I am not much for snacking and big dinners so I decided the best party is a party served with an assortment of appetizers to complement each best picture nominee.
The Artist’s Bubbly
4 oz. Freixenet Brut Cordon Negro (appropriately in a black label)
a splash of Ocean’s Spray White Cranberry Juice
It should be served in a Champagne flute, or get really fancy and serve in a martini glass. Pour the Champagne in a chilled flute/martini glass and add a splash of the cranberry juice. Garnish with blackberries
Perfect for a black and white movie like our nominee, The Artist.
The Descendants Eat Salmon Poke
Since The Descendents is about a family in Hawaii, this dish is perfect as a Hawaiian poke alternative.
Use the freshest wild or farmed salmon for this dish. Chilling it in the freezer for 20 minutes makes it easier to dice.
1 8 oz. boneless salmon fillet, skinless
¼ cup finely diced, seeded cucumber
¼ cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
½ teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
½ teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice or yuzu
¼ teaspoon lime zest
Palm Island Red Gold Hawaiian Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Brown-rice crackers or wonton chips
Place salmon on a plate; freeze until well chilled, about 20 minutes.
Thinly slice salmon lengthwise into 1/8” wide sheets, then cut each sheet into 1/8” long strips, cut strips crosswise into 1/8” cubes. Place salmon in a medium bowl. Add cucumber and the next 7 ingredients and toss to combine. Season poke to taste with salt and pepper. Finish with sprinkles of sesame seeds. Transfer poke to a bowl, cover and chill for 2 hours. Serve with chips or crackers.
An Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Pizza Bites
(adapted from Bon Appétit, July 2010)
12 to 13 ounces cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¾ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
2 pieces of Tandoori Naan whole grain bread
1 garlic clove, pressed
¼ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
¾ cup sliced fresh mozzarella cheese (about 3 ounces)
½ yellow bell pepper, cut into thin strips
¼ cup quartered pitted Kalamata olives
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves plus small leaves for garnish
Preheat oven to 375º F. Toss tomatoes, olive oil, salt, garlic and crushed red pepper in a medium bowl. Scatter tomatoes on large rimmed baking sheet; roast until soft and beginning to collapse, about 22 minutes. Remove from oven and let tomato mixture cool. Maintain oven temperature.
Place Naan breads on an olive oil greased baking sheet. Sprinkle each Naan bread with sliced mozzarella and chopped basil. Top with roasted tomatoes, pepper strips and olives.
Bake pizza until bread is crisp about 20 minutes. Sprinkle 2 teaspoon fresh oregano over, loosen pizza from sheet with large metal spatula, and slide onto cutting board.
Cut each pizza lengthwise and then crosswise to create 6 individual pieces out of each. Garnish with basil leaves.
The Help Serves Collard Greens in a Cup
A young woman brings us into the world of the African-American domestic workers in Jackson, Mississippi with traditional Southern cooking like sautéed collard greens. Serve with a modern twist in an edible cup.
Serves 24 cups
Canola cooking spray
24 small square wonton wrappers
2 cups water
6 lbs collard greens
2 cups minced onions
¾ cup coarse dry bread crumbs
1 tablespoon minced parsley
1 teaspoon minced sage
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups half and half
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Dash cayenne pepper
1 cup Parmesan cheese plus more for garnish
Preheat oven to 350˚. Lightly spray the cups of a 12-muffin pan with the canola oil cooking spray. Gently press one wrapper into each cup and lightly spray the wrapper with cooking spray. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining wrappers.
Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, add the water and bring to a boil. Add the collard greens by handfuls, stirring until each batch is wilted before adding more. Bring to a boil and add the onions. Cover and simmer over moderate heat until the collards are very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool, then squeeze the collards almost dry and coarsely chop them.
In a food processor, combine the dry bread crumbs with the Parmesan cheese, minced parsley, sage, garlic and extra-virgin olive oil. Pulse until just blended.
In a large bowl, mix the collards with the half and half and season with salt and pepper. Combine collards with Parmesan mixture. Stir in the eggs until blended. Replace 12 of the baked cups into the muffin pan. Fill with one tablespoon of filling mixture. Sprinkle with more grated Parmesan. Lay a piece of aluminum foil lightly over the pan and return to the oven. Bake for 17 minutes. Move to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining cups and filling. Makes 24 pieces.
Moneyball Caramel Corn Balls
(adapted from O, the Oprah Magazine)
With a movie about the game of baseball, classic ball park food is required. What’s a game without popcorn and what’s a night of entertainment with a gourmet bowl of caramel corn balls.
Serves 20 balls
6 tablespoons butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
¾ teaspoon baking soda
10 cups (1 plain microwave bag) popcorn popped
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 ½ cups honey-roasted pistachios
In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add sugars, honey, and corn syrup and cook to 300˚ over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Mixture will be thick and bubbly. Add baking soda and stir carefully to incorporate.
Remove any unpopped kernels from popcorn, then place in a lightly oiled bowl. Pour caramel over popcorn and toss to combine, using oiled, heatproof spatulas or wooden spoons. When popcorn has cooled slightly but is not quite set, mix in salt and pistachios. With oiled hands, form into 2-inch balls. Keep a bowl of cold water nearby to dip your hands into if mixture gets warm or sticky. Place balls on a sheet tray; once cool, store in an airtight container. Eat within a week.
With the Oscars tomorrow night, I hope you'll sit down and enjoy them as I do and maybe with my inspirational party menu you can have a fun soiree with friends like I will.
I will be posting pictures of my Oscar-Worth gown on my facebook page. I will also be tweeting all night about the red carpet fashion and the process of the event. Check it out tomorrow night on my twitter page.
Have a fun and fashionable Oscar night!