The Jewel in the Crown

December 26, 2006

Sometimes, when I look at the list of the best picture winners we’ve seen and have yet to see, I wonder how Casablanca got through. It’s too good for the Academy that picked Greatest Show on Earth or Rocky as the best pictures of the year. But mercifully, it was. And I don’t think that there was ever a better choice for best picture.

I cannot say enough about the snappy dialogue, the cool cinematography, the creepiness of Peter Lorre, the exquisite beauty of Ingrid Bergman, how we need to get Jim a white dinner jacket. It really is the perfect date movie, too: It’s got war, romance, sacrifice, Nazis. Sigh. Who could ask for anything more?

We also took a poll on who had the worst toupee: Humphrey Bogart , Claude Rains or Paul Henreid (who I don’t think was wearing a rug at all, maybe). Congratulations to Claude Rains! That was a lot of fake hair you had on your head. You should have just kept your Capt. Renault hat on to hide the baldness.

I love that Albert Brooks, in his movie Lost in America, used the same number (22) to lose his fortune by that Bogie used to help the Bulgarian couple win money with.

If you’ve never seen Casablanca before, first, shame on you! Rent it! Buy it! Take it home and try it! Second, here’s a brief synopsis of the 1943 best picture winner. Reenacted in 30 seconds. With bunnies. I love this site.

For dinner we had Champagne Chicken with Moroccan Couscous. Yum.

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup champagne
  • Juice of one lime

Lightly dust chicken breasts with flour and a little salt and pepper. In a large skillet, lightly brown chicken breasts in olive oil. Add mushrooms and saute until tender add champagne and lime juice to deglaze pan. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes. This was a fabulous choice. They are constantly drinking in Casablanca (well, they are in a bar) and their drink of choice was usually Champagne. They even gave a shout out to Veuve Clicquot. Which is the bottle we drank later, while we wrapped some Christmas presents. Joy to the world.

Moroccan Couscous

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3/4 cup chopped shallots
3 cups Chicken Stock or canned broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups couscous
1/2 cup pine nuts toasted
1/4 cup currants

Melt the butter in a large saute pan, add the shallots and cook for 3 minutes over medium heat. Add the chicken stock, salt and pepper, raise the heat to high and bring the stock to a boil. Off the heat and add the couscous. Cover the pan and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Add the pignoli nuts and currants to the couscous, stir and serve. Yum.


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