Is 82″ Big Enough?

For $2600 Andy and I can get a Samsung 82″ TV at Best Buy. For $200 to $400 – and possibly much more – we can buy 2 tickets for a Broadway musical. For $25 – or less- we can get 2 tickets to our favorite movie theater (The Summerfield Cinemas in Santa Rosa, CA).

What do you think? An ad for the 82″ Samsung

Why the dilemma? We’re deep into watching past and present musicals and wondering if our 40″ TV will provide the proper experience.

Why musicals? Perhaps it was the TV/movie theater release of In the Heights. Maybe it was the release of the new musical/comedy TV series, Schmigadoon – a parody, obviously, on the 1947 Broadway musical Brigadoon. Or was it that having just watched Daveed Diggs in the movie Blindspotting, we were reminded of his role as Thomas Jefferson in the musical Hamilton? More than likely it’s because we’re looking forward to a return visit to Brooklyn in the very near future and wondering what NYC musical we’ll be able to see (and afford).

As part of this research, we decided the other night to watch Brigadoon on our 40″ Samsung TV (which recently replaced our old 26″ Samsung TV). The movie was released in 1954, so Andy and I were 11 and 10 years old – and I’m sure we must have seen it then. I would have gone to the Aggie Theater in Fort Collins, CO, and I’m guessing it was pretty awesome to see such a romantic (if schmaltzy) musical.

Fort Collins, Colorado’s College Avenue and the Aggie Movie Theater, circa 1950’s. Attack, the movie then showing, was released in 1956.

Brigadoon, Schmigadoon.In the Heights, and then ???? Will there be a parody of In the Heights released around 2090? And what might it be called? A fun thought-game for your next free moment.

After an aborted attempt to get HBO Max just to watch the Lin-Manuel Miranda production – and an unenthusiastic response on our part to the TV trailers for In the Heights, and after I fell asleep in the middle of Brigadoon, I’m convinced that musicals – to be enjoyed to their fullest – must be on the big screen or best of all, live, in a theater. Better yet – on Broadway or in London!

Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse in Brigadoon. I stayed awake through this scene.

When I was talking to Andy about seeing musicals in person, he quickly reminded me about the time we saw the anti-Vietnam musical Hair in San Francisco; it was a logical jump from that to today’s Andy’s Corner…about a very funny/sad Vietnam experience Andy had.

And – looking forward instead of back – what can we look forward to in New York this year? How about Girl from the North Country with vintage songs from Bob Dylan? It’s re-opening in October after being forced to close the Broadway production a month after opening because of COVID. It’s almost eerie to read what Ben Brantley wrote in his glowing NYTimes review of the production in March of 2020 – that most ominous month:

A nation is broken. Life savings have vanished overnight. Home as a place you thought you would live forever no longer exists. People don’t so much connect as collide, even members of the same family. And it seems like winter is never going to end.

Sounds like the perfect uplifting and upbeat pray-that-it’s-post-Covid musical! But how can we resist Bob Dylan? And, when you read more of Brantley’s review, you may be standing in line at the box office with me!

Yet while this singular production, which opened on Thursday night at the Belasco Theater under McPherson’s luminous direction, evokes the Great Depression with uncompromising bleakness, it is ultimately the opposite of depressing. That’s because McPherson hears America singing in the dark. And those voices light up the night with the radiance of divine grace.

And now back to food. The purported subject of this blog. In honor of the amazing Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose Hamilton AND In the Heights Andy and I were both fortunate enough to see on Broadway, we have two Puerto-Rico inspired recipes – Ropa Vieja and Natillas. When I find some unique and d-lish recipes from “The North Country” – Dylan’s home state of Minnesota – I’ll include them. 🙂

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

Recipe adapted from Food52.com

  • 2 lbs beef flank steak – or chuck roast or skirt steak
  • Diamond kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • large green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Accent (optional)
  • 1/2 c dry white wine
  • 1 c beef or chicken broth
  • 14 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 T tomato paste (optional)
  • 3/4 c pimiento or manzanilla Spanish olives, sliced 
  • 1-2 T red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 c chopped parsley
  • White rice and black beans (ideally Colonel Font’s black beans – but canned black beans work too) for serving

Generously season the beef with salt and pepper, using about 1 tsp Diamond kosher salt per pound of beef and generous amounts of pepper.

In a large pot over high heat, warm the oil. Cook the beef, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate.

In the same pot over medium heat, cook the onion and peppers, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until caramelized. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, oregano, and Accent. Cook, stirring, about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the wine and broth and tomatoes and tomato paste and bring to a simmer.

Return the beef to the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 hours, until the beef is fork-tender.

Transfer the beef to a plate and shred. Return the shredded beef to the sauce.

Stir in the olives. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes to thicken.

Stir in the vinegar and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Serve over rice with black beans along side.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

Natillas – Spanish Custard – for dessert

Natillas (Spanish Custard)

We usually halve this recipe and have plenty for 4, since it’s very rich and small portions are in order. A less rich version with milk instead of cream – and with cornstarch used as a thickener – is more traditional, but we’re crazy about this one.  Recipe adapted from Epicurious.com

  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 1 T vanilla 
  • ground cinnamon

In a saucepan, combine the cream and cinnamon sticks and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low, and cook gently for about 10 minutes, until the cream is well infused with the cinnamon. 

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until they are well mixed.

Take about a cup of the warm cream/cinnamon mixture and very gradually add it to the egg/sugar mixture, whisking constantly.  Then slowly whisk that back into the pan with the remaining cream.  Over medium heat, cook and stir the  custard until it has thickened.  You can test this by dipping your spoon into the custard and then running your finger through it. If the line made by your finger stays, the mixture is properly thickened.   When thickened, remove from the heat and let cool.

After cool, refrigerate the natillas for at least 4 hours.  When ready to serve divide it among six to eight custard cups. Serve the natillas sprinkled with cinnamon.

Recipe brought to you by BigLittleMeals.com and Andy and Ann.

2 Comments

  1. Carolyn Hall says:

    Here’s one Minnesota recipe you’re not likely to add to BigLittleMeals soon: My mom’s meatballs! OMG!

    MIGHTY FINE MEATBALLS

    SAUCE:
    10 OZ JAR GRAPE JELLY
    1 BOTTLE CHILI SAUCE
    8-10 GINGER SNAPS (DISSOLVED IN
    A LITTLE WATER)

    1 1/2 – 2 LBS GROUND CHUCK
    1 EGG

    Add a bit of the sauce and one egg to the meat. Season. Make small balls. Add to sauce.
    Simmer 1 hour.

    Like

    • theRaggedys says:

      Andy here: It’s difficult to ignore a Minnesota recipe from someone who went to summer camp with Bob Dylan (like you did), but in this case I’m not sure. Grape Jelly and ginger snaps?? It’s almost so bizarre that it’s worth a try. Thanks for sharing (I think).

      Like

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