Monday, December 20, 2010

Dinner and a (Christmas-ish) Movie: Bridget Jones's Diary

Okay, this movie is kind of ridiculous. But, you know, Colin Firth is in it being dashing and dark haired and grouchy and Mr. Darcy-ish, which is actually more than enough reason to watch it. I think I enjoyed it more when I saw it in the theatre, though. Since this time it came on the heels of the much more, uh, subtle comedies The Holiday and Love Actually, it really just struck me as very cartoony. Not always in a bad way, but still. I cringed a lot. And me, I'm dorky and awkward enough in my real life. I don't need to be horrified by someone else's social disasters.

Also, some of the best scenes in the movie are the ones where she interacts with her three good friends and I just couldn't enjoy them! Because you know what? The actor who plays her funny, gay, male sidekick is the same actor who plays creepy, horrible Gaius Baltar on Battlestar Galactica. This may not seem like a big deal, but I could not get over it. I spent four seasons of BSG being horrified by and furious at that character and I'm just not willing to let all that good hatred go to waste.

As we're all learning, nobody eats in romantic comedies. This one, despite Bridget's constant whinging about her weight, is no exception. But after she gets dumped by Hugh Grant's character (dumped, as her friends say, "for a naked American") she does get really into drinking. "I will not be defeated by a bad man and an American stick insect," says our heroine, "Instead, I choose vodka... And Chaka Khan."

penne vodka

Vodka! Bingo! No, I did not just give up on my blog and go drinking. (Tempting.) Instead I made Penne Vodka, a dish I'd been curious about for a while. Does vodka actually enhance the taste of a tomato sauce in a significant way?

In a word, no. At least not when I made it. Though I did veganize a recipe that called for heavy cream and Parmesan cheese, so maybe my Belsoy cream and no cheese just didn't give it the flavour it needed. All was not lost, however, because the tomato sauce recipe I followed was stupendous. And so easy. Why have I never made this kind of tomato sauce before?

shedding their skins

The recipe I used was this one from the Food Network website. The tomato sauce uses regular old canned tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, and a few herbs. That's it. It needs to simmer for an hour, though, so maybe make it on the weekend. The only modifications I made were using fresh roma tomatoes instead of canned (you can see them up there in the photo, shedding their skins after being dunked in boiling water), and adding a tablespoon of maple syrup to control the acidity instead of the butter (!?) that the recipe suggests. I would have happily just eaten this sauce on my pasta instead of doing the whole vodka and soy-cream thing as the next step. The final product with all the vodka and cream added wasn't horrible, it was just not super exciting. However, we still enjoyed big bowls of it with the same vegan Caesar Salad as I made to go along with our fettuccine last week. A nice Sunday dinner, vodka or no vodka!

This is my last movie themed post, thanks for all the encouragement, friends! I had fun. I'll continue to post through the holidays (cooking during the day when it's light enough to take photos! Hooray!) though maybe not as regularly as I usually do. I am quite looking forward to forgetting what day it is because they all run together in a blur of cookies, novels, naps, and tea.



Anonymous said...

Cookies, novels, naps and tea. Heaven.


Sarah P said...

I completely forgot he was the gay best friend! I've been rewatching BSG lately, and imagining Gaius in that role instead makes it easier to watch him.

Sarah B @ Bake + Bike said...

Ah I love the sidekick (and Shazzer)! Did not realize he played a creepo in BSG.

I thoroughly enjoyed these holiday movie-themed meals!

Anonymous said...

this was a really cute post!

I have a bottle of vodka in the freezer that may not get spilled into some pasta sauce tonight ;)

Vegyogini said...

I love the word "whinging!" Maybe because I'm American and don't hear it much. As I said in a previous comment, I love "Love, Actually" and "The Holiday!" I do like "Bridget Jones's Diary," but more as background than to fully watch. :) I'm a little surprised you didn't veganize Bridget's blue-tinted soup!