Midday Fix: Tips to create an award winning Oscar Party

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Carol Mackey



Darkest Hour (best picture nomination)-Winston Churchill Phyllo Cigars

1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry

6 oz. feta cheese crumbled

6 oz. cream cheese

1 Tbls. minced onion

½ tsp. dried oregano

1 pound phyllo dough thawed

1/2 cup butter melted and cooled (1 stick)


Preheat the oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, combine ingredients for filling. Work with 1 sheet of phyllo at a time, keeping the remaining sheets under a damp towel. Set 1 sheet of phyllo on a work surface and brush with some of the melted butter. Press a second sheet of phyllo on top. Cut the phyllo lengthwise into 4 even rectangles. Spread 1 Tbls. of the feta filling along the short end of one of the phyllo rectangles, leaving about 1/2 inch on each side. Roll up the phyllo, neatly tucking in the ends one-third of the way up to enclose the filling, then continue to roll up the phyllo with the sides open. Transfer the rolled-up cigar, seam side down, to a large baking sheet and brush with more of the melted butter. Repeat with the remaining phyllo dough and feta filling. Bake the cigars for about 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown and crisp. Serve the cigars hot or at room temperature. Cute presentation line cigar box with parchment and add cigars.  Boxes are abundant at Binny’s and cheap a dollar or less.


 The Shape of Water (best picture nomination)-Hard Boiled (Deviled) Eggs

6 Large Boiled Eggs

2 Tbls. mayonnaise

1 Large Avocado

Handful Fresh Spinach

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Salt & Pepper Instructions


Slice your hard boiled eggs in half and scoop out the yolk. Place the yolk in the food processor, add  all the seasonings along with the avocado, the spinach and the egg yolk and blend until smooth, add the mayo to combine.  Using a spoon or piping bag fill the egg whites.  Optional garnishes: radish sprouts, roe (representing more eggs). Cute presentation in egg carton.


 Coco (best animated nomination)-Tamale Bites

1 lb. cooked shredded beef (or pork or chicken)

1/3 cup diced onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbls .tomato paste

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

1-2 canned chipotle pepper, chopped

¼ cup sour cream


For the Masa Shell:

2 cups masa (corn flour)

1 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 1/3 cups chicken stock

2/3 cup lard or vegetable shortening, melted

Crumbled Queso Fresco to garnish


Sauté the onion and garlic with olive oil for 2-4 minutes. Add the shredded meat, tomato paste, cumin, and chopped chipotle peppers. Stir well and add a little water. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to simmer. Simmer until all the liquid in rendered out.

Meanwhile, Mix 2 cups of masa with the baking powder, salt, and cumin. Add the stock and mix to a crumbly consistency. Pour in the melted lard and mix by hand until smooth.

Scoop the masa mixture into small balls and place in the muffin tins, press a deep indention in the center of the masa balls. Fill each masa shell with the meat mixture. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Allow the tamale bites to cool 5-10 minutes before extracting them from the muffin tins. Use a small sharp knife to loosen the tamale bites from the muffin tin. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, crumbled queso fresco and cilantro leaves. Suggestions for presentation: marigolds, Mexican jar candle, tissue flowers, mini tooth pick paper flag picks.


The Big Sick (best screenplay nomination)-Samosas–can also purchase at Indian Restaurant and Trader Joe’s

3/4 tsp. salt

2 1/4 cups self-rising flour

(3/4 stick) butter, cut in small pieces

¼ cup water

1 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 cup fresh or frozen mixed peas

2 Tbls.  vegetable oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh ginger

1/2  jalapeno, minced

1/2 tsp. garam masala

1/2 tsp. turmeric

1 teaspoon red chile powder

1/2 lemon, juiced

2 Tbls.  chopped cilantro leaves

Vegetable oil, for frying


To make the dough: Mix the salt and flour in a medium bowl or a food processor. With a pastry blender, incorporate the butter until crumbs have formed. Add the water a few tablespoons at a time, until you can form a ball. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Let it rest for about 15 minutes more. You can prepare the dough in advance and refrigerate it.

To make the filling: Boil the potatoes until tender. Drain and set aside, add peas to barely cook. Set aside to cool. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion until golden. Add the garlic, ginger, and jalapeno and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garam masala, turmeric, chile powder, and salt and cook 2 minutes more. In a bowl combine the mashed potatoes, the onion and spice mixture, peas, lemon juice, and chopped cilantro. Mix well.

To assemble the samosas: Divide the dough into 9 equal size balls. On a floured surface, roll each ball into a 5- inch circle. Cut each circle in half. Brush the straightedge side with a little water, fold it in half, and align the two straight sides so they overlap to form a cone shape. Squeeze the edges together to make a tight seal. Place approximately 1 generous tablespoon of filling inside each cone, leaving the top edge clean. Moisten the inside top rim of the cone and press the edges together to make another tight seal. Heat approximately 3 inches of vegetable oil in a deep saucepan. Fry several samosas at a time, being careful not to crowd them. When 1 side turns golden brown, flip it over to brown on the other side. Drain on paper towels. Serve with chutney.


The Greatest Showman (best original song nomination) – Circus cupcakes- make your favorite cupcake (I suggest red velvet), pipe or spread frosting, sprinkle with rainbow sprinkles and top with a Barnum’s animal cracker place in red and white stripe cupcake paper cups (available at craft stores).



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