Friday, October 30, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: At Home, Part 27

It's finally here. Halloween is TOMORROW. I've definitely indulged in plenty of candy corn, pumpkin baked goods and B-list Halloween movies, so one might say I've made the most of the season.

Throwback to the year I wanted to be a mom for mom was a get the idea.

I hope you all have enjoyed this pumpkin journey with me through the month of October! Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) has a fabulous recipe for Pumpkin Ravioli. However, I know myself, and I know that however good the recipe is, I do not have the patience to build every little individual dumpling. I spent as much time as I could perfecting the little pouches of goodness, and the ones that turned out well really did look adorable. And the flavor of the brown butter with that savory pumpkin filling, salty parmesan and crunchy pine nuts? It's an absolutely delicious dish. Just allow yourself PLENTY of time to assemble! Click here to get her recipe.

My very questionable attempt at homemade Pumpkin Ravioli.

Leave No Trace - More like leave this one behind! After reading tons of great reviews and hearing really awesome things about this film, I hate to say, I was pretty disappointed. Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie star as father and daughter who live in the woods, and not beyond their means. Their footprint is almost nonexistent. It's a beautiful premise, but for some reason, it just didn't come together for me. I think more dialogue or backstory would have brought me more into their world, but I sadly never really connected with either of them, or their story.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - Does Jack Nicholson get any better than this? This is a wild film - it's heartbreaking and funny at the same time, and a timely, not outdated commentary on mental health. Nicholson stars as R.P. McMurphy, a criminal who pleads insanity and is the sanest one of all in a mental institution. His relationship with supporting characters (Christopher Lloyd, Danny DeVito and Louise Fletcher) reveal a lot about him as a man, a friend and an outcast. It's long, but worth every minute of the watch.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: At Home, Part 26

Y'all. At Home, Part 26? How is this even possible? I hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful weather this week, and that you have something fun (and SAFE) planned for Halloween next week. I promise I'm ALMOST done with the pumpkin recipes...but not quite. 

I had to share this with y'all - for my birthday, some friends got me a Paint by Numbers featuring the man himself, Leo. It was so fun and meditative, and while I'm certainly not a visual artist, I was very pleased with how his portrait turned out!

One of my all-time favorite pumpkin recipes comes from none other than Paula Deen. I've been making this recipe since she first burst onto the Food Network scene 20 years ago. Her recipe for Pumpkin Baked Ziti is perfection - the only thing I do differently is substitute Neese's Sausage for the Sweet Italian Sausage (obviously). Otherwise, this recipe is a hit every time. It will not disappoint.
One of my absolute faves.

The Boys in The Band - This is some incredibly heavy material. Ryan Murphy produced this film adaptation of a 1968 play, and the film stars the same cast as the 2018 revival on Broadway. Needless to say, these actors are very comfortable in their roles and the chemistry is palpable. Jim Parsons is amazing in the leading role, and the entire cast steps up to the challenging dialogue and intense character relationships. It's not a feel good film, but very touching and timely.

Addams Family Values - One of my top 2 Halloween movies, and one of the few sequels that's better than the original. I was Morticia Addams for Halloween 3 years in a row as a child, so my obsession goes way back. The cast couldn't be any better - Anjie Huston, Raul Julia, Christopher Lloyd, Christina Ricci? Killer! Joan Cusack gives a master class in comedy, and Peter MacNicol and Christine Baranski are supporting actor comedy gold. Everything you love about the quirky family, but with a few more laughs than the first film. I'll be watching at least two more times this season.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: Home Edition, Part 25

I thought I'd shake things up and forego the usual orange pumpkin this year, and found these beautiful Cinderella pumpkins! I guess technically you COULD carve them(?), but they're just too pretty.

Love my Cinderella pumpkins!

I love Cacio e Pepe, the traditional Italian pasta dish that makes its own sauce essentially from starchy pasta water, Parmesan Cheese and Black Pepper. Because I can never leave well enough alone, I found a recipe for Pumpkin Cacio e Pepe, and while the pumpkin flavor isn't overpowering, it adds a luscious, velvety creaminess and produces a beautiful hue. And since pumpkin is a fruit, this dish counts as one serving of fruit in my book. I could not get enough of this and will be adding it into my rotation. Here's the recipe I used!

Antebellum - Yowza. This one starts at 100 and doesn't really slow down. It's in the vein of "Get Out", "Us", and "12 Years a Slave" and presents a horrifying world - one that is happening underground, right under our nose. It dragged in spots, and while the reviews have been generally negative, I thought it was a brilliant premise, profoundly disturbing and have thought about it long since having watched it. Janelle Monae reminds us of her kween status and Jack Huston's nefarious antagonist was the perfect catsing choice. Outstanding production and costume design. 

Dances with Wolves - Another yowza. The film clocks in at 3 hours and 1 minute, but won just about every Oscar known to man. It's Kevin Costner's pièce de résistance, telling the tale of a Civil War soldier who befriends a tribe of Lakota Native Americans. They learn each others' culture, language and values, and he falls in love along the way. Of course. The cinematography is beautiful, and the story really is touching. A heartbreaking reminder of those who came before us.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: At Home, Part 24

Meet Stevie, my sugar skull succulent, named for Stevie Nicks of course.

I love Stevie!


I've been on a Cinnamon Roll kick lately (see my post from August!) so naturally I had to experiment with Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. To save myself from eating the entire pan, I shared some with a neighbor, who told me it was one of the best things she had ever eaten. They truly are to die for. I used this recipe and will definitely make them again!

Sheer decadence. Excuse the Christmas plate.


The Devil All The Time - Available on Netflix and only to the strong-stomached. This was an engrossing story about a family and the many menacing characters they cross paths with. Outstanding performance by Robert Pattinson as a corrupt priest, and beautiful work by Tom Holland, Riley Keough and Mia Wasikowska. I loved the ominous music and cinematography. I felt this one in my gut.

Top Gun - I think I'm the only person on the planet who hadn't seen Top Gun until now. It's a classic for a reason. Killer soundtrack, iconic characters in Goose, Maverick and Ice Man, and all around very entertaining. I can't imagine how they shot this film, and all those crazy stunts?! When the sequel finally gets released, I'll be ready.

Friday, October 2, 2020

Cuisine & Screen: At Home, Part 23

It's October 2. It's officially time to celebrate all things fall, pumpkin, sugar skulls, Hocus Pocus, Halloween and more. Apologies in advance if you're not a fan - the coming weeks will showcase my obsession. 

A few years ago, I decided to go all out for my dinner club, and presented them with a showstopper recipe. I baked a pumpkin. We all know pumpkin as a sweet ingredient - whether it's pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie or a PSL - but I wanted to showcase the savory side of this squash. I was inspired by this recipe for Roast Pumpkin with Cheese "Fondue" and was thrilled with the result. It became a cheesy pumpkin bread pudding custard. It was outstanding. If you're looking to try something new and daring in the kitchen, this is it.

The roast pumpkin in all its glory

Almost Famous (2000) - I hadn't seen this film since high school and it's a shame I hadn't re-watched it before now. I LOVE THIS MOVIE. It might have just pushed its way into my top 5 of all time. A high school journalist spends weeks on the road with a fading out rock band and learns all about the highs and lows of life as a musician. Billy Crudup and Kate Hudson are fantastic - she scored an Oscar nod for this role - and the soundtrack is phenomenal. Music fans, you need to see this film.

Brothers (2009) - This film is heartbreaking and offers my favorite performance by Tobey Maguire. He plays a Marine who goes missing, and his troubled brother (Jake Gyllenhaal) steps in to help take care of his family at home. Lovely performance by Natalie Portman, but the real star here is Bailee Madison, who was 10 years old at the time. The score is by my favorite film composer, Thomas Newman. It's intense, but so worth a watch.