Oscar Night True Grits

EVENT: Oscar Night!
VENUE: The Couch, In Front of the TV
TYPE: Best Picture-Themed Potluck Party
MENU: True Grits with Southwestern Shrimp; Fighter Black Eyed Peas; Blackened Swan; King’s Cake

I love watching the Oscars. And perhaps it is this love that has dissuaded me from ever hosting an Oscar party. You see, I love printing out fake ballots, placing bets on the predictions, and getting overly competitive about the winners. I also love judging celebrities as they walk down the red carpet, and complimenting Rachel Zoe for all her bananas choices year after year. But I hate it when people talk over what’s going on on-screen, and it is for this reason that I have always kept my gatherings small or just gone home to hang out with my parents, who have good instincts for whose acceptance speeches are worth talking over and are used to my secret and silly competitive side.

Two years ago, Cara came with me uptown to my parents’. She brought Baklava for dessert to follow my mom’s delicious fishermen’s pie. There wasn’t any particular inspiration or reason for the randomness of this spread, but it suited the chillness of the gathering, if not the theme.

This year, I’ve been fantasizing about something more thematic, a night where the food complements the happenings on the red carpet, and is equally worthy of the spotlight. An opportunity for everyone to get involved. Yes, an Oscar night potluck party.

I don’t know if I’ll actually have the follow-through to make it happen (I’ve been campaigning for Josh to do the hosting dirty work for me), but I know the food would be fun. To get some inspiring suggestions, I asked our fans on Facebook for their ideas for Oscar potluck fare inspired by the best picture nominees. Below are some of their ideas, and some of my own, should I happen to be invited to someone else’s Oscar-themed potluck party. Some are literal, some are puns, some simply play off the cuisine featured in the films, and some are just plain silly. For my favorite idea, True Grits, I’ve cooked up a new recipe for you and included it below.

For a dinner menu menu to eat while watching the awards, no matter who is nominated, check out our Oscar Night Bash here.

From my kitchen, dreaming of serving Black-Eyed Peas to Mark Wahlberg, to yours,


**Menu Ideas**

True Grit

True Grits with Southwestern Shrimp (recipe below)
True Grit-tle Cakes with Cowboy Beans

Black Swan

Blackened Swan
Black-Bottomed Blondies

The Fighter

Crack Pie
Black-Eyed Peas

Winter’s Bone

Winter’s T-Bone Tacos

The Kids Are All Right

Mark Ruffalo’s Green Market Crudités
So-Cal Fish Tacos with Organic Greens

Inception (Thanks to Lizzie Neilson)

Deconstructed Eggplant Parmesan
Falling Vegetable Tower

Toy Story (Thanks to Duvall Osteen)

Woody’s Woodfired Pizza
Buzz Lightyear’s Spiked Lemonade

King’s Speech

King’s Cake
King’s Crown Roast

Social Network

Mark Zuckerburg Bites His Tongue
Justin Timberlake’s Blueberry Crunch Cake

127 Hours

127 Layer Cake
Wingless Chickens

Boulder Rock Candy


True Grits with Southwestern Shrimp
Makes 4 servings

If you are actually making this for a potluck party, you might want to cook the whole thing start to finish at your friend’s house. It is a great dish for this kind of potluck approach–the whole thing can be made in under 15 minutes.

1 quart chicken broth
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup yellow grits
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 lime, juiced
Fresh parsley leaves or sliced scallions for garnish

In a medium, lidded saucepan, bring the stock, butter, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the grits, and turn the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is absorbed and the grits are tender, 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.

In the meantime, make the shrimp: in a medium non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and saute until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Season the shrimp on both sides with salt and the chili powder. Push the shallots to the sides of the pan, and add the shrimp to the center. Cook until pink, about 1 minutes per side. Add the lime juice to the pan and scrape up any brown bits. Set aside.

To serve, spoon the grits onto a serving platter or individual plates, and top with the shrimp and shallot mixture. Garnish with parsley or scallions and serve immediately.

Posted in: Potluck Parties
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