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JewishJournal.com

January 27, 2011

Appetizing oscar night

http://www.jewishjournal.com/tribe/article/appetizing_oscar_night_20110127

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.

MUSHROOM CROSTINI

From Jason Ivener

Olive oil
1/2 white onion, cut into small dice
1/4 pound white button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1/4 pound oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon black truffle peelings (optional)
1 small French baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
1/4 pound Tallegio or smoked mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced

In a medium sauté pan, heat 3 teaspoons olive oil and brown onions over medium heat for 2 minutes. Increase heat to high, add additional olive oil and mushrooms and sauté until soft, mixing well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add black truffle peelings, if using. Remove from pan. Cool. Reserve at room temperature.

Place baguette slices on baking sheet, sprinkle with additional olive oil, salt and pepper; bake in a preheated 375 F oven for 8 to 10 minutes until lightly toasted.

To serve, place 1 tablespoon of mushroom mixture on each toasted baguette slice, cover with cheese, and bake for 5 minutes to melt cheese. Serve hot.
Makes 20 crostini.


CHARRED VEGETABLE CROSTINI

From Jason Ivener

Olive oil
1/2 small onion, cut into small dice
2 zucchini (8 ounces), cut into small dice
1 red bell pepper (4 ounces), cut into small dice
1 small Japanese eggplant (4 ounces), cut into small dice
Salt to taste
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon each dried thyme and oregano leaves
1 to 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup currants (soaked in warm water 5 minutes and drained)
1 jar (8 ounces) sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, cut into small dice
1 small French baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
5 1/2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

Filling: In a medium sauté pan, heat 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté onion, zucchini, bell pepper and eggplant for 5 minutes, until lightly charred. Season with salt, white pepper, thyme and oregano. Transfer to a bowl and cool. Add balsamic vinegar, currants and sun-dried tomatoes, mixing well.

Season slices of baguette with additional olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 375 F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly toasted.

Arrange baguette slices on a platter, place 1 tablespoon vegetable mixture on each slice, and top with crumbled goat cheese. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 24 crostini.

TIROPITA

From Judy Zeidler

This recipe has the best filling I have ever tasted for these crisp pastries. The combination of cheeses, scallions, fresh dill, eggs and baking powder all add up to a wonderful puffy texture and exciting flavor.

3/4 pound Swiss cheese, grated
3/4 pound Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1/2 cup minced green onions
1/2 cup minced parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill or 1 teaspoon dried dill
6 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pound filo dough
1 pound unsalted butter, clarified
1/2 cup sesame seeds

In a large bowl, combine the cheeses with the green onions, parsley and dill. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the baking powder.

Work with one sheet of filo at a time, keeping remaining filo covered with wax paper and a damp towel. With scissors, cut the sheets crosswise into 2-inch-wide strips. Brush each strip with melted butter.

Place l teaspoon of the cheese mixture 1 inch from the end of the strip. Cover the filling with the end of the filo to make a neat triangular package; continue folding until the dough strip is completely incorporated into the triangle. Place each triangle as it is finished on a baking sheet lined with buttered foil. Repeat until all filling is used.

Brush tops of triangular packages with melted butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds. (Can be frozen at this point. Defrost before baking.)

Bake in a preheated 375 F oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Makes about 9 dozen.



SAVORY POPCORN

Savory popcorn

Vegetable oil
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
4 to 5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large heavy pot (with a tight-fitting lid), coat the bottom with vegetable oil and heat over low flame. Drop in the popcorn kernels and cover. When the kernels begin to pop, shake the pan continuously until the popping slows. Take the pan off the heat.

Transfer popcorn to a large bowl and drizzle with the melted butter, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese, and toss until completely coated.

Makes about 8 cups.



CARAMEL POPCORN

12 cups popped popcorn
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

In a large saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, butter and salt. Stir constantly until it comes to a boil. Allow the mixture to boil, without stirring, for 5 minutes. Take the pan off the heat. Add baking soda and stir. Pour over the popped popcorn and toss until evenly coated.

Makes 12 cups.

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