A few years ago I wrote a popular blog post about a game the ex and I used to play called “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”  It dawned me as I watched the Golden Globes this past weekend that it might be fun to do a similar dinner party, but with a strictly Hollywood twist.

Guess Whose Coming To Dinner?

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?

The rules are you can invite up to 9 people (you make the 10th), anyone from the silver screen past or present, living or deceased, who you feel would make the most interesting dinner companions. Think both in front of, and behind the camera, and don’t forget to let us know why you have invited them – would they be great eye candy for the table, witty, controversial, or simply a fabulous conversationist? Will it be a casual or formal affair? What will you serve?

Dripping in Jewels

Silver Screen Edition

Hollywood represents glamour to me, and there are so few occasions to get all dolled up these days, so I think I’ll throw a formal affair with a dress code of shimmering evening gowns, heels, and tuxedos. Of course the ladies will be dripping in jewels, so the menu should be as opulent and overflowing with Crystal Rose Champagne (it is an imaginary party, so I get to have a glass or two or my fav). Here is my Silver Screen Guest List:

Jared Leto: Not only has he mastered the “man bun” (I’ve always been a sucker for men with long hair), the multitalented musician-songwriter-actor-director-artist transformed a transgender woman battling HIV (a character who might otherwise reside on the fringe of society) into the mainstream of our hearts in Dallas Buyers Club. One of, if not the, best performance of the season.

Edith Head: I do have an alterior motive for bringing the costume design icon back- I want her to do my gown for the evening, plus it would be a fascinating conversation to hear what she makes of today’s fashion and costume designers – many of whom have been heavily influenced by the glamour she regaled upon Hollywood.

Steve Coogan: Philomena surprised me when it became one of my favorite films. He injected just enough comedic relief when necessary, while holding his own opposite Dame Judy Dench. He also co-wrote the screenplay with the journalist he portrayed, so I have a feeling he’s quite capable of provoking a lively debate or two.

Margot Robbie: The Wolf of Wall Street actress reminds me of a blond Angelina Jolie in that utterly mesmerizing combination of intense beauty with serious acting chops. Just watch this space – her star is destined for the stratosphere.

Walt Disney: Anti-semite, mysogynist, or not, I don’t care, because I’d  like a closer glimpse into the mind and imagination that created such magic on the screen for so many generations. Besides, he reminds me of my grandfather – same hair, mustache, style of suit, and both men were from Kansas City.

Dinner with Amanda Eliasch and friends

Dinner with Amanda Eliasch and friends

Amanda Eliasch: For those of you who don’t know, my friend directed one of the most daring and artistically stunning documentaries of the year, The Cake, The Gun, And The Butterfly. She’s deserves a place at the table because she’s fearless and marches to the beat of her own drum.

Chris Hemsworth: I’ve been a Formula One fan for years and you have to admit the Rush star is beyond gorgeous. Plus, Amanda will thank me profusely for sitting her next to him.

Emma Thompson: I’ve seen the Oscar winning actress-writer-director do several Q&A’s, and she has a razor sharp wit that will keep everyone on their toes. Plus I enjoyed watching Saving Mr. Banks so much that I’ve watched the film three times.

Spike Jonze: There is nothing sexier (to me anyhow) than sheer genius, and the courage to be original in an industry that’s rarely willing to veer off the beaten path. I’d love to get Lost in Translation with the shy director of Her!

Who is coming to your awards dinner?

Who is coming to your awards dinner?

Which film luminaries (both living and beyond) would you most like to invite to your dinner party, why, and what would you serve? Do tell us in the comment section below! I fancy some lobster…

Sous Vide Lobster with Prawns & Champagne Buerre Blanc

Sous Vide Lobster in Champagne Beurre Blanc

Melt in your mouth tender lobster seared quickly in clarified butter and herbs, dribbled with a rich tangy Champagne sauce . This recipe does require a little more technique and special equipment than usual, but my friend and mentor Chef Joe DiMaggio Jr. taught me the technique over the phone, so I know you can master it too.

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

Sous Vide Lobster in Champagne Beurre Blanc

  • 2 large lobster tails thawed, cut along inner shell, and carefully remove lobster tail from it's shell
  • 3/4 pound unsalted butter divided
  • 2 shallots minced, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon finely chopped, divided (don't chop until ready to use)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Champagne vineager
  • 1/4 cup Champagne
  • salt to taste
  • white pepper to taste

Directions

Sous Vide Lobster in Champagne Beurre Blanc

  1. To sous vide the lobster: Bring a large pot of water to 130° F. using a candy thermometer to make sure the temperature remains constant, adjusting burner accordingly when necessary. Vacuum seal the lobster tails after carefully removing the shells. Immerse in the 130° F. water, placing another smaller pan over to keep the tails immersed in the water. Sous vide until just opaque, about 25 minutes. Remove; and cool quickly in an ice bath, then refrigerate until ready to finish and serve.
  2. To clarify one stick of butter (remove the milk solids, water and any salt): Melt the butter in a small skillet over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and let stand at room temperature for five minutes, then skim of all the milky white bits that come to the top, keeping just the clear - hence clarified - yellow liquid; set aside or refrigerate if not using imminently.
  3. Champagne beurre blanc: Cut the remaining sticks of butter into 1/2" pieces and keep cold in the refrigerator until needed. Start making the sauce about 30-45 minutes before serving or it may break and not look as pretty (but it will still taste great if this happens). Start with softening 1 minced shallot in 2 tablespoons of butter in a medium size saucepan over medium-low heat, about 6-8 minutes. Add the vinegar and Champagne, increase heat to medium, bring to boil, and reduce the liquid (continuing to boil) by half, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low again, and begin adding the butter a couple tablespoons at a time, while whisking continuously, and adding more just before the previous pieces of butter have completely liquified. You may have to remove pan from heat occasionally to cool (you do not want the butter to brown), and repeat until the sauce has thickened to the consistency of a Hollandaise sauce. Remove from heat and stir in 1 tablespoon of the chopped tarragon and season to taste with salt and white pepper. Serve immediately.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the clarified butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the remaining shallot and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the sous vide lobster tails and sear until they start to brown, and become opaque (but do not over cook) about 3 minutes per side. When you turn the lobster tails over to the second side, add the bay shrimp and cook until curled and opaque with a hint of color, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining tarragon and parsley.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the sautéed sous vide lobster and shrimp drizzled with Champagne beurre blanc (and more on the side - you'll want every delicious drop), with a steamed medley of baby vegetables.

Heat To Eat

This dish is best served immediately after cooking, because the beurre blanc sauce will break when you heat to eat, so it will not look pretty, but will still taste divine. Heat the lobster in the microwave on 50% power for 3-5 minutes; turning midway to distribute heat evenly. Be careful not to overheat or the lobster will become tough and rubbery.

Variations

I love this same beurre blanc recipe using Sherry vinegar and Sherry, or cider vinegar with a good dry white wine. It's equally delicious, and much more budget friendly. If using Champagne, serve the remaining Champagne with dinner. I also like to toss in a couple raspberries for visual appeal.

Notes

You must either have a sous vide machine or a food vacuum sealer to sous vide the lobster. Otherwise gently poach until barely opaque, then finish cooking when you sear the lobster for color.

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