I’ve been on a risotto kick lately and for a good reason… I find I often have seemingly random ingredients on hand these days. Dried mushrooms? Toss ’em in! Some cooked chicken thighs? Great, add it! Leftover bacon from breakfast? Perfect! Shrimp in freezer? Why not!
I’ve actually pulled elements from each of these recipes and made my own combinations. It (almost) always works!
Taking inspiration from my last post about Korean food in movies and my love for our local Korean place, N to Tail, I decided to try my hand at making some Korean dishes. I was pretty pleased with the results (though I didn’t get a good photo).
I’ve been on a bit of a kick lately with Korean food, TV, and movies. Interestingly, food plays a major role in most of the Korean films I’ve seen.
The original Oldboy is the first Korean movie I remember seeing years ago. The lead actor famously eats a live octopus – something he did four times. Second, mandu (Korean dumplings) play heavily into the plot.
Even Joon-Ho’s The Host features food fairly heavily. The main family owns a small river-side food shack, selling beer and grilled squid. Instant ramen is seen a few times; from an empty container being used as a piggy bank to the means of showing family bonds. I wouldn’t exactly call the movie, uhm, appetizing.
You probably don’t think about food first with Snowpiercer, but thinking back – it’s a huge part of the Bong Joon-Ho flick. The poor people of the back of the train with protein bars and the “balance” that’s maintained in the other sections with sushi, steak, etc.
From the main family’s food struggles, to a housekeeper’s food allergies; food is seen throughout Bong Joon-Ho’s Parasite. The best known food from the movie is ram-don, a mixture of jajangmyeon and jjampong topped with expensive steak. The name, ram-don, was a creation for the film and is usually called jjapaguri. But similar to his earlier movie The Host, food, and the struggle to get it, is a symbol for family.
Lastly, Squid Game, features a few instances of food, the most well known of which is dalonga. But, like some of the other films above, steak is again used a symbol of wealth and success.
Thankfully, I have a great Korean restaurant here in Portland, Maine called N-to-Tail. I’ve been able to sample bulgogi, Korean fried chicken, kimchi pancakes, and more. At home I’ve been making Buldak spicy ramen by Samyang. My “recipe” of late has been to toss in some kewpie, chicken, and egg, and a vegetable. While not as as good as N-to-nail, Bibigo offers frozen Korean fried chicken, mandu, kimchi fried rice, and more.
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
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
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.