Posts Tagged ‘movies’

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Raging People

July 23, 2008

There is this great super smart  book about movies ( that you should all buy now , it’s really is that great), called 1001 Movies You Must  See Before You Die, that I swore would not have had Ordinary People amongst its 1001.  But it, amazingly enough, did, Just why wouldn’t this one be there? Because Ordinary People is the Oscar winning movie that all fingers point to when discussions of bad Oscar decisions are had.   Yesl, it’s true! this was the year that Raging Bull came out.  Raging Bull didn’t win Best Picture of 1980, but it was acknowledged by most film critics as the best movie of the 1980’s.

Oh, sigh Raging Bull, Raging Bull, Raging Bull.  I cannot think of a  movie that is more overrated than Raging Bull.  Sure, the cinematography is beautiful and the acting is spot on perfect, and Robert DeNiro gained and lost all that weight, but this brutal boxing  bio pic is pretty much the life story of a thug,  A truly irredeemable human being.  But, as we’ve seen plenty of times before, and we’ll see again, sometimes the Best Picture of the year doesn’t win the Academy Award for Best Picture.  Sometimes the best picture isn’t even nominated.  Ever see Singin’ in the Rain? Not even nominated, so get over yourself Raging Bull.

If they had such an award, Ordinary People should have also won an award for Best Casting.  Timothy Hutton was only 19 when he played the tortured teen–he deservedly won the supporting actor Oscar. Who’s idea was it to have the usually kooky and somewhat irreverant Donald Sutherland play the bewildered mild mannered dad?  Great choice, Donald Sutherland is never boring.  Who wouldn’t of liked to have been a fly on the wall of the room where the decision of casting Mary Tyler Moore as the cold distant mother was made.  Seriously, Mary Tyler Moore, America’s sitcom sweetheart, the woman who put capri pants on the television map, nails this scary, somewhat villianous part.  She’s brilliant.

Ordinary People was filmed in my ‘hood.  I grew up in Highland Park, IL–that’s where Conrad’s psychiatrist has his office.  I used to hang out at the restaurant, Walker Brother’s Pancake House in Wilmette where Conrad and Karen have a coke and discuss life on the outside.  Beautiful place. Great coffee there.  They do not, however, serve carbonated beverages.  That’s pretty much the biggest flaw about Ordinary People, no cokes at Walker Brothers.  The last time I was at Walker Brothers (about a year ago or so) they still had a picture of Ordinary People’s director, Robert Redford by their cash register.  I’m hoping to get a picture of that picture.  Soon.

What is it about Best Picture winning troubled American family movies and French Toast?  Kramer Vs. Kramer had some French Toast bonding scenes and Ordinary People has a “uh-oh there’s something wrong here” French Toast scene.  So I had to make French toast.  But I made them fun.  No one got burnt, or swore, or just put them down the garbage disposal untouched.

French Toast Kabobs

Cut unsliced bread loaf into cubes.

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to warm. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, salt, and vanilla. Stir in bread.
  2. In a large saute pan set over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Place half of the bread mixture in pan; cook, turning occasionally with a spatula, until browned on all sides. To keep warm, transfer to the oven. Cook remaining bread in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter as before.
  3. Thread bread cubes onto skewers alternating with blueberries, raspberries, and banana slices. Serve immediately with maple syrup, if desired.  I made a blueberry sauce, and a little bit of creme fraiche mixed with maple syrup and drizzed on the kabobs.

Another restaurant scene was filmed at the Zodiac a restaraunt inside Needless Markup Neiman Marcus at Northbrook Court.  From their website I got the recipes for the movie.  This is a great simple soup that anyone could make.

Ingredients:
¼ cup olive oil
1 frying chicken, about 3 pounds, cut into pieces
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
½ cup dry white wine
3 chicken bouillon cubes, crumbled
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bunch fresh parsley (6 to 8 small sprigs reserved for garnish)
2 dried bay leaves
8 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
6 cups heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground white pepper to taste

Preparation:
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the chicken pieces and sear them, turning occasionally, about 2 or 3 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken pieces and set aside. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic to the same saucepan and saute for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the wine, bouillon, thyme, parsley, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Add the flour and thoroughly mix together. Return the seared chicken to the pan and mix well. Add the cream and bring the soup to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for about 1 hour, or until the chicken meat falls from the bone.

Strain the soup into a clean saucepan, reserving the chicken (discard the vegetables). When cool enough to handle, shred the chicken meat (discard the skin and bones) and add the meat to the soup base. Return the soup to a simmer and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into serving bowls and garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley.

CHEF’S NOTE:
The bouillon cubes add an element of flavor that cannot be replicated with stock or other ingredients. It’s a “truc”, or culinary trick, the great Paul Bocuse taught me.

I also made popovers

Neiman Marcus Popovers

3 1/2 cups milk
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 large eggs, at room temperature

Chef’s Note: The key to making great popovers is having the eggs and milk warm before the mixing. It is also important to let the batter sit for an hour before baking it. Popovers do not freeze well, and pre-made batter has a tendency not to work properly the next day.

To make this recipe, you will need a Teflon-lined popover pan with a 12-cup capacity. These are available at kitchen equipment and specialty stores, and some cooking mail-order catalogs.

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Place the milk in a bowl and microwave on high for 2 minutes, or until warm to the touch. Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.

Crack the eggs into the work bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until foamy and pale in color. Turn down the mixer to low and add the warm milk. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Turn the machine off and let the batter rest for 1 hour at room temperature.

Spray a popover tin generously with nonstick spray. Fill the popover cups almost to the top with the batter and place the popover tin on a cookie sheet. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Turn down the oven temperature to 375° F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer, until the popovers are a deep golden brown on the outside and airy on the inside.

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Transplendent

May 29, 2008

Alvy: What’s with all these awards? They’re always giving out awards. Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler.

1977 was the summer, fall, winter & spring of Star Wars. Star Wars was everywhere and everywhere you went there was Star Wars. It was inescapable. I remember watching the 1977 Oscar ceremony and being floored —my jaw completely dropping. And dropping out of joy: Annie Hall won best picture for 1977. Not the behemoth that was and kinda sorta still is Star Wars.

It’s also nice to note that a comedy won best picture. Comedies are rare for Oscar winners :It Happened One Night, You Can’t Take It With You, The Apartment being the only comedy winning predecessors I can think of.

It was such a treat watching this old favorite of mine. In fact movies like Annie Hall or Casablanca (Oh, yes this one’s up there with Casablanca for me) and the watching there of was one of the reasons I/we decided to do this whole enchilada. Sucker that I am for romance. And comedy. On the other hand, Jim is on board more for the Braveheart and Deer Hunter type movies. He a sucker for blood and gore. And men with blue faces.

Annie, there’s a big lobster behind the refrigerator. I can’t get it out. This thing’s heavy. Maybe if I put a little dish of butter sauce here with a nutcracker, it will run out the other side.

Also, when back when we were brainstorming this little project (Movie + food= fun) Annie Hall was a natural, because it has a couple of scenes with lobsters. We love lobsters. In fact, when we get live lobsters Jim like to name them. Usually the lobster ends up with the name “Pinchy.” This time we had Alvy

and Annie

We started the movie with a little side by side appetizer– sort of a salute to the Easter in Wisconsin scene/ the Singers and the Halls

[Annie’s family and Alvy’s family converse through a split screen]
Mom Hall: How do you plan to spend the holidays, Mrs. Singer?
Alvy’s Mom: We fast.
Dad Hall: Fast?
Alvy’s Dad: No food. You know, to atone for our sins.

Mom Hall: What sins? I don’t understand.

Alvy’s Dad: To tell you the truth, neither do we.

For the Singers we had smoked salmon with a little cream cheese on crackers–for the Halls we had Triscuit triangles with a little nice ham and Wisconsin cheddar cheese:

Pretty!

And the lobsters were easy to make–throw them in a large pot of boiling, salted water. Start timing when the water starts boiling again. Cook until the lobsters turn red (about 5 minutes per lobster) and then let rest for about 5 minutes. Then have at it. Oh, it’s easy to clarify butter, too. Put a stick of butter in a ramekin and place in the low temp oven for about 45 minutes–the milk solids rise to the top–just skim ’em off and you’ve got some clarified butter for lobster dipping.

I realized what a terrific person she was, and… and how much fun it was just knowing her; and I… I, I thought of that old joke, y’know, the, this… this guy goes to a psychiatrist and says, “Doc, uh, my brother’s crazy; he thinks he’s a chicken.” And, uh, the doctor says, “Well, why don’t you turn him in?” The guy says, “I would, but I need the eggs.” Well, I guess that’s pretty much now how I feel about relationships; y’know, they’re totally irrational, and crazy, and absurd, and… but, uh, I guess we keep goin’ through it because, uh, most of us… need the eggs.

So I made the eggiest dessert I know: Souffle.

From Gale Gand—Hot Vanilla Souffle with Chocolate Sauce

 

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Sunday Night’s Alright For Fighting

May 6, 2008

Yo. I was so totally prepared to not like Rocky, 1976’s best winner. I was so prepared to be mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. After all, stupid steroidy Sylvester Stalonne and, ugh, Rocky, beat out one of my all time favorites–Network for best picture. But, surprise, surprise I did like Rocky. Blame it on excessive sequel prejudiceness but, Rocky wasn’t the manipulative crapfest I expected it to be. In fact. it somewhat reminded me, ironically– of Paddy Chayefsky’s (who wrote the screenplay for Network) 1955’s winner, Marty.

Yo. Network pretty much won every major award that year except for editing and best picture. And it was pretty much the blueprint of the first 10 years of the Fox Network. 1976 was a good year for nominations: All the President’s Men, Taxi Driver, Bound For Glory round out the rest of the nominations.

Yo, I can’t believe how much Rocky is character driven. I so prefer character driven to plot driven. Although I did find it hysterical that true love seemed to cure Adrian of her need for glasses. I wish *I* could find that kind of love.

Yo. The Angry Alien bunnies do a good job with Rocky:

Yo, our very own Rocky, Roxane, was very excited to see Carl Weathers in this movie. She’s a big Arrested Development fan. Carl was in a couple of episodes.

Had I known about this, I might had made a stew but instead for dinner we went Philly and had some really terrific cheesesteak sandwiches. So easy to make:

The meat for the sandwich is usually rib eye steak. Buy about a pound, and if you have a butcher have him slice that steak into razor thin strips.

Thinly slice and saute a vidalia on a low heat until the onion becomes carmelized. Set aside onion and add sliced small italian peppers and saute until they are softened (about 10 minutes). Remove the pepper and add steak. Saute meat until browned.

To assemble the sandwich: cut a loaf of french bread into sandwich rolls. Pull some of the doughy parts of the bread out. Drizzle bread with oil a a little splash of balsamic vinegar. Put the meat, then the peppers and onions on the bread. Put a slice of provolne cheese over the sandwich and melt in the oven for a couple of minutes. Yum.

For dessert we had home made Rocky Road Ice Cream. I love making ice cream. I sed a basic base for chocolate ice cream

1 1/2 ounces unsweetened cocoa powder, approximately 1/2 cup
3 cups half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
9 ounces sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place the cocoa powder along with 1 cup of the half-and-half into a medium saucepan over medium heat and whisk to combine. Add the remaining half-and-half and the heavy cream. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring occasionally, and remove from the heat.In a medium mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and whisk to combine. Temper the cream mixture into the eggs and sugar by gradually adding small amounts, until about 1/3 of the cream mixture has been added. Pour in the remainder and return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over low heat. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon and reaches 170 to 175 degrees F. Pour the mixture into a container and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Place the mixture into the refrigerator and once it is cool enough not to form condensation on the lid, cover and store for 4 to 8 hours or until the temperature reaches 40 degrees F or below.

Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer’s directions. This should take approximately 25 to 35 minutes. Add the mix-ins (I used 1/3 cup chocolate chips, 1/3 cup mini marshmellos and 1/3 cup toasted almond slivers). Put into a container and freeze for a few hours more.

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You Broke My Heart.

April 13, 2008

fredo

The difficulty to find words to describe Godfather II is overwhelming, so bear with me. The Godfather Part II is a wonderful, amazing film. It’s up there with Casablanca and It Happened One Night and All About Eve and Midnight Cowboy as the best of the best, Godfather II is so great, it’s better than the original. And The Godfather is one of the best..And Godfather II, Roman numeral be damned, never feels like it’s a sequel. It’s an expansion and a continuation. And a miracle. Great writing-great cinematography- total masterful actors’ showcase–Al Pacino in his absolute prime; Robert DeNiro so young, so beautiful, so perfect, speaking Italian throughout (and, hey he beat our sentimental fave Towering Inferno’s —nuff said-Fred Astaire for best supporting actor) . And John Cazale, astounding. He breaks your heart. Amazing, too, that just the next year Al and John were holding up that New York bank together in Dog Day Afternoon.

I remember being really surprised when Godfather Part II won the Oscar for best picture. Sequels never win best pictures. That’s crazy talk. But thank heaven it did. And thank heaven it’s the only one. I don’t think that the third Lord of the Rings counts as a sequel.,..or does it?

When I was out shopping at a mall I saw a middle aged man with a fancy leather jacket that had a Godfather logo embossed on the back. The Godfather has remarkably entrenched it’s way into American pop culture. You cannot escape from it. Okay, these are great movies–well 2 outta 3–but so was Casablanca and so was Sound of Music but I don’t see the latters’ logos on the back of leather jackets.

Oscar winners that spawned sequels: Before Godfather

Broadway Melody — Broadway Melody of 1936, 38 & 40 (all better than the original, because the orignal was really, really, bad)

Great Ziegfeld — Ziegfeld Follies —on the same par as original, par being mediocre)

Going My Way — Bells of St. Mary —great addition of Ingrid Bergman as a love interest nun for Bing Crosby’s Father O’Malley.

In The Heat of the Night –They Call Me. MISTER Tibbs – —shouty title and lack of Rod Steiger make this not as good as the original.

After Godfather II

French Connection — French Connection II (well it’s hard to come up with something new to match the original)

Rocky –They’ve made so many Rocky movies I’ve lost count.  And I’ve never seen a single one of them. But 1976 is looming. Crap.

Terms of EndearmentThe Evening Star–so not up to the original

Silence of the LambsHannibal –needs Jodie Foster, badly.

To sum it all up:  sequels to best picture winners before Godfather II = good after = pukey

Since The Godfather part II was a 2 disc DVD we watched the movie in two nights. And had two simple meals.  The second night we hade simple Italian–baked mostaciolli.  But, the first night we went with Michael and Hyman Roth (played by Al Pacino’s acting teacher, Lee Strasberg) to Cuba and had some lovely Cuban Sandwiches with fried plaintains.

from Rachael Ray:

Pork tenderloins, Cuban style:
1 2/3 to 2 pounds pork tenderloin, 2 pieces, the average weight of 1 package, trimmed
Extra virgin olive oil or vegetable oil, for drizzling
1 small onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 limes, zested
1 large orange, zested
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon coarse black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oreganoCuban sweet rolls:
8 crusty rolls, such as Portuguese rolls, torpedo loaves or muffuletta style round rolls
4 teaspoons sugar

Plantains:
1/4 cup corn oil, 4 turns of the pan
4 black (ripe) plantains
1 teaspoon fine salt

Relish for sandwiches:
6 dill pickles, chopped
1/2 cup sweet red pepper relish
2 scallions, chopped

Sandwich fixins:
1 pound shaved ham, from the deli counter
1 pound shaved Swiss cheese, from the deli counter
4 tablespoons butter, for toasting sandwiches

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.Coat tenderloins with oil. Combine onion, garlic, citrus zest, salt, pepper and dried oregano in a pile on your cutting board. Pack this coating equally and evenly onto the tenderloins. Heat a large skillet. Add a drizzle of oil and sear tenderloin on all sides. Then place in hot oven to roast 20 to 25 minutes. Wash hands.

Brush rolls with a little warm water and sprinkle the tops of the rolls with 1/2 teaspoon sugar each. Pile rolls on a baking sheet and place in oven with meat for 5 minutes to crust rolls and set sugar. Authentic Cuban rolls used for this sandwich are sweet. This sugar wash process gives a similar effect to store bought rolls. When rolls come out of oven, split and pile on serving plate.

Preheat a stovetop griddle over medium high heat.

Heat 1/4 cup corn oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Peel plantains and cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then slice each 1/2 into thirds on an angle. Arrange plantains in pan in a single layer and cook until crisp, continuously flipping for even browning. Remove from skillet to paper towel lined plate and season with fine salt.

To assemble sandwiches: Thinly slice meat on an angle. Place ham and Swiss cheese on a serving plate, separating and fluffing up the shaved meat and cheese. Assemble sandwiches with desired fillings and place on a hot, buttered griddle. Use a heavy pan to press the sandwiches together. Toast until golden brown, then flip and toast the other side.

Combine chopped pickles, sweet red pepper relish and scallions in a small bowl.

Spread the relish on the tops of the rolls and pork slices, ham, and swiss cheese on the bottoms. Press the sandwiches together. Put about 1 tablespoon of butter on the hot griddle and spread to coat. Put 2 sandwiches at a time on the griddle, and top with a heavy cast-iron skillet. Toast sandwiches on the griddle, turning once, until golden, hot, and cheese is melted, 2 or 3 minutes per side.

For dessert, in honor of the three Godfather movies we had a little something called Jello 1-2-3.  Jello used to have this product as a mix back in the 70’s (and then again in the 90’s, briefly) but I found a recipe from a great blog called The Food Maven and made it myself.  As yummy as a young Robert DeNiro.

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Cutting To the Chase

January 31, 2008

Gene Hackman is probably one of the most undersung actors of the past 40 years. OK, forget that he has 2 Academy Awards (For French Connection & Unforgiven). You never really hear his named bandied about when the talk turns to Great American Actors. Brando? Sure. Al Pacino? You bet. DeNiro? Of course. Gene Hackman? Gene Hackman, who. His Popeye Doyle is a masterful performance and one of the big reasons French Connection is so great. His name should be mentioned with those other names.

1971’s The French Connection was the first “R” rated picture to win the best picture academy award. But when a previous winner was rated “X” does “R” really matter? This rating system was a rather new thing for American motion pictures in 1971. Do you know what movie set off the modern day ratings system that is still pretty much intact today ? None other than 1966’s hostess humping fest, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? 1983’s violent Red Dawn led to the addition of the pg-13 & 1990’s racy Henry & June replaced dirty ol’ X with NC-17. I’m chock full of trivia bits today, aren’t I?

The French Connection is a good choice for best picture. I myself would have preferred The Last Picture Show. It’s certainly more girly, and, besides, Peter Bogdonovich and myself are birthday twins. Only he’s *much* older than me. The French Connection‘s uber famous chase scene, where Popeye grabs a car and chases after the bad guy, who’s riding in an elevated car, is completely fantastic. And French Connection‘s got that wonderful gritty New York feeling that the Academy seems to love. I never realized how many movies about or set in NY won best picture Oscars until I started watching all of these films: I’ve counted 14 from Broadway Melody to Kramer Vs. Kramer. It’s pretty remarkable.

The man who directed The French Connection, William Friedkin, is a Chicago TV legend. Back in the early 60’s he worked at WGN, home of my hometown classics

Ray Rayner & Friends–

Bozo’s Circus–

Garfield Goose & Friends —

& Family Classics

Hey, that’s the same guy!

Family Classics was a great Sunday matinee treat wherein an old movie, not necessarily a classic mind you—I can still sing the theme song from Sink the Bismarck–, would be shown and discussed by a guy in a wingback chair. And there would be close to a thousand commercials, mostly for Bert Weinman Ford, a local dealership. Great TV! Now I’m not really sure what Mr. Friedkin’s involvement was with all of these old childhood favorites, but his association with early WGN is enough for me to consider him a genius. In all seriousness he was considered a wunderkind back in the day. I love that word, wunderkind. I wish I had been one.

For dinner we built off the French – NY connection. I made French cuisine from the NY restaurant’s Balthazar cookbook. The next time I go to NY, I promise, I will go to Balthazar. It’s my dirty secret that I’ve never been. Don’t tell.

 

French Onion Soup

1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil

4 medium yellow onions, peeled, halved through the stem end, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, peeled and thinly sliced
4 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 quarts chicken stock
1/2 cup port
6 slices of country bread, about 1 inch thick, toasted
2 cups Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated.
In a 5-quart Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot, heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Add the onions and, stirring frequently to prevent burning, sauté until they reach a golden color, approximately 30 minutes. Add the butter, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, salt, and pepper and cook for 10 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the white wine, bring to a boil, and reduce the wine by half, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 45 minutes.Preheat the broiler.Remove the thyme springs and bay leaf, and swirl the port into the finished soup. Ladle the soup into the 6 ovenproof bowls. Fit the toasted bread into the bowls on top of the liquid, and sprinkle 1/3 cup of Gruyere onto each slice. Place under the broiler for 3 minutes, or until the cheese melts to a crispy golden brown. Allow the soup to cool slightly, about 3 minutes, before serving. Everyone here loves French onion soup. I was so excited about making this, I spontaneously went out and bought the proper bowls.a fine example of a proper French Onion Soup bowl

Sole En Papiottle w/ sautéed spinach  (for Popeye, natch).

Cooking En Papiottle is alot of fun and very impressive for a minimal amount of work. It’s also very healthy, as the food steams.

 

1/2 c olive oil

2 carrots cut into 3 inch matchsticks

2 leeks, (white part only) cut into 3 inch matchsticks

2 stalks of celery cut into 3 inch matchsticks

1 t salt ¼ t freshly ground pepper

½ lb quartered white mushrooms

6 Sole fillets

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Saute the carrots, leeks & celery 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl and add mushrooms to the pan & sauté for 7 minutes. Remove & set aside. Cut 6 pieces of parchment paper into 12 inch circles. Fold each circle in half. Place a few of the vegatables on the bottom and a sole filet on top of vegetables. Seal the paper up by crimping the ends (sort of like a paper calzone). Brush the packets w/ olive oil and place on a baking sheet and bake for 17-20 minutes. The packets will be brownish and puffed with air. Serve with a beurre blanc.

For the tart

Line a tart pan with a sheet of defrosted puff pastry (follow the directions on the box) peeled, core & cube 5 Granny Smith Apples. Saute the apples in some butter until soft. Add apples to the tart pan and bake in a 400 degree oven 18-20 minutes. Let cool for a bit and serve with French vanilla ice cream. Yum and sooooooooo easy.

 

 

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Indecision ’08

January 21, 2008

Just like all of these up-in-the-air presidential primaries, the predicitions for the nominations (announced tomorrow, January 22nd early in the morning) for the 2008 Academy Awards are all over the map. Cool! I hate predictibility, but I love playing the predicting game (and, hey, I picked the Giants over the Packers, even though I don’t know diddley about football. I just like saying “All hail the New York Giants.” Thanks , Madagascar.)

Anyway, here are some of my predictions /hopes for tomorrow’s nominations: I loved Atonement and hope everyone from it gets nominated esepcially the amazing young actress with the amazingly difficult name, Saorise Ronan. She’s 13 and she stole the movie right out from under Keira Knightly and James McAvoy.

I’d like to see some nominations head Hairspray‘s way, too. John Travolta’s name is the one that being bandied about, but really, wouldn’t it be great if Christopher Walken got a nod? To answer my own rhetorical question, yes, it would be great.

One of the best movies, in my opinion, this year was Ratatouille. It’ll get it’s nomination in the best animated feature, It deserves a best picture nom too.

And, of course, come February 24th I hope that there’s an actual, traditional, long, boring Oscar ceremony. That’s up in the air, too. Just give the writer’s what they want, already! Jeez.

Traditionally while I watch the nominations, I like to have a little bit of a fancier breakfast than normal. For tomorrow I’m planning on some sparkling cranberry juice, some fruit and a muffin.

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Old Blood and Guts Was a Wee Bit Nuts

January 17, 2008

We had an accidental mini Francis Ford Coppola film fest this past Sunday. My daughter and I sat down to watch 1974’s The Great Gatsby (she had read the novel for her English class; this is finals week) which (I didn’t know this beforehand) Mr. Coppola adapted the screenplay for. And which takes less time to read than watch. I’m not kidding.  But it was kinda fun. Mia Farrow was soooooo pregnant during this movie. But I’m digressing before I even begin.

Francis Ford Coppola also wrote the screenplay for 1970’s best, Patton. It’s a great writing job. Amazing, masterful acting job. And, yes, this this is the infamous role for which George C. Scott infamously refused to accept the Oscar. Rod Steiger turned down this role and later called it the biggest mistake of his career. Great movie, really. And I hate war movies. But this one I liked. Perhaps because Patton himself was such a kook.

It starts out with that famous monologue in front of the gigantic American Flag. It’s a kick ass way to start a movie:

Then it proceeds to show some military stuff, some war, some strategizing, some guy gets slapped and all hell breaks loose, some more war, and then the war is won and Patton doesn’t know what to do. Because this guy Patton was war crazy and regular crazy. I’d never want to be in a place where I’d stick my hands in some goo that was once my best friend’s face. AND I wouldn’t know what to do if I did. Execpt maybe scream, and I’m guessing that’s the wrong answer.

For dinner I found a great cookbook called Grandma’s Wartime Kitchen. It’s a fun collection of recipes made with stuff that was readily avalaible during the war. And how food was stretched because of rationing. I made a meatloaf roly poly. Yum.

1/2 lb each of ground beef, ground pork, ground veal

1 egg

salt & pepper

3 cups cubed bread(i used stuffing mix)

1/2 cup each of onion & red pepper

1/4 cup milk

1/cup parsley

1 teaspoon marjoram

mix meats and egg & salt & pepper together. Flatten out on a piece of wax paper in a 12″ square. Mix remaining ingrediants and flatten out on top of the meat square. Carefully roll up the meat loaf and place in a greased baking pan. Place a slice or two of bacon on top of the loaf. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50-60 minutes. Let rest for about 5 minutes after baking. Slice and enjoy. Serve with ketchup, it’s the condiment that helped us win the war.

I found an amazingly coincidental recipe on the food network website. These are great potatoes: Thanks, Nigella!

Blood and Guts Potatoes (really! isn’t that cool?)