Thursday, February 25, 2016

Oscar Party Recipes

And the Best Oscar Entree goes to...YOU! Come and accept your award-winning chow and pass it around to your Oscar party guests.


Starting with my recipe for "The Martian" Shepherd's Pie, it will send your guests taste buds into a delicious orbit with the first spoonful. In the Oscar-nominated movie The Martian, a stranded astronaut survives on spuds (called one the most nutritiously complete foods.) This hearty dish is a baked veggie stew with meat that is topped with creamy mashed potatoes. So get your Best Cook award speech ready, and you can give this Cheap$kate Cuisinier an honorable mention if you want! Just click here to blast off.



The Revenant is a brutal masterpiece of the big screen. The pivotal scene involves actor Leonardo DiCaprio's mauling by a bear. Its graphic flaying of flesh may turn your stomach, but if you can stand the bloodletting then you can watch my "Revenant" BBO Pulled Pork video, that involves a whole raw fleshy pork shoulder.


The time frame of the movie is colonial America, and my "Revenant" BBQ Pulled Pork Recipe will bring out the animal in your invitees. So step up to the BBQ grill and get some vittles. You'll get raucous whoopin' and hollerin' when you set out a platter of my "Revenant" BBQ Pulled Pork. The heck with movie star dieting -- as you watch these anorexics amble to the stage to accept an award, you can kick back with a brewski and indulge a plate of meaty smoked pork sliders, with a side of coleslaw. Just click here to get a gander at all the recipe details.



My video recipe above uses hamburger buns, but get more of a spread with smaller dinner rolls to make BBQ Pork Sliders. The Revenant trailer is here.


Hollywood is known as a den of iniquity, and this live-and-let-live Film Making Chef would not have it any other way.  The Best Picture nominated Carol explores a lesbian love story set in conservative1950's NYC. This is also a great example of classic Hollywood direction by Todd Haynes, made with subtly and good taste. Of all the nominated Best Picture films, I like this one the best. Go ahead and call me old fashioned, just not intolerant. The artful movie trailer is here.

I live on the Left Coast and we were the first to legalize gay marriage in the U.S. in 2008 until a Mormon-backed (and funded) bill eventually overturned it -- then just last year the Supreme Court fully legalized gay marriage in this Land of the Free.

My next Oscar-themed recipe is "Carol" Rainbow Sprinkles Cupcakes, mixed with multi-colored sprinkles and topped with a sweet cherry. So heat up the oven and dust off the cupcake pan for my colorful just desserts.

If your Oscar party revelers are religious fundamentalists,  just skip the recipe video below for now - you wouldn't want them to see that same-sex couples are really just like them. Get all the sweet recipe directions here.


Hey, wealth-extracting Wall Street fat cats, come and get it. If you're like the predatory slime depicted in The Big Short, I have a way you can redeem yourselves at your Oscar Party. Put on the Ritz and serve up some "The Big Short" Portabella Crab Rockefeller. The recipe is so easy even a hedge fund manager can make it! 


I created this recipe using a Tiffany tinned bauble of canned crab, but if your stock dividend just spit and the government bailed you out...again, then get expensive fresh crab from your fave seafood market. For the rest of us in the cheap seats, fake krab is a tasty budget-wise substitution.



I often find expensive portabella mushrooms at my local 99c only Store. The other ingredients of cream, spinach, and cheese are cheap enough. So click here to get the recipe and serve up my Big Short Portabella Crab Rockefeller and watch as your guest swing from the chandelier with delight after a few flutes of champagne and this rich tasting entree. The Big Short trailer is here.

The Best Picture nominee Spotlight exposes clerical child abuse in the Boston Catholic Church Archdiocese. This is heavy stuff but well done. I like activist films that pull no punches and tell truth to power. Just check out the trailer here, for a taste.

As a child, I was a Catholic altar boy. Between service, I would stare up at the sheet of weekly film ratings in the church lobby to check out what I was allowed to see at the local movie house. If it was an Elvis Presley movie, I knew it was would be confession-time for me the next Sunday, as the singer's musical movies were usually rated "B" for bad - man, how I loved Elvis movies as a kid.

Maybe one day the Catholic Church will join the 21 Century, allowing all it's clergy to marry, even same-sex, and put women in positions of power as priests. I have faith that one day the Vatican will see the light.

My Oscar entree of "Spotlight" Clam Chowder is perfect for dipping your communion wafer. A creamy bowl of the Heretic Chef's Boston-style clam chowder is a beatific vision of deliciousness. After tasting one spoonful, you'll think you've died and gone to heaven! And get the recipe here.


"The Hateful Eight" Black-eyed Peas is a knockout dish, just like Jennifer Jason Lee's Oscar-worthy Supporting Actress performance. Director Quentin Tarantino is a sometimes ham-fisted filmmaker you love to hate. While indulgent, over the top, and profane, he can sure deliver a mouthful of spicy dialogue.

The most controversial part of The Hateful Eight belongs to the character of Daisy Domergue played by Jennifer Jason Lee. Throughout the movie, she is literally beat over the head with dialogue (thus my black-eyed recipe.) Not a pretty sight, but eventually the tables are turned. If you can take the heat, then do check out the movie trailer here.



This pot of goodness will have your Oscar party guest scraping the plate for every tender legume. And, man is this entree cheap. By the sweat of your brow, you'll get enough food to feed your captive Oscar audience. My recipe is here.

So try out any of my Oscar Party dishes. You're sure to get a standing O. So have your acceptance speech ready because the golden statuette for Best Entree at an Oscar Party will be yours.

And as a special bonus, here is my Oscar Special video from a few years ago -- just check out the Cheap$kate Thespian hamming it up.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Chicken & Basil Stir Fry - Video Recipe

This is a perfect windowsill herb garden recipe. I have always have a small herb garden somewhere nearby, either in a pot, or I'll reserve a small part of my patio garden.


I get small basil plants from the local nursery or hardware store. A basil plant only cost a few dollars and once it grows out, you can get several serving worth - a much cheaper way to go than buying an expensive bag of basil leaves from the grocery store. A farmers market is another less expensive place to find basil plants.

 Click on any photo to see larger.

You can use regular basil or Thai Basil. Both are about the same, although Thai basil has a slight mint undertaste. I see Thai basil at local nurseries too.


My Chicken & Basil Stir Fry is pungent, but not overly so. Like spinach, basil leaves shrink when cooked, and once mixed into a stir fry takes on a milder flavor.


I also add minced garlic and sliced green onion, but you can substitute cheap sliced yellow or white onion if green onion is not available, or too expensive.

This recipe is based on a Thai recipe, so the other flavors are soy and fish sauce with a little honey (or sugar.) If you cannot find fish sauce, then use easier-to-get oyster sauce. But this stir fry will taste fine without fish sauce or oyster sauce.


Usually Basil and Chicken Stir Fry has a whole spicy red chili. For this recipe you can use red pepper flakes or any spicy chili from your local market. Of course, you can leave the heat out.

I find skinless dark meat chicken on sale all the time at my local Latin market, for less than a dollar per pound. If you want to keep it cheap then you have to by it bone-in. It's not that hard to remove the bone, especially for breast meat. You could also use lean ground chicken or turkey, instead.



It's a one pan meal, and all comes together quickly, that's why I like to make a stir fry. It only takes about 10 minutes to do, and it's ready when the chicken is cooked through.

If you like fresh herbs in your entree, then try out the 99 Cent Cheap$kates latest recipe, a fragrant Chicken & Basil Stir Fry.

Chicken & Basil Stir Fry - Video

Play it here. Video runs 2 minutes, 43 seconds.

To view or embed from YouTube, click here.

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds chicken - I used skinless and boneless dark meat, okay to use breast meat. Ground chicken or turkey is good substitute.
  • 1 green onion - okay to use 1/4 yellow or white onion, sliced or chopped. Okay to add as much green onion as you like.
  • 1 cup basil leaves - add as much as you like, to taste. You can use dried basil leaves in a pinch, try a tablespoon.
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic - fresh or from jar.
  • 1 teaspoon honey - or any favorite sweetener.
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce - okay to substitute with oyster sauce. Will still be tasty if you cannot find either one. 
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce - more or less to suit your taste.
  • 1 tablespoon oil - to saute chicken.
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch or flour - optional. This will thicken liquid, if you like it that way. Mix into raw chicken.
  • 1/4 cup water or favorite broth - optional. Add this if you like a lot of sauce in your stir fry.


*For a little spicy heat it okay to add a 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (or less if you have a low tolerance.) Traditionally, small red hot chilis are added during sauteing. You could use any spicy chili or jalapeno. You will want to add a little at a time to reach desired spiciness.

Directions
If you are serving with rice, then get the rice going, according to package directions. It will take 20 to 30 minutes. When about half way done, you can start the Chicken and Basil Stir Fry. You can make the rice ahead of time - I usually have a cup or two of cooked rice in the freezer, that microwaves to hot in just a few minutes.

For this recipe I used skinless and boneless dark meat (It comes on sale for less than a dollar per pound, so I always have some in the freezer, at the ready.) You can use more lean, but expensive, white breast meat if you can afford it. White meat is easier to remove from the bone than dark meat.



Add oil to a medium/hot pan. For a thick sauce sprinkle in a teaspoon of corn starch or flour over chicken. Add chicken to hot pan.


Stir in garlic and mix well. Add a teaspoon of honey or any favorite sweetener.


Pour in soy sauce and fish sauce (or oyster sauce.)


Add sliced green onion or regular sliced white or yellow onion.


If you like a lot of sauce then add an extra 1/4 cup of water or favorite broth.

Continue to stir and cook chicken until done, about 3-5 minutes. Check for doneness by slicing into thickest piece of chicken to make sure there is no pink color.


When chicken is done add the basil leaves (remove any large stems.) You only need to stir fry less than a minute to soften the leaves.


Serve over rice or noodles. My Chicken and Basil Stir Fry is tasty on it's own, or serve with a fresh salad (my Thai Cucumber Salad is a quick away, here.)

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Valentine's Day Recipes - Videos & a Photo Story

Please sit down and have a glass of wine, and how about a tootsie massage? Kindly allow this Amorous Culinarian to hold your hand and guide you through a luscious menu of Valentine's Day Recipes.


Well, you are in the right place for a romantic read. If the following recipes look enticing to you then click on any name and you will be directed to my food blog recipe pages filled with tempting, tender prose, and pulse-quickening GIFs, photos, and video.

Let's set the mood with the most decadently sexy of confections, a Chocolate Covered Cherry. Here, I'll feed it to you, Mon'Amie....

Click on any photo or gif to see larger.

First up is a video of the Amorous Epicurean on the prowl for budget aphrodisiac ingredients to create a perfect romantic dinner date. Allow me to adjust your seat cushion -- there, lean back, and watch the show.

Shopping for a Romantic Recipe - VIDEO

You will want to start your romantic evening meal with an appetizer - a plump and pleasing Steamed Artichoke is the perfect dish to share with each other. Just swipe a steamed artichoke leaf into my creamy Ginger Mayo Dip and feed the tender petal end to your amour. Your appetite will surely build as you get to the delicately delicious artichoke heart. My Steamed Artichoke appetizer is just a tease.

Cooking & Eating an Artichoke - VIDEO


A lovely Pear and Spinach Salad with Creamy Herb Dressing looks good on the plate and will impress your true love with its lightness and fresh flavors.
And it's the perfect prelude to the main course.

I think Italian food is the sexiest of cuisines. Tender swirling ropes of pasta sliding through a rich creamy sauce will soften any hardened heart. Click on any recipe name below to see my luscious photos and read my tender prose.

There's nothing like a creamy warm egg yolk stoking the fires of desire, and the Flirty Chef's  Spaghetti alla Carbonara is the perfect mood-setter. With the first bite, your date will swoon with pleasure. Sprinkling crumbled bacon over the pasta is gilding the lily, but sometimes you need to go all the way!

In my Spaghetti alla Carbonara Video below I took a couple of cheap shortcuts. I used bacon bits, but you could substitute real bacon or kick it up a notch with sauteed pancetta. Also, freshly shaved parmesan cheese will be more pleasing than the dried brand I used.


And finally, I added a blended raw egg -- for a more romantic presentation, just gently place the egg yolk on a mound of steaming pasta.

Oh, is it time for another sweet confection? Of course, I have more, the apple of my eye...

Would you like another glass of wine before you watch my Spaghetti alla Carbonara recipe video below? Oh, don't worry about driving - I'll call Uber for you.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara Recipe - VIDEO


There, wasn't that edifying? Staying on the creamy theme, I can also recommend my Fettuccine Alfredo.

It's pasta with butter and cream -- simple and direct. You could mix in some fresh steamed veggies like broccoli for color and crunch -- just see how easy it is to do by clicking here on my Veggies in Cream with Pasta.

For something lighter, lose the cream and serve my stripped-down pasta recipe of John Cassavetes Red Pepper, Olive Oil, and Garlic with Spaghetti. It's a spicy tongue-tingler any tough guy can knock out.

Of course, a Latin lover would challenge any Italian Casanova for Lotherio's scepter. And my Mexican Chicken Tinga spicy stew will send chills down the spine and tingle any lady all the way to her toes.

Chicken Tinga - VIDEO


What? Another? You really do have a sweet tooth, well I do too, I think we are two peas in a pod.  Let's share this one...


Your love will fall under a lusty voodoo spell after sipping a couple of my homemade rum and sugar cane Cuban Mojitos. And if you and your lover are nursing a hangover the next morning, I have a hangover cure: a bowl of Pozole. It's a rich red broth of hominy, chiles, and pork.
Cuban Mojito - VIDEO


Black and white, yin and yang -- all inhibitions will drop with the sweet and sour flavors of my vegan Cuban Black Beans served over White Rice.


If you want to channel your inner domestic goddess, then tie on the apron, get out the potholders, and bring in a hot casserole dish of my luscious Baked Pasta with Cauliflower & Cheese to the dining room table. Just check out the tempting short animated video below to see the yummy and gooey details.

Baked Pasta with Cauliflower & Cheese - VIDEO


I have a recipe that will get any Lady Godiva off her high horse. Let's get tough guy Stanley Kowalski, but with a mushy heart. My chef nephew's Shrimp and Grits will take your date on a one-way streetcar to desire. All aboard to check out the video below of two lunkheads hanging out and cooking.

Shrimp & Grits - VIDEO


A close second to the most sensuous of nibbling is a tender fish fillet on rice or Sushi. Raw seafood will quicken a lover's pulse, and if you chase the sushi down with a few warm cups of sake the temptation to stay the night may be overwhelming.


My Sushi recipes are quite easy to do when you follow my directions. I even have a recipe for those averse to raw fish, a California Roll (in the hay,) that's made with cooked fake krab, creamy avocado, and sliced cucumber. Seafood Rolls and Sushi are handheld bites meant to be shared with your true love.

California Roll -VIDEO


Hawaii is the destination for romancing the palate. Make your own romantic Hawaii-themed date night with my exotic Island classic: Lau Lau. It's a banana leaf-wrapped package of deliciousness.

Oh look honeybunch, I have one left. 

The aroma of slow roasting pork, Hawaiian-style will fill the kitchen and dining room, stoking the appetite of desire. Slowly unwrap the package of tender Lau Lau for your beloved. You won't need a Lei of plumeria flowers to steal a kiss when you serve my savory dish. So click here to see the luscious photos and easy-to-follow recipe text. And aloha to love.

Hawaiian-style Lau Lau

Of course, you can't have a romantic dinner date without the sweets. And I have a simply delicious deconstructed dessert that I call Mini-Banana Puddings.

It's the perfect finger food to woo your loved one. All you need is to lay out some vanilla wafers and stack with a spoonful of pudding and banana slices, finally topped with Hersey Chocolate Kiss. You could also drizzle on any sweet topping like chocolate syrup, caramel, and other favorite candy pieces or sprinkles.


Pssst...don't let your date see this next video. Slip in a Chocolate-Covered Cherry in your date's hand and a heart may melt. I got the confections at my local 99c only Store. Go ahead and watch my cheap$kate video review and see how a five-count box for 99.99 cents rate on my Cheap$kate Dining Scale of 1 to 9, 9 being best.

Chocolate Covered Cherries - VIDEO


After a ravenous night, you will need a replenishing morning meal. And the Don Juan Gourmand's palate-pleasing Fried Egg on Breadcrumbs with Asparagus will satiate any food lover.

It looks good on the plate, but be sure to make plenty, as your sweetheart will ask for seconds!

Another morning after meal is my French-style Omelet. It's a labor of love that you may want to practice making a couple of times to get right. Like lovemaking, the more you do it the better you get! And I have all the right moves a click away.

Here are a few more romantic entrees you can try (just click on any name): Chef Zakk's Tuscan Primavera - Cajun StyleChicken Stroganoff, Julia Child's Crepes SuzetteBaked Chicken with GrapesShepherd's PiePortabella Crab RockefellerCoconut Crusted Fish & Mango SalsaPork BourguignonVegas Eggs BenedictFrench CassouletStuffed Poblano Chiles, and Roasted Mint Chicken.

My go-to confections purveyor is right down the street and it's old school to the max, See's Candies. And they hand out free samples...Wow!


Finally, it's 99 Shades of Cheap! Allow me to leave you with my most outrageous Valentine Day photo story called:


All items cost 99 cents.

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