Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween Special: Part 1 + Great News!

Good day to you all! Man, it was a busy weekend around our house, because we threw an incredible Halloween party! I absolutely love Halloween, it is among my favorite days of the year. The feeling of fall with all those warm colors, the bite of the chill air, the warm spices and autumn harvest goods filling up the kitchen. Couple all those goodies with horror movies and ghost stories that scare me into a fit of nervous laughter, and I'm all set! My guilty pleasures of the season include some choice movies like The Halloween Tree, Hocus Pocus (which I watch about 50 times during the last two weeks of October), a sprinkling of slasher films, and whatever horror classics that Wild and Woolly Video recommends.

If you happen to be in Louisville and are planning a Halloween party, I highly encourage you to stop by our darling Wild and Woolly. I went in there the day of my party, consulted with one of the employees on some good horror films that had a decent Halloween party soundtrack and an uncomplicated plot, and I came home with an armful of incredible movies. I was recommended Carnival of Souls (a Criterion Collection choice that had a spooky organ soundtrack), The Blob, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and Night of the Living Dead. I couldn't have asked for anything better...I really love this city, and places like Wild and Woolly make it beyond awesome to live here.

The other super important part to any party...well, any day really, is the food! My roommate and I had been planning this menu for ages, I had been decorating the house little by little every week, and we were discussing ways to divvy up the kitchen space to work well together. Can you tell that it had been a while since we threw a party together? We were kind of renowned for it back in college, and the happy days of high adrenaline and having our house full of happy, laughing, loud talking, fun guests was upon us again. What a joyful preparation! Oh, and we went to see Dracula at Actor's Theatre for the 4PM matinée showing...might not be doing that again because we were super pressed for time preparing the food and drinks and such--although it was a fun show to kick off the evening!

Allow me to show you our menu! I'll give you a couple recipes today and we'll continue on for a couple days this week. If you're throwing a Halloween party, I highly recommend these recipes...they were very fun, not too labor-intensive, and of course Halloween-themed!

Savory: Ghostly Bruschetta, Mummy Dogs, Hot as Hades Chips and Salsa, Witch's Concoction Dip and Crudités, Sausage Balls, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, and Deviled Eggs.

Sweet: Jack's Sinfully Sweet Sandwiches (Whoopie Pies), Slasher Cupcakes, Chocolate-covered Apricots, Edible Arachnids

Drinks: Glühwein and Philadelphia Fish House Punch

Today I think I'll share the Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Chocolate-dipped Apricots, and Mummy Dogs. Here we go:

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Seeds
Smoked Paprika
Chili powder (I use Chimayo chili)
Olive oil

Roasting pumpkin seeds is a yearly ritual during Halloween. Not to mention that eating pumpkin seeds is really healthy for you, providing quite a dose of fiber and other essential minerals that I won't bore you with--just know that they are fun to eat and not bad for your health either! You may have seen dark green pumpkin seeds for sale in the store, and these are the seeds without the hull. However, the hull, or shell of the pumpkin seed is actually edible, and that's how I eat them because I don't want to go peeling all of those already slippery suckers after I just mutilated a pumpkin to harvest them! Oh, by the way, I did a Día de los Muertos pumpkin this year :) check him out!

Try to get as much of the pulp off of the seeds as possible. It would behoove you to rinse them off as well--a step which I skipped and I was okay with. Then you make a spice mixture to taste with about 2T of olive oil. Toss the seeds in them to coat and put them in a 350º oven for about 15-20 minutes. You can toast them as golden as you want...I like mine well done, but 15 minutes is probably the least time you want to dedicate to it. Allow them to cool, and DIG IN! I would say that these pumpkin seeds are the ideal reward after creating your jack o'lantern--then just light him up and munch away.

Chocolate-Dipped Apricots
Dried apricots (as many as you want to serve)
3 Chocolate candy bars (Cadbury Royal Dark is my favorite)
Special equipment: Parchment paper and a wire rack

This is a piece of pie, but so elegant and delicious at the same time! Added bonus: the make up the Halloween colors! A gorgeous addition to any Halloween party table, and I daresay more classy than a bowl full of that fun-sized noise... I digress.

You don't need to buy fancy melting chocolate to dip your favorite food in, just use your favorite chocolate bar (I recommend using dark chocolate because milk chocolate probably won't set as well). I set up a double boiler with about an inch of water in the bottom pot. Bring it to a rolling boil, set your other pot on top with the chocolate inside. You should break the chocolate into squares to ensure even melting. At this point you can take turn the heat of or turn it to low, depending on how much steam is escaping. This method keeps the chocolate from burning and gives the chocolate all the time it needs to evenly melt. Don't stir too often because you will be punished with bubbles :( but you shouldn't be afraid to check on it and give it a few stirs to even it out. When the chocolate has melted, you are all set to dip your dried apricots in them, as far as you want to (I did mine about half way, or to the point where my finger was), and let them cool on a wire rack with parchment paper under it to catch the drips. If you want them to set and be shiny you can put them in the fridge for about a half hour.

I served this in a clear bowl to accentuate the orange and dark brown as Halloween colors. It rounded out the dessert table nicely.
Mummy Dogs
Hot dogs
Breadstick dough
Mustard (optional)

This recipe is not my typical choice for party food, but it is so adorable, I had to jump all over it! I halved the hot dogs both vertically and horizontally to have more little mummies, but you can just cut the hot dogs in two if you want something more substantial. It's finger food, so I figured I would make it go as far as I could. 

The idea is this: Cut off strips of the breadstick dough. I took both ends and did a little jumprope motion to twist it up and lengthen it, then I wrapped it around the hot dog, leaving a little spot where the eyes would go, and mummifying it. It's like a Halloween version of pigs in a blanket. You put them in a 350º oven for about 20 minutes or until they get as golden as you want them, and then you can choose to dab some mustard eyes on them or leave them eyeless, which I guess was my approach. Everyone loved them, and they were a great fit for the theme.

We will continue with this menu throughout the week so keep on the lookout!

As for the great news... Louisville Lady Gourmet is going to be writing a couple of columns for the Insider Louisville publication! I am so excited!!!!! I will keep you posted for my first published articles! I can't believe this is happening--I get to write about my favorite city, its food culture, and what's going on in my kitchen. There couldn't be anything better! 

I hope you enjoy today's Halloween treats!

1 comment:

  1. SOOOO this def sounds worth that plane ticket over there - be right there! :D