1920s French-Style Oscars Party

Aida Mollenkamp Oscars Viewing Party

Today was très amusant! I woke up to throw together a 1920s French-themed party and share it with my friends on Access Hollywood Live. Seeing as I’ve been working with Moet & Chandon a French-ified party seemed parfait. So, I donned my best 1920s makeup, decorated with a mix of modern metallics and vintage glasses, and assembled an assortment of finger foods with classic French flavors.

Here’s a few tips I passed on, a menu inspired by classic French foods, and a few behind-the-scenes snapshots of  the food I prepared.
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Salmon, Crème Fraîche, and Fennel Rillettes

Aida Mollenkamp Smoked Salmon Rillettes Spread Recipe

Midnight in Paris is the next movie that I’m paying homage to as part of my week of Oscars-themed recipes. Since the film flips and flops between modern-day and 1920s Paris, I decided to make a contemporary twist on a classic French recipe.

All you have to do is read two lines of any Lost Generation novel and the romanticism surrounding that era is infectious. It’s hard to deny the quiet elegance of that era — as France recovered from World War 1 and American writers walked the streets looking to escape and find inspiration. That is a lot to translate into finger food, but I immediately thought of the classic French appetizer, rillettes. Similar to a pâté, rillettes are traditionally made by slow cooking pork in its own fat and then mixing it for a seriously decadent spread.

I wanted to give it a more modern, quicker, and slightly healthier twist so I came up with these Smoked Salmon, Crème Fraîche, and Fennel Rillettes. They’re made by breaking up smoked salmon and folding it together with a double dose of anise flavor from the fennel and the herbs and a dollop of creme fraiche for a touch of decadence. This spread has a smoky, sweet, anise flavor and is as delicious on a cracker as it is between bread for a quick sandwich. And, of course, since this is another recipe I developed for Moët & Chandon, it tastes even better when paired with some chilled champagne.
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Pancetta, Thyme, and Fontina Gougères

Aida Mollenkamp Pancetta Thyme and Fontina Gougeres Recipe

If ever there was a time to celebrate the bright lights of fame and Hollywood, it would be now, during the awards season that kicks off each January and culminates with the Oscars. This year I’ve been working with Moët & Chandon to help Hollywood celebrate the awards season with some entertaining recipes and ideas. In that spirit, I’ve developed some finger foods and cocktails to help celebrate the 2012 Academy Awards home so you can host your own Oscars Viewing Party.

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Spiced Citrus Pickled Shrimp

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Dinner Recipe Spiced Pickled Shrimp

Super Bowl is but a few days away and there are recipes galore out there for everything from overloaded nachos to kajillion-layer dips. But around these parts we’re sticking to the healthier eating habits of last month and are lightening things up for game day too.

My latest finger food obsession hails from the South but dispels all the Southern food stereotypes because it’s really light and quite healthy.  Pickled shrimp are a classic in the Carolinas but, seeing as I’ve never been around those parts, I hadn’t heard of them until recently. Seeing as I have more than a mild obsessions for all things pickled and fermented, I had to try this the minute I came across it. After a few rounds of pickling and some tweaks (inspired largely by an overzealous citrus tree), I came up with this really easy but ridiculously flavorful recipe.
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Poke, My Way

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Dinner Recipe Ahi Poke Tostada

For the last recipe of my Hawaiian coverage, I wanted to share with you my California-fied twist on a classic Hawaiian recipe.

Poke (pronounced poh-kay) is one of those classic Hawaiian dishes I can’t get enough of and I eat my share when I’m on island. If you haven’t had it before, it’s like a Hawaiian-style ceviche where, at the most basic, sushi-grade seafood is mixed with classic Hawaiian flavors of soy sauce and onions. From there, the options are limitless and you’ll find all sorts of poke flavors made with everything from octopus to squid, all over the state.

The problem is that a lot of poke is seriously high in sodium and just does’t have a balance of freshness and flavor that I like. I’ve spent a fair amount of time, money, and meals comparing and contrasting poke throughout the state and finally realized I should be making it myself and have become a self-proclaimed poke master. (Bold words I know seeing as I’m not born-and-bred in Hawaii.)

Speaking of which, my favorite way of serving poke has been super untraditional as a sort of Mexican tostada with Hawaiian flavors. Anytime I spend more than a few weeks away from California, I start craving Mexican food, so, to get the best of both worlds, I decided to make my own poke and throw it atop a crunchy tostada base.
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Pretty. Easy. Spiced Boiled Peanuts

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Healthy Snack Recipe Spiced Boiled Peanuts Recipe

It’s pretty much impossible to spend any real time in Hawaii without coming across boiled peanuts. Along with poke, boiled peanuts are a classic happy hour pupu (appetizer) and I can never seem to get enough of them. When I’m on Oahu, I stop by Tamura’s where there’s an awesome selection of booze, poke, and boiled peanuts. But I started getting annoyed that I was spending money on boiled peanuts since they require nothing more than a few ingredients and a few hours.
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Night Market Five-Spice Chicken

Aida Mollenkamp Easy Snack Recipe Night Market Five Spice Chicken

Though I’ve never been to Taiwan, there’s one thing I know for sure: I’m a huge fan of night market-style fried chicken. It’s one of a variety of xiaochi (aka “finger foods) found in Taiwanese night markets and is more or less popcorn chicken seasoned with garlic, soy, and a good amount of Chinese Five-Spice powder. I first tried it on last month’s Six Taste Taiwanese Food Tour and it has quickly become a staple in my house, earning the nickname, A.F.C. (aka Asian Fried Chicken).
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