Saturday, August 9, 2008

Stuffed Fig Leaves ala Nick and Ashley

The Fringe Festival in NYC has begun. I always to to several shows, often based on the time and location of the performance because it is so difficult to make intelligent choices based on one paragraph blurbs.

One does not go expecting full transferable productions, one goes in the hopes of seeing sparks of talent,writers, composers or actors you may want to keep your eyes on.

"Nudists in Love" did offer glimpses at some talent. The music by Nirmal Chandraratna has a few nice moments, the voila playing by Jessica Mui was really lovely. There were two performances that did not resort to characture, both Ashley Anne Harrell and Nick Algier had nice comic moments and great voices. I would love to see their work in the future.

That said the book and direction were a mess. The gimmick was a musical about nudists with no nudity, more on that later. There was no particular viewpoint...suburban families are bad, except when they are not??? Nudism is good???

A man is ousted as garden club president because he goes to a nudist camp, so everyone shuns and judges him until they find out they dislike the new president so they decide to make him uncomfortable by going to the meetings NUDE. The clever prop gimmick employed is ruined by putting the actors in bodysuits decorated with fig leaves. The clever props might have been funny if we weren't so aware that in essence everyone was fully dressed and therefore had nothing to hide behind those props. A blackberry hooked to a belt is much funnier than a blackberry held over a fig leaf. Jokes about how hirsute a character was fell flat, because the actor had no hair. Nothing much worked.

Since it is my mission to put the best forward I bring you...Stuffed Fig leaves ala Nick and Ashley...

I was in a market the other day and they had clusters of fresh figs complete with branches and beautiful leaves. I knew they were edible but in the two preparations I made I didn't much like them. I have great grape leaves in the back yard which are much more tender and

I used them to wrap shrimp and finally...success.

4 large fig leaves (or substitute grape leaves)
16 whole shrimp, bodies peeled, heads intact
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons melted butter
Salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper

Heat the oven to 375°. Wash the fig leaves, and put them on the table, shiny side up. Put the shrimp in the middle of each leaf.Place the seasonings in the melted butter and toss the shrimp with the seasoning.

Put 4 shrimp on each fig leave and roll up the leaf to make a package. Put the folded side down when you place it on a baking sheet so that it will stay closed. Pour a little water and the oil in a shallow baking pan and put the packages in it.

Put the baking sheet with the four packages in the oven for about 15 minutes. Remember, it will continue to cook a bit after you take it out of the oven, so don't cook it too much. Put the packages on plates, and let each person open their own. It is good with a squeeze of lemon. Make sure you suck the butter out of the shrimp heads.

If you use grape leaves you can eat the leaf when done, while the fig leaves are edible, they work like a banana leaf in this presentation and pretty much exist to cover/steam the shrimp.

To learn about the actors...visit Nick and Ashley


Anonymous said...

Have you seen other Fringe shows?

Will you write about all of them?

Karl Wilder, Chef said...

I have actually and a few more scheculed for this week.

I am not going to write about the shows that have NOTHING to offer. when the writing is bad, the acting atrocious and every element amateur I will just skip it.

I will do a recipe for any production that has something worthwhile in it because these shows are all crying for publicity.

Ashley said...

Hi Karl,

I came across your blog when searching for reviews of our show after Friday's performance. I was so surprised at first to see my headshot on someone's blog, but very flattered at your notice of Nick and myself. I actually am an avid home chef, so I can't wait to try out your fig leaves recipe! If you want to stay tuned with my projects (or see any recipes I've recently cooked), you can check out my blog "Ash in the City." Thanks so much for checking out our show, and best of luck with your culinary adventures!

-Ashley Anne Harrell

nick said...

Thank you Karl for coming to see Nudists in Love and your support of the Fringe Festival. Ashley informed me of your post and I enjoyed reading your co-relation of our performance to your fig leaf recipe (olive oil, shrimp?).

I appreciate your interest in my career and will do my best to keep you informed of upcoming performances.

All the Best,
Nick Algier

Karl Wilder, Chef said...

The Shrimp were not a comment on any aspect of the performance, or the performers.

I had been to Chinatown and had them and the figs in the house. The ingredients were actually coincident.