Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween Boo-fay: A Dowd Tradition

Food plays a big part in our family traditions and holidays and Halloween has been a big family deal since our children were small enough to push around in a stroller. With my brother-in-law,his wife and two cousins living nearby, it has become a family tradition to get together on Halloween night. When our kids were small, food was not such an issue since they were too excited and too busy getting into costumes to grab any more than a bite, but as they have grown up (this was the first year we had no one of "legal" age to trick or treat), food and decorating has become a bigger focus, and as usual, the kids look for "traditional foods that they remember from their childhood. Though I experiment every year,the most popular food on the Halloween Boo-Fay is still Pigs in a Blanket!

This year the kids scoured the internet and found some horrifying recipes such as cat litter cake (refused to make it!), and dip that was placed so that it looked like jack-o-lantern vomit (not appetizing). What we chose to make was a bit tamer,but we gave our dishes all disgusting names, and the kids got into carving pumpkins and getting into costumes.

I did a lot of the prep ahead of time so there was less to do when the doorbell started ringing with little ghouls and goblins. Here is the translation of our dishes:

Bloody Eyeball Punch - A punch made of cranberry juice, diet ginger ale and frozen mixed berries (with some plastic eyeballs to add a little horror!)

Troll eye salad- Using a lettuce leaf (or basil,if you have it) as a base, put two slices of tomato (I used Campari) and cut mozzarella balls in half for the eyeballs and sliced pimento-stuffed olives as the pupils. I made a pesto vinaigrette to put around the troll eyeballs, adding taste and effect! This was a great way to get people to eat veggies in the midst of carb-laden comfort foods.

Mummified pigs- The beloved pigs in a blanket - tube biscuits wrap 1/4 slice of American cheese and a small smoked sausage

Roasted witches fingers- Blanched asparagus spears wrapped in strips of puff pastry brushed with pesto and sprinkled with parmesan. I used a sliced almond to simulate the fingernail at the end of the witches finger-these looked and tasted great!

Good and evil bean dip- I made two bean dips- one with a white bean base and the other with a black bean base. The white bean dip included parmesan, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and fresh cilantro. The black bean dip included chipotle pepper, bacon bits olive oil and shredded cheddar cheese and green onions.

Flesh cups of hot cheesy guts - Take premade biscuits and pressinto muffin cups and fill with your favorite chili recipe and shredded cheese. Bake until biscuit is brown and top is hot and bubbly.

Stuffed vampire hearts - I used mini red peppers,removing tops and slicing open one side so they laid flat. Put on a greased cookie sheet and fill with a mixture of italian sausage with queso fresco cheese. Bake about 15-20 minutes, or until sausage is cooked through. These are a favorite among males!

My advice for a fun Halloween evening for the cook as well as guests:

Plan ahead - Decide your menu, decorate, find your jack-o-lantern design and carve

Choose foods that can be made ahead and stand up to sitting around for awhile. Appetizer-type foods, soups, stews or chili in a crockpot, make for easy entertaining.

Little details make a difference- Dress in a costume, print out a special menu and decorate your table to make your meal an event. Good food that is also fun will encourage kids to fill up on nutritious foods before diving into Halloween treats!

Use disposable plates and utensils to make less work.

Have the dishwasher empty so everyone can rinse and load their dishes and keep the mess to a minimum.

Create your own family traditions on Halloween that are meaningful to you and your kids-Tell ghost stories, watch a scary movie together, play games, whatever your family enjoys.

Enjoy!!!

Above: A ghoul, A VP candidate, and a guest on Jerry Springer hit the Halloween Boo-Fay!

3 comments:

Glenna said...

I love all of your Halloween food and fun--Looks devilishly wonderful! Halloween is my all time favorite holiday. Looks like it might be one of your faves too.

Deborah Dowd said...

Glenna- You can see we really get into it!

Meow Opre said...

I was looking for more Halloween Recipes and found your blog site. I hope it’s fine with you if I could pin some of these photos on my Pinterest boards. Thank you and keep sharing :D They look yummy than scary btw! Haha