If you're planning to fete the Oscars this year, it only makes sense to theme your vittles to some of the year's best films.
This year, at least a handful of the best picture nominees are easy to be inspired by, and some of the more obscure film and food pairings will keep your guests entertained. Here, we look at four best picture nominees and one film that garnered a best actress nod for its leading lady.
This film reminds us of '70s classics: cheese balls, fondue, dips and a preponderance of microwave cookbooks. (A microwave even plays a memorable cameo in the film.) Fondue is both retro and timeless, and it's perfect for a big gathering. Make one sweet and one savory pot and have dippers for each. If you're not a fan of chocolate, consider caramel. For cheese fondue, just make sure you get a cheese that melts well. Bonus points if your fondue pot is old gold or avocado green.
The Wolf of Wall Street
This study in excess offers a lot of food from the 1980s. We're thinking caviar, duck and quiche with a wine cooler on the side. Bon Appétit found a recipe in its archives that was part of a story about a 1980 dinner party. It includes two sauces, loads of butter, Cornish game hens, pāté and a “surprise” inside each hen. The editors suggest either making all eight servings of Roasted Small Birds on Pāté Topped-Croutons, or cut the two sauces, season the birds with a touch of tarragon and lemon, and serve the “surprise” as an appetizer.
Food doesn't play a huge role — or any role — in this sci-fi movie, but we're either intrigued or repulsed by what astronauts eat in space. Space food isn't something that's probably party-friendly, but the snacks we're sharing, called “Space Balls” are party-ready. It includes at least one spacey sounding ingredient, instant dry milk. Eat them on Earth and enjoy.
This one is near and dear to most of our hearts, and so it only makes sense to share my favorite Runza Casserole recipe. Made with crescent rolls and a simple spiced filling, everyone who likes to cook and has Nebraska roots probably has a version of this. I like to substitute garlic powder for fresh minced garlic. Make one for your meat eating friends and check out Omaha vegan chef Isa Chandra Moskowitz's recipe for a vegetarian option at theppk.com.
August: Osage County
This movie had lots of scenes you won't want to relive at your Oscar party, but you might want to relive what's served during the dinner scenes. Try your hand at an Oklahoma special, the buttermilk pie, for dessert. The pie's creamy center is topped with a crispy crust, and a sliver is enough.
Omavore's Runza Casserole
Serves four to six, generously
• 2 cans crescent rolls
• 2 pounds hamburger
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 4 cups shredded cabbage
• Salt and pepper; be generous with both
• 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Brown hamburger with onion and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste. When cooked through, drain if necessary. Add cabbage to hamburger mixture and steam until cabbage is soft but not completely cooked, a few minutes.
Place one tube of crescent rolls in the bottom of a well greased 9-by-13-inch pan to form the bottom crust.
Put cabbage and hamburger mixture on top and then add cheese and cover both layers with the remaining tube of crescent rolls. Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes. Cover with foil the last 15 minutes so the rolls don't burn.
• 1 garlic clove, halved crosswise
• 1½ cups dry white wine
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 2 teaspoons kirsch (optional)
• ½ pound Emmental cheese, coarsely grated (2 cups)
• ½ pound Gručre, coarsely grated (2 cups)
Rub inside of a 4-quart heavy pot with cut sides of garlic, then discard garlic. Add wine to pot and bring just to a simmer over moderate heat. Stir together cornstarch and kirsch (if using; otherwise, use water or wine) in a cup.
Gradually add cheese to pot and cook, stirring constantly in a zigzag pattern (not a circular motion) to prevent cheese from balling up, until cheese is just melted and creamy (do not let boil). Stir cornstarch mixture again and stir into fondue. Bring fondue to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to fondue pot set over a flame. Body Copy: What to dip: Cubes of French bread, cubes of apple and pear, roasted potatoes, julienned raw red bell pepper or blanched broccoli florets.
Emmental and Gruyčre are the most commonly used cheeses in a classic fondue, but Appenzeller, Comté, Beaufort, Tźte de Moine and Hoch Ybrig — all relatively low in moisture — also work fine. Not every fondue recipe calls for cornstarch, but we find it keeps the cheese and wine from separating. As an additional treat, when you're almost done eating the fondue, leave a thin coating of cheese on the bottom of the pot. Lower the flame and allow the coating to turn into a brown crust, then break it into pieces and share it with your guests. The crust is considered a delicacy in Switzerland.
— Recipe courtesy epicurious.com.
• 1 cup peanut butter
• ½ cup instant dry milk
• ½ cup honey
• ½ cup sunflower seeds
• ½ cup raisins
• Dash of cinnamon or nutmeg
Mix all ingredients. Roll into small balls (can be rolled in coconut) and refigerate.
For the pie:
• 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
• 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 cup sugar
• 1½ cups low-fat buttermilk
• ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 pie crust, fitted into a 9-inch pie plate, well chilled
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the crust:
• 1¼ cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for rolling dough
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ teaspoon sugar
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 2 tablespoons ice water, plus 2 more, if needed
For the crust:
In a food processor, pulse flour, salt and sugar several times to combine. Add butter. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with just a few pea-size pieces remaining.
Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons ice water. Pulse until dough is crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers (if needed, add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Do not overprocess.
Turn dough out onto a work surface; form dough into a ¾-inch-thick disk. Wrap tightly in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
Before baking, unwrap dough; place on a large piece of floured waxed paper. Roll dough to a 14-inch round. Using paper, lift and wrap dough around rolling pin (discarding paper); carefully unroll over a 9-inch pie plate. Gently fit into bottom and up sides of plate.
Trim overhang to 1 inch; fold overhang under itself. Pinch between thumb and forefinger to make a uniform edge around the rim. Crimp edge; refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
To make the pie:
Preheat oven to 425 F. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, flour and sugar. Whisk in buttermilk and butter in 4 parts, alternating between the two. Whisk in vanilla. Pour filling into crust; sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake 15 minutes.
Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Cover pie loosely with foil. Bake until filling is set, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool. Serve at room temperature.
— Recipes courtesy marthastewart.com
Roasted Small Birds on Pāté Topped-Croutons
1. Chicken Liver Pāté:
• ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
• ½ to 2/3 pound chicken livers, cut into small pieces
• ¼ cup minced shallot
• ¼ cup Cognac, slightly reduced
• ½ teaspoon unsalted shelled pistachio nuts, finely chopped
• Worcestershire sauce
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1 3-ounce package cream cheese, cut into small pieces
2. Basting Sauce:
• 5 tablespoons clarified butter
• ¼ cup sherry
• Dash of coarse salt (optional)
• Freshly ground pepper
• 1½ tablespoons dried tarragon (preferably French), crumbled
• 8 parsley sprigs (preferably Italian)
• 16 small mushrooms (about ½ inch in diameter), sauteed lightly in butter
• 4 slices pancetta or blanched bacon, sauteed until crisp and cut into 24 pieces about 1-inch square
• 8 crustless 1-by-3-inch strips thinly sliced white bread
4. Mushroom-Pancetta Sauce:
• 8 slices pancetta or blanched bacon, cut into ¼-inch dice
• 2 tablespoons (¼ stick) butter
• ½ teaspoon oil
• 4 cups coarsely chopped mushrooms
• ½ to ¾ cup minced shallot
• 8 livers from game hens, finely chopped
• 2½ tablespoons dried tarragon (preferably French), crumbled
• Freshly ground pepper (optional)
• 8 Cornish game hens, about 1 pound each (livers reserved)
• 8 teaspoons butter (clarified, if desired)
• 8 teaspoons finely minced shallot
• 3 teaspoons dried tarragon (preferably French), crumbled
• Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
• Clarified butter
• 8 strips pancetta or blanched bacon
• 1 cup dry Sherry
• ¼ cup (or more) chicken stock, preferably double strength
• 8 very thin slices homemade bread
• Clarified butter
Heat butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add Sherry, salt and pepper and bring to boil. Remove from heat and add tarragon. Cover and set aside.
Chill a small loaf pan. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat. Add livers, shallot, Cognac and nuts and saute until livers are cooked but still pink inside. Stir in Worcestershire. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and let cool.
Transfer mixture to processor or blender. Add cream cheese and mix until smooth. Pack into chilled pan. Cover tightly and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Place 1 sprig parsley, 2 mushrooms and 3 pieces pancetta or bacon on each bread strip. Set aside.
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in Dutch oven or very large skillet over medium-low heat. Add oil and mix well. Add mushrooms and saute until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add shallot and saute several minutes longer. Blend in pancetta, livers, tarragon and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
Toast bread lightly. Set on rack and brush with clarified butter while still warm. Set aside.
Rinse birds and pat dry. Rub cavity of each with 1 teaspoon butter. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon shallot and 1/4 teaspoon tarragon in each. Season cavities with salt and pepper. Sprinkle additional pinch of tarragon over each bird and place 1 surprise in each cavity. Truss birds.
Prepare barbecue equipped with cover or preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush roasting pan(s) with some of basting sauce. Rub underside of birds with clarified butter and set in pan(s). Brush skins with some of basting sauce. Lay 1 slice pancetta over breast of each bird.
Roast in covered barbecue or oven 5 minutes. Spoon some of basting sauce over tops of birds. Continue roasting, basting every 10 or 15 minutes, until birds test done and juices run clear, about 50 to 55 minutes for barbecue or about 1 hour for oven (cover loosely with small pieces of foil if birds brown too quickly). Transfer birds to heated platter. Discard pancetta and remove strings or pins. Keep birds warm in low oven with door ajar to prevent drying.
Boil Sherry in small saucepan until reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove from heat.
Reheat Mushroom-Pancetta Sauce. Add 3 tablespoons of the Sherry. Taste and add remaining Sherry if necessary (to mellow liver flavor). Deglaze pan used to saute pancetta with 1/4 cup chicken stock. Add to sauce. Pour off fat from roasting pan(s). Add any browned bits clinging to bottom of pan to sauce. Continue cooking until heated through, adding more stock if mixture seems too dry (sauce should be thickened but not soupy).
To serve, arrange croutons on individual heated plates. Top with slice of pate. Set bird on pate and spoon enough Mushroom-Pancetta Sauce over to moisten crouton also. Pass remaining sauce separately.