Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Oscars are Coming! The Oscars are Coming!

If you are anything like me, it's possible that your Oscar invite hasn't arrived in the mail and you are not sitting in LA getting ready for tonight's festivities.  No problem! It doesn't mean you can’t roll out the red carpet where you are and get set to be an award-winning Oscar host of your very own. 

There’s no better front seat than in the comfort of your own living room surrounded by good friends.  It's never too late to host your own star-studded, red-carpet Oscar party  with cocktails, appetizers, and desserts I bet there are a few recipes that may just be worthy of a gold statuette.

You can even cheer on your favorite movies and stars with some inspirational treats.  Maybe  inspired by each of the Best Picture nominees. There are nine films  nominated this year, you can use your imagination and go wild.  Think about it the films are so varied not only should it be an exciting night, but how awesome could it be for your palate.  I came up with a few appetizer treats and paired them with a couple of movies.  You can dress up dress down, have your friends all bring a little something.  It is all about the time you spend together, the company you share, the food is just the enhancement.  All that's left is lights, camera, action!

Movie- Zero Dark Thirty
A little something of  the Middle East

Tabbouleh Salad

1 1/2 cups uncooked bulgur
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 cups English cucumber, diced  
1 cup  fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup diced tomato, diced
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp black pepper 
4 garlic cloves, minced

  • Combine bulgur and boiling water in a large bowl. 
  • Cover and let stand 30 minutes. Drain; place bulgur in large bowl.
  • Add cucumber and remaining ingredients to bulgur; toss well. Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

A combination of  American and 
the Middle East

Fried Chicken Bites and Mini Waffles

10 sprigs fresh thyme
3 chicken thighs, boneless with skin on, cut into small ½ inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 cups buttermilk
1 Tbsp hot sauce
1-16 oz bottle of peanut oil
Maple syrup
Mini Toaster Waffles
2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne

  • Remove the leaves from 5-6 sprigs thyme and mince finely.  Set aside. Cut the chicken thighs into ½-inch square pieces leaving some skin on each little piece. Toss with 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper and 1 tablespoon of the minced thyme.
  • In a medium bowl mix the buttermilk with 1 tablespoon of hot sauce and add the seasoned chicken pieces to the buttermilk mixture. Mix well and add any remaining thyme to the buttermilk. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove the chicken in buttermilk from the fridge and drain in a colander.  Scoop 2 cups of flour in a pie plate or shallow bowl and season with 2 teaspoons salt, black pepper and ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Add the chicken pieces to the flour mixture and toss well, thickly coating each piece. 
  • In a large saucepan heat 2-3 inches of peanut oil to approximately 350 degrees. Carefully add chicken in batches, do not over crowd the pan or the the oil will cool off. Turn occasionally until browned on all sides, then remove to a paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining pieces.
  • Toast the mini waffle rounds until golden brown and top each round with a piece of warm fried chicken. Drizzle with warm maple syrup before serving.

Kofta Kebabs with Tzatziki

4 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp kosher salt, plus a pinch
1 lb ground beef chuck or lamb
3 Tbsp grated onion
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Freshly ground black pepper
oil  for brushing the grill

  • Smash the garlic cloves, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear mixture to a coarse paste. Mix the paste and the remaining 1 tablespoon salt with the meat, onion, parsley, and spices.
  • Line a pan with aluminum foil. Divide the meat mixture into 28 rough balls. Mold each piece around the pointed end of a skewer (if you use wooden ones, soak them in water for 15 minutes before threading them), making a 2-inch oval kebab that comes to a point just covering the tip of the skewer. Lay the skewers on the pan, cover, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 12 hours. 
  • Heat a grill pan over medium heat or prepare a grill. Brush the pan lightly with olive oil. Working in batches, grill the kebabs, turning occasionally, until brown all over and just cooked through, about 6 minutes. 
  • Transfer to a serving platter and serve with Tzatziki and flat bread.


1 cup Greek plain yogurt
1 medium cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded
2 tsp salt, plus a pinch
1/2 clove garlic
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dried mint, crumbled

  • Put yogurt in the bowl. 
  • Grate the cucumber on the large holes of a box grater into another bowl. Sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons salt and rub into the cucumber with your hands. Set aside 20 minutes, then squeeze the cucumbers to express as much liquid as possible.
  • Smash the garlic, sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt, and, with the flat side of a large knife, mash and smear the mixture to a coarse paste. Stir the cucumber, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and mint into the yogurt. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

A western.... What 
would  you serve?

Steak au Poivre on Crostini

2 1/2 Tbsp olive oil, divided 
1 lb. center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed 
salt and black pepper to taste 
1/4 cup cognac or brandy 
1 1/2 cup reduced sodium beef broth 
2 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
24 crostini 

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. 
  • In a medium oven-proof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over high heat. Rub the tenderloin with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the beef to the pan and sear on all sides until brown, about 2 minutes per side. Place in the oven and roast until medium-rare, 7 to 10 minutes. 
  • Remove from the oven and transfer the beef to a baking sheet to rest. Cover with foil. Meanwhile, reheat the skillet over high heat for 30 seconds. Remove the skillet from the heat, add the cognac, return to the heat, and ignite. Stand back, and as the flame dies, stir with a wooden spoon to loosen any particles in the bottom of the pan. After the cognac is reduced to 1 tablespoon, add the beef broth, simmering until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the heavy whipping cream; set aside. 
  • Using a very sharp knife, slice the tenderloin as thin as possible into 24 pieces. Place one slice on a crostini and top each with the warm sauce. 

Movie- Les Misérables
As you travel to France for the 
revolution something simple
but very French

Mini Croque-Monsieur

8 slices bread
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup swiss cheese
6 ounces ham

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  • On a large cutting board, spread the bread slices with butter. Cut off and remove the crusts. Flip the slices on the cutting board so the buttered slices face down. Divide the cheese among all the slices, top half of the slices with ham, and sprinkle with pepper. Assemble the slices into sandwiches two by two - one with ham, one without - so the exterior faces of each sandwich are buttered. Transfer to the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, until the sandwiches are golden on top. Remove the sheet from the oven (leave the heat on). Transfer the sandwiches to the cutting board and let rest for a few minutes, until cool enough to handle. 
  • Use a sharp bread knife to cut each sandwich into nine equal squares if the slices are large, four if they are medium. Flip each of the mini-sandwiches as you put them back on the baking sheet, and bake for another 7 minutes, until golden. 
  • Let cool for a few minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

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