Let the Ghibli feast begin!
Day 1 of Ghibli feast (Saturday night)
Ghibli feast #1: Porco Rosso
Our first Ghibli film was Porco Rosso. If I just said that the film was about a pilot who was cursed and turned into a pig in old Italy, it might sound like a comedy film or a cartoon for kids, but Porco Rosso is about a man’s dream, friendship and love.
The first time I watched this film I giggled when Porco Rosso appeared. He was a really stocky talking pig. But as the film progressed, him being a pig became just one of his facial features. It was still a very important piece of the story, but it didn’t distract me at all. Who cares if he looks like a pig? When someone is living his dream and doing what he does best like Porco, you can afford to look like a pig.
[Salmon with Bechamel sauce, glazed carrot and white wine]
There’s a fish dish Porco eats at Gina’s club. They don’t mention the actual name of the dish, so we had to guess. We thought the fish was white fish at first, but after studying the screenshot, we both agreed the fish was probably salmon.
I searched for salmon with white sauce dishes online, and found many “poached salmon with Bechamel sauce” recipes. Bechamel sauce is a French white sauce, but the sauce is also used in many recipes of the Italian cuisine, so we thought it was acceptable. I used a Bechamel sauce recipe with onions so the sauce would have some chunky stuff in it. For the carrots I cut, peeled and cut the corners off then glazed them.
We’ve never made poached salmon before but the instructions were very simple and easy, so my boyfriend decided to cook the salmon. He first put 3 tbs lemon juice and 1 tbs olive oil in the pan then put about an inch of water in. After placing the salmon in he filled the water so it was just covering the salmon. Then he set the heat to around medium so that it was steaming, but not bubbling and cooked for about 6-8 minutes. That’s it!
On Friday the day before the feast we went to look for Italian wine with the label that was on the wine in the film, but most of them had a modern looking label or, err, were out of our price range… So, I ended up going to the farmers’ market in Union Square on Saturday morning, and got two bottles of wine from Chateau Renaissance Wine Cellars. I’m not a wine expert and can’t describe how good wine should be, but all I know is that I’ve had their wine, and I liked it a lot. Also their label looks like it was hand painted in water colors and very charming.
After everything was ready, we placed each food on the plate just like the dish in the film, and took pictures.
For the sake of the look, the salmon probably could’ve been a little wider and the surface should’ve been cooked more. In other words, it might not have been poached salmon…? But both the salmon and sauce came out really really nice! The poached salmon absorbed the flavor and it was so moist inside. The Bechamel sauce was very creamy and rich, and went very well with salmon. We’ll definitely make this dish again. Still, when I was writing this post, I couldn’t help but feel that I didn’t try my best to make the dish as close as possible to the original… So I made it again for tonight!
[Ghibli feast #1: Salmon with Bechamel sauce and glazed carrot from Porco Rosso]
[Pasta with tomato sauce and bacon]
When Porco visits his old friend to repair his plane, there’s a scene where they eat pasta together. Very simple pasta with tomato sauce, and you can see some reddish food mixed in the pasta. They talk about the old days and drink red wine from regular glasses. Very casual and laid back. So I figured the pasta would be something simple and made with ingredients you can find in the fridge. I thought the reddish food could be bacon, but would a pig eat bacon? Well… He always drinks wine, and smokes cigars all the time. I bet Porco probably wouldn’t mind eating bacon. I cut strips of bacon and mixed it with tomato sauce and pasta. I served the pasta with some Pinot Noir I got from Chateau Renaissance Wine Cellars.
Yes, we had two dinners in 2 hours! But we knew there would be a lot of food before we started this Ghibli feast, so we cooked each dish in very small portions. Overall, we were satisfied with the dishes. The wine definitely helped making us feel like a cool pig who loves good food, good wine and flying.
The next feast is Princess Mononoke!
You can also see these pictures in Ghibi feast set on my flickr page!