Island Cooking

Eat With Your Eyes!

• by Leah Mojer •

Since the invention of film making, food and film have been a natural pairing. Food has such a deeply entrenched emotional connection, it only seems right to document the intimate relationship on film.

From the excrutiating love story in Like water for Chocolate or the mental roller coaster ride of Big Night, food is the vessel for which we carry our heaviest emotions at times. Conversely, when we are ready to celebrate with friends and family, be silly or joyous, food again, takes center stage.

Nantucket’s Film Festival will celebrate its 19th in operation, bringing us yet another year of fabulous screenwriter-focused films, Disney-Pixar Shorts, late night fun, and Morning Coffee with writers and actors! Let’s let our emotions run wild. Laugh, cry, & celebrate with food!

I might be biased because Amy is a dear friend of mine, a fellow foodie, and hyper-conscious of what she puts in her body, but this is the best popcorn I’ve had anywhere. Plus, the nutritional yeast and coconut oil boost the health factor up something serious!

Amy Z’s Famous Popcorn

  • 1/3 C, popping corn
  • 2 T Coconut oil
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 1 T nutritional yeast (available at Annye’s Whole Foods)
  1. Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat.
  2. Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.
  3. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover, remove from heat and count 30 seconds. This method first heats the oil to the right temperature, then waiting 30 seconds brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.
  4. Return the pan to the heat. The popcorn should begin popping soon, and all at once. Once the popping starts in earnest, gently shake the pan by moving it back and forth over the burner. Try to keep the lid slightly ajar to let the steam from the popcorn release (the popcorn will be drier and crisper). Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.
  5. Sprinkle with salt and nutritional yeast. Serve immediately. I dare you not to eat the whole bowl!

Chickpeas are en vogue right now. They are even on the menu at several island restaurants this year. Why not try them at home? Guaranteed, they will become a household staple!

Honey-Cumin Roasted Chickpeas

  • 1 can (15 ounces) Chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oi1
  • 1 1/2 T Honey
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Kosher Salt
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Rinse and drain chickpeas. With a paper towel, pat dry the chickpeas.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, honey, brown sugar, and sea salt. Add chickpeas to the bowl and toss to coat.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour the chickpeas evenly on the pan. Place in the oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring halfway through, until crunchy. Allow to cool and serve. Best eaten warm. With a nice cold beer. And a movie!

It’s been claimed that the recipe for the tomato spaghetti sauce provided in The Godfather had been introduced to the movie by the director Francis Ford Coppola himself. The DVD commentary for the movie says the scene with Clemenza cooking his sauce and explaining the cooking process to Michael Corleone was included by Coppola just in case the movie had failed so the people at least would know the proper recipe for the traditional Italian spaghetti sauce. “Come over here kid, learn something. You never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday.”

The Godfather’s “Clemenza’s Spaghetti Sauce

  • 4 swirls around the pan of good olive oil
  • 4 Cloves Garlic, shaved
  • 2 cans of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 3-4 Italian Sausages, grilled & sliced
  • 1 lb Cooked Meatballs
  • 1 t Brown Sugar
  • Red wine. A couple splashes of whatever you happen to be sipping
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large saucepan
  2. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes (Don’t let the garlic burn).
  3. Add the tomatoes, careful not to splash the oil
  4. Add a splash of red wine, then the sugar according to taste.
  5. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring continuously
  6. Add the sausages and meatballs and stir until the meat is coated.
  7. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for a minimum of 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Serve over your favorite pasta. Let the heads roll!

In the movie Mostly Martha, two larger-than-life personalities vie for control of the kitchen. But they agree on the making of gnocchi together, and from there a romance blooms. As Chef Martha says, “Gnocchi have to be prepared with great care, that’s all. With gnocchi you have to take your time.”

Mostly Martha: Italian Gnocchi

Makes 12 servings

  • 3 pounds russet potatoes
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, extra large
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  1. Boil the whole potatoes until they are soft (about 45 minutes). While still warm, peel and pass through vegetable mill onto clean pasta board.
  2. Set 6 quarts of water to boil in a large spaghetti pot. Set up ice bath with 6 cups ice and 6 cups water near boiling water.
  3. Make well in center of potatoes and sprinkle all over with flour, using all 2 Cups. Place egg and salt in center of well and using a fork, stir into flour and potatoes, just like making normal pasta. Once egg is mixed in, bring dough together, kneading gently until a ball is formed. Knead gently another 4 minutes until ball is dry to touch.
  4. Roll baseball-sized ball of dough into 3/4-inch diameter dowels and cut dowels into 1-inch long pieces. Flick pieces off of fork or concave side of cheese grater until dowel is finished. Drop these pieces into boiling water and cook until they float (about 1 minute). Meanwhile, continue with remaining dough, forming dowels, cutting into 1-inch pieces and flicking off of fork. As gnocchi float to top of boiling water, remove them to ice bath. Continue until all have been cooled off. Let sit several minutes in bath and drain from ice and water. Toss with 1/2 cup olive oil and store covered in refrigerator up to 48 hours.

Try sauteing gnocci in brown butter or with the famous “Godfather Spaghetti Sauce” from above!

Homemade Peppermint Patties

Because aren’t movies the perfect excuse to eat fabulous chocolately buttery snacks?

  • 2-1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp softened butter
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 12 oz Melting Chocolate Wafers
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar, butter, peppermint extract, and cream. Beat them with a paddle attachment until the mixture comes together. It will be dry and crumbly as you start mixing.
  2. Turn the mixer speed higher and beat until the candy comes together and is light and creamy. It should be soft but not at all sticky. It should be very stiff, like Play-Doh.
  3. Scrape the candy paste out onto a long piece of cling wrap, and form into a thin tube, about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. Wrap well in cling wrap and chill candy until very firm, about 45 minutes. Once firm, use a large sharp knife to slice off rounds about 1/4 inch thick.
  4. Melt the melting chocolate wafers in the microwave. Melt in 30-second increments, stirring after every 30 seconds to prevent overheating.
  5. Use a fork to dip a patty completely into the melted coating. Let the excess coating drip back into the bowl.
  6. Set the dipped peppermint patty onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper and repeat the dipping process with the remaining peppermint patties. Let the patties set at room temperature. If desired, trim any uneven edges or “feet” from your candies once they’ve set.

Another fun variation is to change the flavor of extract to make different flavored centers. Try vanilla, almond, or coconut. Yield: 36 patties

Articles by Date from 2012