Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Amber Ale Beef Stew over Garlic Mashed Potatoes

2 pounds lean beef or lamb chunks, cut in smaller pieces
2 medium onions diced
1/2 cup peeled fingerling carrots
1/4 cup frozen green peas
1 cup button mushroom stemmed and cut in quaters
4-5 cloves garlic sliced
2 bay leaves
1 bunch parsley chopped
2 cups beef stock
1 cup amber ale or stout (I used a Chocolate Stout once and it was great!)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1 tsp sugar
olive oil
salt and pepper

Add some olive oil and butter in a large heavy pot with lid. Brown meat on both sides while sprinkling salt, pepper and flour in high heat. Set aside, juice and all. In the same pot, add onions, garlic, carrots, saute for 3-4 minutes. Put back the meat. Add bay leaves and beef stock, bring it to a boil. Add beer. Boil 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and put cover on. Cook for 1 hour. Add peas and mushroom. Cook another hour. The liquid should be significantly reduced and meat be melt-in-your-mouth tender. Garnish with parsley.

Mashed Potatoes:

2 large potatoes peeled cut in quarters
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp milk
salt and pepper

Boil potatoes and garlic 10-15 minutes or until cooked. Drain, mash potatoes and garlic while adding butter, milk, salt and pepper.

Put some mashed potatoes in a bowl and top it with the beer stew. Feeds 3 hungry men or 4-5 normal people.

Teen Amour Fou: I'm Gonna Explode

Voy a Explotar/I'm Gonna Explode (2008) - Naranjo
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It starts with Roman (Juan Pablo de Santiago), an upper class trouble kid getting expelled from a private catholic school by plotting murderous rampage in his note book. The film is narrated by another troubled soul Maru (Maria Deschamps), and they hook up after her school talent show where Roman performs his "See you in hell" routine. They are match made in heaven. They decide to hide out on the roof of Roman's big mansion (his dad is a sleazy congressman) while grown-ups scramble around to find them.

The natural soft look with crushed black and handheld camera work are just gorgeous. Guanajuato an affluent town in Acapulco backdrop is also beautiful. The two young leads are great, especially Deschamps, with her frizzy hair and mischievous baby face. Their daily routine on the rooftop is playful and funny. Roman keeps trying to have sex with Maru to no avail. These young teens interactions are very natural and endearing. But you feel the inevitable is approaching. Their days in paradise isn't gonna last long.

If I'm Gonna Explode is saying anything, it's the reflection on the blank generation. Roman and Maru get bored. It's just like Simpson's episode where Bart tries to imagine Itchy and Scratchy show in his head all by himself after the show gets canceled- "Nothing can't beat the imagination of a 10 year old boy", Bart tells himself while the mouse & cat ldling, looking at the watch and each other and shrugging their shoulders in his mind. The bigger problem with I'm Gonna Explode is in Naranjo's writing. Once stuck in the mold of its predecessors, namely French New Wave, it has to end predictably, hence wasting all the youthful energy and charm of its characters it fed off of. The other teen Amour Fou this year, Love Exposure, albeit directed by a less classically trained director, Sion Sono (Naranjo went to AFI, Sono was an underground poet), works a lot better in many different levels. Still, clocking at mere 105 minutes, the film captures what it feels to be young and an outcast perceptively. The film is fresh and Deschamps is adorable.