Saturday, November 6, 2010

Halloween Gourmet



Mauled Apple Cider
Vampire Champagne
The Devil's Salsa with Tortilla Spikes
Ghostly Cheese Ball
Decomposed Salad
Ancient Bread
Croaked Pork Tenderloin
Severed Fingerling Potatoes
All Hallow's Glazed Carrots
Goulish Chiffon Pies

Mauled Apple Cider



1 gallon apple cider
4 C. orange juice
1 C. sugar – scant
20 whole cloves
5 lady apples
2 cinnamon sticks
Zest of 1 orange, removed in large strips with a vegetable peeler
6 star anise

Press 4 cloves into each lady apple. Place cider, juice, sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, and studded lady apples in a large pot, and warm over medium-low heat. Let steep one and a half hours, without boiling, until aromatic and flavorful. Garnish with star anise.

Vampire’s Champagne

  • 1/3 C. corn syrup
  • 2-3 drops red food color
  • 1 Liter seltzer
  • 1 C. cranberry or apple juice
  • 18 gummi worms
Place corn syrup in a shallow bowl with food color mixed in. Dip rim of glasses into syrup and let drip down the sides.  Fill glass ¾ full of seltzer and a splash of juice.  If desired, place gummi worms into drink.

The Devil’s Salsa



Makes about 5 cups

2 ears fresh corn, kernels shaved from the cob
3 T. olive oil
1 orange bell pepper
1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 mango, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1 /4 –inch dice
1 hot red pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced, or more to taste
1 /2 red onion, finely diced
Juice of 2 limes
1 t. coarse salt

Preheat oven to 450. Place corn on a baking sheet brushed with 1 teaspoon olive oil; roast until kernels begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Set kernels aside to cool.

Place pepper on gas burner; roast until charred on all sides. Transfer to bowl; cover with plastic wrap. When cool, peel off charred skin with your fingers, and remove stem and seeds. Chop into ¼ inch dice; place in large bowl.

Add corn, beans, half the diced mango, hot red pepper, onion, lime juice, remaining oil, and salt; toss to combine.

Finely chop remaining mango until a thick puree forms; stir into salsa

Tortilla Spikes


Serves 8

Make these in two batches:
  • 1 /4 C. olive oil
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • 1 1/ 2 t. coarse salt 

Preheat oven to 350. Combine the oil and chili powder in a small bowl.  Brush each tortilla with the oil mixture, and sprinkle with salt.

Cut into 1-inch-wide strips, and arrange in a singe layer on two baking sheets.  Bake until crisp and golden brown, 8-10 minutes.

Ghostly Cheese Ball




  • 2 (10 oz) blocks extra-sharp white cheddar cheese, softened
  • 1 block cream cheese (8 oz)
  • 2 (4 oz.) goat cheese logs, softened
  • 1 /2 t. pepper
  • Braided pretzel, vine and leaf
  • Crackers and assorted vegetables

Stir together first 4 ingredients. Shape mixture into a ball to resemble a pumpkin. Smooth pumpkin’s entire surface with a metal spatula or table knife. Make vertical grooves in ball, if desired, using fingertips. Press pretzel into top of cheese ball to resemble a pumpkin stem; place vine and leaf beside pretzel. Serve with crackers and assorted vegetables.

Decomposed Salad



Wedge salad with homemade Blue Cheese Dressing

  • 4 oz. good blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1 C. mayonnaise
  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • 2 T. tarragon vinegar
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 1 /2 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large head iceberg lettuce well chilled, halved then each half cut into 3 equal slices
  • 6 pieces thick cut bacon
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

Place cheese, mayonnaise, heavy cream, vinegar, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until smooth.

Preheat oven to 375. Line a jelly roll pan with foil and place a cooling rack on top. Place bacon strips on cooling rack. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until crisp and brown. Bacon will crisp up further when cooling.

Place wedge of lettuce on each serving plate, arrange approximately 1 /3 cup tomatoes in front of thin edge of wedge, drizzle lettuce with blue cheese dressing and crumble one slice of bacon over each lettuce wedge. Serve immediately with freshly ground black pepper.

Croaked Pork Tenderloin




  • 2 Pork Tenderloins, silver skin removed
  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • ½ tsp dried Oregano, or 1 tsp fresh Oregano
  • 1-2 Tbsp Grape Seed Oil, or vegetable oil
  • ¼ cu White Wine, optional
  • ½ cup Chicken Stock
  • ½ cup Apple Cider or Juice
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and oregano. Using hands or a basting brush, lightly coat each tenderloin with olive oil. Sprinkle seasoning mixture on pork tenderloins covering but not smothering all sides.

Add grape seed oil to a large sauté pan and heat over medium high until just smoking. Using long tongs, carefully add tenderloins to the pan placing bottom end closest to you and laying in away from you. Sear meat on each side (not ends) until nicely browned. Remove first tenderloin and repeat this process with second tenderloin.

Place both tenderloins in pan then place pan into oven and bake until a meat thermometer placed into thickest part of meat registers 150 degrees. Remove from oven. Place meat on a plate or cutting board and tent with foil. Let rest while making pan sauce.

Heat same pan over medium high heat and wine to deglaze, scraping sides to get all brown bits to loosen from bottom and sides of pan. Add chicken stock and cider and whisk to combine. Bring to half stirring occasionally. Taste sauce and season as needed. Add butter and whisk until melted and combined. Strain through a mesh sieve to remove and large bits.

Cut pork into 1 ½ inch thick medallions. Place on plates or serving dish and drizzle with pan sauce.

Ancient Bread

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, more for dusting (I substitute ½ to 1 cup whole wheat flour)
  • ¼ t. instant yeast
  • 1 ¼ t. salt
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt.  Ad 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap.  Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.  Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.  Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal.  Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours.  When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees.  Put a 6-8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats.  When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven.  Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is ok.  Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.  Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.  Cool on a rack.

Severed Fingerling Potatoes

Serves 4

  • 4 Cup fingerling potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles removed from stem
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh sage leaves, removed from stem
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stem
  • 6 cloves garlic, left unpeeled
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for sheet pan
  • Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 500 degrees and place a baking sheet inside to heat.

In a medium sized bowl combine potatoes, rosemary, sage, thyme, and garlic.  Drizzle with olive oil, generously season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. 
Remove hot sheet pan from oven, lightly coat with olive oil, and pour potatoes onto pan.  Place in oven and reduce heat to 425 degrees.  Roast for 30-45 minutes, or until crispy on outside and tender on inside.

*Sometimes fingerling potatoes are hard to find.  Good substitutes are red new potatoes and baby Yukon golds. 

Al Hallows Glazed Carrots

  • 2-3 Cups carrots sliced in 1/4” diagonal pieces
  • 3 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley

Place carrots, brown sugar, butter, chicken broth, salt, and pepper in a small to medium saut√© pan over medium heat.  Bring ingredients to a simmer, stir to incorporate, and reduce to a medium low simmer for 10 minutes.  Add pistachio nuts and continue to cook until carrots are just fork tender. Stir in parsley and serve immediately or cover to keep warm. 

Ghouled Chiffon Pies



Serves 6

This recipe also can make two 8-inch pies; be sure to leave the crust in the pie plate before adding the filling.

For the Crust

  • 32 gingersnaps, coarsely broken
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter melted

For the Filling

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • (1 scant tablespoon)
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 1 ¼ cups canned pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the Garnish

  • ¼ small sugar pumpkin, peeled
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ½ cups packed light- brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 piece (2 inches long and 1 inch wide peeled fresh ginger, sliced ¼ inches thick

1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350. Process gingersnaps, granulated sugar, and salt in a food processor until finely ground. Add butter, and process until combined. Divide mixture among 5 6 inch pie plates, pressing into bottom and up sides. Place on a baking sheet and bake until darkened and firm, 11 to 13 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes. Using an offset spatula. Carefully unmold the crusts, and return to sheet to cool (crusts can be stored in pie plates in airtight containers for up to 2 days.)

2. Make the filling: Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in a bowl. Let stand until softened about 5 minutes.

3. Combine pumpkin, egg yolk, ¼ cup granulated sugar, milk, salt and spices in a saucepan over medium hear, Cook stirring, until mixture begins to thicken about 8 minutes. Do not boil. Remove from heat. Stir in gelatin mixture until dissolved. Let cool completely.

4. Beat egg whites with a mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining ½ cups granulated sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Whish one-third of beaten egg whites into cooled pumpkin mixture. Gently fold in remaining whites (Filling can be refrigerated, covered, and overnight.) Spoon into pie shells, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or up to 2 hours.)

5. Make the garnish: Using a vegetable peeler, shave pumpkin into thin, wide ribbons. Bring water, brown sugar cinnamon sticks and ginger to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until reduced by half about 5 minutes. Add pumpkin pieces, Reduce heat. Simmer gently until cool completely (Garnish can stand at room temperature for up to 3 hours.) Top each pie with 3 or 4 pumpkin pieces, discarding syrup serve immediately.

Licorice Caramels



Yield 50 to 60 Caramels

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 – 14- ounce sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups light corn syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon black food past coloring
  • ¾ teaspoon anise oil or anise flavoring

Slowly melt butter in heavy large pan. Use fork to swirl butter up sides of pan to prevent sugar crystals. When melted, add rest of ingredients, except food paste and flavoring.

Turn heat to medium- medium high, cook and stir constantly with flat bottom wooden spoon. (Do not cook on high, stir the whole time) Cook to 234 degrees. Remove from heat; add food paste and flavoring and mix in. Pour into 9 by 13 inch pan that has been buttered.

Let sit overnight in a cool place, Cut into squares and wrap in waxed paper

Hint
For great caramel apples, omit black food paste and anise oil, and add 2 teaspoon vanilla.