I basically found myself rooting against the Nazis because they’re Nazis, which isn’t hard. But after films like Inglorious Basterds used Nazis as not only obvious villains but also intriguing characters with something to say, it’s hard to go back to this sort of character. Though, that’s not saying the heroes have it any better in that respect, as all of our GIs are pretty archetypical as well. While the actors embodying such roles do lend their own verve and flavor to portraying them, they’re still pretty two dimensional.
BRAND-NEW luxury apartments in Beirut tend to look predictably interchangeable. The typical formula: white walls, trophy art by trophy artists, and contemporary furniture from high-end brands that boasts little in the way of originality. That may satisfy some but not Lebanese-born decorator Claudia Skaff, who’s based in London. “I prefer interiors to have more character,” she said. When she and her Dutch financier husband acquired this new 5,800-square-foot second home in the Gemmayzeh district to the east of the city, she was intent on one thing—that it be endowed with personality and soul.
Collaborating with Michèle Chaya of local architecture firm Mariagroup, she injected a cozy conviviality into the blank-slate space by relying on patinated vintage furnishings, appreciably handmade light fixtures and wallpaper, and natural materials that warmed up the wan, by-the-numbers rooms.
“It’s a juxtaposition of things that don’t necessarily go together,” noted Ms. Chaya. Indeed, not everyone would pair a raw concrete wall with velvet tufted upholstery. Or decide that a reflective bubblegum-pink steel wardrobe should share quarters with a 19th-century Chinese altar table.
To give the space a grounding sense of place, meanwhile, the duo turned to traditional Lebanese touches, such as the handmade encaustic floor tiles. “I didn’t want the impression I was in Hong Kong or Paris,” insisted Ms. Skaff. Here, five of the rooms that convey homeyness in adventurous ways.
A Vertibule That Welcomes Contrasts
In a newly constructed building just outside Beirut, homeowner Claudia Skaff, a decorator by trade, enlisted Michèle Chaya, of local architecture firm Mariagroup, to give a standard luxury apartment individuality. The entry hall encapsulates the decorative principles by which they achieved this—originality and daring. Flanking the door (on the right wall) are a chillingly modern free-standing closet of pink steel and a weathered antique Chinese altar table topped with a 1975 spherical sculpture by French ceramist Suzanne Tison—one of the home’s many feisty dialogues between old and new. Handmade wicker pendants from Thailand offer an earthy contrast to Mariagroup’s cool steel bookcase.
Heritage Turned On Its Head
Time-honored materials add a note of tradition in the kitchen. Ms. Skaff chose classic Carrara marble but fashioned it into sleek, straight forms. Ditto the cabinetry of solid oak, another well-established kitchen material, set in unconventional strips—no raised-panel doors here. Handmade cement tiles from Beirut firm BlattChaya dazzle with motifs borrowed from historical documents. “They bring an authentic touch and immediately animate the floor,” noted Ms. Skaff. Still, their palette of blue, greys and white is an update of the red-orange-ocher tile combos found in old Lebanese houses. Contemporary black accents—Revolving Stools by Hay, a 1960s pendant lamp and the base of the table by Yew—also thoughtfully undermine classicism.
“I wanted to give the terrace more of a living-room atmosphere,” said Ms. Skaff. Continuing the tile floor from the kitchen to the balcony links the inside and outside, while curvy forms help create a relaxed mood: The roundness of the stone-topped stainless-steel table echoes the circular motifs of the floor tiles; the contours of the iconic Eames fiberglass armchairs invite guests to kick back and linger.
The pair of design pros gave the cookie-cutter apartment energy and originality, mostly through unpredictable combinations. In the sitting room, the raw concrete wall offers an interesting backdrop for an adroit mix of the rough and refined. With its slightly prickly fibers, the abaca rug from Belgian firm Limited Edition adds another note of coarseness, while the custom velvet sofa and bronze coffee table ooze sensual luxury. Counteracting newness: midcentury finds, both well-known pieces (the Pierre Jeanneret armchairs and Vladimir Kagan sofa) and the more obscure daybed from Holland’s Dick Cordemeijer.
Nothing gives a naked wall personality like wallpaper, and London maker Marthe Armitage’s Angelica pattern provides a double dose of charm because it’s hand printed for “a very artistic look,” said Ms. Skaff. The busy botanical motif is so strong that it more than keeps up with the potentially focus-stealing Jimken pendant from German industrial designer Ingo Maurer, which whimsically resembles a droopy cloth. Happily playing supporting roles: the clean-lined Roll & Hill Modo lamp and conspicuously unpatterned headboard, curtains and subtle Society Limonta bed linens.
Spoilers below for anyone who hasn’t yet watched Modern Family’s latest episode.
Through most of its first decade of seasons, Modern Family successfully jumped from one year to the next without doing much to shake up the status quo. Season 10, however, has already shown off some unusual storyline shifts. To say nothing of that overhyped death that didn’t do much to win audiences over, the ABC mainstay threw another bump in the road by revealing Sarah Hyland’s Haley Dunphy is pregnant. What the what?
That’s right, Haley started off “Did the Chicken Cross the Road?” by wanting to prove herself more mature than how Luke’s personality assessment pegged her. Her attempts fell flat, and she ended up going to ride bumper cars with Dylan. While applying lipstick inside one of the cars, which is something every mature person does with frequency, Dylan rammed into her, sending the lipstick tube up her nose, requiring a hospital trip.
The tests she took inside the emergency room clued nurses into the fact that Haley is an expectant mother, which technically does make her a more adult person than she was before the episode’s events took place. So…yay?
Speaking of body changes, Sarah Hyland took to social media to show off the process of getting fitted for a faux baby bump.
The reveal, while only somewhat shocking in the scheme of things, was not exactly one that got fans hyped about where things are heading. Many spoke out on social media about how bothered they are by this turn of events, but it’s not so much that Haley is pregnant. It’s that Modern Family seems to be telling us that Haley is pregnant with Dylan’s baby, which is not everyone’s ideal relationship for Hyland’s character.
When the newly divorced Dylan came back into Haley’s life in Season 10, it almost necessarily meant that relationships were no longer viable with previous boyfriends Andy or Arvin. Granted, Modern Family wasn’t 100% explicit in spelling out that Dylan is the father, so there’s still some wiggle room for the comedy to drop yet another big shocker on fans. But will it?
It’s certainly interesting that Modern Family would choose to bring a pregnancy storyline into the fray in Season 10, at a point when conversations are swirling around this possibly being the show’s final season. Everyone seems like they’d be fine with it, but wouldn’t turn down the chance to come back for at least one more year.
ABC hasn’t made any decisions yet. However, the ratings are no longer dominating and with the cast’s salaries regularly among the largest in TV, the decision to end it wouldn’t come out of left field.
Hot Take Theory Time: What if Modern Family‘s creative team is making Haley pregnant in order to give Sarah Hyland her own spinoff series in the wake of the flagship’s departure? Sure, there are plenty of characters that a follow-up show could center on. However, what would be more fitting than watching the next generation of the Pritchett-Dunphy bloodline getting reared?
Modern Family airs on ABC on Wednesday nights at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what all the other new and returning shows dotting the schedule are, be sure to keep current with our fall TV premiere guide.
Chrissy Teigen doesn’t take kindly to comments criticizing her parenting methods. On Instagram, one commenter was trying to bemoan the Lip Sync Battle television personality for feeding her five-month-old son Miles from the bottle, rather than breastfeeding the infant child. And while she didn’t necessarily want to type it out outright, Teigen didn’t believe it was the commenter’s right to speak out against the way she’s raising her child. As always, the TV personality and social media influencer made her opinions known.
The controversy arrived on Instagram after John Legend posted a picture of Chrissy Teigen and her family, including her grandmother, Vilailuck Teigen, backstage of The Voice. Her husband is set to become a coach on the NBC music series during its 16th season. In the photo that John Legend posted, the television host was seen on a couch, feeding her infant son with a bottle. It’s this simple image that drew a critical comment online.
When The Voice coach was asked if she doesn’t breastfeed Miles anymore, Chrissy Teigen had the following retort to give to the person asking away.
It’s hard to deny that Chrissy Teigen’s comment is undeniably true. John Legend has, indeed, never breastfeed his young children. And later in the post, Teigen received some support from a stranger who said a few words that Teigen wasn’t willing to say online.
In response to this helpful comment, Chrissy Teigen backed up the person’s comments by replying with the following behind-the-scenes information.
Shots fired. It’s never easy to receive some criticism from a high profile celebrity. But if you are dishing it out in the first place, you better expect it to come. Reading these words, some critics might not wan to take the time to write snide remarks about Chrissy Teigen’s parenting. But you never know. The Internet is always filled with critical people. There’s certainly someone out there willing to say something rude to Ms. Teigen.
If that’s the case, they should know that Chrissy Teigen is going to continue dishing it out. She’s tired of hearing rude and inconsiderate comments about her parenting skills, and it’s apparent that she isn’t completely afraid to utter out a few inappropriate words of her own if people still want to offer their feedback about her parenting priorities. We’re sure someone out there is going to make a fuss in one way or another in the near future. Whatever that fuss might be, and however Chrissy Teigen responds to it, you can totally be sure to read all about it right here at CinemaBlend.
Becoming a solo artist has been an incredible new chapter of my life. After Fifth Harmony, I felt a mix of so many emotions—but most of all, I felt excited about what was to come next. For the first time in my career, I feel like I genuinely have the power to collaborate with who I want, and I’m contributing ideas to a strong, healthy team. To finally be in control is so important to me because this is my career. These are the songs my voice will be heard through.
One of the most exciting moments in this chapter happened after my team came to me in early September with the idea of hosting an all-female writing camp. I had been recording for most of the summer in a very male-dominated industry, so being able to switch gears and get a bunch of women together sounded amazing. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve always felt respected by the male songwriters and producers I’ve worked with, and we’ve had a blast together. But there’s nothing quite like the female energy, is there?
This is my career. These are the songs my voice will be heard through.
So we set up a two-day camp at Glenwood Studios later that month with about fifteen talented and diverse female engineers, producers, and songwriters. Everyone had different backgrounds, stories, and credits to their name, but we all arrived with the same intentions: to uplift each other, to make our community stronger, and to highlight how beautiful it is for women to band together.
I hadn’t worked with anyone in the camp before, so we started by going around the room over lunch and introducing ourselves. We spoke about why we got into music, and I was moved by everyone’s stories. One of the engineers revealed that she’s a professional tango dancer; another producer talked about how she almost went into accounting. When my time came to speak, I opened up about how much I had learned during my time in Fifth Harmony—and all the experiences I wanted to talk about now that I’m on my own.
After we finished introductions, everyone split into two rooms. I went into Studio B first and recorded the most vulnerable record I’ve ever done. There was six of us in the room starting completely from scratch, but one of the producers picked up a guitar, played a chord, and the song just took off from there. We were sharing our raw emotions with each other, and it felt like we were all connected. It was empowering to be in that space, to be surrounded by females actually embracing and lifting each other up. There were no egos, no hidden agendas, nobody wanting to take all the credit. It was so powerful to be in a session where I felt I could be myself. I felt safe enough to be vulnerable.
There were no egos, no hidden agendas, nobody wanting to take all the credit.
The song came out beautifully, and I’m so proud to have co-written it. It’s self-reflective, inspired by the honest emotions that we all share as women. I can’t wait to share it.
This is why I think it’s imperative that women support other women. We’re such powerful beings. We love hard. We possess so much feeling inside of us. We work hard and chase our dreams. Imagine what we can achieve when we come together. There are so many women—not just in my industry—who need our help and our voices. We should be friends to one another, and it breaks my heart when we aren’t kind to our own. I’ve experienced it, and it’s terrible. It cuts you deep. Working with the amazing women at the writing camp reminded me that we’re all unique and have something incredible to offer. When we come together, we can change the world.
Brooke is currently working on her debut solo album for Atlantic records.
Not quite a week ago, Earl Sweatshirt returned, sort of, on an interlude track on Vince Staples’ great new FM! album. It’s funny though: The song, “New EarlSweatshirt,” isn’t set up like an interlude but like a radio premiere, getting about 20 seconds deep before being unceremoniously cut off, as if someone switched the radio dial.
It might’ve felt like a fake-out, but it doesn’t matter now because Earl is actually back with a real, no-BS track that is, in fact, more of a real song than “New EarlSweatshirt.” It’s called “Nowhere2go,” and it sounds like a sound collage clawed its way to life with the mandate to not waste any of its precious 116 seconds. It’s wonderful.
Earl accompanied the track on social media with a poignant message. “To say I’m excited to finally b(e) giving y’all music is an understatement,” he wrote. “This year been the toughest (one) of my life. Thank u for fucking wit me like Allblack.” That tone is reflected in Earl’s lyrics, too: “I think I spent most of my life depressed / Only thing on my mind was death / Didn’t know if my time was next / Tryna refine this shit, I redefined myself.”
They seem to speak to the depression Earl’s faced lately, and his tweet may also partially be a reference to the death of his father in January 2018, after which Earl canceled some live dates. His last album, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, was release in 2015.
Check out “Nowhere2go” above.
In pop culture, we are living in the age of the fan. Never before have audiences had so many options for entertainment available at any given time. Superhero cinematic universes and heavily serialized television programs, as examples, are notable extensions of this, and it stretches to the world of Harry Potter as well.
In fact, David Yates’ Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a perfect example. The movie is solid and loaded with fun characters and sequences, but it’s also a ride that is designed specifically to be enjoyed by those who have long invested their hearts into the Wizarding World. It is, however, also very much a double-edged sword. While you also have to admire the movie’s commitment and confidence in itself, it’s definitely going to leave some crowds feeling like they are on the outside looking in.
The second chapter in the Fantastic Beasts series, and based on the second screenplay from author J.K. Rowling, The Crimes of Grindelwald picks up a year after its predecessor and begins as its titular villain (Johnny Depp) makes a daring jailbreak in hopes of continuing his mission: finding the powerful young wizard Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) and convincing him to join his side. Of course, Grindelwald being free sets off all kinds of alarms, and it’s not long before news gets back to England and magizoologist/burgeoning celebrity Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne).
Having had some experience with Grindelwald in the last movie, Newt knows exactly what it is that the dark wizard is trying to do, but also can’t legally do anything about it because of a punishment that forbids him from international travel. Plus, unlike his bureaucrat brother Thesueus (Callum Turner), he’s also not entirely comfortable choosing sides in the imminent war. This all changes, however, when friends Queenie (Alison Sudol) and Jacob (Dan Fogler) arrive from New York with news that Queenie’s sister Tina (Katherine Waterston) is in Paris looking for both Grindelwald and Credence — and the legendary Dumbledore (Jude Law) asks for Newt’s help in the matter.
That description probably isn’t going to make a lot of sense to those who don’t have at least some background with this property — and that’s on purpose, in that it’s representative of the mode in which Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald operates from the start. Being the tenth chapter in a movie franchise that has earned over $8 billion to date, it has a strong expectation of the audiences’ presumed knowledge, and doesn’t slow down once it gets rolling. The perfect example of this? It never actually features or explains what the “crimes of Grindelwald” are.
For the die-hards, this will be seen as a blessing, as few things will take you out of a movie faster than a string of exposition filled with information that you already know. If you’re not a person who is aware of the Lestrange family, know what a Boggart is, or can immediately recognize the halls of Hogwarts, though, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is trouble. It’s a film that throws you into the deep end of the pool, telling you to sink or swim, and while it’s possible to tread and keep your head above water, it doesn’t exactly make for a wholly satisfying experience.
It speaks to the comfortability of J.K. Rowling as a creator, and is an advancement for her as a novelist-cum-screenwriter following Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them. The sequel is much more tonally consistent than the previous movie (opting to be more Prisoner of Azkaban than Sorcerer’s Stone), and it seems to have a much clearer idea of the larger story that it wants to tell. However, Rowling also does seem to still be adjusting to the very different way information is offered on screen versus in text, with certain bits coming across as throttling in their delivery.
With so much going on, it’s the characters that ground Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, as it plays host to charming and engaging performances from its talented ensemble. Eddie Redmayne’s Newt Scamander remains a strange, atypical franchise lead (what with his regular inability/hesitance to make eye contact with the people he’s talking to), but his charisma comes from his amiability, and his general attitude makes his bold stances all the more powerful. What’s more, this is a story that tests him, and forces some very important decisions that move the character forward in key ways.
Similar sentiments can be shared about the majority of the returning Fantastic Beasts cast (though there are some spoilery controversial choices made that can’t be discussed at this time), but unfortunately those particularly excited for the roles played by Jude Law and Johnny Depp may walk away underwhelmed. In the case of the former, Dumbledore has only a very minor part in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, straight-up benched by the Ministry of Magic in the middle of the movie, and Law only has a handful of scenes to establish his take on the great wizard.
Grindelwald is the bigger disappointment, though, with most issues stemming from the lack of any kind of meaningful engagement with the character. At the very start we learn through expositional dialogue that he is a smart and dangerous manipulator, but despite seeing a plethora of recruits, we never actually see him fully execute this skill. Instead, we simply know what he’s doing, and we’re told it’s bad… and that’s about it. Rather than coming across as scary or dangerous, he is merely painted as Representative Antagonist who we only know is sinister because the heroes don’t like him. For all of the controversy surrounding Johnny Depp’s casting, it’s strange just how underutilized he is.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is a film where what you get out of it is heavily dependent on what you bring into it. It’s competently made, with David Yates bringing that familiar Harry Potter world aesthetic back for the sixth time, but your appreciation for it is going to entirely depend on the context in which you personally put it. It’s a movie built special for aficionados of the Wizarding World, and while there’s nothing wrong with that in this age of fandom, it’s an element that demands consideration before purchasing a ticket.
Blended From Around The Web
FOOD WRITERS are an excitable bunch, always in search of a culinary revelation and an excessive number of adjectives to describe it. But few gastronomic discoveries prompt such effusive descriptions as a first taste of fennel pollen. “If angels sprinkled a spice from their wings, this would be it,” declared the writer Peggy Knickerbocker in Saveur magazine back in October of 2000. Lesser poets of the palate tend to settle simply for the word “magic.”
A little reassuring hyperbole might just be in order in this case. For many of the uninitiated, the first question is: Am I allergic to it? Meanwhile, fennel seed, pollen’s better-known cousin, has an army of haters who balk at its bold licorice punch, second only to cilantro as a maligned foodstuff.
Three Winning Ways to Cook with Fennel Pollen
- Perk up pork. A thick, juicy chop with a dusting of fennel pollen and sea salt is one of the best (and easiest) ways to showcase the spice’s subtle sweetness.
- Or pasta. Combine fennel pollen with orange zest, sea salt and mint to top linguini or goat-cheese ravioli.
- And don’t forget dessert. Sprinkle fennel pollen atop panna cotta or vanilla ice cream with fresh berries.
So let’s be clear. This food will not trigger sneezing or runny eyes. And fennel pollen has none of fennel seed’s jarring flavor. Its character is (magically enough) both more subtle and more intense than the more familiar spice, with the brisk freshness of fennel fronds and a lovely hum of sweetness.
Fennel pollen comes, as you would expect, from fennel flowers, which are collected just as they start to bloom. They are then dried—and left undisturbed throughout the process so that no essential oils are lost—and sifted to remove unwanted debris.
A top-quality fennel pollen will be fragrant and golden-green in color, said Rolando Beramendi of Manicaretti Italian Food Importers. He began bringing fennel pollen over from Italy in his suitcase for chefs and sausage makers in the U.S. more than 20 years ago. Today, he imports as much as his small producer, Antica Drogheria Francioni in eastern Tuscany, can produce.
If there’s any trick to getting the most out of fennel pollen, it’s simply to let it shine. Don’t ask it to compete with bold flavors like chili flakes or even black pepper (use white instead). In Italy, pork is this ingredient’s classic partner, but Mr. Beramendi also loves to sprinkle it over fresh anchovies or swordfish garnished with parsley. A small pinch also gives neutral-tasting blank canvases like poached eggs, goat cheese or roasted potatoes a subtle spark.
Where to buy: You won’t likely find fennel pollen at the supermarket, but it’s widely available online. We like Antica Drogheria Francioni, which is hand-harvested in Tuscany in high summer. ($15 for 1.5-ounce jar at Market Hall Foods) Status-seekers can try a jar from the Voyager Collection, a collaboration with renowned chef Eric Ripert, from New York spice house La Boite. ($30 for a 1-ounce jar).
LUCKY ME. My mother’s cornbread-and-sausage stuffing is the ultimate, the best, the blue-ribbon recipe by which all others will forever be judged. I will never sanction a Thanksgiving without it, but I have been doing some experimenting of my own recently.
The idea of multiple stuffings on the holiday table came to me as I thumbed through the London chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, “Simple,” and came across a recipe with caraway, chestnuts, cranberries and rye bread. On Thanksgiving, each dish must be comfortingly familiar and yet distinctive enough to stand up to its neighbors, with which it will inevitably mingle on the plate. Mr. Ottolenghi’s stuffing does just that. In another recent recipe collection, “The Staub Cookbook,” I found a decidedly grown-up and very rich stuffing made with sausage, figs, brandy and cream. I never imagined a stuffing could have such elegance, but this one proved me shortsighted.
Next I set myself the challenge of matching a smoked turkey. This increasingly popular option calls for a stuffing with some fire of its own. I came up with a version full of chorizo, jalapeño and corn, dusted with smoked paprika and garnished with cilantro, that conjures the American Southwest.
Armed with four terrific recipes, I was left with the eternal question: Stuff the bird or cook the stuffing separately? Stuffing that is stuffed is rarely crisp; its appeal is its soft, molten texture. Stuffing cooked outside, in a covered dish, has more texture, more edges and bite. It’s safer, too: Bringing stuffing inside a turkey to a food-safe 165 degrees without overcooking the bird can be tricky.
And while we’re dealing with age-old Thanksgiving controversies: Though I’m usually an advocate for fresh ingredients, here I’ll stand up for good old Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Stuffing, straight from the box. The cubes maintain their texture far better than fresh cornbread does. Otherwise, go stale, and not just day-old—more like two or three. Five minutes in an oven set to 375 will complete the process. If you’re making your own cornbread, choose a recipe with no added sugar.
The drier the bread, the more broth you can mix in, and this is what gives the stuffing flavor. I mix the broth in bit by bit, using my hands to gauge the texture. When the stuffing feels moist, I stop adding broth. You don’t want it soupy. Check the stuffing halfway through its baking time. If it feels dry, add a bit more broth. If it’s still wet, remove the cover for the last 10-15 minutes of baking.
There are no mistakes here that can’t be easily fixed. Stuffing is as forgiving to cook as it is sure to please.
Caraway, Cranberry and Chestnut Stuffing
For this recipe, start with stale bread, at least 1-2 days old.
TOTAL TIME: 1¼ hours SERVES: 8
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut 1 stale (roughly 8-by-5-inch) loaf rye bread and 1 stale (roughly 8-by-5-inch) loaf sourdough bread into ¾-inch-thick slices and remove crusts. Tear bread into 1-inch cubes (you should have about 7 cups). Spread bread over two baking sheets and bake, tossing halfway through, until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. // In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add 4 teaspoons caraway seeds and toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add 5 cloves garlic, minced, 5 cups diced celery, 2 onions, diced, ½ cup dried cranberries, 2 cups chopped ready-cooked and peeled chestnuts, and 2 teaspoons salt. Cook, stirring often, until celery is soft and onions are golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add 1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, toasted bread and 1-2 cups chicken stock. (If stuffing a bird, you will need 1 cup. If baking stuffing separately, you will need 2.) Melt 1 tablespoon butter and drizzle over stuffing. // Transfer stuffing to a roasting pan or gratin dish. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until stuffing is lightly browned on top, 10 minutes more. Alternatively, add stuffing to cavity of 1 turkey or 2 chickens and roast with bird. Use a thermometer to make sure stuffing reaches 165 degrees before serving. Serve hot.
—Adapted from “Simple” by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ten Speed Press)
Sausage, Fig and Brandy Stuffing
TOTAL TIME: 1 ¼ hours SERVES: 6
Thickly slice 1 pound crusty bread, such as ciabatta or French bread, and remove crusts. Cut sliced bread into 1-inch cubes. Spread over a baking sheet, loosely cover with a clean dish towel, and let sit overnight to dry out. // Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium roasting pan or braising pan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Remove 8 ounces sweet or hot Italian sausage from casings and roughly crumble into pan. Cook loose sausage, breaking up into smaller pieces with the back of a spoon and stirring often, until cooked through and browned, 5-7 minutes. Transfer sausage to a large bowl. Add 1 onion, diced, 3 celery stalks, diced, a large pinch of kosher salt and a grind of black pepper to pan and cook over medium-low heat until onion is translucent and celery has softened, about 10 minutes. Deglaze pan with ¼ cup brandy, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Add 6 ounces dried figs, halved, and 2 cups chicken stock. Reduce heat to low and cook until figs are rehydrated, 2-3 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves. // Add bread to bowl with sausage. Use a large spoon or spatula to fold in fig-vegetable mixture until well combined. Return bread-sausage mixture to pan. Drizzle ¼ cup heavy cream all over. Top with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. // Cover pan with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until stuffing is lightly browned on top, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, add stuffing to cavity of turkey and roast with bird. Use a thermometer to make sure stuffing reaches 165 degrees before serving. Remove from the oven and serve hot.
—Adapted from “The Staub Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press)
Jane Kramer’s Classic Cornbread-and-Sausage Stuffing
TOTAL TIME: 1¼ hours SERVES: 6
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium braising pan, melt 3½ sticks (1¾ cups) unsalted butter over medium-low heat. Add 2 cups chopped onion and 1½ cups chopped celery and cook over low heat until translucent and soft, about 10 minutes. Add 1 red bell pepper, diced, and 1 yellow bell pepper, diced, and cook to soften, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add ⅔ cup loose breakfast sausage to pan and increase heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until meat has browned and formed a bit of a crust, about 10 minutes. Add to bowl with vegetables and toss to combine. // In a smaller skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add 1¼ cups roughly chopped pecans and cook until lightly browned. Add pecans to vegetable-sausage mixture and toss until well-combined. Gently fold in 5 cups cubed stale corn bread or Pepperidge Farm Cornbread Stuffing, 2 cups cubed stale sourdough bread or Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing, ⅓ cup chicken broth, ⅓ cup orange juice, 2 eggs, beaten, 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, 2 tablespoons chopped sage and 2 tablespoons thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and drizzle all over stuffing. // Transfer stuffing to a roasting pan or gratin dish. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Add additional broth if the stuffing seems dry. Remove foil and bake until stuffing is lightly browned on top, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, add stuffing to cavity of turkey and roast with bird. Use a thermometer to make sure stuffing reaches 165 degrees before serving. Remove from oven and serve hot.
—Adapted from Jane Kramer
Chorizo, Corn and Cilantro Stuffing
TOTAL TIME: 1¼ hours SERVES: 10-12
Cut 2 pans stale unsweetened cornbread into 1-inch cubes. (You should have 12 cups.) If cornbread still has some moisture, spread over 2 large baking sheets and toast in oven at 375 degrees until dry, about 5 minutes. Set aside. // Remove casings from 2 pounds raw Mexican chorizo and crumble meat. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook crumbled chorizo, stirring often, until fat begins to render, about 3 minutes. Lower heat and continue to cook chorizo until browned and much of fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Transfer chorizo to a large bowl. Pour off most of fat from skillet. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil and set over low heat. Add 2 onions, diced, and 2 stalks celery, diced, and cook until onion is translucent and celery has softened, about 10 minutes. Add 1 clove garlic, minced, 2 cups corn kernels and 3 red or orange bell peppers, diced, and cook to soften, 3 minutes more. Transfer vegetables to bowl with chorizo. Gently fold in cornbread and add 3 cups chicken broth. Gently stir to combine. // Transfer stuffing to a roasting pan or gratin dish. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake until stuffing is lightly browned on top, about 10 minutes. Alternatively, add stuffing to cavity of turkey and roast with bird. Use a thermometer to make sure stuffing reaches 165 degrees before serving. Remove from oven. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika and ⅓ cup cilantro leaves over stuffing. Serve hot.
With just two movies left of Phase Three, the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is largely a mystery. The studio is keeping its plans under wraps, largely in fear of spoiling the events of The Russo Brothers’ Avengers 4. But there are a few narrative threads to pull at, which may become important when the MCU continues on in the wake of Thanos’ finger snap of death.
One of the biggest question marks is the capabilities of the Quantum Realm, which is a setting largely associated with the Ant-Man franchise. The mysterious location has been teased with vast powers, and Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang was left stranded there after Thanos’ finger snap of death. Kevin Feige recently mentioned how the Quantum Realm has been a long time coming, saying:
At the end of Ant-Man, we followed Scott Lang into the Quantum Realm for the first time. We were beginning to peel back the onion that would later be completely peeled back in Doctor Strange as we go into the multiverse. So that was our little test into that. But now the Quantum Realm is a whole other territory that we can play with to tell our stories. This Quantum Realm is much larger than we ever imagined, and there are all sorts of adventures to be had at that level, which perhaps we will explore in another film.
Well, this is certainly intriguing. Per Kevin Feige’s comments in the book Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years (via ComicBook), it looks like the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to explore the Quantum Realm in future films. And considering the mid-credits scene of Ant-Man and The Wasp, that event will be sooner rather than later.
The Quantum Realm has been a cloud looming above both Ant-Man movies, with the blockbusters not really explaining its powers and capabilities. Scott managed to survive his first brief encounter in the first movie, with that moment playing a big part in the rescue of Janet van Dyne in Ant-Man and The Wasp. Janet was eventually brought back with mysterious powers, with little to no explanation about the Quantum Realm given in the film’s third act.
Ant-Man and The Wasp‘s mid-credits episode helped connect it to the greater MCU, as its set the same time as Infinity War‘s epic Battle of Wakanda. After going to the Quantum Realm for some samples, Scott Lang was left stranded as Hope, Hank, and Janet all turned to dust as a result of Thanos’ snap of death. He was last seen floating through the mysterious setting, with no hopes of help.
But the Quantum Realm has also been teased to possibly contain time traveling and/or worm holes, which may be the key to defeating Thanos. If Ant-Man can go back in time or to an alternative reality, then perhaps he can stop the Mad Titan from ever snapping his fingers. The villain almost perished multiple times during Infinity War, so the pint sized hero could be the key to saving the galaxy.