Archive for December, 2010

I’ve developed a new respect for Marlon Brando

December 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Maron Brando - An American Icon


Seriously, dear readers, I didn’t even mean to do it. It’s like, I just rediscovered my love out of the blue.

Sure, starting out with Apocalypse Now a few weeks ago was kind of jarring. Throughout the course of the movie when Martin Sheen’s character looks over the dossier and realizes that there is more to Colonel Kurtz than the lunacy assumed (which is why he was to “terminate… with extreme prejudice”) it almost makes one feel sympathetic. That is, until he gets to the Cambodian base to execute Kurtz. Brando stays in the shadows (apparently this was something he demanded from Coppola because he’d gained a lot of weight) and speaks mostly nonsense. It’s then that Willard realizes that Kurtz indeed has gone mad and must proceed with the assassination.

Next on the hit parade was A Streetcar Named Desire. Stanley Kowalski is written as an abusive drunk, evil through and through. Brando gives him a charisma that makes it hard to turn away any time he appears on the screen. Yes, he abuses Stella, drinks too damn much, and eventually rapes Blanche. But, one can see why Stella can’t get enough of that man. I can see how this was the film to catapult his movie career.

Superman is probably my earliest memory of Brando. Yes, it even predated The Godfather in my lexicon. Why? Because a 5 year old usually isn’t allowed to watch The Godfather. I remember thinking “That guy with the white hair and glowy suit is pretty cool… I like his voice”. He makes a great Jor-el, in my personal opinion.

Over the coming weeks I plan to watch Last Tango in Paris and On The Waterfront to complete my Brando-worship. Good way to go, no?

Categories: Movies

Recipe: Caldo de Res (Tex-Mex style vegetable beef soup)

December 5, 2010 Leave a comment

This soup is definitely a favorite when the weather turns chilly. The great thing about it is is contains many different types of vegetables, and is broth based, not cream based. That means less fat and calories without sacrificing flavor, and that’s a plus.

To start with, you need a couple pounds of either beef oxtails or beef shank with the bone. Heck, even stew meat will work if you don’t have either:

Beef shank

Some stores carry a package that contains:

  • 2 carrots,
  • a potato,
  • a wedge of green cabbage,
  • a green zucchini squash (yellow summer squash is good too)
  • a yellow onion, and
  • 2 stalks of celery.

I liked this because it was way cheaper to buy this than buy bunches of this and that. Those (along with corn on the cob) make up the vegetable base of this dish.You will also need:

  • 3 cups of beef broth
  • Seasonings (salt, pepper, and garlic powder are cool)
  • 1 TB of cooking oil (canola or vegetable work well)
  • 1 TB of flour
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • (optional) – 3 TB of Knorr Caldo de Tomate powder. My husband loves this stuff, so I added it in for experimental purposes. If you’re looking for it at your local grocer, this is what it looks like:

Knorr Caldo de Tomate (powdered tomato bouillion)

Let’s begin:

  1. Chop up the meat, leaving some on the bones. Place the pieces in a big Ziploc bag with the flour, and shake it up. In a stockpot, heat up some oil, chop up the onion, and saute for a few minutes. Add the meat, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and cook until browned.
  2. Add the beef broth and water until the liquid level is about 1/2 inch above the meat. Let cook on medium-low for about an hour until the meat is tender.
  3. Chop up the vegetables, and add everything except the cabbage (don’t want to overcook it). Let cook until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add the cabbage, and let cook for another 10 – 15 minutes.

The finished result:

Homemade Caldo de Res, or Vegetable Beef Soup

This makes about 6 servings. My family likes to cook up some Spanish rice as a side to this. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and get some corn tortillas ready. Now you can rock and roll on a cold winter day.

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