Tag Archives: Carrots

Minestrone Soup | “Moonstruck”

by Blake

New York in the 80’s seems to be like the New York of today, except a little dirtier, more Italians, and fewer minorities. Personally, I feel as though Hollywood just doesn’t make old Italian people like they used to. In fact, this movie is like a celebration of Italian New York, complete with food, from start to finish. The movie even opens with Dean Martin’s That’s Amorewhich you have definitely heard. My actual favorite food seen in the film was the Egg-In-The-Hole being made by the best Greek-playing-Italian Olympia Dukakis, but is really too simple to require a recipe, right?

breakfast

Awesome.

Cher is Loretta Castorini, a 37-year-old widow who looks 26 (even with gray hair) because Cher ages backward, very very slowly and who lives with her parents in an area of Brooklyn with no cars and no minorities. Her fiancé, Johnny Cammareri (Danny Aiello) flies to Sicily right after proposing to Loretta in a restaurant.  But he wants his angry, estranged brother Ronny Cammareri (Nic Cage, who appears to work as a coal shoveler at Cammareri Brothers Bakery in Brooklyn) to attend, and asks Loretta to get him there while he’s away.

The scene where Cher goes to the bakery to convince Ronny to come to the wedding contains what might be the first over-the-top Nic Cage speech scene in film history, a harbinger of the Nic Cage to come, the Nic Cage we all know and love. I would have checked, but it’s been a long time since I saw Raising Arizona and we all know what happens when you watch too many Nic Cage films.

So, Spoiler Alert: How awesome would it be for a strange woman to show up at your job, tell you she’s marrying your brother and then cook you a medium rare steak? Beautiful Cher is having dinner with Raising Arizona Nicolas Cage. And it becomes exactly the kind of relationship beginning you’d expect from a Nic Cage baker character with a wooden hand. After not nearly enough scotch to make me believe Ronny could just get a woman like Cher into bed after a steak and conversation, especially when she’s marrying his brother, I had to tweet my assertion to the world:

No way does Cher (seen here):

Cher

Fall for Raising Arizona-level Nic Cage:

Cage

Cher tweeted back at me, which was awesome. Then her fans started to, which was overwhelming. They’re pretty big fans of Nic Cage in this movie. So you decide the feasibility of this romance. In my opinion, it must have been one hell of a moon that night.

And it was. The day after Loretta meets Ronny, she’s doing her rounds as a bookkeeper at her uncle’s deli, where he asks her about the moon. The moon got into everyone the night before, apparently. As she goes, her uncle, walking off, yells to the back: “Hey Frankie! Make me a bowl of Minestrone!” Minestrone is what you eat when you’re in love.

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Or when you’re having dinner with Frasier’s dad.

So let’s start this soup which celebrates love, Minestrone is not going to choke a pig, but its a great way to start a meal that could.
Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup carrots, scrubbed, 1/4-inch dice
1 cup onions, 1/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup celery, minced
chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup white wine
1 bay leaf
1 quart water
1 cup plum tomatoes, diced
8 ounces fresh pasta
1 cup zucchini, diced and blanched
1 cup loosely packed fresh spinach
Fresh cracked pepper

Garnish
Grated cheese (such as Parmesan or Romano)
2 tablespoons fresh basil, torn into little scraps

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I grow my own basil, and so should everyone else.

 

* If you don’t have white wine on hand, chicken or vegetable stock will do in a pinch!

Instructions

• In a large saucepan, heat olive oil for 1 minute on medium-high.

• Add  carrots and sauté for 1 minute.

• Add the onions and sauté for 1 additional minute before adding the garlic, celery, and rosemary.

• Sauté this mixture for 5 minutes, or until the ingredients are caramelized.

• Add the white wine and bay leaf, bring to a boil, and add the water and tomatoes.

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• Bring to a boil, add the pasta, decrease the heat to low, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked.

• Remove the pan from the heat, fish out the bay leaf, and swirl in the zucchini and spinach.

• Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

• Call Frasier’s Dad out for being too old to sleep with college girls and/or enjoy the zest love brought to your life.

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FYI – Cammareri Brothers bakery at Henry and Sackett Streets in Brooklyn still open!

 

 

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A Special, Secret Sandwich | “Dave”

By Blake Stilwell

Midnight snacking. We all do it. Or… we WANT to do it. Most of us are unfortunately limited to our meager refrigerators, woefully underprepared for any cravings we have in the middle of the night.

I disappoint myself constantly.

I disappoint myself constantly.

Can you imagine the unbelievable snacking capability and access to material the President of the United States must have? Obama could have anything he wants at any time. This is perhaps the most incredible power with which any head of state could be entrusted. I know I could not be trusted with this power.

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Neither could William Howard Taft.

If I had 24-7 access to free hot waffles, I would also be big enough to get stuck in the White House bathtub. In Ivan Reitman’s (remember him?) 1993 comedy Dave, Dave Kovic showed a little more restraint. Dave (Kevin Kline) had just been hired to be a stand-in for President Bill Mitchell (also Kevin Kline), who looks exactly like him. Unfortunately, the President had a stroke and the country needs Dave to sit in for a while in this charming, heartwarming story of pre-9/11 White House antics. It was almost as charming as President Clinton playing Battleship against Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton in the White House Situation Room. Were the 1990’s great or what?

So he spends days at a time preparing for this new job (to put it lightly). Eventually, Dave takes a time out from learning how the American government works to make a late-night sandwich, sharing half with his Secret Service bodyguard, played by Ving Rhames, who would probably look nice in a sweater.

Dave later shares a sandwich with First Lady Ellen Mitchell (Sigourney Weaver) and tells her the sandwich is both very special and a secret.

The unanswered question here is why I assume the two sandwiches are the same, and thus important. I am of the opinion this must be the same sandwich because Dave is going through a very stressful situation at both points in the movie (no spoilers). In order to comfort himself late at night, I assume he makes this special sandwich. I think he has no problem making the sandwich in front of the Secret Service agent because Dave probably assumed the USSS could pretty much be trusted to take care of Presidential secrets. Luckily for us, we are privy to the secret by virtue of two distinct shots of the sandwich being made:

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There you have it, a very special, secret sandwich. And considering the size of the paper bag Dave carries out from the Deli and the comment Ellen makes about how much food he’s packing, I think it’s safe to assume he made her one of these guys. Based on what we see in the film…

Ingredients:
Lemon Wedges (for the juice)
Cucumber
Turkey
Tomato
Pickles
Shredded Carrot
Olives (stuffed with pimento)
Pickles
Mustard
Mayo
Leaf Lettuce
Provolone Cheese
Ham
Cheddar Cheese

Slap these on a Sub Roll and you’ve got yourself the President of Sandwiches. Perfect for any social situation: football games, parties, or chatting late night with the Secret Service agent assigned to you while you’re pretending to be the President of the United States while the real President recovers from a stroke he had while cheating on his wife with a White House secretary. The usual things.

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Hail to the Chief, he’s the one we all say hail to.

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