FAN FOODS: The Stay Puft Ectoplasm Cake

Stay Puft CakeIf you saw (and/or wept tears of inspiration and joy during, like I did) the “Like a Girl” campaign during the Super Bowl last weekend, then you now know how to run and punch like a girl. Well, come 2016 we’re also going to learn how to fight ghosts like a girl. By four of my favorite comedian juggernauts. And girls. I’m getting emotional again just thinking about it.

Stay puft cake 2So I thought I’d do what I do best and bake a treat in their honor (and pull a script off the library shelf).

Garlic, My Soul, Fanboy Comics and I have compiled a glorious conglomeration of cake, photos, recipe and script pages from the original GHOSTBUSTERS draft written by Dan Aykroyd in 1983. This script has been flying off the shelf of the Foundation Library like the card catalogs in the opening scene of the original film (although the WGF Library is less haunted by ghosts than aspiring screenwriters and film scholars – even though we welcome all types, dead or alive).

May this weird and wonderful mixture of media be my tribute to girls doing their thing everywhere and one small fist in the air for gender bending remakes.

INGREDIENTS

1 box King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
½ cup butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 package green Jello (I used lime flavored)
1 carton whipping cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare the cake mix per the instructions from the intrepid souls at King Arthur Flour.
  2. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes in its pan, then gently remove and place on a cooling rack.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the jello packet according to the instructions.
  4. When the cake is completely cooled, put back into the pan and using a knife or fork, poke holes, from top to bottom, all over the cake.
  5. Pour the liquid Jello over the cake, focusing especially on the holes you just poked. (pour a small bit of Jello into a cup and refrigerate if you would like to top your cake with ectoplasm like we did).
  6. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour.
  7. Beat the whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks. Frost as you like. Enjoy!

Magnificent photo credits to Garlic, My Soul and nerd solidarity and inspiration from Fanboy Comics.

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Thor-Sized Cereal Power Bars

As a small digression from my standard format here, I made these Thor-sized cereal bars in an effort to bribe Thor into becoming an icon for cultural awareness. I just want to see a children’s book or Archie-style comic entitled “Thor Learns About Cereal” or “Thor Learns Proper Earth-Bound Coffee Refill Protocol” – something harkening to the beauty in our differences and hilarity in absurdly ripped men from a heavenly realm discovering the miracle of mortal breakfast foods.

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Cereal is a fiber-packed staple for those surrounding the Norse god’s earthly adventures – at least in the Jane Foster camp. Packed in her trailer and eaten in lieu of other sweets in her more emotional and Thor-missing moments, cereal seems to mean a lot to this scientist and her god. Or at the very least (in cereal-marketing-speak) start their mornings off right, keep them going throughout the day as well as going regularly!

These cereal bars add your breakfast cereal of choice to the originial Rice Krispie treat recipe – following that time-tested, easy-to-make formula. You can cut them into any shape or size you find convenient for packing on-the-go on your way about the realms. And do, in fact, deliver sugary-peanut-buttery energy just when you need it (like during your Marvel movie binge watching fest so as to be properly prepared for everything forthcoming). I just hope Phase Three allows Thor time to continue on his culinary journey.

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Delicious photography and culinary know-how courtesy of Garlic, My Soul.
Very special thanks to the folks of Fanboy Comics for their geek-tastic inspiration and encouragement.
Drop by the WGF Library to read Thor and Thor: The Dark World for yourself!

INGREDIENTS
2 ½ tablespoons butter
½ cup peanut butter
1 package marshmallows
6 cups cereal of your choice! I used Crispix because I’m obsessed with Crispix but Chex (in any fun flavor) would work wonderfully for the completely GF crowd. Be sure to check your labels.

DIRECTIONS
1. Grease a medium pan and set aside.
2. In a large pot, melt butter over low stovetop heat.
3. Stir in peanut butter.
4. Mix until melted and creamy.
5. Pour in marshmallows.
(Life Hack: spray your stirring utensil and later whatever you use to compact the mixture into the pan with cooking spray to help lessen stickage)
6. Turn off heat when marshmallows are almost completely melted (you may still see small marshmallow lumps).
7. Stir until smooth.
8. Slowly fold in cereal and mix until evenly coated.
9. Turn the mixture out into your greased pan and spread evenly.
10. Let cool, then cut into any size or shape you find convenient for your travels about the realms.

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FAN FOODS: A Celebration of Chocolat, Part 1

I have been a fortunate foodie and writer this year. I, one day, mentioned my love of the film CHOCOLAT and my vision for recreating recipes from specific scenes. At which point someone here in the office said, “you should talk to Bob about that.”

Bob turned out to be Robert Nelson Jacobs, the screenwriter behind the film and now the Foundation’s board president, who in the subsequent months graciously allowed us to knock on his door numerous times for materials, interviews and camaraderie over an Oscar nominated celebration of life and culinary indulgence.

The movie was instrumental in the shaping of my passions early in their development. I have since spent an equal amount of time in the writing and culinary worlds – two trades so different in their execution and daily routines, yet so spiritually and creatively similar it only follows that a script marrying the two would hold so much charm.

Jacobs’ masterfully crafted work invokes the full history of a food that, even from its earliest known use, was thought to have medicinal, magical and even divine properties. It was used as currency, fashionable drink and in ritual ceremonies including those of human sacrifice.

Vianne, the heroine of CHOCOLAT, introduces us to the titular confection – which, with its fascinating past and continued strong influence on our culture, acts as the catalyst for change and overall healing in the story.

Jacobs’ creative materials, which can now be seen by request in the Foundation archives, document his writing process, starting with extensive research and outlining. You can watch, through notes in Jacobs’ handwriting, as the script unfolds and the history of chocolate is integrated into the story and the characters’ lives (and found literally on the page, as in this note with a chocolate stain in the lower right-hand corner).

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Hallstrom

Take the Comte de Reynaud. Far from the stereotyped “bad guy”, the Comte is a humanized and flawed antagonist who, in Jacobs’ words, “inherited a burden, this obligation, this noblesse oblige, that he’s got to be responsible for this village and he’s kind of tyrannical about it. And has certain standards he feels must be upheld at all costs.”

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Lent is one of the most prominent of these standards. Though the Comte’s resolve is undeniably strong, his body begins to physically weaken in response to the near starvation diet to which he subjects himself. In stark contrast to his abstinence is Vianne, her chocolaterie and in one specific comedic moment her attempt to sway him with truffles called the Nipples of Venus.

Nipples

And so in the Comte’s honor, I’ve chosen the Nipples of Venus as the first in the series of CHOCOLAT-themed recipes I’ve recreated. The history of this particular truffle dates far back into French history and often includes a delicate chestnut filling. For my version I chose an early and simple recipe (chocolate only, though varying types and consistencies).

Although I’ve worked in a professional bakery, this was my first attempt at chocolate in truffle form. What I discovered is that working with chocolate in this way is therapeutic for its neediness. It asks for concentration and allows little time to check your Facebook page – which can be a life-giving gift. I thoroughly enjoyed a day tempering, shaping and eating this aptly named chocolate incarnation. And found a bit of respite myself in the indulgence of chocolate.

(A huge thank you goes out to Garlic, My Soul for the fantastic food photography).

Be sure to check out the second and third installments in the CHOCOLAT series on the blog.

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Recipe:

Ingredients
6 3.5 ounce dark chocolate bars (70% or above)
1 3.5 ounce white chocolate bar
1 cup whole milk

Directions
1. Break your first 3 dark chocolate bars into small, manageable pieces.
2. Heat over a double boiler until it reaches approximately 115 degrees Fahrenheit or begins to melt, visibly.
3. Stir in ¾ cup milk, slowly. Mix until smooth.
4. Turn off burner and let cool until completely room temperature (up to 2 hours).
5. When cooled, using an electric mixer, beat chocolate until it forms stiff peaks.
6. Fill a pastry bag or a plastic bag with a 1 inch hole cut in the corner with your stiff-peaked chocolate confection.
7. On a tray lined with parchment paper, create chocolate kiss-shaped swirls.
8. Place in refrigerator.
9. In the same fashion as before, double boil and heat the second set of 3 dark chocolate bars.
10. Stir in remaining ¼ cup milk and mix until smooth.
11. Remove from burner and go get your kisses from the fridge.
12. With a spoon, set of tongs or just your fingers (whatever system works best for you) dip the kisses into the chocolate until full coated and replace on parchment paper.
13. Let stand until hardened. If you live in a hot climate, like, say Los Angeles, you may want to put them in the fridge again.
14. Double boiling for the last time, melt your white chocolate and stir until smooth.
15. Remove from burner and (again, in whatever method you find best) dip the very tip of the truffles into the white chocolate…to create the likeness of its namesake.

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