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.

Captain America Civil War: Vision’s Chicken Paprikash

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I am a fan of the comic book films. They are action-y and fun and I think they are just great to watch. While enjoying the latest Captain America flick I happened to notice a pretty significant (well, to me anyway) food scene! Imagine my surprise and joy at discovering meaningful food where I wasn’t expecting it.  Yay!

The scene is where Vision tries to recreate an authentic dish from the region of Sokovia- hometown of Scarlet Witch. It is a Sokovian version of chicken paprikash; a  traditional, Eastern European, comfort food made with chicken, paprika, onions and love.

Watch the scene here:

This scene is significant, not only because it gives me something to cook from the film but because it hints at the relationship to come between these two characters. In the comics, Scarlet Witch and Vision fall in love and get married. By cooking for her, Vision is beginning to manifest his feelings for Wanda. This is especially evident in the fact that he cooks her a dish with meaning, not just a sandwich, but an authentic comfort food from her homeland. Food has always been instrumental in communicating love, and it’s how Vision has chosen to express his beginning affections for Scarlet Witch.  I love that this film is giving their relationship some attention amidst all the drama between the Captain and Iron Man.

In order for me to get this dish right I had to imagine where Sokovia would be if it actually existed. Luckily for me there are people out there that make maps of these things. Based on what I have found, Sokovia would exist somewhere in Eastern Europe situated between Bulgaria and Turkey.

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So, I researched traditional Eastern European  paprikash recipes and I found that like American Chili, there are several variations of the dish based on geographic location and family tradition and preference. However, I did find some common denominators and went for it.

The dish calls for bone in chicken, most using a whole, quartered chicken. I happened across some great looking chicken thighs at the butcher shop and used them. The thing to remember here is that this dish relies on bone-in chicken for some of its flavor.  I sprinkled them  with a bit of salt and pepper.  Next I dredged it in my flour and seasoning mixture and browned it in a skillet over medium heat.

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Once browned, I removed the chicken from the pan and added the onions; sautéing until tender and adding more paprika. Once soft,  I added the chicken back in the pot and added in the chicken broth. I brought the mixture up to a boil and then simmered, covered for about 35 minutes.

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I served this dish over egg noodles but I ate bread with the leftovers. I really enjoyed this dish. It was perfect for a cold, rainy night. After making it I could completely understand why Vision chose this to make for Wanda. It is comfy and homey, like a warm hug He was attempting to give her a sense of comfort, of home and doing that for someone definitely sends a message of love. Overall, making this dish has given a small gesture in a one minute scene a huge amount of depth, while at the same time gives me the warm fuzzies about the film because it chose to include such a romantic token in such an action-y film.

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Vision’s Chicken Paprikash

3-4 pounds Chicken pieces (I used bone in thighs)

1 Medium Onion, Chopped

4 Tbsp Hungarian Paprika

1/2 Cup Flour

2Tbsp Oil

2 Cups Chicken Broth

  1. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper
  2. Mix flour and half the paprika
  3. Heat oil over medium heat.
  4. Dredge chicken in flour mixture and brown on both sides.
  5. Remove chicken from pot, add onion, and sauté until tender.
  6. Add the rest of the paprika and salt and pepper to taste, cook for one minute.
  7. Add chicken back into pot and add broth.
  8. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 35 minutes or until chicken is done.
  9. Serve over rice, egg noodles or with crusty bread.

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This entry was posted in Film.

Twin Peaks: Diner Cherry Pie

Back in 2011 when I was pregnant with Squirrel, I was put on bed rest for the last couple months of my pregnancy. So, I did what any sensible person would do, and I binge watched old television shows. I started with shows that I missed out on when I was a teenager because I was out doing fun stuff, (just kidding, I was really home reading); specifically, a super popular show from the 90’s called Twin Peaks.

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Twin Peaks is the early 90’s masterpiece created by David Lynch and Mark Frost. It centers around the murder investigation of  small town homecoming queen Laura Palmer. FBI agent Dale Cooper heads the investigation and as time goes on the focus of the show is not only to catch the killer but the other goings-on of  the strange townsfolk in Twin Peaks. The show walks the line between picturesque small town life and the sinister things that occur just below the surface.

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One recurring theme in the series is Dale Cooper’s love of the local Cherry Pie. He claims the cherry pie from the double R diner is “where cherry pie goes to die”.  Cherry Pie appears in some way in every episode. In the 90’s people were gathering to watch this show and serving cherry pie and coffee as refreshments!

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At the risk of sounding like I am reading too much into this, I feel like the cherry pie is a sugary sweet reminder of the “all-American” illusion that the town of Twin Peaks (and Laura Palmer, herself) tries to project. It is this bit of Americana that exists to contrast how bizarre the people of Twin Peaks really are. A place where the pretty, popular, Prom Queen (a picture of American idealism) was involved in some very crazy things. By placing the pie in every episode it not only makes the townsfolk seem that much more disturbed but also serves to remind us of how Laura Palmer is definitely not the girl we thought she was.  Regardless of the reason behind its prevalence in the show it seemed definitely worth making!

During my research I looked into what the typical diner cherry pie consisted of. I also looked at footage and photos from the show to give me a better idea of what I was trying to achieve. It seems that the Double R served a standard, double crust cherry pie. Based on this I knew I could go the route of just using a can of filling poured into a crust and call it a day, however, the real life diner that served as the Double R in the series claims that theirs are made on site everyday from scratch (reviews claim otherwise but who knows?).

Now,  I am not a from-scratch-pie-crust kind of girl. I am actually terrified of pastry dough; working with it intimidates me on a base level.   So I took the easy way out and bought some store bought pie dough that I only had to fit over the pie plate and cut to fit. If you’re the ambitious type that isn’t scared of pie dough then I say go for it! However, if you’re more like me than using the kind out of a box is fine too.

For the filling, I decided to go at least one step beyond canned but, wanted to keep it simple and diner-ish. I looked at several pie filling recipes dating back decades that I could mix, match and adapt to fit what I was looking for.

It’s cherry season so I totally wanted to use fresh cherries! I bought a cherry pitter, which ended up being the best thing ever but, I have used other stand-ins (like an unbent paperclip) in the past with no problems. After washing and pitting the cherries I mixed them up in a bowl with the sugar and the cornstarch and let them sit for a while to let the juices start to flow.

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I then heated the mixture over medium heat until it started to thicken. My cherries took a little while to get going with this and so I used a potato masher a few times to really get the juice to start coming out.  Eventually my cherries got really juicy and I was a little worried about when or if the thickening would happen but I did notice it got a little thicker and so I moved on to filling my pie shell.

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I used a ladle to get the cherries out first with minimal juice so that my pie would be filled with fruit and not a soggy juicy mess due to too much juice. I then added the juice a bit at a time to fill in the gaps around the fruit until the shell was filled.  Later, I used any leftover juice in my ice cream maker to make some cherry chip ice cream! Once the shell was full I just rolled and cut the pre-made pie dough to make the top crust and baked.

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I waited for it to cool a bit before cutting (again, because I was scared excess juice might somehow ruin the crust)

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Once I tasted it, I totally understood Dale Cooper’s infatuation with cherry pie. It was delicious, and sweet but, not too sweet. The crust had a good texture and really worked well with the sweetness of the filling. Delicious. Overall, this pie would have fit in perfectly as a staple in the Double R Diner; served best with a hot cup of coffee.

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Twin Peaks Cherry Pie

9 inch ready made pie crust (or use your favorite crust recipe)

7-8 cups Fresh Cherries

2 1/2 cups Sugar

5 Tbs Cornstarch

  1. Trim bottom pie crust to fit pie pan according to directions.
  2. Wash, drain and pit cherries.
  3. Combine sugar and cornstarch.
  4. Stir in cherries and let stand to let juices begin to flow (at least 30 minutes)
  5. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken.
  6. Ladle filling (fruit first!) into pie crust and then add juice until full.
  7. Cover with top crust and vent.
  8. Bake  at 375 for 45 minutes, wrap edges of pie with foil if they brown too fast.
  9. Let cool before cutting.

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This entry was posted in TV.

Arrested Development: Bluth Frozen Bananas

 

arrested-development I am definitely late to this party but I don’t care. This show is great! I am so happy that they revived it on Netflix. It’s weird, it’s unpredictable and it’s hilarious! It deals with the Bluth family, an incredibly dysfunctional group headed by George Bluth (Jefferey Tambor) that loses all its wealth when he goes to jail. Left holding the family together is his son Michael (Justin Bateman) and his efforts to keep the Bluth empire afloat are kinda strange and very funny.

Now, for the food. One of the Bluth’s many business interests is their frozen banana stand. This banana stand holds a place of prominence in the show especially during the first season. In fact, one of the most memorable lines from this show is “There’s always money in the banana stand.”  You’ll have to watch the series to find out the meaning behind that one! Regardless, this banana stand gets torn down and rebuilt several times over the course of the show and it got me thinking…

According to the show, the Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana is the stand started by George in 1953. It is said to be located on Oceanside Wharf Boardwalk on Balboa Island in Newport Beach. Out of curiosity I researched frozen banana stands in Balboa Island and found Sugar and Spice: The Original Frozen Banana. I figured this would give me great insight into the types of frozen bananas offered on Balboa Island and the most likely types sold at the Bluth stand.

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After looking over the menu, I got a very good idea for the types of bananas that George Michael was most likely selling out of the Bluth stand. So I decided to give it a shot and I was not disappointed!

First, I halved the bananas and inserted the sticks. Then I stuck them in the freezer for a few hours. 100_1234

When it was time to pull them out, I melted some milk chocolate candy melts in the microwave. I dipped my bananas and used a basting brush to make sure I got it all coated. The cold banana makes the candy melts firm up rather fast so once you dip you must work quickly!

Then, I (quickly!!) rolled the chocolate covered banana in the toppings. The ones I used were pretzels, crushed Oreo cookies, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, and peanut butter chips. Yum!100_1237

Once rolled and covered, I stuck the bananas back into the freezer for a little while to make sure all the good stuff would stick.

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These were easy and delicious! My kids are still asking for them.

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Thinking about it, it is no wonder George Bluth built his empire around the banana stand!


Bluth Frozen Bananas:

a few bananas

1 bag milk chocolate candy melts

various toppings such as: crushed oreos, peanut chips, sprinkles, whatever you like!!

  1. Cut bananas in half horizontally. Insert wooden sticks. Put in freezer for at least an hour.
  2. Melt the candy melts in microwave safe bowl according to package decorations.
  3. Dip frozen bananas in chocolate, make sure to coat entire banana.
  4. Working quickly, roll in desired toppings.
  5. Return to freezer for an hour or until ready to eat.
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This entry was posted in TV.

Modern Family: Sloppy Jays

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I feel that Modern Family is really one of the better sitcoms happening right now. It is funny, smart and heartwarming all at the same time. I love the togetherness of the Pritchett clan but I also love that they aren’t perfect; they reflect a lot of what real life family is actually about.

One terrific aspect of the show is the portrayal of Ed O’Neal’s character Jay Pritchett as the cantankerous grandpa. Jay maintains his relevancy by surrounding himself with younger people-his grandchildren, his step children and even his wife! Because of this, Jay is able to maintain a perfect balance of salty old man, corny dad, and understanding grandfather which makes him one of my favorite characters on the show.

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Jay’s place as the head of the family is demonstrated in a terrific episode called “Great Expectations” from Season One of the show. It is in this episode that Jay makes all the grandkids have a sleepover at his house. He calls it “Jays Night” (another reference to the fact that he has a young mentality-he didn’t call it Grandpa’s Night) . It is in this episode that we come across some yummy inspiration from Jay’s character, in his dish Sloppy Jays.

Now, of course this is a recipe for Sloppy Joes only with a name change. However, I did try to make the recipe match the character of Jay. It is simple, straight forward, and a no frills recipe. I think Jay would approve.

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It is so simple because it only involves 3 ingredients, yes, three! As with any other RWE recipe, you can feel free to tweak it to your taste but this has been a recipe that I have used for over 15 years and its always a big hit at my house.

You start off browning some burger.

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After the burger has been browned and drained you add the last two ingredients. Medium Salsa and Ketchup. I know, on paper it doesn’t sound wonderful but when mixed together into the beef it is better than any Sloppy Whoever that came out of a can. Seriously. You also save time from cutting and chopping by using the salsa because it is already in there. The salsa creates the spice and the ketchup balances with the sweet which also reminds me of Jay. Enjoy!

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Sloppy Jay’s:

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup medium Salsa (I like the chunkier kind but it’s whatever you prefer)

1/2 cup Ketchup

Hamburger Buns

  1. Brown hamburger in a skillet. Drain.
  2. Add the salsa and ketchup.
  3. Serve on buns.
This entry was posted in TV.

Blessed are the Cheesemakers: Fee’s Roast Beef

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To be honest, I am not really a romantic, light hearted plot type of girl. I really enjoy things a bit more sinister. However, I really loved this book! Blessed are the Cheesemakers by Sarah Kate Lynch was a great read from start to finish. Truth be told, I cried a little at the end! The novel centers around Abby and Kit, two people that happen to converge on the dairy farm of Joseph Fee and Joseph Corrigan just as the two are looking for a new cheese maker. Surrounded by a group of quirky but lovable characters  Abby and Kit attempt to mend their broken lives and start over. This book is definitely worth checking out and cooking along with. There is of course the obvious mentioned food-cheese, (which will be a featured post a little later), but also various other treats like “Bone-Bone Chicken”, Avis’ raisin bread and a delicious sounding beef roast that Fee prepares.

Fee’s roast is the focus of today’s post. I knew when I read the ingredients that this was something I had to try. I am habitually taken in by simple recipes, and this one doesn’t get any simpler!

“”That’s right,” said Fee again, bashing thyme, garlic and lemon rind together with olive oil using an ancient mortar and pestle.”-Lynch

Just like in Lynch’s novel, I gathered the basic ingredients listed and combined them with the lemon zest and olive oil and bashed. I didn’t have a mortar and pestle (it’s on my wish list though!) so I used a measuring cup and a spoon.

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It became a very delicious smelling paste so I smeared it all over the beef roast. I cut up some potatoes (white and sweet)and an onion to cook with it. I also cut up the lemon that I had zested for the paste and threw that in there as well.

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After spending some time in the oven; magic happened! My house smelled amazing, the meat came out tasting exceptional and the potatoes etc. were a delicious, roasted, bunch of amazingness! I would have posted a picture of the finished product but we started eating it immediately out of the oven! Overall, I can’t say that this dish had a hand in the fates of our beloved characters in Blessed Are the Cheesemakers but it did bring a lot of joy into my house the night I made it! Enjoy!


Fee Corrigan’s Roast:

Lemon Zest of One Lemon

1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic

1Tbsp Thyme

1Tbsp Olive Oil

2-3 pound Roast

  1. Mix  first 4 ingredients together to form a paste.
  2. Spread paste on top of Roast
  3. Add any potatoes, carrots, onions to dish if desired, throw in the rest of the lemon too!
  4. Roast at 375 degrees for about an hour.
This entry was posted in Books.

Inside Out: Broccoli Pizza

 

Pixar Post - Inside Out Sneak Peek Character Lineup (2)

 

I just watched Inside Out with my kids and I really enjoyed it! It focuses on the emotions of a pre-adolescent girl named Riley and how she handles moving to San Francisco from the Midwest. All the action is interpreted by Riley’s basic emotions Fear, Sadness, Joy, Anger and Disgust (pictured above), they help Riley navigate everything that happens to her. One scene in particular that struck me was when during the move, difficulties like the moving van running late, Riley’s dad leaving to handle business, and a dark and dismal new bedroom has left Riley feeling glum and in an attempt to be positive she suggests getting pizza. Pizza. A food that is comforting and familiar wherever you get it…unless you get it in San Francisco.

Watch the full scene here:

This scene is where Riley’s attempt at familiarity ends up pushing her further into unfamiliar territory. Things that Riley thought she knew are now strange and unappealing. With all of the new things around her, Riley at first rejects them and tries to get back to her old life but eventually embraces the changes and as a result, matures. The takeaway here is that change can be good; my takeaway was that I had to step out of my comfort zone and try making a delicious broccoli pizza.

I have never made anything other than a basic red sauce-mozzarella-occasional pepperoni-pizza before so I did some research. I looked up pizza joints in  San Francisco to get some insight on the pizza trends there. I discovered that vegetarian, organic and whole foods are really popular with the people out there even when it comes to pizza. Based on the research I knew I had to do a whole wheat crust and I happened to have the recipe for a great one on hand. The toppings (other than the broccoli of course) took a little more thought. However, in the end I went with some Ricotta, Parmesan, garlic, thyme, olive oil and a Dubliner cheese. YUM!

The pizza dough recipe that I keep on hand is delicious and easy. I also thought it would fit perfectly here because it is a whole wheat dough made from real food ingredients. Something I think the folks in SanFran could get behind. It is straight from Lisa Leake’s 100 Days of Real Food cookbook and I have included a direct link here:

Recipe: Homemade Whole-Wheat Pizza

Of course, if you’re not feeling up to making your own dough, just buy a ready made crust.  No judgment here.

Once the dough is rolled and shaped on the pan it’s time for the toppings. I felt that I had to build this pizza to give it a few different layers of flavor; I really wanted to avoid a limp broccoli on plain cheese mess. So, the first thing I did was to brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. I have no idea why but I felt that this would be a good solid foundation.

Next, I spread the ricotta cheese and sprinkled with Parsley. Since this pizza wasn’t going to have a traditional sauce on it I wanted to use a soft cheese at the base so that it wouldn’t be dry. Ricotta cheese is creamy and a little tangy so I thought it would work well.

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The next layer consisted of Parmesan cheese and minced garlic. I followed that with half of the Dubliner cheese and then a sprinkle of thyme. I did that because I wanted the broccoli to sit in the pizza, not just hang out on top. I also should mention that I steamed the broccoli beforehand but still left it a little crunchy so it would withstand the oven. I also laid the broccoli on paper towels to dry it because I didn’t want any water near my pizza. I topped it all off with the rest of the Dubliner.

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I took it out of the oven, my family had the same reaction as Riley, they eventually were curious enough to taste it and WOW it was delicious!! They loved it, and I can’t speak for Riley, but I will eat a San Francisco style Broccoli Pizza anytime! I am already planning on making it for my book club and for  a play date that I am hosting next month.

In the film, the pizza represents how the familiar can sometimes be foreign to us. Riley eventually accepts her new surroundings and starts to enjoy the new normal. For me it was a challenge to see if I could create and enjoy a non-traditional pizza. I ended up cooking out of my comfort zone and it was a fun and delicious experience.

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Broccoli Pizza Recipe:

One Whole Wheat Pizza Crust-store bought or made from this recipe:

Recipe: Homemade Whole-Wheat Pizza

olive oil for brushing

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 Cup Ricotta Cheese

1tsp Parsley

2/3 Cup of grated Parmesan Cheese

2tsp Minced Garlic

1 Cup Dubliner Cheese (or more depending on what you like)

1 cup steamed broccoli

  1. Brush Pizza dough with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Spread Ricotta around on crust and sprinkle with parsley.
  3. Cover with Parmesan Cheese and minced garlic
  4. Sprinkle with half the Dubliner cheese,
  5. Add thyme and Broccoli
  6. Add the rest of the Dubliner cheese and Bake at 500 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

 

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This entry was posted in Film.