September 2011 Film Recommendations

Monday, August 29, 2011
Be sure to check out It Happened One Night.  It's also available on DVD.
(Poster from Doctor Macro)

When the weather got really hot, I thought summer would last forever, but August has gone by really quickly!  I can't believe it's time for another month's worth of movie recommendations.

Here's what you might want to check out on TCM this month (all times are CST):

  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips (F 9/2/11 5:00 p.m.) Robert Donat plays the title role; it's been years since I've seen this, but I remember enjoying it as a kid
  • All This, and Heaven Too (Su 9/4/11 5:00 a.m.)
  • It Happened One Night (Su 9/4/11 5:00 p.m.) One of my favorite films--sparks fly when reporter Clark Gable meets runaway heiress Claudette Colbert
  • A Letter to Three Wives (W 9/7/11 12:30 a.m.) the town slut has run off with the husband of one of the three wives in the title, but which one?
  • The Harvey Girls (W 9/7/11 5:15 p.m.) I'm not a big Judy Garland fan, but I do like this musical, but mostly because of Angela Lansbury
  • Follow the Fleet (W 9/7/11 7:00 p.m.) pleasant Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film; fabulous choreography as always
  • Lady of Burlesque (Th 9/8/11 12:45 a.m.) surprisingly excellent Barbara Stanwyck mystery; based on a novel written by Gypsy Rose Lee
  • 42nd Street (Su 9/11/11 9:00 a.m.) the great Busby Berkley backstage musical
  • On the Town (Su 9/11/11 5:00 p.m.) one of those Gene Kelly/Frank Sinatra musicals, but this one has Ann Miller
  • Casablanca (Su 9/11/11 7:00 p.m.) You've probably already seen it, but if you haven't, what are you waiting for?
  • Niagara (M 9/12/11 8:30 p.m.) Marilyn Monroe wiggles around the resort town driving Joseph Cotten out of his mind; it's so much better than I thought it would be
  • You Can't Take it With You (Tu 9/13/11 1:00 p.m.) James Stewart falls in love with secretary Jean Arthur, but his well-to-do parents don't accept her unconventional family, headed by Lionel Barrymore
  • You'll Never Get Rich (Th 9/15/11 8:15 a.m.) pleasant Fred Astaire/Rita Hayworth pairing
  • Road to Utopia (Th 9/15/11 2:45 p.m.) Bing Crosby and Bob Hope team up, this time for the Alaskan gold rush; naturally costars Dorothy Lamour
  • The Remains of the Day (Th 9/15/11 7:00 p.m.) This is a beautiful film, but I don't like the way it ends.  Just warning you.
  • A Room with a View (F 9/16/11 12:00 a.m.) Merchant-Ivory adaptation of my favorite E.M. Forster novel
  • Dark Passage (F 9/16/11 5:45 a.m.) Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Agnes Moorehead; Bogart escapes from prison, has plastic surgery and hunts for his wife's killer
  • Key Largo (F 9/16/11 7:45 a.m.) Edward G. Robinson holds the guests and staff of a Florida hotel hostage during a hurricane; cast includes Claire Trevor, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall
  • The Major and the Minor (Sa 9/17/11 5:15 p.m.) Hijinks ensue when Ginger Rogers disguises herself as a pre-adolescent to buy a junior fare train ticket
  • Mildred Pierce (Sa 9/17/11 7:00 p.m.) Joan Crawford's signature role; a really entertaining noir
  • Suspicion (Su 9/18/11 1:15 p.m.) Wallflower Joan Fontaine marries bounder Cary Grant against her parents' wishes; is he a murderer, too?
  • Metropolis (Su 9/18/11 11:00 p.m.) classic silent film about the mechanized city of the future; too bad the wealthy are exploiting the working classes
  • We Live Again (M 9/19/11 7:00 a.m.) Russian nobleman Fredric March has his way with and then abandons childhood sweetheart Anna Sten only to meet again under very different circumstances
  • Rasputin and the Empress (M 9/19/11 1:30 p.m.) only film with all three Barrymores; Lionel is Rasputin, Ethel is the Empress, and John the nobleman who repeatedly tries to get rid of the "mad monk"
  • Ben-Hur (Sa 9/24/11 12:30 p.m.) one of the better sword and sandal films; Charleton Heston solidifies his mastery over the "epic" genre
  • Love Me Tonight (Sa 9/24/11 7:00 p.m.) Maurice Chevalier/Jeannette MacDonald pairing; not their best, but entertaining nevertheless; co-stars include Myrna Loy, C. Aubrey Smith and Charlie Ruggles
  • Oklahoma! (Su 9/25/11 2:30 p.m.) faithful adaptation of Rogers and Hammerstein musical; no, this isn't what Oklahoma is really like, sorry, but the score did provide the state with its awesome state song
  • Sylvia Scarlett (M 9/26/11 6:30 a.m.) Katharine Hepburn disguises herself as a boy so she and her father can evade the French police and escape to England, where they meet up with con artist Cary Grant
  • Anthony Adverse (M 9/26/11 8:00 a.m.) I really only like this because it has Fredric March in it; otherwise it's really not worth watching
  • The Painted Veil (M 9/26/11 7:00 p.m.) Greta Garbo follows husband Herbert Marshall to China where she's romanced by George Brent
  • Shanghai Express (Tu 9/27/11 1:00 a.m.) Marlene Dietrich is terribly well-dressed in this pre-code train film set in the midst of the civil war in China
  • Woman of the Year (W 9/28/11 11:00 a.m.) first Hepburn/Tracy picture; both are reporters at the same paper who fall in love, but have a hard time adjusting to married life
  • The Killers (Th 9/29/11 12:15 p.m.) an insurance investigator tries to piece together the puzzling murder of a former boxer
"Come and meet those dancing feet,/ On the avenue I'm taking you to,/ Forty-second street."
42nd Street is also available on DVD.
(Poster from Doctor Macro)

I haven't gotten the chance to see them yet, but Ginger at Sailing Over a Cardboard Sea blogged about Miranda and Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid (both airing September 2nd) in her post, "Film: Mermaid Double Feature."

Also, there are more film recommendations at She Blogged By Night.

Week-in-review and a bit of fun

Sunday, August 28, 2011
Salmon with Lemon-Dill Butter, Perfect Steamed Broccoli, Carottes étuvées au beurre Salmon with Lemon-Dill Butter and Life This Week: August 22, 1938

Poaching eggs 3 The Basics: Poached Eggs

Honey Toffee Apple Feasts and Festivals: St. Bartholomew's Day

Meats Focus on Ingredients: Grass-fed Beef

Egg and Bacon Pie Dinner and a Movie: Sense and Sensibility

For fun, this survey from Karen at Small Earth Vintage:
    1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:53 a.m.

    2. How do you like your steak? medium-rare, but I often tell waiters "rare" so my steak isn't overcooked

    3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? The Princess of Montpensier at the Murdock Theatre

    4. What is your favorite TV show? The Supersizers

    5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? In a pre-war Tudor-style brick house with a basement, a big yard, at least 4 bedrooms and at least 2 bathrooms; I'd also settle for the English countryside or Paris ;-)

    6. What did you have for breakfast? Buttered toast, black coffee and homemade yogurt

    7. What is your favorite food? toast

    8. Foods you dislike? pickles and anything anise-flavored

    9. Favorite place to eat? love to walk from our house to Il Vicino (even though I have to take my own utensils now because they're using those godawful Knorks) or Watermark

    10. Favorite dressing? walnut vinaigrette

    11. What kind of vehicle do you drive? Suzuki Grand Vitara

    12. What are your favorite clothes? cardigans, Minnetonka moccasins

    13. Where would you visit if you had the chance? saving up to go back to Europe, at present

    14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full? I'd like to say 1/2 full, but realistically, I'm a bit of an Eeyore

    15. Where would you want to retire? in my own paid-off abode, although I'm not totally against those places where they do your laundry and drive you to the American Legion hall for dancing

    16. Favorite time of day? 4 p.m. (teatime!)

    17. Where were you born? Oklahoma City

    18. What is your favorite sport to watch? politics

    19. What is your favorite fragrance? Coco Mademoiselle

    20. What is your favorite face cream? Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion 

    21. Favorite baby/kids products? kids have the best books

    22. People watcher? yes

    23. Are you a morning or night person? morning

    24. Do you have any pets? no

    25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? Can't think of anything!

    26. What did you want to be when you were little? baker, architect, UN consul, Ginger Rogers

    27. What is your favorite memory? They all involve walking: family trips to Washington, D.C. and Boston; going for walks with my husband (in Paris or Wichita)

    28. Are you a cat or dog person? I don't care as long as they're well-behaved, but I would like six or seven spaniels to follow me about in the manner of Charles II (as long as someone else cleans up after them)

    29. Are you married? yes

    30. Always wear your seat belt? yes

    31. Been in a car accident? 5 of 'em

    32. Any pet peeves? anti-intellectualism

    33. Favorite pizza toppings? artichoke hearts

    34. Favorite flower? poppies and peonies

    35. Favorite ice cream? pistachio

    36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Chipotle or Freddy's Frozen Custard

    37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? 0; none of those accidents were my fault!

    38. From whom did you get your last email? the ACLU

    39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? The thought of maxing out my credit card makes me hyperventilate, but I love antique shopping

    40. Do anything spontaneous lately? see #3--it was on a Tuesday

    41. Like your job? almost all of the time

    42. Broccoli? yes, please

    43. What was your favorite vacation? Paris

    44. Last person you went out to dinner with? Paul

    45. What are you listening to right now? Paul playing Grand Theft Auto--well, I'm doing a fairly successful job of tuning it out, except Paul just said, "I guess I'm going to have to run that cop over." :-/

    46. What is your favorite color? peacock blue, forest green, navy, gray, burgundy

    47. How many tattoos do you have? zero

    48. Coffee drinker? absolutely

    I'd love to hear your answers! If you fill out the survey, please leave a comment in the comments section and be sure to link up your answers here:

    Dinner and a Movie: Sense and Sensibility

    Friday, August 26, 2011
    The theme for this month's Forever Nigella is "Picnic Pleasure."  Naturally, I thought of this scene in one of my all-time favorite movies, Sense and Sensibility:

    from Daily Emma
    I'm assuming that given the demographics of my readers that many of you have probably seen this adaptation of Jane Austen's novel. If you haven't, you're in for a treat.  Emma Thompson's screenplay is an improvement on the source material and the cast is fantastic.  I've owned this movie on VHS and DVD and have been watching it fairly regularly since 1995 and it never gets old. That's how awesome it is.

    Egg and Bacon Pie
    Egg and Bacon Pie

    I wanted to have a proper picnic to go with this post, but the weather has either been rainy or very hot.  Welcome to August in Kansas!  Maybe we'll have a nice picnic in September or October. I hope so! I do love a picnic! For my recipe, I chose Boxing Day Egg and Bacon Pie from How to Be a Domestic Goddess (one of my favorite cookbooks, for cooking and reading).  The recipe is also at Egg and Bacon pie is perfect for a picnic because it can be made a day or two in advance (or months, if you freeze it) and eaten cold.

    As with the Nursery Fish Pie, I divided the portions in half: twelve instead of six.  With eighteen ounces of bacon and a double-crust, a twelfth of a pie was more than enough, especially with a couple of vegetables!  Egg and Bacon Pie is homey, hearty and delicious.  It's a keeper!

    Helen at Fuss Free Flavors is the host for Forever Nigella #8.
    Forever Nigella was created by Sarah at Maison Cupcake.

    Yesterday, I found a copy of Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book at a used bookstore over on the west side of Wichita. So, of course, I had to try a recipe to go with dinner. The produce selection has been really bad this summer. We had hotter-than-average June and July, so the farmers' markets were short on produce and everything we tried to grow at home during those couple of months shriveled up and died, so I've been more reliant on the grocery store, which at least has an organic section. Since none of it was local, I went with some cabbage because I happen to really like cabbage! This recipe is adapted from "Buttered Cabbage" in Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book.

    Black-pepper and Nutmeg Cabbage

    Black Pepper-Nutmeg Cabbage

    serves 4

    1 cabbage
    4 tablespoons butter
    sea salt
    black pepper

    Remove outer leaves and quarter the cabbage, steam for approximately 8 minutes, or until just tender. Meanwhile, melt the butter over lowest heat and stir in salt, black pepper and nutmeg. Use a good amount of black pepper and nutmeg.  Drain the cabbage and pour pepper-nutmeg butter over the top.

    Yesterday on The Past on a Plate: "Focus on Ingredients: Grass-fed Beef"

    Red Chard Kootu

    I have always seen red chard and swiss chard in the grocery stores and farmers markets, but they looked huge to me and I have been always reluctant to pick them up. After knowing that the chard family is a storehouse of essential vitamins and minerals I had to buy them.

    I made an Indian style kootu with the greens. Kootu is generally made with vegetables, coconut and cooked dhal and served along with rice. I decided to make a similar dish with the red chard. I was surprised that it tasted very much like the arai keerai we get in Tamil Nadu. This has become a regular in my household and I serve it with rice and papads.

    Red Chard(can be substituted with swiss chard or any type of greens) - 3 cups
    Toor Dal (split pigeon peas) - 3/4 cup
    Turmeric Powder - 1 teaspoon
    Salt to taste

    To grind
    Cumin seeds - 2 teaspoons
    Urad dhal - 2 teaspoons
    Grated Coconut - 1/2 cup
    Red Chillies - 3

    Oil - 1 teaspoon
    Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
    Urad dhal - 1 teaspoon
    Asafoetida/Hing - 1 pinch
    Curry leaves - 1 sprig
    Red chilly - 1


    1. Wash the red chard leaves thoroughly and chop them roughly along with the red stem.

    2. Cook the toor dal with about 2.5 cups of water and turmeric powder until soft. I pressure cooked the dal to make the process quicker.

    3. In a saucepan, dry roast the two teaspoons of urad dhal until it turns fragrant and brown. Then grind it into a smooth paste along with the other ingredients - grated coconut, cumin seeds and red chillies adding a little water. 

    4. In a heavy bottomed pan, cook the chopped red chard along with the stem in a few tablespoons of water. Once it starts wilting, add the cooked dhal and the ground paste and mix everything together. Season with salt.

    5. In a saucepan, do the tempering by adding oil, mustard seeds, urad dhal, asafoetida, curry leaves and red chilly one by one. Once everything starts spluttering, switch off the stove. 

    6. Pour the seasoning to the cooked chard and dhal and mix well.

    Serve along with steamed rice and papads.

    Focus on Ingredients: Grass-fed Beef

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    from the Carnation Cook Book

    I want to get specific about what constitutes "grass-fed beef," because I've had producers tell me their beef is grass fed "and then corn finished."  All beef is grass fed to a certain point. However, most steers end their lives in a feedlot where they stand around on a concrete floor with a bunch of other steers and are fed corn until they reach slaughter weight. When I say "grass-fed beef," I mean beef that has stayed on the pasture its entire life.  Of course, even a grass-fed steer will eat hay in the winter or during other lean times, but that's part of his natural diet.

    Grass-fed beef is a pre-industrial ingredient, so we must look at how pre-industrial peoples prepared it:
    • If grass-fed beef is to be dry cooked (grilled, roasted, sautéed), it should be cooked to rare or medium-rare (to keep it nice and juicy) and requires the addition of cooking fat.

    • Grass-fed beef should only be cooked to well-done if moist heat is involved (boiling, braising).
    Why? Corn-feeding beef has changed our expectations of how a cut of beef should behave, making it possible to cook a steak to well-done and it not resemble a piece of shoe-leather. This is because of the excessive fat which lubricates a cut of corn-fed beef. A corn-fed steer is obese; he provides his own cooking fat. While corn-fed beef may be juicy, its flavor is insipid compared to good grass-fed beef, which tastes like a beefier (literally!) version of beef.  It's more satisfying.

    I say "good," because I've had my fair share of indifferent and even bad grass-fed beef. It all depends on the producer and the breed. For example, I really love the beef from Turkey Foot Ranch, which is only about 50 miles from my house and they sell their products in the freezer section at my local health-food store. They raise red and black Angus, which is a very tasty breed. It's worth finding out what breed a producer raises, because each tastes differently. My personal favorites (so far) are Angus and Charolais.

    What about cost? I firmly believe that the desire for healthy, tasty food is not elitist. It is possible to find reasonably-priced grass-fed beef; you only need to do a bit of research (see the Resources section). For example, the KC Strip from Turkey Foot Ranch is $12 per pound. Yes, it absolutely costs more than feedlot beef, but it's worth every penny.

    However, if grass-fed beef's superior, succulent taste hasn't convinced you, here are a few things I've learned from doing my own research* on the subject:

    • Grass-fed beef has more omega-3s than grain-finished beef

    • Grass-fed beef has higher concentrations of vitamins A and E 

    • Grass-fed beef has more lutein and beta-carotene 

    • Grass-feeding reduces the occurrence of e.coli
    Practical Information**:

    Recipes for dry heat:
    Old English Roast Beef
    Roast Beef with Cabernet Gravy
    Steak frites

    Recipe for moist heat:
    Boiled Beef with Carrots and Dumplings

    Local Harvest
    Eat Wild
    Eat Well Guide

    Further reading/watching:
    Food, Inc.
    The Householder's Guide to the Universe by Harriet Fasenfest
    Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
    The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
    Real Food by Nina Planck

    *This information is found both in Nourishing Traditions and Real Food, along with a lot of good information on the importance of high-quality animal fats in our diet.

    **Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite recipe for using grass-fed beef (or anything else to add). Please be sure to leave a link for me if you have one. Thanks!

    Edited 8/25/11: This post is now linked to Fat Tuesday Forager Festival at Real Food Forager.

    Yesterday on The Past on a Plate: "Feasts and Festivals: St. Bartholomew's Day"

    Feasts and Festivals: St. Bartholomew's Day

    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    John Everett Millais-
    A Huguenot, on St. Bartholomew's Day, Refusing to Shield Himself from Danger by Wearing the Roman Catholic Badge  (via Wikipedia)

    St. Bartholomew was born in the 1st century in Palestine and became the patron saint of butchers and tanners due to the fact that he was flayed alive. Happy thought, indeed. St. Bartholomew also became the patron-saint of bee-keepers and honey-makers.*

    In 1572, the feast of St. Bartholomew became inextricably linked to the religious wars in France (and, indeed, throughout Europe). Francis Walsingham, one of Queen Elizabeth's advisors, encouraged Charles IX of France to support a Huguenot (French protestant) raid in the Spanish Netherlands in July 1572. It was a disaster and caused Charles to turn from his Huguenot admiral, Gaspard de Coligny, to Henri de Guise, founder of the Catholic League. On St. Bartholomew's Day 1572, Charles allowed the massacre of protestants gathered in Paris for the marriage of Charles's sister, Marguerite, to Henri de Navarre, a powerful protestant leader. The brutal act solidified English protestant support for Elizabeth, due to fears of what could happen to them should Mary Stuart become queen of England.** As a result of the massacre and continuing religious tensions in France throughout the early-modern period, tens of thousands of Huguenots emigrated from France, often settling in England or the English colonies in America.***

    Honey Toffee Apple

    In honor of St. Bartholomew's Day, I made Honey Toffee Apples, adapted from the recipe in Cattern Cakes and Lace. Here's where I'm going to give you the opportunity to learn from my experience: taste the honey you're going to use before you try this recipe. Please. Not that the taste of the toffee was unpleasant, it was just weird.  I usually buy local honey, but it doesn't usually taste like this! So, I believe that the problem I had with the recipe was my funky honey (It had a strong and savory taste when I tried it, which was, naturally after I'd made toffee...) and not the method, so I've included the recipe if you feel brave enough to attempt it!

    I really love the burnished sheen of the toffee and the juxtaposition between the crisp crackly candy shell and the sweet-tart apple. I think next time I'll either try a different honey or use golden syrup instead. The honey toffee (leftovers from making the apples) isn't bad; I think it would do really well as a cough remedy and thus may start selling it as a patent medicine. Any takers?

    Toffee apple slices

    Honey Toffee Apple and Honey Toffee
    Honey Toffee Apple sitting on shards of Honey Toffee
    Apples ready for dipping in toffee
    I used twigs from the yard (I washed them!) for dipping sticks.

    Honey Toffee Apples

    *Julia Jones and Barbara Deer, "St. Bartholomew's Day" in Cattern Cakes and Lace: A Calendar of Feasts (London: Dorling Kindersley, 1987), 94.
    ** G.R. Elton, "The Growing Conflict, 1568-85" in England Under the Tudors (London: Routledge, 1991), 301.
    ***G.M. Trevelyan, History of England Volume II: The Tudors and the Stuart Era (New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1956), 233, 265-66.

    Yesterday on The Past on a Plate: "The Basics: Poached Eggs"

    Perfect Pound Cake

    Pound cakes are really simple to make and perfect for any occasion! Great along with evening teas; more exotic when served along with a cream cheese or simple lemon frosting; a perfect accompaniment with some strawberry syrup, and amazing with some ice-cream by the side and served as an elegant dessert! However you may serve this cake, this cake sure tastes delicious.

    I was unable to bake this cake for last month's sweet punch, but I knew i had to make it sometime after hearing so many good reviews from everyone. I made this one evening and I was surprised when it tasted very much like the cakes we get in the bakeries in my native place.

    This pound cake turned out to be moist, fluffy and perfect! It is a foolproof recipe and great for first time bakers! Measure the ingredients, whisk them together and pop it into the oven and delicious pound cake is ready in minutes!

    Recipe Source: The Cake Bible
    Milk - 3 tablespoons
    Eggs - 3 large
    Vanilla extract - 1 1/2 teaspoon
    Sifted cake flour - 1 1/2 cups
    Sugar - 3/4 cup
    Baking powder - 3/4 teaspoon
    Salt - 1/4 teaspoon
    Unsalted butter - 13 tablespoons, softened (184 grams)


    1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Butter an 8 x 4 x 2.5 inch loaf pan, or any six cup loaf or fluted tube pan. Lightly whisk together milk, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl.

    2. Place dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix on low speed for 30 seconds, until blended. Add the butter and half the egg mixture, and mix until dry ingredients are moistened. on medium speed, beat for a minute. This will aerate and develop the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

    3. Add the remaining egg mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds between each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

    4. Pour the prepared batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface with a spatula. bake for 55-65 minutes (35-45 minutes if baking in a fluted tube pan), until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool on a rack in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting onto a greased wire rack. if using a loaf pan, flip the cake over so the top is up.

    For making Cake Flour at home : Take one cup of all purpose flour and remove 2 tablespoons from it. Replace the 2 tablespoon flour with corn flour and sift together 2 to 3 times. Cake flour is ready to use.

    The Basics: Poached Eggs

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011
    Poached eggs, if you've never seen them made, can be quite intimidating, especially when not using the little egg-poaching cups. However, I didn't want to buy an egg poacher and I used to hate cleaning the little cups in the one at my parents house, so Paul and I had to learn how to poach eggs. Thankfully, I have a 1946 copy of The Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book! Here are photos of Paul doing the honors so I could take the photos.  He's a much more patient egg-cracker than I am and somehow manages to almost never break a yolk. That's why he's the egg-poaching master. No worries--you can be, too.*

    Poaching eggs 1
    1. Using a 13" covered skillet, bring salted water to a boil. It should be enough water to fill half the skillet and enough salt to be about 1/2 tablespoon per 1 quart of water. Just estimate.

    2. Carefully break an egg into a saucer (be sure this is a saucer that can withstand boiling water). You need to be sure to keep the yolk in tact.  Very fresh eggs with hold together better.  (You can use the older ones for boiling.)

    Poaching eggs 2

    3. Slip the egg into the salted water.
    Poaching eggs 3

    4. Repeat until all eggs are in the water (you should be able to poach 4 to 6 at a time).

    Poaching eggs 4

    5. Turn the heat down to medium, cover the skillet and cook the eggs 3 to 5 minutes. We usually only do three minutes if the eggs are going into a dish that is cooked after the poached eggs are added.

    6.  Place a cloth over a plate. Remove the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and drain on the cloth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

    *If you do happen to break a yolk, you can use that egg to make:

    Yesterday on The Past on a Plate: Salmon with Lemon-Dill Butter and Life This Week: August 22, 1938

    Home Style Garam Masala from Hari Nayak's Kitchen and a cookbook review

    Saturday, August 20, 2011
    I was contacted by Cheryl Duncan last week asking if I could do a cookbook review, I immediately agreed. A few days later, I received the book and I am already in love with the cookbook. The book looks so appealing and enticing with all its amazing food pictures by Jack Turkel.

    "My Indian kitchen - Preparing delicious Indian meals without fear or fuss" by Hari Nayak is a perfect Indian cookbook for every cook - for novice to experts. It has simple recipes like the Sweet Mango Yogurt Lassi to exotic recipes like Samosas and Malabar Crab curry. The book also features recipes of Indian spice mixes to get you started on Indian cooking.

    Hari Nayak is a celebrity Indian chef and a restaurateur from New Jersey. Growing up in a coastal rural town, Udipi in southwest India, Hari nayak shares his family's own style of southern Indian cooking that includes meats and seafood. The chef also includes the usual favorites such as his famous melt-in-your-mouth Cafe Spice Chicken Tikka Masala found at Whole Foods hot bars throughout the US.

    The book starts with an introduction to indian food which explains that Indian food is much more than just curry! Nayak also gives sample vegetarian and non-vegetarian party menus to get you started. he also gives suggestions on the various wines that pairs beautifully with Indian food. He then gives a few simple techniques and a very interesting introduction to exotic Indian ingredients. The book is then divided into various chapters - Indian spice mixes, chutneys and accompaniments, appetizers, soups and dals, vegetable and cheese dishes, fish and seafood, poultry and meat, bread and rice and finally desserts and drinks.

    A few of my favorite recipes from the book which I will be trying very soon..
    • Plum-Tomato chutney with mustard seeds

    • Spicy Paneer Cheese Kebabs

    • Fiery South Indian tomato Soup

    • Mangalore Spiced potatoes

    • Saffron Chicken biryani

    • Flaky Paratha Breads stuffed with potatoes

    • Pistachio Biscotti and Almond Butter Cookies

    Here is the first recipe I tried from the cookbook - Home Style Garam Masala. My entire smell is filled with the fragrance of the masala and I cant wait to use the masala in various recipes.

    Makes about 2/3 cup (75 grams)
    Prep time: 5 minutes
    Cook time: 5 minutes

    Cumin seeds - 2 tablespoons
    Coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon
    Black peppercorns - 1 tablespoon
    Cinnamon - one 1/2 inch stick
    Green cardamom pods - 10
    Whole cloves - 1 teaspoon
    Fennel seeds - 1 teaspoon
    5 bay leaves

    1. Dry roast the whole spices in a small skillet, over medium heat, stirring until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

    2. Remove the spices from the skillet and set aside to let cool completely.

    3. Grind the spices, with the bay leaves, in an electric spice grinder or mixer to a fine powder.

    4. Store in an air tight jar for up to 4 to 6 weeks.

    What's in my (grocery) bag?

    Friday, August 19, 2011
    In my grocery bag 8/19/11

    The sad thing is, I have tons of reusable grocery bags, but I don't always remember to get them out of the car when I go in to shop! We've started using grocery-store plastic bags as our trash bags, so we haven't actually purchased trash bags in years, which is fabulous.  Anyway, from a visit to World Market we have:

    • Gray scarf- to replace one I bought on the Boul'Mich, which sadly disappeared over the course of two moves

    • PG Tips- my favorite cheap tea; I love the top-hinge cardboard box, as well

    • Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Gold- bought to try it out; it has a warrant from the Prince of Wales, which screams out from the shelf to a snob like myself (I keep saying I'm going to buy the organic gin that Prince Charles drinks some day, but I'm a wee bit attached to my Tanqueray, which has a royal warrant from the Queen)

      Please be sure to check out yesterday's post: "Potato Scones and Entertainment for the New Economy"

      Have a great weekend!

      Potato Scones and Entertainment for the New Economy

      Thursday, August 18, 2011
      So, driving back from the farmers' market Saturday morning, I heard an economist on NPR* talking about how we didn't really have a recession--we had a contraction, which is even worse news. Not being an economist, what I could figure out is that while a recession is a blip that doesn't change the projected growth of the economy (i.e. it fits in the "best fit graph" equation for the economy), a contraction actually alters growth projections. I've decided to do my bit and point all of you lovelies in the direction of nearly-free entertainment. You'll have to keep paying for your electricity and internet access, though, which is a total bummer.

      Madeleine Carroll and Robert Donat in a still from The 39 Steps
      Image from Doctor Macro
      One of my favorite websites is Internet Archive, which is all about public-domain awesomeness. Did you know they have The 39 Steps available to download for free? How awesome is that? (Or, you can watch it on this page** if you don't want to download it.) And besides, who doesn't love Robert Donat? The 39 Steps is actually the first movie Paul and I watched after moving to Wichita. We had already changed the address on our Netflix subscription and the disc arrived shortly after we did! After we had unloaded the last box from the moving van and our family members had left for Oklahoma City, Paul and I rolled the TV cart (no big flat-screen then!) next to the bed, propped ourselves up with pillows and vegged out.

      While not very faithful to its source material (Alfred Hitchcock was bad about that.), The 39 Steps is an entertaining chase through London and the Scottish highlands when Robert Donat's character (Richard Hannay) is wrongly (of course!) suspected of murder. He meets Pamela (Madeleine Carroll) along the way and she gives him almost as much trouble as the police. Both Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll learn that things aren't always as they appear...


      It looks like a biscuit, smells like a biscuit, tastes like a biscuit, but it isn't a biscuit--it's a Potato Scone!  Thankfully, a scone that stealthily conceals one of its ingredients isn't insidious like the villains in The 39 Steps--it's just tasty.

      1. Work the softened butter into the flour mixture

      2. What dough looks like after butter is mixed in

      3. Mash the boiled potatoes

      4. Add potatoes to dough

      5. Make a well for the milk

      6. Mix in enough milk so that dough becomes cohesive (keep checking; it happens more quickly than you'd think!)

      7. Cut dough into twelve triangles

      8. Bake on a floured baking sheet (Don't forget the little bits you've trimmed off the scones!)

      I've been eating these for breakfast this week.  So I have fresh scones every morning, I wrapped each square (two triangles) in plastic wrap and then put them in a container in the freezer.  When I get up, I place the two scones on a baking sheet and preheat the oven.  It takes about twelve minutes (instead of ten) to bake them from their frozen state.
      Potato Scones

      These delicious scones are for Breakfast Club #14: Potatoes.

      Breakfast Club was created by Helen at Fuss Free Flavours.
      Thanks to Scrumptious Sally for hosting this month!

      A closer look at my vintage Staffordshire cup and saucer:

      I'm incapable of passing up gorgeous transferware if it's a decent price (or downright cheap). Unfortunately, I only have this cup and saucer in this particular pattern! I'm keeping an eye out for it, though, and hoping I can find a good deal on some other pieces.


      *Farmers' markets and NPR?!  Now you'll only need one guess as to my voter registration...  ;-)



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