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Roll out the red carpet for bite-sized snacks perfect for an Oscars party

iStockphoto.com

iStockphoto.com

If we all lived in 1929, we'd be attending the very first Academy Awards in style. Even I could have afforded that $5 ticket price. Sadly, we do not live in 1929, nor are we friends with Matt Damon, who I'm sure would invite us as his personal guests if he could.

Instead it looks like, once again, we'll be attending the Oscars from our living room. (Unless you are reading this, Matt, in which case YES I WILL GO WITH YOU.) But who says we can't still celebrate in style? This Sunday, invite your fellow movie buffs over for a viewing of the 88th Academy Awards, hosted by Chris Rock.

The best part about an Oscars party is that you can make the dress code as low-key or as glamorous as you want. Ask your guests to show up in ball gowns or pajamas — anything goes. Bonus points for getting your friends to dress up as a character from their favorite nominated film. There's nothing like watching a War Boy cheering for Mad Max: Fury Road while eating Mini Zucchini and Goat Cheese Tarts.

When your guests arrive, treat them to a glass of champagne punch or a glitter champagne Jell-O shot, and hand them each one of those printable Oscar ballots you can find on the Internet. (Consult Sunday's Latitudes section for Times movie critic Steve Persall's picks.)

The real stars tonight? A mouth-watering selection of finger foods. From Bacon-Wrapped Ginger Shrimp to Caramelized Onion and Shallot Dip, we've selected dishes that are both glamorous and easy to eat in front of the TV.

Some snacks, like the Candied Spiced Chickpeas, can be prepared in advance and stored up to a day in an airtight container. And when your guests try your Truffle Bacon Popcorn, they'll want to give you an Oscar.

When you tire of watching actors pretend not to be disappointed, break up the awards ceremony with some film trivia, or play a round of movie-themed charades. (Or just take a champagne Jell-O shot whenever Jennifer Lawrence falls.)

Send guests home in style with goody bags containing loose popcorn kernels and a Redbox gift card — that way they can watch the nominated movies they might have missed.

And if you feel bummed about watching the Academy Awards from your couch yet again, just remember this: Those Oscar nominees don't get to munch on Truffle Bacon Popcorn during the ceremony. So we're the real winners here.

easy

Champagne Punch

Ingredients

  • 1 thinly sliced peach
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 bottle Champagne or other sparkling white wine

Instructions

  1. In a pitcher, combine peach, raspberries, blueberries, lemon juice and simple syrup. Add a couple of handfuls of ice. Slowly pour in Champagne or other sparkling white wine. Serves 6.
Source: Everyday Food

easy

Simple Syrup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, boil sugar and water over medium-high heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using. Makes 3 cups.
Source: Everyday Food

easy

Champagne Jell-O Shots

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces Champagne
  • 7 ounces lemon-lime soda, divided
  • 3 packets Jell-O (or any other unflavored gelatin)
  • Food coloring (if desired)
  • Sanding sugar

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan, add Champagne and 2 ounces of the lemon-lime soda.
  2. Sprinkle gelatin on top and let sit for at least 2 minutes.
  3. Put the saucepan on medium-low heat and heat until the gelatin is dissolved. Do not let the mixture boil, you're just letting the gelatin dissolve.
  4. Remove from heat and add in remaining lemon-lime soda.
  5. If you want to add color, simply add a few drops of food color and stir.
  6. Add Jell-O to small single-serving containers or a small baking dish. You can also add your Jell-O to a silicone ice tray if you own one. That is what we used.
  7. Put the Jell-O in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours until completely set up.
  8. Cut Jell-O into squares and carefully remove it from the container. Dip the top in sanding sugar if desired.
  9. Keep shots refrigerated until ready to eat. Makes 12 to 15.
Source: Brandy O'Neill, sheknows.com

We made these Jell-O shots extra festive by using Champagne and lots of sparkly sanding sugar. You can leave the Jell-O plain-colored (it will be a light cream color) or add food coloring to bring a little color to the party. It's best to use large crystal sanding sugar so it will not dissolve easily. You can find sanding sugar in most craft or baking supply stores.

easy

Truffle Bacon Popcorn

Ingredients

  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
  • 1 teaspoon truffle salt
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Pour popcorn into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Arrange bacon side by side on a plate lined with parchment paper. Cover with another sheet of parchment paper or microwave-safe cover and cook on high for 4 to 6 minutes. Rotate the plate halfway through cooking. Place bacon on a paper towel-lined plate to drain, then crumble or slice into small pieces and add to popcorn.
  3. Heat butter in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds on high. Rotate and heat for another 15 to 30 seconds, watching to make sure it doesn't boil over.
  4. Pour butter over popcorn then sprinkle with truffle salt. Mix to combine, then add Parmesan cheese and toss to coat. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 8 to 12.
Source: FoodieCrush

easy

Mini Zucchini and Goat Cheese Tarts

Ingredients

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust (half of a 15-ounce package)
  • 2 1/2 pounds zucchini, cut into 1/16- to 1/8-inch-thick rounds
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme
  • 3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place pie crust on floured work surface. Using 1 1/2- to 1 3/4-inch cookie cutter or biscuit cutter dipped in flour, cut out 24 rounds. Transfer to prepared sheet, spacing 1/2 inch apart. Place in freezer until dough is firm, about 30 minutes.
  2. Toss zucchini with 1 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Place zucchini in another medium bowl; toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and thyme. Sprinkle zucchini with pepper.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spread goat cheese generously over each frozen dough round. Fold 3 to 4 zucchini slices in half and place in concentric circle atop 1 dough round, creating a flowerlike pattern. (Reserve any remaining zucchini for another use.) Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until crusts are light golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer to platter. Drizzle lightly with additional olive oil.
  4. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6.
Source: Bon Appétit

easy

Caramelized Onion and Shallot Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds large yellow or white onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced (about 6 ounces total)
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
  • 1/4 cup plain whole-milk Greek yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix onions, shallots, thyme sprigs and olive oil in a large roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Roast onion mixture, stirring and scraping down sides of pan every 10 minutes, until mixture starts to break down and turn golden brown, 45 to 55 minutes.
  3. Discard thyme sprigs. Add wine and vinegar and stir to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pan. Return onion mixture to oven. Continue roasting, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown and completely caramelized, about 15 minutes longer. Spread onion mixture out on a rimmed baking sheet to cool.
  4. Transfer onion mixture to a work surface and mince. Transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in sour cream, chives, yogurt and onion powder. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with chips or carrots.
  5. Dip can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill. Serves 16.
Source: Bon Appétit

medium

Sweet-and-Sour Chicken Wings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup clover or wildflower honey
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 (2-inch) piece peeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 3 pounds chicken wings, cut in half at joint (wing tips removed)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a small saucepan, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic and ginger. Bring to a simmer over medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens and is reduced by half, 30 minutes. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; discard solids. You should have 2/3 cup sauce.
  2. Meanwhile, arrange chicken wings in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden, crisp and cooked through, 35 minutes. Drain fat from sheet and, with tongs, transfer wings to bowl with sauce. Toss until wings are coated and most of sauce is absorbed, about 3 minutes. To serve, sprinkle with sesame seeds and chives, if desired. Serves 4.
Source: Everyday Food

easy

Bacon-Wrapped Ginger Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 13 bacon slices
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees, with rack in upper third. Cut bacon slices in half crosswise and wrap each piece around a large shrimp; secure with a toothpick. In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, ginger and sugar. Add bacon-wrapped shrimp to soy sauce mixture and toss to coat. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil until bacon is sizzling and crisp at edges and shrimp are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 26.
Source: Everyday Food

A syrup of sugar and warm spices coats these chickpeas, which are then fried to create their candied exterior. Serve them as an appetizer or bar snack.

easy

Candied Spiced Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

Instructions

  1. In a medium pot, combine chickpeas, sugar, cinnamon, allspice, salt and water over medium-high. Bring mixture to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves and liquid is very thick, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium (a chickpea should sizzle slightly when added). With a slotted spoon, strain off as much sugar syrup as possible, then transfer chickpeas to oil. Fry, gently shaking skillet to prevent chickpeas from sticking, until dark golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer to a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet lined with paper towels. Immediately season with salt; let cool completely. Serves 8.
Source: Everyday Food

medium

Black-and-White Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 ½ cups cake flour
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • ⅓ to ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon light corn syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 2 baking sheets with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar and butter. Mix by machine or hand until fluffy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla and lemon extracts, and mix until smooth.
  3. In medium bowl, combine cake flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Stir until mixed. Add dry mixture to the wet in batches, stirring well after each addition. Using a soup spoon, place heaping spoonfuls of the dough 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Bake until edges begin to brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely.
  4. Place confectioners' sugar in large mixing bowl. Gradually stir in enough boiling water to the sugar to make a thick, spreadable mixture.
  5. Put half the frosting in the top half of a double-boiler. Add the chocolate and corn syrup and set over simmering water. Warm the mixture, stirring, until chocolate is melted and frosting is smooth. Turn off the heat, but leave chocolate frosting over hot water to keep it spreadable. With a brush, coat half of the top of each cookie with chocolate frosting, and the other half with white frosting. Let dry and store in an airtight container. Makes 2 dozen large cookies.
Source: New York Times
















Roll out the red carpet for bite-sized snacks perfect for an Oscars party 02/22/16 [Last modified: Monday, February 22, 2016 2:18pm]
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