Minutes from the Moviejawn Pizza 🍕 Film 📼 Club ♣ September 2019
recorded by Allison Yakulis, PFC Co-Founder
Continuing our monthly custom of slices and snacks, cinema and cocktails, we once again bring you tidings from Moviejawn’s dodecannual Pizza Film Club, the September edition. In a slight break from tradition, we actually watched a film that was released in this decade (gasp!) and we had our first meeting hosted by non-founders. Tori and Garret were our gracious hosts, and they have a pretty sweet pad, lovingly nicknamed The Murder House due to the entire first floor being tiled (for easy cleanup...MUHAHAHAHA). Many thanks guys!
More in line with the usual, we enjoyed friends, film and food and will be providing some sweet recipes for engaging in your own cinematic celebrations. Or, as always, you can join our club here, regardless of your physical location, and discuss the movie of the month with us in real time on our Slack channel.
The Film: Ma (2019)
Released in May of this year, Ma is yet another offering from Blumhouse Productions that may have flown under your radar (I know it did for many of us). Directed by Tate Taylor and starring Octavia Spencer in, what for her is, a rare horror film role. She absolutely makes this movie as Sue Ann, a woman in a small town who invites local teens to drink and party in her basement before getting...weird. Her motivations appear responsible at first, in that whole “kids are going to be kids, at least make sure they’re being safe” sort of way. But as things progress, we see more about Sue Ann’s desire to be liked and the lengths she’s willing to go for validation (and maybe a little revenge).
Spencer is really what makes this movie worth it. She’s got such good range and a lesser actress wouldn’t make this role as nuanced and empathetic. You do feel for Sue Ann, even though you just saw her employing veterinary equipment for some decidedly off-label uses.
Other main roles include Diana Silvers as Maggie (our protagonist who just moved to a new town), Juliette Lewis as her cocktail waitressing single mom, and McKaley Miller, Corey Fogelmanis, Gianni Paolo, and Dante Brown as Maggie’s newfound friends with a taste for the hard stuff.
The Cocktail: “Don’t Make Me Drink Alone” Veg-Friendly Jello Shots (and also more tequila)
Recipe provided by Allison Yakulis
Whether you’ve noticed or not, our home-made snacks are vegetarian (or sometimes even vegan) and that’s no accident - some of our Moviejawn family eschews the meats and we like to make stuff that everyone can enjoy. So when it came time to pick a cocktail for Ma, we thought jello shots, but knew we’d need to ditch the gelatin (it’s made from animal collagen, definitely not veg-friendly). Luckily there’s an alternative (agar agar, made from algae) and we were up for the challenge. With these babies, no one has to drink alone.
Before I lay out the recipe, I just want to say that this was the toughest thing I’ve ever made for Pizza Film Club. I had to go through a few batches to figure out how to get my jello to even set, and then a few more to dial in my flavors. If you’re trying this yourself and are finding it difficult, don’t sweat it - it IS, but you can do it. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes, or at the very least know that you’re not alone. Good luck!
Makes about 12 shots (1.5 oz. each) - I made a double recipe and got 25 shots.
¼ cup agar agar strips, packed
1 cup water
1 cup mango nectar
About 1 tbsp honey (or agave to keep it vegan)
1 tsp lime juice
½ cup tequila
Heat water until it reaches a rolling boil. Add your agar and stir continuously until they’ve fully dissolved (this can take at least 3-5 minutes if you’re using strips). Once dissolved, take your pot off the heat and stir in your juices and sweetener. Then stir in your alcohol. Pour into molds or single-serving cups and let stand until they approach room temperature and start to gel. Refrigerate for at least an hour or two to allow them to set fully. Or you can make them ahead of time and leave them chilling overnight.
Agar agar comes in strips, flakes, or powder - I used strips as noted. If you’re using a different texture of agar, use about a tablespoon of flakes or a teaspoon of powder per cup of water (according to the internet - try it to make sure the conversion works).
If your jello isn’t starting to set at room temperature, scrap it and start again - agar jello is more stable than gelatin at room temp and will begin to set up on the counter (if you did it right). Unlike gelatin, chilling it won’t solve it (trust me, I tried it with batch #1 and I let it sit in the fridge overnight. Woke up to cold boozy fruit soup. It tasted like failure).
Keep the following in mind if you run into trouble: Your water should be extremely hot, wait for a strong boil before you start. You need to wait for the agar to fully dissolve and it will take a few minutes - keep whisking! If you’re still getting subpar results you may need to add more agar to water than my recipe calls for (for any number of reasons - like the next one...)
The level of acidity in the juice you use can affect how well the jello sets. I used mango nectar to avoid this, but if you have your heart set on a highly acidic juice you may need to add more agar to your solution to get it to set. I did notice a difference in texture when I added the lime juice for flavor - it made my jello slightly softer than earlier batches.
You may also not need an additional sweetener if you’re using a sweeter juice or a different alcohol.
Do a test run (or two, or three…) before you actually need your shots - there are a lot of variables at play here, and the first try doesn’t always work out. Trust me.
The Menu: Chocolate Chip Cookies (just like mom used to make!)
Recipe provided by Tori Potenza
Makes about 16-20 cookies depends on how big you make them and this recipe is fairly easy to double!
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips additional for garnish
Note: sometimes I add pecans or walnuts to the mix
Combine flour, baking soda, cornstarch, salt. In another bowl, whisk together packed brown sugar, granulated sugar and cup melted butter. Whisk until the sugars have dissolved into the butter. Add in the egg and egg yolk, and whisk. Then add in vanilla. Combine the wet and dry ingredients together. Add chocolate chips. Place the dough bowl, cover, and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Pull the dough out of the fridge and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or grease. You are supposed to use 3 tablespoons of dough for each cookie, however 2 seems more than enough for nice, gooey cookies. Press a few additional chocolate chips onto the top of the dough ball. Give each cookie a good amount of space on the baking sheets. Bake for 11-12 minutes. The cookies are going to appear under-baked. Allow the cookies to cool for about 10 minutes before moving. They stay pretty nice and gooey even when cooled for awhile.
Recipe provided by Allison Yakulis
Makes about 2 dozen
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
3 tablespoons lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
½ tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1 ½ tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
¼ cup milk (whole or 2%)
½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp tequila
For garnish: more lime zest, salt or sprinkling sugar, and/or small lime wedges
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line or grease tins. In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add lime juice, lime zest, and vanilla and mix until combined. In another bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt. Add half of your dry mixture into your butter mixture and beat until just combined. Pour in milk and beat until fully combined. Add remaining dry mixture and beat until just combined. Fill your tins (about ½ to ⅔ of the way full) and bake until slightly golden brown - about 25 minutes. When they’re done, you should be able to insert a toothpick and have it come out mostly clean. Let them cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Frosting: In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to beat butter, about half of the powdered sugar, lime juice, and tequila until light and fluffy. Add remaining powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Frost your cupcakes when they have completely cooled. Garnish as you wish.
Half of these were non-alcoholic so they had orange sprinkling sugar around the edge while the boozy ones had green. I also painted each boozy cupcake with a layer of tequila before frosting them for just a bit more kick (2 - 4 tbsp extra should do it).
We also had hummus (see July’s Last Slice for the recipe) and lots of delicious dippable chip options!
This time at Pizza Film Club we attempted to implement the Pizza Report Card (generated by Old Sport Rosalie and Best Boy Ben), but not all ballots were cast and there was a little confusion about the grading metric. To the best of our ability the aggregated scores (out of a maximum of 8 pass/fail slices) were:
Crust: (6) 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕
Sauce: (5) 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕
Cheese: (7) 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕
Temperature: (8) 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕
Grease: (4) 🍕🍕🍕🍕
Toppings: (3) 🍕🍕🍕
Herbs/Flavor: (4) 🍕🍕🍕🍕
Presentation: (6) 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕
Total averaged: 5.4 🍕🍕🍕🍕🍕
We will strive for greater accuracy in the future!
Please enjoy a few more photos of your Moviejawn pals mingling, as well as a few choice architectural details of the Murder House:
Are you hosting your own Pizza Film Club? Remember to take some pictures and send them in to us here! We’d love to feature your crew in a future Moviejawn missive!
Our October meet-up will be a DOUBLE FEATURE (ooh!) of The Devil Bat (1940) and The ‘Burbs (1989), so check back next month! Rosalie talks about The Devil Bat in her inaugural episode of her podcast Cinematic Crypt and she selected it for October because she thinks it’s a rad watch and this Pizza Film Club will be falling on the day before her birthday! If you forgot to get her a gift, that’s ok - you can still donate to Pizzaman, the short film she co-wrote and will be directing. I’m sure she’ll love it.
That’s all for now, and as ever, thanks for reading and may your movies & pizzas always be just the right amount of cheesy!