Friday, May 13, 2011

It could be worse.

Yesterday will go down in history as a date that will forever live in cyberspace infamy.

Yesterday Blogger crashed.

Thankfully, the site is now back up and running.  But unfortunately for the people who compose their Friday posts on Thursday nights, this was a bit of a thorn in my ass.

Your regularly scheduled Sugared Cinema post and the photos to accompany it are sitting on the Mac at home with no place to go.  Sorry folks.  Although I suppose it could be worse.

I could be stuck in an elevator with a porcupine coming off of a three day speed binge.

I could be the designated Quality Control taster at the Grape Nuts plant.

I could be Naomi Campbell's personal assistant.

I could be the editor-in-chief for the National Tax Journal.

It could be Thursday.

Happy Friday, kids.  If you see Blogger, smile and give them a discreet little warning pinch in the side for me.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


When I was at my parents' house on Sunday, my mom pulled out a folder of my old grade school stuff.  I found this note in there. 

4th grade.  The year when baby fat ruled my world and sticks and stones would have been a welcome change of pace.  If given a hot tub time machine, I would travel back to 1989 and thank those little shitheads, whose daily heckling helped me discover my backbone and inadvertently taught me a lesson that I'll carry on to my own kids one day.

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be a-holes.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sugared Cinema: Stand By Me (1986)

I'm kinda hungry, who's got the food?
Oh shit! Did anybody bring anything?
No! Gordie?
Oh, this is great. What are we supposed to do, eat our feet?
You mean you didn't bring anything, either?
Well shit, this wasn't my idea, this was Vern's idea!  Why didn't you bring something?
What am I supposed to do, think of everything? I brought the comb!
Great, you brought the comb! What do you need a comb for? You don't even have any hair!
I brought it for you guys so...
Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey! Let's see how much money we've got.
Ok, I've got a dollar two...sixty-eight cents from Chris...sixty cents from Teddy...

Seven cents, Vern?

The year was 1986.  Paul "Dundee" Hogan received a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy.  A pre-home videoed Tommy Lee married Heather Locklear.  And Rob Reiner, who would go on to direct future classics like The Princess Bride and When Harry Met Sally (both of which I've not seen much to the dismay of anyone with eyes), helped bring one of Stephen King's short stories to the big screen.  Stand By Me. 

While my childhood adventures never included a search for dead bodies, the movie always evokes a nostalgia for those final days of summer spent with friends.  Before the reality of a new school year set in, before the #2 Faber-Castells were sharpened, before the insomnia inevitably kicks in the night before the first day...there were those Stand By Me days.

Today's recipe is in honor of one of the best narrative scenes from the movie and, quite possibly, in cinematic history.

Slowly, a sound started to build in Lardass' stomach. A strange and scary sound, like a log truck coming at you at a hundred miles-an-hour. Suddenly, Lardass opened his mouth, and before Bill Travis knew it...

 ...he was covered with five pies worth of used blueberries. The women in the audience screamed. Bossman Bob Cormier took one look at Bill Travis and barfed on Principal Wiggins, who barfed on the lumberjack that was sitting next to him. Mayor Grundy barfed on his wife's tits. But when the smell hit the crowd, that's when Lardass' plan really started to work. Girlfriends barfed on boyfriends. Kids barfed on their parents. A fat lady barfed in her purse. The Donnelley twins barfed on each other, and the Women's Auxiliary barfed all over the Benevolent Order of Antelopes. And Lardass just sat back and enjoyed what he'd created - a complete and total...barf-o-rama. 

Blueberry Pie.  Easy as...well yeah.
Recipe from

Makes one 9-inch pie

3-4 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
2/3 cup granulated sugar
7 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
3 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
one prepared pie shell

While this recipe calls for a 9-inch pie plate, I couldn't resist using my grandma's old mini pie tins.  They were just too darling to pass up. 

Preheat your oven to 375 F.

Rinse and drain the blueberries with cold water.  Remove any stems and mushy berries from the bunch.

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients:  sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and allspice.  Mix well.

Add the water and lemon juice and mix well.  Again.

Pour the blueberries into the prepared crust.  Pile 'em up.  They'll shrink down as they bake.

Evenly pour the sugar-liquid mixture all over the berries.

Cover the top with another round of pie crust and pinch the edges to seal.  Cut a few slits in the top to vent.

Brush the top with a mixture of beaten egg and a small amount of water.  Bake the pie for 1 hour.

Let the pie cool before cutting.  If you have the patience, it tastes even better the next day.

In case it wasn't obvious by the shoddy crustwork and use of pre-made dough, pies are foreign territory to me.  This filling is ridiculously easy to make and totally piqued my interest in pie-making.  Just gotta work on the crust.

So yeah.  Make this pie.  It's awesome.

P.S.  It won't make you barf.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Hey.  Let's forget about work for a few minutes.  Go ahead and minimize that mind-numbing spreadsheet.  Put your phone on "Do Not Disturb" mode.  The weekend is only four days away and I vote we do something fun.  Let's play a round of "If..."

Something sweet

If you could watch/listen to/consume only one of each for the rest of your life, what would you pick? 

Album:  Hmm.  Three-way toss up between Amy Winehouse - Frank, the Sweeney Todd soundtrack and N.E.R.D. - In Search of...

Movie:  Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Food:  Pizza.  I know.  So predictable.  A suitable answer for a kindygartner.  But this is a craving that never goes away.  Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime!  The jingle engineers over at the Bagel Bites HQ had the right idea, even though I never questioned the fact that suppertime and the evening are pretty much one and the same.

Drink:  iced tea, unsweetened or Yards Pale Ale

Something sweet:  a fudge brownie

Now, my choices aren't necessarily my all-time favorites.  The key here (since we are talking eternity and all) is replay value.  For example, Fleetwood Mac's Rumours = one of the best albums of all time.  But would I want to listen to it everyday?  With the exception of The Chain, probably not.  My favorite dessert is a butterscotch bread pudding they serve Berry White's restaurant.  Freaking insane.  But would I be able to eat it everyday?  No.  It's a dessert I prefer to save for special occasions or every other week, whatever comes first.

Now a brownie, on the other hand, is an entirely different story altogether.  To bite off the words of Juno MacGuff:  as far as sweets go, brownies are totally boss.  They are the cheese to my macaroni.  And I could, without a doubt, eat one every day until the end of days.

I used a boxed mix for the Sex Panther brownies a few weeks back but it wasn't until a hankering hit the other day that I realized I didn't have a go-to recipe for "from scratch" brownies.

King Arthur came to my rescue.

 Seriously Ridiculous Fudge Brownies
Recipe from King Arthur Flour

Makes 2 dozen brownies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder (I omitted this)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips (omitted these, as well)

Preheat your oven to 350°F.  Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.

In a medium saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter.  Stir in sugar.  Heat until the mixture is hot (but not bubbling) to help dissolve more of the sugar.

In a separate medium bowl, combine the cocoa, salt, baking power, espresso powder (if using) and vanilla.  Beat in the eggs.

Add the butter mixture to the bowl and stir until smooth.  

Finally, add the flour (and chips, if using them) and stir once more until smooth.  The battle will be thick like delicious, chocolate-y mud.
Pour the batter into your prepared pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.

Cool completely before hacking in.

Yep.  Great replay value.