Monday, February 28, 2005

hurray for hollywood - da da da...

We had a nice little Academy Award viewing party last night. Along with the traditional big bowl of popcorn, I fixed up a few other finger food goodies that kept in theme with the Oscar's.
Starlette Sugar Cookies
Found a wonderful sugar cookie recipe in the fairly new Ruth Reichl Gourmet Cookbook. After these baked, I immediately pressed a small star-shaped cookie cutter into the center of each cookie to leave a small star imprint.
Oscar's Head
Whipped up a batch of sweet corn pudding and filled small ramikins after the pudding had cooked and set. Then I rolled a few balls to place on top of each serving. Sprayed the tops with cooking spray and popped them back into the oven to develop a cripsy coating. Yum!
And The Envelope Please
I cut flour tortillas into small squares using a square-shaped plate as my guide. After exposing each side of the tortilla to heat for a few seconds on a cast iron skillet (to make the tortillas more pliable), I filled each one with Spanish Rice and cheddar cheese, folded the corners over to resemble an envelope, placed seam down on a cookie sheet prepared with cooking spray and baked at 35o degrees for about 20 minutes (just long enough to slightly brown the tortillas and make them crunchy outside). This was a delicious combination of flavors - I was afraid it would be too bland, but it actually wasn't. Next time I might also put some corn, black beans and/or salsa.
Red Carpet Rolled Tacos
I've always found that when making rolled tacos it is important to get the tortilla to filling ratio just right. It helps to cut the tortillas down to a good smaller round - and I know you can buy them small, but I've found that by cutting the edges off, the tortillas seem to bake up flakier (almost feel more like a pastry crust than a tortilla, actually). So I cut the tortillas using a small round plate as a guide, then filled them with shredded chicken and cheddar cheese. Rolled them up tight, placed them seam side down on a sprayed cookie sheet and baked at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. To cook the chicken: I put several boneless breasts (I know boned cooks up juicier, but boneless is what I had) into a cast iron oven along with some vegetable stock and mexican poultry spices. This cooked on the stovetop for about an hour over simmer. The chicken just crumbled to pieces and was very juicy because of the stock. Great flavor too!
The best thing about these recipes is that there was no frying involved. I am as big a fan as any of anything fried - but since the Academy Awards are so long and I knew we would all be grazing as we watched, I didn't want us to feel completely saturated in grease by the time they named Best Picture (and the entire house didn't smell of oil). So these worked out perfectly. I had so much fun making these! This just may become a tradition in our house. I'll have to start thinking up recipes for next year.
Chris Rock rocked!
Jamie Fox made me tear up.
Glad Sideways won something (best adapted screenplay).
Annette Bening shoulda won.
Paul Giamatti shoulda been nominated
(even though I wanted Jamie Fox to win).
and that's about all I have to say for now.

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