Party inspired by a major motion picture

Friday, February 22, 2008 | 3:00 p.m. CST; updated 2:05 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The 80th Annual Academy Awards will be aired Sunday night, and we wanted to provide last-minute tips for a watch party.

To get your guests in the mood, create a soundtrack including the songs nominated for best score and song in a film.

The Oscar

Height: 13 1/2 inches Weight: 8 1/2 pounds Takes: 12 people and 20 hours to make one statuette Made each year: 50 to 60 statuettes

These films are nominated: “Atonement,” “The Kite Runner,” “Michael Clayton,” “Ratatouille,” “3:10 to Yuma,” “Once,” “August Rush” and “Enchanted.”

If you want an upscale glitz- and sparkle-themed party, hire neighborhood kids to be valets for the evening.

Take this idea one step farther and hire a local band or youth group to play live for you and your guests the night of the show.

Create a goodie bag for guests so they’ll feel like celebrities. You might include sunglasses, hand lotion, a cigar or a feather boa.

Feed the guests the vegetable stew that gave its name to the animated film “Ratatouille.”

This recipe is by Stephanie Gallagher from

Ratatouille generally includes eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and green peppers. This version leaves out the eggplant and streamlines the recipe a bit to make it easier to prepare.


2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/2 cup finely-chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped roasted red pepper (from a jar)

1/4 cup chopped roasted yellow pepper (from a jar)

2 medium zucchini, sliced into thin rounds

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Spray a small (8-inch) skillet with nonstick cooking spray.

Heat olive oil in a skillet over low heat. Add garlic and onion. Saute until soft, but not brown, about 8 minutes.

Add thyme, parsley and tomatoes with the juice. Continue cooking over low heat 5 minutes.

Add roasted red and yellow peppers. Cook another 3 minutes or until nearly all the juices are absorbed.

Pour tomato mixture into prepared 8-inch skillet. Arrange zucchini slices in a decorative circle, overlapping slightly. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme, kosher salt and pepper.

Cover skillet tightly with foil and bake 2 hours or until vegetables are tender. Uncover and bake another 20 to 30 minutes or until all of the excess liquid in the pan is absorbed.

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