Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dim Sum Sunday - Peeps

The Karmic Kitchen threw another Dim Sum Sunday curve ball with the latest (and seasonal) challenge of using Peeps in some sort of Sunday meal type dish. Peeps are all about Easter. Unless you were raised in the Buzz Kill household 40 years ago. Then, Peeps that had hung around from Easter were roasted (set on fire) over the barbecue in July. We didn't actually eat them, we were just sick, twisted kids.

So with that mentality in mind, I set out to develop a simple melding of cupcakes and Peeps. I got the idea as soon as the theme was announced but, like always, schedule got in the way until Tuesday night. Dani over at Gardening Under the Florida Sun did a dessert similar to my idea and did it well. Just not "different" enough.

I started out with these basic ingredients (yeah, I know it's a box mix).

Mixed the cake batter up and poured it into cupcake...cups.

Then I put those Peeps in the batter up to their little necks. The theory here being that the batter would rise up and engulf the Peeps as they baked. Then you would break the cupcake in half and see the "surprise" in side. It looked good on paper even though I didn't actually put it on paper.

Then, 17 minutes later...the horror...the horror...

THEY DIDN'T SINK. They were pushed up with the baking batter and melted all over the place. I knew I was in trouble about 12 minutes in when I was smelling burnt Peeps instead of cupcake. So I salvaged what cupcakes I could (the monsters will eat anything) and soaked the pans in hot water to get rid of the mess. They actually tasted like cotton candy covered cupcakes. Needless to say I didn't need the icing or jelly beans. The plan (I never actually put on paper) called for them to be finished in that way.

So, as I was about to commit hari kari because of the shame I brought to the Kill family name, I was reminded of the words of Homer Simpson - “You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.” Happy Easter everyone.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Movie Clip Wednesday - Best Action Movie

Boxer is hosting a Movie Clip Wednesday Meme where everyone picks a clip from their favorite movies based on a weekly theme. This week's theme is BEST ACTION MOVIE.  At first I thought this was going to be a really tough category.  There are dozens of good action films out there.  Some that immediately came to mind were Terminator, Die Hard and even Star Wars.  Then I thought, no there is only one true action (adventure) movie that set the benchmark for all future action (adventure) movies.  It has a great story line, likable hero, well written script, excellent cinematography, whole slew of action sequences and a bull whip.  I'm talking about none other than Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I love this movie and could watch it every day. 

For the generally stick-figurish actor that he is, Harrison Ford played this part magnificently.  I really don't like any of his other movies.  And I think this is Spielberg's best movie, which is really saying something when compared to Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ET and Saving Private Ryan.

I think the best scene in the movie is the fight scene in Marion Ravenwood's Tibetan Bar.  I love the part when he's face down on the bar and says to Marion, "Whiskey?"  The sound quality on this clip is pretty low, so you'll need to turn up the speakers (damn youtube).  Enjoy.

And I think this is the funniest scene in the whole movie.  Because after everything Indiana Jones went through to this point, only a woman could make him scream in pain like this.

If you want to see more action movies, than lock and load and head on over to Boxer's.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Movie Clip Wednesday - Favorite Animated Movie

Boxer is hosting a Movie Clip Wednesday Meme where everyone picks a clip from their favorite movies based on a weekly theme. This week's theme is FAVORITE ANIMATED MOVIE. For about the last 10 years pretty much the only flicks I see in the theater are animated movies - because of the kids. Most are OK but let's face it - they're cartoons. The last one I went to see was Up and that was pretty good, although mushy.

I've seen all of the Disney classics and have always liked Snow White and Fantasia. When the Boy was around 2 years old, he totally ruined Pinocchio for me. That was his favorite at the time and I can't count how many 2:00 AM viewings I had to sit through when he wouldn't sleep. Consequently, I don't like Pinocchio anymore.

For kicks I was going to pick the 1975 classic, Tarzan, Shame of the Jungle. I actually saw this in the theater when I was 17 and it's basically soft core cartoon porn. It was horrible but semi controversial at the time. No, for this theme, I decided to risk blogger jinx with practically everyone and go with the funniest Dreamworks classic in recent years - Shrek. I think this movie is hysterical and Mike Meyers (with his Scottish accent resurrected from So I Married an Axe Murderer - a very underrated movie) is genius in this. This is some of the best animation I've ever seen. The perspective angles and details in the foreground and background are excellent. You can see all of that in the clip I've included - the "wrestling" scene for your enjoyment.

I could not embed the clip, so you're going to YouTube.

Here's a quick, added bonus track from Shrek that I always laugh at, I guess because it reminds me of Disney World. Is that wrong?

And my favorite line from this movie is:

Donkey, two things okay? Shut... up. I use that on the kids all the time.

If you want to see more funny cartoons, than head on over to Boxer's.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Movie Clip Wednesday - Best Death Scene

Boxer is hosting a Movie Clip Wednesday Meme where everyone picks a clip from their favorite movies based on a weekly theme. This week's theme is BEST DEATH SCENE. So I'm thinking about a cool or classy death scene. And for whatever reason (who knows how my mind works) I thought of the Marv electric chair scene from Sin City. This was actually an under-rated cult type movie that I liked a lot. And in the electric chair scene Marv (played by an always scary Mickey Rourke) actually taunts the executioners, which I thought was both funny and cool at the same time. Unfortunately I couldn't find an original clip.

So on to Plan "B". I'm risking blogger jinx with Boxer because we talked about this movie last week, but what the hell. This has my favorite actor dying in an extremely heroic, unselfish, very cool and bad ass manner. "It was a good death" - borrowed from Legends of the Fall. I'm talking about Gran Torino. This was a surprise ending for me but very cool, as only Clint could pull off.

Spoiler Alert: If you haven't seen this movie and intend to do so, do not watch this clip. You'll hate me. Also, I could not embed the clip, so you're going to YouTube.

In the same vein as Walt Kowalski's death, honorable mention goes to Harry Stamper in Armageddon (relax, I'm not going to force you to watch it). That's the way I'm going out. Yeah, right. The Mrs and the monsters will cause me to vapor lock before I reach 51.

If you want to see more deaths (presumably violent and gory but there's a big potential for chick flick deaths here - What?) than head on over to Boxer's.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dim Sum Sunday - Kids Choice

I don't know what's wrong with these kids today!
Who can understand anything they say?
They a disobedient, disrespectful oafs!
Noisy, crazy, dirty, lazy, loafers!
While we're on the subject:Kids!
You can talk and talk till your face is blue!
But they still just do what they want to do!
Why can't they be like we were,Perfect in every way?
What's the matter with kids today?

Trying to get the monsters, The Boy and The Pudge, to choose or agree on anything, well , I might as well talk to the wall. In fact I often do. So, when I asked them about this challenge, I received a luke warm yes and no ideas. So I made the decisions (as I often do) for them. I decided to go with an Irish theme. Corned Beef and Cabbage with Irish Potato Candy for dessert. Then, the schedule changed at the last minute. The Boy is taking an SAT prep course and the school decided to have a sample test Saturday morning. So the Corned Beef and Cabbage part fell on me because it's a slow cooker recipe and I wanted it for a 6:00PM dinner. So I took care of it.

Here are some shots of the Corned Beef and Cabbage prep.

I had my vintage 1990 Rival Crock Pot so full that this was the only way I could seal it.

And while prepping the vegetables I did a job on my hand with a chef's knife.

And here's the finished dish. Pretty basic meat and potatoes. The monsters and The Boy's buddy, Sargent Cookie (long story) woofed down the better part of a 3 1/2 lb brisket. They ate the potatoes and carrots but didn't like the cabbage, as I expected.

Next was the kid's portion of the program. Because Sargent Cookie came over, I didn't see The Boy until dinner. So it was just me and the Pudge. This was pretty easy but a little messy. And no, that's not Freddy Krugger but it is one of The Pudge's favorite shirts.

We chilled the mix for about 30 minutes because it was too mushy to shape into balls. That did the trick.

As you might expect, these were coconutty-sickenly-sweet. The kids loved them, so I rate the dish a success but the kid participation a partial FAIL. The Pudge did say he liked doing it and was pretty diligent in rolling all of the balls (I actually formed the balls and he rolled and shaped them in the cinnamon. Happy DSS and St. Patty's Day to all.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Culinary Throwdown Challenge - Pepperoni

This month's Culinary Throwdown Challenge is being sponsored by Kym over at Kymical Reactions and the theme is PEPPERONI. Kym will also do the judging, giving Moi over at Bite the Apple a well deserved rest and chance to really compete in the throwdown rather than making a dish (and hers are always serious plates of food) that will not be judged.

Pepperoni, well the obvious choices are pizza, stromboli or sandwiches. All of which seem BORING (my apologies in advance to those of you who made pizza, stromboli or sandwiches) . But then, in the nether regions of my oft abused brain, I recalled a movie that featured a pepperoni recipe. A quick spin on jogged that memory to the present. The 1980 movie Seems Like Old Times staring Goldie Hawn, Chevy Chase and Charles Grodin featured a minor subplot surrounding their Spanish speaking maid, Aurora (yeah, I know) and her locally famous Chicken Pepperoni. I remember seeing this movie several times on HBO back in the late 80s and thinking WTF when ever they mentioned this dish. So I looked up the recipe and found 3 significantly different versions (without really trying). I naturally took the easiest one. How authentic is this? It's a frigging movie so it's good enough for me. And I know I'm risking blogger jinx on this with Pam and probably Moi (but probably not Karl) but what the hell.

Before we get started and for extra bonus points, here's where the magic happens.

Chicken Pepperoni

Olive oil
Flour for dredging
4 chicken breasts
1/4 pound pepperoni, sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
2 red peppers, sliced
1 1/2 ounces chablis or other white wine
Pepper, parsley and oregano
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cans artichoke hearts, quartered
1/2 cup peas

1. If not boned already, bone chicken, remove skin, cut into eight pieces
2. Use cooking mallet to pound breast pieces flat
3. Dredge chicken in flour
4. In heated large skillet with olive oil, brown chicken on both sides and remove
5. In clean skillet with dash of oil, briefly sauté pepperoni, drain oil
6. Add chicken to pepperoni
7. Add onions, peppers and mushrooms and sauté three to four minutes
8. Stir in wine and pepper, parsley and oregano
9. Add tomato sauce and stir
10. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
11. Add artichokes and peas, heat through until bubbly and serve

Makes four to six servings. Courtesy of

Here's what I used.
Here are some mid cooking shots. Putting this together was pretty easy but I had to get a second frying pan going because I started running out of time. The chicken pieces took longer to fry up than I thought. The Pudge snuck an action shot of me that I decided to leave in (scary, huh).

Now I recall from the movie (which I haven't seen in many years) that Aurora served this in a casserole dish. The recipe didn't call for it but i decided to put it in a casserole dish and finish it in the oven. Also, the one cup of sauce didn't seem enough and I added about two more. I laid the chicken in the bottom and put the pepperoni sauce on top. I put it on low broil for 10 minutes while the Orecchiette pasta cooked. And here's the finished dish.

And the consensus was that it was good, but a little dry. It needed even more sauce but the spicy pepperoni flavor really tasted good. The Mrs and the Pudge could do without the artichokes, but I think they pulled the dish together. The peas really didn't do anything for the dish. So there you have it, Aurora's Chicken Pepperoni that Judge John Channing and the Governor (The Governor? OUR Governor? - I didn't ask him. He *looked* like our governor.) raved about. I didn't think it was all that, but I liked it.

As an aside, Sunday morning I used some of the leftover pepperoni with some sauce and mozzarella and made a really tasty omelet. I'm going to do that again.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Movie Clip Wednesday - Oscar Winners

Boxer is hosting a Movie Clip Wednesday Meme where everyone picks a clip from their favorite movies based on a weekly theme. This week's theme (presumably because of the Academy Awards this weekend) is Oscar Winners (unless she decides to change it - again)!

I thought on this a while and looked at the Wikipedia List. I started thinking about Forrest Gump because that is such a well made film and I laugh every time I see it. Then, while looking at the list, I realized there is only one film there that won best picture that I actually saw in the theater. All the others that I have seen have been on TV. And I remember seeing this film not because it was a great movie, but because of the theater we saw it in. My in-laws lived in Lakeland, FL back in 1992 and they had a newly opened theater that had club seating and you could order bar food and beer while watching the movie. I remember thinking, "Brilliant, this will surely catch on and is the best way to watch a movie." I never saw a place like this ever again.

Anyway, the movie was Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven and it won for Best Picture, Best Director (Clint Eastwood), Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman) and Best Editing. It also co-starred Morgan Freeman. This is a great, although dark, epic western. And these are the three best scenes in the movie. Sorry but two of them aren't the best quality, but you'll get the idea.

If you liked these, head on over to Boxer's and see a bunch of other Academy Award Winning Films. Don't bother going to Pam's because I'm sure she picked this movie too.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Movie Clip Wednesday - Most Funny Scene(s)

Boxer is hosting a Movie Clip Wednesday Meme where everyone picks a clip from their favorite movies based on a weekly theme. This week's theme is Most Funny Scene! With everyone seemingly in the winter doldrums lately, I think this is an excellent theme and look forward to a lot of laughter this week.

This is really tough. There are so many great scenes out there. It's impossible for me to narrow it down to 10 let alone the funniest. So I'll give you four scenes I think are hysterical.

This one from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) is a classic. You all know it and I even have a T-shirt from this movie.

The next is a recent movie (2009) and is based on the old Don Adams series from the 60s - Get Smart. Steve Carell does an excellent Maxwell Smart (I think better than Don Adams) and this scene has me laughing so hard that tears stream down my face - and I've seen it like a dozen times.

This video couldn't be embedded, so here's the link to YouTube:

Get Smart - Crossbow scene

Then we have that low budget 1994 Kevin Smith flick - Clerks. And you all know the scene I'm talking about so I'll shut up now.

Lastly (and I'll probably take some heat for this one), this is what I think is the funniest Will Ferrell movie ever made and not because of Will Ferrell. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) is funny because of John C. Reilly. If you've never seen this movie, I highly recommend it. And this is the funniest scene (and there are a lot of them):

Here's a special bonus track in honor of Boxer getting back in the ring. It's from a movie that has the distinction of using the most F-words in a Christmas movie (147):