Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Academy Awards...Who Are You Wearing?

Hi everyone!  Happy Fat Tuesday!  Laissez Bon Temps Rouler!  That means “let the good times roll.”  So I hope they are rolling for you.  As for me….I have moved on to the Academy Awards.  Yes folks, the Oscars are this Sunday.  If you are anything like me…you could care less about the actual movies and you just tune in to see what the ladies are wearing.  And I bet you are just like me;) 

I do, however, still like to keep up with what movies are nominated for “Best Picture”.  This also helps me plan my Oscar menu.  Big surprise, but I prefer to plan my whole menu around finger foods.  I think it is more fun, and besides….nobody wants to eat a big meal when wearing couture.  What’s that?  You don’t wear your best gown when viewing the Oscars?  Tell me you at least put on your fake eye lashes!

So Like I said above, I like to use the Best Picture nominees to plan my menu.  I would love to have a dish for each movie, but there are nine nominated….and I ain’t makin’ that much.  But I do have 5 recipes planned.  Today I will show you two of them, plus a cocktail recipe.  But first….here are the nominees:

The Descendants

Midnight in Paris


The Help

The Artist


Tree of Life

War Horse

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Have you seen any of these???

Let’s get started with my first appetizer recipe. I took my inspiration from Tree of Life for this one.  I like to think that if Mrs. O’Brien was attending a cocktail party, back in 1960’s Texas, she would bring this……I am going to show you how to make Rumaki, which was HUGE during the 60’s.  Any housewife worth her salt had a recipe for this.  It is basically chicken livers and water chestnuts wrapped in bacon, and broiled until the bacon is crispy.  It is also marinated in a yummy sauce before it gets cooked.  Ok, relax….I didn’t use chicken livers.  I know you were freaking out.

What I did use was bacon, pineapple, water chestnuts, ginger, soy sauce, garlic, rice wine vinegar, and brown sugar.

I love the addition of pineapple to this.  Plus, anything Hawaiian was popular at cocktail parties back in the day.  I think it was considered different and exotic.

This is a really easy and quick recipe.  I started by making the marinade.  I mixed together the soy sauce, minced garlic, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar and ginger.  I grated my ginger in with a little hand grater/zester.

Then, I wrapped two sliced water chestnuts and chunk of pineapple up in half a piece of raw bacon.  I secured mine with a toothpick that had been soaking in water.  That will help keep it from setting a fire in the oven.  Backdraft isn’t nominated this year…..ba doom boom boom.

I marinated these little bundles in the sauce for about 20 minutes.

I broiled my Rumaki in the oven for about 13 minutes. 

Yum!  Mrs. O’Brien would absolutely bring these to a party!  If she was attending parties at all….she did lose a son during this, so parties might have been few and far between for her.

I don’t think this movie will win, but this Rumaki will.  It rocks.  It is sweet, savory and completely delicious.  I totally wouldn’t have been feelin’ the chicken livers though.

My next recipe is an ode to “Midnight in Paris”. Midnight in Paris is the story of a few Americans visiting Paris.  Some are there for business, some for pleasure….It is a Woody Allen film, so that tells you something right there. 

 I am making a yummy mushroom tart with blue cheese.  They would totally snack on this in Paris;)  Maybe at a bistro while sipping wine…..

I used frozen puff pastry, a couple of cups of sliced mushrooms, Gourmet Rooster Caramelized Onion and Chardonnay Spread, Blue Cheese, and butter.

I used regular white mushrooms because that was what my store had.  You can use whatever type of mushroom you like.  Fancy ones would be great in this.

Let’s start with the puff pastry.  I defrosted it according to the package directions.  Your box will most likely have 2 pieces in it.  Use both. 

I drew a line around the perimeter of the pastry, not cutting all the way through.  This will score the pastry and give you a puffed border.  I also poked holes in the center part to keep that from rising too much.

I tossed this in the oven for about 13 minutes to let it start to brown.  If you are feeling ambitious you can put an egg wash on yours.  It will brown with or without it, so it’s up to you.

I sautéed my mushrooms in butter for a few minutes over medium heat.  Once they were softened, I added the Gourmet Rooster spread.  You can also salt and pepper your mix, but the spread is heavily seasoned…so taste first.

I spread the mushroom mixture all over my puff pastry.  Then, I sprinkled on the blue cheese.  I popped this back in the oven to melt the cheese and to let the pastry finish browning.  Blue cheese and mushrooms are amazing together.  But I am a firm believer that blue cheese goes with anything.

Oh man…..I would go to Paris for this.  If it was free and an airplane wasn’t involved.  My fear of flying doesn’t lend well to me ever seeing Europe.  Midnight in Paris might be as close as I get.

Onto cocktail time….as Sandra Lee would say;)  This cocktail is not my recipe.   Instead it is a pretty famous one that has been around forever.  It is called “The Parisian” and I am pretty sure that all of the actors from “The Artist” would enjoy one of these.  Although The Artist is set in Old Hollywood, it is a French film, chock full of French actors.

This is totally my Oscar cocktail of choice.  I will give you the recipe at the end of this post.

On Thursday I will show you a mini “Loco Moco” in honor of The Descendants, mini chocolate pies (hold the poop) in honor of The Help, and I will also include a Moneyball party favor.  Tune in!

Mrs. O’Brien’s Rumaki

12 slices bacon, cut in half to make 24

14 ounce can of pineapple chunks, you will need 24 chunks

2 eight ounce cans sliced water chestnuts, drained

½ cup soy sauce

3 Tablespoons rice vinegar

1 Tablespoon brown sugar

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

Preheat broiler.

In a mixing bowl, stir together soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, garlic and ginger.  Set aside.

Wrap 2 sliced water chestnuts and 1 chunk of pineapple with 1 half piece of bacon.  Secure with a toothpick that has soaked in water to prevent burning.  Place bundles in marinade.  Let marinade for 20 minutes.

Broil bundles in broiler or 500 degree oven for 13 minutes, or until golden brown.

Makes 24

Midnight in Paris Mushroom Tart

1 package puff pastry sheets

2 tablespoons butter

2 cups sliced mushrooms

4 ounces Gourmet Rooster Caramelized Onion and Chardonnay Spread

4 ounces blue cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Lay puff pastry out on baking sheets.  Using a knife, score around the edges, about 1 inch in.  This will make your “shell”.  Poke holes in the center to keep it from rising too much.

Bake at 400 for about 13 minutes.

In the meantime, sauté mushrooms in butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until mushrooms soften.  Add spread and heat through.

Divide mushroom mixture evenly over puff pastry sheets.  Sprinkle evenly with blue cheese.  Return to oven for 5 more minutes to melt cheese.

Serves 12

The Parisian

1 ounce dry vermouth

1 ounce gin

¼ ounce crème de cassis

Shake all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Strain into a martini glass.

Serves 1

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