The Oscar Rush…

…and a “Beautiful Round Seed-Cake”

Aside from the obvious controversy that (rightfully) loomed over this year’s Oscars, I thought the show was pretty average. It was filled with gorgeous dresses, some rather flat jokes, some very smart female comic actresses making very unfortunate jokes (yes, I’m talking about Sarah Silverman and my favorite, Tina Fey), as well as some charming moments and well-deserved awards (finally one for Leonardo DiCaprio, who was elegant and eloquent). Nothing this year was as questionable as the opening number in the Seth MacFarlane Oscars—so overall, a fairly good show.

My husband Bob was probably grateful he didn’t have to sit through all of this glitz, since this was the first time I ended up recording the entire thing. I even added the 30-minute extension, yet right when Morgan Freeman came on to announce the best picture award, my recording ended. By then, I was pretty sick of the whole show, didn’t care much which film won (inevitably I’ve never seen the best film choice at the theater anyway), and figured it would be all over the Internet the next day.

However, two items really bugged me throughout the show. The first was this “gratitude ticker” that ran along the bottom of the screen whenever someone was announced as a winner. I found it completely unnecessary and distracting, as if I were watching CNBC or one of the news networks. It was bad enough when just one person won an award—but then there were the teams of people winning. These were the worst, with an even faster version of the ticker listing every single relative they could think of, and every friend, and every associate… Enough!!!

The other problem for me was the orchestra playing an accelerated version of “The Ride of the Valkyries” whenever the producers felt someone was taking more than their allotted 30 seconds of speech time. I actually came to loathe the song by the end of the evening.

I’m sure I’ll get over it one day…

From “The Hobbit”—Bilbo’s Pantry

The unfortunate (or serendipitous, depending on your perspective) dwarf invasion of Bilbo’s home truly tests his patience. When Bilbo offers refreshments, the dwarf Balin requests beer instead of tea, and seed-cake. Bilbo fetches the beer from a cellar and rushes to one of his pantries (again, I wonder, how many pantries does a single hobbit need…?) “to fetch two beautiful round seed-cakes which he had baked that afternoon for his after-supper morsel.” Of course, you can double this recipe if you really need two cakes…

Should you, like Balin, drink a beer with this cake? I’ve tried it and it is, indeed, a lovely combination. However, it is also completely delicious with coffee, tea, milk, or even a hot chocolate.

“Beautiful Round Seed-Cake”

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cake flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • ½ tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, lightly toasted
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 tablespoons salted, dry roasted sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup plus ¼ cup soft salted butter
  • ½ cup light sour cream, room temperature
  • ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 extra large egg, room temperature
  • ¼ cup packed golden brown sugar
  • ¼ cup old-fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9″ springform pan with 2″ deep sides with cooking spray or grease lightly. In a large bowl, combine both of the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, ½ tablespoon each of the poppy seeds and sesame seeds, and 1 tablespoon of the sunflower seeds. Add and mix in ¼ cup of the butter and the sour cream. In a 2-cup glass measure, whisk together the buttermilk and the egg, then mix this into the dry ingredients. Spread in prepared pan. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, oats, and the remaining seeds. Add the remaining ¼ cup butter and combine with your hands. Sprinkle this evenly in clumps on top of the batter. Bake 37-41 minutes or until the center tests done. Place on a rack and cool at least 30 minutes before removing pan sides and cutting. Keep leftovers covered at room temperature. Serves 6-8.

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