Monday, February 28, 2011

Exorcising Cream of Mushroom Soup-mares ...

No introduction required. Here is what I shoved in my face, brain and eyeballs this past week.


Tuna Noodle Casserole: Every once in awhile I like to bust out some Tuna Noodle Casserole to remind us that we grew up in the 1980s in the Midwest, a place where every food crisis can be solved with a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup. I, of course, loathe anything mushroom to the point where the word doesn't even register when I see it on recipes. It's like FREE on a Bingo card.

So I try to jazz it up. Somehow I managed to end up with the best recipe for Tuna Noodle Casserole that has ever been concocted by kitchen scientists. Unfortunately, this meant a ton of butter and whole milk. But sometimes that is the price you have to pay to exorcise your Cream of Mushroom Soup nightmares.

Also: Something really freaking fantastic happens when you mix onions and Cooking Sherry.

Hot Chili Grilled Cheese Sandwich: This is not your rainy-day Grilled Cheese Ellen marathon sandwich. This one is a mix of Pinto Beans and salsa and then shredded Monteray Jack Cheese, plain yogurt, scallions and Poblano Chilis.

Slap those ingredients between some Sour Dough Bread, pop it into the George Foreman and then eat the crap out of it.

Chocolate Panna Cotta with Spiced Pepita Brittle: This was the tale of two desserts. Chuck tried it and thought it was a little bit of Chocolate Pudding bore. But that is because he was ignoring the Topping: A carmalized mix of Sugar dotted with  Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Cinnamon and Nutmeg. It's supposed to make a sort of Brittle. It didn't until about four days later. First it made a sort of Sugary Mush that still tasted really good. And it was a game changer. It took the dessert through the roof. I win.

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger: It has been mere days since I watched this and I've already forgotten the brunt of it. It's, of course, very Woody Allen. It is interesting to note that Woody Allen isn't actually in it. Probably because he realizes that if he were in it, he would be cast into the role played by an especially Yoda-looking Anthony Hopkins, a senior citizen who begins pumping iron, running and chasing skirts. And maybe Wood-dawg just doesn't want to throw that onto reality onto a big screen.

Blue Valentine Eeps. This one is a soul tugger. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gossling are married, but reaching the end of that tether. Meanwhile, we get to witness their meet-cute in flashbacks. This movie is the saddest. And I'm a little foggy on exactly where things derailed. There is very little indication beyond the fact that he has become a day-drinker with no ambitions beyond going to work every day and being a good husband and father. So, with the absence of an explanation, I choose to believe this one was just made so that we could get close ups of two pretty faces and leave the theater with snot streaks on our sleeves.

Dominick Dunne: After the Party: Keep up, kiddies. Dominick Dunne is the new object of my ever-changing obsessions. I love this old coot with his gossip-fueled, unnamed source brand of Journalism. His story is delicious, his hubris is fantastic, and every once in awhile his face bursts into a giggle that is so endearing. This documentary includes the story of his life: The black sheep of the Dunne family, a war hero, a hobnobber who invented the black and white party that Truman Capote made famous. The overheard moment that marked his fall from grace, his alcoholism, divorce, his daughter's murder and how it paved the way for the aforementioned gossip-fueled, unnamed source brand of Journalism. It's hard to watch this one without a few heart pangs, watching Dunne shuffle into the courthouse for the Phil Spector verdict. 

American Psycho Around the time Patrick Bateman starts spreading [redacted] on a woman's [redacted] and then sends a starved [redacted] through a Habittrail and into [redacted], I had to concede defeat. This is the first time in the history of the world that a book has been too grotesque for me to read with a wide-eyed smirk of pleasure. I finished it -- don't get me wrong. But it was just too, too much.

Full review here

Make Me a Woman by Vanessa Davis: This is a fun comic journal filled with dancing and rough drafts. It's done a way that is endearing and sometimes feels like stumbling across a piece of found art.

Full review here.

What I'm reading now: Still working my way through Charles Baxter's Gryphon: New and Selected Stories and have picked up Dominick Dunne's The Two Mrs. Grenvilles: A Novel.


beret said...

Those hot chili grilled cheese sandwiches look so good.

I think a real mid-westerner would call that a "Tuna-Noodle Hot Dish". Let me know if you need to borrow my copy of "The Great Minnesota Hot Dish" cookbook.

Christa said...

Uh oh. You might be right. I think Chuck has a copy of that recipe book, too. Street cred: revoked.

Whiskeymarie said...

I felt EXACTLY the same way about "American Psycho"! Lord knows, I love me some gore, but holy crap.
Working out some issues there, Bret?

Christa said...

Yeah, apparently Bret has always claimed that Patrick Bateman was inspired by his dad. But I just read a recent interview with him where he said that HE is Patrick Bateman. Eeps.

That said, Bret Easton Ellis is someone I could sit and watch for days. Yesterday he tweeted "I love Charlie Sheen." He totally needs a reality show.