Tag Archives: water

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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Beef and Bacon Pie with Onions In Gravy | “Game of Thrones”

by Blake Stilwell of (according to numerous online Game of Thrones-based personality tests) House Baratheon.

"Our Favorite Food"

“Ours is Our Favorite Food”

I actually believe if House Stilwell had a place in Westeros, our sigil would likely be a fat bear, wearing a bib and drinking  two fingers of scotch. I also think this is probably Robert Baratheon’s personal sigil, one he just never talked about.  But this isn’t about me, this is a celebration!

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This month, HBO dropped the latest season of Game of Thrones on Blu-Ray, a gift for which I have already pre-ordered for my mother (it was her Christmas gift. Don’t judge me. I got schmaltzy gifts for her for the past five years and I think she actually liked this much better). Of course I didn’t wait for this to watch. Who possibly could? To celebrate this momentous occasion (and maybe have it available for this year’s premiere of Season Four), As Eaten brings you something as epic as the Game of Thrones theme song: a hearty dish from the North!

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Not that far North.

No, not Ygritte. It’s a Beef and Bacon Pie, from the lands around Winterfell! The recipe comes from A Feast of Ice and Fire: the Official Game of Thrones Cookbook by Chelsea Monroe-Cassel and Sariann Lehrer, based on their blog Inn At The Crossroads. This book is more than a recipe book. Its an exhaustively-researched history of food and medieval cookery. It’s a fascinating mix of narrative and historical context. I highly recommend this. It’s so much more than a cookbook. And if you’re throwing a Game of Thrones-themed party, you will not find a better companion!

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Well.. maybe one better companion…

The North of Westeros is a vast, cold place. As such, the food tends to toward what we in the US call “comfort food.” They are heavy, hearty plates, full of meats, gravies, breads, and such. This recipe is no different. The difference is where the comfort food in the US can be bland at times, save the use of salt and pepper, the use of fruits and spices in this  meat mixture brings a unique, exotic flavor.

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It’ll taste better than you think it will.

But you’ll need to start with the medieval pastry dough. There is a special recipe, and the first ingredient should be an indicator of the uniqueness of flavors I’m talking about. If it sounds weird that the North of Westeros uses Saffron in its baking doughs, there is a very interesting explanation, based in both the lore of the Game of Thrones universe as well as Medieval History, thoroughly researched and presented to the reader. It’s really a good read. And it’s delicious.

Pinch of Saffron
1/2 C Water
1/2 C Unsalted Butter
3 C Flour 2 Egg Yolks, beaten

Dissolve the saffron in the water. Rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until there are only crumb-sized pieces. Add the egg yolks and saffron water until the mixture is sticky. To pre-bake a shell, line a pan with thin-rolled dough.use a fork to poke holes all over the bottom of the pastry shells. Bake for 10 minutes at 350° F.

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Beef and Bacon Pie

The book offers two recipes, a modern version and a medieval version. The recipe I used from this book is more of the medieval sort, which I think more appropriate, given the setting of the show and books.

1/2 c thick-cut bacon, diced
1 1/2 lbs stew beef, diced
1/2 tsp black pepper 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/3 c prunes
1/3 c raisins
1/3 c dates pitted and chopped
1 c beef broth
2-3 tbsp flour
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Cook the bacon in a saucepan until the fat runs from it, then drain off the fat. To the bacon pan, add the beef, spices, vinegar, and fruits. Add enough broth to wet the mixture until its runny. Mix in the flour and cook until the juices form a gravy. Cool the mixture. Line a 9-inch pie pan with a pastry dough and fill it with the meat mixture.

The book calls for a pastry lid. But the book has a great photo of a pie with a bacon lattice lid, so we decided to go with this because it was so much more epic. We used the remaining chewy bacon that wasn’t quite crispy to form the lattice so it would crips in the oven. The fruit will melt as the pie bakes and form a sweet, salty, savory mix of flavors that is absolutely fantastic.

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Onions in Gravy

10 oz boiler or pearl onions
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 sprig of freshly chopped savory herb, such as rosemary or thyme
1/3 c apple cider
1 tbsp flour
3 c beef stock
Splash of Brandy

Clean and peel the onions. Quarter seven of them and put the rest aside. In a deep frying pan, add the honey, herbs, and quartered onions.make sure the onions get covered with the honey-butter mixture, cook for 8 minutes, browning the onions. Add the cider to the pan in three distinct splashes. let the cider heat between splashes. Sprinkle flour into the pan and form a gravy. Add the stock and the rest of the onions and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes and reduce until it has a thicker, more gravy-like consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste. We garnished with rosemary because it looked nice and we had some left over.

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This one-two punch combination of sweet and savory is a filling, hearty meal fit for you or any Stark. Any Stark that may still be alive, that is.

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Shark’s Fin Soup | “Clue: The Movie”

by Blake Stilwell, in the kitchen, with the knife.

Long before Charles Carson taught me what being a butler really meant, I learned that the Butler buttles. He is the head of the Kitchen and Dining Room and likes to keep the kitchen “tidy.” In 1985’s Clue: The Movie, that role is played by Tim Curry in what is in my opinion his best role ever, and Rocky Horror fans can think of that what they like.

So can Stephen King.

So can Stephen King.

Clue might be the first movie based on a board game (or perhaps… the only one that isn’t unwatchably horrible), Tim Curry plays Wadsworth, the most charming butler since Irene hired Godfrey. Wadsworth gathers a group of seemingly unrelated guests to dinner. Their only common element is they all received a letter. Which read:

“It will be to your advantage to be present on this date because a Mr. Boddy will bring to an end a certain long-standing confidential and painful financial liability.”

This letter from “A friend” was read to the guests over dinner, a dinner that included Monkey’s Brains (Mrs. Peacock’s favorite) and a delicious shark’s fin soup. While researching this article, I found what looks like a great recipe for the soup from a 1982 New York Times article. But as I further researched the dish, I became a little bit worried about recommending it to people to actually eat.

Shark’s Fin Soup is  made from the stock of a shark’s fin. But since the shark fin itself has very little flavor, especially for a stock, it is usually helped along with chicken stock. The fin is more for texture than flavor. But it is still seen as a delicacy and can cost upwards of $80-$100 per bowl. If that wasn’t enough, shark fishermen actually catch sharks just for their fins and leave the rest of the carcass. Moreover, shark fins contain a LOT of mercury, formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, and other toxins. FDA studies show almost 80% of sharks fins contain significant levels dangerous substances that cause Alzheimer’s and impotence (which sucks, because so many cultures think it’s and aphrodisiac.) To make a long story short (TOO LATE), Shark’s Fin Soup just isn’t that good for you or for sharks. We’ll give Clue a pass because it was set in 1954, but for us, we’re gonna need something better.

Lucky for us, supernaturally gifted and nationally acclaimed Chef Peter Pahk concocted a sustainable Faux Shark Fin Soup recipe that he (rightly) claims is better than the real thing. Because arsenic is a terrible soup ingredient.

Dying at a dinner party wrecks everything.

Dying at a dinner party wrecks everything.

Be advised: This recipe require 4 hours of soaking the ingredients. And that is not a red herring.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Chinese black mushrooms (shitake)
  • 8-10 pieces of dried tree ear mushrooms
  • 2 ounces cellophane noodles
  • 2 ounces skinless raw chicken breast
  • 2 ounces lean raw pork
  • 2 cups unsalted chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
  • Dash of sesame oil
  • White pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions:

Soak the black mushrooms, tree ear mushrooms and cellophane noodles separately in hot water for 4 hours until they soften. Drain well.

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Remove the hard stems of the black mushrooms (you can save them to cook with other Chinese soups) and cut the remaining pieces into small strips. Chop the tree ear mushrooms into small pieces and cut the cellophane noodles into 1-inch pieces with scissors. Set aside.

Slice the chicken breast and pork into thin strips.

Bring the chicken broth and water to a boil. Add the chicken, pork, black and tree ear mushrooms, and cook until all ingredients are cooked through and softened. Add the cellophane noodles, soy sauce, sesame oil, white pepper and salt to taste.

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water to make a thick slurry. Return the soup to a boil, stir in the cornstarch mixture and beaten egg and mix well. Remove from heat and serve in small bowls. Serves six.

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Besides making the song “Sh-Boom, Sh-Boom” and “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” remind me of murder and blackmail, Clue gave me a what is probably the biggest influence on my sense of humor and timing it was one of the best comedies of the 1980’s and maybe of all time and I almost felt bad for Lee Ving (Mr. Boddy), being included in a cast of comedy legends that included Madeline Kahn (Mrs White), Christopher Lloyd (Prof. Plum), Michael McKean (Mr. Green), Martin Mull (Col. Mustard) and Leslie Ann Warren (Miss Scarlet), not to mention the legendary Eileen Brennan (Mrs. Peacock) and oh MY this soup’s delicious isn’t it?

But really, it is one of the best soups I’ve ever made or eaten. This is one dish where the quality of the recipe really lives up to the quality of the movie, even though Clue had to add some characters to the game to smooth the plot of the movie (FYI – Mr. Boddy is a real character. He’s the game’s murder victim). Though Wadsworth, the cook, and Yvette are not in the game, their inclusion is both necessary and hilarious.

You might agree.

You might agree.

Can I interest anyone in fruit or dessert?

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Triple-Fried Monte Cristo Sandwich | “Community”

By Blake Stilwell

Let me preface this post by saying I will not be able to be as clever or get as many pop culture references into it as the writers of this show could. As Eaten is a shadow what this show can do.

Community on NBC: Watch it. Please?

Community on NBC: Watch it. Please?

It’s holiday break, but school will soon be back in (for some of you) and I was thinking that we could slip in one last fattening holiday treat. If I were going to create the signature dish from Community, I know it would have to be Abed’s Buttered Noodles, as they’re mentioned in many an episode… but that’s not very difficult.

Ta-Da.

Ta-Da.

The dish of choice comes from the tag of Community’s “Alternative History of the German Invasion,” episode four of season four, and is an offering at Shirley’s Sandwiches in the cafeteria.

This episode is packed with more references than I could ever hope to fit in an As Eaten post: Hogan’s Heroes, Die Hard, Die Hard III, Actual World History, Community itself, and another appearance of Michael Haggins’ Daybreak, a running gag through out the series (I love running gags).

This sandwich is a lot more filling (and heavy) than most of what we’ve eaten from TV thus far. And if you’re at risk of coronary issues, it’s probably one to be avoided, but if you’re not, prepare your taste buds for the fried confection/lunch that even the Great New York State Fair didn’t offer: a Triple-Fried Monte Cristo Sandwich.


The Fried Chicken Skin Wrap also might be worth an As Eaten Entry.

Even though you never actually see the Monte Cristo, just the fact that it’s offered at a Community College Cafeteria Sandwich Shop was intriguing to me. Could this possibly be made in short order? Would it be something that any student could pay for? Is this something any one wants to eat?

The Monte Cristo itself is a twist on the French croque monsieur, a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with a bechamel sauce, which is just a white sauce made with butter, flour and milk (if you try this separately, add pepper. Trust me.) Butthis goes beyond just a grilled ham and cheese. We upgrade the cheese, the meats, and fry it in a egg batter, and served with powdered sugar and jam. It’s the love child of French Toast and Grilled Cheese. It’s the meal for when you miss breakfast, but are too early for lunch… and also aren’t at brunch.

Ingredients
1 quart oil for frying, or as needed
2/3 cup water
1 egg
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 slices white bread
4 slices gruyere cheese (because swiss is for losers)
4 slices turkey
4 slices ham
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large pan to 365 degrees. I don’t have a deep fryer, but when I’m at home, I use a wok. Sue me, it’s big and it works. While oil is heating, make the batter. Some fry cooks covet a single batter, with egg and water mixed in with your dry ingredients. I usually opt for a separate wet/dry batter. Here, there is no choice. Using a wet batter will only result in sloppy bread. Suck it up, and follow the directions.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper; whisk into the egg mixture until smooth. Put it in the refrigerator.
  3. Assemble sandwiches by placing  turkey on one slice of bread, ham on another, then the gruyere cheese in the middle (much easier than a Grilled Charlie). Cut sandwiches into quarters (to fit in the fryer… don’t be a hero), and secure with toothpicks (this is important).
  4. Dip each sandwich quarter in the batter so that all sides are coated. Deep fry until golden brown on all sides. Then do it again. And Again.
  5. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving (It will likely get soggy if you don’t). Garnish with jam (I like strawberry) and a sprig of mint if you like the color.

The sandwiches will be very hot. As tempting as they look… please give them time to cool. Cool cool cool.

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Enjoy this triple fried sweet delight with the delightfully sweet sounds of Daybreak.

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Fresh-Baked Kringlors with a Honey Pecan Dipping Sauce | “The Ref”

by Blake Stilwell

There are many wonderful, renowned holiday movies out there. Everyone has their favorite. Some people grew up watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” every Christmas season. There are those who love the later classics, such as “A Christmas Story.” And a new generation is growing up loving more recent Christmas takes, like Will Ferrell’s “Elf.” For me, whenever someone talks about the perennial Christmas movie, “Die Hard” always comes to mind first. Not just because it is, in fact, a great Christmas movie (which is a post for another pop-culture themed blog), but my love for Reginald VelJohnson is well-documented.

Urkel killed this buddy cop dream team.

Urkel killed this buddy cop dream team.

Today, I’m taking a recipe from none of those, though I could really go for some Chinese food right now. No, this holiday, we’re taking a page from Judy Davis’ character Caroline Chasseur in the underrated 1994 Christmas comedy “The Ref,” with Denis Leary, Kevin Spacey and I was surprised to see John Scurti when I went back and watched it again for this post.

"Yeah, I know... It's weird to see me dressed as a cop."

“Yeah, I know… It’s weird to see me dressed as a cop.”

… some of you may better remember Scurti from his role as the beloved Lt. Shea on “Rescue Me.” Some others of you have seven seasons of great television to watch. Good thing binge watching on a snowy day is what the holiday season is all about nowadays. Go, loyal readers, and enjoy the butterscotch pudding that comes with it.

Doooooooo it.

Doooooooo it.

Denis Leary plays Gus, a burglar who has to lay low while he’s waiting for his partner to fix up an escape route away from the small New England town he just terrorized with break-ins. In order to dodge the road blocks and the local curfew, Gus takes the aforementioned Caroline and her husband Lloyd (Kevin Spacey) hostage in their home, but forces the family to play it cool while Caroline’s in-laws come over for Christmas dinner. The problem with the plan is that Gus has hijacked the most dysfunctional family in New England and is forced to rely on the discretion of his hostages and compliance of their a-hole relatives (including the mother-in-law, played beautifully by Glynis Johns), who find a lot of fault with Caroline’s flaws.

Everything almost reaches a breaking point at the Christmas dinner, which has a very Scandinavian theme (one of Caroline’s flaws is that she never finished anything she ever started, including a Scandinavian cooking class). The meal includes roast suckling pig, fresh baked Kringlors in a honey-pecan dipping sauce, seven-day old lutefisk, and lamb gookins.

The reason we’re making Kringlors today, despite the fact they sound more like an intergalactic space lord who is coming to enslave humanity than a baked treat, is because the holidays are the season of baked treats. Everyone has a different opinion on the main course at dinner, be it a ham, turkey or a giant fish stuffed with poison and left out for a week. Lamb Coozins Gookins seem to be so extremely rare, that even the Internet has never heard of them. What I think everyone can agree on, however, is that baked goods of all kinds are welcome at any holiday party anywhere and the more, the merrier. We know you’ll make room for the Kringlors in your pop culture buffet line.

Or you can jump a little forward in “The Ref” and see the Orange Marzipan Cake with Creme de Menthe and Lime Zest.

Kringlors are dessert in three parts. This recipe comes from “The Superbly Swedish Cookbook.”

Part I:
½ cup butter
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon water

Mix together (like pie crust) cutting the butter in with 2 butter knives.  Then finish mixing with your hands.  Pat out very thick (1/4”) on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Set aside.

Part II:
½ cup butter
1 cup water
1 cup flour
3 eggs beaten (see note on this)
1 teaspoon almond extract

In a saucepan heat butter and water to the boiling point.  Remove from heat, add flour and add 1 beaten egg at a time, stirring after each (The texture will be unique). Add almond extract and stir well.  Spread the mixture on the dough on cookie sheet, fairly close to the edges.  Bake at 400° for 45 minutes.

Part III:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Mix together all ingredients until smooth, and spread on pastry as icing.  Serve warm or cold, cutting in half the long way and then diagonally to make pretty strips. In the film, Caroline made them into pretzel shapes, which is my personal specialty, having worked two summers at Auntie Anne’s Pretzels as a teenager.

Pictured: Expertise

Pictured: Expertise

The Honey-Pecan Sauce is much easier to make, and where better to get the recipe than the American National Honey Board?

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 cups – vanilla flavored Greek style yogurt
  • 1/4 cup – chopped pecans, lightly toasted
  • 1/2 cup – Sage honey
  • 1 teaspoon – ground cinnamon

Directions:

Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender or processor and blend until smooth. Reserve chilled. Also, I recommend real honey, and maybe throw in some of the almond extract for a nuttier flavor.

And now you can have something to talk about at the family holiday party, where most of us end up looking somewhat frazzled if we don’t.

Kringlors - The Ref_1

“Everybody… just… stop talking. STOP. TALKING. TO ME.”

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