Cinefeast #1: X-Files with Sarah Huth

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I’ve known Sarah Huth for roughly 4 years now, I believe, and her creative prowess never ceases to amaze me. We met each other while attending a James Spader themed movie night at a mutual friend’s house, and from the start, I could tell she was my kind of gal…the kind who wears her love for pop culture on her sleeve, literally. In fact, just a few hours prior to watching X-Files and enjoying yummy themed treats for the first guest selected Cinefeast, she memorialized her love for the show permanently.

If someone were to ask me to describe her, I’d probably label her as a creative force to be reckoned with. She knows her way around film and video professionally, is a very talented and knowledgeable writer, AND makes some of the coolest art I’ve ever seen, some of which references the raddest of cinema and television. When I think of kindred, of like minded individuals who understand the comfort and happiness a show or a film can give, Sarah is at the top of that list. I can say with most certainty, I was elated to kick off Cinefeast #1 with her at the helm. Along with our badass boyfriends, we sat down to watch season two’s Die Hand Die Verletzt (S2:E14), and season five’s Post Modern Prometheus (S5:E5) and Bad Blood (S5:E14).

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First up was Die Hand Die Verletzt paired with sacrificial skewers of human beef and purple fingerling potatoes with a balsamic rosemary glaze. (Recipe below!) The episode’s plot centralizes around a satanic cult of high school teachers, and a mysterious murder that no one seems to want to confess to. Sarah heralded this episode, praising it for it’s very topical look at the “Satanic Panic” that existed in the 80’s – 90’s, and Susan Blommaert’s incredibly impressive portrayal of Mrs. Paddock. In particular, we were all mesmerized by Blommaert’s ability to change her appearance so powerfully between demon and human simply with a look. Also worth mentioning is her incredibly terrifying demon snake that, in our opinion, could have made Anaconda a much better film. (Sarah’s boyfriend, Bob gave us some good hypothetical Ice Cube one liners… “You picked the wrong plane of existence, you demon snake mother fucker!”) Although this episode has some questionable plot points, (How long does a demon need to be a human before they realize it’s not a good idea to put student homework on top of the bloody heart and eyeballs in their desk?) we were completely enthralled during Shannon’s intense confession about the abuse she endured during satanic rituals. Die Hand Die Verletzt packs a serious punch. As far as monster of the week episodes go, I completely agree with Sarah’s decision to keep this one at the top of her list.

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After ordering a pizza from my favorite local spot, (A’Pizza Badamo in Mt. Lebo if you’re a Pittsburgh creep too!) and securing ourselves with a big bowl of sunflower seeds, we started Bad Blood. The episode opens with a chase through the woods and a stake through the heart of Ronnie Strickland, believed to be a vampire, played by Patrick Henna. Upon realizing his fangs are fake, Mulder says “Oh shit…” and the episode flies off the handle into each agent’s recollection of the same events. We laughed ourselves through this entire episode, particularly for a 10 minute span while doing our best Luke Wilson impersonations. During Scully’s version of events, we pondered what it would be like to listen to an autopsy podcast. (I’d be down, especially if it were ACTUALLY Scully.) Even though this episode is known for it’s humor, I still find the glowing eyed vampires coming towards Mulder to be eerie in the best, vaguely Salem’s Lot, kind of way. Sarah and I both agreed that this episode is laughter-inducing watch after watch, and always sure to be a fun time.

FullSizeRender(2)Sarah’s X-Files roots began during late nights watching episodes with her grandmother in her basement. When younger, the monster of the week episodes appealed to her more than the mythology episodes, helping to build her list of favorites over time. Post Modern Prometheus is clearly one of the most memorable in the X-Files library, and there are a million reasons why. The Frankenstein inspired tale is filled with so many strange set pieces and fantastical characters. Even though the basis for the episode is pretty terrifying when really thought about, it’s one of the funniest we could collectively recall. (I also realized I may have learned my dance moves from the Great Mutato…) Everyone grabbed their bulbous black and white Mutato truffles (Recipe below!), and discussed the impracticality of the townspeople going out of their way to make torches for an angry mob rather than taking flashlights. We also loved noticing a strange kind of distant cousin to Vince Gilligan’s fumigation tarps as a plot device. All in all, this episode felt to us like a fever dream, and it’s closing Cher concert was the perfect way to end an X-Files triple feature. Sarah couldn’t have picked more enjoyable and inspiring episodes to pair with, and I’m looking forward to potential spooky episodic evenings together in the future. (HINT HINT)

If you’d like to discuss the mysteries of Scully’s disappearing/reappearing mole with Sarah, ….or check out her amazing illustrations, you can find her on instagram, facebook, etsy, and redbubble, as well as her website www.huthmonster.com .

…if you’re hungry, you can find help with that here:

Black & White Mutato Truffles
Approx. 2 c. White Chocolate
1.5 c. Dark Chocolate (either chopped or chips)
⅔ c. Heavy Cream
½ c. Dried fruit bits, chopped (I used Brookside Blood Orange/Peach Dark Chocolate bits)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place your dark chocolate in a large heat safe bowl. (I used the bowl from my stand mixer)
  3. Scald your heavy cream in a small saucepan until bubbles start to form around the edges, (Do not bring it to a full boil) and pour over your dark chocolate. Let sit for approximately 1 minute. Add vanilla extract.
  4. Using a whisk (or whisk attachment on a stand mixer), gently stir (If you stir too quickly, you will incorporate air bubbles into your ganache) until completely smooth.
  5. Add your fruit bits and stir until combined.
  6. Place a piece of saran wrap over the ganache mixture and let it come to room temperature.
  7. Once cool, place your bowl in the refrigerator for approximately 2 hours until the ganache is firm enough to form into shapes.
  8. Scoop small balls with a spoon and place onto your parchment lined baking sheet. (If you’d like them to be bulbous like mine, instead of rolling them into smooth balls, form them into lopsided lumpy shapes.)
  9. Placed the shaped ganache balls or lumps in your freezer for about 20 minutes so they harden. (To avoid melting when dipping in the white chocolate)
  10. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler until completely melted or in a microwave (30 seconds first, and then 15 second intervals with vigorous stirring in between) and quickly roll ganache balls in it to coat. (I use a fork to roll it around and transfer coated truffles back to the parchment lined sheet)
  11. I like my “shell” on truffles to be a bit thicker, so I dipped my Mutato truffles twice in the white chocolate. (Let the white chocolate harden completely in between layers if you’d like to dip multiple times.)
  12. Put on some Cher while you wait for them to harden completely.
  13. Enjoy!

Note: I store my finished truffles in the refrigerator, and let them come to room temperature before serving.

Sacrificial Skewers
Thick cut NY Strip (Or any preferred kind of meat)
Purple Fingerling Potatoes
Balsamic Glaze (Store bought or homemade)
1 – 2 tbsp dried Rosemary
1 – 2 tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Preheat your oven to 350℉ and use cooking spray lightly on an oven safe dish.
  2. Remove your cut of meat from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Cut all purple potatoes in half (you will want them to lay flat once they are skewered) and add to a medium sized bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and then season with salt, pepper, and rosemary to taste.
  4. Place potatoes in center rack of oven to cook for approximately 15 minutes.
  5. Using a basting brush (or your hands if you don’t have one!) cover the beef with your balsamic glaze, and sprinkle generously on both sides with the remaining rosemary, salt and pepper. Pat into the meat.
  6. Heat a skillet (I prefer my trusty cast iron, but a grill or standard skillet could work as well) over medium high heat and swirl a small amount of olive oil in it to coat the bottom.
  7. Once the skillet has heated up, place your seasoned cut of meat in it and let it cook for 4 minutes on each side (more or less time, depending on your desired level of doneness. I prefer medium rare to medium and I usually do a 4-4 ratio depending on the thickness of the cut of meat.)
  8. Remove meat from your skillet and tent loosely with foil on a cutting board to keep warm.
  9. When your potatoes are done baking, remove dish from oven, cut meat into bite sized pieces, and place on top of your potatoes. Secure your delicious bites with a toothpick or skewer and drizzle with additional balsamic glaze.
  10. Give thanks to Satan with a quick latin chant, and enjoy!

What food would YOU pair with X-Files? Let me know here or find me on twitter and instagram as angielainemakes and give a shout!

Oh, and don’t forget, creeps… FEED YOUR BEAST!

Cinefeast Solo # 1: Tremors!

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I figured it would be best to choose a movie I love as my first ACTUAL Cinefeast Solo pairing, and although I’ve heralded many titles as my “absolute favorite” over the years, 1990’s Tremors is probably the film that holds the top slot. I can honestly say that I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know graboids existed. I was 2 when it hit theaters, maybe 3 when it came out on home video, and I’m willing to bet my first viewing experience happened around that age. Having lenient parents and older siblings, I usually ended up watching whatever was on our TV without question. At some point, my tiny ears listened to a very charismatic Kevin Bacon say the opening line, “Good Morning, Mr. Bassett, this is your wakeup call. Please move your ass.” and it managed to stick.

As I grew up and began to comprehend what the film was about, I fell in love. I wanted to live in Perfection and shop at Walter Chang’s Market. I wanted to blow up graboids with homemade dynamite, just like Val and Earl. Being raised in southwestern Pennsylvania, such a remote desert location seemed exotic and rustic; somehow magical. The locations used for the film have always felt so perfect to me. All of the vast dusty roads and rocky hillsides, even now, create a complete picturesque world for the characters to exist in.

I made some of my first close friends by playing “Tremors;”  a classic “ground is lava” style game, during elementary school recess. I hopped from slides to swing sets as Rhonda (played by Finn Carter). My favorite scene from the film takes place when she polevaults from rock to rock, outshining Val and Earl’s lackluster attempts at making a plan of escape. Rhonda’s character, while having some goofy moments in the film, always read as a pretty strong female role model for me.

After 1000 rewatches (maybe more), I’ve decided that Tremors’ death scenes are pure cinematic magic. The doctor and his wife getting sucked into the ground as strange melancholy country western music plays on their station wagon radio is completely brutal, and old Fred getting slaughtered with his sheep gave me quite a few nightmares as a kid. I’ve always felt that Tremors has some sort of strange balance, a great amalgamation of gruesome horror and cartoon-like human interaction. Some might call that “cheesy”, but I find it to be oddly comforting. As the graboid slithers back and forth on the ground near Val’s feet, watching him stand still as he lifts his leg again and again is insanely unrealistic, but somehow in this world where Perfection exists, I am always immersed enough to suspend my disbelief without question. I enjoy this film. So much so that I probably watch it once a month. If you’ve not watched it in the 26 years it’s existed, I highly recommend that you find it and watch it right now.

You’ll probably need some snacks.

I’ve got a recommendation for that too:

For this Cinefeast Solo pairing, I chose to keep things simple with hummus and crackers. I’ve created a Roasted Garlic Parmesan Hummus adapted from an amazing tahini-less simple hummus recipe by Amanda at The Wholesome Dish, and Spicy Tomato Basil Cracker Sticks inspired by this Wheat Crackers recipe by Ray Anne on allrecipies. Let’s jump in!!!

Ingredients

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Hummus
1 can of Garbanzo Beans (15oz)
1 clove roasted Garlic, minced
¾ tsp. Cumin
¼ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Pepper
4 tbsp. Water
1 tbsp. Lemon Juice
¼ c. grated Parmesan
2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fontina Cheese (as garnish)
Paprika (as garnish)

Spicy Tomato Basil Crackers
1 ¾ c. Wheat Flour
1 ½ c. All Purpose Flour
½ tsp. Salt
¼ c. Olive Oil
½ c. Sun Dried Tomatoes, finely chopped
4 tbsp. fresh Basil, chopped
½ tbsp. Chili Powder
⅛ tsp. Red Gel Food Color (optional, that’s what made my sticks look so graboid-y)
Additional Salt to sprinkle on top

  1. Preheat your oven to 350℉ and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl (I used the bowl of my stand mixer) combine the flours, salt, chopped tomatoes, basil, and chili powder.
  3. Next, add the olive oil and gel food color and mix until a dough forms.
  4. Roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thickness on a well floured surface, and cut into strips.
  5. With your hands, roll the strips into sticks and cut them in roughly 3 inch pieces. (If you’d rather have standard crackers, you can roll the dough thinner to about ⅛ inch thickness and cut rectangle crackers as well!)
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  6. For GRABOID sticks, press the ends into a Y shape and place them on the parchment paper in an S to appear more snake-like.
  7. Place all of your sticks on the parchment lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
  8. Bake the sticks (or rectangles) for about 15 minutes in your preheated oven. (Time may vary depending on how your oven cooks, I’d say set your timer for 10 minutes and monitor the crackers in 1 or 2 minute intervals until they are lightly golden brown at edges and feel firm to the touch.
  9. While the crackers are baking, rinse your garbanzo beans and “shell” them. (If you hold a bean in your hand with your thumb and pointer finger and slightly pinch, you’ll slide off the outer skin. While not essential, if you remove the outer skin on the beans, your hummus will be extra velvety!)
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  10. Add your garbanzo beans, minced roasted garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, water, lemon juice, parmesan, and olive oil to the bowl of a food processor and blend until it reaches your desired hummus consistency.
  11. Sprinkle your fresh hummus with paprika and some shredded fontina cheese. (I made a tiny Old Fred sculpture and silicone putty mold so I could create a big ass cheese head as garnish. ALL OF MY DREAMS ARE COMING TRUE!!!!
  12. Lastly, put Tremors on and FEED YOUR BEAST!

Stay tuned! More feasts to come!