Appetizing oscar night


It will be a night of glitz and glamour, surprises and speeches. From red carpet hits and misses to backstage interviews with the winners, the Academy Awards is Hollywood’s biggest night. Celebrate the 83rd Oscars on Feb. 27 with an award-worthy viewing party.

Whether you invite 10, 20 or 30 guests, the real key to any fabulous event is to have a great mix of friends and delicious foods. Feel like a star chef by keeping your Oscar party food simple — serve a variety of hors d’oeuvres and movie snacks.

While at lunch with chef Bruce Marder, owner of Capo, Cora’s, Brentwood and House restaurants, he mentioned that he was planning a comfortable Oscar party at home this year with his wife and eight friends. The Marders have a family area with a large television screen adjoining the kitchen, where guests can watch the Oscars and sample an assortment of delicious food.

His menu of favorite finger food includes a Yogurt Dip served with spears of Persian cucumbers, Blue Fin Tuna Ceviche Crostini and a panini filled with cheese and green onions that is grilled until the cheese is oozing out the sides.

Chef Jason Ivener, owner of Artful Foods Catering, also shares two of his favorite crostini recipes, which would be perfect for an Oscar party. The first, Mushroom Crostini, features a combination of button and oyster mushrooms sautéed and spooned onto slices of French baguette, which is then topped with cheese and heated in the oven. The other, Charred Vegetable Crostini, is a mixture of charred vegetables accented with balsamic vinegar, currants and sun-dried tomatoes.

Two of my favorite appetizers are: Tiropita, a filo dough pastry filled with Monterey Jack and Swiss cheeses, and Gougère, light pastries made with gruyere cheese. (Both can be prepared in advance and stored in the freezer on baking sheets. Simply defrost and bake just before serving.)

Nothing says “the movies” quite like popcorn. Savory Popcorn tossed with grated Parmesan cheese and homemade Caramel Popcorn are the perfect munchies for Oscar night. They’re simple to make, going together in minutes.

Also, be sure to set up an open bar area, where guests can select from white or red wine, a large pitcher of champagne punch and soft drinks.

GOUGÈRE

From Judy Zeidler

1 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 1/4 cups finely shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

Place milk in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and scald.

In a medium bowl, knead butter, salt, pepper and mustards together. Add to milk, and blend with a wooden spoon. Bring to a rolling boil. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously, until the mixture forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan clean.

Transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer and add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition. Blend until the dough is shiny and smooth. Add 1 cup shredded cheese; blend well.

Spoon into a pastry bag fitted with the plain round tip. Place a silicone mat onto a baking sheet and pipe gougère in mounds 1/4 to 1/2 inch apart. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and a few drops of milk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Bake in a preheated 400 F oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until well puffed and golden brown.  Serve immediately.

Makes about 24.


YOGURT DIP WITH PERSIAN CUCUMBER SPEARS

For this recipe, Bruce Marder likes to use FAGE, a thick Greek-style yogurt, which is available in many local supermarkets.

8 ounces Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon coarsely grated black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 to 2 Persian cucumbers, sliced lengthwise into sticks

In a bowl, mix together yogurt, dill, garlic, salt and pepper. Add olive oil and mix well. Transfer to a bowl and serve with cucumber spears.

Makes about 1 cup.


BLUE FIN TUNA CEVICHE CROSTINI

From Bruce Marder

Blue fin tuna ceviche crostini

1/2 pound blue fin or sushi-grade tuna, chopped
1/3 cup minced white onion
1 tablespoon Japanese yuzu or lemon juice
1 teaspoon wasabi
1 tablespoon minced chives
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small French baguette, thinly sliced and toasted

In a large bowl, mix together the tuna, onion, yuzu, wasabi and chives. Add salt and olive oil and mix well. Spoon onto toasted baguette slices.

Makes about 24 crostini.

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