The Weekend Dish – The Oscars 2014

popcorn popped and unpoppedBy Susan Greene

The Academy Awards are a little over a week away, Sunday March 2, and it’s that time of year to  think about parties you may be hosting or attending or simply how to enhance your own viewing pleasure. I am talking about food, not just any food, but food that has some sort of tie-in to this year’s best picture nominees.

I am going with mostly appetizer and dessert  dishes. So here goes:

American Hustle, an account of the ABSCAM scandal of the 70’s. Clams casino works on many levels here. The Italian, casino and 70’s themes are all represented by this dish.

Captain Phillips, the story of the capturing of a container ship by Somali pirates. Somali food is a natural for this one. Hummus  on the Somali kitchen blog sounds good serve with flat bread, crackers or vegetables and you could put out some olives and call them cannonballs (pirates).

The Wolf of Wall Street, the story of Jordan Belfourt and his exploits as he came to “make it big” on Wall St. Excess and extravagance are everywhere in this movie so sushi, maybe some brie and lobster if you’re feeling really extravagant.

Dallas Buyers Club, the tale of real life Texan, Ron Woodroof and how he deals with his AIDS diagnosis. He takes his doctor out for a steak dinner so grilled rib eye would be nice or since Texas is a pecan producing state you could have these nut cups, which are like mini pecan pies:

Nut Cups

  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sifted flour

Blend cream cheese and butter (can use mixer), add flour and mix thoroughly. Chill for 1 hour. Make small balls (24) to fit in mini muffin tins. spread dough into tin with thumb. Fill with filling.

Filling:

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)

Beat egg slightly. Add sugar and then other ingredients. Blend. Fill dough lined muffin tins. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Let cups cool slightly before removing. When cooled, dust with powdered sugar.

Nebraska, a son agrees to help his father make a trip to claim what he (the father) believes to be a winning million dollar sweepstakes ticket. Since Nebraska is the cornhusker state, a corn casserole represents well.

Philomena,  an Irish woman’s search for the child, conceived out of wedlock, she was forced to give up for adoption in her youth. She has a fascination with croutons when she encounters them at a salad bar so make your own by cutting a loaf of french bread into cubes, spraying them with enough olive oil to coat, and place on a sheet pan in a 350º oven until crispy (or buy some) and serve on your favorite salad. I like mixed green with balsamic vinaigrette and maybe some red bell peppers or other vegetables of your liking tossed in as well.

Gravity, a woman mission specialist’s struggle to find a way to get back to earth after a disastrous spacewalk. I loved the weightlessness of the movie and seeing items floating in space, especially in 3D. I am going with root beer floats (root beer soda with a scoop of vanilla ice cream floating in it) or if you want to get fancy, floating islands or ile flottante.

12 Years A Slave, the tale of a free black man who is captured and sold into slavery and his continuous efforts to free himself. Since he uses blackberry juice to try to write a letter with, a blackberry cobbler would do nicely here.

Her, the story of a lonely man who falls in love with his computer’s advanced operating system in the not too distant future Los Angeles. He plays a video game while visiting one of his friends and earns “perfect mom points” for making cupcakes. So you should too. There are vanilla and chocolate cake recipes here, to make cupcakes – instead of a cake pan pour the batter into paper lined muffin tins and bake at 350° for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. You can make the chocolate frosting also which accompanies these recipes or any other one you prefer.

popcorn

If you haven’t seen these nominees, there’s still time, just pop some popcorn and get viewing. Let me know your choice for winner.

All of these dishes can be accompanied by the beverage of your choice. How about a little bubbly?

~ Susan

The Weekend Dish – The Oscars

The 85th Academy Awards will be held in Hollywood this Sunday. hollywood sign

In honor of this occasion and sparked by a conversation with my backyard daughter, I have compiled a few recipes and ideas inspired by the best picture nominees for those of you hosting a party or simply in the mood for some culinary amusement. Most of these recipes are accessed through a link by clicking the name of the recipe and, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit most of them I have not tried yet, but they sound good to me so I am sharing.

Argo, the Iranian hostage crisis film: as I see it there are two ways to go here, either Iranian cuisine or food from the seventies. For the Persian option Kababs and/or Persian  flatbread, and if you choose the seventies tie-in how about rumaki or break out your fondue set.

Amour, the French tale of an aging couple facing tough decisions brought on by medical circumstances: I have to go with the French themed dish here and I like the LA Times Madeleine suggestion, theirs is a pistachio madeleine  or you can stick with the traditional madeleine.

Beasts of the Southern Wild, the story of a young girl and her father in a Louisiana swamp called the Bathtub during a flood: for this one I am inspired by the Southern setting and Emeril Lagasse’s jambalaya or this cheese beignet recipe sounds good.

Django Unchained, the story of a freed slave looking for his wife with the help of a German bounty hunter: once again, using the Southern setting as inspiration, I like fried chicken tenders for this film. When I make them I dredge chicken breast tenders in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, lots of dried sage (at least 1 Tbsp), and thyme; then add about a 1/2 inch of vegetable oil to a frying pan and heat until medium hot. Add chicken and cook on one side until browned, turn and cook until browned on the other side and meat is cooked through, about 3-4 minutes on each side.

Les Miserable, the story, set in early 19th century France, of an ex-convict, Jean Valjean, who for years has been pursued by a relentless police inspector, Javert: a loaf of French bread (since it was the theft of a loaf of bread that sent Valjean to prison in the first place) is a natural selection and this Crustless Leek and Gruyere Quiche recipe sounds delicious.

Silver Linings Playbook, the story of a man, Pat Solatano, trying to get his life back on track after being in a treatment center, for bi-polar disorder, and recently released into the care of his parents: I have to choose crabcakes here or this quick Crab and Avocado Toasts appetizer for a different take on crabby snacks and this recipe for Bacon Wrapped Dates Stuffed With Goat Cheese because it can be a date even if you only have Raisin Bran.

Life of Pi, the story of an Indian boy drifting at sea after a shipwreck on a raft with a tiger: I am going with an Indian influenced appetizer I tried recently,  Sweet Potato Lettuce Wraps, when I made these I used endive instead of the iceberg lettuce and I used ground cumin and didn’t add dried chilies to the sweet potatoes. I served it at a party and it got favorable reviews.

Lincoln, follows Lincoln’s efforts to pass the thirteenth amendment to the Constitution: according to the LA Times, it’s been said that Lincoln’s favorite dessert was apple pie so how about making some mini apple pies in his honor.

Zero Dark Thirty, the story of the hunt for and capture of Osama bin Laden: I am going to have to go with dark chocolate here and leave it at that. Choose your favorite dark chocolate.

paramount pictures melrose gate

There you have it, get busy and enjoy.

~ Susan