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Saturday, February 27, 2016

OSCAR VIEWING PARTY!



As far back as I can remember I have LOVED watching the Academy Awards!  My best friend from childhood (Cheryl) and I watched it together growing up and for years afterward we would talk on the phone during most of the show critiquing the entire parade (we were "The Fashion Police" waaayyyy before Joan Rivers!). Now my daughter is as addicted as I am to the evening of fun and has regularly hosted Award Show Parties for years.

The pre-shows are the one time a year where I allow myself to just enjoy the fashion, jewelry and pomp and circumstance of the awards show.  And - it's a great excuse for a party!


OSCAR VIEWING PARTY MENU:

RANCH DRESSING POPCORN
STUFFED BABY POTATOES
BUFFALO CHICKEN WRAPS
CAESAR SALAD SPEARS

DESSERT:
RASPBERRY BROWNIES

DRINK OF THE DAY:
DARK AND STORMY

RANCH DRESSING POPCORN
(Adapted from foodandwine)
catebogue

How delicious sounding is this popcorn?  It's super easy to make (and if you have to cheat, just use a packet of Ranch dressing mix instead of the ingredients below - it'll still be delish!).

1/4 cup plus 2 TBSP buttermilk powder
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (found at nutrition stores or the health food area of large grocery stores)
1 TBSP onion powder
1 TBSP kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
popcorn (whatever your favorite is!)
catebogue

In a food processor, pulse the first five ingredients to a fine powder. Toss with buttered popcorn and serve.
catebogue

For a fun touch (and to make it more palatable), serve individual servings of this popcorn in these I found on Amazon:


STUFFED BABY POTATOES
(Adapted from my recipes)
my recipes
16 small red potatoes
Salt and pepper
5-6 slices bacon
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
3 TBSP snipped fresh chives
shredded cheddar cheese, optional
catebogue

Scrub potatoes well, place in a pan and cover with cold water by at least 1 inch.

Add 1 tsp salt, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until potatoes are tender and a knife can be inserted easily, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain; let cool.

Cook bacon in a skillet (or microwave for ~ 4 minutes) over medium heat, turning, until crisp, about 12 minutes. Drain on paper towels. When cool, crumble bacon.

Cut each potato in half crosswise.

Trim a small slice from the bottom of each half so it stands upright. With a melon baller or teaspoon, remove center of each potato, leaving a 1/4-inch border.

Put potato flesh in a bowl and mash with sour cream; season with salt and pepper.

Fold in crumbled bacon and chives. Fill each potato half with sour cream mixture.


Top with cheddar cheese sprinkles if using.


Serve immediately or if preparing in advance, refrigerate, then bake for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees F.


BUFFALO CHICKEN WRAPS
weary chef
(Adapted from weary chef)

1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut up into 1" pieces
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP Frank's Buffalo hot sauce
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
4 large spinach or flour tortillas
1/3 cup Ranch or blue cheese dressing
1 cup finely shredded cabbage or salad greens
1/2 cup coarsely shredded carrots, optional
Shredded cheddar cheese (as much as you want to sprinkle in your wrap!)
catebogue
In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil, hot sauce, paprika, garlic powder, and salt. 
Add chicken, and toss to coat. Allow to marinate for at least 5 minutes or up to 24 hours. 


Once the chicken has marinated, heat a skillet over high heat and spray with cooking spray.

Place each tortilla on a plate, and spread ranch or blue cheese dressing evenly over the surface, leaving about an inch around the edges.

Sprinkle cabbage or lettuce, carrots (if using), and cheese over the dressing.


Use tongs to arrange chicken pieces in the hot skillet, and toss out the marinade. Cook approximately 5 minutes per side, until chicken is cooked through. Chop chicken into smaller pieces if needed. Arrange cooked chicken pieces down the center of each tortilla. 
 Top with additional Buffalo Wing Sauce, if desired.
 Wrap tightly, cut in half, and serve.
catebogue

CAESAR SALAD SPEARS

foodandwine
LOVE the idea of this recipe - a "salad" that's a finger food!  And who doesn't love a good caesar salad? I wanted to have SOMETHING that included veggies, and while this maybe isn't THE healthiest "salad" out there, it does offer something crunchy to go along with the other finger foods.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Several Belgian endives
1/2 finely grated lemon zest
3 anchovy fillets, mashed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
2 cups 1/4-inch-diced white bread (to make croutons)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 small garlic clove, smashed
catebogue

Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. In a medium bowl, toss the bread with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. 


Spread the bread on a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes, stirring once, until golden and crisp. 

Meanwhile, in the same bowl, using a spoon, mash the anchovies to a paste with the smashed garlic and a pinch of salt. 


Whisk in the 1/4 cup mayonnaise, lemon zest and 2 TBSP lemon juice.

Then whisk in the remaining 2 TBSP of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the 1/4 cup of grated cheese. 

catebogue

Trim the endives and remove the largest leaves from all but one of the heads. Stack the leaves and trim them to about 4 inches. Thinly slice the remaining 1 endive, along with the trimmings of the 6 other heads (you should have about 3 cups), and toss with the dressing.


Spoon the salad onto each spear and garnish with the croutons and grated cheese. Serve immediately.

NOTE: You can make the croutons a day or two in advance and keep in a sealed plastic baggie until you're ready to serve.

RASPBERRY BROWNIES

(Adapted from my recipes)
myrecipes
I think the combination of raspberry and chocolate is absolutely devine!  I like it better than mint/chocolate or peanut butter/chocolate any day.  And something about these brownies screams "elegance" to me.  They're decadent, but with a brownie, you only need a small square (or triangle) to satisfy your sweet tooth.

16 TBSP (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I'm using 3/4 cup of semi sweet chocolate morsels here)
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
catebogue

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang. Spray with non-stick cooking spray or grease lightly.

In a large pan over low heat, melt butter and semisweet chocolate, stirring often. 

Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 10 minutes.

Whisk in sugar, eggs and vanilla. then stir in flour and salt until just combined. 

Then stir in flour and salt until just combined. 
 Fold in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into baking dish.

Spoon jam into a small bowl and stir vigorously to loosen. Drizzle jam (it helps if you microwave it just a few seconds!) evenly over batter and swirl in lightly with a spoon.



Bake until the top has set and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
catebogue

When completely cooled, run a knife around edges without foil. Using foil handles, lift brownies out of pan, place on a cutting board and peel off foil. Cut into 24 squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.



DARK AND STORMY
(Adapted from kimandcarrie)
kimandcarrie
I've been on a Moscow Mule kick for a while, AND, MY favorite movie of the year was the newest Star Wars movie, thus the drink du jour is a "Dark and Stormy!" The combination of dark rum and ginger beer = a celebration in a glass!  Cheers!

2 oz dark rum (~1/4 cup)
3 oz ginger beer (~1/3 cup)
1/2 oz lime juice (1 TBSP)

catebogue

Combine ingredients in a glass and add ice.
catebogue