Monday, March 3, 2014

Let's Eat the Oscars!

Yesterday was the Oscars, which is obvious based on the amount of "Ionevencare" posts I'm seeing on Facebook.

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.
 And put a powdered sugar Celtic harp on it, so you'd know it was, like, Irish.

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.