Here it is... the obligatory Oscars best dressed list! I was a little underwhelmed with last night's looks. While I love the minimalist neutral trend that's everywhere right now, I don't think that pale and shimmery always translates well on TV. Where was the color??? If Diane Kruger had been there, there's no doubt in my mind that she would have taken the prize for most fabulous dress...
This wasn't everyone's favorite dress, but I applaud Cate Blanchett's decision to pick something a little more avant garde than the typical vanilla Oscar gown.
In a sea of neutrals, Mila Kunis stood out in a good way in her beautiful lavender dress. I loved everything about it and thought it was a nice homage to her role in Black Swan.
Not my favorite Reese look ever, but I love her 60s hair and makeup and think the dress fits her like a glove.
As far as I'm concerned, Gwyneth can do no wrong. She definitely followed the pale/shimmery trend, but in my eyes looked the best of the bunch. Also love the fun cocktail earrings!
Just for fun, I threw in this old photo of Faye Dunaway at the Beverly Hills Hotel the day after she won her Oscar in 1977. For some reason it makes me chuckle...
While browsing the web the other day, I came across a fantastic menu plan for an Oscar viewing party. With crab cakes, rack of lamb, smoked salmon, and a croquembouche, it's definitely a decadent list, but why not go all out for the most glamourous night of the year?
Endive Spears with Sweet Potato and Bacon (adapted from a Fine Cooking recipe)
Ingredients (Serves 8-10)
3 slices of bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch dice (about 1-1/2 cups)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh chives
2 medium heads Belgian endive
1/4 cup creme fraiche
1. Cook the bacon in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until it has rendered some of its fat, about 3 minutes.
2. Add the sweet potato and 1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the sweet potato is tender and the bacon starts to crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in 2 Tbs. of the chives and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Let cool for a couple of minutes.
3. Slice the bottom 1/2 inch off the endives so some of the outer leaves break free. Cut another 1/2 inch off and break some more leaves free. Keep going until all the larger leaves are free. (you have about 20.) If you like, trim the leaves so they're all the same length.
4. Set the endive leaves on a large platter. Spoon the sweet potato mixture near the base of the leaves. Top each with a dollop of the cream fraiche and then sprinkle with the remaining chives. Serve immediately or let sit for up to 20 minutes before serving.
Chive Tartines With Smoked Salmon (adapted from a Bon Appetit recipe)
1. Puree 1 cup chives and oil in blender 2 minutes. Pour into fine sieve set over medium bowl. Let drain 1 hour (do not press on solids). Discard solids.
2. Preheat oven to 400 F.
3. Mix goat cheese and shallot in small bowl; season to taste with pepper.
4. Place bread slices on large baking sheet. Brush both sides of bread lightly with chive oil. Spread each slice with 1 1/2 teaspoons cheese mixture.
5. Bake bread until light golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to platter. Drape 1 salmon slice over each. Sprinkle with additional chopped chives.
Crab Cakes (adapted from a Food & Wine recipe)
Ingredients (Serves 6)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, peeled and chopped
Fine sea salt
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat, picked over
1 cup finely crushed saltine crackers (3 1/2 ounces)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the mayonnaise. Gradually whisk in the olive oil and 1/4 cup of the grapeseed oil. Add the lemon juice and season with cayenne. Transfer 1.2 cup of the mayonnaise to a small bowl and reserve.
2. Using the flat side of a chef's knife, mash the garlic to a paste with a generous pinch of salt. Whisk the garlic paste into the medium bowl of mayonnaise, then transfer the aioli to a serving bowl.
3. In a large bowl, gently mix the crabmeat with the cracker crumbs, egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco and the reserved 1/2 cup of mayonnaise. Shape the mixture into six 1-inch-thick crab cakes and transfer to a wax paper-lined plate. Or shape into smaller mini cakes. Refrigerate until firm, at least 20 minutes.
4. Preheat the oven to 400. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Add the crab cakes and cook over moderate heat until golden on the bottom, about 4 minutes. Carefully flip the crab cakes, then transfer them to the oven and bake until golden and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
5. Transfer the crab cakes to plates and serve with the garlic aioli.
Lamb Chops With Mint-Pistachio Pesto (adapted from William-Sonoma New Flavors for Appetizers)
Ingredients (serves 6)
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
1/4 cup shelled, salted, and roasted pistachio nuts
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
1/2 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil, plus oil for drizzling
Freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese
12 small lamb rib chops, Frenched
1. In a food processor or blender, combine the mint, parsley, pistachio nuts, garlic, and 1/2 cup olive oil and process until blended but still retains some texture.
2. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in the grated cheese. You should have about 3/4 cup pesto.
3. Preheat the broiler.
4. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, arrange the lamb chops in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
5. Broil until well-browned on both sides slipping once, about 3 minutes per side or until both sides are done to your liking.
6. To serve, arrange the lamb chops on a warmed platter or divide them among warmed serving plates (2 chops per serving). Top each with a dollop of pesto. Pass the remaining pesto with the platter or at the table, or reserve for another use. Serve right away.
Informal Croquembouche (adapted from a Gourmet recipe)
For this one, you can get the recipe from this link. It was way too long and with too many steps!
Today's post is inspired by the last two photos of the bunch (just wait until you see how fabulous these pools/baths are). If you're in the mood for an escape, but are sadly without a plane ticket, then let these photos do the work for you...
This is hands down one of my favorite weddings of all time. If I could get my hands on just the tent I would be a very happy girl. Its Sea Island location played into many of the wedding's details, such as the pre-party wedding baskets filled with Sea Island specialties like rosemary pecans and the bluegrass band that played at the rehearsal dinner. I love how the bride and groom managed to personalize so many things (even the pillows were monogramed!) without being over-the-top. And, I'll say it again, that tent!
I'm completely charmed by House to Haus' daily depictions of her new life in Switzerland. An expat living in Zurich, Talley posts about her jaunts to surrounding ski areas, blunders in the kitchen when certain ingredients got lost in translation, and all the daily surprises that await in a new city. Below are a small sampling of the fantastic collection of photographs featured on the blog.
Side Note: If you're looking for yet another blog with beautiful recipes and photos, then add this to your list. Seriously.
Get ready for some toile-overload. Sometimes, I feel like I could toile my entire house, but then I realize that I'm not a 99 year old Grandma. But still, what can I say? I can't get enough of the stuff. The following photos are from the Manuel Canovas New Toile Collection. Take a look!