Food -n- Flix Round-Up: Practical Magic~

30 04 2013

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April’s Flick is Practical Magic, a story of two sisters, and two other sisters, and two other sisters… There are a number of little plot twists… Sally, played by Sandra Bullock is the older, more stable sister…who falls in love, has babies and ignores as myth the legend of Owens women being cursed about love.  Should they fall in love with a man, he will die.  Sally and Gillian (portrayed by Kidman) grow up with their maiden aunts because the curse came to their mother…her beloved husband died, and their mother then died of a broken heart.  Sally and Gillian are very close, and when either of them is in dire need of the other, there shall they be.  Our flick winds through various emotional highs and lows of the sisters’ love lives, and what happens when things get a little out of hand.

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Our first recipe comes from Elizabeth of The Law Student’s Cookbook who made Blood Orange Margaritas
to commemorate the famous “Midnight Margarita” scene depicted above, where the sisters and the aunts succumb to the spell of a bottle of tequila and indulge in margaritas.  I love to start a Mexican supper with a margarita, and I’ll bet a blood orange margarita is simply wonderful!

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Girlichef, Heather, brought margaritas too…I’m tellin’ ya…that tequila makes quite an impression in this movie!  Oh, but not just any margaritas…these are highly witchy and sophisticated margaritas, flavored with berries and herbs…rosemary to be precise.  Midnight Margaritas (with a side of remembrance)  Hmmm…we’ll want another round of these to go with our desserts tonight… Yes, indeed.

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Wait, wait…we have more margaritas!  Anne-Marie at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet was in the mood for margaritas too!  Anne-Marie combined tequila with gluten free beer to make her Practical Magic Midnight Peach and Cherry Beer Margaritas, and they look stunning!

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Next, we heard from Caroline of Caroline Makes who made Lime and Coconut Chicken…  Those of you who are familiar with the “Midnight Margarita” scene know the connection here…in case you aren’t familiar with the movie, Caroline explains it this way…”The sisters and their aunts are drinking and getting merry on tequila and end up dancing around the kitchen singing a song called “Coconut”, with a particularly catchy line that goes “put the lime in the coconut”.”  Caroline’s recipe takes us for a walk on the Thai side.  A very nice interlude.  I can’t wait to try this recipe!

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Before we indulge in our incredible desserts, we’ll stop off in my kitchen at Can’t Believe We Ate… where the tequila was flowing as well!!  I poured mine into a marinade for “Practically Magic” Beef Fajitas.  This recipe takes longer to explain than to create!

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Over at Eliot’s Eats , Debra made her “go to” Coconut-Pecan Brownies  to honor the family’s unusual tradition of chocolate cake for breakfast…something Bullock’s character, Sally, abhors.  Sally doesn’t want to be different…she longs for traditional White-Anglo-Saxon-Protestant values and lifestyle.  Silly Sally…  Let’s just say it’s never quite going to work out that way!  Debra, my hubby looked over my shoulder while I was at your site, and purred over these brownies!  I guess I’ll be making these too!  Works for me!

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Over in the Pacific, Deb at Kahakai Kitchen is also making chocolate cake…once again, not just any chocolate cake but an In this house we have chocolate cake for breakfast“-Single Girl Melty Chocolate Cake… Oh my.  We’re big on being “jolly” this month…ignoring bedtimes and teeth brushing…dancing ’round the table at midnight…  That’s okay… I understand there’s a little “witch” in all of us!  Regardless,  I’d happily have this cake at breakfast, lunch or dinner!  It looks marvelous!  I can’t wait to try this one either!!

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Practical Magic is a movie full of love and plot twists.  It’s hard to explain and not give the plot lines away.  With so many twists, there are story lines, and sub-story lines.  It’s almost two complete movies in one!  If you haven’t watched this movie, perhaps some of our dishes will intrigue you to try the movie…and some of these incredible dishes!

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If you’d like to join in on the fun, visit Food n’ Flix and look for the announcement of the next movie, which is “Delicatessen.”  You’ll find a link on the Food n’ Flix page that make it easy.  Watch the movie, cook what the movie inspires to you cook, then post it on your blog before the deadline and let the hostess know.  And don’t be shy about being a hostess either!  It’s a super easy job!  LOL!  Meanwhile, thanks for stopping by and checking out this month’s inspirations!

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Food n’ Flix: Practical Magic~

30 04 2013

This April, Food n’ Flix watched Practical Magic. You might think it’s a better movie for Halloween, but there’s a lot of focus on various herbs and other plants, and it is, after all, a story of love…the love shared between two partners, two sisters, family, parental love…and the lengths we will go to over love.  I truly enjoy this movie, even with it’s darker moments.  There seem to be a few highly memorable details from this movie…one being the Midnight Margarita dance, another being chocolate…  I confess.  I used tequila too.  Just not as a libation.  I used it to cook.

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I discovered that tequila is absolutely fabulous in fajitas quite by accident one night.  My pan cooked pretty dry while I was cooking fajitas one night…lots of yummy caramelized juices on the bottom of the pan…but what to deglaze with??  I looked at the sake….no.  Too sweet.  White wine?  Better, but still no… Then it hit me… Hit the pan with a shot of tequila and cook off the alcohol and then add clean Mojo back to the pan.  That ought to work!!  And it did…

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Now I’m pouring a shot of tequila to a pound of beef or chicken while it’s marinating and pouring Mojo Criollo to cover the meat.  After cooking all the veggies and the meat, I  deglaze the pan with another shot (1-1/2 ounces) of tequila and cook until the pan is almost dry, but not quite…and add in fresh Mojo…just enough to moisten all the goodies.  I like El Mexicano brand, but it’s what my local carniceria (Mexican butcher and grocery) carries.   I’ll learn to duplicate it in time…it’s seasonings and citrus juices…but for now, I’m cheating!  This is the standard commercial image for this product, but it’s much lighter in color.  As for tequila, whatever you’re drinking!  I prefer gold over white or silver.

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I use 8 oz. of carne asada “steaks” for the 2 of us.  That’s about the same as “a quarter pounder” only much healthier!  Marinate before cooking, as described above, but don’t bother slicing the meat into strips.  Cook the marinated thin steaks in a hot cast iron skillet.  Nothing else holds the heat well enough and you’ll end up simmering your meat at some point.   Cook the beef just long enough to get a nice caramel color on both sides, and hold the slices in a warm place for a few minutes.  This helps keep the juices inside the meat.  When all the meat has been cooked, cook the veggies while the meat sets.  I use thinly sliced onion and peppers usually.  I don’t care for green bell pepper too much, so I usually cook red, yellow or orange peppers.  You can add any hot chiles you like, I let folks add their own at the table.  A lot of folks add tomato to their fajita mixture.  I may during the summer, but it’s only worth it when tomatoes are summer ripe, otherwise a good salsa fresca is fine.  When the veggies are nicely browned, but not necessarily cooked through, remove them from the pan, and put them in a dish (I use the serving dish I’m going to use).  Slice the beef across the grain into thin strips and add back to the pan along with any accumulated juices.  Cook until the juices are mostly gone.  Now it’s time to add that shot of tequila, then the veggies and follow it with a bit more fresh mojo (There are meat proteins and juices in the mojo you used to marinate the beef.  You won’t be cooking this more than just enough to bring it to a boil, so the leftover marinade isn’t safe to use).   Not much, a quarter to a third cup, just enough to add a bit of sauciness to the meat and veggies.  Toss everything together.  There should be very little liquid in the pan.  Remove to the serving dish.

This dish is great served with shredded lettuce mixed with chopped fresh cilantro, sliced tomatoes or salsa fresca, grated cheese and hot tortillas.   Rice and-or beans on the side rounds out the plate, but isn’t required.  A bit of Mexican Crema or sour cream doesn’t hurt either.  The tequila and the citrus does a fabulous job of breaking down the meat and making even stubborn beef nice and tender.  Because this goes together relatively quickly, this has become a standard in our house…the tequila is the newest twist though!