This past weekend we lucked out with the most amazing weather. The forecast called for a torrential downpour all weekend long, so when I awoke to birds chirping, I realized just how fortunate we are in Southern California.
After my morning latte, I called my girlfriend, Tracie, who was making hot toddies for the Oscar Party (at my house) and we did a quick change of plans with the drink menu. Since the sun was out, she came up with this delicious recipe idea for a blended strawberry margarita using vodka, frozen Minute Maid lemonade, pineapple juice and frozen strawberries. She garnished the drink with a slice of pineapple, then topped it off with champagne. It was tart and perfectly tropical and we all pretended for 5 minutes that we were on vacation.
While this delicious frozen drink kept us happy as we watched celebrities arrive to the Oscars, I ducked into the kitchen and assembled the Smoked Salmon with Crème Fraiche and Caviar onto blinis that I had made earlier in the day. Everyone said it was their favorite part of the night. I was very pleased if I may say so myself.
But I did a disservice to my guests, who fortunately weren't aware at the time, and to you, my readers, because this takes away any anticipation you may have had to hear about the other dishes I served, since my first course rocked everyone's world. I understand if you want to click to another website now.
So the blinis were followed by a Pan Roasted Chicken with Sweet Sausage and Peppers that I’d found in Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc. It’s truly a great book for all things rich and heavenly but you will spend a lot of time in the kitchen. There’s a recipe for Soffritto (this is added into the peppers) that takes 5 hours to make. Yes, much of the time is spent stirring the onions and tomatoes in oil on low heat, but it is so worth it. The subtle complexity it brings to any dish will be what makes your guests wonder why your food always tastes so divine. Obviously, I’d love to find a Soffritto-like recipe that isn't so high maintenance, yet tastes just as great. Email me if you have one, PLEASE! And because the Oscars are a fancy event, I decided to use duck instead of chicken and nobody seemed to mind. The duck was so tender and juicy and the peppers were sweet and flavorful. I'm so happy I have leftovers...
I also fed my guests Roasted Brussel Sprouts, along with Couscous w/ Currants and Toasted Slivered Almonds.
For dessert (I forgot to take a picture and now there aren’t any cookies left) we had Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Ivy on Robertson Boulevard and some Vanilla Ice Cream with Fresh Strawberries. A simple, yet extremely satisfying end to a long day of eating and drinking…which I don’t think a lot of celebrities did much of in the days leading up to the Oscars. Except maybe Natalie Portman because she’s now eating for two (CONGRATULATIONS, Natalie, on your baby and your Oscar!). But Jennifer Hudson…she obviously hasn’t been eating chocolate chip cookies...or much of anything. But the girl looks good.
Which I can't really say about Amy Adams' wardrobe/jewelry choice for the Oscars. But she's great as an actress. After all, she did star in Julie & Julia, one of my favorite movies revolving around food. Coming in second place is Big Night starring Stanley Tucci and Tony Shalhoub. Stanley Tucci must be a big foodie since he co-wrote and co-directed the film. Maybe he'd like to be a contributor on our blog someday...