October 30, 2009

A Girl & The Ghouls

Have I mentioned Halloween is my favorite holiday? Oh, yes. Many times. Originally I thought to give you a list of all of the spooky things to do this weekend, but there are countless. This town LOVES All Hallows' Eve. So, here are two good guides:

LA Weekly

Instead, I am going to give you a master plan for a Halloween party for those of you that want to stay home and bring the ghosts to you. This is the menu I used last year and everything came out spooky and tasty. However, I didn’t follow the original recipes exactly. . .instead I took a few shortcuts (see “adapted” recipes). Hopefully, this saves you a few hours! Happy Haunting!


Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Olive Eye Puffs

Devilish Eggs

Spooky Spiced Shrimp

Cheddar Witches Fingers

Guacamoldy w/ chips

Eye-Popping Tomato Soup
Chocolate Graveyard Pots de Crème
Mini Caramel Apples

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Courtesy of Bobby Flay

3 cups pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons canola oil

1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chili powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon chile de arbol powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the pumpkin seeds in a large bowl and toss with the oil, ancho powder, salt, and chile de arbol powder. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

Olive Eye Puffs
Courtesy of All Recipes

1 jar (24 olives) pimento-stuffed green olives
1 (17.25 ounce) package frozen puff pastry, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut pastry into strips about 6 inches long and 1/2 inch wide. Wrap a belt of pastry around each olive. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Devilish Eggs
Courtesy of Martha Stewart
Makes 2 dozen.

12 large eggs

3 jarred roasted red peppers, finely chopped
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco (optional)
1 small red bell pepper, cut into small triangles, for garnish
2 scallions, dark-green parts only, cut into small triangles, for garnish
Fresh chives, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, for garnish

Prepare an ice-water bath; set aside. Put eggs into a medium saucepan, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 12 minutes.Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to ice-water bath.When eggs are cool, peel, and cut in half lengthwise. Carefully remove yolks, keeping whites intact and transferring whites and yolks to separate bowls. Refrigerate whites. Add roasted peppers, mayonnaise, mustard, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, and hot sauce (if desired) to yolks. Mash with a fork until smooth. Cover, and refrigerate until stiff, about 30 minutes. Mound yolk mixture in each egg-white half. Garnish with bell pepper, scallions, and chives to make devilish faces.

Spooky Spiced Shrimp
Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart

1 bottle of spicy marinade of choice
48 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left intact
Black sesame seeds, for garnish

Add marinade to bowl of shrimp; stir to coat. Cover; refrigerate, and let marinate, tossing shrimp occasionally, 2 to 3 hours.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Cook shrimp in batches (do not crowd skillet), turning once, until pink and cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining shrimp. Discard marinade. Sprinkle shrimp with sesame seeds.

Cheddar Witches Fingers
Courtesy of Sunset Magazine

5 tablespoons butter
1/4 pound (about 1 cup packed) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 large egg
Kosher salt
30 sliced almonds

In a food processor or bowl, whirl or rub together butter, cheese, flour, and cornmeal until the mixture has the texture of wet sand. Add egg and whirl or stir with a fork until dough holds together. Scrape dough onto a sheet of cooking paper or parchment, 12 to 14 in. wide and about 14 in. long. Top with another equal-sized sheet of paper and pat dough into a 1/2-in.-thick circle. Wrap in plastic and freeze 15 minutes.Roll dough into a rectangle about 8 in. wide and 10 in. long, working carefully to avoid creases in paper. Return to freezer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Peel off top paper and use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 30 strips, each about 1/2 in. thick and 5 in. long. Place each strip on a large baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt to taste, then use your fingers to round the top of each strip into a fingertip shape. Use a sharp knife to score shallow "knuckle" lines in each finger, then press an almond "nail" into the tip. If you like, bend each finger in places to make it look knobby. Bake the fingers until an even light brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Guacamoldy w/ chips
Adapted from a recipe from Martha Stewart

Coarse salt
3 pounds ripe Hass avocados, (about 7), pitted. peeled, and cut into chunks
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, (about 3 limes)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 fresh jalapeno chile, seeded and finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Put avocados, lime juice, 11/2 teaspoons salt and the pepper, jalapeno, and cilantro in a large bowl. Mash with a fork until chunky. Serve with chips.

Eye-Popping Tomato Soup Cups
Adapted from recipe by Martha Stewart

2 cartons of Trader Joe’s tomato and roasted red pepper soup
1 pound (about 30) bocconcini (bite-size mozzarella balls)
1 jar small pimiento-stuffed olives

Heat the tomato soup in a large pot. When ready, divide among 12 small cups. Make the eyeballs: Using a small melon baller, scoop out a hole from each bocconcini. Have each pimiento-stuffed olive crosswise. Place a half, cut side out, in the hole in each bocconcini to make eyeballs. Float the eyeballs in the soup.

Chocolate Graveyard Pots De Crème
Adapted from a recipe by Sunset Magazine

boxes of chocolate pudding
10-12 chocolate wafer cookies, crushed
1 bag of Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies
1 small tube of chocolate decorating frosting
small bunch of fake or real flowers

Make chocolate pudding according to boxes. Divide among small clear glasses or cups. Top with crushed wafer cookies to form “dirt”. Take Milano cookies and write “R.I.P.” with chocolate frosting to form gravestones. Place Milano cookies in each cup. Top dirt with small flower. Serve.

Mini Caramel Apples

10-12 Lady Apples
Craft sticks

1 (14 ounce) package individually wrapped caramels, unwrapped
2 tablespoons milk

Remove the stem from each apple and press a craft stick into the top. Butter a baking sheet. Place caramels and milk in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave 2 minutes, stirring once. Allow to cool briefly. Roll each apple quickly in caramel sauce until well coated. Place in mini cupcake cups and put in fridge to set. Serve when guests arrive.

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