Beauty and the Beast: Cheese Souffle

I feel like Beauty and the Beast is everywhere these days. Disney is about to release a live action version of the popular animated film, so I thought I would celebrate by making something from the animated movie. For those of you that may not have heard the story (could that be possible?),  it is about a girl named Belle who agrees to live with a prince turned scary monster in order to free her dad from his dungeon. Belle and the Beast get off to rocky start but begin to fall in love, which is the key to breaking the curse on the Beast and his castle. This story has been around for a very long time but Disney made it mainstream pop culture with their beautifully drawn movie and memorable soundtrack.

 

One of the most famous scenes in the film is when Belle has agreed to stay at the castle in exchange for her father’s freedom, and is so depondent about being stuck with the Beast she refuses to leave her room to eat. Finally, the enchanted members of the castle staff entice her downstairs to eat by showing her (through song and choreographed dance), all the wonderful things they would like to do for her. The staff is so excited to have a guest they are compelled to demonstrate all of their hospitality skills. They are also hoping to make Belle feel comfortable and more accepting of her situation (and the Beast).

 

It is during the famous “Be Our Guest” song and presentation that Lumiere shows Belle a cheese soufflé ready for her to eat. I always loved the enchantment of this scene and so I chose the soufflé to make.

The soufflé is significant because it is a French dish-lending itself to the appropriate time and place of the story. It is also significant because the word soufflé comes from the French word to breathe-Belle is a metaphorically a breath fresh air in the palace and that may be why the dish is talked about at the same time as her arrival.  Also, souffles are labeled as  being a little difficult to prepare and delicate to handle; these characteristics mirror the early relationship between Belle and the Beast. Their situation is a precarious agreement that could “collapse” at any minute causing everyone to be cursed forever. Finally, in more recent depictions the falling of a soufflé is often a source of humour in a cartoon or show; the fact that it is featured during one of the most whimsical parts of the film may not be a coincidence.

To make this I knew I had to start with eggs and cheese, and after looking at a few generic recipes for cheese soufflé I realized there wasn’t much more to it. However, I was more confused about process with this dish rather than ingredients. So I consulted an expert: Julia Child. A lot of her cooking shows can be found on various websites, including Youtube. After watching her cheese soufflé episode 30-40 times I was ready to attempt the dish. I planned on doing it in my own way but I needed a little bit of guidance!

First, I buttered my 1 quart soufflé dish and sprinkled it with some parmesan cheese. This is so that the soufflé has something to hold on to as it rises; it also provides a delicious crust. A lot of other recipes use breadcrumbs for this part which is totally acceptable but I figure you can never go wrong with more cheese.

Next, I melted more butter in a saucepan and added  flour. I let it get bubbly and then removed it from the heat. Then I added milk and whisked to remove lumps and then put it back on the heat. TIP: I warmed the milk up beforehand so that it would mix better with the already warm butter and flour. Once the milk mixture started to thicken I added my cheese and then removed it from the heat. Since the backdrop of the story is French I used one of my favorite French cheeses: Gruyere.  Gruyere has a great strong woody flavor that goes great in any egg dish. To the cheese mixture I added the egg yolks and spices.

I set my cheese mixture aside and started to whip the egg whites with the cream of tarter. I used a hand mixer and blended until I had stiff peaks. This is when you stop the mixer and hold it upside down the peaks stay stiff and do not fold over onto themselves. I folded about half of the egg whites into the cheese mixture and then the other half. I poured it all into my dish and baked.

This dish was like eating a cheesy, egg-y cloud! It was so good and light! The taste was amazing! Making it, I realized that as extravagant and fancy a cheese soufflé may seem it really was a simple dish with basic ingredients. It reminded me of the film in terms of how, when the Beast is able to simplify his situation and be himself with Belle, magic happened. I am really hoping the live action version of Beauty and the Beast is just as great (and delicious) as the animated version.

 

Cheese Soufflé:

Melted butter for brushing sides of dish

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese ( for dusting the dish)

1/4cup  Butter

1/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
Dash of ground red pepper (cayenne)
1 cup warm milk
2 cups Gruyere cheese (8 ounces)
3 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Butter 1-quart soufflé dish or casserole. Dust bottom and sides of dish with parmesan cheese. Shake dish to properly cover and dump out excess.
2. Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Whisk in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese until melted; remove from heat. Add egg yolks and spices stir until combined.
3. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff but not dry; set aside. Fold about 1/2 of the egg whites into cheese mixture. Fold in remaining egg whites. Carefully pour into soufflé dish.
4. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Serve immediately.

This entry was posted in Film.

Young and Hungry: White Truffle Mashed Potatoes

I was Netflixing recently and happened upon Young and Hungry; based on the title, I decided to give it a try and I am glad I did. This show is very charming and food plays a large role. Right from the first episode it is evident that there is a ton of food featured in this show, (so be prepared to see it written about more than just this once). The series follows Gabi, a young broke girl that lands a gig as a personal chef to a young tech millionaire. As Gabi tries to navigate her way in this job she is surrounded by funny characters and plenty of romantic hijinks.

These hijinks start in the very first episode. Gabi is still trying to land the personal chef job when Josh agrees to hire her if she can make a dinner for his girlfriend Caroline that will make her say yes to his marriage proposal. After Caroline breaks up with Josh the same day, he feels distraught and to comfort him Gabi feeds him mashed potatoes and they drink lots of booze. Josh and Gabi end up having a one-night stand. They decide to keep it a secret, which causes her to have complicated romantic feelings for Josh.

It is after Caroline breaks up with Josh and before he sleeps with Gabi that the potatoes become significant. Josh is feeling hopeless and empty. He says that nothing will make him feel better after losing Caroline but audibly perks up at Gabi’s mention of her mashed potatoes. He starts to eat them and there is a visual change in his mood; he is less upset about his situation. Every time he gets visibly upset about the breakup Gabi literally shoves more potatoes in his mouth.  Josh ends up giving a toast to the mashed potatoes and tells Gabi about how much it made him feel better. Mashed potatoes are by culinary definition a comfort food. They are used in this episode in a very literal way to comfort Josh.

To make these I did some research and I liked the idea of using white truffle butter then I did actual truffles. I read that the butter would carry the flavor better and is much easier to deal with. I am fortunate enough to live within a reasonable distance of a huge international grocery store so I knew they would have it there. If you aren’t as fortunate, some grocery stores do carry truffle butter in their gourmet section. I am sure that a lot of specialty and gourmet stores will have it as well; you can also order it online. So, once I tracked down the white truffle aspect of the dish, it was just a matter of incorporating that into a solid mashed potatoe recipe.

I like to use Russet or Idaho potatoes for mashed potatoes because they are starchier and can hold cream and butter really well. A lot of people prefer to use Gold Yukons for mashing because they are known to make a more flavorful dish. However, they are more difficult to get smooth than the other potatoes. I wanted something that would hold the add-ins well and make a nice smooth dish so I went with my preferred potato but you can use anything you like.

I cut them up into one inch chunks and boiled them and when they were really soft, I drained them. While I was waiting for them to be done I melted the butter in a saucepan and added one cup of whole milk, half n half or cream would work here too if that’s what you have on hand.  I let that simmer and thicken a bit. I pulled it off the heat and added the truffle butter; stirring until it melted. Then I added the liquid to the poatatoes and mashed. I use a hand masher but a hand blender would also work well for this too.

I really enjoyed these potatoes! I don’t mess with my mashed potatoes very often and my family likes them pretty basic, but they really liked these! As a matter of fact, I only got this one picture of them before they started eating them!You can taste the truffles and the butter but the flavors are not overpowering. This was great comfort food on a cold winter night and the truffles make the potatoes decadent enough to make them special. Although I wasn’t eating them out of heartache they did feel indulgent and I understood why they were chosen as a high end comfort item for Josh.

 

Gabi’s White Truffle Mashed Potatoes:

5ish Russet or Idaho potatoes

1 cup whole milk

6 tablespoons of butter

3oz White Truffle Butter

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cut potatoes into 1 inch chunks and boil. Once boiling, cover and simmer about 20-25 minutes until very soft. Drain.
  2. while potatoes are simmering melt butter in separate saucepan. Add the milk and let thicken a bit. Remove from heat and add truffle butter.
  3. Once truffle butter is melted add the sauce mixture to drained potatoes and then mash with a masher for chunkier potatoes or use a hand blender for smoother potatoes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, to taste.

This entry was posted in TV.

The Good Girl: Eve Dennett’s Lasagna

I was introduced to The Good Girl by Mary Kubica through my book club. I probably would not have picked it up otherwise, but I was pleasantly surprised by the story and enjoyed this book very much. It’s always an especially good thing when a book that I may never have read ends up being good and has some meaningful food in it.

The novel centers around the disappearance of Mia Dennett. A young woman who is kidnapped by Colin Thatcher. Colin’s job was to kidnap Mia as part of an extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. Things change unexpectedly when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in Minnesota until he can figure out a better plan. The story is told from the viewpoints of Mia’s mother Eve, the detective on Mia’s case and Colin; through their perspectives we get a very good look into human and familial entanglements.  I liked this book because it was more about human interaction than a suspense thriller.

There is not a lot of food mentioned in this book, but one item stands out-lasagna. It appears in the book when Eve makes a lasagna birthday feast for her missing daughter. Eve makes the lasagna in Mia’s absence as part of the ritual of caring for her.

“”It’s for her,” she says. “Mia loves lasagna. Any kind of pasta. She’s the only one I could always count on to eat what I’d cooked. It’s not that I expect her to show up. I know that won’t happen. But I couldn’t…”” -Mary Kubica

Making the lasagna demonstrates a connection Eve has with her daughter, when the connection is disrupted by Mia’s abduction it is evident in the cooking process. When Eve is making the birthday lasagna she is breaking down simultaneously as the ingredients of the dish “break down”. She breaks the garlic with her palm, the salt shaker falls off the counter and spills, she burns the meat for the sauce all while breaking down into tears before erupting into anger.

Finally, the fact that the prominent food in the novel is a lasagna is meaningful. Lasagna is comprised of layers and several different components which could be a metaphor for the composition of the book. The events in the book are told through several different characters; having several different perspectives on the events in the book give it all a very complex and layered feel.

For this dish I didn’t have to do very much research because I frequently make lasagna for my family. I used ingredients that were mentioned in the novel to make it authentic to the book. I generally make my own sauce from scratch but I don’t think that Eve did based on the comments from Detective Hoffman, “…Mrs. Dennett is a one-trick pony in the kitchen. She’s probably got a chicken recipe and chances are she can boil water. But that’s all”. -Mary Kubica

So feel free to use bottled sauce or any other shortcuts for this if you prefer.

To begin, I browned sausage in a skillet with some chopped onions and added it to my sauce. Then I  mixed the cheeses, herbs and egg together and set aside. I then layered my dish and baked. I don’t cook my noodles beforehand and I have never had an issue but cook them if that’s what you prefer.

 

Overall, this dish is a classic comfort food.  It is symbolic of home, family, and togetherness in this story.  It is also a symbol of the complexity of the story telling and the layers of perception it takes to get to the truth about Mia’s disappearance. Regardless of whether you agree with my ideas about the comfort or the complexity of lasagna, it is delicious.

Eve Dennett’s Lasagna

1pd Ground Italian Sausage

1/2 cup minced onion

24 oz  Pasta Sauce

30 oz Ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

1 egg

2 Tbsp Italian Seasoning

16 oz Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

1 Box of Lasagna Noodles

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Brown sausage in skillet with onions. Add sauce and simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Mix Ricotta, parmesan, egg and spices. Set aside.
  3. Spread 1/2 a cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9X13 inch pan. Place a layer of noodles to fit, top with 1/3 of the cheese mixture and 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 the sauce. Repeat with noodles, cheeses, and sauce. Then noodles, the remaining ricotta mixture and the remaining shredded mozzarella.
  4. Cover and bake in 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. Uncover and let cook for another 20 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

This entry was posted in Books.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason: Magic Mushroom Omelet

 

I have posted previously about Bridget Jones and her diary, this time around I decided to take on the next installment in the franchise, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. In this installment of the adventures of Bridget Jones, Bridget finds herself happy and in love with Mark Darcy and fully expecting a proposal. When it doesn’t come and Mark confesses that he hasn’t been thinking of marriage Bridget begins to suspect that he is cheating on her with a business colleague. In a snit she decides to work on a project with her ex Daniel Cleaver. They travel to Thailand together with Bridget’s friend Shazzer in tow and all sorts of shenanigans ensue.

I enjoyed this film in a different way than the first one because it is not just Bridget’s antics that carry the story; I really appreciate that this film gives a deeper glimpse into Bridget’s relationships and how loved she is versus her seeking out love from others. The viewer gets to see Bridget’s quirkiness in action during a relationship versus when she is trying to navigate the dating arena. It was nice to see her impulsiveness and lack of judgment stayed consistent, especially during her trip to Thailand which is where my inspiration for the Magic Mushroom Omelet comes from.

Bridget eats a “Magic Mushroom Omelet” which causes her to hallucinate, make sand angels, and admire all the “colors”. One could argue that the omelet is what causes Bridget’s lack of judgement to follow.  Having Bridget eat a magic mushroom omelet is the only way the viewer would accept what is happening. We have to believe that Bridget is out of her mind in order to sit through watching her canoodling with Cleaver.

In order to make a proper magic mushroom omelet I would have had to get my hands on hallucenigic mushrooms. Since that wasn’t going to happen I thought I would substitute some mushrooms that are frequently used in Thailand when they are not using the magic variety. In my research I found that magic mushroom edibles (and milkshakes!) are very popular tourist fare in Thailand. However, I also found out that several different types of regular mushrooms, like Shiitake, and Straw were popular as well.

I was also surprised to learn that the omelets in Thailand are not the rolled up bundles of goodness like they are here in the states. They are actually open faced and have everything cooked inside/on top of them. They also use several subtle tastes like soy sauce and fish sauce during cooking that really make this dish delicious. Finally, what makes an authentic Thai omelet is the actual cooking process. Thai omelet’s are cooked in lots of oil so they get puffed up, crispy on the outside and soft in the center. Yum!

So, I gathered all the ingredients, whisked the eggs, and added the mushrooms,  fish sauce and soy sauce. If you don’t have or care for Fish Sauce you can substitute more Soy Sauce but the Fish Sauce brings a flavor that is totally worth it!I heated a lot of oil in my skillet-a wok would also work if you have one- and poured in the eggs. A medium high heat is good but watch it; you don’t want the egg to cook too much before the mushrooms. I casually tested my patience by letting the omelet sit in the pan to brown up. It should be brown on both sides so you can flip it a few times, use a large spatula so that the omelet doesn’t break. Once nicely browned up on both sides, you can plate it up by itself or enjoy it over some rice.

Overall, this was a really fun project. The texture of the omelet was very good and the subtle flavors really make this a great dish. Even my husband, who does not care for mushrooms, declared this was good. Although it was not of the magical variety this omelet still ended up being something special.

Magic Mushroom Omelet

2 eggs

1/2 cup Shiitake Mushrooms

1/2 tsp Soy Sauce

1/2 tsp Fish Sauce

1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

  1. Whisk eggs
  2. Add in mushrooms, Soy and Fish Sauces
  3. Heat oil in skillet or wok on medium/high heat. Add the egg mixture.
  4. Fry on one side until nicely browned, then flip over and fry until done. Omelet should be thick and very firm, well browned and crispy on the edges.

 

This entry was posted in Film.

Big Little Lies: Not on a School Night

I have previously written about Big Little Lies and now with the TV adaptation getting ready to air, I have decided to revisit this novel a second time. The story focuses on three women, Madeline, Celeste and Jane.  The ladies all have little ones starting kindergarten together and they all end up getting wrapped up in schoolyard politics, marriage issues and growing pains. However, underlying these plot points is the fact that the book is framed in a murder investigation. We know that someone has been killed but we don’t know who or why; Moriarty does a great job at keeping the reader invested and guessing until the end.

This book kept me enthralled from beginning to end not just with the whodunit aspect, but also because of the incredibly relatable characters. If the series is half as well done as the novel, viewers are in for a treat!

Overall, this novel does not have a huge amount of food in it but there is a fair amount of booze; I have chosen to write about the drinks mentioned in the story. The first drink mentioned is the “Perry Surprise” which was featured in an earlier post that you can find here:

Big Little Lies: “Perry’s Surprise”

The second drink, “Not on a School Night” is the focus of this post. It is the potent and delicious drink served during the trivia night at the school. One could argue that it served as a catalyst for the dramatic events of the trivia night.

“Stu: As soon as you walked in the door you were handed one of these girly-looking pink fizzy cocktails.” -Liane Moriarty 

 

This drink carries some significance in its name.

“…the Year 6 teachers invented it. They’re calling it ‘Not on a School Night’ or something”-Liane Moriarty

The expression “not on a school night” is often used to discourage behavior that would interfere with a good night’s sleep, or overall well being when you have to be alert the next day. Behaviors like drinking, staying up late, and even attending social functions would fall under this category. The adults in the novel engage in all of these behaviors at the trivia night and things end up going badly. The name of the drink is a subtle warning to everyone that’s drinking it.

It is also something typically said by adults to children. It is generally an expression used in parenting. This is interesting because in this instance it is being geared towards the adults in the novel; perhaps as an indication of impending immaturity and (deadly) shenanigans. It also indicates the adults in the story are about to be involved in a bit of “schoolyard drama”; only this time someone ends up dead.

 

To make this drink I took clues from the text about the ingredients and taste.

“Hey, can you taste mint in this?” said Tom to Jane.                  “That’s it!” said Jane. “So it’s just strawberry puree, champagne–” “–and I’m thinking vodka, ” said Tom. He took another sip. “Maybe quite a lot of vodka.” -Liane Moriarty

So, I started with the mint flavor. You can use either a mint syrup for this or a mint liqueur. I tried both approaches and they both worked taste-wise but found that to get the appropriate alcohol factor indicated in the book, Crème de Menthe was the better choice.

I also didn’t want to drink to have a Vodka-y taste so I went with a strawberry flavored Vodka. I used frozen strawberries and a hand blender to make the strawberry puree. I put these ingredients in the glass first and mixed them together. Then I topped off with the champagne/sparkling wine, I chose an Asti because they tend to be sweeter and I was really happy with the results.

 

My friend Kelly used to work for a flavor company and specifically with alcohol, so I used her as a consultant on this project.  It was fizzy, pink, delicious and loaded with booze. Perfect. I ended up serving this cocktail at a gathering for my mom’s group and it was a big hit. We did not drink these on a school night!


Not on a School Night

1 oz. Crème de Menthe or mint syrup

3 oz. Strawberry Flavored Vodka

8oz Strawberry puree

6oz Champagne/sparking wine

  1. Mix everything except for the champagne in a large glass.
  2. Add champagne

 

This entry was posted in Books.

Gilmore Girls: Rocky Road Cookies

I have yet to meet someone that doesn’t like Gilmore Girls. The show about super independent, single mom Lorelai, her daughter Rory and their navigation of life in the small town of Stars Hollow. The town is filled with quirky characters which balance the presence of Lorelai’s rich, manners obsessed parents. The writing of this show is so good!! The dialogue is very fast paced and filled with pop culture references. In 2016 the show was revived on Netflix with a four episode miniseries. What makes Lorelai and Rory such memorable characters is their amazing relationship as well as their ability to eat copious amounts of junk food.

A favorite junk food staple of the girls is a simple burger and fries from the local diner and coffee. Lots of coffee. However, in order to gear up for the revival I have re-watched the entire series and I discovered an interesting and meaningful little treat amongst all the snack food: Sookie’s Rocky Road Cookies.

They are featured in the episode “Love and War and Snow” from season one. Sookie makes the cookies so that Rory can give them to Dean. This is where the significance is; the rocky road cookies are totally symbolic of Rory and Dean’s relationship. Through the course of seven seasons Rory and Dean had breakups, makeups, love, sex, infidelity and the excitement of first love. Rory gives Dean the cookies at the very beginning of their romance; an excellent foreshadowing of their entire relationship.

Traditionally, Rocky Road is known as a chocolate flavored  ice cream that contains nuts and marshmallows so I had to figure out a way to transform the ice cream into a cookie. I started thinking about the dough and decided to go with the chocolate, obviously. I kicked the flavor up a notch by I melting some real chocolate and adding it to the dry ingredients that included cocoa just for good measure.

Once I had the basic dough together I added in the walnuts and marshmallows and chocolate chips for good measure.  I decided to add the marshmallows into the batter because I thought that they would give the cookies a more gooey  texture.

The most important part of this process is to use parchment paper! When the cookies are done baking they are still very fragile and will fall apart if you move them too soon or if they stick at all. So after taking the cookies out of the oven I let them cool on the cookie sheet for five minutes and then moved the paper to the cooling rack until the cookies were completely cool. After they were completely cooled they were wonderful; they were sweet and gooey and crunchy.

 

These cookies have a great complexity of texture and flavor. My conclusion is that the taste, as well as the name, are a clever foreshadowing of Rory and Dean’s relationship.

 

Sookie’s Rocky Road Cookies:

  • 2 cups chocolate chips, divided
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • ⅔ cup  brown sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla or chocolate extract
  • 3/4 cup marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips with the butter in the top of a double boiler until smooth. Remove from the heat, and let it cool to room temperature.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325F. Line cookie sheet pans with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. To make the batter, combine the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder in a small bowl, and set aside. In a large bowl, beat the eggs,  brown sugar, and extract, about 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the flour mixture and cooled chocolate, and beat for 1 minute. Fold in the remaining 1 cup chocolate chips, the marshmallows, and the nuts, if using.
  5. Drop the batter by spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet pans about 2 inches apart. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, or until just firm.
  6. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and cool for 5 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet pans. Let the cookies cool completely before removing them from the parchment paper.

This entry was posted in TV.

Bridget Jones’s Diary: Turkey Curry

So here we are in late January, caught between the magic of the new year and the expectations of Valentines Day; the perfect time of year for the film Bridget Jones’s Diary. Bridget Jones is an average thirty something struggling against her career, her weight, getting older, and her lack of a boyfriend. To help with her New Year’s resolutions, Bridget decides to take control of her life by keeping a diary in which she will always tell the complete truth and track her commitment to changing her life.  It is great for anyone that has set goals for the year (romantically based or otherwise) and are having trouble following through. It also gave me the idea to attempt turkey curry.

The film opens on a New Year’s Day with Bridget heading to her parents house for their annual turkey curry buffet.

It all began on New Years day, in my 32nd year of being single. Once again I found myself on my own and going to my mother’s annual turkey curry buffet. Every year she tries to fix me up with some bushy-haired, middle-aged bore and I feared this year would be no exception. –Bridget

In this scene, her mother tries to fix her up with Mark Darcy but instead of fireworks there is a mutual dislike between Bridget and Mark. Their relationship transforms over the course of the year which Bridget chronicles in her diary. However, it is in this scene that the random idea of a turkey curry buffet actually has a significance to Bridget’s life.

Her parents have this buffet every year, her mother fusses about Bridget’s clothes and tries to fix her up every time, and Bridget drinks and smokes at the party despite her claims that she is quitting (again) this year. The point is that the turkey curry buffet is symbolic of the fact that in Bridget’s life nothing changes, she does the same thing every year with the same results.

Annual turkey curry buffet also foreshadows her relationship with Daniel, not only has she not changed her habits, she also hasn’t changed her taste in men. This idea is reinforced by the fact that at the curry buffet her and Mark do not like each other, he is a different sort of man than Bridget is used to and she is obviously not ready for her life (or the men in it), to change.

According to my research, curry is one of the best hangover foods.

 In fact, the best time to eat a curry is when you’re hungover. There are several reasons for this: you can’t be arsed to cook; you’re craving carbs; the piquant flavours of a good curry will penetrate the muggy fug in your head like few other foods; eating something with a decent chilli heat feels restorative (erroneous endorphin claims or not); and it’s a great excuse to crack open what you really want, which is a belated hair-of-the-dog beer. -Tony Naylor

I have also learned that curry in general varies greatly with location. I tried to find what’s common in England but they incorporated the dish as far back as the 18th century and it has come to be a kind of common menu term. The term curry on British menus encompasses a lot of different dishes in terms of ingredients, spices and what area of the world it is associated with.

Admittedly, I have never prepared a curry before and I have actually never eaten one. Because of this I decided that instead of creating my own recipe for this post, that I would just follow one from a good source. After researching a “British curry recipe”, I was able to find one from BBC Food that sounded pretty good. I will write out the recipe as I made it below but you can find the original one I looked at here: http://http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/turkeycurry_78850

To make this you basically put some onion, garlic, ginger and spices on the heat. Then you add broth, potatoes and cubed butternut squash.  You wait for the squash and potatoes to soften, add the leftover turkey and the cream, yogurt and lemon juice and you’re done. I chose this recipe because it sounded easy, which it was and the ingredients sounded reasonable-nothing wacky or out of place. I was  happy with the finished product which I served over white rice. I did not expect to enjoy the seasonings as much as  I did, however I felt that this curry was extremely mild. I prefer spicy food and so I added a few dashes of ground red pepper to my plate to kick the heat up and I enjoyed it more that way.

For me, turkey curry meant a totally new experience in terms of cooking and eating which made this dish exciting for me. For Bridget, it is symbolic of things staying the same year after year. What is it going to represent for you?

Bridget Jones Turkey Curry:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1in knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 red chili pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seeds
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 3/4 of a butternut squash peeled, seeds removed and cut into cubes
  • 1pt chicken or turkey stock
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 3 oz cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 6 large handfuls leftover turkey, chopped
  1. Heat the oil and butter in a large non-stick casserole pot.
  2. Add the onions and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, chili, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, garam masala and ground coriander. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft, being careful not to burn the spices.

  3. Add the potatoes and butternut squash and cook until the potato begins to stick to the bottom of the pan slightly.

  4. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  5. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes and butternut squash are tender.

  6. Stir in the yogurt and cream, then add the lemon juice.

  7. Add the cooked turkey, fold in and simmer to heat through.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Film.

Big Little Lies: “Perry’s Surprise”

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty was the perfect read for this time of year for me;  I have a kindergartener heading to school for the first time. I am learning how to navigate schoolwork and mom cliques; I also love a good mystery.  This book was well written and had some great surprises.

The story focuses on three women, Madeline, Celeste and Jane.  The ladies all have little ones starting kindergarten together and they all end up getting wrapped up in schoolyard politics, marriage issues and growing pains. However, underlying these plot points is the fact that the book is framed in a murder investigation. We know that someone has been killed but we don’t know who or why; Moriarty does a great job at keeping the reader invested and guessing until the end.

This book kept me enthralled from beginning to end not just with the whodunit aspect, but also because of the incredibly relatable characters. I could identify with Jane when she freaked out from having to complete her kid’s assignment the night before it is due; I could identify with Celeste in how she attempted to keep up the illusion of a perfect life, and I could identify with Madeline’s struggle with getting older.  I enjoyed this book as a good read but I also enjoyed it as a woman, wife and mother of small children.

This novel does not have a huge amount of food in it but there is a fair amount of booze; I have chosen to write about the drinks mentioned in the story. The first drink mentioned is the “Perry Surprise”. The second drink, “Not on a School Night” will be featured in a second post later on!

“”Mummy gets a rest tonight,” Perry told the boys earlier, and he’s done the whole bath, teeth, story routine on his own, while she sat on the couch, reading her book and drinking a Perry Surprise. It was a cocktail he’d invented years ago.  It tasted of chocolate and cream and strawberries and cinnamon, and every woman he ever prepared it for went crazy over it.  “I’ll give you my children in return for that recipe,” Madeline had once told Perry.” -Liane Moriarty

This drink is significant for a few reasons, the first being the ingredients. The drink  is comprised of a few different elements but nothing definitive. It tastes like a few different ingredients but we don’t know how much of exactly what they are. Chocolate. Chocolate liquer? Chocolate syrup? We don’t know. Just like in the story we know that someone has been murdered but we don’t know why or how or even who it is.

The name of this drink is also significant. Perry is a main character in the story and he does surprise us a couple different times. I don’t want to go into further detail for those of you that haven’t read the novel but I will say that like the drink is comprised of several different flavors; there are several different sides to Perry as well.

So, for this drink all I had to go on was the description of the flavors. I discussed the flavor combination with a friend of mine that happens to  work in the liquor industry. He suggested the liquors I used to give me a proper flavor mix and a good texture (not too thick or syrupy). A strawberry vodka for the strawberry flavor, chocolate liqueur for the chocolate flavor, and then a wonderful bit of booze called Rumchata which tastes like cream and cinnamon; I had the bases covered. Now, with any alcoholic drink you should mix the flavors to your own preferences but I included my specific recipe below. Overall, I was very happy with the results of this drink and the blend of the four flavors.


Perry Surprise

1.5 oz. Strawberry Flavored Vodka

1 oz. Rumchata

1 oz. Chocolate Liqueur

  1. Mix over ice, strain into martini glass. (I like to do a chocolate rim with this)

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Books.

Bob’s Burgers: Never Been Feta or Foot Feta-ish Burger

Bob’s Burgers is an Emmy winning animated show about a family and their misadventures in the restaurant business. Bob, Linda and their three children: Tina, Gene, and Louise do their best to keep their diner afloat amidst an array of ridiculous scenarios that sometimes include animal rights activists, the health department, and a cranky critic named The Moody Foodie. This show is a  great example of silly humor mixed with clever writing. A lot of people are put off by the idea of a grown up cartoon show however, there are so many reasons to watch this one. The humor is great, the characters are funny due to their inability to see the obviousness of any situation, and who can resist food puns?

In the episode “Crawl Space” Bob tries to avoid Linda’s visiting mother by pretending to be stuck inside the walls of the restaurant; this trick leads to him actually getting stuck inside the walls. He attempts to go about his everyday life while slowly going crazy from being confined in the walls. He instructs everyone regarding their duties in the restaurant, including changing the specials board. He instructs Louise to write the special as the “Never Been Feta Burger” but Louise takes it upon herself to name the burger of the day the “Foot Feta-ish Burger”. At face value, this is hilarious but it also gives more insight into the show and Louise in particular.

Attention to this detail brings watchers’ attention to the running gag in the show. The specials board changes with every episode,and they are always ridiculously funny food puns. This gag also alludes to the fact that this is an adult cartoon show. Kids generally don’t understand puns and usually lack the general knowledge to “get” them and appreciate them.

Louise being the one to change the name is significant in a couple of ways. To start we discover that Louise is a trickster; she thrives on drama and conflict. By disobeying her father’s instructions on the name of the burger she is able to create discord with her dad; exacerbating an already tense situation for Bob. Louise gets a thrill from messing with people and in this case she is able to take full advantage of the situation because her dad is unable to do anything about it.

 

Renaming the burger also allows Louise to create conflict with the restaurant customers.The name “Foot Feta-ish Burger” is slightly disgusting because she is juxtaposing the image of feet with that of food. This creates  a certain level of shock value in just reading it; it also inspires a feeling of unease with whomever might want to order it. This is a great example of how Louise loves making people uncomfortable.

The “Foot-Feta-ish Burger” in real life is anything but disgusting. Feta cheese is slightly salty and mildly sour (also like Louise’s personality), but is delicious on a burger. Feta is commonly used in Greek dishes and because of this, I decided to subtly flavor the burger with some common Greek flavors.

 

I used 100% beef because if you have ever seen the pilot episode, you know that is ALL that Bob uses in his burgers. I mixed up the burgers with some oregano, lemon juice, onion powder, and garlic powder.  I also cooked them on the grill to make nice grill marks and make them taste authentic. Just to round out the flavor I decided to top it with some red onion and tomato, but you can use whatever you like.

Overall, this burger came out tasty and rich. The seasonings inside the burger and the toppings give it a complex, layered flavor. I feel like it is perfectly representative of the shows humor and how there is clever significance behind the jokes.

Never Been Feta Burger/Foot Feta-ish Burger

1 pound of Ground Beef

1tsp Oregano

1/2 tsp Onion powder

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp Lemon Juice

1/4 tsp Black Pepper

Burger Bun

Feta Cheese

Red Onion

Tomato

  1. Mix first 6 ingedients and  form patties
  2. Pregeat an outdoor grill for hig heat and lightly oil grate
  3. place patties on the prepared grill, lower lid and cook 6-8 inutes preside oruntil desired doneness.
  4. Once cooked place hamburger on bun, top with Feta Cheese, red onion, and tomato.

 

 

This entry was posted in TV.

Steel Magnolias: Cuppa, Cuppa, Cuppa

The 1989 film Steel Magnolias is a classic! For those of you who have never watched it, Steel Magnolias centers around the bond a small group of women share while living in a small Southern town and how they cope with love, loss, friendship and relationships. It has an amazing cast including Dolly Parton, Shirley McLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Sally Field, Darryl Hannah and Julia Roberts. Throughout the film, the women are beautiful and delicate, yet resilient and strong hence,  Steel Magnolias.

I remember watching the film as a kid and being envious of the friendship among the women. I remember wanting to spend my adult days in Truvy’s hair salon, gossiping and talking about weddings, babies, and sharing recipes. I was transfixed by the small town life the women lived and wished that I lived in Chinquipin Parish too.  To be fair, I have done a fair share of my adult life talking about weddings, babies and gossiping. However, I have never done any of it in a beauty salon.

I have also shared a few recipes, but again, never at the beauty salon. So, it only make sense that when Truvy, played perfectly by Dolly Parton, explains her Cuppa, Cuppa, Cuppa, recipe I feel like she is sharing it directly with me.

The meaning of this recipe in the film is that Cuppa, Cuppa, Cuppa is a reflection of Truvy herself. It is a very “What you see is what you get” type of recipe which matches Truvy’s personality in the film; she is very open and honest about who she is. When Truvy shares the recipe, she mentions that she serves it with “vanilla ice cream to cut the sweetness”, which is an allusion to the other women that Truvy keeps around her. They are always a little bit more colder (like ice cream), than she is. Overall, Truvy is uncomplicated and sweet, just like the recipe she shares.

Also the fact that Truvy is the one that shares the recipe is also meaningful. Truvy’s character is generous and giving throughout the film. The fact that she is the one that shares a recipe that parallels her own personality is symbolic of the fact that she is giving of herself throughout the film.

To make this, I just simply followed the instructions in the film. I assembled the three ingredients, baked at the proper temperature and done. Mine didn’t come out  looking super beautiful like I have seen in other peoples photos but it tasted okay. I also used the ice cream on the side to make it authentic.

 

Overall, the recipe is simple and good and uncomplicated. It is a mirror image of Truvy’s personality in that it is bubbly and comforting. So, although I may never have done any of my gossiping or discussing of weddings in a beauty salon it makes no difference because making Cuppa, Cuppa, Cuppa makes me feel as though I have at least shared recipes inside one.

 

Cuppa, Cuppa, Cuppa:

1 Cup of Flour

1 Cup of Sugar

1 can of Fruit Cocktail with the juice

  1. Mix and bake at 350 till golden and bubbly (about 35 minutes)
  2. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.

 

 

 

 

This entry was posted in Film.