Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Feed the Oscars

I enjoyed the telecast on Sunday. Sure, the ceremony was notable in its whiteness, but they actually called that out more than I would have thought, and the performances from Lady Gaga and John Legend & Common were amazing.

Plus, Oscar Night is an excuse for me to make a lot of food, starting Saturday. Here's the menu:

  • Whiplash: Whiplash cocktail
  • Boyhood: Queso and chips
  • The Imitation Game: Tea & sandwiches
  • Selma: Grits with slow-cooked collard greens
  • The Theory of Everything: Curried potatoes and peas
  • American Sniper: Whiskey pulled pork
  • Birdman: Drunken chicken and barley pilaf
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel: Courtesans de chocolat
So unlike years past, most of the cooking was concentrated on late Sunday. But we still had stuff to do Saturday! To wit:

Drink, little chickens!
Preparing the chicken. The marinade was brandy, wine, onions, carrots, herbs, and garlic. All that and the chicken pieces got stuffed into bags, and then put into the fridge to soak overnight. Then, the barley pilaf.

I'd never worked with pearl barely before, but it turned out really nice. We made it the day before because we could. Cook down with stock...

Soak, little barleys. 
Chopped up some dried prunes and apricots and toasted some almonds...
Chopped fruits.
And then mixed it all up, put it into a tupperware, and tossed in the fridge. 

What else to do Saturday? Well, the original recipe for the cocktail called for a habanero liquor, which we neither had nor wanted, so we figured we should try out our whiplash cocktail. 

The components.
It turned out nice - a little strong for me, but definitely a drink that gets more pleasant as it sits. 

Whiplash cocktail: More delicious than a kitten.
Before doing more cooking, we did some cleaning. 
Behold my magnificent table. 
But then +Michelle Lyons-McFarland and +Cheyenne Rae Grimes got to work making the dessert pastries, which would then be erotically pumped full of custard. 

Michelle, making tiny cream puffs. 
That was pretty much it for Saturday; made the cream puffs and got the house in order. Sunday, of course, was the main event. I got up first and got the pulled pork going. 
Cook, little piggy!
And then mixed up a pitcher of the cocktail, because a) it's one less thing to worry about and b) it's better if it has time to sit. 
Me, doing booze science. 
We wrote down our schedule on my white board, so that we have some chance of remembering everything that we were doing. 
It's a shame you can't read that, because some of it is funny. 

I then butchered a couple of cauliflower, because a) we needed another side dish and b) that was our tribute to the overwhelming whiteness this year. 

Be certain to carve out the bones. 
Michelle and Cheyenne got back to work on the desserts, stuffing them full of the chocolate custardy filling, made the colorful glaze, glazed the puffs, stacked them, and put a chocolate covered espresso bean on top like a...weird little eyestalk thing. 

Look sexy!
So then it was time to put the sandwiches together. We had three different kinds: Cucumber and herb butter, watercress and herb utter, and curried eye salad. So here's Cheyenne cutting bread shapes. 
Circles, rectangles, and triangles, respectively. 
And Michelle buttering said bread.

And watching British TV shows, probably.
And this was the result:

Fritos optional. 
So about then, I figured it was time to get the chicken going, so I pulled it from its drunken stupor. 

Bok? Bok?
Floured it, sauteed it in butter, got it browned and ready to go into the oven. Michelle, meanwhile, got working on the little label cards. 

The collard greens took a while, so I got those boiling...

Pot o' greens.
While Cheyenne got working on the curry. 

Which only required that one pot, but it's a nice shot of my stove.

From there, it was kind of a mad rush to complete everything, and we seem to lose the camera. 

Michelle and me, rushing madly. 
But here are the results:

Not pictured: The drunken chicken [ETA: Thanks, Nicole!] or the queso, because apparently "take pictures of the food while I finish cooking" didn't translate. Maybe someone else got a shot? +Travis Scott

Anyway: The drunken chicken was definitely my favorite, but the desserts were pretty damned amazing. What thrills will next year hold!