Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Halloween Post

There are so many Halloweeny things to blog about, I don't really know where to begin! I guess with the appetizer :-)

The Happy Sorceress hosts virtual cocktail parties every month. I made this appetizer for the October Halloween Party, but because life ran away with me this month, I never got around to blogging about it. Basically, the idea is to make a hors d'ouevre for the virtual cocktail party, based on the theme of the month, then blog about it. The Cocktail party happens when the Happy Sorceress rounds up all the entries and posts them on her blog. For the Halloween Party, I wanted to think of something that was Halloweeny, but didn't involve pumpkin. Somehow, I thought about vampires and fangs and this super easy yet delish appetizer was born.

Goat Cheese & Garlic Pitas with Marinara

Marinara sauce of your choice (I used a version of this)
1 4 oz log of goat cheese
1/2 head of garlic
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 pitas

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Drizzle garlic with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil, and roast at 425 for about 30-45 minutes, until soft and fragrant
3. Place goat cheese in a small bowl and squeeze garlic pulp into it. Season with salt and pepper and mix until garlic is well incorporated into the cheese
4. Spread goat cheese mixture on pitas and toast in oven for about 4-6 minutes.

To serve, cut pitas into triangular pieces and arrange on a tray surrounding bowl of marinara. Dip the wedges in the sauce and enjoy!

Now on to dinner. I wanted to make a dinner in the spirit of Halloween, but given how busy I've been recently, it had to be 1.) easy and 2.) not require a trip to the grocery store. I came across this pumpkin soup. Since I had everything on hand, I decided to go for it.

As I was browsing soup recipes, I saw one that garnished with popcorn and fresh sage, so I decided I would steal that idea for a more festive presentation. The soup was good, but if I make it again, I will add more spice to it.

I also did a Halloween Goodie Tray for the grad students in Psycling's lab.

I made tarantula cookies and spiderweb cookies (though I used this cookie recipe). Then there were caramel popcorn balls, pumpkin spice bread (with a few modifications), and sugar cookies decorated as ghosts, pumpkins, and bats. Of course there was a bowl of candy, because is it really Halloween without a big bowl of assorted candy? Psycling said this weeks food was a big hit, and that everyone loved the fun of the Halloween goodies. The empty trays at the end of the day are also a good sign.

And, being the dog-lover that I am, I couldn't let Halloween go by without making a treat for Thea!

Pumpkin Dog treats

1 1/2 c. Whole Wheat Flour
1 c. regular flour (plus lots of extra for kneading and rolling)
1 c. powdered milk
1 egg
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. vegetable broth
3/4 c. canned pumpkin

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. It will be kind of gooey and pasty. Add flour and mix until mixture forms a shaggy dough. Dump out onto floured surface and roll out to about 1/4" - 1/2" thick (depending on the size of your cookie cutter). Cut out treats and arrange on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, or until firm. Reduce oven temperature to 225 degrees and leave cookies in for 1-2 hours to dry out and crisp up.

Of all the Halloween treats I make, these are Thea's favorites!!

So that's my Halloween round up. I've been spending lots of time in the kitchen getting all this stuff ready, so I'm looking forward to some nice relaxing evenings the rest of the week.

I hope all of you had wonderful and spooky Halloweens!