And the Oscar goes to ... you, for hosting the best Oscar party in town. Wait, what? You invited your friends over to watch the show but forgot to plan a menu? No problem. We've got you covered with our fabulous Oscar Party Kit featuring recipes for food and cocktails by some of L.A.'s top culinary tastemakers. You can pull off any of these unique recipes the morning of the big day and still have time to hop into your party duds. And yes, comfort counts, but that Cabernet-colored velour tracksuit — the one with the word "Nominee" written across the behind — is so last year.
Also, nothing makes a party better than a little friendly competition: You and your guests can print out your L.A. Times play-at-home Oscar ballot and designate prizes for the best score — like not being picked to make the next run to the liquor store. Find it at latimes.com/oscar-ballot.
First things first: Cocktails.
Mixologist Tricia Alley, who titillated taste buds at L.A. establishments Eva, Black Market Liquor Bar and Rolling Stone restaurant and is now director of mixology for Southern Wine & Spirits, shares two tempting Oscar-night recipes. The first, called Flawless, is named for the actress who wins an Oscar for her flawless performance. Alley is rooting for Meryl Streep and has been "every single year, always and forever." The second, called Boys Town, is named for the lead actor winner, in honor of Spencer Tracy's Oscar-winning turn in the 1938 film of the same name.
Says Alley: "All of my friends are into food and drink, and we're gonna sit on the floor and watch and make fun of people and play our little Oscar ballot game."
1/2 ounce lime juice
1 ounce Koval Chrysanthemum Honey liqueur
1 ounce Absolut pear
1 ounce Mionetto Brut prosecco
Combine the first three ingredients in a shaker, shake and strain into a cocktail glass and add prosecco. Garnish with a Luxardo cherry.
Boys Town cocktail
11/2 ounces Knob Creek rye
1/4 ounce Green Chartreuse
1/2 ounce Château Montifaud Pineau des Charentes
1/2 ounce Luxardo bitter liqueur
2 dashes Bitter Truth Decanter bitters
Combine and stir, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon peel.
Next up: Delectable appetizers
Jicama-wrapped guacamole by José Andrés of the Bazaar
Says Andrés: "The little purses of fresh guacamole are perfect as you eat them with your hands. I love eating with your hands for Oscar night, just like you use your hands to hold your Oscar statue!"
1 large jicama root, peeled
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons chopped onion
7 tablespoons chopped cilantro, divided
2 ripe avocados
7 tablespoons crumbled corn chips
Thinly slice the jicama root. In a large bowl, combine the lime juice, the honey, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.
In another bowl, mash together the onion, 3 tablespoons cilantro, the avocados and 1 teaspoon salt. Take one slice of the jicama and place half a teaspoon of the guacamole in the center. Gather the edges of the jicama slice in the center and press together to form a small pouch.
Repeat until you have a total of 16 pouches. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons of the lime dressing. Garnish with 4 tablespoons cilantro and the corn chips. Makes 16 bites.
Deviled quail eggs with smoked trout by Quinn Hatfield of Hatfield's
Says Hatfield: "We go really casual at home. We all have our ballots and then, of course, the ladies watch the show to see the dresses. This year, I'm going to make a Tuscan white bean chili and drink German beer."
6 egg yolks
2 cups vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon salt
20 quail eggs
2 chicken eggs
2 ounces smoked trout, chopped
Parsley, finely chiffonaded
Bring a large pot of water to boil. To make the mayonnaise, put the yolks, oil, vinegar, mustard and salt in a food processor while running.
Put the quail eggs in the boiling water for 31/2 minutes to cook. Return water to a boil. Shock eggs in a bowl of water with ice. Peel, cut in half and then discard the yolks.
Put the chicken eggs in boiling water for 11 minutes to cook. Shock in the ice bath. Peel, cut and remove the yolks. Discard the whites.
Mash the yolks with a whisk until small and even. Add the trout and enough of the mayo to bind — about a cup. Put the mixture in a pastry bag and pipe the filling into the eggs. Garnish with parsley. Makes 20 small bites.
Finally: The main course.
Croque-monsieur by David Myers of Comme Ça.
Says Myers: "It's simple, classic and fits in with the wonderful French theme of "Midnight in Paris," one of my favorites this year. On Oscar night, I love to drink Champagne and eat mini croque-monsieurs. Pairing the decadent with the simple is sublime."
1 tablespoon butter, plus a little extra for the bread
1 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup grated Gruyère cheese, divided
6 ounces ham, sliced
4 slices of French or Italian loaf bread
For the béchamel sauce: Melt the butter in a small saucepan on low heat until it starts to bubble. Add the flour, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring continuously until smooth. Add the milk slowly, stirring continuously with a whisk and cook until it thickens. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in the Parmesan and 1/8 cup of the grated Gruyère. Reserve for later.
Butter the bread slices lightly and evenly on both sides and lay them out on a baking sheet. Toast them in the oven until lightly golden.
Spread one side of each bread slice with mustard. Place the slices of ham evenly on two of the slices of bread along with about 1/2 cup of the Gruyère cheese. Place the other toasted bread slices, mustard side down, on top.
Spread the béchamel sauce to cover the tops of the sandwiches. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining Gruyère cheese. Place in an oven-safe pan and bake 5 minutes at 350 degrees, then place under the broiler and broil for an additional 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese mixture on top is bubbling and lightly browned. Makes two sandwiches.