Oscar Night

Sunday, March 6, 2011
Poster from the 83rd annual Oscar awards

Is there any night like the Academy Awards?  Great Oscar moments live forever.  One of my favourite moments from the past was Roberto Benigni walking over the backs of the chairs in the audience to get to the front.  If I won an Oscar award, I'd be that excited too.  And who'll forget some of the many other magical moments: Sally Field exuding, "You like me, you really like me!"; Bjork wearing a swan dress, or Cher wearing her black Bob Mackie; Jack Palance doing one-armed pushups; and James Cameron, shouting "I'm the King of the World!"

Great moments aside, I sometimes wonder why I love the Academy Awards so much.  I don’t see many movies – this year I watched a pathetic three of the ten nominees.  (At least those three, Inception, The King’s Speech, and The Social Network, were all terrific.)  I don’t follow the lives of celebrities, other than what pops up on my Internet home page.  And what I know about fashion is limited to blue jeans, except on days when I’m writing, when it’s limited to sweat pants.

So why are the Academy Awards such a big deal?  A big part of it is the Oscar party.  Every year a group of us gets together at Marlie’s house.  We weigh in on beauty (yeah, Natalie Portman!) and fashion (yeah, Halle Berry!)  We praise the excellent speeches; is it any surprise that a writer (David Seidler, for The King’s Speech) had the best one of the evening?  We complete our Oscar pick sheets obsessively, hoping to win the Grand Prize – this year, it was a copy of the book The Movies That Matter.

Great girlfriends are wonderful in so many ways.  My friend Kim showed up toward the end of the ceremony, after helping her 17-year old son celebrate his birthday.  And in addition to her loyal friendship, one of the best things Kim has given me is this recipe.  These squares, taken from Fare For Friends, a cookbook to raise money for a women's shelter, are one of my favourites.  The sweetness of the apricot is a perfect balance for the tartness of the lemon.  Why don’t you make a batch of these for your girlfriends?

Apricot Squares
(from Fare For Friends)

2/3 cup dried apricots
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour (first amount)
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup flour (second amount)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Icing

1/4 cup butter
2 cups icing sugar
juice of one lemon

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line a 9" square cake pan with parchment paper.
Cut apricots in small pieces and simmer with the water for 15 minutes or until all of the water is absorbed.  
Meanwhile, mix butter, sugar and 1 cup flour and press into prepared pan; bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and increase oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Beat 2 egg yolks and combine with brown sugar, coconut, 1/2 cup flour, salt, baking powder, apricots and any remaining cooking water.  Spread mixture on crust and bake for 25 minutes.
Once squares have cooled, combine butter, icing sugar and lemon.  Spread on squares.

37 comments:

Belinda said...

So true about gathering with friends! This year there were actually really good movies, and good dresses too! And who doesn't like apricot squares? Beautiful!

Carol said...

I feel the same way about the Oscars, and I never miss them, niether do my friends, it really is our "superbowl" of the movies! Even the worst, and longest shows, I wouldn't have missed for anything! I'll have to add those delicious looking apricot bars to the list!

Jess said...

I love the Oscars too! I think I saw only one movie that was nominated, and that was in the animated film category :) Those bars look fabulous--elegant and full of flavor!

Valerie said...

What a perfect way to usher in the month of March!
I'm so glad that Natalie and Colin walked away with Oscars!! :)

Tasha said...

What fun your Oscar party must be! And these apricot square sound amazing. Apricot is a flavor I never really think of but always so yummy.

Rita said...

Love you get together for Oscar night! What fun that must be to enjoy it witht The Girls.the apricot squares must taste devine.
Rita

Joanne said...

In theory I love watching the Oscars for the fashion and dresses, but I don't own a tv so there was none of that this year. These apricot bars sound absolutely delicious though! The perfect accompaniment to an awards so or just about any event!

ezsrecipes.com said...

My husband hates the Academy Awards so I haven't watched them much in recent years. But I watched this year. As a female, there's something about all the glitz and glam and pretty dresses and jewelry on all of those beautiful women that is so fascinating. My husband's cousin is OBSESSED with the Oscars. It literally is his Superbowl. It's amusing to see him get swept up in it. Your apricot squares look delicious!

Joanne said...

Great friends and great food ... a great combination :)

Victoria said...

I love the Oscars too. I never miss the show, always a good time, even on the years when it isn't so good (the hosts this year were just not as good as other years). Glad you were able to share the night with your close girlfriends, and thanks for the trip down memory lane, and the recipe :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I haven't watched the Oscars in ages and I barely keep up with movies.

I do like reading about the winners the next day.

Sue said...

When I was young I would get really excited about watching the Academy Awards(just like when "The Wizard of Oz" was on t.v. once a year), but not so much anymore. It would be fun to watch with a group of friends though...maybe next year.
These apricot bars sound great! I wonder if I can change it up a bit and substitute my homemade apricot jam or apricots(from my own tree)? :) They sure do look GOOD!

Barbara said...

Would you believe I rarely watch the Oscars? I go to movies a lot too!
I do love apricots and am thrilled to find them in a bar all by themselves. I have a recipe with dates and apricots, but I am not a date-lover. These look wonderful, Beth!

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Oh, I really want to see The King's Speech. I've heard it's good! I don't watch many movies, either. I think the only new release I saw this year was Tangled. And that wasn't even my choice. My husband and kids dragged me to it -- and I'm glad they did because it was a great movie.

You asked me on my blog what I thought about Vera Dietz. I thought it was good, but not as amazing as I was expecting. But that's just my very humble opinion. There are a many people who know a whole lot more than I do about books who think it's incredible. :) (If you read it, let me know what you think.)

Amy

Emma said...

Lovely squares! I'm always looking for square or bar recipes, thanks Beth :) And I love your sunflower plate!

I saw those 3 movies too and they were excellent and I love those oscar moments you talked about, Jack Palance doing push ups was my favourite awards moment :)

The Words Crafter said...

You know, I haven't watched an awards show in ages. I'd do it if I could hang out with all of you! And those apricot squares look as if they deserve and award all their own!!!

Claudia said...

I watched the Oscars for the first time in ten years. Enough said. Now if I watched the Oscars with friends and your sweets, I would have been much happier.

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

Fact: I usually don't get around to watching the films nominated for Academy Awards until well after the fact. On the other hand, I'm all about a night of watching pretty dresses and heaps of jewelry.

Rebecca from Chow and Chatter said...

wow great way to celebrate the oscars good friends are the best

;-) Rebecca

comfortablydomestic.com said...

I love the Oscars, if for the jewelry alone. I really like the elegant "Old Hollywood" looks. I thought Reese Witherspoon was a knock-out. Natalie Portman, too. Sadly, I didn't see any of the nominated movies, but I still won my girlfriend's Oscar pool. The Academy Awards really are like the Super Bowl for women.

Barbara Kloss said...

I didn't actually watch them this year :( But, I also loved The King's Speech and Inception. And, I love how you arranged those apricot squares!

Amie Kaufman said...

Oh, yum! I love sweet things paired with the bite of lemon. I feel like I can taste this on my tongue just reading about it!

shaz said...

Aww, you are so right about girlfriends! I haven't been watching the Oscars for a long time, ever since I realised I hadn't watched most of the movies being nominated :) The apricot squares sound delish.

5 Star Foodie said...

The apricot squares sound absolutely scrumptious, perfect for a gathering of friends!

Janet Johnson said...

How fun is that?! Makes me want to have my own Oscar party, just for fun. :)

Sweet And Crumby said...

I think I must make these apricot squares for my girlfriends and my family. Oh, what a yummy treat. I went to an Oscar party as well. What a hoot. Thank goodness my friends don't judge my wardrobe, hair, lack of plastic surgery and weight as harshly as we judged the stars. I almost felt guilty...almost. I brought cucumber cups with smoke salmon and cream cheese filling. I am so sad I did not take photos.

julie said...

We don't catch very many movies here either. With three kids we never go out to the theater so it's a matter of waiting until they come out on video. Hence we've seen two; inception and social network. I'd really like to see Black Swan though. Those bars look like a true delight and a perfect dish to share for Oscar night.

Mary said...

Your apricot squares really sound delicious. I'd love to have one or two with my coffee. I hope you have a great evening. Blessings...Mary

Monet said...

I love Oscar night too...and I've made Ryan enjoy it with me. We've taken to watching each of the films nominated for best picture. It is often a mad dash to get them in before the big night. These squares look great...but I'm sure the company was even better. I wish we could watch them together next year ;-)

Beth said...

Me too, Monet!

Kristen said...

The layer of frosting on those bars makes me want to lick my computer screen. They look so good!

FOODESSA said...

I have both dried apricots as well as coconut...and yet you just made me realize that I never really ended up pairing them together ;o) Thank goodness we're here for each other...great baking.

Flavourful wishes,
Claudia

Nazarina A said...

This apricot bar looks yum with the icing! I have dried apricots and coconut so lucky for me I landed on your doorstep.....so making these bars for skiing!

Fresh Local and Best said...

I have not watched the Oscars and Academy Awards in years. I'm not sure why, it was something I just never caught onto. But I do enjoy watching the pre-show when all of the beautiful ladies cascade across the red carpet and show off their dresses.

These apricot squares look so delightful! Best of all, I have all of the ingredients in my kitchen to try this recipe.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

oh, sometimes I do wish I could bake. Those look yummy!

Diana's Cocina said...

Your apricot squares sound divine. I rarely use apricot. I will have to give these a try. Have a great weekend.

sophiesfoodiefiles said...

MMMMMMMMM,..;these apricot squares look ever so delightful & what a fun evening recreating the Oscars nights!

What a feast with your friends!

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