"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Soup of the Week & Friday Night Lights: Upping the Ante

This has become one of my favorite comfort foods.

Chili Cheese Soup

1 onion, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 carrots shredded
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
2 teaspoons ground mustard
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cans (14 1/2 oz each) chicken broth
3 cups milk
1 or 2 cans (4 oz each) chopped green chilies
1 jar (16 oz) process cheese sauce

Saute the onion, celery and carrots in butter until tender. Stir in the flour, mustard, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce until blended. Gradually add broth and milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in chilies. Stir in cheese sauce until melted. **Note** I had leftover sausage I added, which was a great addition.

Friday Night Lights: Upping the Ante

This episode first aired January 31.

This week leads up to the Panther’s big playoff game and the pressure is on everyone and everything. The most compelling plot line continues to be Smash, as he tries to get back in the coach’s good graces and back onto the field. When he confronts his mother about the abuse he’s taking to try to get back on the team, you have to feel for the guy even though deep down you know he brought this all on himself. Then, when he and Coach Taylor reconnect at a pick-up game of football, reminding them both why they play the game and what it is about it they love so much. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this show finds a way to take what could be melodramatic moments and turn them into authentic, real moments where its not so much characters on a screen but it feels like you’re watching real people.

Poor Coach Taylor–he’s not having a great week. He’s got to go to court for a preliminary hearing for the Jason Street trial. Meanwhile, Buddy Garrity asks Taylor to intervene with news of the Jason/Lyla engagement is brought out into the light of day. Taylor talks to Jason outside the courtroom, telling him that marriage is a bit commitment, a lot of hard work and won’t be the end of the problems he’s having. It’s honest and you can tell despite what’s happening legally, Taylor cares deeply about Jason…and all of his players, for that matter.

This also leads to a stronger Lyla. We’ve seen her suffer at the hands of the gossip mill at school and the scorn of her peers. She’s come through it stronger and more capable and it shows here. She challenges Jason on why he’s so angry all the time and what are his plans for the future. I have a feeling this may be leading to an eventual breaking of the engagement, but again by doing this, when it happens it will feel real and not manufactured as part of an on-going soap opera storyline.

It’s not a rosy path for any couples this week. After figuring out Julie is the best girlfriend in the world (how great was it where he slipped and called her that, without apparently asked if she’d be his girlfriend?), he screws it up completely by lying to her. And getting caught in it. Matt, you’re an idiot.

Meanwhile, Julie is forging some kind of friendship with Tyra, which that should be interesting to see where it goes.

And finally, Riggins goes to see his estranged father.
That’s a lot happening in one story. And it never feels rushed.

Scary part of this one–we don’t even find out how the outcome of the game. We see the Panthers head out to take the field. It goes along toward feeling like this is one big on-going storyline and not just an individual episode or two of storyline development. It helps me feel like this world is real…and it ensures I will be watching the next episode, to find out how the game comes out. I sure to do hope the Panthers win. I’m pulling for them. And I’m pulling for this show.

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