Tag Archive: tortilla soup


The Smells of Home

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

This is the week when we walk into the house and it smells good.

It is the smell of favorite holiday dishes cooking, simmering, and baking. As we walk through the door, even if it is the door to our own home, there is something wonderful and comforting about those smells.

It tells us that when life has handed you lemons, you have chosen to make lemon bars or lemon meringue pie or sangria with lemons, green apples, and grapes.

Movies over the years have provided us with so many images of food and drinking.

Eat drink man Woman IMDb comI think about Eat Drink Man Woman directed by Ang Lee about an Asian family who are about to go through many changes and all of these changes are announced over sumptuous dinners prepared by the father who used to work as a world class chef.

His three daughters live at home but all that changes as each one makes an announcement that forces changes. The movie is a wonderful tour-de-force of emotions that people want or don’t want known. But this movie comes with sub titles, not everyone wants to read at the movies. And it is really meant for adults, context wise.

But if you do get it, make sure to view in the letterbox formatting, it really is better that way.

Tortilla Soup Poster IMDb com

Image from IMDb.com

There is an American version of this movie called Tortilla Soup. It stars Hector Elizondo as the retired chef. And true to form there are announcements during the weekly suppers. But his three daughters prove to be up for the challenge of growing up, becoming wiser, and learning how to enjoy their father.

There are wonderful moments such as when a pumpkin becomes a soup turine and a suitor tells the father about his connections to Dodgers’ stadium over a bowl tortilla soup. It is the young man’s reaction to the soup that makes the father realize he is ok. Again, this movie is for grown-up. And that is OK, we need movies meant for us.

ratatouilleThe kid’s movie I should recommend that is all about food is Ratatoille. Maybe you’ve seen it. It’s the movie about a rat who wants to be a chef. Crazy, I know. If I were to be incredibly non-biased, I would have to say that the bones of this movie is very good although the idea is preposterous to say the least.

But I can’t.

I know this is a good movie but I hate rats. Can’t stand them. I get the willies watching this movie so why would I recommend it?

I can’t, just can’t.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Yum!!!

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

As we prepare for the big feast, our house get stuffed to the brim with turkeys, ham, potatoes, stuffing ingredients, corn, green beans, and all manners of pie.

There are side dishes galore, one person told me they made 20 sides dishes one year. I plan to make about 5 when you include the cranberry sauce. My favorite side, besides the oyster stuffing, is the Memphis Corn Pudding recipe. So good, so creamy, so not healthy. Whenever I make it I get raves. And it is simple.

All I do is mix a can of cream corn and a can of regular corn with 1 egg, 1 stick of melted butter, 1 cup of sour cream, and one box of Jiffy corn bread mix. I put it in a 12” square casserole dish and bake until golden brown in a 350 degree oven. Like I said, simple.

Hector Elizondo as the Chef in Tortilla Soup

Hector Elizondo as the Chef in Tortilla Soup

To get ready for this week, I have been watching food movies. Tortilla Soup is one of my favorites starring Hector Elizondo as a chef who has lost his sense of smell. He has three daughters still living at home but who are making changes in their lives. As all of this is happening, they continue the family tradition of having a big meal on Sunday nights. These are incredible spreads with pumpkin made into a soup tureen and tortilla soup being something more than a way to use stale tortillas.

Sunday night meals are also a way to make big announcements. Announcements about new jobs, new boyfriends, new living arrangements. It is never boring in this house, especially when Rachel Welch shows up to make a play for the father.

Big Night long tableAnother food movie I love watching is Big Night starring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub as two brothers who own a restaurant in a small town on the East Coast. Shalhoub is the chef who wants to make great traditional Italian food that is not always about spaghetti. Tucci is the manager who tries to find ways to keep their business afloat while maintaining relationships with Minnie Driver and Isabella Rossini. The latter is the mistress of their competitor, Ian Holm.

They want to get the word out about their place and Holm says he can get a big celebrity to come to their restaurant. So Tucci spends the last of their money to make this happen. The food is glorious. Lovingly cooked all day despite the worries and temptations and schemes. And the party? Well, not everything goes as expected. But what a spread of food including a roasted suckling pig.

Babette s FeastThe last movie I saw is Babette’s Feast. This movie comes from France but the setting is in Holland on a lonely seaside community. It is here that two sisters live who are of a pious religious community. It is not that these two women never had the chance to leave, one could have been a great singer. But they choose to stay to help their father serve his parish.

In their later years, a former love sends them a woman who needs to start over as her husband and son were recently killed. They can pay her no money but she stays and cooks for them. The older people who get soup from the sisters love Babette’s soups and breads. The women notice their church is doing better. Then one day Babette is sent a letter stating she has won the lottery. She asks the sisters to put on a feast in the French style.

The sisters are afraid but they agree to it. And what a feast it is. When a former suitor of the other sister comes with his elderly aunt it is fortunate for the diners. He alone recognizes the dishes and the wine. His appreciation allows the others to appreciate the meals as well. Turtle soup, pastries, quail, fruit and cheese. If you do get this movie, be aware that it does have subtitles. You can choose the English language option but I did not want the distraction of the words not matching the mouth movement.

Such movies inspire me for cooking which will be needed this week.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Preparing for the Feast

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Next week, many of us will be working in our kitchens, preparing dishes for the big meal.

Some of us are only making one dish to take to a family gathering. If that is me, I am bringing my corn pudding or bread pudding. Perhaps you are bringing pies or biscuits or a fruit dish or the cheese and crackers.

Maybe you are making the whole meal – turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, relish tray, deviled eggs and pies. Pumpkin, apple, mince meat, and pecan. Maybe a French silk or banana cream arrives as well.

In the meantime, how-a-bout watching some movies that are food-based?

Image from IMDb.com

One movie I think about before Thanksgiving is Tortilla Soup. But that is a Mexican soup, you are thinking. I know but there is one scene in which the Hector Elizondo character is cutting open a medium-sized pumpkin, cleaning it out and then carving an intricate design so that the pumpkin can be used as a soup tureen.

The story is about a Los Angeles chef and widower who has lost his ability to smell. His three daughters live at home and are at different stages of life. The one constant is the big meal they share every week with dishes that are wonderful and difficult. These meals have announcements and drama. Promotions and relationships are announced.

I love how Elizondo creates a character that is fierce and loving and gentle. But the food you will see in this movie is incredible.

Image from IMDb.com

What you may not know is that Tortilla Soup is a remake of the Taiwanese movie Eat, Drink, Man, Woman directed by Ang Lee. The story focuses on a chef who has lost his sense of taste. His three daughters live at home and deal with their mercurial father as best they can while juggling work and relationship issues.

Every Sunday, he makes a huge meal that has many dishes. But the daughters notice that they are over spiced and no amount of telling him seems to make a difference. One by one, the girls leave because of different events in their lives. The emotions are right at the surface, always tangible, always intriguing. You will have to read the captions as this movie is not dubbed in English but do not let that turn you away.

Image from IMDb.com

Finally, a movie that I love for the food is Big Night starring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub as Italian brothers who have a restaurant in New York. Shalhoub is a gifted chef who cannot stand cooking for people who only want spaghetti. A competitor tells them he can get the musician Louis Prima to visit their restaurant and it will put them on the map.

So the brothers use the last of their money and prepare a feast, a grand feast. There are many dishes and tastes. It is spectacular. But there is treachery and drama. Love is found and love is lost. The brothers fight and manage and do what they must.

These are wonderful movies to watch and they make one want to learn all of these different style of cuisine. I can almost smell that soup in the pumpkin tureen. While these movies may not be suitable for the youngest members of the family, I find those who are older might enjoy them more.

 What movies about food do you like to watch?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Cooking All Day

Product Thursday

I have been delinquent in sharing items on Product Thursday. Nothing has sparked a compulsion to write glowing commentary or a furious outpouring of disgust.

However, today I am sharing the secret to my cooking success – besides the ability to make stuffed shells that makes my kids want to eat spinach.

That secret is my crockpot. Actually, I have three crockpots in different sizes. And what has become absolutely essential with any crockpot is the removable inner pot. Our middle sized one does not have that option which makes clean-up a real pain. You cannot submerge that crockpot or you will ruin the heating element.

The short of the long is always go for a crockpot that has a removable inner crock bowl.

 When I received the little one, I have to admit I did not think it was going to do much. It looked great for cheese dips but I could not think of anything else to do with it.

Raw pumpkin is cooking down in that picture.

But now it serves as my favorite sloopy joe pot, perfect for about 1 & 1/2 pounds of meat and sauce. Busy days when I have to feed a big group of people are made easier with this little baby.

In the picture, I am cooking down pumpkin I had recently scraped out of carving pumpkins. I later used that cooked pumpkin for pumpkin cake.

For our January gathering, I am thinking about using it for fondue but first I must find a good recipe. I am willing to hear any suggestions.

My other crock pots get used for soups and roast beef. Recently I displayed a picture of my big silver crockpot making Tortilla Soup.

But I also use it for Italian Sausage Soup, Potato Cheese Soup and Pot roast so tender and wonderful that you do not need a knife.

During the heat of the summer, we used it to make pulled pork. That required 12 hours of cooking of the meat alone before the seasoning stage. But the kitchen did not get heated up and we ate like kings on a hot, hot day.

Recently, my neice shared a recipe for carne guisada with me. Slow cooked beef in spices typical from the Hispanic culture. It works well as both taco meat and chilli meat. So, yes, I am making it soon, in the crockpot.

Editor’s Note: I was requested to put up recipes I have used in the crock pot so here are a couple of  links to past postings of my cooking adventures with the crockpot.

Sunday Roast Beef

What to do with those leftover tortillas

Sing Along

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

I was standing in line the other day at Walgreens to pick up meds and listening to the music. It was a Mamas and Papas cover and before I knew it I was shaking my vitamin bottle to the beats.

 

That was not the strange thing. The person who came up behind me started humming and dancing a little when the next song – “It’s My Party” by Leslie Gore – started playing. The woman in front of me looked as if she might be willing to tap her feet if given a chance.

 

All that started me thinking about movies where characters spontaneously started singing or dancing in an ordinary place without the film being a musical. It had to be an organic action that made sense with the plot but not a part of the total story.

 

Image from IMDb.com

I immediately thought of The Full Monty with Robert Carlyle and Mark Addy. The movie is about men who have been laid off from the local stainless steel plant who are trying to find work and not getting anywhere. So Carlyle decides he and his buddies should put on a show – a dance act – to perform at the pubs women like to going.

 

And they plan to take it off – take it all off. There is no way that this movie is appropriate for small children, just so you know out of the gate. But there is a lot of hope and joy in this flick along with some serious outpouring of emotion.

 

The scene I am thinking about occurs in the middle of the movie when the majority of the troupe is at the unemployment office. They are in line at various points when the speakers overhead begin playing the song that goes with their routine. While trying to keep their cool, the men start doing the moves to the dance. Not all at once and not one of the men do the whole routine to the song. But it is this wonderful moment in the middle of a movie about desperation and re-kindling of joy.

 

Image from IMDb.com

I also thought about a wonderful scene in Tortilla Soup in which the three sisters sing “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.” And there is that moment in Almost Famous when the band sings “Tiny Dancer” on the bus while they are really hating on each other. It is a reconciling moment.

 

I was trying to think of a family movie that has a scene like this and my brain cannot find one. Remember the movie is to not be a musical in the first place. I thought about the moving truck scene in Toy Story or the first Latin dance scene in Toy Story 3.

 

Image from IMDb.com

The other example I can think of is in Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009). Miley is writing music when he father joins her and she has him sing with her. It is supposed to be a spontaneous moment but I like it for the emotional closeness between father and daughter that is displayed.

 

All of these are enjoyable movies to watch as we get ready for the holidays, remembering the love and joy of being with family.

What movies do you remember having moments of song? 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

So I have had these leftover tortilla shells hanging around the house. They were getting dried out and hard.

Oh, so nasty.

But I am also not one to waste food. It has become one of my pet peeves. That is when I began looking for recipes for Tortilla Soup. I was rewarded when I found a recipe at Simply Recipes that made four servings. With seven of us at the table I knew I had to double the recipe.

Tortilla Soup with toppings

The day that I was making soup was going to be a busy day as I wanted to be out in the garden as much as possible and the husband wanted to do a hike with the kids and the dog.

Hello, crockpot!

Garlic, Banana Pepper and Onion

So I start the basis of the broth by dicing a medium onion and a deseeded banana pepper with  a pressed clove of garlic. Then I sauted them together in a pan. Once they were ready, I placed the mixture in the crockpot with the broth mixture.

Broth of Tortilla Soup

The crockpot contained 6 cups of chicken broth, 2 cups of water, 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 cup of diced Roma tomatoes from my garden and one can of chicken (drained). I usually rinse and drain the chicken because I hate the salt content in canned chicken. This mixture was in the crockpot for about 4-5 hours.

Tortilla Strips

About a half an hour before serving the meal I cut my five flour tortillas into strips. Then I made my frying pan smoking hot, added a little sesame seed and threw in the strips. Once they were browned, I put them into a bowl for serving.

This is how I set up each bowl. I put a handful of tortillas in each bowl – more or less depending on who was eating it. Then I gave each bowl a ladleful of the soup. Each person was free to put on their own toppings. The kids choose cheese or sour cream. I did avacado slices and cheese. The husband did chives, avacado, sour cream and cheese (he believes that more is more).

The end result? Empty bowls all around the table and only enough leftovers for one lunch.

Guess they liked it.

What has been a big hit in your house?