Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Im Reviewing Your Movie (and maybe some TV)

As most of you know I gave up drinking for 10 days. No, not for Jesus! My doctor said it would help my acid reflux and its pretty positive when youre trying to lose weight and save money. So meh. I was pretty bored this weekend to say the least. My amazing, sweet and supportive boyfriend also gave it up so he's been my partner in the restriction.

That being said - there's been SO much time for TV and MOVIES! had a lot to say about the movies and TV Ive been watching. I guarentee I will offend most of you and you may lose faith in me as a pop culture guide, but this is the chance you take when you have a blog.

Law Abiding Citizen: A-

Youre wondering when this movie came out and if it was even in theatres? It was released in October 2009 and is apparently already on video. Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) plays a former spy whose family has been randomly killed. While on trial, Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) strikes a deal so 1 killer goes free and 1 killer gets the death penalty. The rest of the movie is essentially blowing up shit, moral vengeance, mind fucks and a very grey battle between good and evil. Which I actually love!

As far as originality, this movie is tops. I am basing all my reviews on that concept today. I have never seen a movie like this (Im sure there's one out there!) - we paused the movie probably 4 times and looked at each other and said "Where is this movie going?" and I loved being on the ride.

Its not oscar worthy, apparently it wasnt even theatrical release worthy but for a rainy afternoon its better than most movies Ive seen this year and it kept me on my toes. My only gripe was that the entire time I wished Gerard Butler was Russel Crowe.

One Minute To Nine (AKA "Every F*cking Day) - B+: This documentary was shown at last years South By Southwest movie festival and subsequently bought by HBO and shown in their On Demand doc section. It centers around the Maldanado family in 2006 after the mother and son have brutally murdered their abusive patriarch. The doc follows them on their final 4 days before the mother is sentenced to 10 years in jail.

Emotionally its hard to hear the plight of a perpetually abused family and wonder how they couldnt just leave him? But thats not the pov of the movie. Its more to show you how the fallout from a murder can actually be soothing and inspiring and give you hope. I wont give away too much but I recommend seeing this movie. My qualm with it is the scope is too huge to get into one movie and many of my questions were left unanswered.

The Hurt Locker: B-
Holy wow, Kate - the movie winning the most amount of critical acclaim this Oscar season you only gave a B-? Well, to be honest, I wanted to give it a C but I felt it was a disservice to the real people who go out and do this job.

As you know this movie is about soldiers who go out and disarm incredibly fatal bombs in the middle east. Its definitely a subject that deserves more attention and I give the director alot of credit for doing a movie about something so different than most. The subject was entirely original, however, the script and characters were totally predictable. The movie reminded me of Avatar in many ways where you sort of know the next move and how the plot will eventually wrap itself up. The acting was okay, nothing special. I just felt the biggest asset you have in a film like this is the main character: suspense of a bomb blowing up. There was no moment where I really questioned the outcome of a scene.

Crazy Heart: A.

Man these tunes were catchy.

Anyway, Jeff Bridges plays Bad Blake a washed up (once famous) drunken country singer who cant do anything right. Whats that you say? Sounds like The Wrestler? Pretty much, including the abandoned and unforgiving neglected child from his past.
The movie plays out much like you anticipate, he drinks, he fucks up, he tries to repent and love the awkwardly bad reporter (Maggie) - and he ends up on top. The End. I know I said earlier originality was my biggest point in my reviews today but somehow this one, more predictable than the rest gets a good review? Jeff Bridges is intoxicating and amazing.
.......and the tunes are so catchy!

Honorable Mention: Love Colin Farrel as the super famous kenny chesney type. and he sang his own shit. :)

No Brainer Meal Night

It seemed a little silly to blog about a stir fry. Its like the PB&J of the hot food world. Its so simple, there are no rules and you can just about add the kitchen sink and it will come out amazing. I decided it was blog worthy because it was just so god-damn good! I wish I had doubled the recipe and had leftovers to take to work today. Its raining so warm comfort food would hit the spot again right now. Also, Ive been trying to cut out the white foods lately so the key to getting filled up is protein! protein! and even more protein.

Rice-less Stir Fry

1 Chicken Breast, pounded thin and cubed
1 Package Baked Tofu, cubed
1/2 an onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pea pods
1 jar water chestnuts
1 cup cashews
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 egg
1 package miso soup dry mix
1 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon cooking oil
splash of white wine vinegar
splash of hoison sauce
splash of siracha
Step One: Set pan over medium heat and cook onion and garlic until soft. Add wet ingredients and then the chicken. Once chicken starts to look cooked on one side add the tofu, pea pods and water chestnuts and cook for 5 minutes.

Step Two: Toss in soup mixture, green onions and cashew. One all the ingredients look cooked and ready to eat (total: 11-15 minutes) - crack an egg over the entire meal and toss it up until egg looks cooked!

Serve and eat immediately.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Roy Left His Heart In San Francisco

Recently our friend Roy, who moved to AZ, decided to come back to San Francisco for two weeks to dog sit our honeymooning friends little guy Fig. I asked him what was on his to do list for the duration of his stay and he said "You can cook for me!". Oh, flattery gets you everywhere, Roylet. I was most happy to oblige with Shawn's help. It was a nice small gathering with a few friends (Marisa, Roy, Myself, Shawn, Kundan who brought delicious greens and Abby) - and I even got to cook in McNats kitchen while they were away.

Bacon Wrapped Pork w/a Maple Chipotle Sauce & Baked Corn and Jalapeno Quinoa

Pork & Sauce - Shawn put the pork loins in a brine of water salt and sugar for a bit before wrapping it in bacon and putting on the grill. I am not sure how long he grilled it but while he was doing that I whipped up the sauce. I took 1 small can of chipotle chil's in adobo sauce and pureed it in the blender. Afterwards, I combined it and a cup of water, a 1/4th cup of maple syrup and 1/2 cup of brown sugar on the stove on low for 5 minutes, brought to a boil then let cool. I served this on the side to drizzle!

The Quinoa was the real success in my mind! I had no idea how this was going to turn out because I have never had baked quinoa. My coworker Amy had it and I immediately saw her recipe and took it to the max. :) I love when that happens. If I make it again Id go with jack cheese instead of queso fresco as it was a little too mild for my tastes. I like boldness and robustness.

Baked Corn and Jalapeno Quinoa
2 Cups Quinoa
1 1/2 cans chicken stock
1 onion, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 can of corn
1 cup shreeded queso
2 teaspoons canola oil
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Step One: Preheat oven to 350. In a saucepan add oil on medium heat. Once hot add the onions, jalapenos, garlic and salt and pepper and cook until soft. 5 minutes. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling add the quinoa and remove from stove.

Step Two: Pour chicken stock and quinoa into a 13x9 pan and also mix in the corn and sprinkle the top with the queso. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes until all the stock has evaporated.

Serve hot!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More PresValentine Weekend

We had such a great weekend, and I did a little exploring to new places, myself, so I thought Id treat my San Francisco readers to some reviews (of places I am sure you have already been to).

DOSA (on Valencia) - Continuing on the Gluten-Free tour of SF someone pointed out to me that Dosa was the prefect place! I give this place a for SURE A+. Shawn started with the beet croquettes - that are really good (if you like beets, which I dont but I can still give kudos). Meagan, Jess and I all got the Dosa which is a buckwheat crepe filled with you choice of delicious indian stuffings. I got paneer and peas and the ladies got curried mung beans and potatoes. I will be returning here VERY soon!

Cocoon Day Spa (in Soma) - Admittedly, I have not been to too many nail salons in the city so my judgement could be skewed. Just down the street is Zaza Nails and its more expensive and just not as nice! I loved this place. My pedi was $33 and it lasted over an hour. I felt the women there were super thorough and it was the best job Ive had done in a while. It also didnt hurt that the champagne and strawberry's were flowing as was the girly gossip. If you want something out of the ordinary (as opposed to $19 and your butt slapped as you leave the salon) - I high recommend Cocoon Day Spa.

Flippers Burgers (In Hayes Valley) - Lets just say thank god I was in good company and the sun was shining! Originally trying to get a quick quiche at Tartine (not the one with the line out the door in the Mission) - it was closed! We were forced to wander aimlessly around Hayes Valley looking for sustenance. We decided to take a gamble on Flippers as they advertised endless mimosas and you could sit outside. I would give this place a C. Fat weirdo waiter who never wrote down our order and generally forgettable sausage.


St Francis Winery Food Pairing (in Santa Rosa, CA)

Ive been to the St Francis winery before because its my favorite! Thanks, Nat for the rec. Ive really only been there for the $30 chartucerie but this time of year they only do a food pairing. No, you cant sit outside in the beautiful garden like you can in the summer but you still get to taste 6 wines for $30 along with food which is a steal. My favorite pairing was the braised oxtail which was super nice and fatty and tasted perfect with the zin. Perfection!

Yummy Healthy Breakfast!

What a wonderful Presidents Day/ Valentines Day weekend I had this past Friday-Monday. I had the pleasure of entertaining two of my closest high school friends Jess and Meagan and showing them a great time in San Francisco. How can you justify staying in for any meal when you have a foodie city waiting for you to chomp all it has to offer? By making breakfast of course! We had a particularly Gluten Free weekend as one of my friends has a very restrictive diet. I made it my absolute mission to show her you can still have all your favorites when I am in charge. I must say it was a beautiful breakfast - I made:

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Polenta Waffles with a Fresh Fruit Agave Topping.
Makes 8 Waffles (4 people)
2 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup stone ground polenta
1 stick unsalted butter
4 eggs
1 cup buckwheat
1 teaspoon baking powder

Step One: Make the polenta by bringing water and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Add polenta in a slow steady stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Stir frequently until polenta becomes thick, but still spoonable, about 15 minutes. Pour into large mixing bowl and stir in butter. Let stand to cool slightly, about five minutes.

Step Two:Preheat the waffle iron. Beat in eggs, one at a time. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder, then add to the polenta and gently stir in. Brush the grids with oil and spoon about a half cup of batter onto the hot grids. Close the lid and waffle until golden brown. Transfer to a rack and continue. Keep the rack in a 200-degree oven if you like.

Step Three: Combine the fruit of your choice with agave nectar and serve syrupy!

Monday, February 8, 2010


Oh me oh my what a weekend. It started very awesomely on Friday night when out a very innocent dinner at Morac on 16th our dear friends Paul and Tisha surprised us with their presence for the bus party! I couldnt have been more stoked. Then Saturday was the infamous bus party where this year's theme was Bad In Plaid. Here's the whole crew! Yes, I may have paced myself for the first 5 hours of the bus but I definitely peaked a little early considering I went home at 2am and most people went home at 4am! I went as a Mad Men 60s girl and Shawn went as a lumberjack wi th a wedgie.

Our friends Josh and Erin are leaving the Bay Area so it was QUITE the send off. It will not be the same without them, unfortunately.

Anyway - to get down to business - we attended a Gourmet Mom's sauce party for the Super Bowl and entered ourselves into a nice little Chili contest. Shawn made a Mole chili that was to do for with a slow roasted beef rump and he even dried his own chili. I decided to make a pairing for it with Pumpkin Jalapeno Corn Muffins. Originally, I took this recipe from one of my favorite blogs - The Brokeass Gourmet where she was making Pumpkin Poblano corn muffins but I made a batch on Saturday and they were bland and tasteless (even though I followed the recipe) - so I decided to go Semi Homemade on their ass and whip up something absolutely DIVINE the second time around....

Jalapeno Pumpkin Corn Muffins
2 Jiffy Corn Muffin Mixes
1/2 Can Of Pumpkin Pie Mix
1/2 can of Canned Corn
1 Jalapeno Pepper - seeded and diced.
2 eggs. as directed by Jiffy Mix.
Milk, as directed by Jiffy Mix.
Pepper to taste.

Step One: Preheat Oven to 350. Grease 2 12 cup muffin pans. Mix Jiffy corn muffin packets as directed. Mix in 1/2 the can of pumpkin pie mix and 1/2 the can of canned corn. Swirl in the jalapeno peppers and ground pepper.

Step Two: Bake for 45 minutes or until you can stick a toothpick in and it comes out clean. It may take longer due to the pumpkin pie mix but you WONT be disappointed!

Its So Nice To Have You Back Where You Belong

Oh my friends, its been a while since I had the chance to update you on my culinary adventures. Last week was a haze of birthday, lost and work work work. I barely had time to even enjoy my date of birth but luckily today seems to be slowing down. I have some amazing friends in San Francisco (and LA! and NY! and all over) and have been blessed all around.

Oddly enough the bake sale concept has been all the rage in San Francisco to benefit Haiti. There's even a link to let you know where you can buy tasty treats in the bay area to benefit the cause. Ubisoft had a bake sale all week and there were many treats to be had! We raised over 2k. I personally made a favorite of mine that originates back to my NYSTI days. Because I rarely had homework during that year I made an aptly named sweet bar for the occasions: HELLO DOLLY BARS! so I thought it would be fun to make these from memory and I forgot how absolutely simple they are.

Fuck all the coconut haters.

Hello Dolly Bars (also known as Magic Bars)
2 cups crushed graham cracker
3 teaspoons of melted butter
1 cup choco chips
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 15 oz condensed milk

Step One: Lay down parchment paper in a 13x9 pan, preheat oven to 350.

Step Two: mix butter and graham cracker crumbs until moist, if it isnt getting moist add a teaspoon of water. Press mixture to the bottom of the pan to create the crust. Add chips (both kinds) and then sprinkle coconut over.

Step Three: Spread the milk over the entire creation covering everything. pop in the oven for 30 minutes or until coconut is toasty and browned.