Archive for the ‘scary movies’ Category

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The Penultimate One (for now)

August 23, 2009

ncfom

Penultimate is one of my favorite words.  A lot of people think it means even more than ultimate.  I cannot tell you how much I hate that.  Penultimate means next to last.  And next to last is, unbelievably, where we’re at.  Well, for now.

No Country For Old Men, 2007’s best picture is a product of  this country’s best filmmakers: The Coen brothers.   Joel and Ethan Coen can make movies that make you laugh, cry, wince, and pretty much everything else.  They are brilliant writers, just brilliant and even better directors; there’s never a false note in their movies:  Actors must love them to pieces and the Coens were long overdue for a best picture Oscar.  Fargo, have you seen Fargo?  Best movie ever.  Well, okay maybe best movie of the last 15 years.

No Country for Old Men is a tough movie:  violent, terse, tense.  Scary. Bleak. There is no one here you really like.  I remember when we saw this movie at the show (Chicago vernacular, sorry)  and I just cringed when Javier Bardem’s character (Anton) would come on screen, because I knew he was up to something bad and that violence would ensue.  And I hate violence.  But No Country is a good story, well told with great actors.  Javier Bardem deserved his supporting Oscar just for the frightening hairstyle.  But Jim and I both agree, even though I think it’s still a little early to really make this judgement, that There Will Be Blood would have been a better pick for 2007.  And we could’ve had milkshakes.  And, but, plus that little plucky movie Juno would have been fun, too.

Perhaps this skit from SNL will help you decide.  Bill Hader’s Daniel Day Lewis is spot on.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

For dinner we went with a tex/mex theme.  And for this recipe the cola we used was Mexican Coca-Cola.  No stinkin’ high fructose corn syrup for these gringos, no sirree.  They use the real thing. Chigurh, I mean sugar.

Jim made a lovely skirt steak taco courtesy of Rachael Ray.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup cola
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Juice of 2 limes, plus lime wedges for serving
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Salt
  • 1 pound skirt steak, cut into 4 portions
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 jalapeño chiles, finely chopped
  • 8 crisp taco shells
  • 2 cups shredded slaw mix (from a 1-pound bag)
  • 1 avocado, cut into 8 lengthwise slices

Directions:

  1. In a resealable plastic bag, combine the cola, olive oil, 2 tablespoons lime juice, the chili powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Add the steak and let marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeños and remaining lime juice; season with salt.
  3. Preheat a grill or grill pan to high. Grill the steak, turning once, about 15 minutes for medium-rare; let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak against the grain and toss with the tomato salsa. Fill each taco shell with some slaw mix, an avocado slice and steak with salsa. Serve with the lime wedges.
I made a classic Texas sheet cake.  So easy.  The cinnamon-chocolate combo is fantastic.
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup canola or other vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease and flour a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.Sift together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda and cinnamon, and set aside.

Stir together the remaining ingredients.

Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, stirring until you have a smooth, rather thin batter.

Pour into your prepared pan, and bake at 400°F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting.

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk (whole, 2% or skim – doesn’t matter)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted (about 4 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Mix the milk and cocoa in a heavy saucepan (stir, stir, stir). Add the butter and, over medium heat, stir until the butter melts. Remove from heat and gradually stir in the sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add the pecans.When the cake is just out of the oven, spread the frosting evenly on the hot cake.

Being a chocolate freak, I use just a half-teaspoon of cinnamon in this cake. I want the cinnamon flavor to come through, but I don’t want it to overpower the chocolate.

If buttermilk is not a staple item at your house, this is a good recipe in which to use dry buttermilk. For a product review, see Dry Buttermilk.

If you aren’t sure about your oven, you can test it with one of those little dime store oven thermometers. With its comparatively thin batter, Texas Sheet Cake requires every bit of the 400° heat in your oven, if it’s going to get done in 20 to 25 minutes.

One more to go.  Crap.

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Awkward Silence

December 15, 2008

I’m not the biggest fan of scary movies. And Silence of the Lambs is one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen. Back in 1991 I remember being too afraid to see this movie in the theaters. I almost went though, when it was really hot and the free air-conditioning would have been nice; I decided to have my baby instead. I did, however, see it later when it came out on video. We probably rented it alongside what maybe should have been 1991’s best–Beauty and the Beast and probably another movie as well because the video store we frequented, BP Video made you rent 3 movies at one time. Threeforfive.

But as scary movies go, Silence of the Lambs is a classic. It’s an amazing movie that holds up really well. Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster have an amazing amount of chemistry. They both deserved their Oscars. As did director Jonathan Demme; his Oscar speech is a classic how to not give an acceptance speech speech. It’s aslo a shame they had to return to the Hannibal Lecter character in subsequent films (Foster and Demme didn’t return). It cheapens it a bit. Hey, did you know that Martha Stewart once dated Anthony Hopkins. She broke up with him because his Hannibal character gave her the willies. Now, that’s scary.

Friends of ours once joked about what were we going to cook up for Silence of the Lambs. Well, it could’ve have been awkward, but fortunately no one here is a cannibal . It was actually somewhat easy to come up with food ideas for the film. —It’s helpful that one of the most famous lines ” I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti” is from Silence. We did the beans (unfortunately not in season we had to use frozen) and the chianti and some nice lamb chops. Luckily we didn’t hear the screams.

From Alton Brown @ food network

Cranberry Chutney:
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
3 cups cranberries, divided
1 cup water
1 medium red onion, finely diced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
1 serrano chile, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves

Grilled Lamb Chops
8 (4 to 5-ounce) porterhouse lamb chops
Olive oil
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cilantro leaves, garnish
Finely chopped chives, garnish

For the Cranberry Chutney:

Combine the sugar, honey, 2 cups of cranberries and 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until the cranberries pop and become soft and the mixture thickens slightly. Stir in the onion, ginger, chile, garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook until thick about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining cranberries and cilantro. Serve warm or at room temperature.

For the Grilled Lamb Chops:

Heat the grill to high or a grill pan over high heat. Brush chops on both sides with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until golden brown on both sides and cooked to medium doneness, about 6 minutes total. Remove lamb from the grill, loosely tent and let rest 5 minutes before serving. Serve on a plater with cranberry chutney and cranberry sauce. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Sauté of Fresh Fava Beans, Onions, and Fennel

1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 fresh fennel bulb, trimmed, sliced
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground in spice grinder
1 1/3 cups (about) canned low-salt chicken broth
4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped pancetta*
1/2 teaspoon dried savory
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Cook fava beans in boiling salted water 2 minutes. Drain, cool and peel outer skins (do not cook or peel lima beans).

Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and fennel bulb; sauté 5 minutes. Add favas or lima beans and fennel seeds; sauté 3 minutes. Add 1 cup broth and 2 tablespoons dill; bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes to blend flavors. Stir in pancetta and savory, adding more broth if mixture is dry. Simmer until favas are tender, about 15 minutes longer. Mix in lemon juice and 2 tablespoons dill. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before serving.)

* Pancetta, Italian bacon cured in salt, is available at Italian markets, some supermarkets, and some specialty foods stores.

P.S. Even though he prepared this week’s feast (and did a great job) Jim almost got himself kicked off the Oscars in Order crew this week. Why, you ask? Because he would not shut up during the whole movie. Don’t you hate when someone keeps saying “this is the scary part” two to three minutes before anything scary happens. And he did it constantly And I’ve seen the movie before, Jim–you were there. Well, that was Jim during Silence of the Lambs. But don’t fear Jim didn’t remain unforgiven for Unforgiven.