Category Archives: DINNER & A MOVIE

Compiling the very best of I See Hungry People, featuring a food and movie pairing that was inspired by one of my travels.

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

 

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

I’m still reeling from last night’s crazy Oscars!  I took a risk and voted for Moonlight, so when the La La Land win was overturned I was jumping with joy!  Not only was this film so deserving of Best Pic, but Moonlight was the winning point on my ballot and I won the pool at my annual Oscar party.  I love thinking up thematic foods for each film – and I made this Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo for Moonlight.  Everyone loved this traditional Latin American chicken and rice fiesta.  A winning dish for a winning film!

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo- for the full Oscar night menu

When I watched Moonlight, I knew that Arroz Con Pollo would be the best dish to represent this beautiful film. There is a moving scene involving the main character, Chiron when he visits his childhood friend, Kevin.  Kevin works in a diner and insists that Chiron try the Chef’s Special: Arroz Con Pollo.  You’ll have to watch the film to see how the rest of the scene plays out!

Typically, a roasted chicken leg rests overtop a mountain of Spanish rice.  However, since I was using a crock pot, I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which work better for slow cooking. As for the other ingredients, they’re pretty straightforward.  The yellow saffron Spanish rice I found at the local Metro grocery store, no problem.

A healthy, super easy dish to make, this slow cooker recipe is ideal for a family-style dinner, or if you have a baby shower on the day of a big party!  Tender, shredded chicken is nestled among the slightly smoky, tomato infused saffron rice and sweet vegetables.  Serve with lime wedges and hot sauce for a bit more kick, along with some plain yogurt to cool your dancing tastebuds.

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Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

This delicious Latin America rice and chicken dish can be made in the slow cooker. Light, fluffy saffron rice soaks up the flavours of the vegetables and chicken. Reminisce about the Oscar winning movie Moonlight as you make Kevin's "Chef's Special" for someone you love!
Course Events and Holidays, Healthy, Main Dish, Poultry, Slow Cooker
Cuisine Latin American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 8 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil I use avocado oil for cooking, but olive oil is fine too!
  • 1 medium yellow onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper stem and seeds removed, diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 28oz can low sodium diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups frozen vegetables a mixed bag with peas, carrots and corn works well
  • 1 8 oz box yellow saffron Spanish rice
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 handful fresh parsely chopped
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt for serving
  • 1 lime sliced into wedges for serving
  • hot sauce

Instructions

  1. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet or saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and red pepper and saute until vegetables have softened and are lightly browned, around 8-10 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle flour over vegetables and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Slowly whisk in 1/2 cup of broth, scraping up any browned bits. Transfer to slow cooker.
  4. Add chicken, remaining broth, diced tomatoes, frozen vegetables, bay leaves, oregano and salt. Coat evenly with vegetable mixture. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.
  5. At the 6 hour mark (or 2 hour mark on high) add rice to slow cooker and stir well.
  6. Top with fresh parsely. Serve with lime wedges, yogurt and hot sauce on the side.

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

Moonlight Slow Cooker Arroz Con Pollo

What did you make for your Oscar party?  Have you seen Moonlight?  What did you think of the scene featuring Arroz Con Pollo?

Oscar Party Food 2017

Oscar Party Food 2017

Oscar Party Food 2017

The glitz!  The glam!  The thematic food!  We are just a few days away the 89th Academy Awards, one of my favourite reasons to throw a party.  I’m still trying to cram in the last of the Best Picture noms before the big night, but I’ve started to plan my menu.  Oscar Party 2017 is underway!

Let’s take a look at the Best Picture nominations and possible food pairings:

Arrival: Calamari, inspired by the creepy alien imagery.  Maybe with some sort of black squid ink-like dip?

Fences: When Viola Davis serves biscuits to her brother-in-law, they bring a smile to his face, and biscuits bring a smile to my face, so it’s a double win!  Chicken and collard greens work too.  Set in Pittsburgh, you could also do pierogies or cabbage rolls, to represent the European immigrant population.

Hacksaw Ridge: Wine and bread would be a simple snack to represent the strong religious theme throughout this film.  For something a bit more fancy, you could also do sushi to represent this bloody battle against the Japanese.

Hell or High Water: Steak and potatoes make an appearance in this neo-Western crime thriller.  How about some mini potato and meatball skewers?

Hidden Figures: Astronaut ice cream is my go-to for space movies!  A fun and easy snack.

La La Land: A few ideas for this one: a colourful veggie spread to symbolize all the bright and beautiful dresses that danced across the screen.  You could also do a “jazzed up” Hollywood cocktail to prove your love of jazz to Ryan Gosling.  But the obvious La La Land food is chicken skewers (“Sashay, Satay Chicken Skewers”?) to represent Ryan’s dream of opening his “Chicken on A Stick” club.

Lion: This one was easy.  When Dev Patel takes a bit of some jalebi, a sweet Indian dessert, he has a flashback to his childhood in India.  It’s a pivotal moment in the film, and a tasty one too!

Manchester by the Sea:  There’s always one film that is underwhelming, and this year for me it was Manchester.  Thus the food pairing tends to be a bit, uninspired.  How about some beer?   Beer was the reason why Casey Affleck leaves his home in the middle of night, only to come home to a devastating scene.  Or you could do s’mores….(too much?).

Moonlight:  When Chiron reunites with his friend Kevin, Kevin makes him the Chef’s Special: arroz con pollo, a chicken dish similar to paella.

Menu planned?  Check!

Ballot printed? Check!  I like this format from Moviefone.  I always add a few bonus points for the harder categories like Short Film.

Need an Oscar drinking game?  I have a pretty straightforward one!

THE RULES
DRINK EVERY TIME:

  • Jimmy Kimmel makes a joke about Mel Gibson, who glares at him with a big false smile
  • The camera cuts away to Meryl Streep
  •  Viola Davis says something awkward
  • Casey Affleck arrives looking even more unshaven and creepy than the Golden Globes
  • If you lose a category on your ballot
  •  A winner thanks God/Jesus
  •  A winner’s speech gets cut off by the orchestra
  •  A winner tries to make a political statement in their speech
  •  Someone trips on stage
  • The show runs overtime

If you think you might end up a bit too hammered for a Sunday night, use this Bonus Oscar Prop Bet sheet instead.

BONUS OSCAR PROP BET

MY BRIEF BEST PICTURE SUMMARY

I only have Hell or High Water left to watch, but I have to say that this year’s Best Pic lineup wasn’t the strongest.  My personal fave is Lion, a beautifully told story that had me bawling.  La La Land was pretty to look at but I wish there had been more songs to support the story and characters.  I loved Arrival and Moonlight equally.  Stunning cinematography from both.  Arrival breathed new life into the sci-fi genre and Moonlight told an important story in a sensitive way.  Hidden Figures was interesting, but felt a bit anti-climactic (a comparison to Apollo 13 comes to mind).  The film I was most surprised with was Hacksaw Ridge.  I used to love Mel Gibson but like many folk, I have been turned off by his crazy behaviour in recent years.  If you push that aside – Hacksaw Ridge is a fantastically shot war film with a solid story, supported by delicate religious undertones.  Manchester By The Sea didn’t really do much for me, I found it hard to have much sympathy for the main characters.  The best part about the film is Michelle Williams, who always steals any scene she is in.  However I’d watch Manchester any day over the gawd awful Fences which was so boring and poorly adapted from the play it was based on.  No one needs to watch Denzel Washington yammer on for two + hours.  Tortured myself to finish that one.

What food are you making for your Oscar Party?  I want to know what you think of the nominations, and your Oscar predictions!

Phantasm Pasta Birthday Dinner

Phantasm Birthday Dinner: duck terrine bruschetta, homemade spinach linguine with sausage broccoli basil sauce

Phantasm Birthday Dinner: duck terrine bruschetta, homemade spinach linguine with sausage broccoli basil sauce

For my boyfriend’s birthday, I wanted to make him something special.  He often jokes that I haven’t made him homemade pasta since our third date.  He is half Italian, so I was totally trying to impress him, and I guess it worked!  In any case, I decided to bring out the pasta maker for his birthday.  My go-to recipe is Martha Stewart’s spinach pasta, which I turn into linguine.  The dough is very easy to make, the pasta is a bit time consuming but it’s SO worth it.  The difference between box pasta and fresh pasta is like night and day.  Make sure you have a lot of baking sheets, wire racks and wax paper handy – you need plenty of space to lay out and dry the sheets of pasta in between each stage.  Be careful not to over boil fresh pasta, it only needs a few minutes before the noodles starts to float to surface.

Martha Stewart's Fresh Spinach Pasta Dough

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Prep Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 1 pound fresh pasta dough

Martha Stewart's Fresh Spinach Pasta Dough

Ingredients

  • 1 block of frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2.5 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • coarse salt

Instructions

  1. Squeeze out excess liquid from spinach using a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Puree with hand blender or food processor.
  2. Add eggs and yolk to puree in food processor and process until combined. Or us a mixer on the lowest setting. Add flour and 1 heaping teaspoon salt, and process until dough just comes together, about 20 seconds (10 seconds in the mixer).
  3. Transfer dough to a well-floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes, adding up to 2 tablespoons flour if dough is too sticky, or a tablespoon water if dough is too dry. Place on a piece of parchment, and cover with an inverted bowl, or wrap tightly in plastic; let rest for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Cut dough into 8 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time (keep the remaining pieces covered with the inverted bowl), flatten dough into an oblong shape slightly thinner than the pasta machine's widest setting (number 1). Dust dough very lightly with flour, and feed through machine. Fold lengthwise into thirds and rotate 90 degrees. Repeat twice on same setting to smooth dough and increase its elasticity.
  5. Turn the dial to next narrower setting. Pass dough through twice, gently supporting it with your palm. Continue to press dough, passing it through ever-finer settings, two passes on each setting, until sheet is almost translucent and very thin but still intact (number 5 of 8 on a KitchenAid pasta roller). The dough will stretch to about 16 inches long. If dough bubbles or tears, pass it through again, and dust with flour if the dough is sticking.
  6. Place dough on a drying rack until slightly tacky, 10 to 15 minutes, and then use a pasta machine or cutting attachment to cut into strands. Drape over rack until strands are semi-dry and won't stick together, about 20 minutes.
  7. Bring 4 quarts of water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil.
  8. Shake pasta loose and gently place in boiling water using tongs. Cook approximately 1.5-2 minutes or until pasta floats to surface.
  9. Remove from water and drain immediately. Toss pasta with some olive oil.
http://iseehungrypeople.net/2016/05/02/phantasm-pasta-birthday-dinner/

My boyfriend is a big horror fan, but had never seen Phantasm, a must-see horror cult classic.  So I added the film to the menu.  When Phantasm was released in 1979, the film was ahead of it’s time in terms of how bizarre and surreal the premise was.  Two orphaned brothers live in a small town in Oregon that is plagued by mysterious deaths.  The local ice cream vendor Reggie, teams up with the brothers to pursue their suspicions that the local mortician, nicknamed the Tall Man is the one responsible for the unexplained deaths, including the deaths of their parents.  Throughout their investigation they are pursued by shrunken dwarf-like minions, discover a gateway to another planet and try to take down the Tall Man without getting killed by flying Sentinel Spheres.  These flying, metallic spheres contain the shrunken brains of the Tall Man’s victims that allow them to be controlled with his mind, and kill whomever is in their path with any number of drills, blades and lasers.

The film was a labour of love for the director, Don Coscarelli who also wrote, shot and edited the film.  The budget was estimated at $300,000 and was filmed over weekends for a year, with the script changing frequently or being re-written on set.  The process was as indie as you can get with even Coscarelli’s mother helping out with costumes, special effects and makeup.  Despite the film’s many flaws, Phantasm became a cult film because of the way it dealt with the themes of death and mourning, themes that were unexplored in horror at the time, and for the use of iconic imagery from Angus Scrimm’s haunting portrayal of the Tall Man to his uniquely deadly Sentinel Spheres.

For appetizers I drizzled some olive oil over a toasted French baguette and topped it with duck terrine and a tomato, lemon, basil & olive oil mixture. I served the spinach linguine with a tomato based sauce that included broccoli, sausage and basil.  I paired our dinner with a Hillier Creek Estates 2012 Gamay Noir – a bottle I had been saving for a special occasion.  This slightly sweet Gamay paired well with the bruschetta, and the ripe acidity cut through the richness of the pasta sauce with hints of black pepper and blackberry tying the whole meal together.

We had a fun, relaxing evening and my boyfriend loved his special birthday dinner.  One can never go wrong with homemade pasta, the Tall Man, flying hooded dwarves and deadly drilling spheres!