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Halloween Treats for a Perfectly Ghastly Evening
Aunt Nettie's Pumpkin Parsnip Soup
Aunt Nettie's Halloween Ghoulish Stew
Hidden Treasure Salad for Halloween Festivities
A BEWITCHING HALLOWEEN
Howling ghosts and goblins, cackling witches, fluttering bats, clanking skeletons, laughing Jack-o-lanterns, and screeching black cats are all on the prowl the night of October 31.
Halloween is the start of party season when the focus turns to sharing fun with those we cherish. A costume party for the grown-ups or the children is the perfect opportunity to express inner desires. That dashing pirate brandishing a sword may actually be the shyest person in the room. Many of us enjoy pretending we're someone else--or, someTHING else!
Decorations are a must, not only the graveyard scene on the front lawn, but walls and doorways need the Halloween touch. And don't forget to make a dramatic splash of the food table decked out in black, orange, and yellow. To each dish, add some seasonal garnishes, like black widow spiders, skulls, tiny pumpkins, witches' hats, black cats, small bats, and witches' cauldrons. To spark conversation, print out the menu and place it into a picture frame that rests on the food table.
When those frightful ghosts, goblins, and other creatures show up at your party and start to howl, warm them up with a punch cup of Hot Mulled Green Blood, a pleasantly sweet, warm beverage made from kiwis spiced with ginger and cinnamon. Then to accompany that little cup of punch, set out a bowl of tempting Mashed Goblin's Guts, a traditional hummus with an extra creamy rich texture. The addition of avocado also gives the hummus a slightly green tinge--perfect for the haunted house. A basket of pita wedges for dipping completes the starter.
When it's time for the big food, bring on the Screeching Black Cat Salad and the Graveyard Ghoulash. You won't need to hunt down a black cat for the salad. Just think black and orange and cook up some wild rice and slice up some carrots. Toss in a good measure of raisins, lemon, and spices, and voila! Rattlesnake Venom Dressing adds a very special optional touch. The Screeching Black Cat Salad is positively enchanting as it is, but tastes positively Draculilcious when enhanced with the venom dressing.
For authentic Graveyard Ghoulash, you needn't trouble yourself fighting off the banshees and the witches. Take the convenient approach and conjure up a batch of savory veggie meatballs in a luscious tomato sauce and pack them into toasted whole-wheat buns. Add some roasted peppers and onions and enjoy a convivial midnight meal.
Waiting for just the right moment to shock your senses and thrill your taste buds are two tantalizing desserts. First, a platter of Witch's Eyeballs won't taste nearly as frightful as they sound because they're simply delicious mini coconut macaroons decorated with chocolate to resemble the centers of eyeballs. To complete the effect, they're enhanced with tiny slivers of dried cranberries to imitate the veins in the white portion of the eye.
Finally, the piece d'resistance is a scrumptious Black Widow Pie, a rare delicacy composed of an all-white, satin-smooth lemon crème filling that floats within a sweet-tart crust of nuts and dried fruits. A flavorful medley of finely ground nuts and dried fruits comprise the finishing touch that decorates the top of the pie--a humongous black widow spider. The effect is positively chilling!
With a cup of mulled punch in hand, party guests can roam the room to greet and chat with the other partygoers. Because guests often come to the party hungry, a warming beverage is ideal to calm the gnawing appetite.
HOT MULLED GREEN BLOOD
(Mulled Spiced Kiwi Punch)
Yield: about 4 servings
2 fresh kiwis, peeled
2 teaspoons chopped, peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon organic sugar or to taste
10 fresh kiwis, peeled
2 tablespoons chopped, peeled fresh ginger
1 cup (240 ml) organic sugar or to taste
Follow the same procedure as above, then mull in a 10 to 12-quart stockpot. For serving a crowd, strain the beverage into a punch bowl, pressing on the pulp to extract all the juice. Serve in 4-ounce (120 ml) punch cups.
Hummus has become such a household word it's unusual to meet someone who's never heard of it. Creative cooks have added many unique touches to this traditional Middle Eastern appetizer, like eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, chiles, and spices. But avocado is a new innovation that gives the hummus a pleasing richness and a tinge of green that's perfect for the Halloween table.
MASHED GOBLIN'S GUTS
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
1/4 cup (60 ml) plus 1 tablespoon tahini
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons reserved garbanzo liquid
1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon salt
Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Spoon the hummus into a serving bowl and garnish with a dash of paprika.
Serve with fresh vegetables and toasted whole-wheat pita, rye or whole grain crackers, or toasted whole grain bread cut into quarters.
Variation: Mashed Goblin's Guts Cheesy Open-Faced Sandwiches
Halloween's black and orange colors, set the scene for a black and orange salad that centers on carrots and wild rice. Dotted with golden and black raisins and seasoned with lemon and spices, the salad becomes a flavorful accompaniment to the meal. As an added enhancement, you may want to dress the salad with the deliciously tangy Rattlesnake Venom Dressing.
SCREECHING BLACK CAT SALAD
(Wild Rice, Carrot, and Raisin Salad)
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
4 large carrots, thinly sliced, reserve a 2-inch piece for garnish
1 15.25-ounce can corn kernels, drained, or 1 1/2 cups kernels cut from 1 to 2 ears uncooked sweet corn
1/4 cup (60 ml) golden raisins
1/4 cup (60 ml) black raisins
Juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Green leaf lettuce
Nothing flavors a salad dressing quite like rattlesnake venom, though it is rather difficult to convince your rattler to contribute a sufficient quantity! Venom from other creatures just doesn't seem to measure up. So resign yourself, take charge, and charm your best rattlesnake into a small donation of venom. This tasty topping is an optional enhancement for the Screeching Black Cat Salad. Alternatively, you might want to include a salad of tossed greens and offer this tangy, flavor-filled creamy dressing on the side.
RATTLESNAKE VENOM DRESSING
(Cashew Lime Dressing)
Yield: 1 3/4 cups (415 ml)
1/2 cup (120 ml) freshly squeezed lime juice
Graveyard Ghoulash is not as terrifying as it sounds when the ingredient list features familiar favorites like toasted whole-grain buns filled with irresistible soy sausage meatballs in Italian tomato sauce. Add roasted trimmings like bell peppers and onions, and enjoy a frolic at the ghoul table. To save time, substitute the homemade tomato sauce with your favorite prepared variety.
(Italian Meatball Sandwiches)
Yield: about 10 servings
3/4 cup (180 ml) unsweetened soymilk
3 pounds (1.5 kilos) Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage flavor
Organic canola oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped in food processor
1 28-ounce (.8 kilos) can diced tomatoes
2 6-ounce (170g) cans tomato paste
2 cups (480 ml) water
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
5 medium sweet onions, thinly sliced
Organic Canola Oil
10 well-toasted whole-wheat hamburger or hot dog buns
Arrange the onions and peppers on a large platter and put them near the sauced meatballs on the stovetop. Place the buns on a platter near the stovetop, and invite guests to build their own sandwiches.
Mouthwatering miniatures, these petite coconut macaroons don't taste a bit like their repulsive sounding name. Instead, they're sweet and coconut-rich in flavor with a light-as-air texture. Decorated for Halloween, they can certainly look like a plateful of eyeballs!
Yield: about 40 to 45 miniature cookies
3/4 cup (180 ml) organic sugar
1 tablespoon orange blossom water or rose water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon imitation rum extract
2 cups (480 ml) unsweetened dried coconut
1/4 cup (60 ml) plus 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 12-ounce (340g) package vegan chocolate chips
We often save the best for last to cling to those sweet, toothsome flavors that linger in our memories. This unique pie not only offers creamy texture with a lemony tang, but also delivers an unforgettable, chilling visual image as well.
BLACK WIDOW PIE
(Lemon Crème Pie with Dried Fruit Spider)
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
1 cup (240 ml) pitted prunes
1/2 cup (120 ml) pitted dates
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) organic sugar
1/4 cup (60 ml) plus 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
Black Widow Topping
1/2 cup (120 ml) pitted prunes, firmly packed
1/2 cup (120 ml) pitted dates, firmly packed
1/2 cup (120 ml) black raisins
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 to 2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract