Dinner And A Movie Monday – Open Range

It’s no secret I’m a Kevin Costner fan. Not for his looks (even though he has dreamy eyes) or his voice (a raspy midwestern twang) or any physical trait. I like the way he brings his characters to the screen. He usually plays a loner, someone who lives life his own way, hesitant to speak his mind yet firm in his beliefs.

Open Range is a fine example of this. He wrote, co-produced and starred in the 2003 film. It’s the story of open range cattlemen driving their herd cross country. Along the way, they encounter a vicious land baron who hates open rangers. He kills one of their hands and leaves the other for dead. The trail boss, Robert Duvall, pursues justice. But Costner’s character, Charley Waite is trying to overcome his violent past and wants no part of the fight.

One of my favorite parts of the movie is one of the scenes between Charley and the doctor’s sister (Annette Bening). They recognize the good in each other and during the course of the movie, they fall in love. But he tells her he isn’t good enough because of the things he’s done. That’s when she says “People get funny ideas, about what they are or did. They can’t see what they can be.”

I wish I had a dollar for every time I cooked a pot of beans and baked a skillet or cornbread. Serve them with jalapeno pepper or sliced onion and drown the cornbread in butter. Comfort food.

Open Range is a classic western with beautiful scenery and a touching love story.

Beans and Cornbread

  1. FOR THE BEANS:
  2. 4 cups Dry Pinto Beans.
  3. 4 slices Thick Bacon (can Also Use Salt Pork, Or Ham Hock, Or Diced Ham)
  4. 1 teaspoon Salt.
  5. 2 teaspoons Ground Black Pepper.
  6. FOR THE CORNBREAD:
  7. 1/4 cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Shortening.
  8. 1 cup Yellow Corn Meal.

Dinner And A Movie Monday – The Painted Veil

The Painted Veil is based on the 1926 play by W. Somerset Vaughn. On a brief trip back to London, a young doctor (Edward Norton) is dazzled by Kitty Garstin (Naomi Watts) a vain London socialite. He proposes; she accepts but only to get away from her mother, and the couple travel on to Walter’s medical post in Shanghai, where he is stationed in a government lab studying infectious diseases. They find themselves ill-suited. Kitty is much more interested in parties and social life.

She has an affair a married British diplomat. Walter finds out and threatens to end their marriage unless she accompanies him to a small village in remote China, where he’s volunteered to treat victims of cholera. Kitty begs to be allowed to divorce him quietly, but he refuses. He’s determined to make her as unhappy and uncomfortable as possible.

Walter and Kitty barely speak to each other and, except for a cook and a Chinese soldier assigned to guard her, she is alone for long hours. Out of boredom she goes to the orphanage and begins to work to pass the time. She learns to value and admire her husband for the first time. He recalls when he first met her and falls in love all over again. As Walter’s anger and Kitty’s unhappiness subside, their marriage begins to blossom in the midst of the epidemic crisis. This movie is a beautiful story about two people learning how to love someone other than themselves. I love the way Kitty’s character evolves. She finds happiness when she finally sees her worth and Walter’s and realizes what they can have together. My sister and I watched The Painted Veil a few years ago, but it is definitely one to watch again

Chinese Chicken

This is one of my go to meals. It’s quick. It’s easy and hubby loves it.

Brown 1 lb chicken tenders in 3 T olive oil. Add seasoning (salt, pepper Soy sauce). Stir in 1 package frozen Asian vegetables. Cook until slightly tender. Add 1/2 to 1 can water chestnuts. Serve over rice or dry noodles. Serves 4

Dinner And A Movie Monday – Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain is one of my all-time favorites. Wikipedia calls it a sleeper hit, and I can’t help but agree. Everything fits together. The characters, the scenery, the music. In my opinion, Anthony Minghella did a spectacular job on this civil war epic based on the novel by Charles Frazier. 

It’s the story of a wounded Confederate deserter’s struggle to go home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina, to reunite with the with the woman he loves. Although they hardly know each other, the love they have shared throughout the war gives them hope. Keeps them from giving up.

Each character has his own unique story. Together, they give us a brief glimpse of life in the south during civil war years. If you’ve never watched it, please do. If you have seen it, watch it again.  

Roast Chicken

Every time I see the scene where Renee Zellwigger wrings the rooster’s neck, it reminds me of Gone With The Wind. I can’t imagine eating a rooster, but I’m sure it happened a lot during the war. And I’m sure they ended up roasting the tough old bird, hoping to make it more tender.

Ingredients

  • One 3-pound roasting chicken rinsed and patted dry, neck and giblets reserved
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, thyme or savory leaves in any combination
  • 3 garlic cloves: 1 peeled and crushed, 2 lightly smashed
  • 1 large lemon, washed
  • 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 2 shallots, peeled, and cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 sprigs thyme

Instructions Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a small piece of foil just large enough to cover the chicken’s breast in a roasting pan; brush it with a little oil. Set aside. Rinse the bird inside and out with cold water; pat dry with paper toweling. With a thin, sharp knife, cut the excess fat from the neck and hind cavity of the chicken and discard. Sprinkle the chicken evenly inside and out with salt and pepper, rubbing it into the skin. Stuff the herb leaves and the crushed garlic clove into the cavity. Prick the lemon about 25 times each with a toothpick or skewer. Stuff it into the cavity of the chicken. Using toothpicks or trussing needles, pin the neck and hind cavities closed. Place the chicken breast down over the oiled piece of foil in the roasting pan. Nestle the neck, giblets, carrot, shallot, smashed garlic cloves and thyme around the chicken. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the bird breast up and carefully peel off the foil taking care not to rip the skin; discard. Roast 20 minutes longer, then increase the oven temperature to 400’F. Roast the chicken 20 to25 minutes longer, until the skin is brown and crisp and the juices run clear when the leg is pricked with a kitchen fork. An instant-read thermometer inserted in the breast should read 140′. Remove the toothpick from the hind end. Lift the chicken with two wooden spoons and tilt it slightly so the juices run out of the cavity into pan. Place the chicken on a platter and keep warm. Pour the pan juices into a small measuring cup. Let settle 3 to 4 minutes, then carefully skim the fat off the surface with a tablespoon. Pour the juices back into the roasting pan set over moderate heat. Add the wine and simmer, stirring to dissolve any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, about 5 minutes until the alcohol has cooked off. Skim off any fat or scum that rises to the surface. Strain the sauce into a small bowl, discard the neck and giblets and taste for seasoning. You will have about 1/2 cup of flavorful, natural juices. Carve the chicken, dividing it into four equal portions. Pour any juices that have collected on the plate into the sauce. For a lemony sauce, squeeze the lemon into the pan juices. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of the pan juices over each portion of chicken.

Enjoy the movie. Try out the chicken. I’ll see you next time!