March 03, 2014 12:00 PM

Entertaining, Food, Travel and Home

Host a viewing party with the help of four experts

Wolfgang Puck’s

STUFFED DATES

The iconic chef shares an easy appetizer he’ll serve at the Governors Ball on Oscar night

BACON-WRAPPED PARMESAN-STUFFED DATES

Makes 18

18 large Medjool dates, split lengthwise and pitted

2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, cut into 18 (1x¼x¼-in.) pieces

6 slices smoked bacon, cut crosswise into thirds

1. Place oven rack in the middle position of the oven. Preheat oven to 450º.

2. Insert 1 piece of cheese into date. Wrap date with 1 piece of bacon; secure with wooden pick. Repeat process with remaining dates, cheese and bacon. Arrange dates 1 in. apart on an aluminum-foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.

3. Bake at 450º for 10 to 11 minutes until bacon is crisp, turning after 5 minutes. Drain dates well on paper towels. Serve immediately.

Food

Kelsey Nixon’s

HONEY POPCORN

The Cooking Channel star serves a treat that will ‘add pizzazz to your Oscar night’

HONEY POPCORN

Makes about 25 cups

24 cups popped corn

1 cups roasted, salted peanuts

4 cups sugar

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup honey

1 tsp. baking soda

1. Line 2 large roasting pans with heavy-duty aluminum foil, allowing foil to extend over pan edges. Divide popped corn and peanuts evenly between pans.

2. Bring sugar and next 3 ingredients to a boil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium; cook mixture until it reaches the soft-ball stage (mixture should be able to form a sticky ball that flattens when dropped in cold water), typically about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add baking soda, and mix well.

3. Pour sugar mixture evenly over popcorn and peanuts; stir well to completely coat. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store airtight up to 2 days.

Nixon’s cookbook Kitchen Confidence is in stores now.

Food

Amy Thielen’s

ONION DIP

The host of Food Network’s Heartland Table updates a classic

FRIED ONION DIP

Makes about 2 cups

4 tbsp. butter

1 medium-size sweet onion, cut into ½-in. slices

Fine sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp. honey

¼ cup dry vermouth or dry white wine

¾ cup sour cream

¼ cup (2 oz.) cream cheese, softened

1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives

Dash ground red pepper

Finely chopped fresh chives

1. To make clarified butter, melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes until foamy and brown. Strain mixture into a large heavy skillet, being sure to leave any solids in the bottom of the saucepan.

2. Cook onions, ¾ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper in reserved clear butter over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, 10 minutes or until onion edges are dark and slices are crisp in spots. Stir in garlic and honey; cook 1 minute. Add wine. Bring mixture to a simmer and cook 3 minutes until liquid thickens. Remove from heat; cool. Remove onions from skillet; chop finely and set aside. Reserve pan juices.

3. Whisk together sour cream and cream cheese; add onions and pan juices. Stir in 1 tbsp. chives, red pepper and salt to taste; cover and chill for an hour before serving. Garnish with finely chopped chives if desired.

Adapted from Thielen’s The New Midwestern Table, available now.

Entertaining

Mark Held’s

OSCAR PARTY PICKS

The exclusive florist for the Governors Ball suggests decor for your celebration

LUXURY LINEN

“A chic tablecloth will set off the gold accents and add Hollywood glamour.”

Marquis by Waterford Fairmont Tablecloth, $50-$75; macys.com

FILMSTRIP RIBBON

“Tie napkins with this ribbon, or lay it on the table for decoration.”

Tim Holtz Idea-ology filmstrips, $5.94; simonsaysstamp.com

GOLDEN GLOW

“Run votives all the way down the table for a festive look.”

Gold Mercury Votives, $8; westelm.com

PRIZED CENTERPIECE

“Put two trophies back-to-back in the center of the table; you need that award imagery.”

Male Trophy, $17.40; trophies2go.com

FANCY VASE

“Red flowers in a gold vase bring a bit of a red carpet feel.”

Antique Light Gold Square Vase (4″x 6½”), $8.99; jamaligarden.com

DECORATIVE RUNNER

“I love this runner—its modern look is perfect for a party.”

Nest Runner, $29.95; zgallerie.com

CHARMING TRAY

“Use this tray to serve hors d’oeuvres or carry drinks.”

Gold Alligator Tray, $24.99; jaycompanies.com

COOL GLASSES

“These bar glasses feature a fun design and match the runner.”

Greet Bar Glass, $9.95; crateandbarrel.com

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