Monthly Archives: May 2005

Skip the Donut, Fry an Apple!

May 28, 2005

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EXT. SOMEWHERE IN RURAL MISSISSIPPI–EARLY MORNING

Giant tents can be seen from quite a distance on the flat, Southern landscape. Dozens of WORKERS unload heavy, shiny lights from their big-rig trucks. Other FOLKS mill about a couple of steamy, catering trucks, discussing the day’s workload over their cups of coffee and donuts.

Row after row of trailers are lined up, indistinguishable from one another as PEOPLE pass in and out with clipboards and headset walkies. One trailer, however, wafts with the smell of frying dough and apples…

INT. TRAILER

Caryn has already made the new kitchen her home. She stands comfortably over the small stove, dropping rings into oil bubbling madly in her cast iron skillet.

Mr. R. lounges on the couch, script in hand and a napkin tucked into his shirt collar.

MR. R.

I can’t believe you brought an iron skillet all the way across the country.

CARYN

I would’ve shipped it, but I didn’t know where we were going.

(she pauses)

I’m still not quite sure where we are.

MR. R.

Me neither. All I know is that there isn’t a Starbucks in sight and Lauren has been on a latte-deprived rampage all week.

Caryn winces at the thought as she drains the rings. A timid knock sounds at the door before it is cracked open. The very young, shy SECOND SECOND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR peeks her head in.

2ND 2ND AD

Mr. R.? I think they’re ready for you in make-up.

Mr. R. rolls the script up under his arm and walks over to the girl in the door. She is clearly enamored with the star.

Caryn piles some crisp, doughy apple rings onto a napkin.

CARYN

Wait. Take these with you!

MR. R.

Ah! Perfect. Beats the heck out of craft services.

The 2nd 2nd looks at Caryn in wonder, but is afraid to speak. The pair heads off down the row to find another trailer. A couple CREW MEMBERS wander by nonchalantly, but as Mr. R. passes, they can’t help a quick glance back.

BATTER-FRIED APPLE RINGS

The tartness of a Granny Smith apple will cut through the cakey dough. The batter isn’t sweet, so you might want to add sugar. Or use a sweeter apple, like a Golden Delicious.

1 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 TB. shortening

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

4 medium apples, pared and cored

vegetable oil, for frying

confectioner’s sugar

1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening with a fork or two knives until crumbly. Add egg and milk. Whisk until batter is smooth.

2. Heat 1/2″ of oil in large, heavy-duty skillet until hot enough to fry. Test by dropping a tiny dab of batter into oil. If too hot, batter will burn before apples are cooked, so adjust temperature accordingly while frying.

3. Cut apples into 1/4″ slices. Dip apples into batter until well coated. Drop into hot oil. Fry until golden and apples are cooked through, about 2 minutes each side.

4. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with sugar just before serving.

Yield: About 2 dozen rings.

IMBB #15: Riesling Fruit Salad!

May 22, 2005

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EXT. VALLEY HOUSE–LARGE BACKYARD–LATE AFTERNOON

Matt is hosting a rousing barbecue of LA’s young and swanky crowd. PARTY GUESTS mingle by the barbecue pit that has been dug in one corner of the yard. Caryn and Winnie hang out near a table of salads, taking in the scene. Given the recent heat wave, they are appropriately dressed in cool linen.

Matt leads a tall, gorgeous BLOND WOMAN over to Caryn and Winnie. Her sparkling blouse and high heels might be better suited for cocktail hour, but she wears it well.

MATT

Caryn, Winnie. This is Lisa.

The ladies exchange greetings as Lisa scoots other plates aside to put down her colorful pasta salad.

CARYN

That looks very tasty, Lisa.

LISA

Thanks. I actually can’t eat it, though. I’m a carb-free vegan.

Caryn and Winnie share a look.

MATT

Caryn, what did you bring?

She points to her molded fruit salad, where peaches and pears glisten under a pale gold gelatin.

CARYN

It has a late-harvest riesling in it.

LISA

Ohhh, a jello salad. I liked those when I was a kid. How cute.

Caryn’s eyes narrow as she opens her mouth to respond, but Matt jumps in.

MATT

You must be thirsty, Lisa. Let’s go get a drink.

Lisa nods and heads towards the beverage table. Matt whispers back toward Caryn and Winnie.

MATT (CONT’D)

Hot day, huh?

He winks just as he is enveloped in a small crowd.

WINNIE

A carb-free vegan? What the heck does she eat?

Vic sneaks up behind Winnie.

VIC

Who are you two critiquing now?

Winnie links her arm into her fiance’s.

WINNIE

Are y’all ready to go? I’m tired already.

CARYN

Yeah, I have an early flight tomorrow.

Winnie pretends to pout at the thought. By the drinks, Matt leans in to whisper something into Lisa’s ear, causing her to break out in a high-pitched squeal of a laugh.

CARYN (CONT’D)

I don’t think we need to say goodbye. Let’s go.

EXT. FREEWAY–NEXT MORNING

A stretch limosine idles in the left lane of a jam-packed freeway that simply does not move.

INT. LIMO

Caryn and Mr. R. sit quietly on opposite ends of the plush car. She hugs her bag to her chest and watches traffic creep by as Mr. R. reads a book. After a moment, he sighs and snaps the book closed to examine the traffic situation.

MR. R.

I won’t miss this.

CARYN

I think we all need a little break from this city.

The traffic starts to pick up for no apparent reason and in little time they are breezing down the freeway, finally on their way…

This entry was posted as a part of IMBB #15: Has My Blog Jelled?. Check out the many other creative entries!

Riesling Fruit Salad

2 small peaches, peeled and sliced

1 pear, peeled and sliced

2 apricots, sliced

1/2 pint raspberries

1/2 pint blueberries

3 envelopes unflavored gelatin

2 TB. sugar

3 cups white grape juice

2 cups riesling, preferrably late harvest**

1. In small saucepan, sprinkle gealtin over 1 cup grape juice. Let stand 2-3 minutes. Stir in sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often until granules are completely dissolved. Remove from heat. Pour into a large bowl. Add remaining grape juice and wine.

2. Place bowl over a larger bowl half-filled with ice water. Let stand about 20 minutes or until gelatin starts to thicken, stirring occasionally. Whisk gelatin to form bubbles throughout. Stir in fruit. Remove from ice bath and pour into 8-10 cup mold. Refrigerate at least 8 hours until firm.

3. Place a plate upside down on top of mold. Invert onto plate. If gelatin does not release, dip mold up to rim in warm water for 5 seconds before inverting.

Serves 12.

**Sparkling grape juice can be substituted for a non-alcoholic version.

No Kidding: Pot Roast!

May 19, 2005

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INT. MR. R.’S DINING ROOM–EARLY EVENING

Mr. R. sits at the table with a thick book open before him. He is dressed in his usual Hollywood attire again and looking much refreshed. Caryn brings in the sliced roast on a large serving platter and a bowl of hot, buttery smashed potatoes.

Mr. R. looks up from his book and examines his dinner.

MR. R.

Is this what I’ve been smelling all day?

CARYN

Yes, sir. It cooked for almost four hours. Makes it soft.

MR. R.

Well, I’m finally hungry again. Looks great.

He spears a couple pieces of beef with his fork and drags them to his plate. Caryn pushes a bowl of sauce closer to him and he spoons it over the meat.

MR. R. (CONT’D)

Well, Caryn, are you ready to cook out of a trailer?

Caryn laughs.

CARYN

I’ve been packed for days!

MR. R. piles potatoes next to his entree.

MR. R.

Great, then you can help me pack.

Caryn backs up to the door.

CARYN

I think I better leave the packing to you and Flora. I’ve seen your shoe collection.

Mr. R. laughs as the beef seemingly melts in his mouth.

MR. R.

That’s funny, but I really wasn’t kidding.

Caryn slumps in the door.

CARYN

I know. I’ll get the suitcases out.

Blue Ribbon Pot Roast with Smashed Potatoes

After reading the fabulous article about pot roasts in Cook’s Illustrated, I couldn’t wait to try my hand at it again! The meat is fall-apart tender and incredibly tasty. Slice leftovers for hot, open-faced sandwiches the next day.

1 boneless, chuck eye roast (3-4 lbs.)

2 TB. vegetable oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1/2 cup carrot, chopped

1/2 cup celery, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tsp. sugar

1 can low-sodium chicken broth

1 can low-sodium beef broth

1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves

water

1/4 cup red wine

salt and pepper

2 lbs. small red potatoes

2/3 cup butter

1/2 cup half-and-half

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season roast with salt and pepper.

2. Heat oil in large Dutch oven. Brown roast until golden on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside. Add onion, carrot and celery. Cook over medium heat until starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sugar and cook for 30 seconds. Add chicken and beef broth and thyme. Return roast to pan and add enough water until liquid is half-way up the sides of the roast. Bring to a simmer.

3. Cover with a layer of foil and then the lid (foil makes seal tighter). Transfer pot to oven. Turn roast every 30 minutes and cook until very tender, about 3 1/2 hours.

4. Add potatoes to Dutch oven and continue to cook until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove potatoes from pan and set aside. Transfer roast to carving board and cover with foil.

5. When liquid is slightly cool, ladle into a large, heavy-duty plastic bag. Allow fat to rise to surface. Snip off corner of bag and drain liquid back into pot, stopping before fat layer is reached. Boil over high heat until reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Add red wine and boil 2 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper.

6. To make potatoes: Smash potatoes with fork or potato masher. Add butter and cream and stir with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with a pad of butter.

7. Meat can either be sliced or pulled into large pieces. Spoon sauce over meat. Serve with potatoes and remaining sauce on side. Garnish with thyme sprig, if desired.

Serves 6.

Bread from the Garden!

May 17, 2005

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EXT. CARYN’S APARTMENT–FRONT PORCH–EARLY MORNING

The sun is just beginning to brighten the morning sky. Green herbs are spilling over the sides of little pots that line the porch. Caryn sits with her coffee and a pair of kitchen shears. She bunches together some oregano sprigs in her hand.

CARYN

If I don’t clip you now, you’ll take over the porch by the time I get back.

She snips the oregano and drops it in a little paper bag. Punky sits behind the screen door, meowing for his breakfast as Caryn moves on to the rosemary.

INT. MR. R.’S BEDROOM–AFTERNOON

The curtains are all pulled tight against each other, keeping out any hint of the sun. The trash can by his bed overflows with tissues and dvd’s are scattered about the floor by the television.

Mr. R. is awake in bed. Caryn enters with a plate of just toasted bread, a butter pad sliding off the crust as it melts. She puts the toast on the nightstand and begins to straighten the room.

MR. R.

I can smell the herbs in it.

CARYN

That’s a good sign.

Mr. R. pulls apart the toast and eats. Caryn shoves the tissues back in the trash can and picks it up to empty it.

MR. R.

I bet you never thought you’d be playing nursemaid at this job.

CARYN

No, I guess not. But I’m glad to see you’re feeling better.

She opens the curtains just enough to let some light sneak in.

MR. R.

I am feeling better. In fact, I’ll take more of this bread.

CARYN

Of course. Lauren will be so thrilled to hear that you’re recovering.

She leaves with the trash can as Mr. R. growls and smushes the pillow up to his face.

Garden Herb Bread

This loaf is slightly dense and thus, holds up nicely to the rosemary. Substitute whatever fresh herbs are available to you. It’s a great bread for sandwiches.

1 cup warm water

1 tsp. sugar

1-1/2 tsp. yeast

3 TB. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

2-3/4 cups bread flour, divided

1 TB. each: fresh oregano, parsley, rosemary (finely chopped)

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in water. Let stand until foamy, five minutes.

2. In heavy-duty, stand mixer, blend olive oil, salt and 1/2 cup of flour until a thick paste forms. Slowly add yeast mixture and 1 cup of flour. Mix until smooth. Add herbs and 1/2 cup of flour. Switch to dough hook and add remaining flour by spoonful until dough pulls away from sides. Knead until elastic, about 8 minutes. Resist the temptation to add more flour. The dough will be very sticky.

3. Scrape dough into a well-oiled bowl with a spatula. Turn to coat. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

4. Turn dough onto lightly-floured surface. Let rest five minutes. Shape into a loaf and put into a lightly greased 9×5 loaf pan. Cover and let rise until dough nearly reaches top of pan, about 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 350. Bake loaf until golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 50 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and cool on wire rack.

Yield: 1 loaf.

Remedy: Lemony Chicken Soup!

May 13, 2005

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INT. MR. R.’S KITCHEN–DAY

The contents of the kitchen seem to be emptied onto the counters. Caryn is sorting through cookware and utensils, trying to decide what to bring with her on the upcoming trip.

Mr. R. enters, wearing sweats and a t-shirt. His hair is rumpled and there are dark circles under his eyes.

CARYN

What happened to you?

MR. R.

I don’t feel well. I think I’m getting the flu.

CARYN

The flu? In May?

MR. R.

My head feels like a balloon filled with cement.

He rubs his eyes with the palms of his hands.

CARYN

But you’re shooting next week. You can’t be sick!

He stumbles back towards the door.

MR. R.

Yeah, well, I am. Call Lauren and tell her.

INT. MR. R.’S BEDROOM–LATER

Mr. R. is curled up in a ball on his bed, sleeping peacefully. Caryn enters with a tray, steam rising from a bowl in the center. He rolls over at the sound of her.

CARYN

I made some soup.

MR. R.

(face in pillow)

I’m not hungry.

CARYN

Yeah, well, eat it anyway.

He groans and sits up. Caryn places the tray on his lap. He picks up the spoon and stirs the rice and tender chicken into the broth. Reluctantly, he takes a sip. The tart lemon cuts through the deadened taste buds. Caryn waits. He takes another sip.

MR. R.

Okay, okay. I’ll eat. Go away now.

She leaves the room, a bit of smugness in her gait.

Lemon Chicken-Rice Soup

The tang of lemon juice adds a new dimension to classic chicken soup. Adjust the amount of juice according to taste. The soup will thicken slightly the next day and the rice will soften, but it still tastes great. Really, I love this soup.

1 onion, whole and peeled

3 celery stalks, whole

3 carrots, sliced

1 3-4 lb. chicken

10-12 cups of water

2 tsp. salt, divided

1 cup rice, raw

1 cup fresh lemon juice

1. Place chicken in large stock pot. Add onion, celery, carrots, water and 1 tsp. of salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until chicken falls off bone, 45 minutes to an hour.

2. Remove chicken and cool in a colander. When cool enough to handle, shred meat and set aside. Discard celery and onion. Strain carrots and set aside.

3. To defat broth: pour broth into a large ziploc bag. Hold upright for a couple minutes to let fat rise to the top. Snip off one end of bag and pour broth into a bowl, stopping just before fat level is poured out. Repeat with fresh bag and remaining broth.

4. Return broth to stock pot. Bring to simmer. Add rice and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Return chicken and carrots to pot. Add lemon juice and remaining salt. Simmer for 5 minutes to blend flavors. Garnish with fresh lemon and serve.

Serves: I don’t know…a lot.

Delectable Discovery: Sconeage’s Granola!

May 11, 2005

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INT. MR. R.’S KITCHEN–MORNING

Caryn is preparing a breakfast tray when Lauren walks in, wheeling her carry-on luggage behind her.

LAUREN

Well, I guess I’ll see you on set next week. Of course, it’s not too late to change your mind.

Caryn puts on her best smile and opens a container of crisp, sweet oats and grains. She pours some into a little cup.

LAUREN (CONT’D)

Is this the granola he’s been raving about?

CARYN

Yeah, I got it at the farmer’s market last week. I just love it.

Lauren picks up the container to read the label.

LAUREN

He never liked granola before. Maybe I’ll try it.

CARYN

Sure, take that with you. I’ve got more.

A loud, gong-like DOORBELL interrupts the conversation.

LAUREN

There’s my car.

Lauren shoves the granola in her bag and shuffles the luggage toward the back door.

LAUREN (CONT’D)

Bye. I know you’ll miss me.

CARYN

Bye!

She watches out the window to make sure Lauren gets in the car. As the car drives away, Caryn gives in to the urge to do a little celebration dance.

For someone who doesn’t usually care for granola, Sconeage’s granola is just fabulous. It’s really fresh and gloriously sweetened with brown sugar. Yum!

The Sconeage Bakery

4339 East Anaheim Street

Long Beach, CA 90804

562-986-9990 ph.

Luckily, their products are all available online!

News, News: Cherries!

May 8, 2005

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EXT. FARMER’S MARKET–DAY

Caryn strolls the aisles in her wide-brimmed sunhat. Her shoulder bag sags with the weight of the vegetables and fruits.

One table has a giant sign that reads “First of the Season.” Cherries of all shades of red are piled around the sign. Caryn stops and samples one.

CARYN

A little too ripe, huh?

The other PATRONS pay no attention to her as they shove handfuls of cherries in their bags.

ANOTHER TABLE

Caryn squeezes a cherry to test its firmness and then bites into it.

CARYN

Mm. Perfect.

The CHERRY MAN smiles at her review. She starts to fill a bag.

CHERRY MAN

My only week of cherries this year.

Caryn stops abruptly.

CARYN

What?!

CHERRY MAN

Yeah, all the rain. My crop is already rotting.

CARYN

No!

The cherry man nods apologetically before helping another CUSTOMER who seems to be scrutinizing each cherry before he bags it. Caryn resumes filling her bag, saddened by the news.

INT. MR. R.’S KITCHEN–LATER

Caryn shells some fresh English peas as Miss A. bounds in.

MISS A.

Oo! Cherries!

She grabs a heaping handful of cherries from the bowl that Caryn had placed on the counter.

MISS A. (CONT’D)

I just love cherries.

Caryn tries to ignore her and continues her work. The cherries in Miss A.’s hand are gone in no time and she reaches for another handful.

MISS A. (CONT’D)

I’ve gained three whole pounds from eating here. I guess it’s a good thing I’m heading to the set tomorrow.

This catches Caryn’s attention.

CARYN

They’re starting the shoot?

MISS A.

Finally! One of my scenes is first, of course.

Miss A. pops yet another cherry in her mouth.

MISS A. (CONT’D)

I have to finish packing.

She grabs another handful of cherries before leaving. The once-filled bowl is reduced by half, but Caryn can’t help feeling invigorated by Miss A.’s news.

Yes, it’s true. Many cherry crops in California have been devastated by the late rains. Get what you can at LA Farmers Markets now!

Guilty: Gorgonzola Grit Cakes!

May 5, 2005

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INT. MR.R.’S MANSION–KITCHEN–EVENING

Fresh steaks marinate on the counter and a large skillet is coated with oil. But the kitchen is devoid of its cook.

INT. MR. R.’S MANSION–HALLWAY–SAME

Caryn meanders through the passageway, looking at the bizarre art on the walls. She stops at the bottom of a flight of stairs. She looks over her shoulder, but there is no one around. Caryn creeps up the stairs and peers around the corner.

INT. UPSTAIRS

Another hallway lined with doors. Haphazardly she chooses one.

INT. BEDROOM

Caryn finds herself in an elaborately decorated suite with a window that seems to hover above all of Los Angeles. By the teeny-sized and elegant clothing strewn about the room, it is clear that this is Miss A.’s room.

Caryn holds one of the dresses up to her body. She grunts at how much it doesn’t cover and tosses it aside. Backing up, she nearly trips over a pair of glittering silver stilettos.

To her credit, there is a brief moment of hesitation before Caryn kicks off her own boring shoes and slips into the Blahniks. She tiptoes across the room to a full-length mirror. She pulls up her pant leg to consider the new calf line.

MR. R.

Caryn.

Caryn cringes, afraid to turn around. Mr. R. stands behind her, his raincoat dripping on the floor.

CARYN

Yes….sir.

MR. R.

Dinner?

Her face crumples like a ball of aluminum foil.

CARYN

Yes, sir. Fifteen minutes.

INT. DINING ROOM–LATER

Mr. R. has changed into his jeans and t-shirt and he sits alone, reading. Caryn serves him the grilled steak, accompanied by a still sizzling grit cake that is starting to seep gorgonzola from the side. Mr. R. slices it in two with his fork and takes a bite as Caryn tries to exit.

MR. R.

Caryn.

She stops, head hung low.

MR. R. (CONT’D)

I don’t think there’s any reason to mention–

She musters a look over her shoulder at him.

MR. R. (CONT’D)

–your exploits…to A., do you?

CARYN

Um, no. Sir.

He resumes eating, but as Caryn escapes, a sly smile cracks on his lips.

Gorgonzola Grit Cakes

3 cups water

1 cup water ground grits (not instant!)

1 tsp. salt

3 oz. gorgonzola, crumbled

1 egg, beaten

flour for dredging

2-3 TB. vegetable oil

1. Bring water to a boil. Add salt and grits and lower heat. Cook until thick, stirring constantly, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in egg and gorgonzola, stirring until cheese is melted and well combined.

2. Pour grits into 8″ cake pan (round is better). Cool in pan and then refrigerate uncovered until completely set, at least an hour after cool.

3. With a 2-1/2″ round cutter, carefully cut grits into 6 rounds and remove from pan. Dredge rounds in flour.

4. Heat oil in large skillet until hot. Pan-fry grit cakes until golden, about 2 minutes each side. Serve immediately.

**Make sure that the oil is hot enough before frying or the grits will begin to fall apart before browning.

Makes 6 grit cakes.

Cha Gio: Cha Gio!

May 2, 2005

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INT. CHA GIO RESTAURANT–DAY–FLASHBACK

A much-younger Winnie rushes into the small and colorful restaurant, passing bamboo plants and walls lined with local art. She heads to the back where she deposits her backpack and kisses her petite and kind-faced mother, MRS. LE. Winnie straps on her red apron.

Mrs. Le hands her a plate of golden cha gio and says something in Vietnamese to her daughter. Winnie stacks the plate on her arm with another plate of vegetables and herbs and heads out into the restaurant again.

She sets the plates down on a table where a younger, then-unknown TY PENNINGTON sits alone. He smiles like a gentleman.

WINNIE

Anything else?

TY

Not yet, thanks.

Winnie returns the smile.

WINNIE

Good to see you again.

She heads off into the back of the restaurant to help her mother, leaving Ty alone to enjoy Mrs. Le’s famous cha gio.

INT. WINNIE’S APARTMENT–KITCHEN–PRESENT DAY

Winnie dips rice paper in a bowl of hot water and lays it on a towel. Caryn spoons filling on a sheet and precariously rolls it up. Vic stands over the stove, frying the fresh cha gio.

CARYN

Do you think if I wrote him a fan letter and mentioned that I can make cha gio, he’d respond?

WINNIE

Isn’t that why I’m teaching you?

Winnie watches Caryn over her shoulder.

WINNIE (CONT’D)

Roll them tight.

CARYN

I am. Can we try one now?

Vic strains the rolls and puts them in a colander lined with paper towels.

VIC

Yeah, let’s try em!

Winnie adds some red leaf lettuce to the garnish plate and hands it over to Vic. They each take a hot spring roll and wrap it in the lettuce with some fresh herbs.

WINNIE

Here.

She holds the little plate of dipping sauce out. Caryn and Vic dip their rolls in the sauce and devour the cha gio. Vic adds more rolls to the oil and they all reach for another cooked one to eat.

WINNIE (CONT’D)

My mom will be so proud of you!

Caryn accepts the praise like a little child. The clock behind Winnie catches her eye.

CARYN

Oh! It’s eight o’clock! Ty’s on!

Cha Gio Restaurant has recently merged with Wild Curry Thai, but Mrs. Le still cooks the traditional Vietnamese fare that has made the restaurant an Atlanta favorite for nearly thirty years.

Cha Gio Restaurant

132 10th Street

Atlanta, GA 30309

(404) 885-9387 ph.

Mrs. Le’s Cha Gio (Spring Rolls)

Filling:

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh chicken

1/2 cup rehydrated dried black fungus

1/2 cup cooked bean threads

1/2 cup chopped white onion

1/2 cup fresh crab meat

1/2 cup raw chopped shrimp meat

1/2 cup shredded carrots

1/2 cup bean sprouts

1 egg

fish sauce, to taste

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

8 round sheets of rice paper (or more, as needed)

vegetable oil for frying

Fresh vegetable and herb platter to eat with spring rolls (red leaf lettuce, mint, cilantro, basil.)

Nwoc Cham (Dipping Sauce):

1/4 cup shredded carrots

Tuong Ot Toi (crushed red pepper sauce), to taste

1 TB. lemon juice

1 tsp. granulated sugar

1/2 cup boiling water

fish sauce, to taste

For filling: In a bowl, mix together the chicken, black fungus, bean threads, white onion, green onion, crab meat, shrimp, carrots, bean sprouts, egg, fish sauce and white pepper. Set aside.

Dip each sheet of rice paper in warm water and place on a clean towel, just as you are ready to fill and roll. Put sheet on a flat surface. Put about 1/4 cup filling across bottom 1/3 of rice sheet. Fold 1/3 of sheet on left side over mixture and repeat with the right side. Starting at the bottom, carefully roll up as tightly as possible. Place spring rolls on platter.

When all spring rolls are completed, heat 1 to 2 inches of vegetable oil in a wok or deep skillet to 350 degrees. Place spring rolls in the hot oil folded side down to keep them from breaking. Cook 2 to 4 minutes per side or until they are a golden brown and ends are brown indicating that the ingredients are done. Drain and serve immediately.

For dipping sauce: Put carrots, crushed red pepper sauce, lemon juice and sugar in a small serving bowl. Pour the boiling water over the ingredients. Add the fish sauce to taste. Stir to mix. Serve.

Makes about 8 spring rolls.

Stocking Up: 99 Ranch Market!

May 1, 2005

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INT. GROCERY STORE–DAY

Winnie is sorting through some fresh bean sprouts. Caryn throws a box of sweet tamarind pods in the cart.

WINNIE

What are you going to do with those?

CARYN

I don’t know. Thought they looked fun.

WINNIE

Just don’t eat too many of them.

The girls push the cart past fresh water chestnuts, bok choy and lemongrass. They stop at the end of the produce section where an assortment of lettuces and fresh spices are piled together.

WINNIE (CONT’D)

Here we need some of this.

CARYN

Oh right, for wrapping. I can’t wait!

Caryn grabs a bag of shredded carrots and tosses it in the cart.

WINNIE

The best thing about this place is pre-shredded carrots.

They continue to the seafood counter where Winnie takes a number. Caryn teases the live crabs in their open pools.

WINNIE (CONT’D)

I can’t believe they haven’t started shooting this movie yet.

CARYN

In a few weeks, I think.

WINNIE

Where are you going?

CARYN

Still don’t know. I think they shoot half of it in the deep South.

The MAN at the seafood counter takes Winnie’s number. She points to some partially cleaned shrimp that are placed dangerously close to the shrimp that have all their legs and heads.

WINNIE

Maybe you’ll get to go to Atlanta!

Caryn smiles at the prospect and pushes the cart down the row to the meat counter. Winnie follows with her shrimp in hand.

CARYN

I’m gonna go stock up on gyoza wrappers. Meet me by the tofu?

Winnie nods and Caryn trots off with the cart.

INT. GROCERY STORE–CHECKOUT COUNTER–LATER

Winnie finishes unloading the cart. Caryn bags three different kinds of soy sauce with a half dozen other bottles.

CARYN

It never ceases to amaze how much stuff we make off with at this place. Everything is so cheap.

WINNIE

What time are we starting tomorrow?

CARYN

Well, I have to watch Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, so maybe five?

WINNIE

You just like saying that.

Caryn grins.

WINNIE (CONT’D)

Let’s make it four. We have a lot of chopping to do.

Winnie signs the receipt. Caryn reloads the cart with the bags.

WINNIE (CONT’D)

Can I con you into a lychee boba?

CARYN

Pfff. Of course!

99 Ranch Market

You can find just about anything you would ever need for Asian cuisine here. Fresh produce, seafood and meats are all at bargain prices. And they have shelves upon shelves of gyoza and wonton wrappers.

Find a store near you.