To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A very quick meal preparation for one person. (Would be happy to fix this for R but he does not eat salmon unless it is in the form of salmon patties.)

Set toaster oven to preheat to 350 degrees.

While it's preheating, cover the cookie sheet with aluminum foil and place on it a single salmon filet, skin side down.

Brush top with olive oil. I brush with a tablespoon - pour the oil in the spoon and rub the spoon over the filet so that the oil sloshes over the side and the spoon smooths it over the fish.

Sprinkle with lemon pepper.

Place the sheet in the toaster oven and set to 15 min.


While the fish is cooking, add between 1/3 and 1/2 cup seasoned wild and long grain rice mix to a largish glass bowl.

Add about 3 times as much water. Stir.

Microwave on high, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until water is taken up. The bowl meeds to be big enough not to allow the water to froth over the sides. I use a medium-sized mixing bowl for this.

Remove from microwave and add pat of butter or margarine; stir with fork.


While the rice is cooking, prepare broccoli or carrots or squash for steaming by cutting into bite-size pieces and placing in a bowl with a bit of water.

After the rice comes out, place the bowl, covered, in the microwave and cook on high for about 5 minutes or so.


I am sometimes surprised to find the extent to which folk wisdom is borne out by science. Remember the old wives' tale that fish is brain food? Well, salmon, as we all know, is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Why are they called omega? Fatty acids consist of a polar head (a carboxyl group, COOH) and a nonpolar hydrocarbon tail. To indicate the position on that tail where double bonds occur, or side groups or anything else, chemists count the first carbon on the head end as 1 and number them from there. Nutritionists start from the end of the tail instead. So an omega-3 fatty acid is a fatty acid that has a double bond between the carbons 3 and 4 from the tail end.

Here's a Wikipedia article about omega-3 fatty acids:

n−3 fatty acids are thought by some to have membrane-enhancing capabilities in brain cells. One medical explanation is that n−3 fatty acids play a role in the fortification of the myelin sheaths. It is no coincidence that n−3 fatty acids comprise approximately eight percent of the average human brain, according to Dr. David Horrobin, a pioneer in fatty acid research. Ralph Holman of the University of Minnesota, another major researcher studying essential fatty acids, who gave omega-3 its name, surmised how n−3 components are analogous to the human brain by stating that "DHA is structure; EPA is function."

Now how did the folks who generate folk wisdom know this?

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Okay, another funny thing from last year.

We have a very small laundry room that you step through coming into the house from the garage. I wanted to cut a pet door next to the door from the living room so we could put the litter box in the laundry room and the cats would always have access to it. That way the expended litter could be taken straight to the trash thing in the garage without being carried through the house. And there's a utility sink in there, to which we added hand soap and a towel rack so we could wash our hands after dealing with the litter.

Here's a picture, which I actually took because of Bonnie's habit of sitting in that doorway when I'm doing laundry, watching the washing machine spin.

R cut that door, and put the frame on without the flap, under Bonnie's interested observation. When he finished she walked over, sniffed all around it, went through and came out, and said "cool" so to speak.

When Molly walked in and saw it - whoa, different story! A hole had opened in the universe. Maybe it was a wormhole into dimension X. If you stepped through it, you could end up anywhere; or maybe it would snap shut when you were halfway through, and there you'd be. So even though Molly would happily walk back and forth through the open door you see in the picture, it took several days to get her used to the idea that she could go through that small opening safely. I had to go into the laundry room and shut the door, and play with her through the pet door, and take Bonnie in with me, so Molly could look at her in there and see her jump out. Eventually Molly screwed her courage to the sticking place, and pulled up her socks, and tried it herself. And nothing bad happened, so we were able to put the litter box in there and it worked out like we thought.

Molly now likes to go in there and glare out through the pet door. It's kind of startling to be randomly looking around and happen to notice her green eyes staring out.