An Oscars Menu for the Starstruck and Lazy

Want to host an Academy Awards party, but afraid of getting stuck in the kitchen during the red carpet action? Take a cue from Sandra Bullock, George Clooney and other actors from this year's best films and make these easy, award-worthy recipes

Confession: I’m a food snoop. I peer into grocery carts, riffle through refrigerators and ask strangers with good skin and shiny hair what, exactly, comprises their diet. I’m also an entertainment reporter, a job that allows me to be an A-list food snoop on occasion. When I interviewed Sarah Jessica Parker for the first Sex & the City movie, I blurted out the first thing that came to mind: "What do you eat for dinner??"

Her answer—pork chops—was scintillating, as far as I was concerned. Hey, I’m not the girl who reports on important things. I’m the girl who reports on Britney Spears’ Starbucks intervention.

But forget the Pulitzer. I’m much more concerned with the Oscar. As someone who’s equally obsessed with food and Hollywood, I’ve always loved Academy Awards fetes. When I was little, my mom, sister and I would don pearls over our pj’s and throw make-your-own-pizza parties. This year, I decided to have friends over for some homemade food and fashion policing. After the invites went out, I realized there was one problem—I didn't want to lift a finger. It’s not that I’ve domestically regressed; I’m just afraid of missing an acceptance speech. My solution: Appetizers. With my friends’ help, I’ll cook, serve and sit down before anyone steps onto the red carpet, then sip champagne and enjoy the show.

This menu was inspired by the stars of this year’s favorite flicks. Some are re-creations of the dishes the actors made in their films, while others are treats they love to eat in real life. (Like I said, I’m a food snoop—I pick up on these things). Everything is easy, glam and (pretty much) guilt free. After all, we have gowns—otherwise known as sweatpants—to slink into.

Movie: Crazy Heart
Recipe: Maggie Gyllenhaal’s favorite cheeses
When I read about Maggie’s cheese-buying spree, I couldn’t wait to try her favorite stinky things. Plus, all good gourmands should know and love their local cheese monger. I’m obsessed with finding this “earthy tasting Pecorino Gregoriano,” simply because of Maggie’s metaphor choice: “My husband will love that kind of dirty-whore cheese.” Touche.

Movie: Julie & Julia
Recipe: Amy Adam’s guacamole, adapted by me
We have a mortar and pestle just begging for some guac, so I’m really excited to get physical with one of my all-time favorite foods. Adams serves her magical green mush with blue tortilla chips, but I’ll do carrots, celery sticks and pumpernickel pretzel rods, because even though avocado contains the “good fat,” it’s still a splurge.

3 avocados
1/2 fresh jalapeno pepper with seeds removed, finely chopped
1 tomatillo, husked and chopped
1/2 tomato, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
Handful of cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Blue tortilla chips (or cut-up veggies), for serving

Mash avocados in a bowl; stir in remaining ingredients. Serve with something crunchy.

Movie: Up in the Air
Recipe: George Clooney’s Steak Crostini
Clooney is a self-proclaimed steakhouse connoisseur (for an easy sighting, try Dan Tana’s steakhouse in LA), so I analyzed our meaty leftovers to figure out what George would gorge on. Here’s a steak crostini, with blue cheese and freshly grated horseradish.

2 pounds flank steak, or whatever cut of meat you have
8 ounces blue cheese (or low-fat chive cream cheese)
2 tsp horseradish cream, homemade or store-bought
Arugula or frisee
1/4 tsp salt
French bread

Season steak to taste with salt and pepper. Grill for 10 to 15 minutes over medium heat. It should be rare-ish. Let stand for 5 minutes and thinly slice. Slice bread into bite-sized rounds and toast. Whip together cheese, horseradish and salt. Spread spoonful of mixture onto each bread round. Add greens. Top with sliced steak. This is an ideal make-ahead dish as the crostini are delicious warm or cold.

Movie: It’s Complicated
Recipe: Croque Monsieur
The food in Nancy Meyers’ movies is Oscar-worthy. We were particularly craving croque monsieur after Complicated. I found this recipe, an offbeat attempt at an old classic, on a fab food blog.

Movie: The Blind Side
Recipe: Sandra Bullock’s Coconut Macaroons
It’s the year of Sandra Bullock, Oscar nominee and dedicated baker. The famous Bullock family recipe for macaroons is a closely guarded secret, but here’s a macaroon recipe as found on Confections of a (Closet) Master Baker, a blog by her pastry chef sis. I’m not usually a macaroon girl, but The Blind Side and The Proposal were unexpected delights—these probably are, too!

4 egg whites
3 ½ cups sweetened shredded coconut
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Combine all ingredients in a metal/heatproof bowl. Set the bowl on a pan or saucepan of simmering water and stir occasionally to prevent the bottom from burning. Make sure mixture is hot and has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. With a medium-sized cookie scoop, drop batter onto a parchment-lined sheet pan, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges are dark golden brown.

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