Designer gowns stepping out onto the red carpet?
It's time to plan a tasty little star-studded Oscar number — meaning party with fabulous food — based on this year's crop of movie contenders.
The updated Western True Grit is rife with clever food puns. Serve your guests chili, beef jerky, corn bread, s'mores or cowboy caviar (check out the half million Internet entries if you need that one.)
Other movie titles are a bit more of a stretch. Lots of red wine is swilled and spilled in The Kids Are All Right, but the dad/donor character inspired us to adapt a recipe from, ahem, Macho Nachos instead. Well, you get the picture.
And the nominees are:
■ Inception quick caffeinated wings
■ Cowboy skewers with True Grit polenta cakes
■ The king will be speechless chickpea crowns
■ The Kids Are All Right, but he's a macho nacho
■ The Fighter knock-out pumped-up popcorn
■ Duckfat vanilla milkshake for a Black Swan (Duckfat is a restaurant, not an ingredient.)recipes
The king will be speechless chickpea crowns
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 ounces small white mushrooms, sliced
16-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1½ teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
17-ounce package puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator
9-ounce jar hot mango chutney
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring regularly, for 4 to 5 minutes, until golden. Reduce heat to medium, add mushrooms and cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring.
Add chickpeas, pepper, salt and parsley. Cook 4 to 5 minutes more, stirring regularly. Using large spoon, transfer mixture to food processor. Pulse 5 to 6 times, until mixture is blended but still a bit chunky.
Spread out sheets of puff pastry (no need to roll), and cut into 2½ -inch squares (you should have 24). Put 1 tablespoon chickpea filling into each square. Pull up the squares' corners so they meet, making a small pyramid. Pinch them together.
Place crowns on a baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes. They should be crisp on the outside and probably will open a bit at top (this is OK). Serve on large platter with hot mango chutney.
Makes 24 crowns.
Nutrition information per crown: 158 calories, 9 g. fat, 0 g. cholesterol, 17 g. carbohydrates, 2 g. protein, 148 mg. sodium, 1 g. dietary fiber.
Adapted from Party Snacks! by A.J. Rathbun
'The Kids are All Right,' but he's a macho nacho
1 pound ground chorizo
4 to 5 ounces corn tortilla chips
6 ounces (about 2 cups) shredded Mexican cheese (choose one known for superior melting qualities)
½ cup diced red onion
1 fresh jalapeño, sliced (use gloves; do not touch eyes after handling)
¼ cup torn fresh cilantro
½ cup sliced green onions
Preheat oven to 475 degrees, or preheat broiler, with rack about 7 inches from heat source.
Cook chorizo in skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. When done, drain meat thoroughly.
Arrange chips in a single layer on baking sheet or ovenproof platter. Sprinkle chips with half the cheese. Spoon meat over top, covering each chip with meat. Sprinkle meat with other half of cheese. Sprinkle chips with red onion and dot jalapeño slices.
Bake nachos 4 to 6 minutes, or broil, until cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with cilantro and green onions. Makes 1 (12-by-18-inch) tray or equivalent.
Nutrition information per serving: 225 calories, 17 g. fat, 33 mg. cholesterol, 8 g. carbohydrates, 10 g. protein, 519 mg. sodium, 1 g. dietary fiber.
Adapted from Macho Nachos by Kate Heyhoe
'The Fighter' knock-out pumped-up popcorn
¾ cup vegetable oil
8 medium cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and minced
2¼ teaspoons chili powder
Scant ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
4-ounce bag plain popped popcorn
Place oil, garlic, chili powder and cayenne in small saucepan over very low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Place popcorn in large bowl. Pour spice mixture over and toss to coat; using hands is best, but be sure oil is not too hot. Season with salt to taste.
Makes 14 cups.
Nutrition information per cup: 138 calories, 12 g. fat, 0 g. cholesterol, 7 g. carbohydrates, 1 g. protein, 5 mg. sodium, 1 g. dietary fiber.
Adapted from Party Food by Barbara Kafka
Cowboy skewers with 'True Grit' polenta cakes
1 pound beef flank or sirloin steak, about 1-inch thick
¾ cup barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, crushed
¾ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon kosher salt
16-ounce tube prepared polenta, sliced into ½ -inch slices
Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, light a hot fire in a charcoal or gas grill.
Slice beef across grain into thin strips. Carefully ease beef strips onto skewers, snaking each strip so it looks like a series of S's on the skewer. You might have more than one strip of beef per skewer. Place beef onto large plate or platter. Whisk together barbecue sauce, lemon juice, crushed garlic, red and black pepper, and salt in bowl. Set aside half of sauce. Pour or brush remaining sauce evenly over beef and allow to marinate 5 to 10 minutes, then discard sauce.
Place skewers and polenta on grill and cover. After 3 minutes, flip polenta and skewers, brushing meat with some of the reserved sauce; cover and cook 3 more minutes, until meat is done and polenta is soft, warm and features grill marks. Serve with remaining sauce.
Makes 16 skewers
Nutrition information per skewer: 104 calories, 3 g. fat, 14 mg. cholesterol, 12 g. carbohydrates, 7 g. protein, 171 mg. sodium, 2 g. dietary fiber.
Adapted from Party Snacks!
'Inception' quick caffeinated wings
12 meaty chicken wings
¼ cup black pepper-based steak seasoning (such as McCormick's Grill Mates)
3 tablespoons instant espresso powder
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1⁄3 cup olive oil
Chopped scallions, for serving, if desired
Cover rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray foil with non-stick cooking spray. Place wings on baking sheet.
In small bowl, combine steak seasoning, espresso powder and brown sugar. Add olive oil and mix with fingers to make a paste. Rub wings liberally with spice mixture, covering both sides. Let sit 20 minutes to absorb flavors and adhere to the skin.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake wings for 20 minutes, or until done. Garnish with chopped scallions.
Makes 12 wings.
Nutrition information per wing:133 calories, 10 g. fat, 16 mg. cholesterol, 6 g. carbohydrates, 5 g. protein, 284 mg. sodium, 0 g. dietary fiber.
Adapted from Wings by Debbie Moose
Duckfat vanilla milkshake for a Black Swan'
3¼ cups half-and-half
2 vanilla beans
6 egg yolks
5 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt
3 medium scoops vanilla ice cream, softened until just melty at the edges
Black licorice sticks, dark cake sprinkles, whipped cream, cherry, for garnish, if desired
For creme anglaise: Place half-and-half in small, heavy saucepan. Using a sharp paring knife, carefully split vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape seeds into cream, then add hulls. Set pan over medium heat and, stirring occasionally, bring cream to a bare simmer. Off the heat, allow cream to infuse for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, sugar and salt in a medium, heavy, heatproof bowl until light and frothy, about 2 minutes. Secure bowl in position by wrapping a damp kitchen towel around the base. Remove hulls from warm cream mixture. Whisking constantly, very slowly and gradually pour cream mixture into yolk mixture until it is all incorporated.
Rinse, but don't dry, saucepan. Pour cream and egg mixture into pan, set it over medium low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats a wooden spoon to the degree that you leave a crisp-edged, clear trail when you draw your finger across the back of a spoon, about 12 minutes. Set fine-mesh sieve over medium bowl and strain custard into it. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it onto surface of custard and poking several holes with tip of paring knife so steam can escape. Allow custard to cool to lukewarm, then refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 4 hours and up to 4 days.
To assemble: Place 1 cup chilled creme anglaise and ice cream in blender and pulse several times to begin breaking up ice cream. With the motor off, use flexible spatula to mash mixture down onto blender blade. Continue pulsing, stopping and mashing until mixture is well-blended, thick and moving easily in blender jar, roughly 30 to 90 seconds. Pour into chilled glasses, garnish and serve at once. Makes about two milkshakes.
Nutrition information per milkshake: 402 calories, 26 g. fat, 239 mg. cholesterol, 36 g. carbohydrates, 8 g. protein, 141 mg. sodium, 0g. dietary fiber.
Adapted from Thoroughly Modern Milkshakes: 100 Classic and Contemporary Recipes by Adam Ried