February 01, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day 2011!

Create an unforgettable Valentine's Day experience this year for that special someone in your life. Eat a gourmet home-cooked meal, then settle in for a romantic movie. Kokopelli's Kitchen has found some great recipes for a southwest meal and a Valentine's Day Movie Guide for you and your special someone.

The recipes that we've selected are from the "Gourmet Gringo" by Mari Meyers. Permission to print granted by Golden West Publishers, 4113 N. Longview, Phoenix, AZ 85014.

Tomatillo Chip Dip
Tomatillos are sometimes called Mexican or Spanish green tomatoes.
  • 6 ounces (about 4 medium) fresh TOMATILLOS
  • 1 large, ripe and soft AVOCADO, peeled and seeded
  • ½ tsp. fresh Mexican LIME JUICE
  • dash of GARLIC SALT
Remove husks from tomatillos; wash, halve and scoop out pulp. Purée tomatillos and avocado in processor. Blend in lime juice and garlic salt. Serve in a decorative bowl surrounded with tortilla chips. Makes 1 cup.

Camarones Al Mojo De Ajo
Shrimp can be found on menus anywhere near the Pacific or Sea of Cortéz. Camarones are drenched in buttery garlic sauce that is flavored with wine and cilantro, and just waiting for a splash of fresh lime.
  • 10 to 12 ounces RAW SHRIMP, peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup (1 stick) BUTTER
  • 2 to 4 large GARLIC CLOVES (maybe more), thinly sliced
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp. WHITE WINE
  • coarsely chopped CILANTRO
  • fresh Mexican LIME wedges
In a large (10-inch) skillet, melt butter over low heat. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add wine and cilantro; slowly cook another 2 minutes but do not let butter or garlic brown.

Still on low heat, stir in shrimp and sauté about 1 or 2 minutes, turning shrimp and cook another 1 or 2 minutes, so they cook to pinkness on both sides. Watch carefully. (Shrimp toughen when overcooked.) Serve hot on warmed plates, covering shrimp with garlic sauce. Pass lime wedges to squeeze over hot shrimp. Serves 2.

Rice Mexicali
From an authentic old Mexican cookbook comes this advice: The pan used to cook rice should be a shallow one so the weight of the top portion doesn't crush the rice underneath.
  • 1 cup raw LONG GRAIN RICE
  • 2 Tbsp. OLIVE OIL
  • 1⅓ cups chopped ONION
  • ½ cup chopped GREEN BELL PEPPERS
  • ½ cup chopped RED BELL PEPPERS
  • ¾ cup finely chopped CELERY
  • SALT and freshly ground PEPPER
  • 2 tsp. CHILI PEPPER
  • ½ tsp. SAFFRON
  • dash or 2 of GARLIC POWDER
Cook 1 cup of rice according to package directions to yield 3 cups cooked rice.

Meanwhile, use an extra large (12-inch) skillet to heat oil and soften onion, bell peppers and celery. Add all seasonings and incorporate thoroughly. Blend in rice and heat through. Serve hot. Makes 5 cups.


Classic Favorites
Casablanca (1942) — An intense love triangle between a jaded nightclub owner in French-occupied Morocco during World War II (Humphrey Bogart), his ex-lover (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband, a famous Czech rebel and nationalist (Paul Heinreid), is at the center of this movie, which is perhaps the greatest love story ever committed to film.

Gone With the Wind (1939) — The beautiful and scheming Scarlett O'Hara (Vivien Leigh) is a Southern belle whose world changes forever with the outbreak of the Civil War. Obsessed by her first love, who is married to another, Scarlett struggles to survive the war and its aftermath, as well as her passionate, tortured relationship with the man who may be her soul mate, Rhett Butler (Clark Gable).

Roman Holiday (1953) — This romantic comedy stars Audrey Hepburn as the bored Princess Anne, who escapes her entourage during a diplomatic visit to Rome and sets out to have fun, aided by a handsome American newspaper reporter (Gregory Peck) who angles for an exclusive interview but ends up--surprise!--falling in love with her.

From Here to Eternity (1953) — Set on an army base in Hawaii in the days before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, this film is the story of the love affair between a sergeant (Burt Lancaster) and the wife (Deborah Kerr) of his commanding officer. Watch for the famous beach scene, when Lancaster and Kerr kiss in the sand as the waves crash over them.

An Affair to Remember (1957) — Terry (Deborah Kerr) and Nickie (Cary Grant) meet and fall in love on a ship traveling across the Atlantic Ocean. Both engaged to other people, they say goodbye, but agree to meet atop the Empire State Building in six months if their feelings remain the same.

History, Adventure and Romance
Doctor Zhivago (1965) — Omar Sharif is the poet and doctor Yuri Zhivago, who is married to his childhood sweetheart, Tonya (Geraldine Chaplin) but carries on a passionate affair with the beautiful, troubled Lara (Julie Christie) against the tumultuous backdrop of the Russian Revolution.

Out of Africa (1985) — Based on the autobiography of the Danish writer Isak Dinesen, this movie stars Meryl Streep in one of her most celebrated performances. As a young wife largely abandoned by her husband (Klaus Maria Brandauer) on a plantation in Nairobi, she interacts with the native population and falls in love with an aristocratic hunter (Robert Redford).

The English Patient (1996) — Set against the backdrop of World War II, this beautifully filmed movie flashes back and forth between the love affair of Count Laszlo Almasy (Ralph Fiennes) and a married woman (Kristin Scott Thomas) in North Africa and an abandoned monastery in Italy, where a Canadian nurse (Juliette Binoche) cares for Almasy, now unrecognizable after being horribly burned in a plane crash.

Shakespeare in Love (1998) — A fun imagining of the young William Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes), who struggles with writer's block until he meets a rich young woman (Gwyneth Paltrow) who also secretly disguises herself as a man in order to play the lead in Shakespeare's new play, which will become Romeo and Juliet.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) — In pursuit of a stolen jade sword and seeking to avenge the murderer of his master, the great Chinese warrior Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat) enlists the help of Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh). Their barely acknowledged love for each other forms the heart of this fantastic martial arts drama, along with the more openly passionate relationship between a rich, rebellious young woman (Zhang Ziyi) and her bandit lover Lo (Chen Chang).

Offbeat Romances
The Princess Bride (1987) — This comedy, a tongue-in-cheek version of a classic fairy tale, tells the story of Wesley (Cary Elwes), a poor stable boy who returns from adventures at sea to rescue his true love, the beautiful Buttercup (Robin Wright), who has been chosen to marry an evil prince. This sweet, sentimental love story is energized by hilarious supporting performances by Wallace Shawn, Billy Crystal, Mandy Patinkin and Andre the Giant, among others.

Say Anything (1989) — This charming movie about an improbable match--between the sweet, unambitious kickboxer (John Cusack) and the beautiful, sheltered valedictorian of his high school class (Ione Skye)--undoubtedly caused countless teenage girls (and many women) to long for someone to serenade them with a boombox, as Cusack's character does in what is arguably the film's most classic scene.

When Harry Met Sally (1989) — A modern classic for romantic comedy lovers (especially for those who secretly pine for one of their "platonic" friends), this movie follows two college classmates (Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan) into adulthood, exploring the question: Can men and women really be friends?

Out of Sight (1998) — The movie's most talked-about scene takes place in the trunk of a getaway car, where a federal marshal (Jennifer Lopez) is locked with a bank robber and prison escapee (George Clooney), only to have sparks fly. The unlikely romance continues over the course of this crime caper, based on a novel by Elmore Leonard.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) — Jim Carrey stars in this terrifically quirky, sometimes off-the-wall romance as a man who discovers that his girlfriend (Kate Winslet) has had her memories of him erased from her mind through a pioneering experimental procedure. He tracks down the doctor (Tom Wilkinson) to have the same procedure done to himself, only to decide that he doesn't really want to forget her.
(Source: The History Channel website. Retrieved January 27, 2011, from http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day-movie-guide)