Friday, January 29, 2021

Cuisine & Screen: At Home, Part 31

The weather we're having lately certainly calls for some comfort food. One of my favorite crock-pot dishes is Cassoulet, which is essentially a combination of beans, vegetables and meat, and it's easily customizable. My sweetheart and I decided we wanted to be a little EXTRA and add some seared Duck Breast to the dish. It was surprisingly easy and super delicious. 

Sear the breast after liberally seasoning it with salt, and place it in a cold cast iron skillet, skin-side down. Turn the heat on, to medium, and the fat will slowly begin to render. After a few minutes, and once the skin is crispy, flip the breast and let it continue to cook for about 2 minutes. Place the skillet in a 425 degree oven and let it continue to cook for about 4-6 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 135. And the most important step when cooking meat - you must let it rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into it! Then thinly slice and serve. 

Here's the recipe for Cassoulet I used, and it's worth noting that I substituted Smoked Sausage for the Italian Chicken Sausage (you can use any you like, really!) In the past, I've also added some chicken thighs that cook down nicely, too.
Cassoulet with Duck Breast

White Tiger - YES. More like this, please. Vaguely reminiscent of "Parasite", with about a quarter of the subtitles. It's based off a book published in 2008, and tells the story of Balram, a driver for a wealthy family in India who is desperate to flee his live of poverty, using any means necessary. I don't want to give away much more of the plot, and I'd even discourage you from watching a trailer. Jump right in and be prepared to be immediately engrossed.

La Vie En Rose - I'm a big Marion Cotillard fan, and had never seen her Oscar-winning performance in "La Vie En Rose". This biopic tells the story of French singer Edith Piaf, and Cotillard is incredible in her portrayal. It's a pretty dismal story - Piaf grew up in a brothel and was surrounded by drugs and alcohol, and had very little support system. Her talent saves her, if only fleetingly, and by 47 years old, her hard-lived life catches up with her. Stunning hair and make-up, and beautiful music. I recommend this film, but fair warning - it's 2 hours and 20 minutes of some pretty dramatic material.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Cuisine & Screen: At Home, Part 30

It's here. 2021 AND PART 30. I cannot believe that I've done 30 weeks of at home posts, and I'm grateful to all of my readers for humoring me throughout all this. Even when things get back to "normal," I think I'll still do some at home posts and reviews, because it's allowed me to hone my cooking skills and it's been a really fun hobby for me. Last month, I got away for a few days in the beautiful NC mountains, and wanted to share this stunning (and no filter!) view with you all.

A few of my girlfriends and I will occasionally do (socially distanced) themed dinner and movie nights. About a month ago, we watched "The Holiday" and prepared British food. One provided drinks (a Gin Blackberry Smash and Hot Toddies); one provided the entree (Shepherd's Pie); and I provided the dessert, something I've been wanting to learn how to make for a long time: Sticky Toffee Pudding. It took every utensil and tool in my kitchen to make (boiling the toffee sauce on the stove, simmering the dates in a saute pan, pureeing the dates in a food processor, baking the puddings in the oven) but it was so incredibly worth it. I would have eaten all 6 servings by myself. And the good news is that it made enough toffee sauce so that next time I can skip that step and just make the cakes! Here's the recipe I used. 


Prom - I am all aboard the Ryan Murphy train, and couldn't be more obsessed with Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Keegan Michael-Key and Andrew Rannells, so it pains me to say that I didn't just lose my mind over Murphy's new film, "Prom". It's a spectacular premise, even if it's a bit far-reaching, and delivers a great message. (Though I really don't know what Nicole Kidman was doing taking this role.) I don't think I've EVER given a negative review of a movie musical (though I didn't see 2019's "Cats") and I don't intend to start now, but this was a bit too long for its own good, and maybe my expectations were just entirely too high. It's a good time, not a great time. Available on Netflix.

Fruitvale Station - Michael B. Jordan can really do no wrong in my eyes. I'm a little late to the game on this film (it came out in 2013) but I watched it on New Year's Day, ironically, because the film recounts the life of a man who was shot and killed by police on New Year's Day in 2008. I don't remember a lot of press surrounding the shooting of Oscar Grant, III - I feel like the shooting of Trayvon Martin was the catalyst for the BLM movement and ample media coverage - but Oscar's is a story worth telling. And Octavia Spencer is phenomenal, as per usual, as his mother. Available on Netflix.