Thursday, February 26, 2015

Oscars and Eating go Together

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Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 3:00 am
I’ve always loved the movies. My mother used to give my brother and I a quarter Saturdays and we’d go to the boulevard theatre on Revere Beach. The movie was 12 cents and the giant Hershey bars — at least I thought they were — cost a nickel.
A few years later my mother and her boyfriend took us with them on Sunday night movies at the RKO Keith Theater in Boston. We’d stop at Pizzeria Regina in the North End for an amazing pizza experience. Even more special were the vaudeville acts during intermission.
As a teenager, it was Friday night at the Seville in East Boston. Afterward, we would go to the Neptune Diner for a grilled cheese and a frappe. A dream date. I realized that my husband, Todd, was my perfect soulmate when we went to our first movie together and discussed it afterward over Chinese food.
We still consider Saturday movie day. We often go to the Kendall Theatre in Cambridge to see good non-Hollywood-type films, but we saw nearly every movie nominated for this year’s Oscars. So I really looked forward to Sunday’s Academy Awards. I used to host Oscar parties where everyone dressed as their favorite actor/actresses, but this year it was more leisurely. Prior to the show, we dined on the ultimate comfort food — meatloaf — and chilled prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine. It was just the two of us, as I get impatient when there’s too much chit-chat. I love every moment of Oscar and hate to miss any of it.
My meatloaf mixture is the same as when making meatballs, so feel free to make both at the same time.
— Soak three slices of Italian or any firm bread, crusts removed, in milk.
— After five minutes, squeeze the milk out of the bread.
— In a bowl, beat a large egg and add the squeezed out bread and a pound of ground beef (or a combination of a third ground veal, beef and pork), mix it to incorporate it without overworking it, as it will get tough if you do.
— In the meantime, chop a small onion in very tiny dice, soak a handful of raisins in water, chop a few sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley and a clove of garlic and add to the bowl.
— Sprinkle a quarter cup of grated Parmesan cheese over the mixture and drain the raisins and add them, too. Mix gently to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
— Grease a flat baking pan and pour the meat mixture onto it and shape into a loaf about 2 inches by 10 inches — or 2-inch balls for meatballs.
Bake in a 350-degree oven until golden brown, or for meatballs, bake for 15 minutes then turn and bake another 15, then simmer in sauce for 45 minutes.
Gravy for meatloaf
— Heat three tbsp. of olive oil in a small pan and add a half cup each of chopped carrot, onion and celery or fennel and gently sauté.
— Add three tbsp. of flour and cook for a few minutes.
Add two cups of chicken broth and three tbsp. soy sauce and simmer for five to 10 minutes on low heat.
— Serve a nice baguette to make an open faced sandwich with a slice of meatloaf covered in gravy. I made a green salad with fresh strawberries and for dessert I made rocky road ice cream, which was our treat during the Oscars. After popcorn, of course.

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