Friday, July 10, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: Home Edition, Part 14

Hi everyone! I was grateful to be able to take a few days off work last week. Even working at home during these crazy times, it's important to remember to take care of yourself and unplug every now and then. Since my annual summer beach trip is currently on hold, I decided to take a few fun day trips and it was much needed and appreciated. The best day trip of all, was the one to Chapel Hill. 
The Old Well

The Bell Tower

CUISINE
This week, I wanted to share one of my favorite summer dishes: Tomato Tart. The dish was originally inspired by this recipe, but I've added a lot of shortcuts that I've found make it easier.

Crust
1 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
10 TB cold butter (I always use salted), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 egg yolk
3 TB cold water

Combine the flour, cornmeal and S&P in a food processor. Add the cubed butter and pulse until it starts to form small pieces and slightly come together. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and water. Add this to the dough and pulse until it comes together, like a cookie dough. Take this mixture out of the food processor and knead it on a floured surface a few times, then shape into a flat disk. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or you can do this in advance and chill overnight.

Filling
2 TB butter
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kernels from 1 ear of corn
Any miscellaneous veggies you have - zucchini, squash, okra (optional)
2 medium ripe tomatoes, peeled 
6oz. flavored cream cheese (like Garlic & Herb or Chive & Onion)
Any miscellaneous herbs you have - thyme, basil, cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 375. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and a bit of salt and pepper, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and corn kernels (and any additional veggies you like!) and continue cooking for 3 or so more minutes, then remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, slice your tomatoes about ¼ inch thick. Salt them and put them on a paper towel to absorb some of their water.

Grab your dough from the fridge and place on a floured surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll it out until it's 1/8" thick or about 12” in diameter. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread the cream cheese on the dough, leaving a 1 inch border around the edge. Layer the tomatoes on the cream cheese, then top with the corn mixture. Carefully fold the edge of the dough up, to cover the edge of the tomatoes, then brush the crust with the beaten egg. Bake for about 45-50 minutes (check to make sure the crust isn't getting too dark!) and then let it cool before you slice it. Sprinkle any miscellaneous herbs you have on top as a garnish!

The tart in all its glory.

Summer goodness at its absolute finest.


SCREEN
The King Of Staten Island - A Pete Davidson/Judd Apatow collabo. Need I say more? It's definitely a tour de force by Davidson - love him or hate him, he does a great job in this film. It's based very loosely on his life as a young adult, struggling to come to terms with his firefighter father's death. Marisa Tomei, wonderful as always, plays his mother, trying to do what's best for herself and her troubled son. This film is more in the vein of Apatow's "Funny People", as opposed to the more slapstick "Knocked Up" or "The 40 Year Old Virgin", though there are some comedic moments. Great supporting cast. 

Irresistible - A Steve Carrell/Jon Stewart collabo. Need I say more? Carrell is brilliant (no surprise) as a strategist for the Democratic party, who seeks out a rural activist (Chris Cooper) and molds him to run for office. Rose Byrne is fabulous as the foe, and always hits a home run when she plays an ice queen. This film is timely, and combines comedy with political drama. If you're into "The West Wing" or "House of Cards", give this a watch.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: Home Edition, Part 13


I've had several hummingbird sightings over the past few days - I think the warmer temps are finally bringing them out! I love spotting this little female (male hummers have the ruby throat). If I wasn't one already, I have now definitely turned into a birdwatcher during this quarantine. 

Hummer alert!

CUISINE
Some surf and turf for you this week. Shrimp Ceviche is one of my favorite no oven, no stove, hot weather recipes. It's easy, light, satisfying and you'll ALMOST feel like you're at the beach. 

-½ lb peeled, deveined shrimp (I like NC Coast!)
-Store-bought / pre-made pico de gallo
-8-10 limes (you'll need 1 - 1 ½ cups of lime juice, so buy more limes than you think you’ll need and use the rest for margs)

Cut the shrimp in bite-sized pieces and put in a glass bowl. Pour the fresh lime juice on top (make sure it is all fully covered and submerged!) and add a spoonful or 2 of the pico. Let it sit in the fridge, covered, for about an hour. Give it a stir, and it will have turned pink, so you'll know the acid has fully cooked it! Spoon out the shrimp and top it with additional pico and cilantro. I like to serve it on a bed of romaine, in romaine leaves as lettuce cups, or with tortilla or plantain chips! 

Shrimp Ceviche with Black Beans and Tortilla Chips

For Father's Day, I did another take on a Beef Tenderloin, inspired by one of our old neighbors' recipes. We were quite pleased with the results.

-3 pound beef tenderloin filet, trimmed
-salt & pepper
-garlic powder
-dijon mustard
-prepared horseradish

Let the beef come to room temperature. Rub on salt, pepper and garlic powder (just eyeball it!) Preheat the oven to 400. Meanwhile, heat a cast iron (or other large, thick) skillet to medium high / high and sear the meat for about 2 minutes per side, just to brown slightly. Once browned, spread 1/2 jar or so of dijon mustard all over the beef. Squeeze the water out of the horseradish, and pack 1/2 inch or so onto the mustard. Place it in a roast pan and cook until 120 for rare, 125 for medium rare. Pull it from the oven and tent it with foil. Let it rest 15-30 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Beef Tenderloin with Sauteed Kale and Blue Cheese Scalloped Potatoes

We were also excited to try the Deep River Brewing/R&R Brewing Pickletown Dill Pickle Lager. We are a dill pickle household, specifically, Mt. Olive Dill Pickles (we have family there). This beer puts a Pickle Back shot to shame. It was so tasty and refreshing and would be great with a hamburger! Buy at Total Wine.

Don't knock it 'til you try it!

SCREEN
The Lovebirds - this was scheduled to be released in theatres back in April, but it's currently on Netflix and definitely one of my favorite movies I've watched so far this summer. Timely, woke, laugh out loud funny - this film combines romance, drama, action and comedy all in one. Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani are incredibly entertaining as a recently broken-up couple who witness a crime and must deal with the consequences. I would watch these two all day.

Speed - an oldie but a goodie. Released in 1994, it was one of our first introductions to America's Sweetheart, Sandra Bullock. Her chemistry with Keanu Reeves is palpable, and the suspense will have you on the edge of your seat. A mad man puts a bomb on a bus that will explode if it doesn't stay above 50 mph. It's thrilling. Need I say more?

Coming to America - another oldie but goodie. Eddie Murphy's comedic genius is in full effect here. It tells the story of an African prince who decides to seek out his own bride in the US (Queens, NY, to be specific - get it?), instead of blindly marrying the woman his parents chose for him in an arranged marriage. Arsenio Hall is great as the sidekick. You'll definitely be entertained.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: Home Edition, Part 12

Hi everyone! Were you all surprised by this unwelcomed blast of wet, cold weather earlier this week? I will take the heat over this any day. I've been noticing some beautiful hydrangeas in bloom on my walks recently, and my neighbor offered me some of hers! I am living for these stunning blue, lavender and pink hues - they really brightened up my house this week!
Beautiful hydrangeas!

CUISINE
I often seem to forget that I have a crockpot. With the colder temps this week, I decided whipping out the ole thing would be fitting. I also decided I needed to do something about the unrelenting craving for Buffalo Chicken I've been having. I threw in some boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about a pound) and poured some Frank's RedHot Buffalo Wing Sauce on top (about a 12 oz bottle). Then I turned it on high, and walked away for 6 hours or so. I did a rough shred of the chicken, then built some tasty tacos and lettuce wraps, complete with romaine lettuce, pickled jalapenos, blue cheese and cilantro. YUM. You could even get crazy and put the chicken on a homemade pizza!
Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Tacos

I'm bringing back a classic - Watergate Salad. Complete with pistachio pudding mix, marshmallows, cool whip - there's really nothing natural about it! Save for the few chunks of pineapple. But I've loved it since I was a child and am still obsessed.

-1 box pistachio pudding mix
-1 can crushed pineapple, drained
-1 cup mini marshmallows
-9 oz cool whip
-1/2 cup shredded coconut

Mix and chill. Many people would add pecans, but many people are crazy. I'm anti-nuts in desserts, but do what you want.

Watergate Salad. Isn't she a beaut. 

And finally, a featured cocktail this week. My mom's favorite - the French 75. Combine 1 oz gin (we like Beefeater, but watch your proof, peeps!), 1/2 oz simple syrup and 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice in a shaker with ice. Pour into a champagne flute, then fill to the top with your choice of bubbly - prosecco, cava, sparkling wine or champagne will do. (If you choose to fill it to the top with club soda, you've essentially made a Tom Collins.) Garnish with lemon peel.
French 75 (after a few sips.)

SCREEN
Selma - Free to stream this month, along with Just Mercy (which I adored). I highly encourage you to watch these films. They are tremendous and will move you to tears. Selma tells the story of Dr. King's leading of an iconic march, all in the name of equal voting rights for African Americans. It demonstrates the powerful impact of a peaceful protest, and could not be more timely. Why David Oyelowo didn’t receive a Best Actor Oscar nod, and why Director AvaDuVernay didn't either (and why composer Jason Moran didn't either!), I will never know. Tremendous supporting cast, you will recognize many faces. Outstanding. Get more info on where you can stream these movies here

Cocktail – An ‘80s classic that will have you wanting a Pina Colada or a Strawberry Daiquiri. I think society forgets how great of an actor Tom Cruise was (is?) but this will remind you. Great premise, telling the story of a young, wannabe millionaire who makes a career pivot and winds up the best bartender in NYC. Elizabeth Shue plays the love interest, and reminded me that we need to see more of her. Worth a watch if you haven’t seen it.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: Home Edition, Part 11

Summer is here, y'all. I guess it's technically not here until June 21, but these temps have me longing for days at the beach or the pool. Is everyone else itching to get out of town, but hesitant to do so, like me?
Sprout says "hi!"

If you're not into sweets or seafood, I'm sorry - my blog has been practically nothing BUT seafood and sweets during this whole quarantine. 

I oven-roasted my first ever Sea Bass this week (it melts in your mouth!) Again, if you have a meat thermometer, you cannot lose! I also pan-seared some more scallops because they're one of my favorite foods.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad makes a great summer side, and uses up just about any produce you have on hand. Toss cooked orzo with a variety of veggies - diced cucumber, chickpeas, diced bell pepper, kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes, roasted broccoli, edamame - squirt some lemon juice, drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle some S&P, garnish with feta cheese and parsley. It's best served cold!
Pan-seared Scallops with Mediterranean Orzo Salad and Sauteed Kale


I've been on a big cherry kick lately, and have always loved the Cherry-Pistachio flavor combo. I raided my pantry to see what I could make work and was pleased as punch with the results of this Cherry Pistachio Cake:

-1/2 box yellow cake mix (+ half of the ingredients it calls for)
-1/2 box pistachio pudding mix
-1 cup chopped fresh (or frozen and thawed) cherries

Combine above ingredients and pour into a greased 9” round cake pan. Bake according to box instructions. Frost with Cherry Cream Cheese Icing:

-4 ounces (half a block) cream cheese, softened
-4 TB butter, softened
-1 ½ cups powdered sugar
-splash of vanilla extract
-splash of almond extract
-sprinkle of salt
-splash of maraschino cherry juice

Beat together the cream cheese and butter, then slowly add powdered sugar. Once combined, add remaining ingredients. Frost the cooled cake, and decorate with pistachios and more cherries, or just eat it already!

Cherry Pistachio Cake

SCREEN
Honey Boy - OMG. Heartbreaking. Say what you may about Shia LaBeouf, the guy is crazy talented. He wrote this screenplay about his tumultuous childhood relationship with his troubled father, whom he plays in the film. Noah Jupe plays young Shia and no doubt has Oscars in his future. Lucas Hedges gives an emotional performance as older Shia, and it is utterly devastating to see the impact this man's childhood has on his adult life. I'm pulling for the real Shia to continue beating his demons, star in more Sia music videos, and keep cranking out work like this.

In The Line Of Fire - I remember seeing this movie about 20 years ago, and it made quite an impression on me. It started my obsession with John Malkovich - he plays such a nefarious bad guy! - and I loved all of his disguises in the film. Clint Eastwood plays a secret service agent taunted by this supposed assassin. At 27 years old, the film is certainly dated, but the premise is excellent. 

Dirty Harry - I didn't intend on doing a Clint Eastwood theme, but I had never seen this classic film, and thought I should watch it already. I could have sworn this was a Western (he has done so many Westerns, I just figured this was one of them!) but I was wrong - Clint plays a detective investigating a slew of murders by a rooftop sniper in San Fran. It was cool to see the iconic "do you feel lucky?" scene. If I had watched this in 1971 when it came out, I'm sure I would have loved it. It's entertaining, but I'm not sure how well it holds up over time. 

Friday, May 29, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: Home Edition, Part 10

Hi y'all! I hope everyone was able to enjoy a safe Memorial Day weekend. I was grateful to go to the beach for a few days, and was even more grateful that it was practically vacant:

I suppose I could technically start dining out again, but I'm honestly in no rush to do so, and I'm having too much fun doing these home posts. And movie theatres are still closed, so I'm relying on my home screenings more than ever!

CUISINE
I bought a spiralizer to make noodles out of veggies a while ago, and then totally forgot about it. I whipped it out this week to make Zucchini Noodles (aka Zoodles), and tossed them with a jar of Green Curry Sauce from Trader Joe's, Sauteed Scallops, Cherry Tomatoes and Cilantro. It was a really light and satisfying dish, and I totally forgot I wasn't eating real pasta!
Zoodles with Scallops

My baked good for this week was a recipe from Taste of Home. I made these Cherry Coconut Treats and thankfully, halved the recipe, because they are impossible to stop eating. They are very sweet, but very delicious.
Cherry Coconut Treats

Finally, I have another way for you to use up ripe bananas - make quick Banana Pancakes! Take 1 banana, 1 egg and 2 TB flour. Mash together in a bowl, then cook in a skillet sprayed with non-stick spray (or melted butter). Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side. It's really as simple as that, though you could choose to add a dash of cinnamon, a splash of vanilla, or even coconut and butterscotch chips. Go crazy!

SCREEN
Uncut Gems - Holy moly. My anxiety levels skyrocketed during this film. It's manic, with jarring music, close camera shots and a lot of tension. Constant dialogue. Adam Sandler is absolutely phenomenal, and unrecognizable as the comedy king he is. This is a tremendous film but it will get your blood racing.

And then I did a bit of a throwback to 2002...

The Pianist - I first saw this movie at the Stevens Center in Winston-Salem, when they had their "Films on Fourth" series. This film really moved me then, and it did again this week. Adrien Brody rightfully won the Oscar for Best Actor - his portrayal of a real-life World War 2 survivor is incredibly realistic and the ending will nearly break your heart. The score and cinematography are both great. Tuck in though - it's a long, emotional ride, clocking in at 2 and 1/2 hours.

The Hours - I remember suffering through this movie in high school, and was so disappointed in it back in the day. But when the 3 female leads (Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore) are 3 of your favorite actresses, I knew I should re-visit. I definitely enjoyed it more this time around - the score, the make-up effects, the performances - it all came together beautifully. While Nic won the Oscar for Best Actress (beating out Renee Zellweger in "Chicago") I really think the 3 leads were equal roles, and that her performance was the least remarkable. I can't believe I'm actually saying that. Julianne Moore's performance was utterly heart-wrenching, and Meryl is always perfection. But, the Academy will do what the Academy will do. Worth re-watching if you hated it the first time, like me.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: Home Edition, Part 9

Howdy, folks! Is everyone ready for a long weekend, and to celebrate Memorial Day inside? Or at least, outside and 6 feet away from everyone else? LOL. I really loved last weekend's high temps, and had fun clipping some of my crazy Lamb's Ear that sprouted up. I couldn't bare to just toss it, so I put it in a vase and have loved it as my centerpiece!
Crazy Lamb's Ear sprouts!

CUISINE
I went a little crazy cooking seafood this week, because it's one of my favorite things to order in restaurants, and I'm not really able to do that these days. I sauteed scallops and roasted halibut in the oven and was SO thrilled with how they both turned out! I've learned that if you have a meat thermometer, you can really cook anything at home. Here's how I did the Halibut:

Place a filet on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Add some halved cherry tomatoes and drizzle everything with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes, or until the internal temp is 135. EASY PEASY.

I served both the scallops and the halibut with the most amazing Cilantro Corn Salad I've ever had, adapted from an America's Test Kitchen recipe:

-3 TB lime juice
-2 TB sour cream or greek yogurt
-1 TB mayonnaise
-1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed, minced
-6 ears of corn, kernels removed from the cob
-1/2 tsp salt, divided
-2 TB olive oil + 1 tsp, separated
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 tsp chili powder
-4 ounces feta cheese
-3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
-3 scallions, sliced thin

Combine the lime juice, sour cream or greek yogurt, mayonnaise and jalapeno in a large bowl and set aside.

Heat 1 TB olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the corn and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle over 1/4 tsp salt. Cover and cook about 3-4 minutes, until the corn starts to brown, then transfer it to the bowl with the lime juice mixture. Repeat with the other 1 TB oil, the remaining corn, and the remaining 1/4 tsp salt. Once all the corn is charred and in the bowl with the liquids, stir to combine. Leave the skillet on, and add the final 1 tsp oil, garlic and chili powder. Stir and let this cook for about 30 seconds, then add to the corn mixture. Let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes, then stir in the feta, cilantro and scallions. This is great served immediately, but even better the next day after it chills in the fridge overnight. It is utterly addicting, you will be hooked, don't say I didn't warn you.
Roasted halibut, tomatoes and arugula with cilantro corn salad

Finally, I made a Vivian Howard recipe that I've been dying to make for quite a while now, and absolutely loved it. Her Coconut Cornbread Strawberry Shortcake was the perfect balance between sweet and savory, and highlighted beautifully ripe strawberries. Her recipes are pretty intricate, but usually well worth the work: https://www.pbs.org/food/recipes/strawberry-shortcake-with-basil-whipped-cream-and-coconut-cornbread/
Coconut Cornbread Strawberry Shortcake

SCREEN
Mystic River - I saw this in high school and it started a thing for Sean Penn that remains to this day. It features an all-star cast, secured Oscars for Sean Penn and Tim Robbins, and if you're a fan of Clint Eastwood-directed films, you're in for a treat. It's part thriller, part drama, with a lot of tension and suspense. On Netflix, highly recommend.

Cats - No, not the 2019 remake that had people wondering "what in the actual..." but the 1998 recording of the 1981 stage version! For a limited time, you can stream some of Andrew Lloyd Webber's greatest filmed musicals, and while this one is certainly a classic, I'm still kind of wondering WTF. (I admit, it was better than the staged version my friend and I went to see in high school that was so bad, we had to pull out her iPod headphones and play something else. Bless.)

Friday, May 15, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: Home Edition, Part 8

I hope everyone's doing well and staying healthy (and staying home!) I am looking forward to some summer temps this weekend and will probably resort to laying on my back deck with a Truly slushie (it's going to be in the 80s!)
Sprout says hi!

CUISINE

A few years ago, I bought a trifle dish for a recipe that I only made one time. And then I forgot I owned it. So for Mother's Day, I decided I would make a layered dessert in the trifle dish, and it turned out to be both delicious and stunning (I'm sorry to say that I have no photos to share, because it really was a showstopping presentation). I used this recipe for a Pineapple Upside Down Cake Trifle and was thrilled with how it turned out. You literally won't be able to stop eating it: https://www.chef-in-training.com/pineapple-upside-down-cake-trifle/

A solid quiche recipe is a good thing to have in your repertoire. This is a good way to use up some eggs in your fridge, and while you can get as creative as you want (changing up the cheese/meat, adding veggies), this recipe for a Quiche Lorraine has been in my family for years, and it's never failed us:

-9-inch pie shell, thawed (Pillsbury or other store-bought!)
-4 eggs
-1 and 1/2 cup milk
-1/2 tsp salt
-dash of cayenne
-6 to 8 ounces shredded swiss cheese (package sizes vary, so 6 or 8 ounces are both fine!)
-2 TB flour
-8 slices bacon, crisply cooked, drained and crumbled

Heat the oven to 350. Combine the eggs, milk and seasonings. Toss the cheese with the flour. Add this cheese mixture and the crumbled bacon to the egg mixture. Unroll the pie crust onto a pie dish. Pour the egg mixture in the pie shell. Bake 40-45 minutes and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Bon appetit!

SCREEN
My Girl 1 & 2 - these aren't newbies to me, if anything, I was utterly obsessed with My Girl 2 back in the day (it's one of the few sequels that's better than the original!) I'm a big fan of re-watching movies that I find comforting, especially during times like these. I admit I had forgotten how fabulous Jamie Lee Curtis and Christine Ebersole are in these films! My Girl is supposedly leaving Netflix soon, and unless you have My Girl 2 taped on a VHS like me, you might need to do some digging to find it.

The Shawshank Redemption - The only time I'd seen this film was when I was on an 8th grade class trip to Washington, DC. Why they thought this film was appropriate to show a bunch of 13-year-olds, I'm not really sure. But when I re-watched it this week, I was reminded why it's a timeless classic. It's moving, heart-wrenching and an epic story of hope. If you're into films that deal with the justice system and prison like me, it's in the vein of "The Green Mile" and "Dead Man Walking". It's a great film.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: Home Edition, Part 7

Hi everyone! I hope you've had a good week. My neighbor brightened my day when she offered for people to come clip some beautiful roses from her garden. I had forgotten how a pop of color can really lift your spirits. I don't have a green thumb, so I'm grateful to her for sharing this beauty!
Stunning!
CUISINE
A dear friend recommended this recipe to me, and I am so grateful to know that I can sear sushi-grade Ahi Tuna and make poké bowls in the comfort of my own home! So thank you, dear friend, for introducing me to the beauty that is frozen sushi-grade Ahi Tuna with Cilantro Sauce.

I found individually packaged 5 ounce sushi-grade Ahi Tuna steaks (aka yellowfin tuna) in the frozen seafood section at my grocery store. Y'all, this is pure protein. Beautiful pink fish that you don't even need to cook since it's sushi-grade. But I let it thaw (duh), seasoned it with a little olive oil, S&P, then seared it over medium high for 1 minute on each side (no more!) Serve it with this sauce:

Mince a handful of cilantro leaves with about 1 TB grated ginger, 1 TB grated garlic, 1/2 jalapeño (with or without seeds), the juice of 1 lime, 1 TB soy sauce and a pinch of sugar. If you're a cilantro freak like me, you will be LIVING for this sauce. An avocado is also a great addition here.
Beautifully seared Ahi Tuna!!

If, and that's a big if, you have any of the tuna left over, cube it and combine with any of the following to make a bomb ass poké bowl: brown rice, greens, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, mango, pineapple, radishes, wasabi peas, cilantro, edamame, chickpeas, avocado, soy sauce, sriracha - literally the bowl is your oyster here! I am salivating just thinking about how fresh and light and delicious this was.
Poké Bowl heaven

I've been craving summer fruits (when can I get some fresh peaches yo?!) and so I cheated and made a family friend's Shortcut Peach Cobbler:

-1 can peach pie filling (this recipe works with ANY pie filling flavor - cherry, apple, blueberry)
-1/2 box yellow cake mix
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1/2 cup nuts (OPTIONAL, I say leave 'em OUT!)
-1 stick butter, melted

Put the pie filling in a 10" casserole dish and cover with remaining ingredients. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. It doesn't come close to the real thing, but in a pinch, it will do just fine. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

SCREEN
Bird Box - yes, I was the last person in the world to watch this thriller, and I thought it was quite timely and appropriate. When your day-to-day standard operating procedure is suddenly interrupted, and you're thrown into a new normal where people mistrust strangers and lean on family more than ever - yes, this was the right time to watch this film! I cannot imagine how difficult filming this would have been, and Sandra Bullock pulled it off beautifully. I loved Trevante Rhodes in this, a vast departure from his performance in "Moonlight", and I adore anything with John Malkovich. Definitely worth watching, and it definitely stays with you.

Pretty in Pink - I know, I know, where have I been? I'm not a huge Brat Pack movie gal, but this is a quintessential 80s classic and I figured it would be entertaining. It was fun to see Molly Ringwald in her prime (I see her often these days on "Riverdale") and the costumes were fabulously awful. Is it just me, or should she have gotten with Duckie?

Friday, May 1, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: Home Edition, Part 6

Happy another week in quarantine! For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you know I am OBSESSED with the little rabbits I have in my yard. There's usually a mom (McGregor) and baby (Sprout) but on more than one occasion I've seen a few McGregors and a few Sprouts, so I probably need to come up with some new names. (The record number I've ever counted in my yard at one time was 5!) And believe it or not, they've actually kept me company during all these shenanigans.



CUISINE
I've been on a major Asian kick and love this marinade I made up for Asian Salmon:

Put one or two 6 ounce fillets of salmon in a large ziploc bag. Add a clove of minced garlic, 1 inch of minced ginger root, about 4-5 dashes of soy sauce, fish sauce and Sriracha, a sprinkle of brown sugar and a drizzle of olive oil. Let the salmon marinate in this mixture in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Then bake it on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet at 450 for about 15 minutes or until the internal temp is 145. I love serving this with Coconut Rice, any roasted veggies, cilantro and additional soy/fish/hot sauces!


In honor of the Kentucky Derby (which is usually the first Saturday in May), and to relive some fun from my recent trip to Louisville, I decided I would use up some of my beautiful mint that has returned, and perfect my version of a Mint Julep:

To make mint simple syrup, bring equal parts sugar, water and mint leaves to a boil in a large sauce pan. Boil only for about 10 seconds, then strain out the mint and pour the syrup into a glass jar or container and let it cool. Then pour equal parts mint simple syrup and bourbon into a glass with crushed ice. I have a sweet tooth, but if you prefer more bourbon flavor, you may want to do 1/4 parts syrup to 3/4 parts bourbon. It's delightful.

SCREEN
I have to admit that this past week, I spent more time watching TV shows than movies. Like any UNC/MJ fan, I've been enjoying "The Last Dance"; I binged "Unorthodox" (fascinating and very well-acted); and I got in some laughs with "Arrested Development" (really in love with Will Arnett these days). But I did squeeze in one flick:

10 Cloverfield Lane - I love just about anything with John Goodman, and this suspenseful thriller did not disappoint. A woman is stuck in an underground shelter with two men, after being told there was an attack on the world and there are no survivors. But you won't know who or what to believe. This will keep you guessing 'til the end.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: Home Edition, Part 5

Hey everyone! We good? Hanging in there? Kinda sorta? I hope you've at least gotten outside a bit to enjoy this beautiful spring we're having. My Lamb's Ear are certainly loving these warmer temps.

CUISINE
I don't know about you, but I'm missing dining out. But, the recipes I'm sharing with you this week are easy, involve few ingredients and are inexpensive to make! (Side note - I'm scaling all recipes down by about 6 servings, so these serve 1 or 2. We don't all have spouses and 3 kids!! So adjust accordingly.)

One of my favorite things to make for breakfast (or brunch or lunch or dinner) is Shakshuka. Here's how I made it this week:

Heat about 1 TB of olive oil in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Saute half a diced onion and half a diced bell pepper (any color) for about 5 minutes, then add one clove of minced garlic. After about a minute, add in 1/2 tsp or so of ground cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. I add a dash of cayenne because I love spice. Stir in a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes. If the sauce is looking too thick, add in about half a can of water. Taste for seasoning. Crack 2-3 eggs directly into the sauce and season them with a little S&P. Cover the pan with a lid for about 6 minutes. Then, hopefully, your eggs will have that perfectly jammy yolk. Spoon some sauce and an egg onto a plate, garnish with sour cream/greek yogurt, cilantro and feta cheese. Sublime!

In recent years, I've discovered my love for French Onion Soup and I made a shortcut version for myself this week:

Saute half a sliced onion in about 1/2 TB olive oil and 1/2 TB butter, for about 10 minutes. The longer you let them cook, the more caramelized the onions will get, but I added some liquid to get the cooking process moving a bit. Add half a can of beef consomme (you can also use beef stock or broth), a splash of Marsala (because I love it) and a splash of water. Add in some fresh thyme (if you have it) and a little S&P. I added a drop of sour cream and dijon just to enhance the flavor and add some richness. Taste for seasoning. Ladle in ramekins, put a piece of bread on top, cover that bread with cheese (any white you cheese you have will do!) Broil for a few minutes (don't walk away!) Then enjoy.


Finally, if you're tired of making banana bread with all those leftover bananas, try my favorite dessert, Bananas Foster:

Melt about 1 TB of butter with 2 TB of brown sugar in a saute pan over medium heat. Once that's all nice and syrupy, add in a pinch of salt, a pinch of cinnamon and a sliced banana, and let it cook for a few minutes. OFF THE HEAT, splash in a bit of spiced rum or banana liquour (or both!) and stir to combine. Pour this over vanilla ice cream and garnish with whipped cream if you're a real glutton like me. OBSESSED.


SCREEN
Molly's Game - A Sorkin screenplay, so you had best pay attention because it moves FAST. It will easily keep your attention though, and Jessica Chastain is fantastic as real-life underground poker game runner Molly Bloom. (Btw, where is this woman's Oscar?) A great supporting cast. LOVED.

All The Presidents' Men - I can watch a young Robert Redford in anything. What a babe. This film was in the vein of "Spotlight", "The Post" and the 5th season of "The Wire", so if you're into investigative journalism and politics, this will be up your alley.

On the Waterfront - The only thing better than a young Robert Redford is a young Marlon Brando. Mother may I?! This is one of the early mobster films, and it's rightfully considered a classic. Just look at the Oscars it won. It's full of family drama, romance and class struggles. I enjoyed this a lot.