Mushroom and Goat Cheese Quiche

A couple things that can make nearly everything better, at least to me: mushrooms and goat cheese. So a while ago, I made this quiche with both of those things.

 

I had never actually cooked with a leek before, and I’d often seen recipes including them, so I figured this was a good a time as any to try them out. I sauteed some, along with my mushrooms and a little bit of garlic, then used the mixture to cover the bottom of a prepared pie crust.

IMG-1725I layered goat cheese on top of the leeks and mushrooms, then poured in the egg-milk-cream mixture. I made the first error of not using a deep dish crust, and the second error of not realizing the problem before I poured in all of the mixture, so it overflowed the second I picked it up. It was a mess. Luckily, through the clever combination of a plate and two, I managed to get  it into the oven. I then had to clean up the egg mess, which was gross.

I have a problem when it comes to cooking new things: inevitably, when I make something for the first time, I under season. Apparently, I’m just subconsciously that afraid of overdoing it on the salt. It wasn’t bad – in fact, I really liked it, especially when I added more salt. But I really need to get better at my first guess.

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Oh, the Glory: Cheese Puffs

IMG-1728Gougères: a savoury pastry so delicious, you just know you don’t want to know what’s in them.

Except you do. Because no nutrition facts should stop you from eating these, because they’re great, and making them whenever you want is amazing.

I made my pâte à choux – heated the butter and water together; stirred in the flour; added eggs; seasoned with salt, thyme, and a little paprika – then mixed in a lot of cheese. I used cheddar, because why not. Seeing as I don’t believe in expending extra effort to make food pretty when I’m not trying to impress anyone, and I find piping bags absurd at the best of times, I used a spoon, because dammit, it is my right as a human being to prepare food the way I please. They were delicious.

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Prince Edward: The Greatest Disney Prince of All Time

I’ll admit, I’m not all that big a Disney fan. I thought Tangled was beautiful, and I appreciate the Hamlet with lions and singing that is The Lion King, and I found several others quite enjoyable, but I’m not nearly as into them as others I know. I still haven’t seen the entirety of Frozen. I don’t know why, but the only time I ever saw Beauty and the Beast was in French class, and I might have fallen asleep. Everything about Pocahontas makes me mad. And so on. Enchanted, on the other hand, is one of my ultimate feel good movies – partially, of course, because I adore Amy Adams, but also because of Prince Edward of Andalasia.

JAMES MARSDEN

This guy.

He is absurdly endearing. Maybe part of the reason I love him so much is that he’s played by James Marsden, but he’s also a legitimately great character. He may not be all that bright, but he’s charming and friendly and supremely talented at going with whatever happens. Most of his dimness is just that he comes from a different world, but even aside from that, he’s kind of lovably dumb, enthusiastic, and melodramatic.

He stabbed a bus! Got run over by a swarm of bicyclists! You sure don’t see Prince Charming doing any of that. Enchanted as a whole is a loving parody of itself, and Edward is a huge part of what allows that to work well. He’s not Giselle’s ultimate love interest, but he’s very far from a villain.

There was no entitlement in him. No toxic masculinity. No “You can’t dump me, I travelled to another world and got run over trying to find you”. Even when he was pointing a sword at Robert, it was never a question of fighting him over Giselle. He legitimately thought Giselle was in danger, and the second she told him that Robert was a friend, he calmed down and put his sword away. When he kissed her and she didn’t wake up, he immediately turned to Robert and told her to do it, because his concern was her life and not his pride. And when it worked, he was off in the background smiling, because he just loves love.

He’s funny, he’s brave, and a large part of the movie is dedicated to affectionately mocking him and the archetype he represents. What Disney prince can top that?

Laptop Struggles: A Life Update

You know what’s not pleasant? Laptop troubles. You know what’s even more unpleasant than laptop troubles? Laptop troubles with a laptop you only bought a month ago.

My computer decided to start acting up a couple weeks ago, just after I bought it. It was usable, but barely – there were weird pixel issues that rendered part of the screen completely unreadable. I managed to get through the last couple weeks of the semester with it without tossing it through a window in frustration, then packed it up and sent it to get fixed a couple days ago.

It still hasn’t left the FedEx office where I dropped it off. Here’s to hoping it gets to where it needs to go soon. I never realized how many things I use it for until I’m at home without it, away from campus and the computer labs that go along with that, trying to get things done on a seven year old iPad.

5 of the Best Fight Scenes in Superhero Movies

Mostly when I talk about superhero movies, I’m talking about one of two things. One, the X-Men, with all that goes along with a superhero story featuring characters analogous to persecuted minorities. Or two, Zack Snyder’s work, filled with philosophical questions and allusions to mythology, art, and literature. But the most recent superhero movie I saw was Justice League, which while credited to Snyder, screamed studio interference so loudly, most of it didn’t feel like his movie anymore.

I’m still disappointed about that. I had a good time watching it, I did, but for me, it didn’t come close to measuring up to Batman v Superman or Man of Steel. But in the spirit of positivity, I figured instead of talking about why Justice League disappointed me, I’d instead discuss something I think we can all agree on: modern comicbook movies have awesome fight scenes. And everyone loves a good fight scene, right? So in no particular order, here are five of my favourite of such scenes.

1. Nightcrawler in the White House (X2: X-Men United)

A fantastic demonstration of Kurt’s mutation, set to Mozart. I loved this scene. X2 and Days of Future Past are my two favourite X-Men movies, and by a huge margin. None of the others even come close. This opening sequence was one of the contributors to that. It’s absolutely stunning. A great choice in music, beautiful choreography – what else is there to say?

2. Batman Warehouse Fight (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice)

Brutal.

This is the most Batman fight scene ever. This is a version of the character that’s lost everything that’s mattered to him, and he’s just found something worth fighting for again. This was just a no-holds-barred beatdown. And it was the precursor to him saving Clark’s mom, which just makes it more awesome.

3. Quicksilver at the Pentagon (X-Men: Days Of Future Past)

Does it count as a fight scene if it’s really just Quicksilver running around the room and moving things to less dangerous places? Probably not, no. But I’m counting it anyway, because it was close enough, dammit, and  it was awesome. Quicksilver got a couple people to hit themselves in the face – that’s good enough for me. It showed off his powers well. It had great music. It was a whole hell of a lot of fun to watch. In short, I love it for the exact same reasons I love the Nightcrawler scene.

4. Batman vs Superman (Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice)

So I know I probably shouldn’t give the same character in the same movie two of the slots on my list. But everything about Batfleck in BvS was so awesome I had to.

This was the fight we all signed up to see. I adore Batman v Superman. I could make a case for that being my favourite movie ever – I can’t think of a single other film that has impacted me as much as BvS. The reason for that wasn’t the fight. But the fight was what got most people to the theatre in the first place, and as divisive as the rest of the movie still is, it delivered.

This fight is why Batman belongs in the League. He’s smart enough and skilled enough to disable Superman. His superpower is sheer determination. We got to see Batman prepping. We got to see how dangerous he really is when he has a goal. We got to see Superman not initially wanting to fight, but Batman being so unwilling to listen that he had no choice. We got the brilliance of the moment where Superman loses patience with the guy that keeps attacking him when he’s trying to ask for help. It was fast paced, violent, horrifying, and absolutely amazing to watch.

5. No Man’s Land (Wonder Woman)

The last one was a tough slot for me. A large part of me wants to go with the Superman Zod fight from Man of Steel, or maybe the one with Clark facing off against Faora. I could fill this list with Superman scenes alone. But in the honour of the first live-action Wonder Woman movie, and because Clark already has a role in one of the fights on this list, I thought I should show some appreciation for the Amazon princess.

The No Man’s Land sequence is the most instantly recognizable scene from Wonder Woman, and I loved every part of it, from the colour palette to the music to the slow climb out of the trenches. The other action scenes in the movie are fine. They’re good. But this one is by far my favourite.

When it comes to the DCEU, Clark had his first flight, Bruce had the warehouse scene, and Diana has No Man’s Land. It’s easy to see why. This scene is fantastic. It might be too soon to call it iconic, but I suspect that’s what it’ll become. It’s spectacular, and it absolutely deserves to be remembered for being as  brilliant as it is.

X-Men, Avengers, and Discrimination

In both the comics and the movies, Marvel has spent years pushing the idea that Captain America is a righteous hero that stands up for all that’s good about the United States. From my perspective? Captain America doesn’t represent the best of America, he represents it as it is. He simultaneously represents white liberalism and American imperialism.

In Avengers vs X-Men, he invaded a sovereign country that was also a sanctuary of mutants that had faced relentless persecution with an army because of the Phoenix Force, which he knew nothing about, to arrest a teenage girl that hadn’t committed any kind of crime. He says a lot of pretty words, but never does anything to actually help the mutants that need it. He talks a big game about freedom, but that never applies to people that oppose him and American interests. He supports mutants – but not mutants fighting for their rights in a meaningful way.

Steve has killed people. One of the people he brought to Utopia was Logan, who has killed hundreds of people and never faced any consequences for it. His team includes Black Widow, a literal assassin. He forgave Wanda for decimating the mutant population no questions asked. But Scott? Scott, while possessed by the Phoenix Force, killed one man that was attacking him and his nation full of a persecuted minority. For that, Steve decided he was a criminal and a terrorist that deserved to go to prison for his so called crimes. Steve seems to honestly believe that the life of one single soldier on his side is worth more than those of sixteen million children and civilians. He uses mutants as tools and only likes those that take his side or don’t actively work to make the world a better place for other mutants. That’s why he likes Beast, Wolverine, Scarlet Witch, Professor X – they’re either on his side directly, or ignoring the fact that their methods to “help mutants” aren’t helping.

He claims to not be a bigot because he sometimes has mutants on his team. But that’s a question of power, not giving a damn about mutants. He only cares about damage caused by mutants by mutants that stand against him. The damage that he and his team cause don’t matter, because they’re government sanctioned. They can go wherever they feel like and wreak whatever havoc they want, because they’re doing the right thing. That there has been the American justification for military intervention for decades.

Scott has called Steve “Captain Hypocrisy”, and that there was one of the truest statements anyone has ever said. Steve reminds me more than anything of all the times the US has propped up dictators around the world for supporting American interests, of the coups staged by the CIA. Of the proxy wars and illegal actions carried out due to a lack of regard for minorities and people from different countries. Of the way politicians that approve said actions are still looked at positively, praised, and admired for doing it with charm, or being likeable, because too many citizens don’t empathize with the people being harmed.

Maybe Steve’s actions in stories solely about him or the Avengers show a more positive side of him. But the way in which he acts in all the stories involving the X-Men or mutants in general paints a picture of a character that I can’t bring myself to like or respect. His actions don’t support humanity, they support a specific subset of people in one country. And it horrifies me that this is the character we’re expected to believe is the pinnacle of morality.

Goat Cheese And Sun-dried Tomato Fettuccine

In a further attempt to expand my horizons when it comes to pasta, I decided to throw together a few different things.

img_1674I kept the basics the same – onions, garlic, mushrooms. I can never resist mushroom anything. I didn’t use any tomatoes, but I roasted some red peppers. I’m not much of a fan of peppers, but hey, here’s to trying new things and continuing my quest to not get scurvy.

Goat cheese is delicious in any form. I usually just chop some up and toss it in a salad, but I fried some a while back and had it as a snack with warmed tomato sauce, and I think I found God.

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Chèvre melts so well that it’s ninety percent of a sauce all on its own. Had I just added a little lemon, seasoning, and maybe a couple more ingredients to the cheese, it would have tasted delicious. But in the words of Michael from The Good Place, it’s so human to take something great and ruin it just a little so we can have more of it. (Not that this is ruining anything. It’s awesome, really.)  So I added the goat cheese and a little half and half to the red peppers, onions, garlic, and mushrooms, squeezed in a lemon, and seasoned.

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It tasted really good. Personally, I’d still go for a tomato based sauce over any other kind 364 days of the year, but this is definitely worth a try. Do it for the goat cheese, if nothing else – goat cheese everything is life.