About a month ago, my dad decided that we should have Movie Night every other weekend as a way to get together, eat good food, drink good wine, and watch movies that we might not otherwise watch. The week before we left for Texas, my dad hosted with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Excellent movie. I’d never seen the whole thing. Seeing young Danny DeVito and Christopher Llyod was a real treat. My sister Lizzie, who showed up late from her office happy hour, didn’t believe that it was Danny DeVito until the very end. It was good holiday fun and I knew I would miss future movie nights with my dad and sister. But c’est la vie and off to Texas I went. Little did I know I would be back in San Diego just in time for movie night – and it was technically my turn to host!
Seeing as I have no home of my own to host a movie, my dad agreed to provide the space if I brought the appetizers. I agreed. I love to cook – and felt the need to hold my own against my sister’s awesome culinary skills! I decided to make a “dressed-up” quesadilla with cheddar, Gorgonzola, and garlic baked in the oven until crispy and then topped with tomatoes and basil. I served the quesadilla alongside pan seared steak and apple-cucumber salad. The real highlight on the night were my Salami amuse-bouche. I was inspired by the Viva paper towel commercials. I used tomato and basil instead of the jarred red bell peppers and topped mine with a Gorgonzola crumble instead of queso fresco and I must say that they were fabulous. Yum yum!
Here’s the recipe:
1 package of Genoa Salami
4 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
4-5 basil leaves, sliced
1 clove of garil, minced
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
salt and pepper to taste
I baked the salami on a cookie sheet at 350 for about 10 minutes, unil they were crisp, but not burnt. I transfered them to a serving platter with some paper towels (the commercial uses Viva paper towels) bowl side up. Then I diced the tomatoes, chopped the basil, minced the garlic and drizzled them with just a touch of olive oil. The salami is quite oily, so I didn’t want the dish to end up greasy. Gross. Then I added about a Tbs of balsamic vinegar and then seasoned with salt and pepper. I alway err on the side of less is more. You can always add more later if you need it. Then I mixed everything together and spooned a small amount onto the salami. I topped it with one or two crumbles of gorgonzola. I found that the creaminess of the cheese really cuts through the acidity of the tomato and basil and compliments the crispiness of the salami. You eat it all in one bite for the ultimate party in your mouth. Delicious!
We had another smeared-poop disaster with Jaxon, so I arrived a bit late to my dad’s without a movie. Lizzie canceled due to an “illness”, but my dad believed that she was just upset that I didn’t move movie night to Saturday (although she knew I had previous plans and sounded okay when I told her I had to keep our original Friday date). Since it was just the three of us, we decided to watch Silent Running, an ecological sci-fi movie from the 70s.
The plot revolves around Lowell, an ecologist responsible for tending to Earth’s last remaining plant life, contained in six greenhouse space domes. I realize that Lowell is crazy from the get go. He’s been up in space for the past eight years without any company except for the trees and a few rabbits. There seems to be a rotation of other crew mates, but Lowell seems to have more in common with the flora and fauna than with his human ship mates. The plot begins to unfold when the government decides to shut down the greenhouse program due to funding cuts. The crew is ordered to blow up the domes and return to earth. It’s celebration time for everyone save Lowell. He’s taken an ecological oath (prominently displayed above his bed) to protect the forests. Lowell ignores the orders and continues tending to the plants. After four of the pods have exploded, something snaps in Lowell and he kills one of his crew mates. Then, in an apparent blood-lust, he murders the other two crew mates – consequently blows up one of the domes he had vowed to protect. He fakes a ship malfunction when his superiors start to ask questions and sends himself, the last remaining dome, and three drones (renamed Huey, Dewey, and Louie) careening into Saturn’s gaseous and deadly rings.
There were several very interesting parallels between this movie and the times we live in now. Before his killing spree, Lowell harangued his crew mates for eating fake, in-organic food (ala the Jetsons or McDonalds type cuisine). He argues that they should join him in eating cantaloupes; they have scents, and taste, and well… he grew them! Earth has become static, stale, and stock. He bemoans the lack of uniqueness and variety. As he continued his tirade, I envisioned the plethora of shopping centers, each one one stocked with Home Depot or Lowes, Walmart or Target (sometimes both), Chilis, Starbucks, Best Buy and McDonald’s… encased in faux stone trim and sprawling parking lots. I too felt Lowell’s distress. The slow evolution towards a life of sameness seemed inevitable. Perhaps that is why I secretly loathed suburban life… everything set up for the “gimmie-nows” at the expense of individualism and freedom.
As Lowell’s ship sails further from earth, he slowly spirals into madness. Lowell begins to consume the bland microwaved junk he berated his crew mates about earlier in the film. When Huey (or Dewey, couldn’t really tell them apart) chides him for eating rubbish, Lowell awakens from his madness and runs into the forest to harvest his beloved cantaloupe. Instead he finds that the forests are dying due to lack of sun. As he’s setting up lights that mimic sunlight, he’s found by a search crew. Knowing that his murders will be discovered, he sends the last greenhouse dome into space with Dewey and then blows up Huey and himself.
The movie ends and my only question is, if all plant life was extinct on earth, why did they blow up the domes? Why didn’t they just send them into space like Lowell did? Hmmm.