No matter how old we are, a Halloween party with festive decorations, fun costumes, and wickedly wonderful food is always a big hit! We all have a little bit — or a lot — of kid in us that wants to be set free for an evening. Halloween offers so many opportunities to be creative not only with decorations and costumes but also with colorful, frightful foods.
The thoughts of Halloweens past resurface with certain sights, smells, tastes, and traditions. The excitement of picking the perfect pumpkin, choosing the best costume, and indulging in favorite foods brings familiar comfort and happiness. Year after year, we look forward to these moments and continue to recreate these feelings. As an adult, a spook-tacular dinner party is a way to celebrate and ignite old memories or establish new traditions.
The setting of your holiday celebration is as important as the food itself. Once you’ve decorated your home and table in a Halloween theme, whether it be an elegant haunting tablescape or a fun and whimsical decor, you can start planning your menu.
Begin the evening by casting magic on your guests with a bewitching beverage or other signature drink like a black martini. Along with a drink, entice your guests with a ghastly appetizer board. Boards for all occasions are now so popular, and they are simple to create with an array of meats, cheeses, spreads, fruit, nuts, and veggies. Their versatility allows you to bring in multiple colors, flavors, and textures, and to play up the theme. Add a frightful Halloween touch to your board by making eyeballs out of mozzarella cheese balls topped with sliced olives, and have a little fun with the placement of the cheese knives! Serve alongside a bowl of black hummus with Mary’s Gone Crackers Super Seed Seaweed & Black Sesame.
A delicious and ghoulish goulash is the perfect Halloween entree to satisfy ghosts and goblins of all ages. A menagerie of rich and complex flavors combines to create this famous Hungarian dish. Typically served over egg noodles, this savory offering can also be offered over rice. My special recipe (below) was passed down to us decades ago from an old Hungarian family friend.
Accompany the goulash entree with a spooky side dish, like asparagus garnished with red pepper strips to look like long creepy fingernails. There are so many other ways to be creative with seasonal vegetables, like orange or purple cauliflower or squashes that bring color and a festive touch to your table. Finally, add a basket of “bone-chilling” warm rolls to complete the table.
Finish your frightfully delicious meal with light and crispy meringues floating in a puddle of chocolate ganache. Meringues can also be served with vanilla ice cream, fresh fruit, or both. Pumpkin is such a seasonally popular item that folks just can’t seem to get enough of in the fall. You may also want to try the soft maple-glazed pumpkin cookies.
We all love Halloween because it carries many special moments and memories from our childhood. It is the unofficial start of the two-month-long holiday season, filled with festive food, decorations, and fun parties and gatherings that build new memories with family and friends. After all, traditions are the stories that families write together.
2 ounces vodka
1 ounce blue Curaçao
½ ounce raspberry liquor
Mix in cocktail shaker and strain into martini glass. Garnish with lemon or something spooky!
One 16-ounce can of chickpeas, drained
4 tablespoons black tahini
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin
2 garlic cloves
Dash of cayenne pepper
Juice from 2 lemons
Put all ingredients in food processor and blend to a smooth consistency. May need to add slightly more oil for desired consistency.
Cut ends off asparagus. Place on sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, then toss until coated. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Bake at 375 F for 10-15 minutes or to desired tenderness. Serve with roasted red peppers sliced into thin triangles to look like red fingernails!
Use store-bought bread dough sticks or pizza dough. Cut into 1-1½ inch wide strips, 6 inches long. Tie knots at each end. Brush with egg wash or butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese. Add a sprinkle of paprika for color. Bake at 375 F for 10-15 minutes.
2 pounds chuck roast, cut into cubes
2 tablespoons flour
2 onions, sliced
8-12 sliced mushrooms
2-3 garlic cloves
½ cup red wine
½ cup beef broth
1 jar roasted red peppers, sliced
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons paprika
Sprinkle salt and pepper on beef and toss in flour. Brown the beef cubes in olive oil and in batches so as not to overcrowd. Remove browned beef and add a bit more olive oil and brown onions, mushrooms, and garlic until onions are limp. Add wine and simmer for 5 minutes, then add broth, red peppers, and paprika. Return beef and any juices to the pan. Cover, lower heat, and simmer on low heat for approximately 2 hours until tender. Stir occasionally. Serve over egg noodles or, if preferred, rice.
Maple Pumpkin Cookies
2½ cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups sugar
½ cup butter
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a bowl, mix the first seven ingredients. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar together. Add puree, egg, and vanilla extract. Add dry ingredients and blend well. On a nonstick or sprayed baking sheet, scoop cookies. Bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes. Once cookies have cooled, make the icing.
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon maple syrup
Stir powdered sugar, milk, butter, and syrup together in a bowl until smooth. If necessary, add a little more milk to achieve good drizzling consistency, and add to the cookies.
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
Beat egg whites on low-medium speed while adding sugar gradually as well as cream of tartar. Turn mixer to high speed until the mixture turns stiff. Put into pastry bag and pipe into ghost shapes. Place chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth. Bake at 250 F for 30-40 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave in the oven overnight. Put sign on the oven saying, “Do not open or turn on oven”… advice from experience!