It's that time of year again when the movie stars don their most glamorous gowns and compete for the most coveted prizes in motion pictures. So what if we're stuck at home watching through the TV instead of stumbling down a red carpet in 5-inch, thousand-dollar heels? We won't be hating, because we'll be sitting pretty at home, surrounded by friends and fabulous finger foods, rooting for our favorite films of the year. And what's best is most of these are fairly easy, leaving you plenty of time to spend getting ready for your close-up.
Stars and Caviar
Can we get more Hollywood? Start with a loaf of thinly sliced French bread. Using a cookie cutter, cut star shapes out of the bread. Brush lightly with olive oil and bake until crisp. Top the stars with a dollop of crème fraiche, a spoonful of black caviar, and a light sprinkle of freshly minced chives.
Parmesan Garlic Popcorn
Good movies deserve good popcorn. The best movies of the year deserve this dish. Begin by heating olive oil in a big pot and popping up one cup of popcorn kernels. Add a clove of garlic to three tablespoons of unsalted butter and microwave until melted; remove the garlic. Pour the melted butter over the popcorn, add a cup of freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano, liberally salt and pepper it all, and shake until well combined.
Lavender-Scented Marcona Almonds
We are in love with all things lavender right now. The smoothness of the flavor balances out the salty crunch of the nuts perfectly.
Infuse ¼ cup of good-quality olive oil with about a tablespoon of dried lavender overnight. Remove the lavender the next day. Heat the oil in a skillet and add three cups of plain roasted Marcona almonds. Toss the nuts in the oil until hot and coated; add some fine pink Himalayan salt to taste, and serve warm.
Gold-Dusted Chocolate Truffles
Movie night isn't complete without a chocolate treat, and these gems can be easily popped into your mouth without missing a second of the show. We got the idea of using edible gold from Nigella Lawson, who tops her magnificent crème brûlée with gold leaf.
Chop up the bittersweet chocolate into small pieces and process in a food processor until very fine. Heat the cream in a saucepan until just boiling and add to the chocolate in a steady stream, with the motor running. Add the vanilla. Process for a few seconds until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and let rest for few hours at room temperature until the mixture is firm.
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Use a one-inch melon baller to scoop out balls of the chocolate confection and place on a parchment lined tray. Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Dust hands with cocoa powder and roll the chocolate between your hands to smooth into a round ball. Shake some gold luster powder into a separate container and lightly roll the truffle in it. Chill until serving time.
"The Tipsy Starlet" - Raspberry Vanilla Champagne Cocktails
Caviar and truffles -- what else besides champagne would be good enough to get you tipsy? We like to use a mid-priced, dry Prosseco in this delightful cocktail, but feel free to experiment yourself. Take a champagne flute and add a pony of Chambord (raspberry liqueur). Add another half pony of French Vanilla syrup (such as Monin). Top off with the sparkling wine. Garnish with a fresh raspberry.
Remember that a huge part of movie star glamour is presentation, so pull out all your finery when plating these goodies. Because while these dishes are delicious, any size-zero star will quickly remind you that food should be seen and not eaten. Now enjoy the show (and the food)!