Most people like the movies. Some prefer going to the movie house, others favor watching at home with a videocassette. Either way, we usually just can't find as much time as we'd like for this cherished pastime.
This offers a perfect excuse for a weekend cinema party. Pull together a group of friends who like the movies and suggest that you all go to, say, the 5 o'clock show, then come back to your home for a light supper.
Everyone doesn't have to go to the same show. Let them make their own selections and, unless someone picks out a five-hour saga, you'll all exit at approximately the same time.
You also can propose that anyone who likes can watch a film of their choice at home, or come over to your place and watch what you have selected. It can be a golden oldie, something currently hot or great Shakespeare with Laurence Olivier.
Make it clear that everyone will be expected to discuss the films they saw, so that you all can gain some insight into the shows you didn't see. This makes a good opportunity to exchange ideas and attitudes toward film.
The evening then becomes a learning experience as well as a good time. You will be surprised how much more carefully everyone will watch the film when they know they are to discuss it.
To carry out the movie-house theme, prepare bowls of popcorn for nibbling during the video as well as after the flicks. Everyone loves popcorn, and if you don't douse it with butter, it is a very satisfying low-cal snack.
Since you will be at the movies yourself, the supper will have to be prepared in advance. The following codfish fricassee is a perfect solution. The sauce can be prepared and the cod lightly poached early in the day. Then at serving time, just reheat the sauce, add the fish for a few minutes and it's ready.
This recipe is also a boon for the cleanup staff -- only one saucepan is used for the entire recipe.
Corn kernels make a colorful accompaniment that add a sweet flavor. A bowl of fluffy rice rounds out the meal and provides a vehicle for absorbing the delectable sauce.
A platter of cheese and crackers, some fresh fruit, and a few crisp cookies are all that is needed to complete an evening that gets a perfect rating.
Makes 6 servings.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 sweet red peppers (about 1 pound), thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup water
2 pounds codfish fillets, cut into 6 portions
1 tablespoon sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil in large non-reactive saucepan, add peppers and onion; cover, and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Put cooked vegetables into food processor or blender.
Pour wine into same saucepan, add garlic, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper; simmer briskly for 1 minute. Pour wine sauce into food processor. Now pour 1/4 cup water into same saucepan, swirl to incorporate juices clinging to pan, and add to food processor. Pulse to coarsely chop vegetables. Do not over-process to a puree.
Rinse out saucepan and place cod pieces in it. Cover fish with cold water and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring water to simmer, cover, and poach slowly for 7 to 10 minutes, or until fish flakes easily. Lift poached cod from pan and discard water. Remove any bones from fish.
Spoon red pepper sauce into saucepan and stir in sour cream. Heat gently, but do not boil. Add fish pieces to sauce, spoon some sauce over them, cover and heat for a minute or two.
Spoon about 1/4 cup sauce into center of serving dish, then a piece of cod, and top with another spoonful of sauce. Sprinkle fish with a little chopped parsley and circle with cooked corn kernels. Pass remaining sauce separately.