Oscars 2012: What the Stars Are Eating

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For celebrity chef Cat Cora, Oscar night's main attraction will have nothing to do with the Best Picture category.

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Instead, the restauranteur, Hidden Valley spokeswoman and co-host of Bravo's upcoming Around the World in 80 Plates, 44, will be hard at work preparing a five-course meal for the Elton John Aids Foundation's 20th Annual Academy Awards Viewing Party at the West Hollywood Park in Los Angeles.

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On the menu: Sesame encrusted lamb meatballs with harissa yogurt, sautéed sea bass with lemon couscous and piquillo pepper saffron sauce, and chocolate budino with whipped cream and fresh berries.

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Cora serves up one of her star-worthy recipe for Us Weekly. Bon appetit!

Sesame Encrusted Lamb Meatball with a Harissa Yogurt, White Bean-Tahini Puree and Crisp Mint

Makes 12 servings

Sweet Harissa Yogurt Sauce: 
1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
2 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. harissa paste
1 tbsp. orange juice
2 tsp. Ground Valencia Orange Peel
1 tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp. Saigon Cinnamon
Toasted Sesame Seed-Crusted Lamb Meatballs: 
1 lb. lean ground lamb
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup plain bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp. Ground Allspice
1 tsp. Ground Coriander
1 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 tsp. Mint Flakes
1 tsp. Sicilian Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Peppercorns, coarsely ground
2 jars (1.62 oz. each) Toasted Sesame Seeds (about 2/3 cup)
Mint leaves, whole, fried, for garnish

For the Yogurt Sauce, mix all ingredients in small bowl until well blended.  Cover.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

For the Meatballs, mix lamb, onion, bread crumbs, egg and seasonings in large bowl.  Shape into 36 (1-inch) meatballs.  Roll in sesame seed to coat evenly.  Place on foil-lined shallow baking pan.

Bake in preheated 400°F oven 15 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve with Yogurt Sauce, white bean tahini puree and fried whole mint leaves on top as garnish.

White Bean Tahini Puree
Makes ~2.5 cups

2 cups white beans
Juice of 1 lemon
5 tbsp of tahini
1 garlic clove, crushed
Kosher salt, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil

Add beans, lemon juice, tahini, garlic and salt in a food processor until creamy.

Season to taste with more salt if necessary. 

Spoon into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil prior to serving.

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