Sunday, March 6, 2016

Charred Grapes on a Cloud for #FoodNFlix

Wendy, of A Day in the Life on the Farm, is hosting our March Food'N'Flix event. We're watching, or rewatching as the case may be, A Walk in the Clouds.* Click to see Wendy's invitation. You still have plenty of time to join in the fun.

On the Screen...
It's been awhile since I've watched this movie. But I own the DVD, so, one night after the boys were all asleep, I popped it in.

Set, mostly, in a Napa Vineyard called Las Nubes - 'the Clouds' in Spanish - A Walk in the Clouds is a fiery romance, rife with passion and longing. Directed by Alfonso Arau, this film reminds me of the unabashed romance in another of his movies, Like Water for Chocolate. Both have a mystical element of true love that cannot be fettered by things such as marriages of convenience.

The movie opens with Paul Sutton - played by Keanu Reeves - returning home from the war to a wife he doesn't really know. "Let me guess," says his friend as they disembark the ship, "Met her on Friday, married her on Sunday, shipped out on Monday?" Pretty much, admits Paul.

He leaves San Francisco with a suitcase full of chocolates to appease his wife since she secured the job for his return and negotiated a raise. But on the first leg of his trip, he meets Victoria Aragon - played by Aitana Sanchez-Gijon.

Victoria had an affair with one of her professors at Berkeley, is pregnant, and has been abandoned by the professor, a free-spirit, who tells her he "was not meant for the conventions of this world." She dreads going home and admitting what has happened. Paul suggests he could pretend to be her husband, stay one night, then leave in the morning. Victoria agrees. 

Enter the Aragons, a passionate wine-making family from Mexico. Giancarlo Giannini plays Alberto Aragon and Anthony Quinn plays the family patriarch and Victoria's grandfather, Don Pedro Aragon.

The movie progresses. And through a series of melodramatic crises, Paul and Victoria actually fall in love. He delays his departure - and their original plan - to help bring in the grapes. Here's a clip of the grape stomp...

Paul shares that he was an orphan: "When I was a kid, I made a wish on every star in the sky to have what you have here." Victoria quips, "And have everyone telling you what to do?" He says, wistfully, "Better than no one."

That is the blessing, and the curse, of a large family. At one point, when Don Pedro has embraced Paul as part of the family, he decrees, "You are an orphan no longer."

I love this movie. It's sappy. It's romantic. But, it's magical and one I can watch it over and over again.

On the Plate...
I toyed with the pumpkin flower soup from the first dinner when Paul meets Victoria's family. But I couldn't find any pumpkin flowers at the farmers' market. Inspired by the fire in the vineyards, I decided to char some grapes. And, in honor of Las Nubes, the Aragon property aptly named "The Clouds," I served them with a mound of burrata.

Charred Grapes on a Cloud

Ingredients serves 4 as an appetizer

  • 1 pound grapes (I used organic Muscat grapes)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 t freshly ground salt
  • 1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 to 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 burrata rounds
  • olive oil for drizzling
  • balsamic vinegar for drizzling
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place grapes in a rimmed baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay rosemary in the pan.

Roast until grapes have burst and some have charred approximately 30 minutes. Let cool slightly before handling.

To serve, lay a burrata on  serving plate.

Slice it in half lengthwise. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Lay charred grapes on and around the burrata. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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  1. Looks delicious Camilla! I was inspired by the same scene, but made something a bit different :)

    1. Thanks! Can't wait to see what you were inspired to make!

  2. How very creative Cam. This looks absolutely delicious. I am now very anxious to see what the others are inspired to make. Thanks so much for joining.

    1. Thanks for picking this movie. I love it and haven't seen it in awhile.

  3. Roasted grapes are so amazing - the flavor and texture change is just so concentrated and intense. I love that you served them over burrata, I could definitely make a meal out of this!

    1. I have!! We've made this and served it almost half a dozen times already.

  4. Really, really creative, Camilla. If we had a winner to pick this month, I would pick your dish!

    1. Thanks, Debra. We've already made it - and served it - six times already.

  5. That looks amazing. I would never have thought to roast grapes. I'm going to have to now.

  6. I love your comment about how this movie reminds you of Like Water for Chocolate--they definitely have romance and that mystical element in common. I adore your dish--wonderful film inspiration and the roasted grape and pillowy cheese combination is perfect!


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