Archive for February, 2009


For Your Degustation, Oscars 2009

February 3, 2009

It’s hard for me to believe that this is the third time I’m posting an Oscar night tasting menu.  But I am. And this year it was extremely difficult to come up with food ideas that match these films.  But I did.  And yes, they’re pretty much a stretch.

For Frost/Nixon –we’re gonna start with cocktails, as all proper Oscar parties should.  Did you know there’s a drink called the Nixon? neither did I.  According to Wikipedia,  The Nixon was created by Joe Gilmore, the Head Barman of the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel in London, to mark American President Richard Nixon’s visit to Britain in 1969. The cocktail was mixed at the American bar and then sent to Claridge’s where Nixon was staying.

For the Nixon:

– 1 – 2 oz rum (spiced)
– 6 oz soda (7-up, sprite)

Pour the spiced rum into a collins glass filled with ice cubes. Fill with 7-Up, stir and serve.

Serve in “Collins Glass” Garnish: No

For the Frost

A strawberry-cranberry frosted drink

4.0 oz. sliced, frozen Strawberries
4 oz. Cranberry juice
2.0 oz. Vodka

Directions: Put all ingredients in a blender with 3 oz. crushed ice. Blend until smoth. Pour into a large goblet.

The reader in The Reader last name is Berg And Benjamin’s is Button so therefore (stretch) for The Reader and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we’re going to have sliders (mini-hamburgers) with sauteed button mushrooms.

2 pounds ground sirloin
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil ( divided
10 to 12 medium button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sherry
16 miniature buns

Preheat broiler or oven to 400ºF.

In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, some salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix it all up with your hands and then pat the meat down in the bowl and use the side of your hand to roughly score the mixture into four equal portions. Scoop one portion out of the bowl and divide that into four equal parts. Shape each part into a small patty and reserve on a plate. Continue dividing and shaping the remaining meat until you have 16 patties.

Place one medium and one large skillet over medium-high heat with  about 2 tablespoons of olive oil each. When the oil is hot, place the sliders into the large pan (as many as will fit comfortably, don’t crowd the party!). Cook until golden brown on the outside and cooked through inside, 3-4 minutes per side. Removed the cooked sliders from the pan to a dinner plate and cover them with foil to keep warm while the others cook.

While the sliders are cooking up in the large pan, place the sliced button mushrooms into the other pan and cook until softened and caramelized, 8-10 minutes. Season the button mushrooms with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then remove the pan from the heat and add in the sherry. Return the pan to the heat and cook away the liquid, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula to free up all those tasty bits that are stuck to the bottom.

While the burgers and button mushrooms are cooking, split the buns in half and place them onto a baking sheet. Toss them into the oven or under the broiler for a few minutes to toast them up.

For Slumdog Millionaire (my favorite is the front runner for the first time in a long time!) we will be preparing a simple vegetable dish using the most expensive spice there is, saffron.  I love saffron–the smell, the color, the taste.  Remember a little goes a long way.


1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter
3 cinnamon sticks, broken
6 bay leaves, broken
1/2 tsp. whole cumin
1 c. chopped onion
8 whole cloves
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 c. peas
1 c. sliced carrots
4 c. long grain rice
4 c. boiling water
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. saffron threads

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add cinnamon, bay leaves and cumin and saute. Add onion, cloves and turmeric and continue sauteing until onion is golden and coated with spices. Stir in peas and carrots. Blend in rice, water, salt, saffron and bring to boil. Stir through several times, then cover and reduce heat to lowest setting. Cook until water is evaporated (check after 30 minutes), about 35 to 45 minutes. Turn onto shallow platter and garnish with almonds and silver leaf. The fragrance and flavor of saffron, released only by cooking the spice in hot liquid (cooking saffron in oil will destroy it) adds an exotic touch.

Finally, for dessert, for  Milk a tres leche cake (that’s three milks)

1 yellow cake mix (with pudding) baked as directed in 13 by 9-inch pan

For topping:

1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup rum (or to taste)

to finish:

Whipped cream, to cover cake
5 ounces sweetened coconut

    Poke holes in the cake with a fork all over. Pour topping mixture over cake. Let mixture absorb completely in refrigerator.

    Cover with whipped cream or cool whip and sprinkle sweetened coconut over top of cake.

    OPTIONAL: Add macadamia nuts, cherries and/or pineapple.

    Should be a delicious night!

Inspired by Party Girl– a twinkie tirimisu recipe

1/3 cup water
½ cup sugar
2/3 cup strong brewed espresso coffee
¼ cup Italian brandy (optional)
Combine water and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat, cool and add coffee and opt. brandy


1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lb. mascarpone cheese, room temp.

Whip cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Fold cream into softened mascarpone.
12 Twinkies, sliced ½-inch thick

Cocoa powder for light dusting

1. Place a layer of the Twinkie slices in the bottom of a shallow 2-quart baking dish.
2. Drizzle with half the espresso syrup.
3. Spread with half the mascarpone filling.
4. Repeat with remaining twinkie, syrup and mascarpone filling.
5. Smooth top with spatula.
6. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.