Friday, April 18, 2014

Oscar Party: Reel food and drink for a really smashing Oscar party

Great movies and great food are box office gold, from Forrest Gump’s chocolates to “Silence of the Lambs” anti-hero Hannibal Lecter’s disturbing pairing suggestion for Chianti.
We’ve put together a selection of drinks and appetizers inspired by five Best Picture Oscar winners to help you get your Academy Awards viewing party rolling. So get ready to settle in with a beverage and a bite when Hollywood celebrates itself on Feb. 26. You have all the bases covered — lights, camera, (snack) satisfaction.

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SCARLETT FEVER: “Gone with the Wind”
A starving Scarlett O’Hara resorts to grubbing up radishes in the famous “I’ll never be hungry again” scene that ends the first half of “Gone With The Wind.” Luckily, you can try something much tastier with this crimson cocktail featuring cranberry and cherry juice.
Serve some manchego cheese toasts on the side for an elegant nibble. This appetizer uses banana bread, a food that came into vogue in the 1930s as baking powder and baking soda became staples of the American kitchen. It’s not likely you’ll have leftovers, but if you do, fiddle-dee-dee! Tomorrow is another day.
The Scarlett Cocktail
Start to finish: 5 minutes
60 ml (2 oz) cranberry juice
60 ml (2 oz) cherry juice
60 ml (2 oz) citrus vodka
30 ml (1 oz) lime juice
Fresh cherries, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine cranberry juice, cherry juice, vodka and lime juice. Shake and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with fresh cherries.
Makes 1 serving.
Manchego Banana Bites
Slice banana bread thinly and cut into 5-cm (2-inch) rounds with a small cookie cutter. In a skillet, melt butter over medium-high. Toast banana bread rounds in buttered skillet. Serve topped with slices of manchego cheese and toasted pecans. Makes 24 rounds.
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IN THE CHIPS: “Casablanca”
Everybody comes to Rick’s Cafe Americain in the movie “Casablanca,” whether it’s for cocktails, eats, forged letters of transit or hopes of winning big at roulette. You’ll probably want to stick to the first two, though.
Here’s a recipe for a spicy whiskey sour that would be right at home in the ‘40s nightclub scene that serves as the background for “Casablanca’s” story of love and war.
And if you’re looking to gamble on something new, why not try some potato chip cookies, a twist on the traditional snack. We can’t guarantee your friends will be shocked — shocked! — but they may be mildly surprised.
Moroccan Sour Cocktail
Start to finish: 5 minutes
60 ml (2 oz) whiskey
Juice of half a lemon
5 ml (1 tsp) extra-fine sugar
Pinch of dry ground ginger
Pinch of turmeric
Pinch of cinnamon
Seltzer water or club soda
Lemon twist, for garnish
In a double old-fashioned glass, stir together whiskey, lemon juice, sugar, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon until sugar is completely dissolved. Add 1 ice cube and top with a splash of seltzer water. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Makes 1 serving.
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Potato Chip Cookies
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together 125 ml (1/2 cup) unsalted butter with 250 ml (1 packed cup) of brown sugar. Add 1 egg and beat again. Add 500 ml (2 cups) all-purpose flour, 5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder, 250 ml (1 cup) finely crushed potato chips and 125 ml (1/2 cup) sliced almonds. Mix just until combined. Scoop by teaspoonful onto parchment-lined baking sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes in a 180 C (350 F) oven. Makes 30 cookies.
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KILLER RECIPE: “Silence of the Lambs”
Anthony Hopkins turned in a twisted but brilliant performance in “The Silence of the Lambs” as Hannibal (the Cannibal) Lecter, the serial killer who boasted of consuming his victims. That’s one way to solve the catering issue, but we’re going with this much less creepy (not to mention non-criminal) combo of a delicious Chianti spritzer and fava crostini.
Peppered Chianti Spritzer
Start to finish: 5 minutes
30 ml (1 oz) pepper-flavoured vodka
60 ml (2 oz) Chianti wine
Seltzer water or club soda
Fresh raspberries, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine vodka and Chianti. Shake well, then strain into a cocktail glass. Top with seltzer water. Garnish with fresh raspberries.
Makes 1 serving.
Fava Crostini
In a large skillet, cook 2 sliced yellow onions in 30 ml (2 tbsp) of olive oil until soft and brown. Add a 500-g (1-lb) package frozen fava beans (if you can’t find fava beans, use shelled edamame) and cook until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add juice of 1/2 lemon and 30 ml (2 tbsp) of chopped parsley. Roughly mash the mixture. Serve spread on toasted slices of french bread with shavings of Parmesan cheese. Makes 24 crostini.
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YUM, FORREST, YUM: “Forrest Gump”
The 1994 movie “Forrest Gump” followed the adventures of a good-hearted man of less-than-average intelligence who somehow found himself with a front seat to history, from the evolution of Elvis to the Vietnam War and beyond. Along the way he makes friends with Bubba, a shrimp fisherman who waxes lyrical about the many ways to cook the crustaceans.
This recipe calls for a simple baked preparation livened up with chopped pecans. We paired it with a chocolate cocktail commemorating the movie’s catchphrase that life is “like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” In this case we feel reasonably safe in predicting that you’re gonna get a delicious drink.
Box of Chocolates Cocktail
Start to finish: 5 minutes
Grenadine
Finely shredded coconut
15 ml (1 tbsp) caramel ice cream topping
60 ml (2 oz) milk
30 ml (1 oz) amaretto liqueur
60 ml (2 oz) Godiva chocolate liqueur
Pour a small amount of grenadine into a small, shallow plate. Sprinkle coconut on a second small plate. Dip rim of a martini glass first in grenadine, then in coconut to coat rim of glass with coconut. Pour caramel into the bottom of the glass.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine milk, amaretto and chocolate liqueur. Shake well, then strain into prepared glass.
Makes 1 serving.
Honey Pecan Shrimp
Arrange 500 g (1 lb) raw, peeled and deveined shrimp on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Drizzle shrimp with 45 ml (3 tbsp) honey. Mix together 2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt, 1 ml (1/4 tsp) black pepper, 1 ml (1/4 tsp) granulated garlic and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Sprinkle over shrimp. Sprinkle with 50 ml (1/4 cup) finely chopped pecans. Bake in a 200 C (400 F) oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until shrimp are cooked through. Serve warm.
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AN HORS D’OEUVRE THEY CAN’T REFUSE: “The Godfather”
“The Godfather” is a sweeping saga of crime, punishment and the complexity of family ties. But it has its foodie side, too.
There’s the ominous orange — when one of these appears in the movie expect trouble. There’s the scene where Clemenza teaches Michael Corleone how to make gravy (spaghetti sauce) because “you never know, you might have to cook for 20 guys someday.” And was there ever sager culinary counsel than this? “Leave the gun; take the cannoli.”
Here’s a cocktail featuring Italian liqueur with a touch of orange to keep things interesting and some meatballs to go with your gravy.
Corleone Cocktail
Start to finish: 5 minutes
15 ml (1/2 oz) Campari
15 ml (1/2 oz) Amaretto liqueur
Dash of bitters
45 ml (1 1/2 oz) Scotch whisky
Orange twist, for garnish
In a double old-fashioned glass, stir together Campari, Amaretto, bitters and Scotch. Garnish with an orange twist.
Makes 1 serving.
Angry Meatballs
In a medium mixing bowl, combine 250 g (1/2 lb) of loose spicy Italian sausage with 250 g (1/2 lb)lean ground beef. Form into 2.5-cm (1-inch) balls. In a large skillet over medium, heat 45 ml (3 tbsp) of olive oil. Add 4 cloves thinly sliced garlic and saute for 3 minutes. Add meatballs and cook until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Used a slotted spoon to transfer meatballs to a plate. Add 5 ml (1 tsp) crushed red pepper flakes, 500 ml (2 cups) halved grape tomatoes and 125 ml (1/2 cup) torn fresh basil leaves to pan. Saute for 1 minute, then season with salt and pepper. Spoon over meatballs. Makes 24 meatballs.

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