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Monday, February 29, 2016

Russian Semiprecious Stones

I had no idea that Russia had so many enormous pieces of semiprecious stones until I toured the Hermitage last summer but it is rightly called the treasure house of Russian semi-
precious stone.  The physical building itself  is unbelievably ornate and impressive, just as a building, and there are so many beautiful paintings on the walls that it is easy to overlook the massive pieces of stone in the middle of almost every room.
Numerous vases, bowls, candelabra and table-tops cut out
of semiprecious stones from the Urals and Altai, and now housed in the museum, were created in the nineteenth century in the lapidary works of Peterhof, Kolyvan and Ekaterinburg.  My spouse did not like these at all, but I found them fascinating in their mammothness.

  The largest of these works is the Kolyvan vase, named so after the
town of its origin. The vase weighs almost nineteen tons and is two hundred and sixty centimetres (8.5 ft.) in height. The vase, cut from a monolith of jasper, took over fourteen years to complete, from 1829 to 1843. During the course of the work the base was divided into several
parts, whereas the bowl, five hundred and six centimetres in diameter (almost 16.5 ft.), was made from one block of stone. In spite of its enor- mous size, the vase is remarkable for its nobility of form and for the perfection of the finish.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Nocturna (2007)

This animated film comes from Spain and shares what I have found in other European animated films--the animation is relatively simple but the story is one that keeps you engaged, and they are in many ways more enjoyable than American animated films.
Tim is an orphan who is afraid of the dark.  Each night he escapes to the orphanage rooftop to be comforted by the bright stars of the night sky. However, one night he discovers his favorite star is missing, along with several more. This curious observation opens up a whole new hidden world for Tim who befriends a creature called the Cat Shepherd as they set out on a quest to find out what is happening to the stars.  The adventure leads Tim to confront his fears, and is fun to watch.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Japanese Pork Katsu

I was not too excited about this when my son proposed making this for a recent Japanese themed dinner that we had at our house, but I very much enjoyed the end result, and would make it again.

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 -4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 12 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 4 pork cutlets, about 1 1/2 pound in total (no bone)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 -4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup panko
  • kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 14 cup oil
  1. Make the dipping sauce:.
  2. Stir together 1 T. of hot water and the soy sauce, mirin, worcestershire sauce, ketchup and mustard. Set aside.
  3. Prep the pork:
  4. Place the pork cutlets between 2 sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap and pound them with a meat pounder until about 1/4 inch thick. In a shallow bowl, lightly beat the egg. Spread the flour and panko on 2 separate plates. Season the flour with the salt and pepper. Also, season the pork cutlets with salt on both sides. Then dip the pork first into the flour, then the egg and last the panko (coating both sides). Press the panko into the pork so it stays put.
  5. Panfry the pork:.
  6. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just hot and then add the oil. Add the cutlets and fry, turning once, until golden brown on both sides and just opaque at the center (you don't want to overcook pork) - this should take approximately 5 minutes on each side.
  7. Tranfer the cutlets to paper towel to drain briefly, then cut across the grain into strips 1/2 inch thick.

Friday, February 26, 2016

The Winter Palace, St. Petersburg

 I am returning to some thoughts from my trip to Russia last spring, and feeling very grateful that we made the trip.  Such an incredible country, with a complicated past and an uneasy relationship with the west.  St. Petersburg was the most European city we visited, and it wasn't hard to see where the discontent of the Russian peasantry came from in looking around.  There was conspicuous consumption on the part of the privileged on view on literally every street at the time that tensions rose high.
The Winter Palace is one such building that exudes opulence.  Peter the Great lived on the site starting in 1708, but the building has been greatly changed since that time.  
Empress Anna Ioannovna was the first of Peter's descendants to reconstruct the palace. In 1731, she commissioned an Italian, Rastrelli, who at the time was the recently appointed court architect and he would go on to become the recognized master of late baroque in Russia.  He was commissioned to create a new, larger palace on the site. Completed in 1735, the third Winter Palace served for only 17 years before Rastrelli was again asked, this time by Empress Elizabeth (Elizaveta Petrovna), to expand the building. After two years proposing different plans to adapt the existing building, Rastrelli eventually decided to completely rebuild the palace, and his new design was confirmed by the empress in 1754.  Catherine the Great has a wing in her style, but Elizabeth's palace is what we largely see today.  Not to be missed, especially as it houses the world famous Hermitage Museum--but the architecture is a marvel in and of itself.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Avengers: The Age of Ultron (2015)

Once again, this is a movie that is not so much one that should be judged on its own merits, because no one who is watching it should watch this one first.  Go to the beginning.  See the first one.  If you don't care for that, the sequels will not get better.  I am not sure that is 100% right, but I think that if you really don't like something, then it is unlikely that the sequel will seduce you, even if it is modestly better than the original.
That said, we have been watching sequels as a family--I would not have watched this on my own, but I do enjoy a family movie night on a regular basis, and this is the sort of light fare that satisfies everyone.
All of the Avengers fight the forces of evil (in this case Ultron) and while things do not go altogether smoothly, they ultimately triumph, leaving a hint as to what the next film will cover.  We all got exactly what we expected from the movie.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Miso Ginger Asparagus

We had this in conjunction with a Japanese dinner and it was quite good.

1 pound asparagus, ends trimmed1 teaspoon cooking oil (olive, canola or vegetable)2 teaspoons Miso & Easy (or 1 teaspoon miso paste + 1 teaspoon hot water)1 tablespoon water1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger1 clove garlic, finely minced1/2 teaspoon roasted sesame oil1 teaspoon sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Place asparagus on baking sheet and drizzle with cooking oil. Toss to coat. Roast asparagus for 12-18 minutes or until pierces easily with fork. Timing depends on how thick the asparagus spears are.
2. While the asparagus is roasting, prepare the ginger miso sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients until smooth.
3. Pour over asparagus and serve.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Sun Cafe, Iowa City

Iowa City has a number of good restaurants that serve ethnic food and a population that enjoys foods from other countries.  The appearance of a strictly Vietnamese cuisine restaurant is still a welcome addition to what we have. 
The Sun Cafe is on the east side of Iowa City, near the Sycamore Mall and in the same mini mall as the Java House on First Ave.  The menu is limited but covers the basics of Vietnamese cuisine.  We ate there last night and were able to try a quarter of the menu options and they were all delicious.  The egg rolls were very good, but not so special that you would plan a meal here.  They are a nice addition.  The spring rolls have tender and flavorful port as well as a shrimp and they are very good.  The bahn mi sandwich is served on a roll that the owner makes daily and filled with fresh pickled vegetables and traditional meat filling that is perfect, really delicious and well worth a trip even if just to get the sandwich for take out.  The duck plate was amazing.  The duck was cooked to perfection, with crisp skin and moist meat, and the portion was quite large.  There are still things on the menu that look very good to me, and we will be returning soon.  Hope to see you there.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Toys in the Attic (2009)

My youngest son in trolling the animated movie section at the library these days and we have seen some things that I have never heard of, including this movie set in Cold War Czech Republic.  The toys in the attic are separated by a wooden gate, and of course the ones on the side with the blonde doll Buttercup have a very nice life, with food on the table and their beds made every morning.  The other side of the gate is ruled by a large malevolent head and his mismatched toy henchmen.  The head sets his eyes on Buttercup and once he captures her we get a chance to see that even when things are good these toys do not know how to live a decent life.  The good toys, assisted by a Madame Curie scientist type, plan a daring rescue and Buttercup is returned home, where everything goes back to normal, but no one tries to think about those on the dark side.  Not a kids movie really, but very interesting.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Ginger Sesame Dressing

This is a great dressing for salad for all sorts of salads that you want to add an Asian flavor profile to.

    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons honey or brown sugar
    • 2 tablespoons peeled and minced ginger
    • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Process until smooth.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Bacchus (1597)

Michelangelo Merisi, called Caravaggio, was
nervous by temperament, and personified the romantic figure.  He was born in Milan, he worked mainly in Rome, Naples, Malta and Sicily. His training was strongly influenced by Venetian and Lombard painting: from the first, he learned the use of the color, from the second, he learned the deep realism and the preference for humble and popular subjects.
This last feature is observable in the famous Bacchus  at the Uffizi, commissioned by his patron Cardinal del Monte as a gift for the Grand Duke of Tuscany Ferdinand I.  In this masterpiece, Bacchus is not represented in an idealized way. On the contrary, he might look like a man of the people, like one of those characters Caravaggio used to hang around with in taverns and brothels.  His choice of representing popular, uncouth and clumsy subjects brought him much criticism during his life.
Bacchus is depicted posing and holding a cup of wine with his left hand, as if he was reflected in a mirror. In fact, Caravaggio used a complex system of mirrors to paint the subjects on canvas, just like a primitive photographic technique. Outstanding is the skillful use of the oil technique: the effect of incredible realism in painting the fruit basket and the complexion of the young man as well as the transparency of the glass created a new approach to art.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Minions (2015)

If you thought the third sequel in the Despicably Me series would be unbearably stupid, you would have been right on the money.  Kevin, Bob, and Stuart are off on an adventure that is more or less their own, set in the 1960's, and things go more or less their way two out of every three times.  The odd time out they manage to get into trouble, which they then manage to get out of.  The only real redeeming feature of the movie is that it highlights the music of the mid to late 1960's, which only helps a little.  There are a few laugh out loud moments, but they are not enough to sustain one throughout the course of the whole show.  It is also fairly violent in nature so not a great movie to put on for the grammar school crowd while you are trying to do something else.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cucumber Sunomono

This is a delicious and easy quick pickle.  Make it often!

  1. Cut cucumbers in half lengthwise and scoop out any large seeds. Slice crosswise into very thin slices.
  2. In a small bowl combine vinegar, sugar, salt and ginger. Mix well. Place cucumbers inside of the bowl, stir so that cucumbers are coated with the mixture. Refrigerate the bowl of cucumbers for at least 1 hour before serving.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Cup of Water and a Rose (1630)

I have become a big fan of the still life this past few months, thanks to the education in art that I am slowly absorbing from a friend who is helping on my way.  The thing about having children in college is that I have discovered that there are many things that I did not learn when I was younger, and that it is not too late to learn them now.  Or a little bit about them at least.  When I was taking classes as a student they seemed to go on forever, but now that I am older I realize that they just scratch the surface and that to learn, you have to keep at it on your own.

This is in honor of the Valentine's Day holiday we just passed and the association with flowers.  It was painted by Francisco de Zuburan, who was a Spanish painter that rose to prominence during the reign of the Murillo family in Seville. Influenced by Caravaggio, Zurbaran’s paintings are distinct and known for their tenebrism (which is a fancy word for having stark contrasts between light and dark in the painting).  The part of it that I choose not to dwell on is that the painter was very religious, and while it appears to be a simple still life, there is symbolism in it related to the Virgin Mary's purity.  I just see it as pure and simple and peaceful.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Big Sleep (1946)

My youngest son is taking a film noir class, and while we have not been able to watch about half of the films that he has been watching because they are not available wither at our library or streaming, this was one that we could see.  And it is a classic well worth viewing, and not too dark for the genre, if that is a bit of a turn off for you.

It has the classic pairing of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, which is a good reason to watch a movie in and of itself.  Bogart was not a handsome man, but there was something about him that attracted Bacall as a lifetime partner, and that draw is well evident in this film.  Bogart plays a private detective who is brought in by a wealthy man trying to protect his wayward daughters, without realizing just how bad what they are into is, and that it won't be something that money can easily buy their way out of.  Bogart manages the client, his daughters, their pursuers, and various other bad guys with a deftness that borders on choreography, all with the Bogart rough touch.  It iswell worth an evening of watching to see one of films great noir movies.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sesame Maple Chicken Wings

These are not my favorite chicken wings that my husband makes, but they are quite delicious and they are amongst the easiest that he makes.  On top of that, he has been making them for years, which makes them childhood favorites of our kids, and that makes them fall into the comfort food zone that is not to be tampered with.  The recipe will never be retired because it evokes the flavors of childhood.

40 wing sections US
  • 13 c. maple syrup
  • 14 c. soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon peeled, coarsely chopped ginger root
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 4 lbs chicken wings
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in processor or blender and puree. Place chicken wings in large bowl. Pour puree over. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.).
  2. Position rack on top third of oven and preheat to 375°F Remove chicken from marinade; reserve marinade. Arrange chicken on large jelly roll pan and bake 25 minutes. Turn chicken over and bake 15 minutes. Brush chicken with half of marinade and bake 7 mintues. Turn chicken over and brush with remaining marinade. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake until chicken and sesame seeds brown, about 7 minutes.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day Reflections

We are not ardent Valentine's Day celebrators in our house.  That is partly because our anniversary occurs in close proximity to the holiday, but it is mostly because we don't so much focus on holidays as the year as a whole.  Why limit your celebrations to such a limited few days?  Why not celebrate early and often?  That way if you miss a major holiday because of work or other circumstances, it just isn't that big of a deal because you have already been celebrating.  When we first got together there were things that interfered with our being together for both of our birthdays that probably forged this attitude, but it has served us well over the years, and I am not suggesting a change.

This year has been different though.  For one thing, I spent almost the whole first month of 2016 in bed, and over half of that was in the hospital.  I was really sick and very slow to recover, which makes one take stock in one's life.  I feel incredibly fortunate to have someone who has not only stuck with me in times that are good, but who has been there when things have been hard.  One thing that I learned when our son had cancer many years ago is that there are people who will pull in when things are bad and there are people who will pull out.  Thankfully the former far outnumber the later, but it is not a bad idea to know which is which, and most importantly, who you can count on.  I am lucky in that my Valentine is one for the ages, whether  I am bed bound or foot loose and travel free.  I hope to have more of the later than the former in the days ahead, but I am not worried about where my support will come from.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

When Marnie Was Here (2014)

We have been on a Studio Ghibli streak lately.  the animation of the outdoors is spectacular in these movies while the animation of characters is almost laughably simple, but the former far outweighs the later, and is well worth watching.
The theme here is fairly grown up for an animated audience.  The movie centers on change of location and imagery from one's past as having an impact on emotional healing. Anna is a foster child, whose parents died long ago, with all the identity crises that often come with that life situation. She’s lonely, asthmatic, and severely depressed.  She encounters Marnie, a person only she sees, when she goes to the country to visit family.  Marnie is like the subconscious that Anna has that doesn’t shy away from honest sadness, and through this friendship, Anna is on the road to healing.  She comes to realize that Marnie was not just a figment of her imagination, but a person of significance in her past.  She is then drawn into a real friendship through her fascination with a house that she sees Marnie in, and so her imaginary life melds with her real one, and her spirits are buoyed in the process.  This is a great film on many levels.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Sous Vide Chicken Breast

This is not so much about a recipe as it is about a technique for cooking chicken which is low and slow and helps the meat to retain its natural juiciness.  My spouse much prefers dark poultry meat whereas I am more partial to the lighter meats, which puts us a bit at odds with each other.  One option is to get a whole chicken--then there is something for everybody.  But that isn't always practical and to make matters worse, I care more and I cook meat less than he does.  So it is an act of kindness and love on his part that he works to make chicken a dish we can both enjoy. 

Sous vide is a technique where the meat is put into a vacuum sealed bag and cooked at a low temperature in a water bath.  This first attempt was simply seasoned with salt, pepper, tarragon, garlic, and lemon--just stick them into the bag and seal.  The best is breasts that are on the bone and if you like the skin browned, then skin on, so that it can be sauteed after it is cooked to look like the breast above.

The timing is the key, and here is the table to help decide where and when you will take the chicken out of the sous vide water bath:

Sous-Vide Chicken Breast Temperature and Timing Chart

Texture Temperature Timing Range
Tender and juicy for cold chicken salad 150°F (66°C) 1 to 4 hours
Very soft and juicy, served hot 140°F (60°C) 1 1/2 to 4 hours
Juicy, tender, and slightly stringy, served hot 150°F (66°C) 1 to 4 hours
Traditional, juicy, firm, and slightly stringy, served hot 160°F (71°C) 1 to 4 hours

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Terminator Genisys (2015)

There are a number of movies that have spawned a seemingly endless number of action adventure sequels, and my family of boys is drawn to these movies, even though they are not particularly good.  Well, I guess it depends on how you define good.  If it is premised on a movie being predictable, then in some ways these movies are very good.  The story is consistent and the content is populated with the same sorts of heroic deeds to perform and an overarching evil that needs to be defeated.  I worried that having not seen any of the previous Terminator movies in the series that I would be handicapped in following the plot line in this movie, but that fear turned out to not be valid.  It is a straightforward movie that is not particularly good so much as consistent.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

35 Years and Counting

Today marks 35 years in my relationship with my spouse.  We are pictured here near the beginning of that time, and in some ways it seems just like yesterday and in other ways it seems a lifetime away.  we were so much older then, we are younger than that now.  Meaning we had no idea what we were getting into, but we thought we did, and so onward we plunged into the future together.

The good news is that I wouldn't have it any other way.  Despite the fact that we are undergoing yet another cancer experience in our family of origin, and no one would wish that on anyone, I inherently accept that there will be hard times with the good ones, that all is not perfect and that life is not fair.  Now that the cancer battler is me, I guess I have to believe this, but the saying that is attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson, and goes something like this has always resonated with me:
"What lies in front of you and what lies behind you pales in comparison to what lies within you."
I only hope that I can live up to it.  Much love my dear, and may we cherish the years together.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Bosch's Creation of the World

Hieronymus Bosch, a  painter from the Netherlands who is best known for his paintings of fantastical figures and detailed landscapes, did a triptych that is quite famous, known as 'The Garden of Earthly Delights", painted somewhere between 1490 and 1510.  This is that very triptych, but it is closed--open the two panels and the famous painting beneath is revealed.  I like this view, though, thought to represent the earth on the third day of creation, after the creation of light and dark and plant life, but before animals and man was added to the mix.  It was traditional at the time to depict creation as occurring in a sphere that was held by God, but I like the look of earth through Bosch's eyes, knowing what lies underneath is so much more colorful and fantasy laden.  Too bad that when you see it in the Prado in Madrid, you see only the open panel.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Cat Returns (2002)

My youngest son is minoring in film, and while his loves are narrow, the things that he is willing to experience in depth when it comes to movies is not.  This week it is movies from Japan and this is the first one we watched.

I am a fan of the animation style that this movie exemplifies, even if I thought the story was a bit underwhelming.  A girl helps a cat, and then discovers that he is a cat prince in a cat world that she is transported to in order to thank her for saving him.  It is well worth watching just to see the world that is created but it is not one of my favorite Japanese animated movies.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Chicken Mafe

The reset of the chicken that my father bought that we ended up cooking was used for this African dish.

  • 12 cloves garlic
  • 1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • Crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken, skin removed
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 1 cup creamy unsweetened peanut butter
  • ½ pound green cabbage, cut into 2-inch wedges
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled, cut in 2-inch lengths
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 12 ounces waxy potatoes, like Yukon Gold
  • Scotch Bonnet chile slices, to taste (optional)
  • White rice, cooked, for serving
  1. Finely mince 6 cloves garlic and the ginger with a pinch of salt, plenty of black pepper and crushed red-pepper flakes to taste. Season chicken all over with salt, and rub with the garlic mixture. Marinate for three hours or overnight, refrigerated.
  2. Finely chop the remaining 6 cloves of garlic. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When it is hot, add the onion, chopped garlic, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until the onion is starting to become translucent. Stir in the fish sauce, then the tomato paste, and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, until the paste and onions have combined and are a shade darker. Stir in 6 cups water, scraping up any browned bits.
  3. Add the chicken, bring to a boil and turn heat down to a moderate simmer. In a mixing bowl, stir a cup of the cooking liquid into the peanut butter, a splash at a time, to loosen it. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cabbage and carrots, and simmer 10 minutes. Peel and cut the sweet potato and waxy potatoes into 11/2-inch chunks, add them and simmer 30 minutes, until the vegetables and chicken are tender and the sauce is like a very thick gravy. (The oil will be separating in the sauce.) If the chicken and vegetables are tender but the sauce is still a little loose, remove them, and let the sauce cook down. Add the chile if using. Taste, adjust seasoning with salt and serve over white rice.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

River (2015)

This six episode series that is streaming on Netflix and comes to us from the crime drama genre of BBC productions is really different.  I am not sure if you would like it if you are not enamored with police procedurals but it is like none that I have seen before.

Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard, who would have been a good Wallender, plays River, who is grieving the loss of his partner and only friend, Stevie.  He sees her and talks to her constantly, and relatively quickly we discover that she is not the only visual and auditory hallucination he has.  People haunt him, and they have since he was a child.  It is unclear if it is his conscience that is giving life to these hallucinations, or something else, but he is an excellent cop with a case clearance rate that offsets his peculiarities.  His new partner is not quite as sanguine about his issues with seeing what what no one else sees, but he tolerates him, and they are a likable team.  Very unusual and surprisingly good.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Coq au Riesling

My father bought a bag of thighs and drumsticks, largely because he could not help himself.  He cannot resist a sale, and so even though he had no need for them, he got them.  I finally had an idea of what to do with them, and took them off his hands after reading this recipe in last week's NY Times.  I am sure it reheats well the next day, as noted below, but we did not have much left over to try that with.

  • 8 ounces sliced bacon, sliced crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 10 chicken thighs, with skin and bone
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, halved
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  • 1 bottle dry or off-dry riesling wine 
  1. Place large flameproof casserole or other heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add bacon, and cook until most of the fat has been rendered. Add onions and sauté until softened, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer mixture to plate, leaving behind as much liquid fat as possible.
  2. Place pan over medium-high heat. Working in batches (do not overcrowd pan), brown chicken pieces on both sides, transferring them to a plate after they are browned.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add mushrooms, garlic, 3 tablespoons of parsley and 2 tablespoons of tarragon. Sauté until mushrooms are coated in fat, about 1 minute. Return chicken pieces, onions and bacon to pan. Add wine, and raise heat to bring to a boil. Partially cover, turn heat to low, and simmer for 1 hour.
  4. To serve immediately, sprinkle with remaining parsley and tarragon. For best results, cool, and refrigerate overnight. The next day remove any chilled fat on surface with paper towels. Reheat gently, sprinkle with parsley and tarragon, and serve.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Furious 7 (2015)

Let me start off by saying that this is not a great movie, and if you did not like even one of the previous six movies (even the Tokyo Drift one), then you might be disappointed in this installment.  I hesitate to say that this is the last, because while Paul Walker died during the filming of this movie, they finished this one out with what they had plus some CGI, and there is no telling what they will do in the future.  there are plenty of action heroes in this film to mount a sequel.

The Furious team is reunited under the ever stoic Vim Diesel, and they are joined by FBI agent Dwayne Johnson, who has a relatively minor but memorable role in this film.  The opposition is valiantly played by Jason Statham, so it really is an action movie all star cast, and it does not fail to have endless chases scenes, frequent gun battles and the occasional hand to hand combat.  It was exactly as I expected it to be.