I bet you all know that the Academy Awards are this Sunday night, (ABC, 7pm). It’s not that I’m such a huge movie buff. In fact, I’ve only seen two of the films up for best picture, (Moneyball, and The Help.) Also, I don’t sit glued to the red carpet pre-show to see “who’s wearing what or whom.”
So what do I love about the Academy Awards?
It’s the Governors Ball after the ceremony that I adore. Every year I scour websites, magazines and blogs to know the menu that Wolfgang Puck will be preparing for his 1,500 guests.
So this year I thought I’d create my own Academy Awards Dinner highlighting foods that represent the nine films up for best picture. And here’s the twist. The menu is extremely healthy using omega-3 rich, antioxidant packed, and fiberlicious foods. All are known to be anti-inflammatory to help combat various health issues from Arthritis to Heart Disease to Cancer.
Welcome to the 1st Annual Figs and Function Healthy Academy Awards Dinner.
The menu for the evening includes:
Cocktails and Hors d’Oeuvres
Nut and Seed Mix……………………………………………..….Moneyball
NY-Style Broccoli and Kale Pizza……….Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Pinot Noir……………………………………………..………….…The Artist
Salade Verte with Sliced Turnips……………..…Midnight in Paris and War Horse
Iced Green Tea…………………………………………………….Tree of Life
3rd Course – Dessert
Chocolate Cream Pie…….………………………………..…….The Help
Pineapple, Mango, and Papaya
with Flax and Shredded Coconut…………………The Descendants
“Moneyball” Healthy Nut and Seed Mix
The traditional ballpark fare of eating peanuts can be a little sketchy because peanuts are sprayed with a ton of pesticides.
Mix together any or all of the following:
Almonds, walnuts, pecans, macadamias, hazelnuts, pine nuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds sunflower seeds, flax seeds, and chia seeds. These are the healthiest of the bunch.
They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, good fats (omega-3), antioxidants and fiber.
“Extremely” Healthy and “Incredibly” Yummy Pizza
This NY-style, thin-crust pizza uses a whole-grain tortilla as the base. I top it with cruciferous veggies, like steamed broccoli and kale, which contain a phytochemical thought to cleanse harmful compounds from the body, while increasing the body’s own antioxidant defenses.
Place tortillas on a baking sheet and top with either chopped, fresh tomatoes or your favorite sauce, steamed veggies of your choice and a sprinkling of shredded mozzarella cheese.
Bake in a 400 degree pre-heated oven until crisp and cheese has melted, about 10 minutes. Let cool slightly and then slice into wedges.
The film, The Artist, though French-made, is a depiction of 1930’s Hollywood. The glamour of that time period inspires the elegance of a full-bodied Pinot Noir.
Moderate red wine consumption has consistently been linked to lower levels of inflammation. Red wine contains more than 200 health-enhancing antioxidants called polyphenols. Resveratrol is one of the polyphenols shown to reduce inflammation. Pinot Noir has one of the highest resveratrol contents.
Healthy “Hugo” Bouillabaisse (Fish Stew)
In Paris, the French are known to prepare their fish stew based on butter and cream. This version is more of a Mediterranean-style fish stew using heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as olive oil and omega-3 fatty acid packed fish.
This recipe is from The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook, by Mireille Guiliano.
1 pound mixed fish fillets (whiting, cod, halibut, tilapia, or snapper), cut into 1-inch pieces
½ pound shellfish (clams, mussels or shrimp in shells)
2 tablespoons Pernod (licorice-flavored liquor)***
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 small onions, peeled and sliced
1 fennel bulb, washed and sliced
Zest of 1 orange
1 (14.5-ounce) can tomatoes
6 cups fish stock
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 thick slices country bread, lightly toasted
***I omitted the Pernod, because I didn’t happen to have any. The fennel will give the stew that licorice flavor.
1. Place the fish and shrimp, if using, in a large bowl and add the Pernod and one tablespoon olive oil, mixing gently to combine. If using clams or mussels, scrub and remove the beard from the mussels.
2. Heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, and fennel and sauté until fragrant and softened, 5-6 minutes. Add the orange zest, tomatoes and any juice, and the fish stock. Bring to a boil and cook until the vegetables are soft and liquid has reduced by half, 20-25 minutes.
3. Add the fish and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the shellfish and cook until the shells open or the shrimp just turn pink. Correct seasoning. Divide among four bowls, garnish each with parsley, and serve with toasted bread.
“Midnight” Salade Verte with Classic Vinaigrette and Sliced Turnips
The French are known to serve the salad course after the main course as a palate cleanser as well as a way to reduce heartburn and indigestion after a hearty entrée.
This recipe is from the cookbook, Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant.
Mesclun Mix (this is a combination of wild and cultivated greens; lettuces, endive, escarole, chicory, arugula, dandelion greens, watercress, purslane, lamb’s-quarter, sorrel, spinach, and fresh herbs.)
1 turnip, scrubbed and thinly sliced (this is not in the original recipe, but as a tribute to the movie, War Horse, I’ve included it in the salad.
Yield about ½ cup
2 tablespoons wine vinegar, cider vinegar, or fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Combine the vinegar or lemon juice, mustard, salt and black pepper in a bowl or blender.
Whisk or puree as you slowly drizzle in the oil.
Combine sliced turnips and mesclun mix.
Pour dressing over greens and toss.
Iced Green “Tree of Life” Tea
The 1950’s American families were very fond of their iced tea at dinner time. Let’s make it even healthier by brewing some antioxidant-rich green tea.
“Help” Yourself Chocolate Cream Pie
The antioxidant-loaded dark chocolate in this recipe, along with almond flour rich in omega fatty acids as well as protein, makes this pie a winner. It’s also egg-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free.
This recipe comes from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook, by Elana Amsterdam.
Pie Crust ingredients and instructions
1 ½ cups blanched almond flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup grapeseed oil
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda. In a medium bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, agave nectar, and vanilla extract. Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Press the dough into a 9 1/2-inch or deep dish pie pan.
Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before filling.
Pie Filling ingredients and instructions
28 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
Pinch of sea salt
¼ cup arrowroot powder
½ cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely chopped dark chocolate (73% cacao)
1 Pie Crust, prebaked (See recipe)
Reserve ¼ cup of the coconut milk. In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining coconut milk and the salt to a boil; whisk constantly for 1 minute, then decrease to a simmer.
In a small bowl, dissolve the arrowroot powder in the reserved coconut milk, stirring to make a paste. Raise the heat under the saucepan to high, and add the arrowroot paste to the saucepan, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute. Stir in agave nectar and vanilla extract.
Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add the chocolate to the coconut-arrowroot mixture, stirring vigorously until it is completely melted. Let the filling cool, and then pour the mixture into the crust. Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to set, and then serve.
“Descendants” Tropical Fruit Salad
Fruit, especially those colored yellow, orange, and red are a rich source of antioxidants, such as carotenoids and vitamin C.
Top this with flax and you have an anti-inflammatory, delish dessert.
Ground flax seeds
Cut up fruit into bite-size chunks. Sprinkle with coconut and ground flax seeds.
So, there you have it, a dinner party menu using anti-inflammatory foods to benefit your health and the health of your guests. Who will win for Best Picture is anybody’s guess. But at least you know if you’re including some of these omega-3 rich, antioxidant packed, and fiber-filled foods into your diet…you will always come out a winner.
Until Next Time,