Mildred Pierce – carrot cheese cake

Joan Crawford won an Oscar for her turn in this film noir as an unhappy mother and housewife who becomes a restaurant owner. Based on the James M Cain novel, Mildred Pierce sees a pretty twisted mother-daughter relationship unfold: Mildred’s daughter Veda is a social climber who wants more stuff than her family can afford. There’s a murder mystery and a fair amount of drama, all with baking in the background.

So while Mildred Pierce is a drama about the plight of the American woman of the 1930s and 1940s, who is constantly subject to the whims of the lecherous, selfish men around her, it is also a tortuous account of a mother sacrificing everything for the happiness of her children (maternal melodrama) and a murder mystery that begins at the end and then winds its way backwards to discover the truth (film noir). Also in Mildred Pierce extended, loving shots of food offer us insight into characters, their experiences, and their emotions.

This is an amazing combination. You can say, that’s the cinematic equivalent of carrot cake cheesecake. Have you ever had that? They actually mix carrot cake together with the cheesecake!


Cheese cake
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
3 eggs
Carrot Cake
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 can (8.5 ounce size) crushed pineapple, packed in juice, drained well, reserve juice
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Pineapple Cream Cheese frosting
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon reserved pineapple juice


In large bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in flour, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. Set aside. Meanwhile prepare Carrot Cake.

Carrot Cake:

In large bowl, combine oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract; mix well. Stir in dry ingredients; mixing well. Stir in drained pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts.

Spread 1 1/2 c. carrot cake batter over bottom of greased 9- or 9 1/2″ springform pan. Drop cream cheese batter over carrot cake batter by spoonfuls; top with large spoonfuls of remaining carrot cake batter. Repeat with remaining cream cheese batter, spreading evenly with a knife. Do not marble with a knife. Bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven for 50 to 65 minutes or until cake is set properly. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate. When cake is cold, prepare Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting.

Pineapple Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a bowl of electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and reserved pineapple juice. Beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. Frost top of cheesecake. Refrigerate 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Heartburn – Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Grapes

Heartburn a drama movie is a thinly disguised “à clef” rehash of her marriage to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein. Meryl Streep plays Rachel, an influential food critic who marries charismatic columnist Mark (Jack Nicholson) after a whirlwind courtship. Warned that Mark is constitutionally incapable of settling down with any one woman, Rachel gives up her own job to make certain that her marriage works. When Rachel announces that she’s pregnant, Mark virtually jumps out of his skin with delight. But as the news sinks in, Mark chafes at the impending responsibilities of fatherhood, and the philandering begins — as if it had ever really stopped! Our favorite scene: Rachel and her friends being robbed at her therapy group — that’s Kevin Spacey as the robber, in his film debut. Meryl Streep’s real-life child Mamie Gummer also appeared in the film as Rachel’s daughter.

Interesting food scene: When you’re a food writer, food is constantly on your mind, even during life’s monumental moments. While entertaining a few friends at home, pregnant Rachel’s (Meryl Streep) water breaks. As she rushes to the hospital she realizes her lamb is still roasting in the oven and pauses to instruct her friends on the preparation, “Baste it once, turn it over, and cook it for 20 more minutes.” No need to waste a good leg of lamb even with a baby minutes away.

Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Grapes


  • 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 8 lamb loin chops, about 1 1/4 inches thick (about 3 pounds in all)
  • Salt
  • Fresh-ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon(s) chopped fresh rosemary
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices
  • 2 cup(s) red grapes (from about a 1-pound bunch)
  • 1/3 cup(s) dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon(s) honey


  1. In a large stainless-steel or nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over moderately high heat. Season the lamb chops with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Put the chops in the pan and sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the rosemary in the spaces between the chops. Cook the chops for 5 minutes. Turn and sprinkle the garlic in between the chops. Cook the chops until done to your taste, 3 to 5 minutes longer for medium rare.
  2. Remove the chops and garlic and keep in a warm spot. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the pan. Add the grapes and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons rosemary to the pan. Reduce the heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the grapes soften, about 8 minutes.
  3. Add the wine to the pan and simmer 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic and any juices from the lamb, the honey, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Serve the lamb topped with the grapes and sauce.
  4. Variation: In place of the loin chops, you can use lamb shoulder chops, about one inch thick (about two pounds in all). Cook them a little less than the loin chops.
  5. Wine Recommendation: Cabernet sauvignon is classic with lamb, but a European cabernet will taste austere against the slightly sweet sauce here. Instead, try a California or Washington State cabernet, which will be fruity enough to blend with the sweetness.


Eat Drink Man Woman – Peking Chicken Roll-Ups

Eat Drink Man Woman is a foreign drama talking about a semi-retired and widowed Chinese master chef at the Taipei Grand Hotel. Chef Chu (Sihung Lung) and his family are living in modern day Taipei, Taiwan. He brings his three unmarried daughters together for a weekly traditional Sunday supper.

As the film progresses, each daughter encounters new men. When these new relationships blossom; their roles are broken and the living situation within the family changes. The father eventually brings the greatest surprise to the audience at the end of the story. You’ll drool over the bountiful feast he painstakingly prepares, but the food is only half the drama. The use of food preparation and presentation is a mouth-watering spectacle in itself. The film opens on Chef Chu’s methodical preparation of the family’s Sunday dinner. Don’t; absolutely do not think of seeing this movie on an empty stomach.

Must-see food scene: You’ll watch with fascination as Chef Chu artfully makes his version of Sunday night dinner: slaying a fish with a single chopstick; pulling a live chicken from his backyard coop; masterfully lacquering a duck; and rolling, stuffing, and steaming plump, pillowy dumplings.

The traditional Chinese recipe for duck is labor-intensive and takes several days to make. Here comes the shortcut recipe of Peking Chicken Roll-Ups, perfect for your Sunday dinner.


  • 8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
  • 2 tablespoon(s) honey
  • 2 tablespoon(s) soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon(s) grated, peeled fresh ginger
  • 1/8teaspoon(s) ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 2 clove(s) garlic, crushed with garlic press
  • 6 (about 1 1/4 pounds) skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon(s) vegetable oil
  • 1/4cup(s) hoisin sauce
  • 1/2English (seedless) cucumber, cut into 2-inch by 1/4-inch sticks
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced


  1. Stack tortillas and wrap in foil. In small bowl, mix honey, soy sauce, ginger, ground red pepper, and garlic until blended. Set aside tortillas and honey mixture.
  2. Coat chicken with oil and place on grill over medium-high heat. Cook 5 minutes, turning over once. Brush chicken all over with honey mixture, and cook 5 to 7 minutes longer or until juices run clear when thickest part of thigh is pierced with tip of knife, turning over once.
  3. While chicken is cooking, place foil-wrapped tortillas on same grill, and heat 3 to 5 minutes or until warm.
  4. Transfer chicken to cutting board and thinly slice. Spread hoisin sauce on one side of tortillas; top with chicken, cucumber, and green onions, and roll up to serve.

Eat Pray Love: Cacio e Pepe Pasta Sauce

Eat Pray Love, A sweet romantic story of one Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. The memoir chronicles the author’s trip around the world after her divorce and what she discovered during her travels.

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the movie is a great admirer of Italian cooking and says “Italians take every ingredient they know and make a feast of it.” According to her, “there are few ways to create happiness more efficiently than by cooking for yourself and others.” In honor of the movie starring Julia Roberts who  spent four months in Italy, eating and enjoying life, we chose one of the most famous simple Roman pasta sauces, made with black pepper and aged Pecorino Romano.


  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 lb. pasta, preferably tonnarelli or spaghetti
  • 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano (hard, salty Italian cheese)
  • 3⁄4 cup finely grated Cacio de Roma (creamy, semi-soft cheese made from sheep’s milk)


  1. Bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until soft for 8–10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup pasta water and drain pasta.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add pepper; cook until fragrant, 1–2 minutes.
  3. Ladle 3⁄4 cup pasta water into skillet; bring to a boil. Using tongs, transfer pasta to skillet; spread it evenly.
  4. Sprinkle 3⁄4 cup each Pecorino Romano and Cacio de Roma over pasta; toss vigorously to combine until sauce is creamy and clings to the pasta without clumping, about 2 minutes, adding some pasta water if necessary.
  5. Transfer to 4 plates and sprinkle with remaining Pecorino and more pepper.

The Family Stone – Ambrosia Fruit Salad

When Everett Stone brings Meredith home for Christmas, it’s obvious from the get-go that his family doesn’t approve. Unlike the Stones, Meredith is uptight, rigid and always seems to say the wrong thing. But Everett is planning on asking for his grandmother’s wedding ring, a family heirloom that his mother promised him years ago.

The Family Stone

Introductions start off rocky as Meredith awkwardly shakes hands with Everett’s parents and six siblings. It doesn’t help that Amy, Everett’s condescending sister, told the family how awful Meredith was before she even got there.

One humiliating affair after another, the Stone’s never warm up to Meredith’s presence so she books a room at the nearest inn. She even calls her sister, Julie, for support, who takes the next bus to New York.

The Stones take an immediate liking to Julie, maybe even too much of a liking by Everett. But the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as Everett’s stoner brother, Ben, is convinced that Meredith and his brother aren’t in love, and a drunken night out leads to something more.

Ambrosia Fruit Salad Recipe

by Chef John Christenson

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

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  • 1 Pineapple
  • 2 Fuji Apples
  • 2 Green Pears
  • 3 Oranges
  • 6 Strawberries
  • ½ C Light Sour Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon of powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice


  1. Peel the Pineapple by slicing the bottom and top off; shave off the skin as clean as you can. Cut around the core of the Pineapple until you have 4 long blocks of fruit. Square off the rest of the fruit by slicing the tops and bottoms of each. They should resemble a block shape. Slice off segments of each, about a ½ inch in thickness. Be sure to remove the seeds and any non-ripe areas just by cutting away those areas. Slice the remainder of the slices into strips, following the ½ inch thickness. Cut and cube the fruit till they are all pretty symmetrical.
  2. Place all the fruit except the strawberries into a bowl with the Sour Cream, Sugar and Lemon Juice. Toss until well coated. Cover and let sit in the fridge as you prepare the Strawberries.
  3. Cut the stems off the Strawberries, slice as you did the other fruit into sheets then into strips. Cube into small pieces.
  4. Dish out and enjoy the Ambrosia, being sure to sprinkle the strawberry bits on top for color and some extra sweetness! Add a mint leaf for love and share with your loved ones.

Cooking time: 15 minutes.Servings: 4-6.Back to Top

Fried Green Tomatoes – Fried Green Tomatoes

Evelyn Couch is a middle aged housewife struggling in her marriage. She is the stereotypical wife, having dinner on the table every evening when her husband gets home, but still he pays no attention to her. While in a nursing home visiting her husband’s hateful aunt, Evelyn meets Ninny Threadgoode, an 82-year old woman whose stories entice and inspire her.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Ninny tells the story of Idgie Threadgoode, a spunky young woman in Alabama’s 1920s. Beginning with the loss of her big brother, Buddy, Idgie overcomes many hardships and downfalls. But through it all she meets Ruth Jamison, a caring woman who Idgie develops a long-lasting and passionate friendship with.

Through the tales of Idgie’s life, Evelyn sees that it is time to make a change in her own life. She stops going to her group sessions (which are meant to help her fix her marriage) and starts a new life foundation where she kicks candy bars to the curb and gets on track to an assertive and healthy lifestyle.

Fried Green or Heirloom Tomatoes Recipe

by Chef John Christenson

Fried Green Tomatoes

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  • 1 quart Canola Oil
  • 3 medium bowls
  • 1 Large Egg
  • ½ cup Buttermilk
  • ½ Cup AP Flour
  • ½ Cup Cornmeal
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 3-4 Large Heirloom or Green Tomatoes-the firmer the better
  • 3 tablespoons shredded
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped Thyme leaves


  1. Mix Egg and Buttermilk together in a bowl. In the other two separate the flour and cornmeal in each. Slice the Tomatoes in thick slices, about a ½ inch to 1/3 inch. Heat the oil in a large pot to 350f. Dredge the Tomato slices in the Flour, then Egg mixture, finally the Cornmeal.
  2. Fry 2 to 3 Slices at a time till golden brown. When removed from the oil, sprinkle on Salt and Pepper, fresh Thyme and the Parmesan Cheese. Serve for your friends as a nice savory starter or share with a loved one for a warming experience.

Cooking time: 15 minutes.Servings: 2-6.Back to Top

Black Swan – Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Frosting

In Darren Aronofsky’s latest psychological thriller, and perhaps his best film to date, Natalie Portman stars as Nina Sayers, the uptight ballerina whose perfectionism serves as her biggest flaw.

Black Swan is this year’s feature show for a prestigious ballet company in New York City. But instead of having two separate ballerinas to dance the parts of the black and white swan, one dancer will have the privilege, and challenge, of portraying both.

Black Swan

Although Nina’s dancing is flawless, company director, Thomas Leroy, can only see her as the white swan. Her moves are perfect, yet rigid, and to accurately portray the black swan, Nina will really have to have to lose herself.

With a face full of makeup, Nina approaches her director and asks for the part. At first he declines, admitting he has already cast another dancer, but Nina shows him a daring side of her that changes his mind.

In the midst of preparing for the big production, a new dancer has joined the company. Her name: Lily. Her dancing: mesmerizing, as if she isn’t even trying–and it’s no secret that what Nina is lacking for the black swan, Lily makes up for.

Watch as this suspenseful thriller illustrates the intense pressures of being a professional ballerina (both actresses dropped nearly 20 pounds for the film!), and as Nina loses herself–literally, becoming what she never thought possible.

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Frosting Recipe

Vanilla Cake with Strawberry Frosting

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  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 box confectioners sugar
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon cream
  • 1 cup crushed strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two 9-inch round cake pans or one 9×13-inch rectangular baking pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper and the sides of the pan.
  3. In a large mixing bowl,beat sugar and eggs until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Add flour, milk, oil, baking powder, and vanilla and beat for another minute, until the batter is smooth and creamy. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan(s).
  4. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick poked into the center of the cake comes out clean. Loosen the sides of the cake from the pan with a thin knife, then turn out onto a rack and peel off the paper. Let cool completely before covering with frosting.
  5. In mixing bowl, mix together sugar, butter, cream, strawberries and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.

Cooking time: 1 hour.Servings: 10.Back to Top

Waitress – Chocolate Mousse Pie

Jenna Hunterson is a small-town Southern waitress who has an extraordinary talent for creating delicious pies. They could be award-winning pies if it weren’t for her immature and controlling husband, Earl, who allows no freedom in her life and forces Jenna to give him all of the money she makes waitressing.

Jenna’s dream is to leave Earl and make pies for a living, and hopes to do so by winning a pie contest which offers a $25,000 prize. But Earl won’t let her enter, leaving her no way to escape her dreadful marriage. Overwhelmed by distraught and anger, Jenna’s world takes an unexpected turn when she discovers she is pregnant with Earl’s baby, the absolute last thing she could ever want.


“I don’t want no baby, I just want to make pies.”

She doesn’t want a baby, but her pregnancy changes her life as she begins an affair with her handsome (and married) gynecologist, Dr. Pometter, giving her confidence, a sex life, and a second chance at happiness.

With names like “Fallin’ in Love Chocolate Mousse Pie,” or “I Can’t Have No Affair Because it’s Wrong and I Don’t Want Earl to Kill me Pie” it’s easy to see how they can be irresistible. But for this recipe, we went with the one that sounded the most decadent. Test your pie-making skills with this rich Chocolate Mousse Pie recipe!

Chocolate Mousse Pie Recipe



  • 1 bar milk chocolate candy with almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 1 9-inch graham cracker crust, baked


  1. In a saucepan, heat chocolate bar, marshmallows and milk over low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, stirring constantly.
  2. Let cool.
  3. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into crust, refrigerate for 3 hours.

Cooking time: 45 minutes.Servings: 6.Back to Top

Pulp Fiction – Vanilla Milkshake

Broken into three fictional stories, Pulp Fiction is a movie you won’t want to miss a second of. As most Quentin Tarantino films go, even when paying the closest of attention, you might have to watch it a few times just to figure out what the heck is going on.

Pulp Fiction - Vanilla Milkshake

Jules Winnfield and Vincent Vega are two hitmen working for mob boss Marsellus Wallace. While on a mission to retrieve a suitcase stolen from Wallace, Vega is also responsible for entertaining Wallace’s wife, Mia, while he is out of town. To Vega’s luck, Mia ends up overdosing on cocaine and barely escapes death.

Butch Coolidge is a boxer who’s getting old fast. He is paid by Wallace to throw his next fight but instead accidentally kills his opponent and keeps the money. When Wallace and Coolidge stumble into a weaponry shop trying to kill each other, Coolidge ends up saving Wallace from a dreadful fate. The two agree to never speak of the incident again, and Coolidge makes plans to flee town.

Honey Bunny and Pumpkin are lovebirds as well as partners in crime. The couple is at a restaurant discussing the pros and cons of robbing banks when they decide to rob the restaurant right then and there. Thanks to Jules, a successful robbery won’t be easy. Watch as these seemingly unrelated stories come together in a funny, bizarre and shocking manner. Afterwards (or during) whip up a couple of vanilla milkshakes.

Vanilla Milkshake Recipe

by Chef John Christenson

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  • 2 Cups Vanilla Bean or opt for French Ice cream
  • 2 Cups Whipping Cream
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 ¼ Bourbon Vanilla Extract
  • 6 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar


  1. For the whip cream workout start by adding chilled Whipping Cream into a large mixing bowl, 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and ¼ teaspoon Vanilla Extract. Whisk the mixture vigorously until the mixture forms a peak. Pulling the whisk up out of the cream will result in a peak, letting you know you are good to go. Wrap and chill in the fridge.
  2. For the shake combine Ice Cream, Whole Milk, 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract and 4 tablespoons powdered sugar in a blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. Pour as desired in to a glass of your liking, dollop with Whipped Cream, a cherry if you like and a Mint leaf for that extra little bit of love. Drink, Enjoy, Sleep!

Cooking time: 35 minutes.Servings: 6.Back to Top

Groundhog Day – Lime Tart

What would you do if you only had one day to live? For egotistical weatherman Phil Connors, just about anything he wants. After being sent out to cover the infamous Groundhog Day event in Punxutawney, Pennsylvania, Connors finds himself trapped in a time warp where there is literally no tomorrow.

Groundhog Day

Every morning his alarm goes off at 6a.m. and the same song is playing. The same radio hosts announce the same information, and everyday is Groundhog Day. It’s not long before Connors realizes that when everyday is exactly the same, there are no consequences.

So now what? At first, he doesn’t know what to do. Even suicide doesn’t break the curse. But slowly, he lets loose. After a romantic one night stand and two wild goose chases with the cops, Connors can no longer ignore his feelings for his co-worker, Rita. So instead of living on the edge, he devotes everyday to learning more and more about her, to eventually win her heart.

Pop in this 90s classic and endure the feeling of redundancy. But don’t do it alone. Make sure to have a batch of Lime Tarts for company, one of the many treats on Connors’ plate at a Punxatawney local diner.

Lime Tart Recipe

lime pie


  • 5 beaten egg yolks
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 cup key lime juice
  • 1 prepared graham cracker crust


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Combine the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk and lime juice. Mix well. Pour into unbaked graham cracker shell.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Top with whipped topping and garnish with lime slices if desired.

Cooking time: 15 minutes.Servings: 8.Back to Top