Thanks to everyone who has checked out the first two parts of this “DINNERS IN A MOVIE” post. I hope you have all made lots of great food, or at least watched some great food movies. My final 4 dinners in a movie include one gangster classic that is permeated with food, life, and of course, death. And with recipes!
4-Mostly Martha. NOT the remake with Catherine Zeta-Jones, but this original 2001 German dramedy about Martha, a headstrong Chef who doesn’t want to take charge of her stubborn 8-year old niece. Things get more complicated with a carefree Italian sous-chef enters her life…of course it is a romantic comedy, but it is about food, so dig into this recipe for Italian Gnocchi, thanks to the folks at Saveur!
Mostly Martha’s Italian Gnocchi, thanks to Mario!
1 lb. russet potatoes, unpeeled
Kosher salt, to taste
4 oz. spinach
1 1⁄4 cups semolina flour,
sifted, plus more
2 eggs, beaten
18 tbsp. unsalted butter
16 leaves fresh sage, minced
1⁄4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. finely grated Parmesan
1. Put potatoes into a 4-qt. pot of salted water; boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until potatoes are tender, 25 minutes. Drain; let cool. Peel potatoes; pass through medium plate of a food mill into a bowl.
2. Meanwhile, heat a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach and 1 tbsp. of water; cook until wilted. Press on spinach in a sieve to extract liquid. Finely chop spinach; stir together with potatoes and semolina and form a well in center. Add eggs and salt and, using a fork, beat eggs into potato mixture. Transfer dough to a work surface dusted with semolina; knead to combine. Divide the dough into 6 portions. Roll each portion into a 1⁄2″-thick rope. Cut ropes into 1⁄2″-wide pieces; transfer to semolina-dusted sheet tray.
3. Melt 10 tbsp. butter in a 10″ skillet over medium heat; cook, swirling, until butter browns, about 6 minutes. Add sage and nutmeg; season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat; set aside.
4. Working in 4 batches, add 2 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. oil to a 12″ skillet over medium-high heat. Add dough pieces and cook, flipping once, until golden brown, 3–4 minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet. Wipe out skillet and repeat with remaining butter, oil, and dough pieces. Toss dumplings and brown butter sauce in the skillet until hot. Serve sprinkled with Parmesan.
3-Waitress. How could you not love this adorable romantic comedy from 2007, when Keri Russell cooked up a storm to fight against her unhappy marriage. Things take a dramatic turn when Nathan Fillion enters her life. This movie was overshadowed by the tragic death of Director Adrienne Shelly, which is too bad because this was a breakout movie that announced her arrival as a major new Directing talent. And Keri and Nathan are terrific in this great slice of life film, featuring a ton of great new pies baked by Keri…such as the “Earl Murders Me Because I’m Having An Affair” pie, or the “I Hate My Husband” pie…
Keri really shows her acting range after her baby is born, and the pies all begin to be about her…as she sings to her newborn baby, “Baby don’t you cry, gonna make a pie, gonna make a pie with a heart in the middle, Baby don’t be blue, gonna make for you, gonna make a pie with a heart in the middle, gonna make a pie from heaven above, gonna be filled with strawberry love…”
Also, thanks to the website “techlifeweb” for posting this list of all the pies from the movie…
All the Pies of “Waitress”
Pie #1: Blue Plate Special I DON’T WANT EARL’S BABY PIE or BAD BABY PIE – Quiche with egg and brie cheese with a smoked ham center (later referred to as BAD BABY QUICHE PIE by old Joe)
Pie #2: KICK IN THE PANTS PIE – Cinnamon spice custard (Today’s Special)
Pie #3: I HATE MY HUSBAND PIE – “You make it with bittersweet chocolate and don’t sweeten it. You make it into a pudding and drown it in caramel …”
Pie #4: SPAGHETTI PIE – has at home with husband
Pie #5: MARSHMELLOW MERMAID PIE – From when she was in her mermaid stage. Pie made for Dr. Mueller, and given later in the appointment to Dr. Pomatter. “Biblically good!”
Pie #6: FALLIN’ IN LOVE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE PIE – made for Dawn
Pie #7: BABY SCREAMING IT’S HEAD OFF IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND RUINING MY LIFE PIE – New York-style cheesecake, brandy brushed and topped with pecans and nutmeg
Pie #8: PEACHY KEEN TARTS – made for Dr. Pomatter
Pie #9: EARL MURDERS ME BECAUSE I’M HAVING AN AFFAIR PIE – “You smash blackberries and raspberries into a chocolate crust.”
Pie #10: I CAN’T HAVE NO AFFAIR BECAUSE IT’S WRONG AND I DON’T WANT EARL TO KILL ME PIE – “Vanilla custard with banana. Hold the banana …”
Pie #11: SPANISH DANCER PIE WITH POTATO CRUST – Joe orders at the Diner
Pie #12: NAUGHTY PUMPKIN PIE – brought to appointment for Dr. Pomatter, but unexpectedly with Dr. Mueller. Dr. Pomatter unexpectedly out of town with wife
Pie #13: STRAWBERRY CHOCOLATE OASIS PIE – After Joe orders this one and Jenna tells him that it’s just a pie: “Just a pie! It’s downright expert. A thing’a beauty … how each flavor opens itself, one by one, like a chapter in a book. First, the flavor of an exotic spice hits ya … Just a hint of it … and then you get flooded with chocolate, dark and bittersweet like an old love affair …” – Joe
Pie #14: PREGNANT MISERABLE SELF PITYING LOSER PIE – “Lumpy oatmeal with fruitcake mashed in. Flambéed of course …”
Pie #15: LONELY CHICAGO PIE – Teaches Dr. Pomatter how to make this one
Pies #16 & #17: CAR RADIO PIE and JENNA’S FIRST KISS PIE – These are pies Jenna’s mom used to make that she fondly remembers.
Pie #18: OLD JOE’S HORNY PIE – Jenna states she is going to invent after a saucy story from Old Joe.
So here is a pie for you
I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie
1 pie crust
4 Tbs. butter
3 slices ham
8 green onions
1 C. brie cheese
1 C. parmesan cheese, grated
2 C. heavy cream
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover pie crust with foil and bake for 10 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 minutes more. Remove crust and reduce heat to 325 degrees. Julienne ham. Chop green onions. In skillet, saute ham until brown. Remove and set aside. Saute onion until tender. Remove with slotted spoon and combine with ham. Spread on bottom of pie crust. Spread brie over ham mixture and sprinkle with parmesan. Combine eggs, cream and nutmeg; pour over cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until set. Cool slightly, cut into wedges and serve.
2-Babette’s Feast. This classic 1987 Danish film tells the story of two sisters who live in an isolated village with their father. When french refugee Babette arrives to work for them, she transforms their lives with a magical meal. This movie breathes food and the love of life, and it’s a must-see for anyone who enjoys dinner in a movie. Thanks to the terrific magazine and website Saveur, here is a recipe for Quail in puff pastry!
Babette’s Cailles en Sarcophage
1 pound frozen puff pastry, defrosted 20 minutes at room temperature
4 quails, boned
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
12 ounces foie gras, of which is cut across in 8 slices, the rest cut into 2/3- inch cubes
1 1-ounce black truffle, sliced as thinly as possible, at least 12 slices
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup demi-glace (see note)
16 black figs, quartered
1.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 5-inch rounds from the pastry. Make a 3-inch circle in the center of each round, being careful not to cut to the bottom of the dough. Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 22 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Carefully lift out the 3-inch round from the center to create a nest with a top. Set aside to cool.
2.Raise the oven to 450 degrees. Season the inside of the quails with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Lay 1 slice of foie gras in each quail cavity followed by 3 truffle slices and top with the remaining foie gras. Truss the quails. Season the outsides with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Melt the butter in an ovenproof skillet over high heat. Sear the quails, 20 to 30 seconds per side. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Turn the quails and roast for 5 minutes more. Remove and keep warm in a covered dish.
3.Place the skillet over high heat on top of the stove. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Simmer for 1 minute. Pour in the stock and demi-glace and simmer for 3 minutes. Stir in the figs and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the 1/4- inch cubes of foie gras and simmer, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sauce is reduced to 2/3 cup. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste.
4.To serve, put each quail in a pastry nest. Drizzle with sauce, top with the pastry round and surround with the figs.
YIELD 4 servings
1-The GODFATHER. Not only is this the greatest movie ever made, but it is chock full of food – as part of life, and death. The Godfather’s daughter Connie makes a meal for her obnoxious husband, who announced that he’ll eat out later – you know, with his mistress. Connie goes into a fit and flings the dinnerware around the house, causing her husband to beat her…what we find out later is that this was instigated for one reason: to lure Sonny out of his compound, and to one of the many iconic death scenes in the movie: at the toll booth.
When the families go “to the mattresses”, Clemenza teaches Mikey how to make Sunday sauce…here is the scene, and the recipe:
“Heh, come over here, kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; ya make sure it doesn’t stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs; heh? And a little bit o’ wine. An’ a little bit o’ sugar, and that’s my trick.”
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 to 4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 large (28-ounce) cans tomatoes (whole, crushed or chopped)
1 (10-ounce) or 2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
3 to 4 Italian sausages, grilled and sliced
1 pound cooked meatballs (use your favorite recipe)
Dry red wine
¼ cup sugar
Hot cooked pasta
Heat the oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes; do not let the garlic burn. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring continuously so that a relatively smooth consistency is reached.
Add sausages and meatballs. Stir until the meat is coated. Add a splash of red wine, then the sugar, according to taste. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Serve over hot cooked pasta.
There you go, the ten best DINNERS IN A MOVIE! Let me know what you think!