Eat & Watch: Eggs and Bacon & Love Story

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A few months ago, I finally watched the classic Love StoryI absolutely loved it and I adore Jenny, Ali MacGraw’s character. Jenny and Oliver together are an unstoppable couple, and their romance felt genuine and light. It is one of the best romantic movies I’ve seen. There are a couple of eating scenes in the movie, but this one stuck out to me because of how simple it is: eggs and bacon. There’s not even anything else on the plate. Plain, simple, and delicious. The recipe for this Eat & Watch? Simple: scramble two eggs and add salt and pepper; cook bacon. Voila! The next time you are having a lazy Sunday morning, cook up some eggs and bacon and fall in love all over again with Love Story.

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{Photo via Paramount Pictures; food photos by Lauren}

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Eat & Watch: Architect Birthday Cake & Three Men and a Baby

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Ever since I personalized my Netflix account, the movie suggestions have been on point. One of these suggestions was Three Men and a Baby, a classic and one of the movies I used to watch when I was younger (though at the time I definitely didn’t get the drug storyline). At Peter’s birthday party, he was presented with this amazing cake, which was appropriate for him since he is an architect. I thought this themed birthday cake was such a fun idea, and it would not only be a great cake for the architect in your life, but it would be the perfect thing to eat while watching this movie. Hang Batman from this crane, and then put them on top of this double layer chocolate cake. Don’t forget extra long candles to place near the base of the crane!

Image via Three Men and a Baby

Eat & Watch: Pasta with Homemade Chunky Tomato Sauce & Diana (2013)

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Apart from random tidbits here and there, I didn’t know much about the life of Princess Diana. I was too young to follow her in the news or really understand what her death meant in 1997.  When I saw Diana (2013) on Netflix Instant, I was intrigued. I knew nothing about her secret romance with Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, or about the timeline of events between her divorce and final days. I thought Diana could have been a stronger film if it had more depth, a clearer depiction of what allegedly happened, and more insight into why Princess Diana was incredibly beloved by the world. However, the romance between Diana and Hasnat was moving, and I enjoyed the cinematography of the film, with many close-ups and quick jumps and zooms in and out.

During an early scene when Diana and Hasnat are on their first date, Diana has her friend come over to make them dinner. Diana’s friend tells her that all she has to do is “boil the pasta for 8 minutes and drain.” We see Diana escape to the kitchen to microwave the homemade tomato sauce and serve dinner as if she had prepared everything. On the plates we see shell pasta with a chunky tomato sauce, which I have recreated (my recipe below). Diana confronts Hasnat when he picks at his food, and he tells her that he wants a hamburger. I do have to say, though, that this homemade tomato sauce is so good that you won’t be craving a Burger King hamburger.

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Homemade Chunky Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

3 tomatoes (diced)
4 garlic cloves (chopped)
1 large sweet onion (chopped)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon thyme
Basil for garnish

Directions

1. Heat olive oil in sauce pan on medium heat.
2. Add onions, garlic, salt and pepper. Heat until soft and onions are translucent (5-6 minutes).
3. Add tomatoes and thyme; simmer for 25-30 minutes while stirring occasionally.
4. Boil shell pasta for 8 minutes, drain, and serve with sauce on top.

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{Food photos by Lauren; Diana photos via Ecosse Films}

Eat & Watch: Tennis Ball Confetti Cake & the U.S. Open

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Today marks Day 1 of the U.S. Open 2013. I’ve played tennis for school and love watching tennis matches on T.V., so the next couple of weeks will be exciting. To kick-off the start of the U.S. Open, I thought it would be fun to celebrate with a tennis ball cake. Underneath the tennis ball exterior is a homemade confetti cake (I used this vanilla cake recipe and added my own sprinkles for a confetti effect), since this is a celebration after all. This year I’m rooting for my usual favorite suspects: Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, John Isner, Venus Williams, and Serena Williams. Unfortunately, due to a shoulder injury, Maria Sharapova won’t be participating in this year’s matches, but otherwise I would definitely be rooting her on. So, while you’re watching the U.S. Open, indulge in a vanilla confetti tennis ball cake to make these next two weeks even sweeter.

To give the tennis ball cake a ‘fuzzy’ texture, dab the icing on with your spatula or use a paper towel to dab the icing once you have applied it to the cake. For the green tennis court, simply use green M&Ms. For a round cake, I used this sports ball pan set. Enjoy!

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{Photos by Lauren}

Eat & Watch: Lavender Scones & Ladies in Lavender

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If you’ve seen my ‘All Things Lavender’ post, you are well aware that I love lavender. While lavender is useful for relaxation and for curing bites and cuts, lavender is also amazing in food. During a trip to the farmer’s market, I picked up some cooking lavender with a couple of recipes in mind. I’ve never made scones before, so that was the first recipe I wanted to try using this freshly picked lavender. These lavender scones would be enjoyable with the film, Ladies in Lavender, a British drama film set in a Cornish seaside village. Ladies in Lavender is about two sisters (Judi Dench and Maggie Smith – two greats!) who befriend a mysterious man who washes up on their beach after a storm. Set in the 1930s, this film was inspired by a short story by William J. Locke. Even though this film is a drama, I found it to be peaceful, and the performances by Dench and Smith are magnetic.

While scones originate from Scotland, we often associate scones with Britain, so I figured these scones with a British film were a great match. Not only that, but in the film, the two sisters are seen enjoying tea with what looks like scones (though they could be crumpets). I followed Bon Appetit’s Sweet Lavender Scones recipe (without the lemon curd and sanding sugar for personal taste preferences), which was simple to follow and a breeze to make. Drizzled in honey or syrup, these scones are great for breakfast or a midday snack.

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{Scone photos by Lauren; film photo}

Eat & Watch: Almond Biscotti & Come September

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Set in stunning Italy, Come September (1961) depicts Rock Hudson, as Robert Talbot, an American millionaire who owns an Italian villa which he visits one month out of the year. When Talbot makes an unexpected visit to Italy, his overseer has turned his villa into a hotel. However, Talbot is too consumed with Lisa, played by the beautiful Gina Lollobrigida, to fully realize the situation, which is both hilarious and romantic at the same time. Come September is one of those movies I repeatedly watch because it is a quality romantic comedy with talented actors and located in a gorgeous environment.

While you watch this 60’s romantic comedy, eat warm almond biscotti – plain or dipped in chocolate – and enjoy a large latte. This biscotti was incredibly simple to make, and it turned out delicious. Biscotti is an easy morning snack or a perfect coffee sidekick. Come September with almond biscotti makes for a delightful Italian morning/afternoon/evening. Buon appetito!

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Almond Biscotti

Ingredients:

1. 2 cups of almonds (whole or slivered) + 1/2 cup of almonds
2. 2 cups of all-purpose flour
3. 3/4 cup sugar + 1 1/2 tablespoon of sugar
4. 3 large eggs
5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
6. 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
7. 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Bake whole or slivered almonds on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes until golden brown. Let cool.
3. In a food processor or VitaMix, pulse 1/2 cup of almonds and 1 1/2 tablespoon of sugar until finely ground.
4. Add flour, salt, and baking powder and pulse 4-5 times until mixed.
5. In a bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar, 3 eggs, and 1 tablespoon of vanilla on a high-speed until thick (about 4 minutes). Reduce speed and add flour mixture.
6. Add the 2 cups of whole or slivered almonds into dough.
7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough (which will be very sticky) into 2 halves. Wet your hands with water and mold each half into 2 logs about 2″ by 11″ and smooth the top.
8. Bake for 40 minutes until golden brown – they won’t expand too much, so it’s okay if they are on the same baking sheet.
9. Remove the 2 loaves from the oven. Using a sharp bread knife, slice the loaves into diagonal pieces. You can make these pieces as thin or thick as you would like, but usually they are 1/2 inch slices.
10. Bake the sliced piece for another 20-25 minutes until they are crispy. Flip them halfway through to ensure that they are crisp on both sides.
11. Enjoy warm or allow to cool before dipping into chocolate/coffee.
12. *For chocolate dipping, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips or 60-70% cocoa and simply dip each cookie. For extra taste, grind 1/2 cup of almonds in the food processor/VitaMix and sprinkle over the chocolate.

{Photos by Lauren, Come September}

Eat & Watch: Chocolate Croissants & It’s Complicated

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I hold a special place in my heart for romantic comedies. Actually, two directors in particular: Nora Ephron and Nancy Meyers. I saw It’s Complicated (2009) in theaters, mainly because I love Nancy Meyers movies and Meryl Streep. And Steve Martin, obviously. There’s a scene where Meryl and Steve’s characters sneak into Meryl’s bakery late at night where she teaches him how to make chocolate croissants. The sequence is flirtatious and fun, but it also made me crave pastries. After seeing that movie, I was inspired to make chocolate croissants, but I haven’t gotten around to it until now (recipe here). I usually prefer plain croissants, but after tasting these fresh out of the oven, I am hooked. These croissants are delightful and will make you want to pack up all of your belongings and hop on the next flight to Paris so you can enjoy them every morning.

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Watch the scene:

{Photos by Lauren; It’s Complicated}