I could tell immediately from the dialogue that this was a play adaptation, and I was right. The movie portrays the funeral of the patriarch of an extremely dysfunctional family, set in the desolate plains of Oklahoma. The cast (including Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Juliette Lewis) acted the crap out of some very dark and intense material - addiction, depression, suicide, abuse, and incest. This is not a feel good movie (you know it's bad when incest is the best scenario), but it is very good and it will make you think.
As for the food inspiration - there was a ton! Many of the most tortured scenes revolved around food, including the horrible funeral dinner and the infamous "eat the fish!" scene. The moment that I was drawn to was Meryl Streep's character talking about her last interaction with her husband over biscuits and gravy. She must have said the phrase "biscuits and gravy" ten times. I'm not even that big a fan of biscuits and gravy, but that was what I wanted to make.
I wanted to make something special, not basic, so I went to Pinterest thinking I would find an herbed biscuit recipe or something. But what came up were a ton of recipes for biscuits and gravy casseroles. I had never heard of that before and it sounded awesome! Some were just biscuits, gravy, and cheese; but I liked the look of one that included eggs (kind of like a strata).
I finally got my act together in time to post for Food 'n Flix, ha! I really need to work on that! Anyway, this month's movie is Butter - hosted by Cheap Ethnic Eats. This hilarious movie is about wealth, race, privilege, power, family, small town America, and (of course) butter. I'd seen it before, and enjoyed it so much that I didn't mind renting it again just to look for food references. Which, by the way, are few and far between other than the ubiquitous butter.
So what was I going to make that would feature butter? I came up with a few ideas, but I kept circling back to these apple dumplings (even though I'd posted about them before). They really are perfect for this movie, though - a little bit redneck, totally unhealthy, and drenched in butter.
The dumplings are actually really easy to make. I like them best when they are fresh and the sugar on top is still crunchy, so I tend to make half a recipe one day and the other half the next day - which is why you will only see 4 dumplings in the photos. Start by peeling and coring an apple, then cutting into 8 slices.
This month for Food 'n Flix our movie is Bridesmaids, hosted by Cheap Ethnic Eatz. This movie is hysterical, with a lot of heart. I've seen it multiple times and I still lose it during the scene where the main character drives back and forth in her car doing various illegal things to get her cop friend's attention.
Kristen Wiig plays a woman whose bakery fails because of the economy crash. There is a very memorable scene of her making a gorgeous single cupcake and then chowing down on it. So I knew that I definitely wanted to do a cupcake for this post. There is also a lot of drinking in the movie, so I thought - what about a boozy cupcake? Perfect.
I ended up making Moscato Cupcakes with sweet wine in both the cake and the frosting - so good. Though I made a lot of changes to my inspiration recipe - subbing half melted butter and half coconut oil for vegetable oil, subbing vanilla sugar for regular sugar, and subbing whey (from all that cheesemaking) for buttermilk. I also made a simple syrup from equal parts moscato and vanilla sugar to brush over the warm cakes to boost the flavor. And I used half cream cheese and half butter in the frosting (I'm not a big fan of too sweet frosting).
The January pick for Food 'n Flix is the 1987 Danish film Babette's Feast (now included in The Criterion Collection), chosen by Culinary Adventures with Camilla. This is the story of two deeply religious and puritanical sisters who live on the remote coastline of 19th Century Denmark. They give up much in their lives in order to live the way that they were raised and to help the people of the village. Late in their lives, a French refugee comes to stay with them for many years and cooks them a fabulous meal to thank them. The sisters and villagers are afraid to give in to the decadence of the meal, but it ends up healing many of their wounds and rifts. It is a story about the healing power of food and how it can show love and thanks.
The food cooked in the movie is quite extravagant and I didn't think I could take on turtle soup or quail stuffed with foie gras and truffles, so instead I decided to just go French in general. I must have been influenced by all the soup that the Danish villagers ate (and the stew meat in my freezer), because I made a French stew with beef and red wine - cooked low and slow in a crockpot.
Beef is seasoned with salt and pepper and placed into a bowl with onion, garlic, shallot, celery, carrot, thyme, bay leaves, and lemon zest.
This is the fun part - a whole bottle of red wine is poured over the ingredients and then left to marinate (refrigerated) overnight. The wine is the stock for this stew, and the flavor permeates everything. So make sure that you use a good one! I suggest a Cotes du Rhone for this.
I hosted this month at Food 'n Flix and chose Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory for my inspiration (see the announcement post here). One of my favorite childhood movies, Willy Wonka is full of fun, wonder, and tasty looking creations (the snozberries taste like snozberries!) - and what better time for a sugar fest than the holidays?!
This is my second month to be a part of the Food 'n Flix bloggers' circle (see here for my first month). This month is hosted by Tina at Life in the Slow Lane at Squirrel Head Manor; and she has chosen the movie Sideways to be our inspiration.
Sideways is a movie about friendship, relationships, happiness, and most of all - WINE. Set in Napa Valley, vineyards and wineries provide the background to the film and wine almost becomes a character itself.
I wanted to make something that would feel like it belonged in Napa Valley, and that would pair well with wine. I thought about coffee rubbed pork with a wine sauce, or braised ribs, but eventually I settled down on something simple and fresh - Focaccia with grapes, rosemary, pine nuts, olive oil, and sea salt served with fresh homemade ricotta.