Gluten-free recipe and photos for veal parmigiana comfort meal

Veal parmigiana with spaghetti al burro  It’s when you actually do the cooking that you are reminded of some important tips when formulating a recipe.  Last night I made the veal parmigiana mentioned in yesterday’s post and I forgot to mention that the fool-proof way to make certain your coating of cracker or bread crumbs sticks to the veal cutlets is to chill them for two hours in the refrigerator after they are coated. This technique works for fish, shrimp, and chicken as well as for veal.

Now if you are wondering why my spaghetti looks so yellow, it is because I used quinoa-corn blend pasta. Quinoa, a tiny grain which has been growing in popularity, was called the “Mother Grain” by the Incas who once ruled a great empire in South America. It has a rich, nutty, flavor. I’ve been experimenting with alternate grains to reduce the amount of gluten in my family’s diet.  If you like your pasta al dente (firm) style, this is a good substitute for semolina pasta. And if you want your meal completely gluten-free, use gluten -free flour (such as flax seed meal), bread, or crackers to create your breading.

For more details about making this recipe, read the previous post.


Auto crash sends spouse to Maryland Shock Trauma

My husband.s blue mini cooper has bit the dust, it is now totaled and he was taken by ambulance to Maryland Shock Trauma.  He sustained a bad concussion and  is pretty banged up.
I had a sense of deja vu having just been a patient at shock trauma 18 monthes ago. The same attentive staff is here in the trauma intake department with its alcoves, each with a patient surrounded by equipment and machines. There are many male nurses and my husband’s  nurse’s name was Harold. According to his colleagues, Harold has been working at Shock trauma since it opened. He is dedicated. He also seemed more knowledgeable than the neurologists who stopped by to ask questions and check reflexes and muscle strength.
Fortunately my son Christopher found out about the accident about the same time I got a call from the fire department and drove with me to the hospital.  I was scared and shaken. Peter was scared too, getting banged up and taken by ambulance is not fun stuff.
We’ve been waiting waiting. They’ve ordered a MRI. The catscan was cleared but with head trauma it is important to watch and wait.
Our evening nurse Carmen explained how a concussion is a microscopic injury and you can’t really see it but the flow of blood nourishing the brain is disrupted which can temporarily disrupt cognitive function.  Twelve hours later, he was cleared to go home but needs plenty of quiet and rest.
I am so thankful that he is home and safe with me on Valentine’s Day.

September Has Come and Gone – Excerpts from Editor’s Letter

There was a family, the Greens, that lived in our neighborhood, when I was a child, who had a daughter my age named Rachel. I liked to go to their house because it was very different from my own.  Mrs. Green was a stay-at-home mom, unlike my own mother who was often preoccupied with her work.   She baked her own bread and cookies, sometimes allowing us to assist. I remember sitting around their dining room table with Rachel and her younger brother Michael, and some other children who lived nearby, cutting out scraps of colored paper and magazines to make collages.  Mrs. Green always had a new craft project to keep us busy and an unending supply of paste, scissors, and colored paper.

No one could visit their house if they had the slightest sign of a sniffle. I remember being turned away at the door more than once because I coughed or had a runny nose and feeling very disappointed.  But then I didn’t know that Michael had been born with a birth defect to his heart, which at that time could not be surgically repaired until he reached the age of 12.  His parents lived in fear that if he were to get a cold that developed into influenza or pneumonia, he might not recover. No wonder I never saw him playing outside in the snow.

How many people do we know, or meet each day of our lives, that have chronic illnesses or are fighting a deadly disease?  How fearful Rachel’s mother must have been, worrying all those years about her son. No wonder she thought up all those projects to keep her children busy, she wanted to keep them in the house and to enter the outside world as little as possible.

Unless our neighbors, friends, and colleagues tell us about their struggles and challenges, we assume they are fine.  There isn’t always an ultra short haircut, crutches, or an oxygen tank to provide us with clues that everything is not okay.  While many people seem to relish sharing the details of their doctor’s visits and various surgeries, others prefer keeping that information private. Talking about painful experiences often reopens old emotional wounds.

It doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves that good health is a gift, something to be honored and treasured. So it’s important to enjoy each and every day as it arrives. Years later I learned my childhood neighbor did have his long awaited surgery, it was successful and today he lives a full and productive life.

The September print issue of Chesapeake Taste Magazine had the theme, “Here’s to your health” and  we packed it full of stories about people living life to the fullest—from legendary  saxophone player Del Pushert still going strong performing at age 78 to our contributing writer Vicki Meade learning how to pole dance. While the print copies are pretty much gone, you can still read it all online by visiting  You can also stay in touch with all things Annapolis by reading my blog Annapolis Taste. Thanks for reading.

New Puppy & New Magazine!

2012 got off to a wonderful start with the arrival of Chloe a beautiful Labradoodle puppy (now 10 weeks old). While I did have every intention of adopting a Golden Retriever rescue, fate had other plans. And perhaps with all our strong memories of our beloved Grace of Naptown, it better that we have switched breeds for an entirely new dog experience. For those readers unfamiliar with Labradoodles, these dogs are a hybrid breed created originally to work as service dogs in place of Golden and Labrador retrievers in households with allergies. These dogs are a cross of poodles and retrievers and thus have the kind obedience of a retriever and the cleverness and non-shedding coat of a poodle. Chloe is third generation, so both of her parents were Labradoodles. Both her parents weigh between 40 and 45 pounds, so she will be large but lean.
She is being crate trained and is sleeping well through the night. Of course by joining our family she gets plenty of exercise. We have not taken her for a downtown walk yet, but she has taken plenty of walks in the neighborhood to investigate and become accustomed to the sights and smells of the Murray Hill neighborhood.
This past week in media news Jefferson Communications signed and agreement with HDJ publishing to purchase the Annapolis area lifestyle magazine Taste of the Bay. Jefferson Communications will begin publishing the former Taste of the Bay as Chesapeake Taste in April and I have been named as the new editor! I’ll be working with Karen Gaspers, who has been doing an excellent job of managing both the calendar, resource books, and Chesapeake Family content for Jefferson Communications along with new hire, Betsy Stein who will be leaving her previous editor’s post at Maryland Family where she worked since 2002, winning numerous awards in her field. Betsy will be putting her primary focus on Chesapeake Family. This means I have about one month to strongly focus on Chloe before there will be a radical change in my daily routine and I’ll be back working in an office other than the one in my home.
THANK YOU to all my friends and colleagues who offered encouragement and support during my rocky times during the closing months of 2011. While I still have some reduction in mobility in my neck and back from my injuries, I continue to go weekly to P.T. and try to do all my exercises faithfully. I have not been cleared to resume pilates but I’m hoping that eventually I will be able to return to my previous fitness routine. There will be, however, no horseback riding for me. I will be very content to do my trail exploration on foot.

My new puppy!

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Happy 2012 Wishes to Good Friends Far & Near

The start of a New Year gives me the opportunity to once again thank everyone who offered words of encouragement, cards, flowers, home cooked meals, and just plain spent time with me taking walks and helping to accomplish what were previously small tasks around the house. My family and I are so thankful that I am almost recovered, recovered enough to enjoy the beautiful recent “springlike” days and take a walk in the woods. While I do enjoy my daily visits to City Dock and the streets of downtown, I’m lucky enough to also live within walking distance of Truxton Park. The nature trail behind Bates Middle School takes you on a journey past Chesapeake Children’s Museum over the wetlands beyond Spa Creek and over to the docking area of Truxton Park. The photos were taken at “Lookout Point”. What a great view.
My son Chris continues to be interested in the various mushrooms we encounter, so the photo is of another as yet unidentified by handsome variety. I enjoyed spending time over the holiday break with daughter Alex, who is already back on the West Coast, about to start her 2nd quarter tomorrow but I do miss my son Justin, working hard on the other side of the world and currently in Singapore. At least we can Skype and 2012 promises to provide more flexibility for his travel plans.
Here’s to “New Beginnings”. May everyone have a safe, healthy, joyful, and prosperous New Year in 2012.

Physical Therapy Can Be Painful

This morning was my first Physical Therapy session since the accident. I can’t do anything with my back, this month, so the focus is on my neck. I already know the drill, having been through PT after surgery on my broken left wrist two years ago. Heat first to loosen up and relax the muscles, then some stretching or exercise, followed by ice to reduce the pain.
My neck is so stiff and still in healing mode, so its too early for exercise. I’m limited to a touch of stretching but primarily just a neck massage. After it is all over and the day is progressing I feel those tinges of pain all over again.
When I feel pain, it’s time to think of other things such as the beautiful view of sunlight on the water and the sailboats I admired, while crossing the Eastport Bridge yesterday. Yesterday I also poached a whole salmon for the first time and discovered it was very easy. (I was so afraid I was going to overcook or undercook the fish.) While I do not own a fancy fish poacher, a large baking pan that could hold water and plenty of tin foil are all that is needed. After reading multiple recipes, I settled on creating the court bouillon in advance with fresh herbs and vegetable broth. Boiled and then cooled I poured it in the pan for poaching unable to totally cover the fish, so we turned the fish midway through the process. The foil on top, locks in the heat. As to how long to let the broth boil or to immediately turn it off and depend on the residual heat– well, that depends on the size of the fish. Fortunately my husband was available to help flip the fish and later on he helped with the skinning and deboning. But it was delicious. So I am certain to try it again.
I didn’t take a photo of the poached fish, so you’ll have to settle for the spring flower market.

Herman Maril Exhibit Brings Family to New York

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Saturday I walked over 100 city blocks in New York City. Fortunately I brought my TCO (Total Contact Orthosis) brace ie clamshell for when I started to feel fatigued. It was also great protection elbowing our way off the train in crowded Penn Station. The occasion was the opening of the Herman Maril exhibition, entitled “Sense of Place” which opened November 5th at the David Findlay Jr. Gallery’s new location at 724 Fifth Avenue, across from Trump Tower and Tiffany’s. It’s beautiful space, larger than the previous gallery as you can see from the photos we took. One of my favorite paintings is “Kitchen” (I hope that’s the correct name or Cape Kitchen). At any rate, it was always one of my mother’s favorites– inspired by the house in Provincetown and I find it very appealing because it is an interior with window. The canvas gives both a view of the lush landscape greenery beyond the window, while the strong colors of the red frying pan and the purple/blue sink draw the eye and mind to thoughts of home, household objects, and intimacy.
Peter and I took a super early train and arrived in the city at 9:00 a.m. After walking up to mid-town to meet up with my cousin Ron, after breakfast we proceeded to walk along to the edge of Central Park to pay a visit to the Whitney Museum. I particularly enjoyed “The Real Surreal” exhbit and the David Smith Sculpture exhibit. After walking back to the hotel for a brief rest and just enough time to change clothes, it was on to the Herman Maril opening.
The exhibit will be up through November 26th and is open six days a week from 10:00-5:30. If you get to New York after the exhibit is down, please take note that the Findlay gallery always has some work available to show to clients if you inquire.
More about our New York adventures in another posting.