Congee, three ways (sort of)

Up until recently, I’d never had congee – I’m an instant fan. I’ve mentioned Crispy Gai here in Portland, Maine before and theirs was so amazing that I had to try and make a version (or three). These all use the same congee as 1 cup of rice yielded a lot of leftovers. If you haven’t had it before, congee is basically Chinese rice porridge and can be dressed with any number of items.

What I made…

  • Congee with roast pork belly and egg
  • Congee with shrimp and nam jim sauce
  • Congee with bacon and egg

Basic Congee

I watched a number of videos and looked over a few of recipes before trying this one, but overall it’s very easy.

  • 8 parts chicken broth to 1 part rice (I used jasmati)
    • This can range from 6:1 up to 10:1, depending on the recipe used – 8:1 worked for me
  • Rinse rice until the water runs clear
  • Cook in Ninja Foodi on pressure cooker setting on high for 30 minutes and natural release
  • That’s it!

Next time I want to try something more like this recipe and use bone-in chicken during the cooking process. I attempted fried garlic, but it was a little bitter.

Congee with Roast Pork Belly

  • Prepare pork belly according to this recipe
    • Note: I subbed mirin for sherry and used regular soy sauce instead of light soy sauce
    • The pork belly cooking time could be adjusted here, but the marinade is really very good. The fat layer didn’t render exactly to my liking, but this was also my first time trying it!
  • Prepare a poached egg
  • Place congee in bowl and top with sliced scallion, cilantro, roasted peanuts, egg, pork belly, and cooked reserved marinade

Congee with Shrimp and Nam Jim Sauce

  • Cook shrimp using your favorite method
  • Prepare nam jim sauce according to this recipe
  • Place congee in bowl and top with sliced scallion, roasted peanuts, shrimp, and nam jim sauce

Congee with Bacon

  1. Prepare thick cut bacon and a runny fried egg
  2. Place congee in bowl and top with sliced scallion, cilantro, roasted peanuts, egg, bacon, and marinade from the pork belly recipe

Halloween V

I managed to squeeze in a few more horror / semi-horror movies and TV shows for October/November. Gotta say, House, the Haunting series, and Squid Game are probably the standouts from this batch. Mike Flanagan might be a new favorite!

Halloween IV

I’m bit behind on my October/November horror movie watching compared to last year (see posts Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween III) where I hit 30+ movies. I may have been distracted by Dune (both versions!), No Time to Die, Shang Chi, and other new movies (some of which I saw in a real theater!!!).

I’ll concede that some of these lean towards Sci-Fi or psychological thrillers and maybe even outside October and November… my blog, my rules!

  • Dark Star (1974)
  • Martin (1977)
  • Phantasm (1979)
  • Halloween II (1981)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985)
  • Slither (2006)
  • Attack the Block (2011)
  • Fright Night (2011)
  • The Lighthouse (2019)
  • Parasite (2019)
  • Bit (2019)
  • Love and Monsters (2020)
  • Shadow in the Cloud (2020)
  • The Forever Purge (2021)
  • Midnight Mass (2021)
  • American Horror Story: Double Feature (2021)

I’ll also be updating this list on Letterboxd: https://letterboxd.com/captainq/list/2021-horror-binge

Tip: if you’re looking for something scary to watch, I’ve noticed Shout Factory TV has old episodes of Elvira Movie Macabre, VHS rips, Cult films, and more!

Mini Movie Marathon: Breathless

  • Breathless/À bout de souffle (1960)
    Bonnie & Clyde in France with a dash of noir and Bogart by Jean Luc Godard. 
  • Breathless (1983)
    A remake with Richard Gere where the nationalities of the protagonists and location are flipped (American and French) and made visually interesting. It can’t hold a candle to the original, but it’s an interesting watch to compare the two.
  • True Romance (1993)
    Written by Tarantino and directed by Tony Scott, this film was for sure influenced by both the ’60s and ’80s versions of Breathless. Cars, guns, comic books,
  • Alphaville (1965) 
    French sci-fi noir, also from Godard.
  • Code 46 (2003)
    Michael Winterbottom is a favorite filmmaker.  Code 46 basically a sci-fi take on Breathless (think Alphaville meets Breathless), right down to Samantha Morton’s hair.

Honorable mention: I love 24 Hour Party People by Michael Winterbottom. It’s about the Manchester UK music scene in the late ‘70s to early ‘90s (Joy Division, New Order, etc.).  It doesn’t actually fit in this marathon fest, but my blog, my rules!

Tiger Cry Steak with Nam Jim Sauce

Recently, I went to a great new restaurant here in Portland (Maine) called Crispy Gai. They started as a pop up and have moved to a full brick and mortar. Their focus is on Thai-inspired fried chicken and other foods.

One of the highlights of Crispy Gai are the sauces and, in particular, I found their Nam Jim seafood sauce to be amazing. It’s a spicy cilantro-based sauce and I left wanting to make it myself… so I did! I stumbled on a recipe from Claire Handleman, a chef who focuses on Thai food. For my version, I swapped out the 6 green Thai chilis for a single jalapeño. I loved the heat of Crispy Gai’s version, but the jalapeño version is milder and still great! I was also lucky enough to find cilantro with the roots still attached (something the recipe requires). I also ran out of fresh limes, but bottled lime worked great!

I paired this with an Asian salad (honestly, it was just a pre-made kit), a randomly-found recipe, Tiger Cry Steak, and rice. While this recipe normally calls for a different sauce (Nam Jim Jaew), the seafood sauce worked great and I’m excited to pair it with other meals!

Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

The Amusement Park

It’s not every day that you get to see a newly discovered film from a director you love. Recently, I attended a screening of a previously-thought lost film by George Romero. Romero is of course known for making Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Monkey Shines, Mr. Rogers Gets a Tonsillectomy, and more.

The film was funded by a Pennsylvania Lutheran church as an anti-elder abuse informational film. It’s very hard to describe, but if you’re a fan of George Romero, I’d absolutely recommend watching it.

1 Degree of Gordon Ramsay

If you watched the recent Gordon Ramsay Uncharted episode, you would have seen chef Melissa Kelly of Primo in Rockland. Back in 2008 I photographed a few Maine restaurants for a personal photo project, including Chef Kelly. She was super welcoming and accommodating (and the food was phenomenal!). Check out a few of the photos on my website.

A (Not So) Quiet Place

I saw A Quiet Place II in the theater last night and, as someone who loves film, it was great to be back! I’ll probably stick to seeing any films I can see at home actually at home, but what a treat to see something up on the big screen once again. Vaccines/science are great! The sequel was also just as good as the first one, in my opinion. Are you excited to see something in person?

A Shot in the Arm

This weekend I’ll be receiving my second COVID-19 vaccination dose. I’m super excited to be able to say that! I’ve been happily helping others find appointments, including co-workers.

While we’re here, I wanted to share this piece from CNN:
Covid-19 vaccine myths: These reasons for not getting a shot don’t hold up. In fact, they’ll set the US back

This isn’t about vaccines, but I had to!

Pad Thai

This was not my first time making pad Thai, but was my first time working with tamarind, palm sugar, dried shrimp, and zha cai (I maybe didn’t even buy actual zha cai?). I also had to pick up a few different kinds of soy sauce (sweet and black). My first attempt was fine, so I want to give this a try again to see if I can improve. I’m fairly certain I know where I went wrong, too.

This is the first video I’ve watched by Joshua Weissman and his delivery is… interesting.

Full recipe here: https://www.joshuaweissman.com/post/homemade-pad-thai