Saturday, February 26, 2011

Appetizers for Oscar Night (Otherwise Known As My Fourth Favourite Night of the Year!)

I love movies.  I really do.  One of my favourite things to do is to duck into a theatre on a Sunday afternoon and escape for a couple of hours.  The first movie I saw in a theatre was 101 Dalmatians; I must have been 7 or 8.  It was in a small town Saskatchewan theatre, and I loved it.  All those poor puppies and that horrible Cruella.  My taste has expanded over the years, from movies that made me laugh so hard I thought my ribs would crack ("Death at a Funeral"; "Napoleon Dynamite"), to those that broke my heart into a million pieces ("Away From Her"; "Finding Neverland"; "A Single Man").  Those that were visually stunning ("Scent of the Green Papaya", "Bleu", "The English Patient"), and those that I never wanted to end ("Almost Famous"; "Lost in Translation"; "Edward Scissorhands"; "Little Miss Sunshine"). Then there are those where I thank the Lord that John Hughes was ever put on this planet ("Sixteen Candles", "Pretty in Pink", "Ferris Bueller's Day Off"), and those movies I just love and could watch over and over again, and I do ("Love Actually"; "Sense and Sensibility"; "Four Weddings and a Funeral", and of course "Bridget Jones' Diary".  Hmmmmmm.  Those all have Hugh Grant in them.  Coincidence?   Maybe not.  Then there are those movies where I screamed in the theatre, to the horror of my friends ("Silence of the Lambs", "The Sixth Sense"), and those movies that freaked me out so much I had to sleep with the light on for weeks ("Blair Witch Project", "The Ring").  Some movies made me want to dance in the theatre ("Dirty Dancing", "U2: Rattle and Hum", "Muriel's Wedding").  And some where I actually did ("Rocky  Horror Picture Show", several times).  Then there are those movies that were so unique and flabbergasting, I walked away in awe, wondering what the hell just happened ("Memento", "Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind"; "Inception")  And those movies about finding true love, and never giving up on it ("Once", "(500) Days of Summer", "The Princess Bride"). Being that I'm all about food, I love movies that made me hungry ("Like Water for Chocolate", "Big Night", "Julie and Julia") So you get the picture.  I love movies. A lot.

After my Birthday and Christmas and Summer Solstice, Oscar Night is my favourite night of the year.   Not just for the glittery glamour and Oscar pools and cute boys in tuxedos, but I love the celebration of movies and the art of movie making. Sometimes the best movies don't win, and most often my favourites don't.  But what the hell.  I watch year after year, staying up too late, snacking on too many snacks, but loving every minute of it. 

So this year for Oscar Night I'm whipping up some appetizers to take over to my Mom's (she has the bigger and better TV!).  Gotta have good eats for the night.
The Artichoke and Asiago Dip is truly killer.  Like, eyes will roll in the back of your head killer.  It's full of calories and fat, but don't say I didn't warn you.  Slather it on some good, fresh baguette, and it will make you very very happy.  You may even coo!  This Dip is totally my friend Monica's fault.  She made it for me several times in Edmonton - where many a night we would coo over it.  (Adapted from "The Girl Can't Cook" by Cinda Chavich.)


Asiago and Artichoke Dip

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Cup good quality mayo (I used the olive oil kind)
1 Cup grated asiago cheese
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 398 ml can of artichoke hearts, chopped
paprika for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350*F
In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients. Pour into an oven proof dish and bake for 15 minutes
or until golden. Put on a platter with good bread or pita chips.  Dig in.

You can't have a party, or sit in front of the TV for four hours without some shrimp.  These coconut/panko/chili lime babies will fulfill that need.  Spicy and sweet, and yes, there is a little deep fry action going on.  But oh so worth it.

Coconut and Lime Battered Shrimp

3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 finely shredded coconut
1 tbsp finely grated lime zest
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 eggs
18 large, peeled and deveined shrimp, tails on
Peanut or Canola oil for frying

Line a bake sheet with parchment paper.  Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a shallow  bowl.  Whisk eggs in a medium bowl.  Add the shrimp and toss well.  Working one shrimp at a time, use your left hand for placing the shrimp in the crumb mixture.  Use your right hand to press the crumbs onto the shrimp and place it on the bake sheet. Continue until all shrimp are battered.  Heat the oil in  skillet, about 1 inch deep, over medium high heat.  Test it by dropping a piece of coconut in and see if it fries immediately.  Working in batches, add shrimp to hot oil and fry 2 min per side, until golden.  Drain on paper towels.  Arrange on platter, serve warm, garnished with lime. (Recipe adapted from Epicicurious)  

And finally.  We have Asparagus, Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Phyllo Bundles.  Crispy on the outside, salty, creamy, asparagus-y in the middle.  Flavour flavour everywhere. 

Prosciutto, Goat Cheese and Asparagus Phyllo Bundles

12 asparagus spears, blanched
4 large sheets of phyllo pastry, thawed
12 thin slices prosciutto
1 small round of goat cheese (I used stuff with herbs, but you can use plain.  Or used any other cheese you like: old cheddar, Swiss, etc.)
4 tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 375*F
To blanch the asparagus, heat a pot of boiling water.  Drop the asparagus in and cook one minute.  Have a bowl of ice water beside, and drop the hot asparagus into cold water.  When completely chilled, remove and drain on paper towels.
Lay first sheet of phyllo down on cutting board.  Brush with  butter.  Repeat for next 3 layers.  Cut into 12 squares.  Lay one piece of prosciutto on each square, then the cheese, then the asparagus.  Roll up tightly.  Place on a  parchment lined bake sheet, and brush with more butter.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Serve warm.  Oh my God.  So good! 

So who do I think is going to win big tonight?  Well, here are a few of my thoughts:  Best Actress will be Natalie Portman, but after seeing Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine" last weekend, my heart is pulling for her.  A raw, heart wrenching performance, too bad not that many people saw.   Best Actor will be Colin Firth for "The King's Speech".  Yeah, he rocked it.  And I think he was robbed last year for "A Single Man", when Jeff Bridges won.  I like Jeff, but J'adore Colin.  Supporting Actors are all about "The Fighter", a movie I haven't seen yet (not super big on boxing movies after seeing Hilary Swank get crushed  in "Million Dollar Baby" ) but looks like Christian Bale and Melissa Leo are going to take those two categories.  Which leads to Best Picture.  I think "The King's Speech" is the favourite, and while I really really liked it (I'm a sucker for historical movies, especially with a Brit in them!), I'm kinda hoping for "The Social Network" to pull off a surprise victory.  I was captivated from start to finish, and really, who doesn't want to know more about how and when and why Facebook started? And to be honest, I really wouldn't be writing this blog if it weren't for Facebook.  While I was a long time holdout, vowing never to join, once I did, I revisited old friendships, posted lots of pictures of food, and was practically begged to start writing a food blog.  Which I'm very happy to do :)


  1. mmmmmm it all looks so good

  2. oh yum! those asparagus wraps look divine!! what did you think of the show? was a bit disappointed with the hosting. i think younger people just aren't as comfortable on that kind of stage, which is a shame i think they were expecting the opposite. anyway, you were spot on with your best actor(tress) picks! you should have bet on it!! cheers.

  3. The show was a bit of a disappointment; no real drama other than the f bomb. A few great dresses (Cate Blanchett, Michelle Williams, Anne Hathaway in red) and a couple of good speeches (love you Colin!) The asparagus wraps are incredible. Not super pretty, but super good!

  4. everything looks so good!

  5. I made the prosciutto asparagus goat cheese ( I used asiago cheese ) bundles for book club and everyone loved them! Great recipe!

  6. Your pictures alone had my mouth watering so I made some of my own with a little twist in pastry choice...Feel free to come on by for a peek at my results:

    Delicious...thank you for the idea!

  7. can these be rolled ahead and then baked? How far ahead? do these work well at room temperature

    1. I wouldn't roll them too far in advance as the phyllo dough can break easily. They are best served warm or room temperature.


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...