Hosting an Oscar Party? 4 Easy-to-Make Recipes

Claire Thomas Portrait - P 2013
Courtesy of Claire Thomas

Claire Thomas Portrait - P 2013

The host of "Food for Thought With Claire Thomas" shares her ideas with THR for a less-stress, less-mess soiree.

Ever throw an Oscar party, only to realize that you didn't even have enough time to actually watch the show?

That's a problem that many people seem to struggle with, says the host of the TV series Food for Thought With Claire Thomas.

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"The Oscars are one of those things you actually want to participate in as well, instead of hiding out in the kitchen making food," Claire Thomas tells The Hollywood Reporter. "You want to watch how it unfolds on the screen, so you need to have fun, easy snacks you can whip up really quickly of ahead of time."

For Thomas -- whose show, which is in its second season, is produced by Litton Entertainment and syndicated on ABC stations nationwide and select international channels -- Oscar parties have been a big tradition in her family since she was young.

"I am a total cinephile," says Thomas, who also grew up watching Howard Hawks, Billy Wilder and Elvis Presley movies with her dad and also is a commercial director and DGA member. "And my family -- especially the women -- are really into Oscar night and parties. It's a great excuse for us to all hang out and pop Champagne. It's one of my favorite nights of the year, and I love celebrating Hollywood movies."

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To that end, Thomas shares some of her tried-and-true recipes with THR for a less-stress, less-mess Oscar party.


Brown Butter Popcorn

"You can't think of movies without popcorn," Thomas says, who has come up with a recipe (pictured below) that "literally takes zero additional effort but all of a sudden you've elevated this ubiquitous thing into something delicious."

How to make it:

Melt unsalted butter in a saucepan over medium heat (Thomas typically uses two tablespoons of butter for every three or four cups of plan popcorn) until it starts foaming and the milk solids begin to separate. At that point, remove the butter from the heat, swirl it around and let it keep cooking in the pan. The color should be a nutty, warm brown, similar to the color of waffles (Thomas warns that it's easy to overcook and burn the butter). Pour the butter over the popcorn, then sprinkle with sea salt or kosher salt.


Sriracha Lime Popcorn

"This recipe is so easy and yet you look like a total rock star for putting something interesting and different out there," Thomas says.

How to make it:

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. For each cup of popcorn, add one teaspoon of sriracha and one-half teaspoon of lime zest to the melted butter. Pour the mixture over the popcorn and sprinkle with salt.


Champagne Cocktail

Surprisingly, "popcorn and champagne is a fantastic food pairing," Thomas says. "The salt and fat marries perfectly with the levity of the bubbles and acid. It's a total winner."

How to make it:

Take a brown sugar cube and add a couple of drops of bitters (Thomas suggests Angostura Orange) onto the cube. Drop into a glass of champagne. On a budget? Thomas suggests substituting with sparkling wines such as a cava or prosecco.


Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

"This is great if you don't want to do anything intense in the dessert department," says Thomas, who notes the rash of "artismal ice cream shops" that have recently opened in Los Angeles.

How to make it:

Take freshly baked cookies (Thomas suggests using Tollhouse to make it easier) and serve them with a couple of different flavors of ice cream. Let guests choose their own flavor and built their own ice cream sandwich. Then offer a few choices of toppings -- like sprinkles or almonds -- they can roll their sandwiches in. One suggestion: chocolate cookies with chocolate ice cream rolled in a mixture of cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Thomas also says sea salt pairs well with chocolate.


Other ideas? Thomas says a cheese board is easy because "it does all the work for you."

For additional entertainment, she says that Oscar pools are a must and also suggest some form of Oscar bingo with creative categories such as anytime someone gets "bleeped" during the telecast, shows too much cleavage or cries during an acceptance speech.

As for prizes, she suggests making it easy by incorporating leftovers from what you serve at the party, for example, setting aside a bottle of champagne or a dozen cookies to take home.

For more recipes and ideas, visit Thomas' food blog The Kitchy Kitchen.