August 2010

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More Movies

We’ve been rather fortunate to have seen a fine series of movies Under a Red Roof lately.  I love that.  There are few disappointments as severe as a film gone wrong.  No possibility of that today, however, no siree.

First off is Clean.  Maggie Cheung (who won a best actress award at Cannes for her portrayal) plays Emily Wang, bitchy, arrogant, spoiled heroin addict and girlfriend of fading musician Lee Hauser.  They have a child, Jay, who is being raised by his grandparents while they waste their lives driving around in an ugly sedan, playing music when they can, arguing, and, of course, scoring heroin.

Emily’s life is upturned when she and Lee get into yet another argument and she flees the scene to shoot up.  When she returns the following morning, the police surround the shabby hotel.  Lee is dead.  Emily serves time for being the source of the drugs that killed him and exits entirely directionless, save the hope that she will one day get it together so she can reunite with her son.  It is an honest and oftentimes painful look at the slow progress of an addict trying to change, with great music and locations – from the stark beauty of an oil refinery in Canada, to the streets of London and Paris.  As well, and in a pretty surprising role (at least to us), Nick Nolte plays the grandfather – tender, caring, and even keeled.  Well played, one and all.

Quite on the other side of the spectrum is Lost in Austen, a hysterically funny adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The story follows Amanda Price, a somewhat hopeless and thoroughly modern romantic who tires of her boorish boyfriend’s ways, preferring to spend her time cozied up with the pages of her favorite novel.  All goes Pete Tong when she finds Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine of said novel, coming out of a secret passage in her bathroom.  What ensues is a delightful voyage into the countryside as Amanda tries and fails mightily to keep the novel on course while also coping with the technology (rather lack of) in 19th century England.

It has a stellar cast, some marvelous twists, and, of course, the witty repartee one expects in such an undertaking.  Here too, is a sampling of the lines that kept me in stitches:

Oh, you have standards, pet.  I hope they help you on with your coat when you’re seventy.

There really are ladies who steer the punt from the Cambridge end?

The drawing up of phlegm through the nose is not the action of a lady!

Brava, Miss Price!  And whenever life is gettin’ me down, I shall be sure to go ‘downtown’.  Eh, Darcy?

What is neon?

Okay, I’ve cleaned my teeth with chalk and shaved my legs with some sort of potato peeler.



It takes a long time to become young.

Pablo Picasso

Hello Peeps!

I don’t suppose that expression is in vogue any longer, or that last one for that matter, but I am terribly inept at keeping up with such things, and I suppose, rather tragically unhip.  It’s okay.  I am also feeling summer slip through my fingers, along with keeping up with the blog.  We’ve had so many activities in our normally quiet life that I am having a hard time balancing anything.  Today, however, I am making a little extra effort, one that you can capitalize on, too.  Believe me when I tell you that this recipe can change lives and elevate dinner parties to great heights.  I can’t tell you how many people swoon over this.  The best part?  Two ingredients!  Three if you need salt.  No kidding!

Greg and I first had this mighty fine sauce at Juanita’s Uptown (sadly it disappeared years ago) in Denver with our super fun and rather cosmopolitan friends the Dews.  They lived in an apartment straight out of Dynasty, complete with an elevator.  The fun part (aside from their ebullient personalities and crazy personal histories) was the consternation on the part of the elevator operator when Susie hollered, “Beam them up Scotty!”

Anyway, the sauce came as an accompaniment to steamed mussels, which I love.  But it tasted so totally yummy that had I not been on good behavior (despite one of Bill’s stellar and killer margaritas in my belly) in the company of friends and strangers, I could have forgone the mussels and warm tortillas, eaten the sauce with a spoon, and licked the bowl.  I kid you not.

I tried for ages to replicate the magic concoction with dried chipotles, cheese, flour, and just about everything else I could think of.  Then I was lucky enough to have one of the waitresses in a Geography class (hello college days) and she divulged the not so secret ingredients.  Chipotles in adobo sauce and whipping cream.  Seriously?  After all my hard work?  That was it?  Yup.

Whipping Cream

Chipotle Chiles in Adobo Sauce (available in the Latin section of the market)

In a small saucepan, add some cream.  You decide how much – I use anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 1/2 cups, depending on how many people will be eating it.   Add a little bit of the chipotles (I blend the entire contents of a can, as it is usually whole chiles, in a food processor until fairly smooth and store in a jar in the refrigerator), stir, and taste.  Add more if the flavor seems too creamy or you want more spice.  It’s really up to you.  Heat the sauce over medium until bubbly.  Allow it to reduce until thick.  Pour it over whatever strikes your fancy – chicken, pork, beef, mussels, enchiladas, a firm white fish, or a bowl full of beans.  You could also stand next to the stove, grab a stack of tortillas, dip them in the pan, and go to town.  It’s all good.


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I’ve got two terrific titles for you today, and a little alliteration, which is always fun.  Both are Norwegian and awfully good.

Buddy follows Kristoffer, a young and carefree billboard hanger who chronicles his everyday life via film.  Nothing is kept from the camera – laughter, the heartache of a recent breakup, and crazy behavior receive equal time.  When he and his friend/roommate Geir decide to jump from a third story window into a dumpster at a local news station, the pair are nearly caught, and Kristoffer loses some video tape in the process.  The station actually likes what they see, forgive his and Geir’s trespassing, and offer them a weekly spot on a popular show. They and their third roommate Stig (who hasn’t left their apartment complex for two years) become local celebrities.  The future looks bright for rising star Kristoffer, but problems ensue when his increasing popularity causes his friends and his relationships with them to suffer.  It’s a great story about true friendship – what it really means to be a Buddy.

Hawaii, Oslo follows the paths of several strangers on the hottest day of the year.  Frode and Milla are overcome with grief that their newborn baby might die.  Two young boys search for their mother after the loss of their dad.  Institutionalized Leon has a date made ten years earlier to meet his childhood sweetheart Asa.   Leon’s brother, Trygve has a weekend leave from prison to visit him on his birthday.  At the center, touching all of their lives, is Vidar, a nurse who can see the future in his sleep, or can he?  It’s a great story about the power of dreams and finding what is most meaningful in life.



In summer, the song sings itself.

William Carlos Williams


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