Fun and Fancy Free

Mickey and the Beanstalk
Willie the Giant’s Sandwich

For every handful of Disney movies that I know the ins and outs and a million useless facts about, there’s one that falls into obscurity. It’s unfortunate but it happens. By no means do I love these movies any less. I just don’t get the chance to watch them very often. Fun and Fancy Free is one of those. Yes, it’s a package film, but I still think it’s wonderful. Dinah Shore and Edgar Bergen are fantastic storytellers (I love Charlie McCarthy’s sass.) and I’m a fan of anything that involves Jiminy Cricket. Bongo is a sweet little story and I love Mickey and the Beanstalk to no end.

My favorite Disney cartoons are the ones starring Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. I love this one especially so because it’s a fairy tale. Seeing those three as starving peasants eating paper thin bean sandwiches is so hilariously heartbreaking. If you think that’s over the top, wait till you see Willie the Giant. He’s a childish oaf who can transform into anything and kidnaps the magic harp so she can sing him to sleep. He’s really not a bad guy, just selfish and stupid. (He loves pink bunnies and can’t say “pistachio.”) That’s why I can’t help but like him. Mickey, on the other hand, isn’t too fond of Willie. It doesn’t help when you accidentally find yourself in the middle of someone’s sandwich. Hey, that’s why Willie isn’t too keen on Mickey either. Food isn’t very appetizing after someone sneezes in it. That’s too bad. That sandwich looked tasty until it was blown in half. (Even though I wouldn’t recommend leg bones in my sandwich, but giants like bones, right?) And Willie has interesting tastes anyway, considering his love of chocolate pot roast.

I don’t know if the poultry is chicken or turkey, but both would work well. I just happened to choose turkey. (It comes down to taste preference and how much meat you want in your sandwich.) And I assumed the little white things that look like Donald’s butt are pearl onions. I’m not sure if they’re cooked or not, but I prefer not eating whole, raw onions. Okay. This sandwich is quite the tall order, but I’ve got the magic wordies. (You know, the recipe.)

Recipe makes 1 sandwich, but can easily be adapted to make multiple.

Ingredients

2 Slices White Sandwich Bread

1 leaf Lettuce

1 slice Swiss Cheese

Pepper

 

Roasted Turkey Leg:

1 leg per sandwich

Seasoning Per Leg

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon paprika

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/8 teaspoon ground mustard

Pinch of Sugar

2 tablespoons butter

 

Glazed Pearl Onions:

1 cup pearl onions, fresh or frozen

1 cup water

2 teaspoons butter

3/4 teaspoon sugar

Pinch of Salt

 

Directions

Roasted Turkey Leg:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Rinse turkey legs and pat dry. Place the legs on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with butter. Add seasonings. Cook, uncovered, until the internal temperature reaches 175 degrees F, turning halfway. This may take up to 2-2 1/2 hours, depending on your oven, but start checking for doneness after an hour. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Glazed Pearl Onions:

If using fresh pearl onions, cut the ends off each onion and score the larger side with an “X.” Bring a small pot of water to a boil over high heat. Carefully add the pearl onions and boil until the peel becomes soft, 1 1/2-2 minutes. Drain the onions and rinse with cold water. Once the onions are cool to the touch, you can easily peel them by hand.

If using frozen pearl onions, thaw and pat dry.

Melt butter in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, sugar, and salt. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and the liquid has evaporated, 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Putting It All Together:

Place down a slice of bread. Add a lettuce leaf and a slice of Swiss cheese. Top with the turkey leg and add some pearl onions. (If going in Willie’s order. I prefer to sandwich my onions between the lettuce and cheese so they don’t fall out.) Top with the second slice of bread. Sprinkle in a little bit of pepper. If your sandwich doesn’t sneeze, it’s ready to eat!

fun&fancy willieFunFancy Sandwich

I would love to see how Willie eats this, because it’s easier said than done. I took a few bites then gave up and pulled the meat off the leg like a normal person before finishing the sandwich. It’s still fun though. Kind of reminds me of a certain song that I can’t seem to get out of my head. “What a great big gorgeous, sumptuous, thumping, bumptious, hum-galumptious, simply scrumptious. My, what a happy day.” (Hope you enjoy the earworm as much as the sandwich!)

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!

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The Reluctant Dragon


Upside-Down Cake

When I was little, I loved so many cartoon characters so much that I truly believed they were real. I wanted them to be real and I shied away from anything that could prove otherwise. I find that really silly because the characters are real (They just exist a little differently than I do.) and I love them twice as much now that I know how much work was done to bring them to life. If I had seen The Reluctant Dragon when I was younger, then I would’ve come to realize that years ago. It’s fun and (Dare I say it.) educational watching Robert Benchley lead the viewers on a tour of Walt Disney Studios, and taking them through each part of the animation process from drawing, score and voice acting, foley, cameras, ink-and-paint, maquette-making, storyboarding, and ultimately animating. (Whew! That’s a lot.)

The cartoon that this movie all boils down to is The Reluctant Dragon. The Dragon would rather recite poetry than fight and is so peace loving, he has trouble breathing fire. (The Boy has to call him a Punk Poet to make him angry enough to do it.) He invites The Boy and Sir Giles, the Dragon Killer, to his picnic full of cakes and muffins and tea and jam sandwiches. Sir Giles, also being a lover of verse, is most interested in the Dragon’s poetic abilities and they recite poetry. My favorite poem in the short (And one of my favorite ever.) is “To an upside-down cake.” The entire thing is about how an upside down cake has problems because its top is on its bottom and its bottom is on its top. It’s truly beautiful. And “Radish so red” by Sir Giles is also lovely, but I’m more into cake.

Upside-down cakes can be just about any flavor, but I like pineapple the best. The Dragon doesn’t have any fruit on his cake, so it’s okay to just leave off the pineapple slices. I baked my cakes in 6-ounce ramekins, but jumbo muffin tins work too. (It’s just stickier getting the cakes out.)

Recipe makes 8 mini upside-down cakes.

Ingredients

½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar

3 large eggs

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup milk

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 ¼ cups flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons pineapple juice (Optional)

8 pineapple slices (Optional)

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Divide the butter amongst the ramekins, so each one has 1 tablespoon. Add two tablespoons of brown sugar to each one and mix. Place a pineapple slice in each ramekin.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Then whisk in the sugar. Add the oil, milk, vanilla, and pineapple juice and whisk well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until just combined. Divide the batter amongst the ramekins and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove the cakes from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the outside of the cakes to loosen them. Invert each ramekin onto a plate. Once the little cakes are free, they’re ready to serve!

reluctantdragonReluctant Dragon Cake

A sweet, little upside-down cake may have cares and woes about its top and bottom being mixed up, but it should be more worried about me. You know, The Dragon and all the people get a happy ending, but I’m not so sure about that upside-down cake. Just like how I’m not so sure about Robert Benchley’s ending. He did get to meet Walt Disney, though. And I know that the animation process has changed a ton since The Reluctant Dragon, but it’s not any less magical getting an idea out of someone’s head and putting it on a large screen for the whole world to see.

 

Tune in next week for more Cartoon Cravings!