academy awards

Academy Award Winning Borscht

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I always watch the Academy Award Show. I don't know why, because I don't go to the movies that often and don't really care what clothes anyone is wearing or which celebrity showed up with someone or no one.

But, as Tevye says, "it's tradition."

I watch because that's what I always do.

And usually with Ed, of course, and with Eileen and Jeff, who also don't go to the movies very often.

We will have dinner of course, and popcorn of one kind or another

I thought that for dinner I would make something representative of the one movie we did see: Bridge of Spies, about the negotiations for the return of Francis Gary Powers of the then-famous U2 spy incident.

The four of us are all old enough to remember Powers, whose plane "somehow accidentally got lost in USSR airspace" (so we were told back then when we were children). And of course we remember, when it was news, the spy exchange of Powers for Rudolf Abel (played, in my opinion, miraculously well by Mark Rylance).

So - borscht of course. So Russian. So delicious. 

This version is loaded with cabbage and other vegetables, so the beets don't overwhelm. You can make it with beef stock (and even add some meat), but also with vegetable stock (and then serve the soup topped with dairy sour cream or plain yogurt).

Academy Award Winning Borscht

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 medium beets, peeled and shredded
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and shredded
  • 2 carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1/2 medium green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 8 cups beef or vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt or to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 all-purpose potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 6 tablespoons white vinegar, approximately
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • dairy sour cream or plain Greek style yogurt, optional

 

Heat the vegetable oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the beets, tomatoes, parsnips, carrots, celery, cabbage and parsley and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes. Pour in the stock, add the bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, one hour. Add the potatoes and cook for 45 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and dill and cook for 10 minutes. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, pepper or vinegar to taste. Remove the bay leaf. If the soup is cooked using vegetable stock, serve it garnished with a dollop of sour cream if desired.

 Makes 8-10 servings

 

Sriracha- Parmesan Popcorn

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When I was really young, movie theaters were open early on the weekends so parents could send their kids off to to watch cartoons and some "westerns" and maybe even a newsreel.

It's like weekend TV today, only not everyone had a TV back then and also, children don't get the news on their favorite channels.

I don't remember any of those old movies. Just that I went with my older brother and had to share the popcorn with him.

I hated the way he doled out the pieces.

Maybe that's why, when it comes to popcorn, I am a gobbler. Stuff the stuff into my mouth without stopping until I am ready to explode.

I like all kinds of popcorn. Plain. Caramel. Chocolate-Marshmallow Heavenly Hash.

Recently I made some Sriracha-Parmesan Popcorn. Sriracha can be overbearing, especially if you just sprinkle it over or splash it on to food. But I popped the kernels and seasoned them with Carrington Farms Coconut Oil -- just one tablespoon was enough to give a hint of hot, enough to satisfy without tasting like fire.

I got the sriracha oil from a new website, Crafted Kosher, which is an absolute boon for anyone looking for kosher products that are unusual and hard-to-find, the kind of ingredients and packaged items that inspire creative cooking. Of course they also carry stock items (beans, pastas, spices, pancake and cake mixes, olive oils, soup mixes, coffee/tea, sauce/salsa, etc.) But it's so good to find so many specialty items (like Murray River Salt, Mango Vinegar, Coconut Nectar, Tandoori Masala) too, all in one place.

If you're a person who might be watching the Iowa caucus results tonight, or the Superbowl on February 7th or the Academy Award ceremony on February 28th or a movie or TV program any time, snack on this popcorn for a change.

Sriracha Parmesan Popcorn

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha flavored vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • salt to taste

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the kernels. Cover the pan and cook, popping the corn until all the kernels have popped. Place the popped corn in a large bowl. Heat the butter and Sriracha oil over low heat until the butter has melted. Mix and pour over the popcorn. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and salt, toss and serve.

Makes about 10 cups

Caramel Corn

Although I love a good, crunchy-crusted hunk of bread and could happily spend my life feasting on pasta, I don’t eat much of either, because going nearly carb-free is the only way I’ve found to keep my weight down to a reasonable number.   So not-eating bread and pasta during Passover is not a big deal for me.  What I miss most during the holiday is popcorn, which at all other times throughout the year I make or buy (plain) and nibble on in the belief that it is a healthier snack snack than most. Popcorn is also filling and besides I absolutely LOVE how it tastes and feels in my mouth.   Unfortunately when it comes to popcorn, I am like a chicken. Just keep putting more in front of me and I will keep pecking at it. I keep a bagful in my car trunk so it isn’t as easy to grab as, say, anything in my kitchen cabinets.  I always resume my popcorn habits after passover. And, for good measure, on a home night-at-the-movies, I sometimes indulge in the glorified caramel corn in the photo, because, hey, I haven’t had popcorn in a while and besides, I am generally carb-free.  That makes it okay, don’t you think?                                                                                          Caramel Corn   2 tablespoons vegetable oil  1/2 cup popping corn  1 cup brown sugar  1/4 cup honey  12 tablespoons butter  3/4 teaspoon salt  1 teaspoon vanilla extract  1/2 teaspoon baking soda  1 cup chopped nuts or raisins or chopped dried fruit (r a mixture of these)  Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the corn kernels, cover the pan and pop the corn. When the kernels have all popped, place the popped corn in a large bowl. Place the brown sugar, honey, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and baking soda. Pour over the popped corn. Add the nuts and/or fruit if desired. Mix the ingredients to coat the kernels completely. Place the popcorn on a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring the ingredients a few times. Remove from the oven and let cool.  Makes about 10 cups      An InLinkz Link-up

Although I love a good, crunchy-crusted hunk of bread and could happily spend my life feasting on pasta, I don’t eat much of either, because going nearly carb-free is the only way I’ve found to keep my weight down to a reasonable number. 

So not-eating bread and pasta during Passover is not a big deal for me.

What I miss most during the holiday is popcorn, which at all other times throughout the year I make or buy (plain) and nibble on in the belief that it is a healthier snack snack than most. Popcorn is also filling and besides I absolutely LOVE how it tastes and feels in my mouth. 

Unfortunately when it comes to popcorn, I am like a chicken. Just keep putting more in front of me and I will keep pecking at it. I keep a bagful in my car trunk so it isn’t as easy to grab as, say, anything in my kitchen cabinets.

I always resume my popcorn habits after passover. And, for good measure, on a home night-at-the-movies, I sometimes indulge in the glorified caramel corn in the photo, because, hey, I haven’t had popcorn in a while and besides, I am generally carb-free.

That makes it okay, don’t you think?                                                                                       

Caramel Corn

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup popping corn

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup honey

12 tablespoons butter

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup chopped nuts or raisins or chopped dried fruit (r a mixture of these)

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the corn kernels, cover the pan and pop the corn. When the kernels have all popped, place the popped corn in a large bowl. Place the brown sugar, honey, butter and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir to combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid has thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and baking soda. Pour over the popped corn. Add the nuts and/or fruit if desired. Mix the ingredients to coat the kernels completely. Place the popcorn on a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring the ingredients a few times. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Makes about 10 cups

 

An InLinkz Link-up