Monday, May 21, 2018
Monday, May 14, 2018
I've been experimenting with Mediterranean cooking and recently ordered The Mediterranean Slow Cooker by Michele Scicolone. I love this book! Here's a healthy recipe I made last week and served with rice and a salad. It's really delicious and Hubby gave it two thumbs up. Did I mention that it's really easy to make? That's my favorite part. Enjoy!
Balsamic Chicken with Capers
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T Dijon Mustard
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped (I used 1 t garlic powder)
1 T chopped fresh rosemary (I used 1 t dried rosemary)
2 T drained capers, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper (I used 1 t of each)
4 pounds of bone-in chicken breasts, legs and thighs (I used 3 lbs of boneless, skinless thighs)
Spray the insert of a large slow cooke rwith non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, rosemary, capers, 1/2 t salt and pepper to taste. Dip the chicken pieces into the mixture, turning to coat on all sides. Place the chicken in the cooker and pour on any remaining sauce.
Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours, or until the chicken is very tender and coming away from the bone. Serve hot.
Do you like Mediterranean food? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Monday, May 7, 2018
Monday, April 30, 2018
Yesterday, hubby took me to see what we thought would be a theatrical production of West Side Story. I've actually seen it onstage before, but I prefer the motion picture. So I was pleasantly surprised to find out what we'd be seeing was the movie with live orchestral accompaniment! There's a new technology that strips the music from the vocals of the film, so a live orchestra (in this case The Cincinnati Pops) can play the score. Needless to say, it was quite an enjoyable experience! But something I learned from our program was that West Side Story was originally conceived as East Side Story and the two conflicting sides were Catholics and Jews. I had to find out more, so here's what I discovered in Wikipedia:
In 1947, Jerome Robbins approached Leonard Bernstein and Arthur Laurents about collaborating on a contemporary musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. He proposed that the plot focus on the conflict between an Irish Catholic family and a Jewish family living on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, during the Easter–Passover season. The girl has survived the Holocaust and emigrated from Israel; the conflict was to be centered around anti-Semitism of the Catholic "Jets" towards the Jewish "Emeralds" (a name that made its way into the script as a reference).
Eager to write his first musical, Laurents immediately agreed. Bernstein wanted to present the material in operatic form, but Robbins and Laurents resisted the suggestion. They described the project as "lyric theater", and Laurents wrote a first draft he called East Side Story. Only after he completed it did the group realize it was little more than a musicalization of themes that had already been covered in plays like Abie's Irish Rose. When he opted to drop out, the three men went their separate ways, and the piece was shelved for almost five years.
In 1955, theatrical producer Martin Gabel was working on a stage adaptation of the James M. Cain novel Serenade, about an opera singer who comes to the realization he is homosexual, and he invited Laurents to write the book. Laurents accepted and suggested Bernstein and Robbins join the creative team. Robbins felt if the three were going to join forces, they should return to East Side Story, and Bernstein agreed. Laurents, however, was committed to Gabel, who introduced him to the young composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim auditioned by playing the score for Saturday Night, his musical that was scheduled to open in the fall. Laurents liked the lyrics but was not impressed with the music. Sondheim did not care for Laurents' opinion. Serenade ultimately was shelved.
Laurents was soon hired to write the screenplay for a remake of the 1934 Greta Garbo film The Painted Veil for Ava Gardner. While in Hollywood, he contacted Bernstein, who was in town conducting at the Hollywood Bowl. The two met at The Beverly Hills Hotel, and the conversation turned to juvenile delinquent gangs, a fairly recent social phenomenon that had received major coverage on the front pages of the morning newspapers due to a Chicano turf war. Bernstein suggested they rework East Side Story and set it in Los Angeles, but Laurents felt he was more familiar with Puerto Rican immigrants and Harlem than he was with Mexican Americans and Olvera Street.
The two contacted Robbins, who was enthusiastic about a musical with a Latin beat. He arrived in Hollywood to choreograph the dance sequences for The King and I, and he and Laurents began developing the musical while working on their respective projects, keeping in touch with Bernstein, who had returned to New York. When the producer of The Painted Veil replaced Gardner with Eleanor Parker and asked Laurents to revise his script with her in mind, he backed out of the film, freeing him to devote all his time to the stage musical.
And the rest is history! For more on the story, click here. Have you seen the movie version or a stage production of West Side Story? It's one of my favorite movies! Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Monday, April 23, 2018
Although I admire her work, I'm not a huge Ava Gardner fan and I haven't seen too many of her movies, but there's certainly no doubt she was a superstar and a true beauty! Nowadays people talk about certain types of "privilege." Ava had what I'll refer to as beauty privilege.
Wikipedia says: Gardner was visiting her sister Beatrice in New York in 1941 when Beatrice's husband Larry Tarr, a professional photographer, offered to take her portrait. He was so pleased with the results that he displayed the finished product in the front window of his Tarr Photography Studio on Fifth Avenue.
A Loews Theatres legal clerk, Barnard Duhan, spotted Gardner's photo in Tarr's studio. At the time, Duhan often posed as an MGM talent scout to meet girls, using the fact that MGM was a subsidiary of Loews. Duhan entered Tarr's and tried to get Gardner's number, but was rebuffed by the receptionist. Duhan made the offhand comment, "Somebody should send her info to MGM", and the Tarrs did so immediately. Shortly after, Gardner, who at the time was a student at Atlantic Christian College, traveled to New York to be interviewed at MGM's New York office by Al Altman, head of MGM's New York talent department.
With cameras rolling, he directed the 18-year-old to walk towards the camera, turn and walk away, then rearrange some flowers in a vase. He did not attempt to record her voice because her Southern accent made it almost impossible for him to understand her. Louis B. Mayer, head of the studio, however, sent a telegram to Altman: "She can't sing, she can't act, she can't talk, She's terrific!" She was offered a standard contract by MGM, and left school for Hollywood in 1941 with her sister Beatrice accompanying her. MGM's first order of business was to provide her with a speech coach, as her Carolina drawl was nearly incomprehensible to them.
There was certainly more to Ava Gardner than her sultry good looks, so to read more about her, click here.Are you an Ava Gardner fan? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!