5 Ways to Serve Up Hollywood Magic at Your Awards Night Party

5 ways to serve up pure Hollywood magic at your Oscar party

What makes a great party on a big awards night so much fun? It probably has something to do with why we still go to packed movie theaters: We love a shared experience.

This March 4, make your red carpet viewing experience one to remember for you and your friends, and host a bash that celebrates our decades-long fascination with movie magic, celebrities and Hollywood mystique. To make it special, try some of these tips when planning your awards night viewing party. 

Set a dress code: Let your friends know they’re in for a special night, and make it a dress-up affair. Or for something both glam and comfy, invite everyone to come in their fanciest lounge wear. (Think slippers, smoking jackets, dressing gowns and satin pajamas.) 

Kick it off with red carpet glam: Build a red-carpet photo booth in your entryway, complete with red fabric, gold stars and topiaries and urge your guests to work it for the camera. To make it more fun, have photo-ready props handy, like oversized sunglasses, wigs and feather boas, and they’ll do the rest! 

Make it interesting: During the big event, bring the spirit of competition into your living room and hand out ballots, asking your guests to predict who’s taking home the gold statue. To enjoy the unpredictable fun of live TV, make up some bingo cards. Up the stakes and prepare a few swag bags for the winners. Some ideas: DVDs with winning movie titles of yore, movie theater passes, gourmet popcorn and locally made candies. 

Get bubbly: Champagne is always in style with the rich and famous. Popping open some chilled bottles of Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut will make your guests feel like A-listers, because this year, special edition bottles from the famed champagne maker will be also poured at the ceremony and after-party. To learn more, visit piper-heidsieck.com. 

Serve delicious, sophisticated bites: Serving up platters of tasty hors d’oeuvres is always a simple but classy way to feed your stylish guests because it lets everyone eat, mingle and watch the show. This year, let your menu be inspired by Wolfgang Puck, the creator of the luxurious, over-the-top feast served at the awards show after-party. Try his recipe for Gougères with gruyere, and your guests will give you a standing ovation. (Find the recipe below.) 

Gougères

Makes about 75 bite-sized puffs

Gougères are savory puffs flavored with cheese and served hot from the oven as a quick hors d’oeuvres. 

Gougères batter:

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3 1/2 ounces bread flour

2 extra-large eggs

3 1/2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated 

Gougères toppings:

1 extra-large egg

1 egg yolk

1 1/2 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated

Fleur de sel 

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Set rack in the center of oven.

Insert paddle attachment in a stand mixer. In a heavy metal saucepot, combine the water, butter, cayenne and salt; bring to a boil over high heat. Remove the pot from the heat, add all the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined to form a smooth paste. Return the pot to medium heat and cook, stirring, for 1 minute longer.

Put the paste in the bowl of the stand mixer. Mix at medium speed for 1 minute. Add eggs one at a time, beating at medium speed until each is fully incorporated and stopping to scrape down the side of the bowl. Add the 3 1/2 ounces of grated Gruyere and mix until incorporated.

Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip and pipe nickel-size mounds onto a non-stick baking sheet, or a baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray, 2 inches apart.

In a small bowl beat together the egg and egg yolk forming an egg wash. Using a pastry brush, brush each of the Gougères with the egg wash. Sprinkle with grated Gruyere cheese and a pinch of fleur de sel.

Bake the gougères on the center rack in the preheated oven until they are puffed and golden brown, about 18 minutes.

Serve immediately.(BPT)

Chef Jose Garces Focuses on Quality and Versatility at This Year’s Sold-out South Beach Wine and Food Festival

Pork to make a cameo at prestigious event

Smithfield Fresh Pork is proud to partner with the National Pork Board and 20 award-winning chefs at this year’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival (SOBEWFF). These chefs will create high-quality pork dishes for attendees featuring Smithfield Prime Fresh Pork, an all-natural premium line of fresh pork. Each recipe will showcase the superior quality and versatility of the Smithfield Prime collection and inspire consumers to cook with only the best ingredients at home. Event-goers will have the opportunity to experience these recipes at the following NPB-sponsored events: Tacos After Dark on Thursday, February 22; Burger Bash on Friday, February 23; Spanish Dinner on Saturday, February 23; Swine, Wine & Spirits and Coca-Cola Beachside BBQ, both on Sunday, February 25.

Chef Jose Garces, one of Smithfield’s Chef Partners, will host two pork-centric events at SOBEWFF. Garces, a James Beard award winner and Iron Chef, prefers to cook with Smithfield Prime Fresh Pork due its high quality and flavor.

“As a chef, there is nothing more important to me than the quality of the ingredients I choose for my dishes,” said Garces. “That is why I love to work with Smithfield Prime Fresh Pork. They understand that quality leads to flavor and flavorful dishes create the best experiences and memories.”

The most discerning chefs, championship pitmasters and home cooks alike seek quality, flavorful fresh pork, and that is why they trust Smithfield Prime Fresh Pork. Smithfield Prime Fresh Pork is a line of premium, all-natural fresh pork that is certifiably 20 percent more tender than other leading brands of all-natural pork. The Smithfield Prime collection is hand-trimmed and sourced from America’s most trusted farms, using a specialty breed of Duroc hogs and some of the most stringent quality standards in the industry. Thus, Smithfield Prime Fresh Pork products naturally have exceptional color, increased marbling and enhanced flavor, creating an elevated eating experience.

You can catch Chef Garces in action at the Spanish Dinner event taking place Saturday, February 24; and at the Coca-Cola Beachside BBQ on Sunday, February 25. For those who want to take a page out of Chef Garces’ book and try their hand at cooking up one of his signature dishes, below is a recipe he crafted specially for Smithfield. 

Grilled pork chops with cognac butter, mustard aioli and mushrooms

For the pork chops:

4 Smithfield(R) Prime Bone-In Pork Chops (1-inch thick)

1 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh thyme

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary

1/4 cup finely chopped garlic

Directions:

Mix oil, thyme, rosemary and garlic in large mixing bowl. Add pork chops and coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 24 hours. Heat grill to medium using hickory wood charcoal. Remove chops from marinade and grill 7 to 9 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 145 F to 160 F. Remove from heat and immediately brush with cognac butter. Let stand 3 minutes before serving. 

For the cognac butter:

1 cup good-quality cognac

1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots

1 cup butter, room temperature

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Directions:

Combine cognac and shallots in a small saucepan. Simmer until cognac is reduced by two-thirds. Strain and let cool. Mix together with butter and parsley; let stand at room temperature until ready to use. 

For the mustard aioli:

3 eggs

1 cup Dijon mustard

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup whole grain mustard

3 cups vegetable oil

Directions:

Combine eggs, Dijon mustard and lemon juice in food processor or blender. Blend until smooth. Slowly drizzle in vegetable oil, while food processor is running, until emulsified. Remove from processor and fold in whole grain mustard. Season to taste. 

For the mushrooms:

2 lbs. mixed fresh wild mushrooms (such as chanterelle, hen of the woods, porcini and morel)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh thyme

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions:

Toss together mushrooms and olive oil. Place in grill basket and grill until tender and cooked through, turning occasionally. Remove from heat and toss with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately.

This recipe yields four servings; total prep time is 25 minutes (plus two hours marinade time), and total cook time is expected at 35 minutes.

Visit SaborSmithfield.com for more of Chef Garces’ recipes and inspiration for your next meal and to learn more about Smithfield’s quality and freshness. And visit sobewff.org for more details on the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. For more information about National Pork Board, visit porkteinspira.com. (BPT)

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach

Making a positive difference in the community is a top priority for the team at Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach and this year, the hotel is saying thank you to the women in our lives and raising awareness on this global movement by offering a one-day-only special.

On March 8, all women dining at the hotel’s full-service beachfront restaurant, Bistro, will receive a complimentary drink and dessert with the purchase of an entrée. International Women’s Day is celebrated worldwide in all types of ways and Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach welcomes locals and guests to toast to women at Bistro.

For more information visit https://www.Sonesta.com/FortLauderdale or call 1-800-SONESTA. 

About Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach

The AAA Four Diamond-rated oceanfront Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach, features 240 guest rooms including 23 spectacular suites, all of which boast panoramic views of the seven-mile stretch of Fort Lauderdale Beach. This oceanfront hotel provides a new level of hospitality to the Fort Lauderdale market by offering travelers a sense of place, not just a place to stay. Catering to both business and leisure travelers, the hotel is centrally located on the corner of Sunrise Boulevard and A1A, only 8 miles from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and just minutes from the Las Olas Arts & Entertainment District and Port Everglades.  Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach offers an authentic, local experience to guests and locals alike, brought to life through the brand’s signature Food is Art, Liquid Art and Daily Delights programs.