It’s the most wonderful time of the year for film lovers — the Academy Awards are here. The Oscars are a three-hour-plus sit-and-stare marathon. As I like to celebrate my favorite night of live television by throwing an Oscar viewing party. Why should the Academy have all the fun? Greet guests with an Oscar ballot so they can predict the winners. Hold prizes on hand to reward the most prescient Oscar watcher. Study up on the music-related categories by mixing the Oscar-nominated songs and scores in a playlist. The nominated scores from La La Land and Moonlight are especially atmospheric while Justin Timberlake’s inescapable “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” nominated for Trolls, is already a proven party-starter. I’ve made a tradition of coming up with a simple Oscar party menu.
Whether you like to throw a red carpet-worthy shindig or just cuddle on the couch for the ceremony, one of these mouthwatering recipes is sure to peak your interest. From appetizers to main dishes to desserts to booze, my Academy Award-inspired menu has got you covered. Let’s Start with cocktails, oh yes lets.
Nothing like the ubiquitous frozen drinks that bear the same name, this classic cocktail is light, refreshing, and the perfect easy cocktail to while away the opening of the long broadcast. Mama needs fuel and these are so tasty.
- 2 ounces light rum
- 1 ounce plus one teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup (see simple syup recipe below, I got you covered)
- In cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine rum, lime juice, and simple syrup. Shake vigorously, then strain into cocktail glass.
Simple Syrup III
- Yield Makes about 1/2 cup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- In heavy medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together water and sugar until sugar dissolves. Increase heat slightly, then simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Refrigerate syrup until cold, about 3 hours. (Can be prepared 1 week ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.
Deviled Eggs with Horseradish and Russian Caviar
- Yield Makes 24 eggs
- 1 dozen large eggs
- 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons (or more) prepared horseradish
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle juice from jar of sweet pickles
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 24 fresh parsley leaves
- Russian Caviar
- (note you can use salmon row if good Russian Caviar is not available)
- Place eggs in large saucepan. Add enough cold water to cover by 1 inch. Cover pan; bring to boil. Remove pan from heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Drain. Let eggs stand in cold water until cold, about 30 minutes.
- Peel eggs; halve lengthwise. Transfer yolks to processor. Trim small slice off bottom of egg white halves; place on tray, cavity side up. Process yolks until smooth. Add mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons horseradish, pickle juice, pepper, and salt to yolks; process until smooth. Adjust seasonings, adding more horseradish if desired. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover whites and filling separately and chill. Transfer filling to pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch plain tip. Pipe filling into cavities of egg whites.
- Add a healthy dollop of good Russian Caviar on top.
- Garnish with parsley.
Stella’s Mini Crab Cakes
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
- 4 teaspoons plus 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- Large pinch of cayenne pepper
- 6 ounces fresh lump crabmeat, picked over, patted dry, coarsely shredded
- 1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)*
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pans
- 1 plus more for pans
- Fresh chives, cut into pieces
- Special equipment: 2 mini muffin pans
- Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in medium bowl until smooth. Add 1/4 cup Parmesan and egg; beat to blend. Beat in sour cream, citrus peels, 4 teaspoons chopped chives, coarse salt, and cayenne pepper. Fold in crabmeat. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 2 mini muffin pans. Toss panko, 1/2 cup Parmesan, and 2 tablespoons chopped chives in small bowl. Drizzle 1/4 cup melted butter over, tossing with fork until evenly moistened. Press 1 rounded tablespoon panko mixture into bottom of each muffin cup, forming crust. Spoon 1 generous tablespoon crab mixture into each cup. Sprinkle rounded teaspoon of panko mixture over each (some may be left over).
- Bake crab cakes until golden on top and set, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans 5 minutes. Run knife around each cake and gently lift out of pan. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 hours ahead. Arrange on baking sheet; let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 350°F oven 6 to 8 minutes.
- Arrange crab cakes on serving platter; sprinkle with chives.
Hand Salad With Buttermilk, Grapefruit, and Mixed Seeds
These snaggable, snackable wedges have more in common with a bowl of party mix than any perfunctory salad.
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1 2-inch-wide strip lemon zest
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon buttermilk
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon finely grated serrano chile
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated grapefruit zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled ginger
- 1 pound Bibb lettuce, Little Gem, or baby romaine, cut into wedges
- 2 tablespoons assorted seeds (such as sunflower, sesame, and/or poppy)
- Olive oil and Aleppo-style pepper (for serving)
- Toast coriander seeds and fennel seeds in a dry small skillet over medium heat, shaking often, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Let cool. Using the side of a chef’s knife, lightly crush spices on a cutting board. Transfer to a small bowl and mix in garlic, lemon zest, and cream. Cover and chill 1 hour.
- Strain infused cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl; add buttermilk and whisk until soft peaks form. Season with salt, then mix in grated chile.
- Whisk grapefruit juice, lemon juice, vinegar, and ginger in a large bowl and season with salt. Add lettuce wedges to bowl, season with salt, and toss to coat. Arrange lettuce wedges on a platter.
- Using a small spoon, swipe some infused cream over lettuce wedges. Sprinkle with half of assorted seeds, then drizzle with oil and top with Aleppo-style pepper and grapefruit zest.
- Sprinkle remaining seeds infused cream and serve alongside lettuce wedges for dipping.
Spicy Glazed Pork Ribs
This glaze also makes for an addictive tray of chicken wings. Use the same weight and method as for the ribs, but reduce final cooking time by 10 minutes.
- Yield Makes 8 servings
- 1/2 cup gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- Kosher salt
- 3 pounds baby back pork ribs, separated into individual ribs.
- Whisk gochujang, brown sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and oil in a small bowl until smooth; season with salt.
- Toss ribs and half of marinade in a 13×9″ baking dish; set aside remaining marinade. Cover ribs with foil and chill at least 4 hours.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake ribs, covered, until meat is tender, about 1 hour. Uncover and increase oven temperature to 450°F. Roast, turning occasionally and brushing with reserved marinade during last 5 minutes, until ribs are deeply browned, glazed, and fork-tender, 40–45 minutes longer.
Oscar Salmon Hollywood
This is the same dish the stars will be eating at the Governers Ball. It is your wow moment so set the stage. Get ready for your close-up Mr. De Mille. Yes I know you have two dishes with Caviar but honey it’s the Oscars. Go for the gold or black gold. It is also ok to sip some bubbly right about now.
- 1 pound smoked salmon
- 1 cup dill cream (recipe follows)
- 2 ounces beluga caviar
- 1/4 ounce fresh chives, finely diced
- Dill Cream
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh dill, finely chopped
- Ground white pepper
- Kosher salt
Cut matzo into Oscar shape and bake until crispy in a 350 degrees F oven.
For dill cream, whisk ingredients together thoroughly. Lightly coat matzo with dill cream.
Layer smoked salmon on top and garnish with beluga caviar and a sprinkling of chives.
Classic Champagne Cocktail
The champagne shines through in this classic—with a hint of added flavor from spirits, bitters, and citrus peels. Many variations of this recipe are served at hotels and bars worldwide.
- Yield Makes 1 serving, x number of guests
- 1 sugar cube
- Angostura bitters
- Lemon or orange twist, for garnish
- Soak the sugar cube in Angostura bitters and drop into a champagne flute. Top with a luxury champagne or a sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon or orange twist.
These chocolate-dipped stars look beautiful on the table, and their ethereal texture means guests can nibble without filling up. All three flavors—vanilla, chocolate, and coffee—come from one batter.
- Yield Makes about 7 dozen cookies
- Active Time 35 min
- Total Time 4 1/2 hr (includes cooling)
- 3 large egg whites, at room temperature 30 minutes, divided
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 pinches of cream of tartar, divided
- 3/4 cup superfine granulated sugar, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant-espresso powder
- 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 (3 1/2-ounce) bar 70%-cacao bittersweet chocolate, melted
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- Equipment: 3 (12-inch) disposable pastry bags; a 1/2-inch star tip
- Make vanilla and coffee meringues:
- Preheat oven to 200°F with racks in upper, middle, and lower thirds of oven (or use 2 racks and bake in batches). Line 2 or 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Beat 1 egg white with vanilla (for vanilla meringues) and a pinch each of cream of tartar and salt with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until it just holds soft peaks. Add 2 tablespoons superfine sugar, a little at a time, beating, then increase speed to high and beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks. Fold in 2 tablespoons superfine sugar gently but thoroughly.
- Transfer meringue to a pastry bag fitted with tip, then dab some meringue under corners of parchment on all baking sheets to secure to sheets. Pipe 1-inch-wide stars (1 inch high) about 1/2 inch apart.
- Make coffee meringues using same amounts and procedure as above but using espresso powder (1 1/2 teaspoons) in place of vanilla.
- Make chocolate meringues:
- Sift cocoa through a fine-mesh sieve and whisk together with 2 tablespoons superfine sugar.
- Beat remaining egg white with a pinch each of cream of tartar and salt with mixer at medium-high speed until it just holds soft peaks. Add remaining 2 tablespoons superfine sugar, a little at a time, beating, then increase speed to high and beat until meringue holds stiff, glossy peaks. Fold in cocoa mixture gently but thoroughly.
- Transfer meringue to a pastry bag and pipe more stars.
- Bake meringues:
- Bake, switching position of upper and lower sheets halfway through baking, until dry, crisp, and firm, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Meringues are done when they release from parchment.)
- Turn off oven and cool meringues in oven with door propped open about 1/2 inch using handle of a wooden spoon 1 hour, then slide parchment with meringues onto racks to cool completely.
- Dip meringues in chocolate:
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
- Stir together chocolate and vegetable oil until completely smooth. Peel meringues off parchment, then dip bottom of each into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Transfer meringues to lined baking sheet, arranging as close together as possible, and when baking sheet is full, freeze meringues just until chocolate is set, about 3 minutes. Remove meringues from the freezer.
· We used a Wilton 2110/1M star tip for our meringues. An Ateco 885 swirl star tip also works well. · To avoid stickiness, try to bake meringues on a dry day. · Dipped meringues keep, layered between sheets of parchment or wax paper, in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week or frozen, container tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, 1 month. Thaw frozen meringues, still in wrapped container, until container reaches room temperature, at least 30 minutes. (Do not unwrap and open container until completely thawed.)
Now I like to send my guest home full and with a party gift bag. This year all my guests will receive an Oscar shortbread cookie as a take home gift. The winner of the night based on the number of films guessed correctly gets a golden statue and a special party bag filled to the top with gifts.