Wednesday, February 28, 2018

2018 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.

And click on any Oscar Entree nominee name to be directed to the original blog post for all the award-winning recipe prose and cinematic culinary imagery.

Let's start things off with a bang, it's the Oscar Entree nominated, "Dunkirk" Beanie Weenies!
Dunkirk - Movie Trailer

This rousing flick, directed by genre-hopping Christoper Nolan, is about WWII British soldiers stranded on the beaches of Dunkirk as the Nazis close in for the kill.

But don't worry. The British love their whistle-berries, so It's Baked Beans with Wieners to the rescue!
"Dunkirk" Beanie Weenies - Recipe

Rising from the murky depths, my next Oscar Entree Nominee, "The Shape of Water"Alligator Po'boy Sandwich, may give you the creeps.  

 After one crunchy bite, your head will swim with pungent Cajun spices and exotic reptile tastes. Alligator is very similar in texture and flavor to a pork chop, but with an extra seafood tang. An Alligator Po'boy Sandwich is typically dressed in lettuce and tomato on a slice of French bread slathered with mayo.

The Shape of Water - Movie Trailer

Is the main creature character, in this imaginative movie creation by Director Guillermo del Toro, fish or reptile - may be a combination of both? 

While the alligator flavor may leave you scratching your head, this recipe is ready for it's close-up taste test. So after viewing the recipe below, go ahead and give my Best Oscar Entree a big webbed green thumbs up!

"The Shape of Water"Alligator Po'boy Sandwich - VIDEO

My next Oscar-Nominated Entree is "Phantom Thread" Shepherd's Pie. Film director Paul Thomas Anderson weaves a quixotic yarn of a story, that is a part art-house movie and British costume drama.

And the director teams with actor Daniel Day-Lewis once again, who plays a proper gown couturier, set in 1950's London, England. His character falls for a young waitress, and soon enough the sequins fly. 

The most English of entrees is a Shepherd's Pie, which commoners and royalty enjoy. It's simple pub food composed of ground beef or lamb, peas, and carrots cooked in a beef and tomato sauce, finally crowned with mashed potatoes. Click here to see how this Scrooge Yoeman does it.

Phantom Thread - Movie Trailer

My Oscar Entree, "Lady Bird" Curried White Chicken Deli Salad, is based on a Trader Joe's deli favorite that struggling students, like the movie's main character Lady Bird, would surely dine on. 

This chick flick is one that guys can get into. I saw it and totally got it. The mom and daughter dynamic starring Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, directed by Greta Gerwig, is indeed Oscar-worthy.

Lady Bird - Movie Trailer

If you don't know about our local Trader Joe's markets, they stock food that is cheap, but high quality. They carry specialized frozen and fresh packaged foods, locally baked bread, organic veggies and fruit, hormone-free meat, chicken, and fish, along with a huge selection of exotic beer, wine, and spirits.

My cheapSkate version of Curried White Chicken Deli Salad is so yummy even Academy voters used to glitzy dining, would cast their vote for this Best Oscar Entree

Twilight Zone influenced, Oscar-nominated Get Out is a black man's paranoiac nightmare come true when he visits his white girlfriend's family. This is not your "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" kinda movie, where everyone becomes enlightened about race relations.
Get Out - Movie Trailer

I can't give away too much about this flick - no spoilers here. But I can give you all the details for my Oscar Entree: "Get Out" Black Beans with White Rice

My recipe's combination of the sweet and sour Cuban-style  Black Beans, with boring White Rice, is a miscegenation of flavors. 

So let's all get along and agree that this Best Oscar Entree is horrifically delicious.

"Get Out" Black Beans with White Rice - VIDEO

To misquote Sir  Winston Churchhill: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, sweat, and cheap$kate ingredients."

And the Oscar-Nominated Entree, "Darkest Hour" Fish and Chips," delivers on all the above.

This stirring biopic of Sir Winston Churchill's leadership as Hitler swept through Europe is a rousing viewing experience. And lead actor Gary Oldman is the Best Actor to beat.
Darkest Hour - Movie Trailer

For the fish I use cheap pollack fish that is beer batter coated and deep-fried. For proper chips or fries, I use a double frying method on russet potatoes, to get extra crunchy fries.

So belly up to the bar and order Churchill's favorite drink, Scotch whiskey, along with the pub grub favorite Fish and Chips. Watch my recipe video below to see how this Cheap$kate Corker does it. My entree will lighten any dark day.

"Darkest Hour" Fish & Chips - Video

Do try out any of my Oscar Party Entrees - 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 belongs to you, the host with the most.

And I'll leave you with a video I made a while ago, where the Academy of Motion Pictures had an Oscar exhibit, along with a podium with a real Oscar. All you had to do was stand in line and take a picture with it -- well you can be sure I showed up for that! Just check out the video below:

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Best Avocado Toast - Recipe Video

Here's one way to start your day: Avocado Toast. Check out my recipe video below to see how quick and easy it is to make.

Avocado Toast - Video

Play it here. Video runs 58 seconds.

You can also have Avocado Toast for a light lunch or as a snack anytime of day. If you eat out in LA it's de rigueur, and fast becoming cliché in menus all over town. But good is good, and it's the right price for this Cheap$kate Gourmand.

I make my creamy and crunchy Avocado Toast simply, just mash ripe avocado and add salt and pepper. When a couple slices of bread are toasted and warm, I slather on the avocado - that's it.

Sometimes I don't even mash them in a bowl, I just scoop out some ripe avocado and smear it right on the toast, without salt or pepper.

You can dress it up with smokey crumbled bacon, a runny fried egg, chopped tomato, sliced cucumber, fruit, sauteed veggies -- the additions go on and on, just Google Avocado Toast sometime.

I am lucky to live in the Avocado Capital City of America. We get them year around. Well, I'm sure some other California cities would make the same claim. One extra source in Los Angeles are a plethora of Latin grocery stores that stock avocados from Mexico..

And we get them cheap here is Los Angeles. I like to use smaller ones, just because I hate waste, and a small size is perfect for a serving or two.

And the creamiest and richest avocado, the Haas, was first grafted from a single tree here in La Habra Heights in Los Angeles county almost 100 years ago. Read about the origin story here or a shorter version here.

I've been burned many times picking out avocados. Smooth skin types are not as rich and creamy as the bumpy skin Haas Avocado, but I will take any type rather than go without.

An avocado is ripe when slightly soft to the touch. Mushy brown spots are a warning. You never know if the flesh will be stringy and bland, or soft and rich.  But most times it all works out. Click here for a few tips on when an avocado is ready to eat.

I like to use bread with flavor for my Avocado Toast. Since avocados are expensive for most of us, you might as well splurge on the bread, too. If you have a favorite baker, give them a visit. Or stroll through the bread section of your local grocery and try a pungent sourdough, nutty multi-grain, or local specialty.

One small avocado, when mashed, is enough for two slices of Avocado Toast. To spread the joy at a party, set out a bowl of mashed avocado with your fave crackers or toasted bread pieces and let your guest help themselves. Avocado removed from the skin will begin to turn brown quickly, but I bet your guest won't let that happen - just stand back and watch it quickly disappear.

You might as well get in line with  hipster diners who have made Avocado Toast the most popular of appetizers in Los Angeles eateries.  Go ahead, join us, this is one foodie trend that deserves to keep on, keepin' on.

Ingredients (2 servings)
  • 1 small ripe avocado - I find that a small avocado will be enough for a couple of servings
  • 2-4 slices of bread - toasted. I used sourdough. Okay to use any favorite bread including wheat and multigrain. How much bread you use depends how much avocado you spread on each slice.
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Simple as can be. Start toasting a couple slices of bread.

Just slice avocado in half and remove seed.

Scoop out ripe avocado flesh into a bowl and mash. You can mash until creamy or keep it chunky.

Salt and pepper to taste.

For a single serving I use half an avocado. I leave the seed in the unused avocado half, cover it with the leftover avocado peel and store it in the refrigerator. Refrigerated, it  will last a few days.

Sometimes I just scoop out avocado flesh and smear it right on the toast.

My YouTube video link for viewing or embedding, just click here.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Breakfast Tacos - Leftovers Series

I threw a taco party for the Football's Superbowl and what do I have to show for it? A bunch of leftovers including Pinto Beans, Mexican Rice and some Homemade Salsas.

In my game day menu was: Carnitas with Frijoles and Mexican Rice. If you are looking for your own party food make sure to click on any highlighted recipe name to see all the yummy photos, Gifs, videos and tasty recipe text.

Mexican-style Carnitas - slow cooked pork marinated in Mexican Coke & citrus

My friends and neighbors were glued to their seats during the game, but managed to get up for munchie breaks, so much so that by the 4th inning my Carnitas were wiped out. The only thing left was some salsa, beans and rice.

The food was a hit. Setting up a taco bar is the way to go if you want to mingle with your party guests. What's great is they do all the work, once you set out the goodies.

It is easy to keep the Mexican-style Pinto Beans at a low temperature on the stove top. During the game I would add a little water from time to time as the bean broth thickened.

Once the Mexican Rice was ready I just left it covered. Room temp is fine for the rice, since the beans were kept hot on the stove, so my guest could make their own steaming bowls of Beans and Rice to go with tacos and homemade salsas.

I kept my Carnitas in a covered pan and would heat it up in the stove every once in a while. I kept the stove on at 250 degrees so it would only take a few minutes to heat the Carnitas through. (I could have microwaved the meat as well.) I always keep some meat broth to moisten the meat, spooning on some each time I before heating.

There was plenty of time before kickoff to make some Homemade Salsa. In terms of food preparation, I had made the Carnitas the day before and the pinto beans soaked overnight, so all I had to do was make Mexican Rice and Salsas on game day.

Pico de Gallo and Mango Salsa takes some chopping, but it's not too bad. I made sure to do them first thing, as they are tastiest with a couple of hours chilling in the refrigerator, so all the flavors blend well.

The Salsa Verde is made with roasted  tomtillo and some onion - easy enough, just throw it in the oven about half an hour or so while the Carnitas are heating up. When the tomatillos were soft and onions slightly charred, I let them cool off, then simply blend together.

 My Red Chile Salsa is made with dried chiles (remove seeds)  that are soaked in hot water for half an hour. You just blend them with some of the chile water, and add some onion and tomato for a Salsa Roja, and that's it.

Well this blog post is really about the leftovers. All I had the next day was some beans, rice, tortillas, and salsa. So I started the next couple of days with Breakfast Tacos.

I microwaved some Pinto Beans and Mexcian Rice, while I scrambled one egg and heated up 2 or 3 corn tortillas.

Once the main ingredients were heated through I assembled the Breakfast Tacos, topping them with some shredded cheese and salsa. Boy is this a great way to get the day going.

After your own Taco Party take advantage of my Leftover Breakfast Tacos recipe - table scraps were never so deliciously put to use.

Ingredients (2 tacos)
  • 1 egg - scrambled your favorite way. One medium egg is enough for a couple of small tacos.
  • 2 to 3 corn tortillas - amount depends on egg size. Okay to make a Breakfast Burrito with flour or wheat tortilla.
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican rice - add as much Mexican Rice as you like. 
  • 1 tablespoon pinto beans - add as much pinto beans as you like. Okay to use canned pinto beans.
  • 1 tablespoon cheese - optional. Any type of cheese, I used shredded cheddar and Jack. Again add as much as you like.
  • 1 tablespoon salsa - fresh made or from jar. I made my breakfast tacos with Mango, Pico de Gallo, Salsa Verde (tomatillo) and Red Chile.
  • 1 teaspoon oil or butter - for scrambling an egg.

First take out the salsa and cheese  from the refrigerator, to reach room temperature.

I microwaved the beans and rice together in a bowl.

I started heating the corn tortillas while scrambling an egg. I used a pat of butter for my eggs but you can make your scrambled eggs with oil, or any way you like.

Once the eggs are done and other ingredients heated up, or reach room temperature, assemble the Breakfast Tacos.

Make the tacos as stuffed as you like - just pile on the tasty ingredients. And get out the hot sauce, too!

It's up to you how to make Breakfast Tacos. Don't like pinto beans? - then leave them out. If cheesy tacos are for you then add extra cheese. It's okay to use your favorite grocery  jar of salsa or canned pinto beans. Make this recipe your own.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Valentine's Day Recipes - Videos & 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 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 them 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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