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Scare fare
Harvest flavors bolster Halloween menus
Barbecue pit deviled eggs Makes 24 12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and halved4 ounces (half an 8-ounce package) cream cheese2 tablespoons light mayonnaise2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard1⁄4 cup barbecue sauce (your favorite)2 teaspoons vinegar1 teaspoon minced garlic1⁄4 cup minced sweet onion1/3 cup minced dill pickles1⁄4 teaspoon salt or to taste1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper or to taste1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon minced parsley 1. Carefully remove yolks and put into the bowl of a food processor. Add cream cheese, mayonnaise, mustard, barbecue sauce and vinegar. Process until smooth.2. Add garlic, onion and pickles. Pulse to blend. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Add 1 tablespoon parsley and pulse to blend.3. Spoon or pipe mixture into egg whites and sprinkle parsley over eggs. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.From “Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy” by Debbie Moose Blue devils Makes 12 6 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut in half2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise1 teaspoon Dijon mustard2 tablespoons crumbed blue cheese2 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbledSalt and fresh ground black pepper to taste 1. Carefully remove yolks to a bowl and mash with a fork. Add mayonnaise and mustard, blending until smooth. Add blue cheese and mash well, then mix in crumbled bacon. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.2. Fill egg whites with the mixture using a spoon. Place on a platter, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.From “Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy” by Debbie Moose Chocolate spider cupcakes Makes 16 cupcakes Cupcakes:Nonstick cooking spray or paper muffin cups2 cups sifted flour1 teaspoon baking soda1⁄4 teaspoon salt1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa11 tablespoons butter, softened1 teaspoon vanilla extract1-1⁄2 cups sugar3 eggs1 cup milk Icing:6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped1/3 cup whipping cream1 tablespoon sugar1-1⁄2 tablespoons butter Spiders:2 cups chocolate chips1 teaspoon vegetable oil Webs:3 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped1 teaspoon vegetable oil 1. To make cupcakes: Adjust 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds. Spray 16 cupcake wells with cooking spray or line with paper cups and set aside.2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa; set aside. Cream the butter with an electric mixer; add the vanilla and sugar and beat to mix. Add the eggs, one at a time. On the lowest speed, alternately add the dry ingredients in 3 additions with the milk in 2 additions. Beat just until smooth. Spoon into the prepared pans.3. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 25 minutes. Cool a few minutes in the pans. If the cupcakes have been baked without paper cups, run a knife around the edges and invert onto a rack. Cool completely.4. To prepare the icing: Put the chocolate, cream, sugar and butter in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is partially melted. Remove from the heat and stir until completely melted. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.5. Hold a cupcake upside down and dip the top into the icing. Twirl the cake slightly and set aside. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes and icing. Refrigerate.6. To prepare the spiders: Place the chocolate chips and oil in the top of a double boiler set over hot water. When the chips have almost melted, remove from the heat and stir until completely melted. Cool 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.7. Spoon the melted chocolate into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/8-inch tip. (Or use a zip-top plastic bag and snip off a corner.) On a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper, start piping out spiders about 2 inches apart. Make an oval body about 1⁄2-inch long with 4 legs on each side; the top and bottom legs should be slightly longer. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Peel the spiders from the paper; keep refrigerated.8. To make the webs: In a double boiler set over medium-low heat, melt the white chocolate and oil together. Remove from the heat and cool 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon the chocolate into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/8-inch tip. (Or use a zip-top plastic bag and snip off a corner.) In the center of a cupcake, make a small dot of the chocolate; from the center pipe out 7 lines, evenly spaced, to the outer edge. Pipe out 4 circles, evenly spaced, over the lines.9. The cupcakes can be made 24 hours in advance. Hold in refrigerator in tins or loosely covered. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Place a couple of the spiders on top of each cupcake just before serving.The recipe for the cupcakes comes from “Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Chocolate Desserts” Chocolate black cat ice cream pie Serves 10 Crust:Nonstick cooking spray14 Oreo cookies1-1⁄2 tablespoons butter, melted Filling:1 quart chocolate ice cream, softened2 bars (2.6-ounces each) milk chocolate Decorations:1/3 cup whipping cream1 teaspoon powdered sugar1 ounce semisweet chocolate or 2 tablespoons chocolate chips2 large yellow gum drops8 candy corn3 red licorice sticks, cut in half3 cinnamon candiesRed decorating gel (see Kitchen Note) 1. To make crust: Process Oreo cookies in a food processor to a very fine crumb. Transfer to a bowl and work in melted butter with a fork. Spray a 9-inch pie pan with cooking spray and press crumb mixture into the bottom; refrigerate 10 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350-degree oven 10 minutes. Cool completely.2. To make filling: Work softened ice cream with a spoon until free of lumps. Spoon into crust and even out the top. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze several hours.3. Melt milk chocolate that has been finely chopped in the top of a double boiler set over hot water. Remove from the heat and cool slightly, stirring well. Pour over ice cream and quickly spread with a spatula. Freeze overnight.4. To make cat’s face: Whip cream stiffly with powdered sugar and transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe a ring around the outer edge of the pie for hair. Pipe a round of the whipping cream in the center of the pie to form a nose. Place in the freezer.5. Finely chop chocolate and place in a small bowl. Place in a larger saucepan and fill with hot water to come halfway up the sides of the bowl. Melt over low heat. Dip bottoms of the gum drops in melted chocolate and place on top of pie to form eyes. Dip bottoms of candy corn and arrange over each eye for eyebrows. Place 3 pieces of the licorice just below each side of the nose to form whiskers. Place 2 of the cinnamon candies at the bottom of the nose for nostrils. With red decorating gel, run a thin line down from the nose to the mouth; form a smiling mouth with the gel and place a red cinnamon candy in the center of the mouth. Freeze, loosely covered.6. When ready to serve, remove whiskers and cut into wedges.Kitchen Note: The decorating gel is available in small tubes and can be found in many grocery stores with other cake-decorating ingredients. If it is unavailable, red cinnamon candies can be substituted for the mouth. Ears can be made from construction paper. Curried pumpkin-peanut soup Serves 6 2 tablespoons red-skinned peanuts1 tablespoon butter1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped1 medium clove garlic, peeled and minced1 can (16 ounces) pumpkin (2 cups)1⁄2 cup smooth peanut butter2-3⁄4 cups chicken broth2-1⁄2 teaspoons curry powder1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper1⁄4 teaspoon salt3⁄4 cup plain nonfat yogurt, divided4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice 1. Put the peanuts into a small baking pan and roast in a preheated 350-degree oven 10 minutes. Cool slightly; place in a kitchen towel and rub to remove the skins. Chop coarsely.2. In a large saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic; saute until softened, about 5 minutes. With a whisk, stir in the pumpkin, peanut butter, chicken broth, curry, cayenne and salt. Bring just to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.3. Puree the soup in a food processor or in several batches in a blender. Pour back into the pan and set over medium-low heat. Stir some of the hot soup into 1⁄2 cup yogurt, then stir back into soup with lemon juice. Heat through for about 5 minutes, but do not let the soup come to a boil.

4. Ladle into soup bowls and drizzle each with a little of the remaining 1⁄4 cup yogurt. Garnish with the chopped peanuts.

Halloween and candy go hand in hand. But Frank Percival associates a different food with Oct. 31: “Picky nibblies,” his term for “anything you can eat while balancing a cocktail in one hand” during one of his and partner Mark Wall’s costume parties.“We would borrow shamelessly from the Martha Stewart magazine,” Percival said. “Deviled egg trays that look like devil eggs. Finger sandwiches that look like fingers. Cakes that were bleeding.”Halloween lacks the standard cuisine of the more protein-centric American holidays, like Thanksgiving or Easter. Instead, it’s a chance to get creative, to disguise food much the same as we disguise ourselves. And thus, peeled grapes (eyeballs) and blood oranges combine for a creepier fruit salad, cheese fondue goes ghoulish with green food coloring and all manner of candy gummi creatures become fair game as garnishes.“Halloween has more of a relaxing, party feel to it rather than just being so rigid and traditional and having these strict guidelines about what you have to do,” said Vanessa Johns-Webster, director of Seattle’s Blue Ribbon Cooking & Culinary Center, which hosts a family cooking class each Halloween.We’ve included a variety of recipes for fun, tasty treats to help make your celebration spooktacular.
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