Meatballs: 1 egg, beaten 1 lb ground pork 1/2 cup oatmeal 1/4-1/2 cup milk 1 tsp kosher salt 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 small onion, diced 1 tsp dried thyme
Soup: 1-2 Tbsp olive oil 1 lb mushrooms, sliced 1 1/2 small onions, diced 2 stalks celery, diced 2-3 cloves garlic, minced 1 bunch kale, chopped 2 tsp dried thyme 1/4 cup butter 3-4 cups chicken or beef stock 1 1/2 cups heavy cream Salt and pepper to taste
Combine the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Form the mixture into small meatballs (I used a 1.5 Tbsp cookie scoop).
Heat olive oil in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides. Remove the meatballs and set aside.
Brown the mushrooms in the same pan, adding a little bit of stock, water or white wine to deglaze the pan. Salt the mushrooms well. Cook until mushrooms are well browned, then add the onion and celery. Saute until soft and translucent, then add the garlic, thyme and black pepper.
Add the kale and cook until wilted, then add the flour. Stir in the flour and cook for a few minutes longer until everything is combined and the flour is slightly toasted. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.
Once the soup is simmering, add the meatballs and the heavy cream. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve hot.
2 large heads napa cabbage 1 tsp salt 1 lb ground pork 1/2 cup uncooked white rice 1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped 2 large eggs, beaten 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil 1 Tbsp light soy sauce 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce 1 Tbsp Shaoxing rice wine One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated 6 cloves garlic, minced Freshly ground white pepper 1 bunch scallions, chopped
2 Tbsp light soy sauce 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce 1 Tbsp Shaoxing (Chinese cooking wine) 2 cups low sodium chicken broth or water
Remove 24 large outer leaves from the heads of cabbage (take 12 from each). Roll each leaf with a rolling pin gently to flatten and smooth it. Core half the remaining cabbage and chop it very fine. Sprinkle it with 1 tsp salt and set aside in a colander.
In a large bowl, mix the pork, rice, mushrooms, beaten eggs, sesame oil, light and dark soy sauce, Shaoxing wine, ginger, garlic, salt, and a generous amount of black pepper. Stir in the scallions . Press and drain any remaining water off the salted cabbage and stir the cabbage in as well.
Place a steam rack in the instant pot. Combine sauce ingredients and pour in the instant pot, then place a layer of remaining cabbage leaves on the steam rack.
Lay a prepared cabbage leaf down with the stem end facing you. Place about 2⁄3 cup meat mixture onto the stem end of the cabbage leaf. Fold in the sides and roll up the leaf, then place the bundle, seam side down, in the instant pot. Repeat with the rest of the cabbage leaves and meat mixture, placing additional leaves between each layer in the instant pot. (If you have any leftover mixture it can be rolled into meatballs and tucked between the cabbage rolls to cook with them.)
Lay any remaining leaves on top, then cook on high pressure for 17 minutes, then wait ten minutes before releasing the pressure.
This year at XOXO 2018 there was a project called Dear Future Me, in which attendees were encouraged to write a postcard to themselves which will be mailed to them in August next year, before the next XOXO. I did not get around to writing a postcard to myself, partly because I had a hard time putting into words what I wanted to tell my future self. Maybe I have the words now, although they still feel too awkward and strange in my head to fit neatly on a postcard… But what I keep thinking I want to express to future me is that I hope they have learned to accept the love and friendship that now abounds in their life with more grace and less fear. I never want to lose the sense of wonder and gratitude that I have for this bounty but I would like to be a little less surprised by it.
This weekend I would probably be in Portland, OR for XOXO like I was the last three years if there were one this year. I appreciate the Andys taking a break and although I’m missing it this year, I’m also kind of glad to have a break. It’s always a good idea to take some time to rest and/or reflect at some after major creative endeavors. Every year it has meant something different and greater than the year before and I’m sure that will continue to be true if (when) it comes back.
I’ve seen Lauren Ashley Carter described as the “Audrey Hepburn of indie horror” and I was convinced that’s true by this film alone. She absolutely carries this dark little fever dream of a horror flick, filmed in black and white about a woman acting as caretaker in a large house with a dark past and a forbidden room. It’s beautiful and strange — much more atmosphere than story, and I highly recommend it if that’s your thing (as it is mine).
I had intended to focus on mostly Giallo this week but this movie disturbed me so much that I was reluctant to go further down that route. Although I am generally a fan of Giallo in general and Dario Argento in particular, I just kept thinking about the fact that he was filming his daughter in incredibly sexualized rape scenes, which just feels so creepy to me.
The title is a reference to an actual condition where a person has an extremely intense response to an experience, particularly art — and the movie opens with Asia Argento’s character, police detective Anna Manni, being affected by it while in the midst of pursuing a serial killer/rapist. She’s captured by this killer multiple times and the focus of the movie is really on how this affects her, which was an interesting spin, despite the creepiness.
I’ve decided to watch 31 horror movies this month and then write about it. You can read part 1 here. For this week I decided to watch non-Western horror, which really ended up being just Japanese horror. I had added a few Korean films to my list but I didn’t get around to watching any of them so maybe next week (though I’m also planning to throw in some Giallo — Dario Argento, Mario Bava, etc). I was also struggling with insomnia this week which meant I was tired and didn’t have as much time and energy to watch stuff, so I ended up watching fewer movies and towards the end I switched back to American stuff.
“From Takashi Shimizu, director of The Grudge and Ju-On horror films” — according to Amazon. Takashi Shimizu is one of my favorite horror directors of all time, and I was a bit surprised to find something of his that I hadn’t seen already. When I realized he didn’t direct it, I understood; the actual director is Issei Shibata, someone I’ve never heard of and who has only three directing credits. This is a pretty silly movie, about three models who are doing a fashion shoot with some creepy old men at an abandoned (haunted) school. The special effects are mostly ridiculous video effects, like distorting the characters’ faces when they’re manifesting the evil.
I don’t have anything against direct to video — the original Ju-On (The Grudge) was direct to video as well, and it was one of the first horror movies to scare me in a long time. This is no Ju-On, however. It’s a terrible silly movie.
I’ve decided to watch 31 horror movies this month and then write about it. Here are all of the movies I watched in the first week of October, in chronological order.
1. The Exorcist
Normally I have a “no Christian mythology” rule for my horror, which is why I hadn’t seen The Exorcist before. I didn’t end up finishing it before it left Netflix, but I saw enough to feel like my rule was warranted. We have an “ancient evil” unearthed in Iraq, a beleaguered single mom/actress (played by Ellen Burstyn) who sees her once loving and cheerful daughter literally possessed by demons. I’m sure a lot has been written about the movie as an analogy for the ways mother/daughter relationships can become problematic as puberty approaches but I don’t think that’s particularly interesting.
The thing that surprised me the most about this movie was how much of it ends up being medical/body horror, as they perform various tests on Regan to find out what’s wrong — including a “spinal tap” that looks a lot more like “let’s stick a tube in your jugular.” Following that, there’s a conversation with one of the doctors about whether to consult a psychiatrist or not and he says “let’s explore all of the medical avenues before we start looking at somatic possibilities” which I just found to be a fascinating statement. I would hope that some thirty years later we have a better understanding that there isn’t a sharp bright line between psychiatric issues and so-called medical issues.