Friday, March 26, 2021

Cuisine & Screen: At Home, Part 38

I've officially passed the ONE YEAR mark of doing C&S: At Home posts. I'm eager (like everyone else) to start dining in restaurants again, sitting in theatres and traveling out the wazoo, but I promise to keep doing these at home posts because it's been such a fun outlet for me. I hope they've been just as thrilling for you. And spring has sprung - my beautiful daffodils premiered this week!

Another meatless Monday edition (you've been warned!) But this one is crazy satisfying and very easy to customize. 

Bon Appetit's Green Curry Lentil Soup strikes the perfect balance of savory, salty and umami, and it's slightly sweet from the coconut milk. As I was eating this, my imagination ran wild thinking of additional ingredients I'd add next time to make it even better! I used butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes (because that's what I had) and I would double the veggies and lentils next time, to make the soup a bit thicker. You could also omit the lentils entirely and serve this over rice, and even add some shrimp. And just a heads up - I used half the green curry paste it called for. Give this vegetarian meal (vegan if you use vegetable broth!) a shot - you'll be surprised how satisfied you are! Here's a link to the recipe.

Coneheads - I took a break from my Oscar-nominated films to watch a 1990s classic. What seemed like a pretty ridiculous premise ended up being actually very heart-warming. I love a good SNL film because the cast is just ridiculous - Dan Aykroyd, Chris Farley, Sinbad, Michael McKean, Phil Hartman, Tim Meadows - how can you not love them all?! The film follows the Conehead family as they struggle to find their way from Earth back to their home planet. It's silly, yes, but the dialogue is funny and delivered fast. This film may not have aged very well over the past 30 years, but I admit that I found myself laughing out loud quite a few times.

Coming 2 America - I'm a big fan of the first "Coming to America", so I'm kind of questioning why we needed a sequel to an iconic classic, and over 30 years later! Eddie Murphy reprises his role as Prince Akeem in the unnecessary albeit funny sequel, and there are a ton of wonderful supporting actors - Leslie Jones and Tracy Morgan to name a few. Prince Akeem discovers he had a son out of wedlock, and the film follows their relationship, as he is the rightful heir to the throne. I think a more interesting story might have been the one focused on Prince Akeem and his eldest daughter, and her becoming Queen. Alas, I am not a screenwriter. There are some laughs, but not nearly as many as the first. The production and costume design are still on point, though!

Friday, March 19, 2021

Cuisine & Screen: At Home, Part 37

It's kind of insane for me to think about this time last year. I had just started working from home, the world was launching into several unknowns, I was single, and I began doing my weekly C&S: At Home posts. With the exception of a few weeks around holidays/staycations, I've been cranking out content for nearly a year! I'm finally approaching the one year mark of these posts, and I hope it's been as fun for you as its been for me.

My beau is officially obsessed with these Pan-Banging Chocolate Chip Cookies, made famous by the New York Times. Here's a link to the recipe but I've discovered a few tips that will make them even more divine. 

1) Brown the butter! This is a surefire way to ALWAYS get more (and better!) flavor out of whatever it is you're baking. I hardly ever bake anything without browned butter anymore.

2) No one has time to bake 1/3 cup sized cookies as the recipe instructs. I was literally having to bake one or two cookies at a time! Instead, use a normal cookie scoop, or do the 1/3 cup, but then half it to form 2 cookies.

3) Underbake the cookies. After you bang your pan once or twice, they're done! This helps them stay soft and gooey on the inside.

4) Because I can't leave well enough alone, sprinkle the finished cookies with flaky sea salt.

Moxie - LOVED! Amy Poehler directed and produced this film based off a book published in 2015. It could not be more timely. Newcomer Hadley Robinson plays Vivian, an introverted teen who forms a feminist group at her school after the patriarchy disappoints her one too many times. Poehler is excellent (no surprise) as Vivian's mother, and the supporting cast of young actors is outstanding too. 

The Map of Tiny Perfect Things -Very "Groundhogs Day", very "Palm Springs", but it's not a tired concept. We meet Mark, already living in a temporal anomaly, and it's very humorous to watch him help people find misplaced keys and save them from bird droppings, and he wins the lottery every single day. He meets Margaret, also living in the time warp, and their friendship inspires Mark to want to break free from this daily repetition. The movie went on just a touch too long, as if they didn't know how to end it, but it's heartwarming when they do. Definitely worth checking out.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Cuisine & Screen: At Home, Part 36

Finishing your week with a pic of my sweet gal Jojo and me.

For our Globes watch "party" last weekend, I thought it would be fun to have a fancy appetizer. I love Buffalo Chicken Dip just like the next gal, but what we came up with was a major hit. I think you could even make this into a light lunch if you added some avocado or a poached egg on top (I personally think anything counts as a meal if you put an egg on top).

Tomato Crostini with Whipped Goat Cheese
French baguette, sliced into 1/2" wedges
4 oz goat cheese
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Pint of Cherry or Grape Tomatoes, halved (or quartered if large)
1 small shallot, minced
1 TB Pine Nuts
Basil, chiffonade
Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper

Drizzle the baguette slices with some olive oil and toast in your toaster oven. (If you want to be EXTRA, cut a garlic clove in half and rub it on the bread after toasting.)

Stir together the goat cheese, lemon juice, some olive oil and some salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.

Heat a few teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat, and saute your shallot for a few minutes, until translucent. Add in the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook this for a few minutes, until the tomatoes are soft, then stir in the pine nuts and let cook for for just another minute or two.

Spread some goat cheese on each toasted baguette slice, then top with a spoonful of the tomato mixture. Sprinkle the basil on top and enjoy!

Palmer - I gotta say, this film surprised me. It stars Justin Timberlake as a man returning to society after 12 years in prison, and his surprising friendship with a young boy helps him stay on the right path. I love JT as an actor, and he really impressed me. I also thought 8 year old Ryder Allen did an incredible job, as did Juno Temple, who plays his troubled, drug addicted mother. It's available on AppleTV+ and worth a watch for sure.

Pieces of a Woman - The first 30 minutes of this film reminded me of the opening scene in "Saving Private Ryan". Utterly heart wrenching and an emotional rollercoaster. It felt like it was filmed in one take. Unfortunately, the film kind of stalls after that, and drags out a bit too much. Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf are tremendous as parents grieving the loss of their newborn baby. This is a heavy one.