutes. Serve with orange sauce.