But Oscar Night brings, for me, not only an excuse to see a bunch of fairly depressing movies, but also to cook a bunch of really awesome food. To wit, our menu:
- 12 Years a Slave: Ciderhouse whiskey
- Her: Mini flatbread pizzas with heirloom tomato sauce
- Captain Phillips: Lamb shoulder soup
- Nebraska: Cheesy corn casserole
- The Wolf of Wall Street: Spinach with Parmesan (it'll make sense, I promise)
- Dallas Buyers Club: Beer brisket
- American Hustle: Chicken picatta
- Gravity: Chocolate frangelico creme anglaise, torched meringues, black sesame gravel
- Philomena: Guinness chocolate cake
Here's the cookin'.
We started on Saturday. We figured we could get the cakes made (the Guinness cake was triple layered), and I wanted to make the tomato sauce.
|Cakes. Didn't get any pictures of Michelle actually making them.|
We also figured we could make the cider syrup for the drinks, because that basically consists of boiling a gallon of cider down until it's only two cups. Like so:
|More apple than apple.|
Michelle also figured she could make the sesame seed "gravel," which consisted of making a simple syrup, add in sesame seeds, and cook it down until it changes to gravel.
I had Teagan help me out with the tomatoes. Gave her a knife and told her to get slicin'.
|Damn, those tomatoes are huge.|
Boiled the tomatoes until skin fell loose, then removed the skin, cut them up, put them in the pot to become delicious.
So that was fairly easy. I also assembled everything for the brisket, put it in the fridge, and went to bed. Sunday I woke up, started the brisket the slow cooker, and then went back to bed because it was clearly far too early.
Sunday, then, was a frenzy of cooking. +Michelle Lyons-McFarland and +Cheyenne Rae Grimes and I were all flitting about the kitchen at various points, cleaning, cooking, and otherwise getting ready to have a bunch of hungry people over.
More specifically: During the day, Michelle and Cheyenne made up the little flatbreads for the pizza, including a few that were gluten free so that +Sarah Dyer didn't die.
|Cheyenne, chopping thyme.|
|Cheyenne, frying flatbread.|
|Cheyenne, placing flatbread.|
|Sarah, not dead.|
Do note that Sarah was actually hard at work yesterday, but doing something non-kitchen-related, because putting Sarah in a kitchen is unwise.
Anyway, somewhere in here Michelle made the ganache icing for the cake:
|This cake came together much better than the one last year.|
|Snow falling on delicious.|
Do not think I was idle, here! No, I made some coleslaw (for topping the brisket).
|Me, playing the mandolin.|
And then we had to assemble the cheesy casserole, which was bacon, cheese, butter, clogged arteries, and corn. (I really liked it, but you see why I don't count points on Oscar weeend).
|So many corns.|
Oh, and somewhere in here, Michelle and Cheyenne made the anglaise. Teagan helped out, separating eggs and so on.
|This was before we had the bright idea to have a staging bowl, so if she broke one yolk she didn't ruin the whole batch.|
From there it was a matter of adding a bunch of black food coloring to make the anglaise look like space.
|Not quite space yet.|
So: casserole ready, chicken breasts sliced for picatta, coleslaw done, anglaise done, what else?
|Feed the corgi?|
No! It was time to grate some Parmesan!
|With a microplane. We wanted it fine.|
Getting close to showtime. Casserole went in the oven. Soup-things assembled:
|Lamb, taters, tomatoes, cilantro, onions. Very simple.|
And here's the point in the evening when the cooking pictures go away because I'm too busy actually cooking to take them. But: chicken in the skillet for picatta, spinach in the pot, and pizzas:
Get cheese added...
|Note the brulee torch.|
...and into the oven. And that's actually the last of the preparatory pics I have, so now you get to see the finished products (we didn't do a whole spread picture this year because the foods were done at different times).
|This was hands down the best drink we've made yet.|
|The sauce was a big hit, and I made a lot of it, so I've got a bunch left.|
|I like this stuff, though I think it cooked down too long and lost too much broth.|
|This is a heart attack in a pan, but I loved it.|
|Note the "lines" of fine, powdery, white cheese.|
|This was then sliced up and served on pretzel buns. It was really good, though I think I should have seasoned it more aggressively.|
|This was mighty tasty and dirt simple to make.|
|Look at that cake. That is gorgeous.|
And there ya have it! See you next year.