Halloween is sometimes overlooked for its opportunity to be a great time for creative fun in the kitchen. We tend to think of Halloween only as a time for trick or treat, candy, and costume parties. These are all good fun, but at our house we like to add a gastronomic dimension to Halloween celebrations.
Of course, we didn’t do all of this on Halloween night when the kids were young and trick or treating. Then we would do one fun food thing before we went out to spook the neighbors. Now that the kids are older (some off to college) we do the big spread and have a party. (Warning: shameless commercial plug: this is a blog post about cooking. You know that great cutlery makes cooking more fun. Did you also know you can also use them to scare away Halloween psychos? Yes, you can.)
Anyway, here are some of the favorite appetizers from years past. Starting with appetizers: We’ve done dancing pretzel broomsticks for appetizers. Wrap your favorite pretzel sticks with a string cheese skirt. It’s easy, all you need is some string cheese, green onion, and pretzel sticks. Cut the string cheese in half and slice it long ways to make the broom. Punch a small hole at the top and push the pretzel through the hole. Wrap a bit of onion around it. Delicious.
There is a desert variation on this theme. If you are headed out to trick or treat, you probably won’t want to add even more sugar to the meal. But, if you are having a party, try making Reeses broomsticks. Push a pretzel into the bottom of a mini Reeses peanut butter cup. Warning: these go fast, so make sure you make plenty!
Another fun finger food is the ever popular spider egg. Use your favorite recipe for deviled eggs. If you want some really orange yolk, add a few drops of food color. Don’t start with all of the yolk. Color small amounts until you get the right formula, which will be slightly different every time you do this. When you get it the perfect orange, add it to the whole bowl of creamy egg yolk. Stuff the eggs and set on a platter. Now take black olives and cut the spider parts. Place them on top of the eggs. You can decorate these with a mixture of mashed olive and mustard.
All of our Halloween meal is finger food. For a salad we eat goofy ghouls on a slice of tomato. It’s a twist on the caprese salad, which is about as easy to make as anything you can do in the kitchen. Drizzle some good olive oil on a plate, something with fresh flavor. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt and black pepper. Toss some basil leaves on top. Slice some plum or roma tomatoes and put a slice on each leaf of basil. Make some globes of fresh mozzarella di bufala with a melon baller. Cut them in half and put the eyeballs on the tomato slice. To add the iris, slice some pitted olives. You can use green or black for the iris. For the pupil, punch a hole in the olive color you did not use for the iris with a straw. (As an alternative, you can slice stuffed olives.) Put the iris and the pupil on the white of the eye. Hello! Your salad is looking at you. I promise, a plateful of these goofy ghouls will give you the giggles.
Finally, if you are doing a whole sit down to family dinner on Halloween, then you want to check this out. I want to give a shout out to a really creative chef whose idea I found while preparing to write this post. I think this is one of the best ways to present a Halloween meatloaf I have ever seen. And, you cooks out there know: presentation is essential to the imagination that is at the heart of a good kitchen. Great job, Megan at NotMartha.org. I think the meat hand looks like it was taken from Frankenstein’s creature after the fire.
From AddvantageUSA, we wish you have a Happy Halloween. Trick or treat!