Back to the Kitchen: Award-winning recipes for an Oscar Party

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BY GWEN KENNEALLY

The Academy Awards are this weekend. Here’s a way to go “red carpet” at home with a fun and elegant buffet. The recipes are abundant and everything on this menu can be put out  before the pre-awards show and  taken away after The Barbara Walters Special with very little attention in between.

The showstoppers are the filet mignon roast that sits on a big wooden cutting board waiting to be thinly sliced, and the massive grilled vegetable platter. I put out a big basket of assorted rolls and bread to allow people to make sandwiches. I serve homemade mustard, a lovely horseradish sauce ,and a middle eastern ajvar and let my guests create their own. One year we even had a “best sandwich award!” The sides are simple and seasonal. I make shortbread stars that are festive as well as delicious. Since it’s Girl Scout cookie time,  mix in a platter of cookies and with fresh fruit and berries.  On the evening that we celebrate Hollywood, it is also an opportunity to celebrate great friends and family.

ffPerfect Filet Mignon

4-5 pound filet mignon roast

1 tablespoon kosher Salt

1tablespoon pepper

1-tablespoon thyme

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Place roast, fat side up, in a large roasting pan and rub olive oil over meat. Generously season with kosher salt, pepper and thyme. Place in oven for about 12-15 minutes for 2-3 pound roast or 15-20 minutes for 4-5 pound roast. Reduce heat to 350 and cook an additional 20-25 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to determine if it is done (125 for rare and 135 for medium. Remove meat from oven and let stand about 15 minutes before serving.

Hot Pub Mustard

½ cup Colman’s Mustard

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/3-cup dry white wine

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 egg yolks

In top of a double boiler, stir together mustard, vinegar, wine, sugar, and salt. Let stand, uncovered, for 2 hours. Beat egg yolks into mustard mixture. Place over simmering water and cook, stirring with a wire whisk, until mixture thickens slightly (about 5 minutes).

Horseradish Sauce

1 16-ounce tub sour cream

6 tablespoon prepared horseradish (or to taste)

3 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Whisk together in a small bowl. Add pepper to taste.

Grilled Vegetable Platter

3 red bell peppers, seeded and halved

3 yellow squash sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles

3 zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles

3 Japanese, sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles

1 bunch (1-pound) asparagus, trimmed

12 green onions

Olive Oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves

1-cup goats cheese, crumbled

Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush the vegetables oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over, about 8 to 10 minutes for the bell peppers; 7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, 4 minutes for the asparagus and green onions. Arrange the vegetables on a platter. Meanwhile whisk 2 tablespoons of oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, in a small bowl to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the herb mixture over the vegetables. Sprinkle with goat cheese and serve.

Ajvar

2 eggplants

6 red bell peppers

3 cloves garlic

Juice of one lemon

1/2-cup olive oil,

Parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 350. Bake eggplants and peppers until tender when pierced with a fork. Peel skin from hot vegetables and place in a food processor. Season to taste with salt and pepper and add the garlic and lemon juice. And olive oil and pulse. You want it to be pureed, but coarsely. Chill or serve warm sprinkled with parsley!

Noni’s Olive Tapenade

4 large garlic cloves

2 cups pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured olives

4 anchovy fillets

2 tablespoons drained capers

1teaspoon each fresh chopped rosemary, thyme

3 tablespoons lemon juice

5 tablespoons olive oil

Rinse the olives in cold water. (This makes the tapenade less salty) Finely chop garlic cloves in food processor. Add 1/2 the olives, anchovies, capers, thyme and rosemary. Process until almost smooth. Add the lemon juice. With machine running gradually add olive oil. Blend mixture until smooth. Then coarsely chop the remaining cup of olives and mix in. Season tapenade to taste with pepper. Transfer to small bowl.

Gwen’s Caesar

In small bowl whisk together:

1 egg

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1-tablespoon anchovy paste

Then add:

Juice of one lemon

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Up to 3 cloves of garlic to taste

2 teaspoon dried thyme

In a steady stream add:

1/2-cup olive oil

2 cups canola oil

If you would like, add a few shakes of pepper or a dash of Tabasco sauce. Fill a large salad bowl with lettuce. The traditional Caesar lettuce is romaine. I like to add spinach and radicchio for flavor and color. Mix in croutons (see below) shaved or grated Parmesan and then toss in the dressing. Go lightly — the worst Caesars are the ones that are over-dressed. Taste as you go. For variation you can add cherry tomatoes or toasted pine nuts, both are tasty and add a little pizzazz.

Croutons

Truly, you can use any kind of bread, seasoning and oil. I will give you the basic, but again – go for it and make it your own.

1 baguette (long loaf of French or sour dough bread)

Olive oil to coat

Pinch of Kosher salt

Fresh ground pepper

Slice baguettes into quarter inch slices. Place in large bowl. Toss with oil until well coated. Add salt and pepper. Place on a cookie sheet in single layer rows and bake at 350 until golden brown, about 20 minutes

Roasted Beets With Horseradish and Goat Cheese

1 pound beets, washed, steams trimmed 1/2 inch above beetroot

1-tablespoon horseradish (or to taste)

1/4-teaspoon thyme

Pinch salt and pepper

8 ounces goat cheese

Place beet in a tightly covered casserole dish. Pour enough water to cover 1/2 inch at the bottom. Roast at 350 for 2 1/2 hours. It is cooked when the skin is slightly wrinkled and removes easily with your fingers. Remove from oven and as soon as they are cool enough to touch, remove skin and cut into about 8 1/4 inch pieces. While still warm mix well with horseradish, thyme, salt and pepper. Chill for at least 2 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead, just add cheese right before serving.) Mix well again. Add the crumbled goat cheese. Mix and serve.

Rainbow Roasted Yams and potatoes with Thyme

3 pounds mixture of new, white, purple, sweet potatoes and yams, quartered

6 tablespoons olive oil

6 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl toss together. Bake in a pre heated 400-degree oven. Bake until golden about 40 minutes.

Cacao Shortbread Stars

2 sticks butter, softened

1/2-cup sugar

1-teaspoon vanilla

1/4-teaspoon salt

2 cups all-purpose flour

1-cup Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips

In a medium bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Mix the flour and salt by hand to the butter mixture until well mixed. Divide the mixture in half and wrap in plastic and chill for one hour. Roll each half on a floured board to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 2 to 3 inch star cookie cutter cut out cookies. Place on ungraesed cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350 oven for about 12 minutes until pale golden. Cool on cookie rack. In a double broiler melt the chocolate, when the chocolate is warm and the cookies are cool dip the star in halfway and pull out and let the excess chocolate drip back into the pot. Place on wax paper and let coo completely.

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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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