Tag Archives: academy awards 2012

Post Oscar Hoopla

28 Feb

The 84th Academy Awards have come and gone.  Some of the winners were expected; others were a wonderful surprise.  Red carpet moments have been made and cemented into entertainment history.   I watched three hours of red carpet coverage, on three different channels, applauded and grimaced at some of the fashion choices,  and when I thought, I could not stand another man in an identical tuxedo; I was finally awarded the pleasure of watching a glamorous awards show, at least as compared to the disastrous previous year.

I have read the criticism, and I fully understand that Billy Crystal no longer has to worry about encountering his mid-life crises; he has been there, done that.  The countless blog, twitter and Facebook comments that proceeded to complain about the average age of the presenters, and the attendees made perturbed me just a little.  I have to say that when you hear the word hip, cool, and youthful over and over again, you begin to think that all the social commentators must be under the age of 25.  I say well done to Mr. Crystal, the ratings speak for themselves.  If you want hip and youthful watch the MTV music awards, thank goodness not everyone is like Justin Bieber.

The awards were entertaining.  I am still applauding the best actress win for Meryl Streep and significantly thinking, maybe I should look into these French men.  I had a grand time watching all the festivities, but as I look back at the evening, I realize it is not the outfits or the awards that made an impression it was the genuine show of love and affection that got my attention.

We go through life with high ambitions, hoping to create careers that are meaningful to us and maybe to others around us.  We save for the nice car, the nice house, the wonderful wardrobe and hopefully along the way we are loved and love someone in return.  It seems like such an insignificant gesture, one that sometimes goes unnoticed, overlooked and genially pushed aside.  I am not speaking of the fairy tale love story, but the real love we see every day.

The red carpet was full of stars who brought their parents or grandparents as their dates or just as a shoulder to lean on.  Jonah Hill brought his mom, who better to give the media dirty looks for calling her boy fat.  Brad Pitt escorted his parents down the red carpet, making them feel as if they were the stars, no matter the twitter twatter about the leg, Jolie only had eyes for her lover; gushing about his great manners.

The couples were out in full force.  Relationships we hope will last forever and others we know have a shelf life, here’s looking at you kid; Mr. George Clooney.  Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith looked very much in love while hitting the red carpet.  Jean Dujardin and his wife Alexandra Lamy nothing could really be better than the constant adoration they bestow on each other.  Christopher Plummer’s acceptance speech may have been the best of the night; his heartfelt thanks and praise of his wife actually made me tear up.  Meryl Streep brilliantly thanked her husband at the beginning of her speech.  She very graciously acknowledged he had given her everything that she most valued in the world.

Moments such as these make me realize that it doesn’t matter if you win awards or get to wear fabulous clothes while others stare at you in wonder, without someone to love, it just seems fruitless.  The love of a parent, child, sibling, friend or significant other is something that can never be replaced by fame and fortune.  I think of it as a wonderful gift that anyone, no matter their station in life, can attain.  The gift of love is available for most of us, if we slow down, look around and enjoy the moment.  We cannot all be like the rich and famous individuals we saw on Sunday at the Academy Awards, but maybe, just maybe they can be like us and be able to marvel in the one thing that, hopefully, all of us can experience one day, love.

 

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Academy Awards 2012 Feast and a Little Obsession with Sautéing

25 Feb

I always enjoy eating a bit of everything during the Oscars.  Whether you are having a little get-together with family and friends, or it is just you and the pups, having good food is a great way to enjoy the awards show.

I think my favorite thing about this meal is the smell of onions sautéing in butter, a smell that brings back the very best memories of my childhood in Poland.   The smell conjures up a period of my life when time slowly melted away; the comforts of a childhood home that can never fade, the trivial daily routines of my mother or grandmother that gave me a sanctuary of stability, love and reassurance.

I am having just a few friends over and decided to combine a few fast and easy Polish dishes with a little Mediterranean flare.  If you are throwing a lavish party double or triple the recipes and always remember that presentation counts as much as the food, so let the fun begin.

A simple sausage can turn into am extravagant meal if you add the perfect sides; grilled potatoes, sautéed zucchini, grilled mushrooms, and a sauerkraut salad (surowka z kiszonej kapusty), trust me, it’s delicious.  For desert, an easy-peasy cheesecake with fresh strawberries.  I have a creamier, more intricate cheesecake recipe I will share in the future, but for this weekend who has time to bake when the Academy Awards are on.

Ingredients

Sausage -(2 sausages a guest) any kind will do, but make sure you are buying nitrite and nitrate free sausages.  Whole foods and Trader Joes has a grand assortment.  I have chosen a spinach, fontina and roasted garlic chicken sausage (all natural, raised with no antibiotics-Trader Joes)

1 bag Dutch yellow potatoes (or any small potatoes, that do not require peeling)

(I love You Trader Joe’s Dutch Yellow Potatoes, only $2.79 a bag)

4 carrots

(I always buy the organic small bunch from Whole Foods, they are very economical and no peeling necessary)

3 ½ onion (yellow or white)

5 zucchini

10-12 or 1 package baby bella mushrooms

10-12 Shitake mushrooms

1 Jar Sauerkraut (I recommend any Polish sauerkraut that you can get your hands on; I do believe it is the best.  However, for those of you that are not fortunate enough to have a global market in your town, any kind will do, although sauerkraut in a jar is much tastier than the stuff that comes in a bag!)

Olive oil

4 T butter

Salt and pepper

Ingredients for the Cheesecake

2 packages cream cheese

2 eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1 orange (for the zest)

1 Vanilla bean

Fresh strawberries

Go ahead and start on your cheesecake first.

Bring the cream cheese to room temperature

Zest your orange

Beat the cream cheese with 1/3 cup sugar (I am not a fan of overtly sweet desert, if that is what you enjoy add another ¼ cup of sugar), the vanilla bean, and the orange zest until the batter has a creamy consistency.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time until well blended

Butter your glass-baking dish and lightly coat with breadcrumbs or flour

Pour batter into a glass dish, I am not a fan of piecrust (it is usually made with hydrogenated oils (very bad for your health), unless you make your own, but in Poland, cheesecake is usually made without a crust.

Bake at 350°F for about 50 minutes or until center is almost set.

Wash and slice your strawberries, sprinkle with 1-2t sugar and mix well.  Garnish cheesecake or each individual slice or allow your guests to add their own strawberries.

The meal

Boil your sausages for about 15 minutes

Boil potatoes (stick a sharp knife into potatoes 15-20 after water starts to boil; you want the knife to slide in gently, do not over boil potatoes, or they will fall apart)

Melt 1 T butter, 1 T olive oil, sauté 1 onion  until lightly brown in a large skillet, slice potatoes leaving the skin on, throw onto skillet and lightly brown, sprinkling with salt and pepper to taste.

Sauté 1 finely chopped onion with 2 T butter and a drizzle of olive oil until lightly brown

Add chopped mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste (about 1 t each)

Sauté about 15-20 minimum until juicy and tender (adding ¼-cup red wine-optional)

Peel zucchini, slice, drizzle with olive oil, and sauté in skillet, adding 1t cayenne pepper and 1 t salt.  Make sure you do not sauté for more than 5 minutes; you do not want your zucchini to tender.

Finely chop 1 onion and sauté in 1T butter and 1T olive oil until lightly brown in a skillet, cut sausage into thin slices and toss into skillet, brown on both sides, about 10 minutes.

Place ½ of the contents of the sauerkraut into large bowl, grate 4 carrots and add to sauerkraut,  finely chop ½ onion and add to bowl, drizzle with 1T olive oil, sprinkle pepper about 1 t (don’t add salt), and mix will.

Walla, your meal is ready.  The secret word of the day seems to be sauté.  I just realized that there is a lot of chopping, sautéing and drizzling with this meal, but it is worth it.  Enjoy and do not forget to make sure you have a variety of drinks available for your guests: red or white wine, beer or even a variety of liquors that do not require mixing.

Academy Awards 2012 Week

20 Feb

Movies give us an escape from the daily grind of life.  Movies allow us to dream big and imagine possibilities beyond our grasp.  Movies allow us to hope and sometimes open our hearts to endless possibilities and motivate us to become the individuals whom we have always hoped to become.

We have, once again, found ourselves just one week away from the Academy Awards, the 2012 Academy Awards to be exact.  Another year of wonderful and not so wonderful movies that have left us asking for more, begging for the horror to stop, finding emotions within ourselves which we thought were lost forever and laughing until we thought we would split in two.  Yes, I must say some of the movies of 2011 were beyond terrible, Season of the Witch, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn-part 1, and so many other  films that I would like not to mention.

The year did bring a plethora of good, great and inspiring films as well.  I enjoyed Limitless, not just because Bradley Cooper is lovely to look at (okay that as well), but because it made me actually think throughout the whole film.  I have to say that watching Midnight in Paris left me a little breathless, mostly because I wanted to jump on a plane, fly to Paris, and maybe, just maybe, rendezvous with some of the world’s finest  authors while dancing to some of the world’s finest music all while sipping champagne of course!  The film Contagion scared me whittless.  I actually found myself moving away from people that had even the slightest sign of sniffles.  There were certain Movies such as, Footloose, which should never have been made or remade, for that matter.  How can you even try to replace the original super-duper, awesome 1980’s flick with a movie starring a dancing with the star’s girl?

I was impressed with most of the films nominated for the 2012 Academy Awards.  The Artist was a breath of fresh air; Moneyball was the first time I actually enjoyed anything that had to do with baseball (I know, do not hate me; I am not a fan of the game).  Midnight in Paris I have already praised.  The countless other films (I say this without a bit of sarcasm, give me a break, let’s get back to the 5 film nominee platform), all had their own positive vibes.  War Horse left my eyes bloodshot and swollen for a whole day.  I mean how much can a girl handle when it comes to animals in peril?

Oscar week is a big highlight for many people.  The parties will be numerous in Los Angeles, but do not worry you can enjoy the fun as well.

Join me this week to discuss the best actress and the best actor nominees, rave about the original screenplay nominees, get a little tour through the land of Hollywood, and enjoy planning your own Oscar celebration.

Misiu and Lola, the pups, are ready for all the Oscar buzz as well, they are after all Hollywood dogs or L.A. pups (they were both rescued in the city of Angels.)

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