Wine Wednesday: Celebrate the Oscars at home with Moet & Chandon

The 84th Annual Academy awards are just a week away and there is no better time to start planning for Hollywood’s biggest night. Moet & Chandon, is the exclusive champagne of the Oscars and they teamed with the Cooking Channel’s Aida Mollenkamp, to create the perfect Oscar Viewing Party at home.  You can create simple to make recipes, making your viewing party a glamorous and delicious experience, including recreating Moet & Chandon’s exclusive champagne cocktail of the Governors Ball, the “Moet Red Carpet Glamour.” Of course, sip on the same cocktail that the stars will be drinking that night!

Drawing inspiration from a selection of this year’s most acclaimed Best Picture nominees, give your guests a unique culinary collection of healthy, fun and easy-to-eat dishes including:

·         Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraîche, and Fennel Rillettes; the classic French ingredients in this dish pair perfectly with Hugo, a movie set in 1930s Paris.

·         Crisp Tempura Vegetables with Miso-Mustard Sauce; a modern Hawaiian-inspired dish with locally sourced ingredients ideal for cheering for The Descendants.

·         Meyer Lemon icebox Pie Bites Inspired by The Help; icebox cakes are a perfect dessert for warm Southern nights.

·         Pancetta, Thyme, and Fontina Gougères; A modern interpretation of authentic French style just like the pure French style in The Artist and Midnight in Paris.

So with all the red-carpet glam you’ll see, you can have your own star-studded edibles right from the comfort of your own home.  Enjoy and may the best star win.

Moet Red Carpet Glamour

·         Stir 1 ounce of Fresh Squeezed Sour Mix

·         1 ounce of Hum Botanical Spirit

·         Moet & Chandon Imperial

·         Rose Petals to Garnish

Stir 1 ounce of Fresh Squeezed Sour Mix and 1 ounce of Hum Botanical Spirit with fresh ice. Strain into the Flute to fill 1/2 way and top with Moet & Chandon Imperial. Garnish with a Single Rose Petal.
Continually refresh as you wish with Moet & Chandon Imperial as the Champagne will float on top of the HUM Sour, but its effervescence will deliver HUM’s heady cardamom & Kaffir lime notes.

Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraîche, and Fennel Rillettes

Makes: 2 cups (15 to 20 servings as an hors d’oeuvres)   Total Time: 15 minutes plus 2 hours chilling time   Hands-On Time: 15 minutes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup minced shallots

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2/3 cup small dice fennel

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves or chives, plus more for serving

1 tablespoon Pernod or other anise-flavored liqueur (optional)

1/2 teaspoon loosely packed lemon zest

1/3 cup crème fraîche

1 pound hot-smoked and/or cold-smoked salmon

Crackers or toasts, for serving

Melt the butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add the shallots, season with a pinch of salt and a few cranks of freshly ground black pepper. Cook until the shallots are translucent and soft; set aside to cool slightly.

Stir the shallots together with the fennel, lemon juice, herbs, Pernod (if using), lemon zest, and crème fraîche. Season with a pinch of salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Break salmon into bite-sized pieces and fold until just combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Transfer rillettes to an airtight container, cover, and refrigerate until chilled through, at least 2 hours.

Let the rillettes sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving so they’re spreadable. To serve, spread on crackers or toast and sprinkle with herbs. (The rillettes are best when eaten within 4 days.)

Note: If you can’t find crème fraîche, use sour cream or Greek yogurt instead.

Pancetta, Thyme, and Fontina Gougères

Makes:  32 cheese puffs   Total Time: 50 minutes   Hands-On Time: 15 minutes

4  ounces pancetta, cut into small dice

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk or water

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

5 large eggs plus 1 yolk, at room temperature

3 ounces shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano

3 ounces shredded Fontina cheese

1 tablespoon thyme leaves, finely chopped (optional)

Heat oven to 375°F and arrange racks in the upper and lower third. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside. Line a plate with paper towels and set aside.

Place pancetta in a medium nonstick frying pan and cook until crisp. Remove pancetta to paper towel-lined plate and set aside to drain.

Meanwhile, combine 1 cup of the milk or water with the butter and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, dump in all the flour, and stir vigorously until flour is incorporated. Cook, stirring constantly, until dough comes together in a ball and feels dry to the touch, about 2 minutes.

Transfer dough to a food processor fitted with a blade or a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Pulse or beat in five of the eggs, one by one, letting each egg completely incorporate before adding the next. Reserve 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan cheese then add pancetta, remaining cheese, and thyme; pulse or mix on low until thoroughly incorporated.

Drop tablespoon-size portions of dough on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them at least 1/2 inch apart. Whisk remaining egg yolk with the remaining 1 tablespoon milk and brush tops of cheese puffs then evenly sprinkle reserved Parmesan cheese over top.

Place in oven and bake, rotating halfway through, until puffed and golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. (Can be made up to 4 days ahead. Store, covered, at room temperature.)

Notes: Freeze the pancetta for 5 to 10 minutes to facilitate dicing. If you can’t find pancetta, use Canadian bacon or cooked ham instead (don’t crisp in the pan though).

Crisp Tempura Vegetables with Miso-Mustard Sauce

Makes: 8 to 12 servings as an hors d’oeuvres (1/2 cup dipping sauce)  Total Time: 40 minutes   Hands-On Time: 30 minutes

For the sauce:

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup white or yellow (aka mellow) miso

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoons unrefined cane sugar

For the batter:

Canola, grapeseed, or peanut oil, for frying

1 cup all-purpose flour, chilled

1 cup rice flour, chilled

2 1/3 cups ice cold seltzer water or pale ale beer

1 red or sweet onion, cut into 1-inch slices and separated into rings

1 large sweet potato or yam (about 8 ounces), sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

8 ounces green beans, ends trimmed

8 ounces broccolini, ends trimmed

1 head fennel, quartered and cored

15 sprigs fresh Italian parsley

Kosher salt, to taste

Lemon wedges, for serving

For the sauce:

Whisk everything together, taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Chill in refrigerator until ready to use. (Sauce can be made up to 4 days ahead.)

For the tempura:

Line a baking sheet with paper towels then fill a large saucepan with at least 2 inches of oil (about 6 to 8 cups oil). Insert a deep frying thermometer and heat the oil to 350°F over medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, prepare the batter. Combine flours in a medium bowl then nest it in a second bowl of ice water (to help keep the batter as cold as possible). Add the cold seltzer or beer to the flour and whisk until just combined. (There should be a few lumps left – if you over whisk it will get gummy.)

Place a handful of the prepared vegetables in the batter and toss to coat. Remove vegetables one by one and let excess batter drip off. Place carefully into heated oil and cook, stirring a few times, until just beginning to color, about 1 minute for the thinner vegetables and 3 minutes for the thicker vegetables. Remove to paper towels, season with salt, and repeat to cook all vegetables.

Serve hot or warm with dipping sauce, lemon wedges, and extra salt.

Notes: If you can’t find rice flour, use a mixture of equal parts all-purpose flour and cornstarch. The key to a good tempura is to have all the ingredients as cold as possible and to keep the oil at as consistent a temperature as possible. To do so, chill all the ingredients (vegetables, flours, and seltzer before using) and use a deep frying (aka candy) thermometer to make sure the oil is properly heated.

Meyer Lemon Icebox Pie Bites

Makes: 48 mini pie bites  Total Time: 20 minutes, plus 3 hours baking and setting time  Hands-On Time: 20 minutes

For the crust:

8 ounces vanilla wafers or graham crackers

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the custard:

1 cup Meyer lemon juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup unrefined cane sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (14 ounce) container sweetened condensed milk

1 (8 ounce) mascarpone cheese or cream cheese, softened

Pinch salt

Whipped cream, for garnish

Candied citrus or ginger, for garnish (optional)

Thinly sliced mango or kiwi, for garnish (optional)

Heat oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

For the crust:

Place wafers or graham crackers in a food processor and process until broken up (you want 2 cups total). Add butter and pulse until moist. Divide mixture among two (24-well) mini muffin pan and press mixture evenly in the bottom and up the sides of the muffin wells. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 5 minutes, then remove from oven.

For the custard:

Whisk or blend remaining ingredients together until smooth then divide among prepared crusts. Place in 350°F oven and bake until edges are set but center is still a bit loose, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely, at least 1 hour.

Cover and freeze until chilled and set, at least 2 hours or overnight. When frozen, run a small butter knife dipped in hot water around the perimeter of each tart and remove. Cover and return to freezer until ready to serve. (Can be done up to 2 weeks in advance.)

Serve frozen or chilled, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and, as desired, a piece of candied ginger or citrus or a slice of fresh kiwi, and serve. (Tarts are best eaten when still frozen or chilled.)

Notes: Tarts should be eaten within 30 minutes of removing from freezer for best texture. If you can’t find Meyer lemons, substitute it with equal parts orange and lemon juice.

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