Tag Archives: Nic Cage

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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Lisa’s Pizza | “The Room”

Ingredients Purchased by Blake Stilwell

Pizza Cooked by Blake Stilwell

Eaten by Blake Stilwell

Blog Post Written by Blake Stilwell

No movie has enjoyed cult status quite so hard or fast as Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room.” It is exceptional to the world of cult film for a number of reasons, the main being because it is arguably one of the worst movies ever made, yet still draws a considerable crowd at every screening. Another reason is that the Writer, Director, Producer, and Star (but not caterer) will appear in person at many of them. He even took it on a world tour that saw screenings in Europe, Australia and India, among other places. There is even a communal ritual to watching “The Room” in a theater and this involves a lot of yelling, drinking and throwing of cutlery.

Spoon

Spoons play a large part in the scenery of The Room. For some reason.

The cult status of “The Room” eclipses “the Toxic Avenger” in its campiness, “Troll 2” in its difficulty to watch or take seriously, the Rocky Horror Picture Show in audience engagement and “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” in unintentional hilarity. And that movie has Nic Cage. Yes, the Room is a very powerful movie.

Also unrivaled in “The Room” is the absolute worst idea for a pizza ever. In the movie, Lisa (Juliette Danielle) orders a pizza as a way to make Johnny (the aforementioned and ubiquitous Wiseau) either feel better about not getting promoted or celebrate his promotion, I’m never quite sure (he doesn’t get promoted, but she didn’t know that, though she makes it sound like she does… whatever). Maybe Johnny is just easy to please and a pizza would cover both outcomes. I guess Lisa would know.

Her pizza order, to me, is one of the most incredulous things about this movie. I was not surprised to find that what she ordered is not the pizza Johnny and Lisa end up eating in the movie, either. Some believe this is what we in the industry call a “continuity error.” I don’t think so.  The guys at Rifftrax perfectly sum up this situation:

That’s right. Lisa’s pizza is half pesto and artichoke, half pineapple and Canadian bacon: the Domino’s WTF Special. This is a terrible idea, not just because pineapple on pizza is an abomination and God will surely punish humanity for it, but because it is the mortal sin of going halfsies on a pizza: you can’t mix two sauces. White pizza, Alfredo, Tomato, or Garlic Butter just don’t mix. The sauce is the one thing you have to agree on.

Maybe this is Wiseau’s purpose. Maybe this pizza is a metaphor for Lisa and Johnny’s torrid love affair. Maybe the symbolism is deeper here than we know. Today, I make the pizza slices that were the first wedges in the cracks of Johnny and Lisa’s perfect romance.

Its ingredients are pretty simple, with not much work or costs involved. It is really easy to make pizza crust from scratch (bread flour, yeast, sugar and a little salt). It’s also easy to make pizza sauce from scratch (tomato paste, water, olive oil, spices). The only issue with this is that the crust is time intensive and the sauce will be hit or miss. Buying pre-made crust and sauce is really inexpensive and there are a lot of delicious kinds out there, so you get the good feeling of scratch cooking without the time or cleanup costs. And after watching the Room, you’re going to want to feel like the night wasn’t a total wash.

My ingredients:

– Instant pizza crust mix

– Pesto

– Artichokes

– Garlic butter

– Pizza sauce (I bought Furmano’s Original… not spicy, but good. I also added garlic, because garlic is the bacon of spices and seasonings)

– Pineapple tidbits

– Canadian bacon

Make the crust as directed. It will instruct you to bake it a bit before adding toppings. Please don’t ignore this step, your pizza will be come a muddled mess… I mean… more so. On the pesto-artichoke half, use a thin layer of garlic butter before spreading the pesto. It makes the pesto spread smoother and distribute more equally. Not that it’s terribly difficult to spread pesto in the first place, a little garlic butter will also make that side of the pizza more saucy and prevent the crust from getting too dry.

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And you know what to use to use to spread the pesto around, don’t you?

Then arrange your artichokes. Looks pretty good right? Now comes the heart-wrenching part (that was not an artichoke pun)… Adding tomato sauce to the other side. Also, pineapple.

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You’re tearing me apart, pizza!

If you’re going to be true to this recipe, like Johnny was to Lisa, go light on the cheese. Some of us can’t have cheese anyway. I had to be true to the recipe like Lisa was to Johny and use a cheese substitute. Veggie Shreds’ Mozzarella is actually a really good one. Pop it in the oven for about ten minutes at 375, and it comes out a nice golden brown.

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I honestly thought the combination of sauces was going to be a terrible, terrible mix… like they would mix together as the pizza dough rose and create some ungodly mix of pesto, garlic, tomato, pineapple juice, hot ham water, and whatever the artichokes were soaked in (brine?). The two sides actually were able to stay distinct (for the most part) and left me with two impressions:

1) Pesto-Artichoke is a great combination that I am definitely coming back to.

2) Only nondescript Franco-Belgian Creole-Cajuns would like pineapple on pizza.

It would probably be best for you and your on-again, off-again lover to settle on a cheese pizza, just like the cast did in the movie. Cheese pizza is something everyone can get behind.

Friends

Cheese pizza for all your friends!

Also, do not wash this pizza down with Lisa’s  “Scotchka.”

Do not drink “Scotchka” at all.

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