Friday, March 31, 2006

Liza with a Z: Return to TV

This weekend marks the return of the television special "Liza with a Z." If you missed the special the first time around when it was on TV live in the early 70s, well, it was just too bad, because, unless you were hanging out with Liza at her place late at night and she just happened to switch it on, you never, never got the chance to see it again because it's never been rebroadcast.

Until now. Showtime is rebroadcasting the amazing television event this Saturday at 8 pm. Liza will be on David Letterman tonight to promote the show, as well. You'd be a total fool and a dud to miss either event.

The show features music by Broadway luminaries Kandor and Ebb, and it was directed and choreographed by the legendary Bob Fosse, who--along with Liza--won an Oscar that same year for work on Cabaret.

If this preview doesn't totally make you want to see the show, you're not human.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

FilmStock Presents...
A Special "Recipe of the Future"
North African Stuffed Peppers with Rice Pilaf, Chickpeas, Preserved Lemons and Feta

Usually on FilmStock, I write up recipes the day after I make them.

But today I give you the excitement of "The Recipe of the Future!" This is what I plan to make tonight for some guests that are coming to town. I've never made it before, but just thought it up while looking at the ingredients in my kitchen.

Preserved lemons are a North African condiment. They are whole lemons preserved in salt. They give a really tart, salty, slightly sweet kick to food. They're strangely addictive. You can make your own like Jeff does or you can find them at specialty food stores or order off the Internet. Likewise Harissa, which is a North African "pesto" of spicy peppers.

You can run out to the store and try this recipe at the same time (or maybe even BEFORE) I do. By the time we make it tonight, we could all be living in bubbly space station-looking buildings where blonde children play peacefully among the daisies in verdant valleys. You never know. It will be the future. See ya on the monorail!

North African-style Stuffed Peppers with Rice Pilaf, Chickpeas, Preserved Lemons and Feta

1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked and cooked (or 1.5 to 2 cups canned)
2 cups cooked wild rice (brown rice, wheat berries, etc or mixture)
1 Tbsp olive oil
Pinch red pepper flakes
1 onion, chopped
1 tomato peeled, seeded and chopped (or a couple canned tomatos, drained and chopped)
2 Tbsp raisins or currants
2 Tbsp minced parsley
1-2 Tbsp chopped preserved lemon (or to taste)
10 oz. feta
salt and pepper
Harissa for garnishing
6 peppers (red, green, poblano or a mixture)

1. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the pith and seeds. Blanch them in boiling water for 5 minutes, then drain and rinse to cool. Allow to drip dry, then wipe with paper towels.

2. Preheat oven to 350.

3. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium high heat. Add the red pepper flakes and then the onion and grill until the onion is nice and soft and starting to pick up some brown spots, about 10-15 minutes.

4. Put the onion mixture in a large bowl and add the chickpeas, rice, chopped tomatoes, raisins, parsley (reserving some for garnish), preserved lemon and feta.

5. Stuff the peppers with the mixture. Put enough in each pepper so people will get lots of the good stuff, but try to keep the innards from getting too packed, heavy and dense. In the future, people will like their stuffed peppers to retain a nice, light fluffiness on the inside.

6. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.

7. Remove the peppers from the oven. Serve on plates sprinkled with the remaining parsely and with a tiny bit of harissa spooned over them. Give them to your kitchen robot and allow him to bring them to the table. Turn on the orb so you can watch the holographic evening broadcast. Enjoy!