Category Archives: Vegetarian

Takin’ It Easy: Spinach Pie!

September 21, 2005

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INT. MR. R.’S MANSION–KITCHEN–DAY

The afternoon light warms the kitchen to a comfortable and sleepy temperature. Caryn sits at her table trying to stay awake. A magazine slips from her grasp and hits the floor with a THUD.

Caryn bolts upright as Flora enters.

CARYN

His lunch is on the counter.

Flora looks at the carefully prepared tray: spinach pie with a delicate, flaky crust, steaming tomato soup and a chilled glass of water with a lime wedge. Even a flower in a small glass vase.

CARYN (CONT’D)

Any sign of life in there?

Flora shakes her head no and takes the tray.

FLORA

Thank you, Caryn.

CARYN

Yeah, send him my regards.

Flora exits. Without a moment’s hesitation, Caryn returns to her nap.

Spinach-Ricotta Pie

Don’t put yourself out. Phyllo (filo) dough is actually so easy to work with and turns out a great dish. Be sure to thaw the dough completely before unrolling it.

1 lb. bag of baby spinach (about 15 cups)

2 TB. olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

2 TB. fresh oregano, chopped

4 eggs

4 oz. low-fat ricotta cheese

2 oz. parmesan, freshly grated

1 tsp. salt, divided

1/2 tsp. black pepper

4 TB. butter, melted

12 sheets phyllo dough

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Bunch or roll a handful of spinach leaves together, cut into thin strips. Repeat until all spinach is chopped. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Add spinach, oregano, and 1/2 tsp. salt to the onion. Cook over high heat until nearly all the liquid has evaporated from the spinach, about five minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

4. Beat eggs in large bowl. Add ricottta, parmesan, pepper and remaining salt. Stir until smooth. Add spinach mixture.

5. Brush the bottom and sides of a 13×9 baking pan with butter. Arrange half of the phyllo sheets in the bottom of the dish to cover and extend 1 inch up the sides (trim excess if necessary). Brush with butter.

6. Spoon spinach mixture over phyllo dough. Cover with remaining dough and neatly tuck the edge under. Brush with butter and diagonally score the top with the tip of a sharp knife.

7. Bake until pastry is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cut into 8 large squares and serve hot.

Serves 8.

IMBB #18: Frying Up Green Tomatoes!

August 28, 2005

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INT. TRAILER–DAY

The air conditioner of the trailer is going full blast, but it doesn’t stand a chance against the hot oil that sputters in front of Caryn as she chats on her cell phone and pokes around in the oil with a pair of tongs. She flips over a battered slice of green tomato to reveal a blonde, crispy underside.

CARYN

Mm. These are perfect. They remind me of home.

INT. WINNIE’S APARTMENT–SAME

Winnie cradles the phone on her shoulder as she paints her toenails a blazing red.

WINNIE

Yeah, I’ll have to pick up some of my own at the Farmer’s Market today.

She shoots a look outside where the heat is rising off the pavement in daunting waves.

WINNIE (CONT’D)

It’s so hot out there, you could fry ‘em on my front porch. And speaking of home, when are you coming back?

INT. TRAILER

Caryn drains the tomatoes on some paper towels and starts another batch.

CARYN

I wish I knew. They really don’t tell me anything.

The door of the trailer swings open and Amelia clambers in.

AMELIA

Caryn, you really should come to set. Your boss has been in a feverish fight with his co-star all morning. It’s quite a scene.

CARYN

(in her cell phone)

I gotta go.

She flips the phone closed, turns off the stove and hotfoots it out the door with Amy.

EXT. MOVIE SET

Caryn and Amelia arrive just in time to see Mr. R. scamper onto the set, just ahead of an inflamed Miss A. It seems that more crew than usual are swarming around the fiery display.

DIRECTOR

Action!

Miss A. immediately transforms her searing look into a dazzling smile, but Mr. R. refuses to look at her as the scene plays out. Caryn and Amy draw blistering looks from the sound crew as they whisper to each other during the shot.

CARYN

What happened?

AMY

No idea. They’ve been at it all morning.

Mr. R. smashes a glass on a painting behind him just as the director yells…

DIRECTOR

Cut!

Miss A. takes a fervent step towards Mr. R., but the director interrupts.

DIRECTOR (CONT’D)

Perfect! And that, my friends, is a wrap for our gentleman star!

Mr. R. looks up in shock. He had no idea that was his last shot.

DIRECTOR (CONT’D)

Let’s thank him for a truly radiant performance.

The cast and crew erupt in applause as Mr. R. steps off the set. Miss A.’s surprise is only slightly greater than Mr. R.’s but she wastes no time in chasing him after him.

Without looking back, Mr. R. quickens his pace. He grabs Caryn by the arm and yanks her with him.

MR. R.

Pack quick. Let’s get out of here.

Caryn and Mr. R. bolt from the hot pursuit of the raging actress.

CARYN

Don’t you want to eat first? I made–

MR. R.

Make it to go. We gotta burn some rubber, baby!

Caryn gasps to keep up with him. She doesn’t care, though. She’s going home.

I planned, fried and photographed these tomatoes for IMBB #18 before I saw that Nic from Bakingsheet had the same idea. Her oven-fried green tomatoes look wonderfully luscious (and probably lighter!), so try whichever recipe suits your fancy. The important thing to remember here is that tart green tomatoes are only around for a short time of the year, so get frying!

Fried Green Tomatoes

4 medium green tomatoes

1 cup flour

3/4 cup cornmeal

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

vegetable oil, for frying

1. Slice tomatoes into thick slices (about 1/3″). Stir salt and pepper into flour. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Place flour, eggs and cornmeal in three separate, shallow bowls.

2. Working 1 slice at a time, dredge in flour, dip in eggs and dredge in cornmeal. To avoid fingerprints in the coating, hold tomato slice around the edges. Place on baking sheet and repeat with remainging slices.

3. Heat about 1/2″ of oil in large, heavy skillet until hot enough for frying (350-375 degrees). Gently place one layer of slices in the oil (about 4-5 slices). Fry slices until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining slices. Serve hot with a sweet and spicy salsa.

Serves 4.

High Drama: Eggplant Parmesan!

August 20, 2005

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INT. TRAILER–SOMEWHERE IN OHIO–DAY

A now refreshed Caryn stirs a bright red tomato sauce simmering on the small stove in the kitchen. She tears leaves of basil into the sauce when the trailer door swings open.

Miss A stomps in with a tattered Confederate uniform sagging off her small frame and a fake rifle swinging at her back. She is surprised to see Caryn, but is less than cordial.

MISS A.

Oh, you’re back already? Where is he?

Caryn shrugs her shoulders.

MISS A. (CONT’D)

Well, he’s not on set, so he can’t be far. Tell him I’m looking for him.

She leaves the door open as she traipses back out. Caryn tastes the sauce and adds more basil.

INT. TRAILER–LATER

A fully costumed Mr. R. scrambles in and swiftly closes the door behind him. Caryn is salting thick slices of deep purple eggplant piled in a collander.

MR. R.

What’s that? Eggplant?

CARYN

Yes. From a local farm.

MR. R.

Great. I’m going to go read in my room. If anyone comes by, tell them I’m out.

He slips into the small bedroom portion of the trailer and slides the door closed. Caryn takes some mozzarella from the fridge.

INT. TRAILER–LATER

The breaded eggplant slices sizzle in hot oil as they fry to a golden brown. Caryn must leave them unattended to answer the pounding on the door.

An indignant Lauren is standing on the other side.

LAUREN

When did you get back? Where is he?

CARYN

I don’t know, but I’m really busy here.

Lauren beams her gaze through Caryn to scan the trailer before she backs up.

LAUREN

Tell him I’m looking for him.

INT. TRAILER–LATER

The kitchenette is now clean from the debris of the simmering, salting and frying. Caryn removes a hot casserole dish from the oven, thick tomato sauce bubbling from underneath a layer of crisped mozzarella and parmesan.

The bedroom door slides open again and a sleepy-eyed Mr. R. emerges.

MR. R.

I assume you had to field a couple hotheads, eh?

CARYN

Yeah. Clearly I missed some stuff while I was away.

MR. R.

You didn’t miss anything. I have to get back to set.

He spots the steaming dish of Caryn’s labors.

MR. R. (CONT’D)

Bring me some of that?

Caryn nods as he returns to the set. She digs into the eggplant and scoops some onto a plate. The door violently opens again.

MISS A.

Where the heck is he?!

CARYN

You just missed him. He went back to set.

Miss A. lets out an ugly grunt and storms back out. Caryn follows with the plate of eggplant parmesan, eager to watch the show.

Eggplant Parmesan

I love Gourmet‘s Eggplant Parmesan recipe, but I substitute two large cans of peeled roma tomatoes for the fresh tomatoes, which helps to reduce some of the labor. I also sometimes use whole milk mozzarella instead of fresh mozzarella.

A very hearty, vegetarian dish, it tastes even better the next day. After it has been refrigerated, it easily cuts into the nice, neat squares pictured.

Family Recipe: Garlic & Green Beans!

August 9, 2005

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INT. MR. R.’S HOTEL SUITE–NIGHT

One fantastic dinner is spread out on the table before Mr. R., Miss A. and Lauren. Enough food for twice their number. But the trio doesn’t even notice the extensive preparation as they are absorbed in the company of each other.

MISS A.

(laughing)

And if he didn’t yell “Cut!” when he did, I thought I was going to die!

MR. R.

I’m fairly certain he did that on purpose.

Laughs all around.

MISS A.

This movie just gets more insane every day.

Lauren sits back and smiles contentedly.

LAUREN

Let’s just hope it earns us all an insane amount of money.

The conversation continues, the food gets cold. But it doesn’t matter to Caryn because unbeknownst to anyone in the room, she has snuck out.

INT. CARYN’S ROOM–SAME

Caryn stands before the mini-bar fridge in her room. She has emptied out the tiny bottles and chocolate bars and replaced it with some of her own groceries.

A bag of green beans ages gracefully on the middle rack, but Caryn selects it anyway. She snags a head of garlic that also looks like it has seen better days.

Hot oil heats in a wok, rigged up to a hot plate. Caryn sets about cleaning the green beans. She is hungry and tired. She has big plans for these beans.

INT. MR. R.’S HOTEL SUITE–LATER

Most of the cast and crew on this movie are asleep. Caryn, however, is cleaning up the vast mess that was left for her. She periodically grabs one of her green beans, now transformed into a salty, garlicy creation.

Mr. R. enters wearing a plush hotel bathrobe tied loosely at his waist and drying his wet hair with a small towel. A green bean hangs from Caryn’s mouth when she spots him. She quickly munches it up.

CARYN

I thought you went to bed.

MR. R.

Nah, just in the shower. What are you doing here so late?

She pauses in her work and contemplates his question.

CARYN

Mr. R., I really think I need some time off. When we get to Ohio tomorrow, I’d like to take two days for myself.

The seasoned actor lowers the towel from his head with the precise amount of concern.

MR. R.

Um, sure. Take whatever you need.

CARYN

Great.

The pair stands in silence for a moment. Caryn considers the pile of dishes still on the table.

CARYN (CONT’D)

Okay, good night.

She grabs her green beans and answers his previous question by a quick exit to her room.

Uncle Barry’s Garlic & Green Beans

My Uncle Barry, born and raised in China, is one of the best cooks I know. He has many perfected dishes in his repertoire, but he is always willing to experiment. This dish is one of the most requested at family dinners. Use a wok as a frying pan if you have it.

1-2 lbs. of green beans

3 tsp. finely chopped garlic

vegetable oil

salt

1. Remove the tips and strings of green beans.

2. Soak the green beans in water for about two minutes and drain off the water.

3. Heat enough oil to cover beans until very hot. Deep fry the green beans until there are wrinkles (about 3 to 5 minutes).

4. Remove the beans from frying pan and drain off oil from pan.

5. Add garlic to pan and roast for 30 seconds. Add green beans and salt.

6. Let garlic and green beans sit for about 2 minutes (over low heat, to get the garlic flavor). Serve.

No Time to Cook: Hummus!

July 5, 2005

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EXT. TRAILER–SOMEWHERE IN UTAH–EVENING

A truly gorgeous evening in the mountains. Caryn sits on the steps, thumbing through a local paper. Amelia strolls up from a trailer down the row.

AMELIA

I see you made it to Utah.

CARYN

Why is a Civil War movie shooting here anyway?

AMELIA

They needed to simulate the Smokies. When Hollywood thinks of mountains, they think of Sundance. It’s the closest to nature they get.

Caryn laughs as the door opens and Mr. R. appears with a napkin tucked in his shirt collar.

MR. R.

Are we back from dinner?

Amelia gives him her most flirtatious smile.

AMELIA

Five more minutes.

Mr. R. nods and goes back inside. Amelia immediately returns to her normal professional self.

AMELIA (CONT’D)

After we wrap, some of the other assistants are coming to my room to hang out. Can you make it this time?

Caryn inadvertently checks the door behind her before responding.

CARYN

Um, I guess so. I mean, sure. Can I bring anything?

AMELIA

Maybe just some dip or something.

CARYN

I make a pretty good hummus.

AMELIA

Oh please, no. Just pick up something at the store. Who has time to cook?

She laughs at the thought and starts down the row again.

AMELIA (CONT’D)

See you later then.

Caryn waves goodbye before going in to assess the damage from dinner.

INT. HOTEL HALLWAY–EARLY MORNING

Caryn tiptoes down the hall carrying a large bowl that has been practically licked clean of the hummus that was in it. When she gets to her door, she unsticks a note taped to it.

NOTE: “Looked for you all night. In the future, please let me know if you are going out. –R”

She carefully replaces the note back on the door and slips inside without a sound.

Hummus

This recipe from my mother makes a delightfully creamy hummus. And it’s so simple…

Mix in Blender:

1 16oz. can chick peas

3-5 garlic cloves

3/4 cup water.

Blend well.

Add:

1 cup sesame paste (tahini)

1 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

2 tsp. salt

Blend well and chill.

Spicy Vegetarian Chili!

June 15, 2005

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EXT. SOMEWHERE IN MISSISSIPPI–MOVIE SET–DAY

Rain pours down in thick sheets over the expanse of the set now covered in blue tarp. Straggling crew members scramble to get the last pieces of equipment under cover.

LIGHTNING FLASH

Caryn jumps, knocking an empty can to the floor with a loud clang.

INT. TRAILER

Caryn chases the can over to the couch where Mr. R. sits like a sopping wet puppy with a towel draped over his shoulders.

MR. R.

They think they’re going to resume shooting today? Ha!

Caryn tosses the can in the trash. She stirs a spoon through a simmering pot of spicy chili. The multi-colored beans seem to be the only color in the trailer turned monochromatic from the pelting rain.

CARYN

This is ready. It’ll warm you up.

MR. R.

They should send us home.

Caryn prepares a bowl of chili, complete with a dollop of sour cream and snipped fresh chives. Mr. R. wraps his hands around the warm bowl.

POUNDING THUNDER shakes the trailer. Caryn backs against the wall. Mr. R. seems undisturbed, concentrating on the hot chili.

She quickly regains composure and collects the other cans from the counter. Mr. R. takes a break from his lunch to look out the window.

MR. R.

The storm is just getting started.

He looks over to his chef who is trying to remain cheerful amidst the gloom of the afternoon.

MR. R. (CONT’D)

Caryn, you should take the limo back to your room.

She looks up from her work.

CARYN

That’s very kind, but I’m okay.

He holds her gaze, not accepting her answer.

CARYN (CONT’D)

I have to clean up and–

MR. R.

Leave it! Just go. There’s no reason for both of us to be miserable here.

She pauses to examine her unfinished work. Slowly, she collects her things and heads to the door.

CARYN

Call me if you need anything?

He nods and returns to his chili. Caryn slips out, leaving her boss to brood alone in the mess she left behind.

Chipotle-Infused Vegetarian Chili

The chipotle peppers lend so much of their flavor to this quick chili, you’ll think it simmered all day long.

1 TB. olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

1 green pepper, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. oregano

2-3 canned chipotle peppers, chopped

2 15-oz. cans black beans, drained

1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained

1 15-oz. can pinto beans, drained

1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 can tomato paste

3 cans water

1. Heat oil in large, heavy dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and green pepper and saute until transulent and tender.

2. Add garlic and saute for one minute. Add cumin, oregano and chipotle peppers and saute 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Add beans, tomatoes, paste and water. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30-45 minutes, or until thickened.

Serves 8.

California’s Finest: Guac!

June 1, 2005

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EXT. SOMEWHERE IN MISSISSIPPI–MOVIE SET–DAY

Under one of the large, white tents, enough tables are set up for a few hundred people. CATERERS are busy setting up for lunch.

Caryn wanders around base camp, stretching her legs and looking around. She strolls up to the craft services table to investigate. A smorgasboard of snacks is spread out for all to partake. She grabs a little piece of chocolate.

WOMAN (O.S.)

Are you Mr. R.’s assistant?

Caryn turns around to be greeted by a prim, YOUNG WOMAN with a tight ponytail and stylish glasses.

CARYN

Um, yeah. I’m Caryn.

WOMAN

I’m Amelia. I’m the director’s assistant.

CARYN

Oh wow. That sounds like fun.

Amelia picks up a tortilla chip and cracks it into two pieces.

AMELIA

It’s okay. Your job sounds like more fun. How is it to work for him? He seems soooo cool.

Amelia dips the chip particle into a bowl of brownish guacamole and eats it.

CARYN

Yeah, it’s okay, I guess.

AMELIA

You’re so lucky. He’s even hotter in person than on screen. And he’s so charming.

She stirs the water back into the guacamole and scoops another helping onto the other half of her chip. The CRAFT SERVICES MAN comes up and places another bowl of chips on the table.

CRAFTY MAN

How do you like the guacamole? I just made it fresh.

Caryn takes another glance at the gloppy mess.

AMELIA

It’s really good. Thanks.

Amelia’s cell phone starts buzzing away at the clip on her belt.

AMELIA (CONT’D)

Oh! I gotta go. Caryn, come over to our trailer later. Some other assistants are gonna watch a movie.

Caryn smiles and nods enthusiastically. Amelia grabs another chip on her way, but Caryn opts for an apple.

EXT. TRAILER–LATER

A FedEx box with Caryn’s name on it leans against the trailer door. Caryn rips it open to find a box full of fresh California avocados.

She peeks inside the box looking for an explanation and finds a brief note scrawled on paper.

NOTE: “Thought you might miss California by now. Punky is happy but shedding orange fur all over my couch. Call us sometime. –Matt”

She flips over the note to discover a recipe in the same handwriting.

Matt’s Guacamole

in my opinion, the key is absolutely fresh ingredients and nothing

extraneous. the simpler the better. also i personally hate tomatoes in guacamole.

3 medium California Haas avocados

1/2 cup red onion

1 tbsp minced cilantro

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp lime juice

1 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste

salt & pepper to taste

1. peel & pit avocados. mash the pulp in a bowl.

2. combine with remaining ingredients and adjust salt, pepper, and

cayenne to taste.

serve immediately with Frito’s(r) brand corn chips or cover & refrigerate.

(mark bittman claims that including the avocado pits in the dip helps prevent the guacamole from turning brown if it is prepared up to 4 hours in advance. i don’t know if this is actually true, but it is definitely true that leaving it out for awhile will allow the guacamole to turn a really disgusting shade).

- M

p.s. just kidding about the fritos.

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.

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.

Chop, Chop: Chopped Salad!

April 25, 2005

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INT. MR. R.’S MANSION–KITCHEN–EARLY AFTERNOON

Caryn digs deep into the fridge and pulls out several tupperware containers from the back. She examines the contents skeptically. Lauren enters and tosses some papers on the counter.

LAUREN

Here. I need you to fill these out so we can add you to the movie’s payroll.

Caryn grabs a few more items from the fridge. She closes the door with her foot.

CARYN

Is production starting soon?

LAUREN

Well, yes. But he won’t be needed for a couple more weeks.

Caryn unloads her arms by a cutting board.

CARYN

So I won’t be needed for a couple more weeks either?

Lauren licks her teeth under her lips as she eyes Caryn.

LAUREN

Right. Something like that.

Caryn empties the contents of the tupperware on the cutting board. She begins chopping a pile of vegetables with her chef’s knife.

LAUREN (CONT’D)

You know, there’s not much to do on a movie set. You’ll probably get bored after the first week.

Caryn shrugs her shoulders as her knife settles into a steady rhythm.

LAUREN (CONT’D)

I feel badly that he’s dragging you into this. Someone with your talents probably has much bigger aspirations than cooking from the kitchen of a trailer.

CARYN

I’m sure I’ll be okay.

Caryn starts hacking away at a carrot. Lauren looks down the bridge of her nose at the bits of vegetables.

LAUREN

Suit yourself. But you better hurry up with that. He’s been asking for his lunch for half an hour.

The sound of the knife stops abruptly as Lauren walks out. Caryn pops a piece of carrot in her mouth and resumes chopping.

CARYN

Always nice chatting with you.

Chopped Salad

Vary this salad by including or substituting any number of ingredients: corn, blanched green beans, sweet peas, grilled chicken, avocado, fresh basil, fresh dill, green onion, fresh spinach, iceberg lettuce, red or yellow peppers. It’s also nice with a seasoned vinaigrette.

2 medium zucchini, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, finely chopped

2 roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped

1/2 cup hearts of palm, finely chopped

1/2 cup garbanzo beans, finely chopped

1/2 cup water chestnuts, finely chopped

1/2 cup baby corn, finely chopped

4 cups baby greens, finely chopped

Salt and pepper, to taste

Toss all ingredients in large bowl with enough dressing to lightly coat vegetables.

Serves 2 large salads or 4 side salads.

Buttermilk Dressing

1/4 cup mayonnaise

2 TB. sour cream

1-1/2 tsp. onion powder

1-1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. parsley flakes

1/4 cup buttermilk

Stir together mayonnaise, sour cream and spices until smooth. Stir in buttermilk until desired consistency is reached.