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Oscars Feast 2014

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Here it is, a full nine course feast, with each course inspired by one of the 2014 Academy Awards Best Picture nominees.

The only question left is, which one gets your vote?

  • Wolf of Wall Street - Dirty Martini Marinated Sashimi
    A steady diet of vodka martinis, yellowtail sashimi platters, quaaludes and cocaine. That should get you on the way to emulating the 90′s Wall Street excesses of Jordan Belfort (Leonardo di Caprio) in Scorcese’s latest three hr epic. It’s reported that in filming the final scene between Jordan Belfort and his number two (Jonah Hill) a late improvisation resulted in Leonardo di Caprio having to consume 70 pieces of sashimi to get a consistent take. Di Caprio was then violently sick. You don’t have to go that far. Instead, portion out a sensible 100 g portion of yellowtail/kingfish into sashimi. Slice it smoothly. Kill two birds with one stone and cure your fish in your martini for 10 minutes (make sure your martini is as dirty as Belfort’s financial dealings- the olive brine will help add some acid and additional seasoning). Garnish the platter with a few touches of smoked sea salt (if you’re lunching somewhere where cigar smoke is frowned upon), some slivered olives and dots of sauce as hot as Belfort’s Duchess of a wife. Then throw slivers of parsley around with the same abandon as traders at Stratton Oakmont do greenbacks. If you find yourself with some vodka left over, feel free to insist that someone brings your table two martinis every 5 minutes until someone passes out. Or the bottle is empty. Or the Feds arrive. Whichever comes first. For step by step instructions and recipe go here
  • Dallas Buyer's Club - Chicken Fried Steak
    A man’s man, who likes red wine, a rib eye, bull riding and the love of the ladies, Ron Woodruff (Matthew McConaughey) is lost when he discovers he has HIV – and only thirty days to live. This is the sort of dish that would help pack some meat back on his emaciated frame. I trust that any intial deception from the title of the dish won’t come as too much of a disappointment to someone who spends their remaining time smuggling substances – life saving as they are- into the country. Sure this is steak, but the only chicken you’ll find is in the style of breading - more frequently found on a fried bird. It’s traditionally served with a blonde gravy, though I think this sauce is more Ron’s style. It’s a drawling mix of gruff and sweet – though if you’re interested in truly preserving your health, some organic greens on the side won’t go astray. For step by step instructions and recipe go here
  • Nebraska - Meatloaf with Beer Braised Onions
    Not everything is going Woody Grant (Bruce Dern’s) way. He just wants to get from Montana to Lincoln Nebraska, to claim the million dollars he’s convinced he’s won in a sweepstakes. If he could have the respect of his family and old friends, procure a new truck, a compressor and eat meatloaf for dinner (despite the fact that it’s only part of the lunch specials), things might be a little brighter. No wonder he’s taking respite in a cold ale (or three) along the way. This meatloaf is happy-making stuff. Thanks to the downy-plush of the milk soaked breadcrumbs it’s soft enough to eat- even if you’ve lost your teeth somewhere near the rail tracks. There’s a mix of beef and pork and some sneakily disguised vegetables tucked in there too. If like Woody you believe ‘beer ain’t drinking’, throw the contents of one of your excess cans into a pan with the onions to fashion a sticky gravy. All you then need is some sweetcorn puree on the side, it’s the perfect accompaniment when you’re passing through the corn-husking state. This makes enough to feed a family of four- but if you’re not all on speaking terms, it also keeps well for sandwiches for the journey home the next day. For step by step instructions and recipe go here.
  • American Hustle - Brussel Sprout Gratin
    There’s more to link a hustle with a brussel (sprout) than the tweeness of a rhyme. This gratin is as 70′s as the perm of Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) and the velvet suits of Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale). Like them this dish understands the importance of gaining a proper crust. It leans heavily on Irving and Richie’s mark, Carmine Polito's Italian background- using parmesan and marscapone to help bind it together. Now, sprouts as a singular hero would be fine, though their vaguely rank aroma when roasted will definitely benefit from a counterpointing sweetness of apple. And it’s Rosalind (Jennifer Lawrence)- our ditsy, wayward and surprising voice of reason who really understands why. She’ll tell you that the finest perfumes in the world (and nail polish top coats) always include something rotten in with the delicious. It’s that sweet and sour combination which leaves people wanting and coming back from more. It’s a principle that holds, whether we’re talking about relationships, hustles- or what you’ve got hiding in your oven. For step by step recipe and instructions go here
  • Captain Phillips - Xawaash Spiced Fish Cooked in Crazy Water
    “There’s got to be something other than being a fisherman or kidnapping people’” so says Captain Phillips (Tom Hanks) after the MV Maersk Alabama becomes the first US cargo ship to be taken by pirates in over 200 years. Crazy water is an Italian technique of poaching fish in seasoned seawater, but it also could apply to the atmosphere depicted some 145 nautical miles off the horn of Africa. This version pulls in the classic Somalian spice mix of xawaash to add a little extra kick – and the resulting broth is heady enough to make even the most steely heroes lose their cool. The potatoes down there as a trivet aren’t a classic inclusion, but they do soak up the flavours beautifully- and after the kind of week Captain Phillips (also known to his captors as Irish ) has had, he probably something that reminds him of home. For step by step instructions and the recipe go here.
  • Gravity - Chocolate Floating Islands with Toffee Debris
    Don’t let go- either of your partner, when you’re drifting untethered in the boundless expanses of space – or this dessert. One has deadly consequences, the other will be just disappointing. These orbs of poached meringue (ile flottante in French- or floating islands) seemingly defy gravity, suspended upon a sea of dark custard. And while they resemble the fluffy suits of astronauts, they’re also much more delicious than any dehydrated food available on a space shuttle. Now, listen closely. The key to both their success, (and Dr Ryan Stone’s (aka Sandra Bullock)’s survival) is about keeping hold of as much air as possible. You could serve this nursery-soft dessert as is, but a few spiky shards of free form toffee help make them sparkle - though if you’re still traumatised by the prospect of sharp pieces of solar debris hurtling with abandon at you through space, feel free to leave them out. For step by step instructions and recipe go here.
  • Her - Love Cakes
    Is it possible to hold love in the palm of your hand? Spike Jonze thinks it might be, with Her. The OS1 is not just an operating system. It’s a consciousness. ‘Samantha’ is portable, responsive, and ever evolving. She has the ability to both coordinate Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix)’s schedule and reawaken his soon-to-be-divorced heart. The question remains, can you outsource the complexity of a relationship to a piece of technology? While you’re mulling over that, take comfort in the fact that it would be just as easy to fall head over heels for these sultry cakes as it would be for the husky tones of Scarlett Johansson. They’re headily spiced with nutmeg and cinnamon. They’re layered in texture- as sandy as a date to the beach on the base and as soft and snug as a hug in a cabin while snow falls outside on the crest. These are small, square versions of the classic, mysterious Persian Love Cake- of which you’ll find as many iterations as Samantha has connections. They’re complex and wondrous, with their inherent sweetness balanced with the bite of pistachio and tang of yoghurt. And if like Theodore you’re the kind of person who is perfectly happy employing technology to perform mundane human tasks- then the recipe linked also includes instructions for how to make it in a thermomix. For step by step instructions and recipe go here.
  • Philomena - Brandy Soused Brack
    Every time Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) has returned to the convent in Tipperary, desperate for information about the son she bore, which was later stolen from her she comes away empty handed- bar a serving of brack cake and a cup of tea. Little wonder that later on in her for him in America that she turns to the wee bottles of brandy in the mini bar for solace. What follows is an Irish a loaf as the Celtic harp. You’ll find a splash of brandy for courage, while the sweetness of dark brown muscavado sugar stands in for Philomena’s forgiving nature. It’s best consumed a day or so after it’s made with a cup of tea and a generous amount of butter (or cream cheese, if you’re stateside) while clutching your family members as close to your bosom as you dare. For step by step instructions and recipe go here.

For a trip down memory lane to year's Oscars Feast, go here

To reminisce about 2012 's Oscars Feast, go here..

And 2011's is here.