The Oscars party went off without a hitch! I think everyone really enjoyed themselves, especially the food and drink, since there was definitely not much to pack away by the time the party was over and the guests were all gone by 12:30 am. The menu contained a nice mix of homemade and store-bought stuff to make things easy. I prepped a lot of the homemade items in advance for quick and effective cooking or set-up by the time the guests came for the party.
Without further ado, though, here’s the menu…
- Mediterranean mezze plate – marinated feta cheese, sun-dried tomato hummus, tzatziki, olives, roasted red peppers, and artichokes. The hummus was made two days prior to the party and stored in a plastic, quart-sized take-out container. I buy these containers from a local restaurant supply store and they are truly life savers. A sleeve each of heavyweight pint-sized containers, quart-sized containers, and lids (both containers use the same ones) costs around $23 total, but they are great for making big batches of soups, stews, and stock to giveaway to friends and family or freeze for later eating.
- Za’atar spiced pita chips – slice pita, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and za’atar spice; bake until golden and crispy. These were super easy to make the night before and were stored in a zip-top bag.
- Caprese skewers – from the recipe trial over Valentine’s Day weekend, sans the pesto sauce but the tatziki made a really good substitute! Many of these were assembled the night prior and refrigerated.
- Crab stuffed mushrooms – bell pepper, onion, and assorted vegetables sauteed, then mixed with crab meat and homemade bread crumbs. There was enough leftover filling to make mini crab cakes, making this a total go-to for future parties; two apps in one! Both of these were made the morning of the party and chilled until they were ready to bake.
- Mini crab cakes – leftover filling from the stuffed mushrooms recipe, with a bit more binder, served with sriracha mayo. So. Good.
- Deviled eggs with avocado – I had one lonesome avocado and since it is a good substitute for mayo, I mashed it, leaving it a little chunky, and threw it in with the rest of the ingredients. I made and chilled these the night before the party.
- Caramelized onion and sun-dried tomato tart – one of my favorite things of the night. Fillo dough was a huge lifesaver when it came time to make these and the pear and blue cheese quiche.
- Spinach-artichoke wonton cups – wonton wrappers + dip + baked = genius. Thanks to Dawn for the epic idea; she always makes these at her parties with ranch dressing mix, cream cheese, with or without sausage, and other ingredients.
- Pear and blue cheese quiche – a last-minute addition and not my favorite, in terms of execution, but the flavors were good.
- Cream puffs with chocolate cheesecake dip, berry coulis, and bourbon caramel dips< – the cream puffs were store-bought because I had to be lazy with something. *wink* All of the dips were homemade, including the chocolate dip, which was made with cream cheese as a base to make it like a no-bake cheesecake filling. This was good to eat with cookies or butter crackers, too.
- Double chocolate mocha brownies – really super dense and rich. These were made a few hours before the party and left to cool until it was time for dessert.
- Pear-elderflower white sangria – four, 1.5 L bottles of white wine; almost an entire bottle of St. Germain; and 1/3 bottle of vodka later. I made the pear puree base two days prior to the party and chilled it. The night before the party, I combined this with the St. Germain and the vodka in a pitcher to make a base, half of which was added to the punch bowl with one or two bottles of the wine, frozen fruit (oranges and limes that I sliced and froze in advance), and ice. Silly me, though, I forgot to add the lemon-lime soda (or seltzer) to the bowl before serving, which would have made the base go a little bit further than it did and made the drink less strong (although it was certainly good either way.)
- Orange-mint water – simple, last-minute idea for people to re-hydrate in between drinks.
After all of the tarts, mushrooms, crab cakes, and other hot appetizers were assembled the morning of the party, I put them on baking trays, covered the tops with (very) lightly dampened paper towels, and wrapped the trays in plastic wrap. These were stored in our spare fridge until it was time to get ready for the party. Fortunately, we have a full-size spare fridge, so I was able to fit 5-6 standard-sized baking trays in there with little effort, as well as some of the other party stuff. So nice to have an extra fridge!
As for the actual awards ceremony, Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel basically swept most of the categories in which they were nominated. I have my opinions about Birdman, which I’ll be sharing later in the week, but it is undeniable that there was some fierce competition this year in all categories. Lady Gaga’s performance was interesting, definitely showing a different side of her that builds upon her recent work with Tony Bennett to re-record the classics. Other than that, I kind of felt indifferent about the rest of the show, which seemed to drag on and on until it came time to give out the exciting awards (e.g., Best Leading Actor, Leading Actress, and Picture), but it still might be fun to make this party an annual tradition.