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Live Reporting From The Bathtub, In A Helmet

Scott and I invented a new game yesterday.

It’s called:

It’s a game of chance, and y’all can play, too!

Here’s what you need to know:  Yesterday, Tree #1 cracked and fell onto Tree #2, which fell onto Tree #3, which had a double trunk.  One of its trunks fell 20 feet from our back door, and the other is propping up Trees 1 and 2.  

So now we have your basic domino set-up, but each domino is 140 goddamn feet tall.

The game is to guess whether Trees 1, 2 or 3 will fall on us during the night.  It’s like a gambling version of Jenga, but each Jenga piece weighs 7 tons.  Yippee!

The rules of the game are simple:

  • You may use a protractor;
  • You may consult a weather report;
  • You may have a cocktail while you play (because this is a stressful game) but you’re not allowed to take the bottle under the bed with you because WE’RE NOT HILL PEOPLE, SCOTT–WE HAVE TO SHARE.
  • You may come over and look at our trees in person, but you have to bring your own helmet and reflective safety gear, and you must sign a waiver that I downloaded from an adventure sports website.

I haven’t decided what the prize is for winning because I’m too busy getting our insurance policies in order.


It’s at times like this that I wish I lived by the ocean.  The big, scary, hurricany ocean.

So here’s a recipe for fish.  It takes only 15 minutes to prepare because my kitchen is in the red zone of rooms-that-could-get-whacked-by-a-tree.  It’s safer for me to sit here, in the empty bathtub, and type this.

If I lived near the ocean, I’d eat fish and chips at a seafood shack everyday.

But since we’re kickin’ it inland right now, we’ve been making our own crunchy baked cod.  It’s a spin on the traditional “fish and chips” because it’s baked, and the “chips” are a crunchy crust of salt and vinegar potato chips, rather than a pile of french fries.  The salt and vinegar flavor mellows a bit in the oven, but it’s still there.  And the person who thought to serve this with ranch dressing is a genius.

Fish And Chips (Redux) {Download & Print Recipe}

Reworded and loosened a bit in the proportions from a recipe in Cooking Light.


cod (or other white fish– preferably one that’s a little thick.)

mayonnaise (regular or fat-free.  I actually couldn’t taste the difference in the finished dish.)

salt & vinegar kettle chips (get kettle-style instead of regular potato chips–they’ll hold up better.  An 8.5-oz. bag worked for about 3 large fillets.)

ranch dressing (optional) for dipping


Preheat the oven to 400.  Pat the fish dry and lay it on a baking sheet.  Spread mayo on the top of each fillet (more than a thin layer).  Pulse a bunch of chips in a food processor or by hand (in a bowl with a heavy glass.)  Pat the chips all over the mayonnaise.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until golden brown and the fish is cooked through.  (Exact cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fillet.)  Serve with ranch dressing for dipping, if desired.


Cod is my favorite fish but I eat it sparingly because it’s not a very sustainable choice.  The Monterrey Bay Aquarium Seafood Buyer’s Guide (here) says if you really want to eat cod, buy cod caught by hook & line from the Atlantic, or by U.S. long-line, jig or trap from the Pacific.  The worst option, environmentally speaking, is to buy imported cod from the Pacific.  The place where you get your fish should be able to tell you where it’s from and how it was caught.


The little man has been spending time in the front yard since the back is a death trap.

He watched a bulldozer across the street for forever.

And as soon as we got inside, he plopped down by the door like “I have to go out.”


65 Comments Post a comment
  1. I just ‘logged’ on to find your tree dilemma. Hope you all figure a solution soon. Literally, I was just on the phone with a contractor to schedule having a couple of trees (dead) removed from my yard. In any event, can’t wait to try the fish and chips. You’re always ‘branching’ out!

    June 24, 2012
    • Ryan, I’ll ask Scott to make us a ‘decision tree’ for whether to cut down dead trees, and I’ll send it to you.

      Got to run–the dogs are ‘barking.’

      June 25, 2012
  2. #1 I am a “Hill People.” I was reminded of this fact today at the Farmer’s Market, as a matter of fact. I’m proud. It’s comfortable to drink under the bed. Straws make everything fun.
    #2 You can tell the puppy is a boy because little boys like big noisy things like bulldozers.
    #3 I hope your trees are gone by tomorrow afternoon because losing a kitchen would suuuuuck.
    #4 Leave it to you Lowlanders to make up bathtub games that involve putting clothes *on*…

    June 24, 2012
    • Brooke, HOW DO I BECOME A HILL PERSON?! It sounds awesome. Do I have to move back to Virginia and set up shop in the mountains? I can do that.

      So what happened at the Farmers’ Market? I hope when you say you were reminded of the fact you’re “Hill People,” you didn’t mean that a Lowlander said, like, a slur against Hill People. Lowlanders will do that sometimes. Usually it’s because they are in a bad mood because they haven’t played enough bath tub games, Hill People-style, in a while.

      June 30, 2012
      • Well, this particular Hill Person grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. But Virginia is nice, too. (I’m kinda liking the PC Hill Person capitalization, I must say…) If you transplant, just make sure you buy an old farmhouse and fix it up instead of bulldozing everything and putting up your own McMansion. (ptooie!) And don’t drive like a granny. You’ll be fine.

        The farmer’s market story isn’t so insulting as it was curious: I was spelling “Anasazi” for a vendor and he said, “You’re from the South aren’t you?” I still don’t know exactly how he knew where I was from…

        Perhaps because my “N” had two syllables… It’s “ee-yun” right?

        July 1, 2012
  3. Dione #

    Yikes…good luck with getting rid of the booby trap in your yard!
    Precious pics of your pups…love the one of them snuggled on the couch Awwww.

    June 24, 2012
    • Dione, usually they are wrestling and Seymour is making super weird puppy noises. I can’t really describe how weird they are. So I’m all over it when they actually chill the heck out and sleep for a minute. Camera at the ready.

      June 25, 2012
  4. So who’s been playing ‘Tarzan & Jane’ a little too vigorously, hmmmm?

    Nice try at diversionary tactics with the tasty fish & chip combo and cutest ever puppy anecdotes, but I can tell what’s really going on here Missy…leopard print tunics and ropey acrobatics for sure!

    June 24, 2012
    • Hee hee. Yeah, all that swinging from the tree-tops was bound to take its toll. I just thought I could keep the rouse up a little longer, but you’re right: it’s time for this blog to turn into the acrobatics website it was always meant to be. I will be opening an etsy shop shortly, where we can sell batik leopard print tunics and belts. Stay tuned!

      June 30, 2012
  5. a #

    Must be the season for it – my friend just came home to find one of her trees casually leaning all over her roof. I guess it mostly just took out part of her fence and some gutter, but still – you just don’t want to mess with trees. Fortunately, all of our trees are most likely to fall away from the house, and are too far away to do much damage. Unfortunately, our yard is REALLY sunny and our grass is already brown.

    This fish actually sounds appealing. What other kinds of white fish do you recommend? (I don’t eat a lot of fish…)

    June 24, 2012
    • Yikes–your poor friend. My mom’s car was smooshed in Virginia last year during a microburst in which a sycamore fell in her yard. It was a mess. Thankfully, since the tree that fell in our yard broke at the double trunk instead of falling over from the root, it didn’t take out any of the fence.

      In terms of other kinds of fish: Haddock would be the closest to cod and would work wonderfully. The great thing about those two is that they break apart into thick flakes and it’s just delicious with the crust. Chilean sea bass and halibut are usually also nice thick cuts, but I’m not sure they flake as easily, for what it’s worth.) I wouldn’t use a steak-like fish, like swordfish (or mahi mahi? Forget what that’s like) but I tend not to like those no matter how they’re prepared.

      I haven’t tried this on thinner white fish–like flounder, trout, orange roughy or tilapia. I think I’ll give tilapia a try soon, though, because environmentally-speaking, it’s a really good fish for us to eat. A fresh-water fish, like trout, might have an earthy, muddy flavor (in a good way) that competes with the salt and vinegar flavor, so I probably wouldn’t do that. Same with salmon and tuna–I don’t think it would be an ideal flavor choice.

      But I kind of have no idea what I’m talking about, so if anyone wants to chime in, feel free.

      Have a good weekend!

      June 30, 2012
  6. Salt and vinegar potato chips, you are a GENIUS! I hope that you have already been rewarded for it by a tree-removal contractor who arrived promptly and charged reasonable rates.

    June 25, 2012
    • I WISH. Instead, our landlord called a bunch of gardeners who came over, chopped up part of the tree that was on the ground, and then left all the chopped up bits in our yard. I’m more worried about, you know, the Leaning Tower of Trees that is in the process of falling!

      Ah well.

      June 30, 2012
  7. I’ll have to politely decline joining you in your game. Don’t take it personally; it’s just that I’m highly competitive, and no fun to be around if I’m losing… and since I can’t imagine *anyone* feels like a winner in this scenario, it’ll be a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ from me. Call me when you bring out the Balderdash™.

    June 25, 2012
    • Krisann, have you ever played “Catch Phrase?” It’s such a fun game. Kind of like Taboo crossed with hot potato. Scott and I plan to play a lot of it after the trees smoosh our house and we have to live in a tent.

      June 30, 2012
  8. Construct an invisible, solar powered defensive shield out of ions or something. Is Scott a scientist or not?!

    June 25, 2012
    • For various reasons the ion approach doesn’t work. But he’s still working on his tesseract solution–something about slicing a hole in space time and allowing the tree to fall through it into alpha centauri.

      I think I caught most of that. He was dictating.

      June 30, 2012
  9. I love how balanced your posts are: Disaster—Comfort—Cuteness.

    June 25, 2012
    • Sandy Sue, sometimes I think if I didn’t have so much cuteness lying around the house, I would never move past the “disaster” phase of any given day. Whew.

      June 30, 2012
  10. ugh – that sucks – we have a stupid tropical storm dumping rain all over us right now – fortunately no trees have fallen – but I am watching the pool screen with trepidation *sigh*
    At least you have cute puppies to distract you – my 4 are being lazy bums on the couch too

    June 25, 2012
    • I love that you can fit FOUR on your couch. They sleep all over each other? Thunder and my mom’s dog fell asleep in an arm chair on top of Scott the other day. I didn’t think it was architecturally possible to fit that many beasts into one spot, but they made it work–all three of them were fast asleep!

      I hope the weather’s cleared since your tropical storm. I thought hurricane season was over here (pretty much without incident) but apparently it’s not.

      June 30, 2012
      • ha – we had to buy different furniture to accommodate our beasts and still allow the humans room on the couch – we are now the proud owners of a dog hair covered sectional – now all humans and dogs can be couch potatoes together 🙂

        July 1, 2012
  11. I am a passionate, perennial consumer of Fish ‘n’ Chips. This recipe sounds wonderful. Very sorry about your tree situation for I fear if a tree falls in your particular forest, the sound will be $$$$$. I love your pup’s paws. He has very distinctive markings on his little paw pads.

    June 25, 2012
    • Miguel, I keep checking his paws to see if they’re changing. I think they’re really cool looking too, and I hope they stay the way they are. We thought for a while that one of his eyes might turn a little blue, but so far it hasn’t. They’re staying right where they are, kind of like the trees, for now!

      June 29, 2012
  12. dlvanveelen #

    Okay, so your adorable puppies are killing me…again. I really want to run and kidnap them, because they are both SO FRIGGIN CUTE!!!! But further than that, I absolutely love the fish and chips recipe…salt and vinegar chips is such an amazing concept! LOVE IT! I’m a from the Maritimes (new england of Canada, basically), so we eat a whole lotta fish up this way! I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    June 25, 2012
    • Ah, I am jealous of your access to seafood! Arg. I wish I lived in the Maritimes. It sounds awesome. Do you read The Bite House? It’s a great blog written by a guy who lives there and cooks a lot of fish.

      June 29, 2012
  13. Salt & vinegar chips! Genius! I’ve been using nacho goldfish crackers, because I have small kids & that’s what we are over blessed with in the ‘possible breading’ category but I’m not a fan & have been leaving mine plain. I’m making this tonight!

    June 25, 2012
    • Nacho goldfish crackers sound like a great idea. It makes me wonder how cool ranch doritos would be as a breading for something. Hmmm..

      June 29, 2012
  14. Amy #

    I wanted a quick fish dinner tonight, so thank you! I’ll def be making this 🙂 So glad your new pup is adjusting well. My vote is on tree #3, but I hope I’m wrong.

    June 25, 2012
    • Amy, so far Tree #3 continues to hang out where it is and freak the crap out of us on a daily basis. Arg. I hope you like the recipe if you make it some time. I can’t get enough of it.

      June 29, 2012
  15. Those two dawgs are so darn cute – thanks for the dog fix today:) Have a Great Day!

    June 25, 2012
    • Thank you! You too–happy weekend!

      June 29, 2012
  16. juanitascocina #

    Trees are tempermental.


    The chick who lives with hundreds of trees.

    June 25, 2012
    • Dear chick who lives with hundreds of trees,

      Could you please tell your trees to tell my trees that I’m really pissed at them right now?



      June 29, 2012
  17. Allison #

    Can I ask what kind of camera you use? Your pictures are wonderful!

    June 25, 2012
    • Allison, thanks! it’s a Nikon D-90 and I usually use a 50 mm prime lens for the food.

      The camera came with Scott. If you’re thinking of getting a new one, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with a friend of ours who has tons of opinions on cameras and who takes really great photos.

      June 30, 2012
  18. musingmar #

    What a unique recipe – its just strange enough (no offense) that I know it has to be good! Also because all your recipes are good! Give my love to the pooches!

    June 25, 2012
    • I agree- it is a little strange. When I saw it, I thought it was totally weird. I thought for sure the chips would get mushy or something, but they didn’t! I want to try bbq chips on chicken with bbq sauce on the side now too. Even weirder, right?

      June 29, 2012
  19. I love that you can find your sense of humor at a time when most would be super grumpy! Hope the tree situation gets better =) And, whoa my goodness, I want that little pooch!

    June 25, 2012
    • I am falling in love with the little pooch, Sarah. He just gets more endearing by the day!

      June 29, 2012
  20. I have a pink hardhat. It has Hello Kitty stickers on it. I wish I had thought to mail it to you before now.

    Also, as someone who lives by the ocean, I can tell you that POTATO CHIPS, MAYONNAISE AND FISH ARE A GIFT FROM GOD. And a more suitable last meal I cannot think of.

    Best wishes to you, the dogs and the robot.

    June 25, 2012
    • Dude, I’m proud of you for getting the Hello Kitty hard hat for baking school. I’ve heard baking school is all fun and games until someone accidentally whacks you in the head with a 25 lb.-block of Parmesan.

      If I come across any cool stickers, I’ll send them to you so you can add them to the hard hat. I’ve got my eye on some nice scratch-and-sniffs.

      June 30, 2012
  21. This recipe is such a good idea – you crazy americans and your crisp addiction!

    June 25, 2012
    • I am totally getting into crisps again. It started in Scotland! There are so many different flavors of them over there–chicken flavored? Sausage flavored? Prawn? So much more variety than we have here!

      June 29, 2012
      • Jenn #

        Have you visited an Asian market lately? There are some seriously weird varieties of chips available.

        June 29, 2012
  22. Amazing! Baked fish and chips looks great. Frying can be quite a mess, especially since I do mine the old way in a large pot… And now we want a dog!

    June 26, 2012
    • Well mess or no mess, your fish and chips look awesome. I have to say, a hunting-type dog would seem to fit the aesthetic you’ve got going at the Bite House…

      June 29, 2012
  23. Those two are the cutest. (Not the trees…the dogs.)

    June 26, 2012
    • Yeah, the trees aren’t cute. I’ve been telling them that, and a bunch of other not very nice things. 🙂

      June 29, 2012
  24. Hahaha thanks for the Wednesday chuckle (but seriously, good luck with the trees, and be careful). Also, love the little poocher pics! What a sweetheart.

    June 27, 2012
    • Thanks, Jorie! I’m getting more and more attached to the new little dog by the day.

      June 29, 2012
  25. MrsH #

    FIrst of all, please don’t die. I would be so sad without your blog here to make me laugh and smile. Good luck with the scary trees. For what it’s worth, we have a huge greenbelt behind our place with tons of cottonwood trees so when we get a good windstorm, I start getting awfully nervous that all the gorgeous scenery is going to kill us all.

    Also, this recipe looks amazing. I can’t wait to try it. And I’m spoiled in the PNW, I think. I’ve become accustomed to finding fresh, sustainable fish from the fish monger just up the road.

    June 27, 2012
    • Wow, I just googled “cottonwood trees” and they look gorgeous! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any. My favorite kind of trees are quaking aspens. And birch, which I think are in the same family.

      I am jealous of your access to fish. I could eat fish 4 nights a week and be a pretty happy girl.

      June 30, 2012
  26. Chish and fips….my dad is going to be all over that.

    Arrooos to you
    Piper MacT

    June 28, 2012
    • Oh my goodness, what a soulful face!

      June 30, 2012
  27. We’ve not heard anything in a few days, now. Two whistles if you’re okay. One if you’re alive, but stuck under some trees. If incapacitated, and need us to call the fire department and send rescue crews, say nothing.

    June 28, 2012
    • On second thought, you may be fine, but deep in puppy training mode, and unable surface for communication. If that’s the case, direct your pups to get the message to us via the Twilight Bark.

      June 28, 2012
  28. Krisann, thank you for looking out for me. I am not a good whistler, so I’ll plan to send you smoke signals. A bonfire would be a great way to get rid of all the FALLEN TREE in our yard.

    So far, Seymour does the “Twilight Bark,” the “Sunrise Bark,” the “I Just Peed On The Carpet Bark,” and the “What Do I Have To Do To Get Some More Dog Food Around Here Bark.” So I have no doubt that he’d be our director of communications in an emergency situation.

    June 30, 2012
  29. Do you have a chainsaw? Not being “hill people” I’m not sure what sort of equipment you have available to play your game.

    July 1, 2012
    • We do not have a chainsaw. This is actually a sore subject. For a while now, I’ve wanted a deep fryer and Scott has wanted a chainsaw. He’s trying to capitalize on the tree situation now, as if our back yard would be SAFER in a world where he had a chainsaw. PUH-LEEZE.

      July 3, 2012
  30. mallory #

    Please don’t ever stop writing, because #1 I always know I can come here and hoot with laughter, and #2 YOU FOUND ANOTHER GREAT USE FOR SALT & VINEGAR KETTLE CHIPS. You might be my soul mate. Too bad, Scott: I’m stealing her for her recipes and keen sense of irony.

    July 3, 2012
    • Mallory, at some point Scott is going to get sick of me, and when that happens, I’m going to install myself on your couch with a FAMILY SIZED bag of salt and vinegar chips. Sound good?

      July 3, 2012
  31. shannon #

    listen; i’m catching up on my reading. i’ll need an update on how these trees are doing. because WHO KNOWS what could have happened in the three weeks it took me to comment.

    besides, i kinda really want to play your giant tree jenga game. it’s been FOREVER since i’ve used a protractor, and i wouldn’t mind getting back into it.

    July 14, 2012

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