This month's Food and Flix selection was Hocus Pocus, hosted by The Lawyer's Cookbook - a perfect flick for Halloween! This movie came out when I was 8 years old, and I loved it. I hadn't seen it in years, and it was interesting going back and watching it as an adult - I still found it to be a lot of fun. I also noticed that the director was Kenny Ortega - aka the director of High School Musical, ha! My favorite character is definitely Sarah Jessica Parker, she is so goofy and I love her singing in this film. Amok! Amok! Amok!
Anywho, I had been wanting to make candy corn themed jello shots for a while, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity! (Although, I despise actual candy corn - yuck.) I didn't like a lot of the recipes out there using orange and lemon jello, the flavors just didn't seem right to me. So I opted to start with a white liquor (Rumchata) and get my colors with food dye. I added in some butterscotch schnapps for extra deliciousness, too. I used equal amounts of each color, but that resulted in a really big white layer, so I have adjusted the amounts in the recipe below to better represent the appearance candy corn.
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.
You guys. This is my FAVORITE movie. Ever. Seriously. And it is the January pick for Food 'N Flix! I am so excited that I can't even... wait... wait a second... how is this a foodie movie? I mean they do eat food in it, but... whatever, I don't even care. A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal thrown together for one day of detention - it's The Breakfast Club!
Mad props to Eliot's Eats for choosing this movie, but what a tough one to get a recipe inspiration from! In the end, I decided to make what I would want for lunch if I was stuck in detention. I mean, sushi would be great (looking at you, Molly Ringwald), but I can't make that at home yet. So instead I present to you the best sandwich in the world! To me, at least. Turkey, bacon, avocado, and a fried egg on toasted whole wheat bread slathered with roasted garlic aioli. Everything I want and nothing I don't, this is sandwich perfection. I'm calling it The Breakfast Club Sandwich because it has breakfast food like bacon and egg, and is kind of like a club sandwich. It's so clever, I'm dying.
I don't have a recipe for you (cuz it's a sandwich), but I want you to bust out your copy of The Breakfast Club and tell me what your detention meal would be. A classic pb&j, perhaps? Or something more exotic like cereal and pixie sticks with mayo?
Holy Mockingjay, Batman - I am so excited about this post! Food 'n Flix and Cook the Books have teamed up to do a double post for The Hunger Games, with Heather from girlichef hosting! Announcement post is here.
The Hunger Games is the first book of a trilogy about a dystopian alternate timeline where war has reduced America to 12 Districts ruled by a Capital. As punishment for a rebellion, all 12 Districts must offer up 1 boy and 1 girl between the ages of 12 and 18 as a tribute to compete in the Hunger Games each year. These children must then fight to the death in a televised spectacle with only 1 survivor. To make things even worse, all of the Districts are purposefully kept in a state of starvation except for the District of the winner - which is given ample food for a year until the next Hunger Games (hence the name). Food, therefore, is extremely important and a focus throughout the series.
The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is an extremely tough teen who would do anything to protect her family and especially her little sister, Primrose. When Prim is selected as Tribute (a death sentence for the timid 12 year-old), Katniss volunteers to take her place. Before being entered into the death-match proper, the Tributes are primped and pampered and paraded around the Capital. It is here that Katniss experiences luxury and an overabundance of food for the first time in her life.
Her favorite dish is a Lamb Stew with Dried Plums - it is mentioned frequently and even sent to her as a present when she is fighting for her life. I decided that the stew would be the perfect dish to make for this post, served on some wild rice that seemed fitting for the setting. I also served it with goat cheese rolled in herbs (inspired by the cheese that Primrose makes from her prized pet) and rustic seed bread (inspired by Peeta - Katniss's love interest and fellow Tribute, whose family owns a bakery).
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?!
As I stated in my Announcement Post, I am hosting this month's Food 'n Flix with inspiration from the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I wanted to get a little wacky and fun and colorful (and a little naughty) so I made this beautiful stained glass jello and boozed it up a little.
The process starts out with setting a few different colors of jello - you can use less colors (red and green for Christmas, for example) but I wanted to be pretty colorful. I also added alcohol, which you can leave out.
Once the jello is fully set, cut it into cubes and toss together gently in a 9x13 glass pan. Put it back into the fridge to make sure it stays cold.