Preheat your ovens, snowflakes. The Oscars are Sunday and it's time to get cookin'.
Once again we've created a menu for Hollywood's biggest night based on the Best Picture nominees. Basically, we're helping you avoid this:
Read on for drinks, desserts and the requisite cheese plate. Happy feasting!
Viola Davis, American Treasure and Sorceress of the Screen, is set to finally win the Oscar she deserves. When we watch the envelope-opening for Best Supporting Actress we'll be watching Viola's triumph, and toasting her win with a viol(et) cocktail.
We highly recommend Fences for Denzel Washington and Stephen McKinley Henderson too, and because it's that rare Hollywood bird: a stage classic transferred successfully to the screen. A real triumph of an adaptation, you might say.
- 1 part cherry brandy
- 1 part dry vermouth
- 2 parts gin
- ½ part maraschino liqueur
- 1 dash crème de violette
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake for 10 seconds, then strain into a martini glass.
Hell or High Whiskey and Water
Hell or High Water is great, Matt swears. (Nathan hasn't seen it and is not sorry.) Just like following up a violet cocktail with whiskey and water is a great way to forestall a hangover. We swear.
Heptapod a la Plancha with Squid Ink
You can substitute octopus if you'd rather avoid intergalactic war, but that's really no fun. If you've seen Arrival, you'll see where we're going with this:
Manchester by the Sea Bass
Manchester by the Sea is stark and elemental, like a prehistoric fish. It also serves up a main course of harsh reality, if you know what we mean.
We chose this Cantonese-style preparation because all Massachusetts has going for it is chowder, and sea bass chowder sounds just vile. Give us rice wine and garlic and ginger, oh my. Also, the grass clippings garnish reminds us of Lucas Hedges.
Hacksaw Ridge? Choose a slaw, any slaw.
We chose one that bleeds. Too far? Probably.
Savory Jalebi (aka Dev's Pastel)
Jalebi, the sweet treat that triggers Saroo in Lion, resembles a funnel cake of our own childhood, or perhaps the digestive tract of a Creepy Crawler™. (In case it's not evident, that's a ringing endorsement.)
Here we opt for a savory version because it goes better with our slaw and fish. Bonus: pastel indicates something bready or doughy in various languages. Close enough to jalebi to give a nod to our own sweet treat, Dev Patel.
The moon is made of cheese, and cheese is life, and Moonlight is the best movie of the year, as we all know.
Well guess what? There's a cheese that's been to the moon (almost) that happens to look like a moon that's also one of the great cheeses in the history of the world. It's called Bayley Hazen Blue and is made at the Shangri-La that is Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont.
It's a superlative pleasure all around.
La La Lavender Cupcakes
Because Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are cute as cupcakes, even if La La Land itself is the year's biggest con job. (JK we all know what the biggest con job of 2016 was. We're looking at you, Nocturnal Animals.)
Hidden Figs with Taraji P. Hennessy
The figs are hidden no more! (Not really. We'd have to dismantle white supremacy and sexism for that. But work with us.)
We have a delight of a dessert fit for Hidden Figures, a delight of a movie. The kind of smart, worthwhile story that should surprise at the box office more often. Speaking of surprises, back to the figs:
*NOTE: you can convert the below from grams to cups, but you'll end up with awkward measures. We've had more success using our cheap kitchen scale for the scary un-American metric system.
- 230 g dried black mission figs
- 105 g raisins
- 100 g currants
- 1¾ cup Hennessy (cognac)
- 415 g cake flour for cake base
- 140 g cake flour for dredging fruit
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ cup olive oil
- ⅔ cup raw honey (we like Bee Raw's Florida Orange Blossom)
- 4 eggs
- zest of 1 orange
- 2 Tbsp fresh orange juice
The day before, put the fruit in a bowl with the cognac. Allow to soak up to 24 hours. Strain fruit, cut figs in half, and reserve soaking liquid.
Prepare a bundt cake pan by placing parchment paper on bottom and buttering the sides with unsalted butter.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Sift 415g flour, baking soda and baking powder into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat the olive oil and honey with a whisk. Add eggs in one at a time. Beat until frothy.
Gently fold in the flour mixture while adding orange zest, orange juice, and ⅓ cup of reserved soaking liquid (total of ½ cup of orange juice and soaking liquid combined).
Dredge strained fruit in 140 g cake flour so that each piece is fully coated. (This helps suspend the fruit in the cake so it doesn't sink to the bottom during the bake.) Add dredged fruit in batches to the the cake mixture. Once fully combined, pour and level into bundt pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Can't get enough? Click through for Oscar menus past.