Mrs Nerd talks about Food

James / February 22nd, 2012

Mrs Nerd’s Cinemassacre Recipes:

I think sharing some Cinemassacre Recipes is a great Mrs Nerd blog because for me, food is a trigger for memories and a great springboard for some behind-the-scenes stories. I was also really psyched to see how many people were intrigued by my cooking and interested in my recipes after my initial introduction. Without a doubt, my favorite job at Cinemassacre Central is to play craft services. Ya know, the fancy industry term for keeping everyone fed, and comfortable. So, I thought it would be fun to create a Cinemassacre Menu. Starting at breakfast through to dessert, peppering in some fun stories to go with the recipes. I wouldn’t suggest that you eat all of this in one day, of course, as many of the items are special treats to be enjoyed on a hard day or special occasion and not part of a balanced and healthy diet. Personally, with our busy schedules, we are lucky if we get one good, home-cooked meal per day and just enough high protein snacks to keep us alive, but when we do get to treat ourselves, these are some of the things we like.

A Food related Fun Fact: James once went super fanboy over an extra feature on the Sin City DVD of Robert Rodriquez cooking breakfast burritos in his own personal kitchen. Upon watching this extra feature, James rushed to the grocery store to get every last ingredient so he could follow the video and make his own Rodriquez breakfast burritos. So, perhaps some of you will find yourself in this situation making the foods that James and the crew love. So, here it is, from start to finish, a menu that reminds me of some fun Cinemassacre moments and the stories to accompany them. Grub up!

I knew James and I would be a good match the first time he cooked me breakfast. I’d like to mention that he had also cooked me dinner before, but it was not quite as impressive. (He warmed up two meatballs with marinara sauce that his mother had made. No pasta, no salad, just meatballs.) This ended up working out for us though since I love to cook, but am not too interested in breakfast. I’m not much of a morning person so I’m quite content with my Godzilla sized coffee and nothing else. James, however, waking up at the crack of noon, requires a full breakfast to kick-start his genius. One of James’ classic breakfast items I affectionately call “James’ Breakfast Mess”. Its kind of a spin-off of those Robert Rodriguez Breakfast Burritos and despite the name, it is completely delicious.

James’ Breakfast Mess (serves 2ish)
6 eggs, scrambled
olive oil
1 c. diced potatoes, peeled and boiled
½ c. jalapeno pepper, diced
½ c. mushrooms, sliced
½ c. diced pork roll (if you’re from the Philadelphia area, you know what this is) or ham (from yous guys not from Philly)
3 slices of mild cheese
splash of milk
salt and pepper to taste
– Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil. Saute pepper, mushrooms, and pork roll/ham. Add the boiled potatoes and sauté until golden brown. In a separate bowl, scramble the eggs. Add a splash of milk and tear the 3 slices cheese into the egg/milk mixture. (this is the super secret James method) Slowly add the egg/milk/cheese mixture into the skillet and stir until eggs are cooked. Remove from the heat and serve. It looks a mess, but its quite good.

Serve with a cup of the famous James’ Hot Tea:
Prepared English Breakfast Tea
2 Tbsp of vanilla ice cream melted
1 tsp of honey

James and I both have similar feelings for the city of Philadelphia. Simply put – it is our home. We’ve both been to a lot of places in the world and are currently living in Los Angeles. We have considered moving permanently (particularly while cursing the bone chilling wind and snow mid January) but will never feel the same way about another city as long as we live. Philadelphia is kind of like an eccentric, drunken uncle. He’s definitely not the most elegant, he has his fair share of faults and certainly smells of booze and urine, but you love him in a way you can’t explain. For both of us it was the first place we ever lived away from our families and were on our own. It was the city that nurtured our artistic dreams and led us to each other, our friends and essentially the life we live today. When you’re talking food, I don’t think there is anything more quintessential to Philly than the cheese steak. Every Philadelphian will tell you that you must choose a steak and remain loyal to it. We take loyalty quite seriously in the city of brotherly love. James and I are Pat’s people. Its simple, no-frills façade and “neighborly” service keep us coming back year after year. Never have I felt more at home than when standing in line at 2:30 in the morning on the corner of 8th and Passyunk, freezing my ass off and knowing that only seconds after uttering the sacred phrase “wiz witout,” I will be wrapping my lips around heaven itself. Wiz witout simply means cheese wiz without onions while James prefers his provy wit, meaning Provolone cheese with onions.
If you find yourself unable to visit Philadelphia you can attempt to make your own with this recipe although I can promise you it will not taste the same. It’s a decent impression, but not the real thing.

Philly Cheese steak – Wiz witout and a provy wit (Serves 2)
2 crusty hoagie rolls
1 lb of thinly sliced ribeye steak
1 Tbsp finely diced onion
olive oil
4 slices good Italian provolone cheese
¼ c. heated cheese whiz (yea, that orange artery clogging goodness)
clean, unused paint mixing stick

Preheat a large griddle to medium heat. Coat the bottom with olive oil. Sauté the onions until translucent and then remove from the griddle and set aside. Distribute the sliced steak in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and sauté until cooked through. In one hoagie roll layer the 4 slices of provolone, half of the cooked steak and the onions (this is James’ choice – Provy wit). In the other roll layer the other half of the steak. Then to be completely authentic coat the paint stick in cheese whiz and smear it through the steak… or you could just warm it up and pour it over the top.

Drink: Orange Gatorade
I always have tons of this on hand for all the sweaty, dehydrated and overworked boys filming in hot costumes and under hot lights.

Just about everyday, whether the crew is over or it is just James and I, I cook dinner. It is my Zen hour. Some people meditate, I cook dinner. Even though I have a lot of ideas and recipes floating around in my head that I’m eager to try out, I almost always ask James what he would like for diner and he usually says some type of seafood. One of his favorites is shrimp very simply prepared with Old Bay seasoning. His all time favorite though is probably Beer Battered Fish. This is a dish that is perfect to eat when intoxicated, but not to prepare when intoxicated. You see, a few years back James and I had been out in the city enjoying a few beverages with friends. When we stumbled off the train and back to our apartment we realized that we were both a little hungry. It was probably close to 1AM at this point so James thought he was being a smartass by requesting his usual beer battered fish at such an hour, not expecting me to actually make it. I thought nothing of it though and got to work. James put on some Metallica and we were soon having a good time rocking out and cooking. Not paying as much attention as I should, the oil got a bit hot and started to spatter. At the same time the cat (yes, the infamous Boo) ran through the kitchen and I uttered the now fondly remembered phrase “Watch out Boo, Mommy’s Drunk n’ Makin’ Fish”. Its kind of an inside joke and I’m still not quite sure why James finds this so incredibly comedic, but he still repeats the story every time I make the dish. That night it may have come out a little crispier than usual, but I think we will remember that story for a long time.

Shrimp with Old Bay
½ lb peeled, deveined shrimp coated in olive oil and Old Bay Seasoning to taste. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven until just pink indicating they are cooked through. We aren’t really condiment people so we’d just munch on those plain, but I supposed you could rock a nice cocktail sauce or tartar sauce to go with them.

Beer Battered Fish
2 Filets of any firm, white fish you desire. I typically use Tilapia because it’s cheap, but cod would work nicely also. Patted dry with a paper towel.

Oil for frying: If you have a deep fryer, this is probably easiest. Just prepare according to the directions. I don’t have one of those so I typically use a large stockpot and put enough vegetable or canola oil in the pot to come approximately 2 – 3 inches up the side. Preheat the oil on medium to high heat. To test if the oil is ready, toss a little scrap of bread the size of a coin into the oil. It should float on the top and sizzle a little becoming golden brown. If it sinks or does nothing and doesn’t start to brown, the oil is not hot enough. If it fries up and turns too dark too quickly, the oil is too hot and needs to cool. WARNING: Frying is not safe, do this with caution, and at your own risk. Children should not try this. (Especially cause it has booze in it too, ya sillies!) Its probably safest and easiest if you just google how to fry something and go by those directions.

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp. course black pepper
1 egg
1 cup of beer (your choice)
– Whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, pepper. Then add beer and egg slowly to create a batter. Soak fish filets in batter for 5 minutes and then deep fry in vegetable oil per the directions above. Drain excess oil on plate lined with paper towels before serving.

Side Dish:
Motherfucker Mike’s favorite Spinach and White Beans
Olive oil
A 6 oz. bag of fresh baby spinach
¼ c. diced turkey pepperoni
2 Tbsp minced garlic
¼ c. diced onion
1 c. halved cherry tomatoes (tri-color heirloom variety makes it purty to look at, but you can use plain red ones if you want)
1 can drained and rinsed white beans (cannellini beans)
– Coat a large sauté pan with olive oil and sauté onion, garlic and pepperoni over medium heat until onions are translucent but do not burn the garlic. Add the tomatoes and continue to sauté until they cook down a little bit. Then add the spinach and wilt down. Lastly add the white beans and heat through stirring continuously.

Nice cold bottle of Rolling Rock – duh! Actually any beer will do since they are a staple at the Rolfe residence. Yuengling Lager is probably our favorite, cheap, classic beer to have around. I think my all time favorite beer though is either Weihenstephan hefeweisen or Schneider Weiss and James’ is probably Hofbrau original or possibly Guinness.

As I mentioned, I’m big into the gourmet cupcake fad and enjoy experimenting with strange and unique flavors. I also like to bake something special for my friends on their birthdays. This is how I came up with my now famous Mt. Dew Cupcakes. You all know Matt Conant, collaborator on many Cinemassacre Productions and one of the co-creators and stars of OverAnalyzers. What you may not know is that his veins are coursing with Mt. Dew. I truly think that if you were to attempt to take a vile of his blood, it would in fact yield a lime-green, caffeinated liquid. So when his birthday rolled around, I knew I had to try to bake something with Mt. Dew in it. The result was surprisingly really good.

Mt. Dew Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mt. dew
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
zest of 1 lemon and 1 lime
lime green food coloring (mix green and yellow until desired neon color of Mt. Dew) *can omit, but the color adds to the novelty of it.

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
2. Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar. Mix in the eggs, one at time, beating well after each addition. Gently mix in flour mixture alternately with the mt. dew.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 cups confectioners’ sugar
zest of 1 lemon and 1 lime
lime green food coloring
2 tablespoons mt. dew

In a large, chilled bowl beat the cream until it thickens, add confectioners’ sugar, zest and mt. dew. Continue beating until thick and fluffy.

***Makes 24 mini cupcakes almost exactly. Never tried it with a full sized cupcake, but my guess is that I’d work out fine.


-Mrs Nerd


James’ favorites