And the Oscar Pun goes to…

First of all, let me just start by saying that I have been doing food puns at my Oscar parties since the day I hollowed out 4 baguettes, lined them up end to end and filled them with spinach dip for “The Green Mile”. So imagine my distress when my friend, Jenny, sent me a link to the winners of Bon Appétit’s first annual Oscar Food Pun competition! How did I miss this? I suppose the fact that I am about 4 months behind on all my food magazines might be one of the reasons. I am still reading about new twists on classic Thanksgiving menus. Anyway, I just want the record to state that I have been doing this with my sister and friends LONG before BA got in the game. And I would also like to point out that we had all the same ideas that the winners had, plus some!

The Table

So here they are for your viewing pleasure, our official 2014 Oscar food pun menu, in no particular order:


Gravlax-ity – smoked salmon dip on sesame crackers
Full disclosure:  I ran out of time and use Trader Joe’s smoked salmon dip (gasp)
but I have to say it is quite tasty.

American Truffle – originally this was going to be American Brussels Sprouts
but chocolate truffles sounded a lot better than brussels sprouts.

Christian Kale – Vickie’s Spicy Kale Chips.

Dallas Gruyeres Club

Dallas Gruyeres Club starring Manchego McConaughey – Cheese Plate


Phyllo-mena – Individual Zucchini Tarts with phyllo
This was delicious!  However, I can only take credit for finding the recipe.
Jenny’s execution of the recipe was divine.
Click the above link for the recipe on 24 Carrot Life 

The Croodites

The Croodité – Crudité Platter
We had to have something healthy!

The Lemon Square

The Lemon Square – Lemon Bars
Now this one I did make from scratch and will try to post the recipe soon.


 Frozen Cocktails – Robin really outdid herself with this one.
I need a whole separate blog post to discuss all the tasty cocktails she made.
My favorites were the Strawberry Basil-tini and the Cantaloupe Margarita. 

The Wine of Wall Street
The Wine of Wall Street – simple and straightforward.

George Clooney is hot

And an Oscar tradition – George Clooney is hot and so is this… (insert hot item here)
This year it was Samantha’s amazing Jalapeno Cheese dip.
Can we get an Amen!


PS – I might not have won Bon Appétit’s Oscar Pun competition, but I did win our Oscar pool (again!).  hee hee hee



Lightning McQueen and a House Full of Four Year Olds

I can’t believe my baby is four years old!  His party was a smashing success.  This was his first birthday party where the house was filled with almost as many children as there were adults (almost).

Car Races & Water Fights

While the kids ran races in the cars my husband made out of old boxes and soaked each other with the water shooters my parents brought, the adults sat around on our decks, enjoying the view and the company, and eating “Luigi’s Lasagna Bites” and “The King’s Kale Salad.”

The weeks of planning, shopping, prepping, cooking, creating and decorating were exhausting and overwhelming, but completely worth it when the first child arrived and my son, in a voice filled with awe and pride, said, “Come see the Lightning McQueen cake my mom made for me.”  Then they stood and stared at it for quite some time.  Actually, I think that was one of the only times the entire day that I saw Ollie stand still.

I was so pleased with how the cake turned out, and I couldn’t have done it without my mom, who stayed up until midnight with me the night before the party, mixing colors for the frosting, helping put the “road crumbles” and white lines on the cupcakes and generally cheering me on.

She often goes on about how she doesn’t like to cook and how she’s not so good at it, and this always make my sister and me roll our eyes.  First of all, the vegan dishes she has been perfecting over the last year are delicious.  But more importantly, when I think back on my childhood parties, the main thing I remember are the cakes that my mom created for us.  Beautiful hand decorated cakes or ones with the most delicious butterscotch frosting that my sister and I still make for each other’s birthdays. Home cooked meals are alive and well in my house, and despite the protestations I know I will hear from my mom, they are because of her.

PS – I would be quite remiss if I didn’t thank my dad as well.  Not only for enthusiastically eating everything my mom, my sister and I have ever made for him, but also for the incredible amount of work he also did to get our house and yard ready for the big party.

Fluffy Vanilla Cake

Please visit sweetapolita’s blog for the recipe I used for Ollie’s cake.  It is by far the most moist, delicious white cake recipe I have ever found.

Betty Crocker’s Vanilla Butter Frosting

adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook

1/3 cup soft butter

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 – 3 tablespoons milk (add 1 tbsp at a time to check consistency)

Beat the butter and sugar together with an electric hand mixer.  Add the vanilla and milk; beat until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency.  Add more milk to thin out frosting for spreading if necessary.

And the Oscar goes to…

After Christmas season, I can easily say, hands down, my next favorite season is Oscar season. Not just for the reasons one might think. Yes, I love seeing what all the stars are wearing, making fun of the host and the sometimes inebriated starlets and getting nervous as they open that envelope to announce the winner as if I had some personal stake in it but it is actually for the food. From that first year in my Santa Monica apartment when I took four baguettes, hollowed them out and laid them end to end across my table filled with spinach dip for “The Green Mile”, I knew my food pun destiny.

Over the years it has evolved, mainly due to the introduction (to me at least) of Photoshop in 2006.  Prior to that I would type up signs that read Multiple Layered Personality Dip for “A Beautiful Mind” or Crouching Tiger Prawns with Hidden Dragon Sauce.  I think you can all guess the movie.

However, when I started turning the movie posters into menu boards, it became serious business. I will admit that I don’t always come up with all the menu items, my regular Oscar party girls and my husband help out with ideas. But I always do the posters.  Here is a slideshow of a few favorites from previous years.

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We always have some pretty fun ideas and I think this year was no exception.  Here is a sampling of our menu.

Almond Kalenina  – kale, date, parmesan and almond salad

Beets of the Southern Wild – arugula and beet salad

D’Mango – a delicious mango cocktail as well as a Coeur a la Crème with mango chutney

Escargot – while I didn’t serve some Iranian snail dish, I did make spinach and cheese pinwheels in the shape of a snail

King’s Toast Points Bruschetta – self explanatory

Hitchcrock starring Artichoke Hopkins & Helen Mozzarella – artichoke mozzarella dip in a crockpot

Life of Pie – while I admit, this was an easy one to come up with along with Zero Dark Chocolate, my friend Jenny made an amazing samosa pie in keeping with the theme of the movie

The Schezwan  – Sweet and spicy schezwan turkey meatballs.  I will not describe the form my friend Vickie chose to shape them since she wanted to keep with the theme of this movie as well, but considering “The Sessions” was about a sex surrogate I think you all get the picture.

Snow White Cupcakes and the Bundtman – White cupcakes from Sprinkles and a homemade caramel bundt cake.

And of course, every year we must have our wine section:

Wreck it Roquefort:  When The Game Is Over, The Fig Begins.  Coming to Crackers in 3D


Fig & Blue Cheese Savouries

Click the above link for the recipe from Epicurious from The Food 52 Cookbook Volume 2 (and make sure to visit Food52 as well.  It is one of my favorite culinary websites)

Fig & Blue Cheese Savouries

A few suggestions for the recipe:

For step 3, I didn’t have a small enough cutter so I cleaned out an old prescription bottle and used that.  It worked perfectly.

For step 4, I  highly suggest using a pastry bag with a small round tip for filling if you have one.  Trying to scoop out the fig jam from a ¼ teaspoon was really difficult.

So while the menus and puns change over the years, one thing always stays the same: George Clooney is hot, and so are these … (insert just-from-the-oven item here)