Let’s have an Oscar party!

I’m not sure who first thought of having a party where the highlight of the evening is watching an award show on television. Maybe years ago people would invite their friends over to gather around the radio with a (stirred!) dry martini, on the edge of their seats to hear if Joan Crawford finally gets that Oscar. Inviting a few friends over and watching all the Academy Awards festivities has become a bit of a tradition for me. Oscar Sunday is the one day a year I don’t feel guilty about being catty about others’ appearances, and, thanks to HDTV, that activity has never been more fun. This year I have decided to mix it up a bit and make Oscar themed food and cocktails for our party. I know it isn’t exactly a quantum leap to have movie themed food for an Oscar party but it just never crossed my mind. In addition to food and drinks, we always have printable ballots and a custom BINGO game to play for prizes, details of which are below. But now, let’s get to the drinks, and the puns.

The Drinks

Skyyfall Martini

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Recipe:

(makes one cocktail)

5 blueberries, plus more for garnish

3 oz. white cranberry juice

1 1/5 oz. Skyy vodka

  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle five blueberries.
  2. Fill shaker with ice and add cranberry juice and vodka.
  3. Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass.
  4. Garnish with remaining blueberries, if desired.

Mangoes Unchained

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Recipe:

(can be made in large quantities if serving a crowd)

1 part light rum

1 part dark or gold rum

2 1/2 parts mango nectar

1 1/2 part pineapple juice

2 parts orange juice

splash of grenadine (for BLOOD)

mango slices, maraschino cherries, pineapple wedges for garnish (optional, but very tasty)

  1. In a pitcher combine first five ingredients and stir well.
  2. Pour mixture into individual glasses with ice.
  3. Before serving, carefully pour the grenadine onto the top of the juice and rum mixture in each glass. It should sink to the bottom of the glass if you don’t stir it.
  4. Garnish with the fruit and serve.

Note: the grenadine doesn’t add a whole lot of flavor and it used mostly for looks. It can be easily omitted if you are serving a large crowd.

The Food

Here at Would Eat we do not have the budget or free time to create dishes in advance of an event just to photograph them and then throw them away.  For this reason, the planned movie themed foods do not have corresponding photographs, but I will post photos after the party. These are just some menu ideas to get you started if you plan to have an Oscar themed menu as well.

Frankenweenies (Best Animated Feature)

  • Cocktail weenies rolled in puff pastry or Crescent Rolls.

Sally Field Greens (Best Supporting Actress)

  • Chopped salad with cucumber, avocado and carrots.

Robert De Nachos (Best Supporting Actor)

  • You guys know how to make nachos, right?

Beasts of the Southern Mild Salsa (Best Picture)

  • Served with chips, obviously.

Life of Pies (Best Picture)

  • We will have a fruit pie, but making a Life of Chicken Pot Pie would really be going above and beyond here.

Fresh Guacamole (Best Animated Short)

  • I really lucked out here because the name of the film is actually Fresh Guacamole.

Moonpies Kingdom (Best Original Screenplay)

  • Alternate choice: Moonfries Kingdom

Carne Asad-a (Best Live Action Short)

  • I don’t have a recipe for this because you can just pick some already marinated carne asada at almost any supermarket in my neighborhood. Very easy.

L’eggs Miserables (Best Picture)

  • Deviled eggs, get it?

The Games

As I mentioned earlier, we like to make things interesting at the Oscar party by having printable ballots of custom Bingo cards. The prize for whoever picks the most Oscar winners is a fake Oscar statuette I bought at LAX several years ago. The winner is then compelled to bring the prize back the next year. This year the prize for the irst person to get a Bingo is a gift bag filled with movie theater junk food (popcorn, milk duds, etc.). Basically, you can know nothing about movies and still win a prize.

If you need a printable ballot, you can find one here. I know, I am as surprised as you that Blockbuster is still in business in any way, shape or form. There used to be websites that would allow you to create custom bingo cards for free, but they don’t see to be around this year. I made our own cards with phrases such as “Anne Hathaway has tears in her eyes”. If you would like to use our custom Bingo games you can download it here (includes a blank page if you want to make your own Bingo cards): Oscar Bingo Pages. 

Thank you to everyone who helped come up with the Bingo squares and the menu ideas. I hope you all have a successful party!

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Hummus

hummus

Ever since I stopped eating dairy, hummus has been my go-to dip for any get-together. I made this hummus for a Super Bowl party and it went over pretty well. There is nothing particularly revolutionary about this recipe, except that I removed the skins from the garbanzo beans before pureeing them. Removing the skins does take some time, but I think it improves the texture a lot. I wear non-latex gloves when I remove the skins because the canning liquid irritates my skin. This is a double batch, but you can easily cut it in half if you aren’t as crazy about hummus as I am (which is very crazy).

2 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas), some canning liquid reserved.

1/2 cup tahini

Juice of 1 1/2 lemons, or to taste

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish

2 garlic cloves, peeled (I should have used 3, now that I think about it)

salt & pepper to taste

paprika for garnish (optional)

  1. Add all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well blended
  2. Add the canning liquid until you reach your desired consistency. I ended up using about 2 ounces.
  3. Serve in a bowl and garnish with a little move olive oil and paprika, if desired.

Sriracha Lime Chicken Wings

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Several months ago I had dinner at the Carthay Circle Restaurant inside Disney’s California Adventure Theme Park and I had the pleasure of eating their Sriracha lime duck wings as an appetizer. These duck wings were by far the best thing I have ever eaten at a theme park, and one of the best things I had tasted in recent memory. The cost of the duck wings were pretty reasonable (around $12 if I remember correctly), but the entrees are pretty expensive, so a trip back is not on the horizon at the moment. I suppose one could just make a reservation and order the duck wings, drink water and eat their free bread. It’s not like they are going to throw us out on the Disneyland streets. To avoid that whole scenario I decided to re-create this recipe at home using the much more available chicken wing in lieu of duck. The waitress at Carthay Circle told me they marinade the duck wings in a melted-butter based mixture, but I have skipped that step. I made these using the buffalo style “party wings” for our Super Bowl party, but you could easily use chicken drumsticks and/or wings. I previously tried to make the sauce using a food processor but it was a huge mess to clean up. I used my immersion blender this time and it was much easier. I have to say these come pretty close to the real thing, but I still recommend eating at Carthay Circle if you have the chance.

Recipe:

Preheat oven to 350F

2 1/2 – 3 lbs. chicken “party wings”

Salt & pepper, to taste

10-12 coriander seeds

1/2 cup Sriracha hot sauce (or to taste)

Juice of 2 1/2 fresh limes, plus 1/2 lime for garnish

3 Tbsp. cilantro, roughly chopped

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 1/2 Tbsp. garlic chili sauce

  1. Line a cookie sheet with foil and arrange the chicken wings skin side up and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, turning once, until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  3. In the meantime, combine the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Taste to check for seasoning.
  4. Toss the cooked wings with the sauce and serve with lime wedges.

I kept these warm during the party by using the “keep warm” setting on my slow cooker and this made them taste even better. This makes a lot of sauce so you can use it for other things if you want.

Low Calorie Cocktail – Cranberry Pomegranate Cosmo

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Since I plan on gorging myself on chicken wings and guacamole tomorrow while watching the Super Bowl, I thought it would be a good idea to come up with a low calorie drink option that is festive and tasty. I could just drink light beer, I guess, but I really don’t care for light beer in the slightest. Also, there is no rule that says you can’t watch football while drinking something out of a martini glass. I infused some vodka with orange for this martini, but you could use an orange flavored vodka or omit the orange all together. Infusing vodka is so easy there is no reason to buy a flavored vodka if you have the old plain stuff on hand. Once you get into the pepper infused vodkas and all that it is a different story, but if I wanted something akin to pepper spray in my mouth I would go to Downtown LA on May Day (zing!). That was a police brutality joke. Anyway, now for the drink!

Recipe:

1 orange or tangerine slice

1.5 oz Vodka (I used Stoli)

1.5 oz. Diet Cranberry-Pomegranate Juice

generous squeeze of fresh lime juice

lime for garnish (optional)

  1. Pour the vodka in a container with the orange or tangerine slice and, with a lid on,  give it a good shake. Store in the fridge for at least an hour (overnight is better). You can use the martini shaker if you won’t be needing it in the meantime, which is unlikely. It’s the weekend, after all. You can always pour more vodka in if you are planning on making many more drinks. If you are trying to infuse more than 8 oz. of vodka I would use more orange slices.
  2. Fill a martini shaker with ice and add the cran-pomegranate juice, vodka and squeeze of lime.
  3. Shake vigorously and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge if desired.

This cocktail is about 100 calories, which isn’t bad at all, and tastes better than some of those pre-packaged cocktails that also claim to be low calorie.  If serving a crowd, you could always use a little more juice and add some club soda to make a nice punch. This drink is not “all natural” or healthy. The diet juice does use an artificial sweetener (Splenda), and I know some people try to avoid artificial sweeteners. Alcoholic drinks are not supposed to be healthy, and anyone who tells you otherwise is probably a snake oil salesman. If you want an alcoholic drink with long term health benefits, drink a glass of red wine 2-3 times a week. I will be posting a few more low calorie options over the next few weeks along with some not-so-low-calorie selections. If you do try this recipe, please let me know if you liked it or not.