I have friends who host an annual Oscar party which I look forward to going to every Oscar season. Sometimes folks dress up (I haven't yet but maybe next year), we play Oscar Bingo (cry winner, cry!) and of course we chow down on a big feast of Oscar related food. Mr. L and I try to contribute a food that references a past movie (we had a sausage pizza delivered reminiscent of Fast Time at Ridgemont High) or a current movie (Balloon Pops for Up). Normally we've seen most of the Best Picture nominees so it makes it easy to come up with some sort of Oscar food idea.
This year though, we've only seen one of the nominated movies...The Help...which meant a complete lack of knowledge about what kind of food might have shown up that we could duplicate. Yes, a Chocolate Pie with a, er, surprise, crossed my mind but I figured since pretty much everyone I know saw The Help, that there might be more than one Chocolate Pie showing up on the table. So I went on a search, looking for some ideas of possible foods I could bring to the Oscar Party.
Below is a list of ideas that I found (just in case, like me, you waited until the last minute). None of these are my original ideas so if you're looking for the recipe, just do a Google search like I did. Some are plays on the title of the movie, some are foods that might have been served in the town or era of a nominated movie, some were foods that were actually served or cooked in the movie.
Black and White Food (black and white cookies seem to be the trend)
Smoked Salmon Canapes
A Tart (for The Tartist)
Slow-Cooker Kalua Pork on Hawaiian Rolls
The Crescendants (something made with crescent rolls)
The Decendips (some sort of dip)
Any Hawaiian food
EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE
New York Style Pizza
New York Cheesecake
Something Extremely Hot and Incredibly Crunchy
Extremely Cold & Incredibly Sweet
Extremely Green & Incredibly Salty
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Toast
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Roast
Any food that might normally be found in New York
Lemon Meringue Pie
Chocolate Pie (sans merde)
Mini bite-sized Chocolate Filled Tarts
Luncheon salads made of aspic
Any food that might have been served in the 60's or in the South
Croissants and Milk
Petit Pains au Chocolat
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
Midnight in Pear-is (something with pears)
Mushrooms in Paris
Any French Food
Peanuts in the shell
Beer (poured into paper cups)
Cookies or Cakepops frosted or decorated like baseballs
Soft Baked Pretzels
Pigs in a Blanket
Boxes of Cracker Jacks
Ice Cream Malts
Meatball Sliders (Moneyball Sliders)
Meatballs in a crockpot with BBQ sauce (Moneyballs)
Billie Beane Dip
Any food that is shaped like a baseball, might be served at a ballpark
THE TREE OF LIFE
The Brie of Life
The Tea of Life
The Tree of Life (make a broccoli tree)
Pasta Salad starring Brad Pitted Olives
The Tree of Life Cereal
English pub style food
Recipes with Turnips (the families failed crop)
Apples and Oats Cookies (what the horse was fed)
Stout Braised Short Ribs
War Horse-Radish Roll Ups (recipe online)
Apple Pecan Crisp (made with apples and Oats)
Something made with War HorseTershire Sauce
Then of course there are foods that are nods to movies that were nominated in other categories:
Girl with the Chicken Hong Sue
Girl with the Pan Fried Tofu
The Girl with the Dragon Fondue
My Week With Marinated ______ (pick your food)
My Week With Maryland Crabs
Harry Potter and the Deathly Marshmallows
Tinker Tailor Soldier Pies
Tinker Tailor Soldier Fries
Turkey Taco Salsa Spy
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy-ghetti
Pies of the Planet of the Apes
Fries of the Planet of the Apes
The Eggs Hangover Easy
Octopus In Boots
Chili Con Carnage
Rice of the Planet of the Apes
Rise of the Planet of the Grapes
The Ides of Margarine
Red Trail Mix
Gin and Tin Tin Tonics
A Better Life Cereal
Albert Cobbs Salad
Yes, some of the above are pretty esoteric and if you don't know the movie or haven't seen it you might not get the reference. I'm sure the day after the Oscars, you'll be able to find many more cool takes on food that was served at the many Oscar parties that will be held tonight.
What am I making? I've narrowed it down to bringing a dish from a movie that I figure most folks at the party probably haven't seen. If it turns out, I'll post it here later this week.
Feel free to add any of your ideas, or links to Oscar food you made and served in the comments below!
Last year, during the month of January, I made some cooking resolutions. To be quite honest, I wrote them down and then completely forgot about them. Same thing happened the year before...I even posted the resolutions up on the blog. If I actually followed through on any of the cooking resolutions I've made in the last few years, it's probably been by accident, not a conscious effort to keep up with the resolution. So maybe this year, I thought, it's best that I make no New Year cooking promises.
But in looking back on those resolutions (haven't tried Beer Can Chicken yet or made biscuits from scratch) one kind of stuck out for me...Better Use of Leftover Fridge Ingredients. I've actually made a good effort the past couple of years to not let ingredients or leftovers in the fridge become science experiments and end up in the garbage can. We have regular "fridge tapas" nights were we have bits and pieces of what I might find in the fridge. Mr. L and I will split the last four jalapeno olives left in the jar. A portion of lasagna that wouldn't feed one gets divided between us. 3 slices of salami left? Dab some cream cheese on them, add a sliver of pepperocini or jalapeno and yes, that's part of our "tapas" dinner.
Alas, this resolution didn't seem to make it to my pantry (or freezer for that matter). You see, as a "food enthusiast" I kinda collect foods. I can't go on vacation without finding interesting local foods that need to come home with me. Visiting the Liberace Museum in Vegas? Oh, they sell Liberace Lemonade, I must buy! I need a bottle of Kyles Golden Syrup to make a dessert but they only sell them in cases? Well, I can figure out what to do with those extra 5 bottles right? Oh look at that, ostrich jerky, we should so try that! It doesn't help that grocery stores are full of "bright shiny objects" as my husband calls them. To most folks that might mean diamond bracelets or Jimmy Choo shoes. For me bright shiny objects are interesting food products that just need to be bought because someday I'll figure out what to make with them. So my pantry is full of strange shaped pastas, canned pumpkin because there was going to be a shortage (the fact that I rarely use canned pumpkin didn't enter my mind), three different colors of quinoa, gifts of salts of the world received as a Christmas present, strange flower scented honeys, gourmet mustards, boxes of Ina Gartens mixes picked up at Williams Sonoma and I even think there might be a jar of sauce from Targets Giada promotion.
Mr. L tried to put away some items in the pantry recently and I realized after he stood there for a minute that he was probably calculating the amount of time it would take him to pull everything out and rearrange the items just to fit one more in. I countered the exasperated sigh I heard from him with the suggestion that we play a little game with our pantry. Every week, he gets to pull an ingredient out from the pantry and I'll figure out what to cook with it. I saw a light in his eyes. Yes, he could pull something out of the pantry and put in that one little item that he was holding in his hand and escape. Thus began Operation Pantry Project.
I'm going to use "Pantry" here to incorporate more than the jumble of goods you see in the photo here (there is another shelf that isn't pictured by the way, and all those shelves are a good two feet deep). I'm going to include the canned goods shelf and the oil and vinegar shelf under our kitchen island, the freezer in the garage (which is full) and the, ahem, for lack of a better description, overflow pantry shelves also located in the garage. Oh and some of the stuff stuck in the shelves on the refrigerator door. This is going to be a grand undertaking indeed.
I think this project will also help me get out of a bit of the cooking funk I've been in. When you have a gazillion, too many, a lot of cookbooks you are trying to cook from, figuring out which recipe to make can be a bit daunting. Now that I know I'm going to have to cook that 8-pound pork shoulder Mr. L just picked from the freezer or that I will have to make something with that jar of organic flower blossom triple filtered honey, it might be easier to find recipes to coincide in that stack of overflowing cookbooks.
There is of course, a slight problem to this and that is the accumulation of more goods that need to go into the pantry. But, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
So what does this all mean? Well, the first thing I need to do is go through everything and toss any items that have expired. I'll take foods that I know I'll just never get to or at least not before they expire and donate them to the local food bank or homeless shelter. I'm sure my coworkers will be gifted with a few items (will I ever really use that can of Liberace Hot Cocoa Mix?). I'd like to suggest that maybe my readers do the same. Take a bit of time this weekend to clean out your pantry. Get rid of stuff that's old and donate that stuff that you know you'll just never cook with to a place that can put it to good use. And then pick something from that cupboard or freezer that hasn't seen the light of day in a while and make a feast!
There are many recipes online where you can make Halloween goodies that look like fingers. In fact, several years ago I posted a recipe from Martha Stewart for "Ladies Fingers and Mens Toes". And while I adore Martha Stewart, I can't live on four hours of sleep like she can and I don't always have time to make edible Halloween appendages.
So please forgive me when I cheat and buy these Shortbread Fingers from Williams Sonoma. Made from all natural ingredients, these shortbread cookies are hand rolled and decorated. Each 3 inch finger is individually wrapped.
$19.95 for a set of 10 (8 ounce total)
You can find them here.
Should you require a bit more Slurpee than the free stuff they are giving out be sure to check out the new "Cowboys and Aliens" cups they have.
Alas there are no 7-11's near me (the closest one burned down over a year ago and though they just started rebuilding, it will be a while before it's up and running) otherwise I'd get my staple...a cola slurpee. I've tried some of their new flavors over the years, but nothing stacks up to just a plain old cola version to me.
I bought the first issue of The Food Network Magazine and have been hooked ever since. Though it's no "Fine Cooking" or even "Bon Appetit" I find myself happily reading through all the articles and bookmarking many recipes. For some reason the recipes seem "doable" for lack of a better word. Clear instructions, ingredients I can find, the recipes seem uncomplicated and usually something I can whip up after work.
One of the regular columns in the magazine that has caught my eye is their "calendar". It's a list that concentrates on one food every day for a month (hot dog toppings, garlic, eggs, avocados, and cranberries have been recent ingredients) And though I have thought it might be cool to make something say, with an avocado every day for a month, well...I mean really. Who can eat hot dogs every day for a month? Cranberries? Well...cheese. Bacon. I could do those for a month. And even avocados! But the time suck that would come from having to use one ingredient every day, the planning, nah, not something I can do.
But then came along the June 2011 issue of The Food Network Magazine, and I think I lost my mind. I decided maybe I'd give this same ingredient every day thing a try. Yes, the monthly calendar for June was all about Strawberries and it sucked me right in.
I love strawberries. Especially fresh in season from the Farmers Market strawberries. But I've gotten in a rut with them. I eat them out of hand. I eat them in my yogurt at breakfast. I eat them chopped up with some other fruit as a dessert after dinner. Pretty basic stuff. If I've used them in a dish, like Lemon Cream Cheese French Toast it's usually as an afterthought or strawberries were not an essential ingredient in the recipe. But to actually be a bit experimental with strawberries? Hasn't happened.
When I saw that the calendar for June was strawberries, I figured it was now or never to give this kind of challenge a try* (or maybe it was the crazy weather that seems to have decided winter needed to stay another few months and I was desperate for a touch of spring). Looking over the "suggestions" of things to make each day that included strawberries, nothing looked very difficult to pull off or seemed like it would take too much time to complete. Not every day is a recipe. Some days include tips on storing or using strawberries. Some reference recipes in the magazine or that can be found online. Most seem to be more of add this to that and blend in strawberries and bam you have a dish.
One thing that I did notice though after deciding to do this, is that not all of the recipes call for fresh strawberries. Some ask for strawberry jam, some for freeze dried strawberries. Though that's not a problem I would have rather worked with fresh strawberries in everything.
So the month of June will be an experiment. Using and eating strawberries in something every day.** I will attempt to make every dish that The Food Network Magazine lists on their "A Strawberry A Day" calendar. I will come to know strawberries and be one with them. 30 days of strawberries. It can be done. Here we go!!!
**I take no responsibility if I suddently get sick and tired of strawberries and stop this experiment in mid month. I reserve the option to change from strawberries to Nutella at any time.
**Before you bow down to my Strawberry Queenliness, be aware that I will cheat. There are days that I know I will not be cooking at all, much less trying to whip up a special strawberry something or other, so I'm letting you know now that some of these dishes will be made in a batch on one day to post later. I also will probably make the required daily dish the day before posting it to the blog since coming home from work, making a dish and posting it all in one night leaves little room for possible errors, say, like I forgot to buy an ingredient or I added an ingredient an hour after it was supposed to go in the dish, or I dropped the whole thing on the floor etc. I know myself and my cooking habits well....
I want to start with the fact that I am getting no compensation for blogging about Wolferman's. I'm doing this because I've been buying their products for a good twenty years.
I'm not sure why we first ordered from Wolferman's. I believe that somehow one of their catalogs ended up in our mailbox (this was before the internet folks). My roommate thought it would be fun to order a sampler pack of some of their English Muffins, some crumpets and some lemon and raspberry curd.
My first revelation was the lemon curd. I'd never tried it before. I loved the tart flavor and I've been a fan of the stuff ever since (though I admit I usually bake with it, rather than slather it on an English Muffin).
Loved the crumpets, again, a first for me. Warmed with some of the lemon or raspberry curd crumpets were like having dessert for breakfast.
But what I really became a fan of, was their English Muffins. The "Signature" versions of the muffins, which I prefer, are much bigger than the kind your normally find in grocery stores. Denser too. Each of the Signature muffins is about 15 ounces. The muffins hold up really well to actually cooking with them (as opposed to just toasting and buttering). They're also great when melting some cheese on top (Love using them on my Grilled Cheese with Pickle recipe).You can buy the muffins in smaller sizes too...traditional and mini (the mini ones make great little treats for groups).
Over the years I've seen different flavors of their muffins come and go. Currently they sell Original Recipe, San Francisco Sourdough, Sweet Harvest Wheat, Cherry Blossom, Cheddar Cheese, Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon and Raisin, Maple Almond, Cinnamon Chip, Multi-Grain and Honey, Cranberry Citrus and Wild Maine Blueberry. Out of those I prefer the Original, Sourdough, Cheddar Cheese (which makes great grilled cheese or ham) and Wild Maine Blueberry. We currently have in our freezer some Jalapeno Cheddar Cornmeal and Sundried Tomato & Herb English Muffins which make awesome sandwiches.
Besides English Muffins Wolferman's also sells Pancake Mix, Scones, Tea Breads, Crumpets, English Muffin
Bread, Pastries, Nut Butters, Fruit Spreads and Preserves, Bagels, Coffee and sheesh, just about anything you'd want to serve for breakfast and brunch. Wolferman's also makes wonderful gift baskets and sample packs if you'd like to give something a try. We bought tons of different flavored muffins and put in our Christmas gift baskets this past year. They periodically have good sales on their products.
Depending on how many packages you buy, the muffins (four to a pack) will run you about $5 for each package. Seems kinda expensive when you can buy a huge pack for under $5 of the cheaper english muffins at the grocery store. I admit, I really like Thomas's English Muffins with their nooks and cranny's, but I also love the substantial size of the Wolferman's not to mention the different flavors and what can be done with them.
Over the years I've had a few problems either with receiving the wrong item or the muffins coming crushed in the packaging. I've never had a problem with customer service, they've always sent out the correct or complete item quickly and at no charge to me.
I hate the Wolferman's website. I have them send a paper catalog to my home which you can also access online. It's much easier using the catalog to figure out what they offer than using the website. If you go to the bottom of the first page of their website, you can access the online catalog there.
And last but not least, Wolferman's doe's include some recipes with their catalogs and online so I think you can guess where I'm going with all this (grin).
Let me start out by saying I have nothing against Denny's. I've eaten there many times in my life. Back in the day, Denny's was pretty much the best place to find halfway decent breakfasts when you were traveling. And lets be honest....at two in the morning when I was young and broke and I knew my hangover was only hours away? An 'open all night' Denny's Grand Slam Breakfast fit the bill.
And let me also point out that I don't care what people say, Bacon will never be out of favor. Bacon is not a fad, bacon is not the latest foodie craze, bacon has and always will be one of the four major food groups (along with butter, salt and cheese). I've rarely found anything with bacon that I haven't liked and yes, I do own bacon lip gloss!
All that being said...run, fast and far, away from Denny's Baconalia promotion. Ick. Yuk. So not worth the buildup and a perfect waste of bacon. I actually went there the first week the promotion was out and it took me this long to get over the experience enough so that I could actually blog about it. Yuk. Ick.
I started off with the Bacon Meatloaf. This is supposed to be meatloaf with "diced bacon baked right in" and "topped with hickory ketchup and more diced bacon for an additional layer of rich smokiness". Now, I've had meatloaf before at Denny's and while it wasn't close to Mom's or even school cafeteria meatloaf, it at least looked like meatloaf. This stuff looked like it had been shoved tightly in a large juice can, cooked, pushed out and then sliced into the perfect rounds you see above (in all fairness, this is exactly how the meatloaf looks in the ads too). But this meatloaf had shiny tops and sides. Seriously, when has shiny meat ever been a good thing? But I tried it anyway. It didn't taste like bacon. Heck it didn't even taste like meatloaf. Bland as could be. Then there was the "sauce" on top that to me, seemed like congealed fat. It at least had some flavor to go with the tasteless meatloaf hockey puck. Then Denny's threw a few small pieces of bacon on top. And me, who can eat anything bacon...did not finish the dish. Yeah, it was that bad.
So I moved on to dessert. Now if you read about Denny's Maple Bacon Sundae, the description on Denny's website or look at photos of this dish, you will notice there are supposed to be layers. Lots of maple syrup on bottom, middle and top with a layer of bacon also in the middle and on top. Not what I got. There was barely a tablespoon of maple syrup throughout the entire sundae and only the bacon pieces you see scattered on top.
This didn't taste bad. Maple syrup and vanilla ice cream go well together and adding bacon gives it a nice crunch and smokey flavor. It's just that I really think it needed more maple syrup (and more bacon of course) to really make this ice cream dessert work. Again, it wasn't bad, but I wouldn't order it again (and I'm thinking I could make a much better version at home).
I might also add that I tried this at a Denny's local to me. The service was horrid. My mom had pancakes and bacon and it looked like they had cooked the bacon into nothingness. But, the coffee was actually pretty damn good. This is the second Denny's locally that has failed to wow me. Maybe I need to try a Denny's near a freeway??
But still. You so failed me Denny's, I've had bacon chocolate, bacon cupcakes, bacon donuts, bacon flavored ice cream...but this was the first time I tried something with bacon that I couldn't eat! That's just not right.