Sunday, August 30, 2009

Under smoke-filled skies

Under the smoke filled skies of Southern California, Andy and I have been cleaning out the garage of my house to make room for everything I deem necessary to store. Mostly, It has turned into a chore of taking everything out of the room, organizing a box, and then putting everything back into the room into a different arrangement. It’s been super fun. Dad found a bunch of pictures of him and the family from about thirty years ago. Its amazing how short men’s shorts were in the 70’s.

In more pressing news, my visa application has been officially turned into the proper authorities. Now begins the waiting game. Andy and I have started a preliminary look at apartments near my campus; some look promising. We have been making boxes of what we can survive with in England. So far, it’s a Le Cruset 3l pot (early wedding present from Emily), a wooden spoon, a pair of tongs, a 13x9 baking pan, and three knives. If we can stick with just that, I think it qualifies as an adventure cookbook…

On Wednesday we went to see Inglorious Bastards. It is by far my favorite Tarantino movie. On Saturday, we went to dinner with my grandparents. They gave me three books on British history and tourism. They have some amazing pictures and a dictionary! This will help us better understand what those English people are saying. And what their signs mean.

I also made a pretty tasty pasta dish I’m pretty proud of and will be sharing with you now:

2 Sweet potatoes, peeled and large diced.

4-5 Chicken and apple sausages, cut into ½ in sliced disks

2 cloves garlic, minced

10 large sage leaves

¾ cup white wine

½ cup cream cheese

1lb fresh pasta (we used whole wheat)

1.Place a medium sized pan filled with water, the diced sweet potatoes, and a tablespoon of salt on high heat. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 2 min. Drain and rinse with cool water.

2. Fill a large pot with water and place on high heat. Bring to a boil and salt liberally.

3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausages and brown liberally. Remove the sausages from the pan and lower the heat to low. Drain the fat into a receptacle.

3. To the brown bits, add 3 tablespoons of butter. Allow to melt and start browning. Then, add the garlic and cook for 1 min.

4. Add the sage leaves to the butter and allow to fry for 1 min. When the leaves have started to curl, add the wine. Allow the sauce to reduce for 3 min over low heat. Add the cream cheese and stir.

5. Put 2 tablespoons of salt into the pot of boiling water. Add the pasta and follow package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of starchy cooking liquid.

6. Add the cooked pasta and the reserved liquid to the skillet with the sauce and mix. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Berkeley and Back!


Hello All!

We had a sunny weekend in Berkeley and San Francisco after a rather foggy drive on the coast up from Los Angeles through such iconic places as Big Sur and Monterey. You see a hodge-podge of images from our time above. Q By the way, isn't Quinn a model? As for me, however, I still do not understand some basic aspect of photography.)

I think this picture is my favorite.

Berkeley was a paradise. It is a beautiful place, with loads of nature, good public transport (go BART!), views of the Bay, and an endless supply of delicious restaurants which have earned their fame. Quite a few bookstores and cats, which may be the best part!

The university is spread around, but centered very near to Reilly's dorm. Her dorm itself is new and big! Only four floors, so it feels like a sprawling apartment building with colorful patios and wide-open windows. Gender-neutral bathrooms (co-ed, that is), which is sure to be an adventure. Rei says it was creepy the first time, being followed in by a boy, but that already (one day) it seems normal. The theory is two-part: many people aren't easily defined by gender category (as the South-African runner has shown); and women's only rooms are not more safe because they are women's only, nor are men's only, the sign doesn't stop any sort of violence or such. Plus, on the lighter side, the categories of disgusting men's rooms and long-lined women's rooms break down. It seems to work well at all of their many many dorms, for thousands of students, for a couple of years now. So that's new.

Anyway, Rei seems to take to making-new-friends college life very well: "Mom, I have to hang up now, I'm making friends."

It was great to see Laura and Dave there, too! We ate beautiful, delicious, rich food for hours at Corso, and talked and talked and talked and it was wonderful!

Quinn is back on top of the visa situation. The bank-statement step of this process, supposed to be as easy as a balance statement, has turned out to be at least a two-day procrastination in an already to-the-wire process. That's put a pretty stressful tone on the week!

See you soon!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Ponyo was fantastic - kids movie, yes, but as funny as watching the cutest kids you know playing funny games. Miyazaki's comedic timing is famous, and it shows here. The art is great, too - I especially liked the storybook look of the narrative parts. Reilly says that, of all the animated films this year, this is her favorite (and she votes for the Academy Awards!)

Yesterday we went to Uncle Matt and Aunt Chris' cottage, which has an organic, turn of the century look. It is rich with art and gems and kernels of beauty. Quinn and Chris made buttons, I talked ecology with Matt. We all enjoyed blueberry scones and teatime.


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Party Time!

Farmer's Market goodies.

I like the colorful carrots - like Dr. Seuss! (andy)

Dad and Reilly enjoy the party.

Chomp chomp chomp

Plenty of fruit and veggies to go with the sliders and corndogs.

Yesterday was my parents Bon Voyage/Empty Nest party. It was an open house affair full of alcohol and food. Andy and I spent the day before stocking six ice chests full of beer, root beer, and wine.

We woke up at the crack of dawn yesterday to go the Calabasas Farmers Market. I needed to get a bunch of summer veggies for a salad, my mom wanted a melon and blueberries for a fruit platter, and dad wanted colorful carrots and celery for a side dish to his chicken wings. If the shopping list did not adequately describe the amount of food we had planned, allow me to publish the menu (complete with recipes):

Veggie Salad:

This is one of my favorite vegetable dishes. It is especially nice because it is pretty much the easiest thing in the world to prepare.
Serves: 6

6 small zucchini, cut into ½ in strips length-wise
3 small yellow squash, cut into ½ in strips length-wise
1 large or 2 small eggplants, cut into ½ in strips length-wise
2 red peppers, cut in half and de-seed
1 medium sized red onion, peeled and quartered (leave the base on so it won’t fall apart on the grill
½ cup olive oil
1 tbls Italian herb seasoning, or ½ tablespoon each of parsley, basil, thyme, and oregano.
1 package garlic hear boursin cheese

1. Preheat the grill to medium high heat.

2. Lay the cut vegetables out on a cutting board or cookie sheet and brush with the olive oil. Sprinkle the seasoning on the veggies.

3. Grill the veggies until tender and slightly charred.

4. Allow to cool slightly and then cut into large chunks. Place in a bowl with ¾ of the package of boursin cheese. Mix until well combined and the cheese has melted. Season as you like.


This is an Alton Brown recipe. It is amazing. It is a lot of work to prepare, but worth it if you want a juicy, albeit small, burger. They make good party food because it is portion controlled. The hardest part is finding good buns in the right size.
Serves: 4 (2 each)

½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powde
r½ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound ground chuck
8 (3-inch) buns cut in half
2-3 tablespoon mayo

1. Pre-heat the griddle to 350˚F.

2. Combine the onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, and salt in small bowl. Set aside.

3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, and place the ground chuck in the middle of the pan. Cover the meat with a large sheet of plastic wrap. Roll meat with a rolling pin until it covers the surface of the pan; it should be very thin. Remove the plastic wrap, and sprinkle the meat with the seasoning mixture. Fold the meat in half, from side to side, using the parchment paper. Use a pizza wheel to cut the meat into 8 even squares.

4. Place the cut burgers on the griddle. Cook 2-3 min per side.

5. Smear each bottom bun with a little mayo and top with the burger meat. Top with whatever you want!

We also had corn dogs, but it is such a complicated recipe I am not going to bother posting it. The tequila-lime chicken wings, chicken-apple sausage, and chips and salsa were all store bought (shock!).

Everyone wandered in around three that afternoon, and the party continued until about two that morning when Reilly’s friends finally passed out from exhaustion. It was a great blend of friends and family, young children running around wet from the pool, and serious conversations about politics and the future. Overall, a very good day.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Legos + Urban Decay = excellent Art project!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Photos from Eray!

While in New Orleans we took pictures with our friend Eray ( , and they are awesome! If the sweetness is too much you need a checkup with Tim at the diabetes center.

Please do not steal from our good friend.
Go to her website and help her eat.


What can you tell by our shoes?

At the Green Project, which rescues and re-sells stuff for houses.

Quinn is a supermodel.

We went to the Marigny in New Orleans to find urban decay. I was skeptical, but Eray pulled it off like a genius!

Quinn realized that she has a dozen disapproving faces for me.

Computers can make things look old-timey! That's awesome because we are old-timey people!

Eray: "walkywalkywalky, hold hands hold hands, walk, laughing is good, walky walky..."

We had so much fun, and they are beautiful - Thank you, Eray! Double high-five & slice!

-Andy (Quinn is asleep with the cat).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

In the beginning...

Quinn and I are jumping onto the Blog train. We will do our best to share our plans, recipes, and thoughts in this space so that we can all be somewhat connected. Comments are most welcome!

This summer in review:
-I leave Belgium, spend a week in Rome, return to Belgium, fly to Los Angeles.
-Quinn is at LAX with a Ford Focus full of gas and a cooler full of caffeine, and we drive straight to Kansas City.
-22 hours later, we join some of our favorite Loyola friends to help Elliot and Audrey get married. We also get to spend time with my siblings Jessie and James before they begin their adventure in Singapore (
-South to Monroe where I spend two weeks catching up with family and friends, and finding a new wardrobe - Thanks Mom! Quinn races on to New Orleans to see Tara.
-New Orleans is a hurricane of love and food and engagement photos ( (also
-Cross-Texas to Tucson to see Katie, Nick, and Emma. The most chilled-out people ever. The car is not stolen.
-Los Angeles now for a week or so. I have read a few books (Diamond Age and One Hundred Years of Solitude, one of which was exciting), and Quinn is giving her Visa and loan applications a second helping of stress. Also helping celebrate Reilly moving away with great food.

We have tickets to London on September 8. Quinn is fighting to have her Visa by that date, but please cross your fingers for us. We smile and look at apartments online a lot, but no firm dates. I am still corresponding with churchy people there to set up dates and meetings and such, but no apparent opportunities.

I hope that posts will typically be shorter and more playful than this, now that the groundwork is laid. We are excited to share some of our cool stuff!

-Andy (Quinn sitting next to me, but more focused on cute pictures)