I love Oscar night. I love coming up with ideas for food for Oscar night. But, jeez I was dreading the 10 nominations thing. Turns out I was a little bit right about the difficulty with coming up with ideas for the fete. But, I have. So, here goes my list for the 10 for 2010.
For Avatar–a silly, big, dumb movie that was just silly, big & dumb and blue–bring on the tequila and the Curacao, we’re making blue margaritas:
>1 teaspoon coarse salt
4 ounces Tequilla
2 ounces Triple Sec
2 ounces freshly-squeezed
2 ounces blue Curacaco
2 teaspoons superfine sugar
2 (1/4-inch) slices star fruit for garnish (optional)
1 lime, cut into wedges
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
Place Tequilla, Triple Sec, lime juice, blueCuracaco, and sugar in the shaker; shake hard for 30 seconds.
Serve in martini glasses with coarse salt on the rims of the glasses. Strain the Blue Margarita into the glasses. Garnish each with a slice of star fruit or a lime wedge.
For A Serious Man, the first best picture nominee ever based on both the Book of Job and Schrödinger’s Cat. (This movie was too smart for me. I’m not into Bible stories or physics, sorry Coen brothers.) we’re making matzo appetizers.
• 12 Prepared matzo
• melted butter or margarine for brushing matzo
• 5 boxes (10 oz size) frozen spinach squeezed dry
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (do not pack)
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh dill (do not pack)
• 3/4 pounds feta cheese crumbled
• 2 eggs
• salt and pepper to taste (not too much salt, because feta is salty)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Saute onions until soft. Mix together with spinach. parsley, dill, feta and eggs. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Trim all sides of prepared matzo as close to the edge as possible. Brush matzo with butter or margarine on both sides. Make strips by cutting matzo in thirds following the grain. Place a heaping teaspoon of spinach mixture on the end of each strip and fold up like a flag to make a triangle. Place seam side down and bake on a buttered parchment-lined sheet tray. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes or until browned.
Leftover spinach mix can be frozen.
For The Blind Side, a movie I liked a lot. Probably more than I should have. Because Leigh Anne would have $18.00 salads with her friends in a fancy Memphis restaurant I’m making a Hearts of Palm salad from the fanciest hotel in Memphis, the exquisite Peabody Hotel. I got a chance to stay in this hotel about 10 years ago; it’s pricey, but the duck show makes it worth the money.
Hearts of Palm Salad With Walnut Oil Vinaigrette
Also, we gonna add some cold, cooked shrimp to this salad–this is for District 9. The creatures are derogatorily called “prawns.” Thank God.
1 1/2 pounds baby string beans, preferably haricots verts
4 to 6 ounces vegetable oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 pounds fresh wild mushrooms, such as shiitake, chanterelle and oyster
Salt and white pepper to taste
4 medium shallots, finely chopped
2 pounds hearts of palm, drained
1/2 cup Walnut Oil Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
Trim ends of beans and clean vegetable. Blanch in boiling, lightly salted water for 3 to 5 minutes. Do not overcook; beans should remain crisp and green.
Drain beans and immerse in ice water for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.
Heat 1/3 of the oil in an 8-to 10-inch skillet. Add a teaspoon of butter. The butter should brown immediately. Be careful pan does not flame.
Add one variety of mushroom.
Add salt and white pepper to taste.
Saute until brown and crisp on the outside but moist inside. Just before removing mushrooms from pan, add 1/3 of the minced shallots to the pan to release their sweet onion flavor.
Repeat with remaining varieties of mushrooms. Drain on paper towels.
Slice fresh heart of palm 1/8 -inch thick. Toss with Walnut Vinaigrette to keep them from turning brown.
Mix beans, hearts of palm, warm mushrooms and Walnut Oil Vinaigrette. Mound on a plate
Walnut Oil Vinaigrette
1 egg yolk
Salt and white pepper to taste
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
5 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
1 pint walnut oil (available in gourmet shops)
In a stainless steel bowl, whip egg yolk to blend smoothly. Incorporate mustard, salt, white pepper and red-wine vinegar. Add oil in slow stream, beating liquid as you proceed. Unused vinaigrette may be refrigerated in a closed container for 10 days. If it becomes too thick, thin with a little wine or water.
District 9? Seriously? Now would probably be a good time to mention to the Academy how nice and convenient it would have been for them to nominate Julie & Julia–the only movie about food and a cookbook. I could have had class, I could have made Boeuf Bourguignon, but no, instead for our entree I’m combining elements from 3 nominees.
For Up in the Air, Inglorious Basterds and Precious I’m making a peanut (Up in the Air), and popcorn (A lot of the action in Inglorious Basterds takes place in a movie theater) encrusted chicken breast (spoiler alert: Precious steals a bucket of chicken). How’s that for a stretch of the imagination?
- 2 cups popped popcorn
- 1/2 cup chopped peanuts
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 (1 3/4 lbs.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
For the Thai Peanut Sauce: Mix 3 tablespoons peanut butter, 3 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce in a small bowl until smooth.
Preheat oven to 350º F. Process popcorn in a blender or food processor until ground. Pour ground popcorn into a shallow dish; stir in peanuts and set aside.
In another shallow dish, whisk egg, soy sauce, garlic and hot pepper sauce until blended; set aside.
Heat oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Dip chicken breasts first in egg mixture and then in popcorn mixture until well coated. Place in skillet and brown on both sides; about 3 minutes per side. Place skillet in oven 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with Thai Peanut sauce.
This is a lot of food. We need to cleanse the palate a bit. Also, combining the Englishness of An Education and the Up-ness of Up, we’re having a Strawberry Sorbet.
1/2 to 3/4 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. fresh orange juice
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups bittersweet chocolate
1/3 cup cream
7 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
1 Tbsp. Grand Marnier
2 packages Pop Rocks
Chop the chocolate fine and place in a 2-quart metal bowl. Add the cream to the chocolate and place over a double boiler with gentle heat. Stir the chocolate-cream mixture just until the chocolate is melted, then immediately remove from heat. Do not overheat it. Whisk in the butter until combined. Stir in the Grand Marnier and then the Pop Rocks. Refrigerate until cool and somewhat firm to the touch.
Transfer the mixture to a piping bag and pipe bite-sized pieces onto wax paper, or scoop out portions with a 1/2-ounce ice cream scoop. Chill until firm.
Quickly roll the truffles between the palms of your hands to form balls. When all are shaped, toss them with cocoa powder and chill. Warm to room temperature for serving.
Should be a fun evening. I hope they go back to 5 nominees next year. Also, if Avatar wins, all this food might not go down the right way.