I like good food and good wine!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Amy and Freddie - my favorite cabaret act, is coming to San Francisco's Razz Room on May 5th. They are bawdy and fun and very talented. Click here for more info.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

2011 Golden Globes - What's Was Your Favorite Movie of the Year?

What a great year it's been for the movies. I've been anxiously awaiting December, not just for Christmas, but for so many of the best films of the year to roll out. What are your favorites? I've got a few films to see still.

Today the Golden Globe nominations were announced. (Click the link for complete list of nominations.) We've got one month to catch these films as the winners will be presented awards on January 15, 2012.

Best Motion Picture - Drama  
  • The Decendants, Ad Hominem Enterprises; Fox Searchlight Pictures (Also nominated George Clooney for Best Actor in a Drama)
  • The Help, DreamWorks Pictures, Participant Media; Touchstone Pictures (Also nominated Viola Davis for Best Actress in a Drama)
  • Hugo, Paramount Pictures presents a GK Films Production; Paramount Pictures
  • The Ides Of March, Columbia Pictures, Cross Creek Pictures, Exclusive Media Group, Crystal City Entertainment; Sony Pictures Releasing (Also nominated Ryan Gosling for Best Actor in a Drama)
  • Moneyball, Columbia Pictures; Sony Pictures Releasing International (Also nominated Brad Pitt for Best Actor in a Drama)
  • War Horse, DreamWorks Pictures; Touchstone Pictures
Best Motion Picture - Comedy Or Musical
  • 50/50, Summit Entertainment and Mandate Pictures; Summit Entertainment (Also nominated Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Best Actor in a Comedy)
  • The Artist, a La Petite Reine - Studio 37 - La Classe Americaine - JD Prod- France3 Cinema - Jouror Production-uFilms coproduction; The Weinstein Company (Also nominated Jean Dujardin for Best Actor in a Comedy)
  • Bridesmaids, Universal Pictures, Relativity Media, Apatow Productions; Universal Pictures (Also nominated Kristen Wiig for Best Actress in a Comedy)
  • Midnight In Paris, A Mediapro, Versatil Cinema & Gravier Production; Sony Pictures Classics (Also nominated Owen Wilson for Best Actor in a Comedy)
  • My Week With Marilyn, The Weinstein Company; The Weinstein Company (Also nominated Michelle Williams for Best Actress in a Comedy)
Unlike the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes break feature films into two categories -- Drama and Comedy or Musical. Academy nominations will be announced on January 24th.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Secret of Making Risotto

You know Risotto, that classic creamy Italian rice dish that you might think is too fancy for everyday. Well here's to introducing delicious risotto to your home when ever you want, and in probably less time than it heats to heat a frozen entrée in the microwave. That's right, you can prepare risotto at home in about 30 minutes.

Here are the secrets:
  1. Get organized before you start cooking. Get all the ingredients you might use out so you know what you've got to work with. You'll need olive oil, onion, stock or broth and a short grain rice like Arborio. You might also want some good quality Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, butter, herbs, meat and vegetables, even leftovers work. 
  2. You're going to need a fairly hot stove. I usually find that medium high heat works great once things get started.
  3. Keep an eye on the stove once you start cooking. Risotto needs stirred frequently, but I don't think it needs to be stirred constantly, especially if the heat is not too high. 
  4. Finally, most important, taste it! The only way you'll know to adjust the seasonings or if it's done is to taste it.
Butternut Squash and Fennel Risotto
          Today's risotto took some help from some left over roasted butternut squash and fennel bulb that I had roasted to go with last  night's pork loin. I roast vegetables regularly -- carrots, broccoli, potatoes, etc, and it's pretty much the same technique whatever I'm roasting. Preheat the oven to 400-425º. Prep the vegetable by chopping them into similar sizes so they will cook evenly. Toss them with enough olive oil to coat them and season with salt and pepper, and put them in a single layer and place in the hot oven. After 20-30 minutes, stir the the pan to assure that none of the vegetables are sticking to the pan and to expose more surfaces to the hot dry heat of the oven. They should be done after 60-80 minutes. Yes it feels like a long time. The house will smell great as the edges of the vegetables caramelize and turn golden brown. (Note: asparagus cooks faster, only about 20 minutes.)

Ingredients (Serves 2 for main course, 4 as an appetizer):
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup Arborio rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
  • 2 cups heated chicken stock (Note: I always have a kettle of hot water on the stove, just in case I need a little more liquid)
  • 2 cups chopped roasted butternut squash and fennel
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 Tbl butter 

    stock and water heating on stove
    • Heat 1 Tbs olive oil in pan over medium high heat
    • Add onion, salt to season, stir 5-7 min until onion is translucent
    • Add garlic and rice to pan and stir over heat for 2-3 min. 
    • Add wine and stir til wine is mostly absorbed. The pan is hot, so this will happen very quickly.
    • Add simmering stock one ladle at a time to rice mixture, stir. Add more stock when mixture no longer has liquid sitting on the bottom of the pan. 
    • After about 15 min, add roasted butternut squash and fennel
    • After about 20 min. when mixture begins to look creamy and rice is softened, taste for seasoning and consistency. Continue
      Saute onion, garlic and rice
      adding stock until rice mixture is slightly al dente. Use heated water if needed to continue cooking
    • Lower heat to low, add cheese and butter and stir to blend
    • Garnish with chopped herbs and serve hot. 
    Sit down, pour your self a glass of wine, and enjoy.