Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Halloween. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Bubbling Cauldron Popcorn (Cheezy Kale & Nori-Dusted) with a few Mozzarella 'Dead Man's Toes' for Food 'N Flix October: Hocus Pocus

This month's Food 'N Flix selection is Hocus Pocus, hosted by Elizabeth at The Lawyer's Cookbook. (You can see her announcement post here.) Although not particularly food-filled, it is the classic Halloween movie and a perfect choice for October.

I had not seen the full movie in years so it was a pleasure to put on the DVD, grab some popcorn, and head to Salem Massachusetts. If you don't know the film, the Sanderson Sisters (Winifred, Mary and Sarah) are three witches who back in 1693, lured young Emily Binx away from her home as part of a spell to regain their youth. Her brother, Thackery Binx, tries to stop them and save Emily but fails. Emily dies and Thackery is turned into a cat--forced to live forever with his guilt and sorrow. The witchy sisters are caught and hanged, but a spell is cast that will bring them back if a virgin lights their black flame candle. Three hundred years later, the Dennison Family is new to Salem and teenage Max and his little sister Dani go to the Sanderson's cottage--a derelict museum--with Alison, the girl Max likes. Max (a virgin) lights the candle which brings the sisters to life and they promptly set out to finish casting their youth spell using Dani and the children of the town. Of course much mayhem ensues. ;-) It's fun, has a pretty good family vibe, and a great cast--especially the sisters played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker.     

I took my food inspiration from the Sanderson Sister's bubbling witch's cauldron which glowed green from the spell Winifred cast. There are so many sweet treats around for Halloween that are hard to say no to and so I was craving something on the savory snacking side instead. I decided to fill my witch's cauldron with green-ish popcorn to mimic the bubbling. To keep it on the healthy side, there were a few different options to consider for coloring and flavor like matcha (green tea) and spirulina (blue green algae), but then I saw a popcorn post that used powdered kale (from ground up kale chips) and I was hooked. A nice way to work some greens into a favorite snack food. ;-) Since the spell included a dead man's toe (a 'fleshy" one), I made a few edible toes from mozzarella string cheese and sliced almonds to add that Halloween gross-out factor. (I had some superball eyeballs in my Halloween stash and added them to the photos because if you were a witch you might happen to have a few eyeballs sitting around with your stash of dead man's toes just in case! And, they filled in space and got me out of sacrificing more than one string cheese to ugly toes...) 

This popcorn is as easy as making your own kale chips in the oven, or buying a bag at your favorite grocery or natural food store and grinding them up in the blender or food processor. Since kale on its own would be a bit boring, I added nutritional yeast to mellow the slight bitterness from the kale and to give the popcorn a cheezy flavor, and toasted nori seaweed for umami. There are various ways to make popcorn--microwave, kettle, popcorn maker. I have an air popper than I like to drag out now and then for movie nights. Since the air popper doesn't use any oil, I sprayed my popcorn lightly with coconut oil spray to help the seasoning stick.

Witch's Cauldron Kale-Dusted Popcorn
By Deb, Kahakai Kitchen, Inspired by Organic Authority
(Makes about 8-10 cups of popcorn)

1 1/2 cup *kale chips
2 large square sheets of nori (like the kind you would roll sushi in), torn into pieces
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
sea salt and black pepper to taste
pinch red pepper flakes
8-10 cups popped popcorn (plain), warm
coconut oil spray (I use a pump oil spray mister similar to this one)

Pulverize kale chips and torn nori sheets in the bowl of a food processor, until finely ground. Add nutritional yeast, a pinch of sea salt, and pepper (to taste), and a pinch of red pepper flakes and pulse a few times until thoroughly mixed together. 

Put warm popped popcorn into a very large bowl. Lightly spray the popcorn with the coconut oil spray and gently toss to ensure it is distributed. Sprinkle on the seasoning powder and carefully keep tossing until the popcorn is evenly coated with the seasoning mixture. Serve and enjoy!

*Kale Chips: You can either buy a package of kale chips (faster, simpler) and grind them or make your own (cheaper, better) and grind them. For this popcorn, I am having a busy week so I used about 1 1/2 cups store-bought kale chips. (When I make my own have found Oh She Glows recipe to work the best for me as it always generates crispy chips--you can find it here. I usually get about 1 1/2 cups of chips from one large bunch of kale.)

For my dead man's toes: I used string cheese, slicing it into thirds, flattening it out slightly and shaving a little indentation off of one end for the sliced almond toenail to rest in. For the slight decay and blood look--and to hold the almond in better, I used a combination of a little black food coloring and harissa paste (you could use tomato paste if you prefer) drawn on with a toothpick.

Notes/Results: I really love this popcorn as it has layers of great flavor; it's nicely savory, slightly cheezy, has a little salty brine from the nori, and just a hint of spice from the red pepper flakes. Definitely moreish. With just a little coconut oil, it's pretty healthy too, with lots of nutrients and minerals. It's not quite as green as I was originally going for with the yellow nutritional yeast, but there is a slight green tinge that you can see better up close than you can in the pictures. The mozzarella dead man's toes are more for effect but are also edible. For the toes, I had an open tube of spicy harissa paste, so I used it for a spicy kick but you could just use tomato paste or even ketchup. (As mentioned, the eyeballs are fake and just added for fun.) Pretty quick and easy fun and great for snacking when you have had too much candy. I will happily make this popcorn again--Halloween or not. 

The deadline for this month's Food 'N Flix event is tomorrow, Thursday, October 28th. Elizabeth will be rounding up all of the entries on her blog shortly after. If you missed this month and love food, films and foodie films, join us for November when Culinary Adventures with Camilla will be hosting The Hundred-Foot Journey. (Bonus! Camilla and I are doing a optional tie-in between Food 'N Flix and Cook the Books, where our October/November book pick is the novel on which the movie is based. Come join the fun--film, book, or both!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!


Work procrastination can sometimes lead to imagining what your cat would look like as a zombie...

Max says Happy Halloween and wants you to know that this was done with PicMonkey photo editor and he was not bothered during the making of this photo. (There is no way he would put up with crap like this in real life!) ;-)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Things I Am Loving This Week

It's Tuesday and time for the "Things I Am Loving This Week", those (mostly) food related things I am enjoying and want to share. Since we are smack in the middle of fall and Halloween is Saturday, I have a few seasonal treats I'm loving.

First up, Whole Foods had these cute little Boo Chips, little potato chips in the shape of ghosts and bats so fun for a Halloween party. Pringle-like in texture and flavor, I thought they need a festive but healthy dip like a Carrot Hummus to be dunked into.

Hummus is something I love and I thought adding carrots would make it fit the season. Creamy, slightly sweet (in a nice carroty way), it's a good way to sneak some carrots (antioxidants and Vitamin A) into your snack and very good for you when combined with the protein and fiber in the chick peas. Adding in some of the carrot cooking water, to help make it smooth and "dip-able" keeps it lighter than pouring in the olive oil. To make it really healthy, ditch the chips and use it to dip some raw veggies or whole wheat pita.

Carrot Hummus
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Makes about 3 cups)

1 1/2 cups carrots, chopped
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, rinsed well and drained
1/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
juice of 2 lemons
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 clove garlic, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Cover carrots with water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil then lower heat, cover and simmer until just tender (about 8 minutes). Drain, reserving water and cool. In a food processor combine cooked carrots, garbanzo beans, tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, cumin and cayenne. Process gradually adding reserved carrot water until mixture is smooth and the consistency you want. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for a couple of hours so flavors have time to blend. Serve with assorted dippers like veggies, tortilla chips pita or crackers.

One of my guilty pleasures is the Cinnamon Chip Bread at Great Harvest Bread. It is great on its own, fabulous with almond or peanut butter or even a smashed banana on top and a little slice of heaven toasted with just a tiny bit of butter. (Yes, I love this bread!)

For Halloween they take my favorite bread, add some green food coloring and make these cute/creepy "Witches Fingers". Although I prefer my bread in its natural color and shape, they are certainly fun for the holiday.

And BTW--how can you not love a place that offers to cut you a big chunk of bread to nosh on when you enter the store?!

Finally although it isn't a Halloween treat, I am pretty proud of the Pot Pie I made at my Vegetarian Casseroles class this weekend. I am lucky that our local community college has wonderful classes and some of my favorites are the vegetarian ones taught by Alyssa Moreau.

This is only my second pot pie (Yep, I'm scared of pie crust too!), and although my partner and I worked on the filling together, we did our own crusts. This pot pie is dairy free/vegan and uses cashews blended with water for the creamy sauce and seitan, a wheat gluten that has a texture like shredded chicken for the meat. It has great flavor and texture and with the sage, thyme and poultry seasoning, it tastes of fall. To make it gluten free--switch the seitan to a soy product or omit it and top with mashed potatoes.

Pot Pie
Alyssa Moreau
(Serves about 4)

1 Tbsp oil or margarine like Earth Balance
1 cup onions, chopped
1 cup celery, sliced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 cup raw cashews*
2 1/2 cups water*
1 cup potatoes, cut in small cubes
1 cup lima beans or sliced green beans
1 soy cutlet, cubed or seitan, hand-shredded
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 cup peas
1 Tbsp fresh parsley. minced

In a large skillet, saute onions, celery and carrots in oil. Add thyme, poultry seasoning and sage. Then the potatoes, beans, and soy cutlet or seitan. In a blender, blend together the cashews and water until creamy (a few minutes), then strain through a fine mesh colander into the vegetable mixture. Add salt and pepper and stir until the sauce starts to thicken. Take off the heat and add the peas and parsley.

1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp oil
4 Tbsp water

Mix crust ingredients together (dry + wet). On floured surface, roll out into circle and top pot pie. Crimp down edges and make a vent in the middle of the pie. Bake 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until crust is nicely browned.

*Note: If you prefer, instead of cashew "milk" you can substitute 2 cups milk & 3 Tbsp flour.

So these are the "Things I Am Loving This Week." How about you? What kinds of things are you enjoying?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nigella Lawson's Calvados Syllabub--A Spooky Treat with "Spirits"

This weeks theme for I Heart Cooking Clubs, featuring the recipes of Nigella Lawson is "Spooky Treats & Spirits"--Halloween inspired drinks or goodies, Nigella recipes slightly "twisted" to make them spooky and fun. I chose to take an easy dessert with fall flavors, her Calvados Syllabub--basically a frothy whipped cream dessert full of cinnamon, calvados (apple brandy) and hard cider, and make it into some spooky fat ghosts. (Mainly spooky because they ended up looking like a kindergarten art project!). ;-)  

Syllabubs are defined (in The New Food Lover's Companion) as: "This thick, frothy drink or dessert originated in old England. It's traditionally made by beating milk with wine or ale, sugar, spices and sometimes beaten egg whites. It's thought that the name of this concoction originated during Elizabethan times and is a combination of the words "Sille" (a french wine that was used in the mixture), and "bub" (old-English slang for "bubbling drink")." I first made one of Nigella's syllabubs a few months ago for Cook the Books, our virtual foodie book club, when I made her Turkish Delight version--you can see that one here. I was pleased with how light, delicious and easy to make this dessert is. 

With the alcohol, this is a dessert for the adults hanging out at your Halloween party. So give the kids some cookies and give your friends a glass or bowl of this frothy, fluffy, festive fall concoction for a spooky treat with the "spirits" mixed right in. 

This recipe can be found in How To Be A Domestic Goddess (pages 138-139) or on Nigella's website here.

Nigella says: "Syllabub is one of those ethereal, dreamy confections which seems at odds with the description "dessert". But this scented, whipped cream, piled up to swell cloudily out of it's container, is a perfect way to end dinner and gloriously easy to boot."

Calvados Syllabub
How To Be A Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson
(Serves 4)

8 tablespoons dry cider
2 tablespoons Calvados
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
300ml double cream
4 cinnamon sticks (optional)
4 x 150ml glasses

Put the cider, Calvados, ground cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and stir until the sugar’s dissolved. Keep on stirring as you gradually pour in the cream. Now, using a wire whisk or an electric one at low speed, whip the syllabub until it is about to form soft peaks. It should occupy some notional territory between solid and liquid – you’re aiming for what Jane Grigson calls ‘bulky whiteness’ – so be careful not to let the cream become too thick or, indeed, to go further and curdle.

Spoon the syllabub into the glasses and puncture each semi-solid mound with a cinnamon stick, just as a Flake is plunged into a scoop of ice cream. If that’s just a little too frou-frou for you (and I quite understand), simply dust the uneven tops with the merest haze of ground cinnamon.

Notes/Results: Oh my friends, this is a good one! So easy to make and so delicious too. It is a nice combination of light and sweet, but not too sweet and the flavors put you in an autumn mood. With dishes that contain alcohol, I am often concerned that that is all that you will be able to taste but the calvados and the hard cider, (I used a lovely Pear Cider from Fox Barrel Cider Company--which I am going to buy more of for fall. It is so good!), are both smooth, taste of fruit and combined with the cinnamon cut the sweet taste down a bit. It is very quick and easy to make. For a party, I would prepare the flavor base and then right before serving quickly whip in the cream until "pillowy" and serve right away. Speaking of serving, I would put this dessert in smaller glasses or bowls. I was going for picture effects here and the glasses were the ones that fit that Halloween mood best. I had hoped for them to be a bit more firm to mold into ghost-like shapes, but did not want to take away from the integrity of the dessert texture or over-whip them until they curdled so I went for fat, puffy ghosts, drawing the eyes and mouths with a black gel frosting tube. In the book, Nigella had these looking very sophisticated in pretty glasses with cinnamon sticks stuck in the sides of the syllabub, so you can easily make this into an elegant dessert too. I will make this again

Talk about spooky--for some reason one picture I took had some interesting effects when I downloaded it off of my camera. ;-) Were the spirits moving?

You can check out what the other I Heart Cooking Club Participants made this week by going to the IHCC site here. And for other spooky Halloween treats, check out my Breadstick "Bloody Fingers" with "Pink Eyes" cocktails for last years Blog Party "Gross Anatomy" here. And tune in tomorrow for some festive Carrot Hummus. 

Happy Haunting!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Blog Party #39, Gross Anatomy--Bloody Fingers & Pink Eyes

Its Blog Party time again--the best virtual get together EVER, hosted by the clever Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness. Blog Party is a time to make an appetizer and a drink inspired by the theme of the month. This month we are celebrating Halloween big time by making tricks and treats inspired by body parts--it's Gross Anatomy time!

Lots of things to get inspiration from for this theme but I decided to take a trip back to my childhood and a favorite "scary" story my big sister used to tell me; "Bloody Finger!" These Bloody Fingers are breadsticks, made to look like fingers with marcona almonds as nails, dipped into a blood red marinara sauce, flavored with garlic, herbs and Parmesan cheese.

I come from a large family (I am the youngest of 8 siblings) but my oldest sister Phyl will always have a special place in my heart. Eleven years older than I, she was old enough to mother me, take care of me and entertain me, especially at night on the long car trips we used to take packed into a station wagon like sardines. She had a good selection of stories, but "Bloody Finger was my favorite, so I will tell it to you (as best as I can remember it as I was probably about 5 or 6 the last time I heard it) as I share my Blog Party treats.


Bloody Finger

It was a dark, stormy night and a man was home alone. The phone rang, on the other end there was some heavy breathing and a voice said (in creepy scary voice), "Bloody Finger coming, 10 blocks away!" The man quickly hung up the phone and a few minutes later it rang again. "Bloody Finger coming, 9 blocks away!" A few minutes later, it rang again. "Bloody Finger, coming, 8 blocks away!"

Bloody Fingers (Breadstick Fingers with Marinara Dipping Sauce)
1 can Pillsbury Breadsticks (or your favorite breadstick recipe)
Marcona almonds
1 egg
1 Tbsp water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Separate breadsticks into 12 pieces, then using a sharp knife cut each piece into 2 vertical strips. (For 24 longer fingers leave like this, for 48 shorter fingers cut each thin strip in half horizontally). Mix egg with 1 Tbsp water to form a wash. Using a pastry brush, cover each breadstick lightly with the egg wash adding a bit more at one end. Press a Marcona almond firmly over the egg wash on the end of each "finger" to form a fingernail. Bake fingers for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool and serve with dipping sauce.

The man is beginning to get frightened, the phone rings again. "Bloody Finger coming, 7 blocks away!" A few minutes go by and again it rings. "Bloody Finger coming, I'm 6 blocks away!" And again...."Bloody Finger coming, 5 blocks away!"

Marinara Dipping Sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 gloves garlic finely chopped
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In a small sauce pan, heat oil, add garlic and cook until lightly brown. Add tomato sauce and paste, water, oregano, parsley and simmer for 10 minutes. (Add more water if necessary to reach desired dipping consistency). Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in grated Parmesan and serve warm with breadstick fingers.
The man is starting to panic, Bloody Finger is coming and he doesn't know what to do. Ring! "Bloody Finger, 4 blocks away!" Ring! "Bloody Finger, I am 3 blocks away!" Again it rings! "Bloody Finger, 2 blocks away!" Ring! "Bloody Finger and I am 1 block away!"

What better for a "Gross Anatomy" drink--the Pink Eye! A refreshing blend of Cranberry Juice, Prosecco and an "eyeball" floater.

Pink Eye
1 splash Ocean Spray Cranberry juice
prosecco (champagne, sparking wine or sparkling cider will work as well)
"eyeball" (I used wrapped chocolates with a eyeball pattern but you could use lychee, peeled grapes or plastic eyeballs for a similar effect)
In a champagne or wine glass, place your "eyeball", pour in a splash of cranberry juice and fill to rim with prosecco or bubbly drink of your choice.

The phone rings again. "Bloody Finger, I am coming down your street!" Ring! "Bloody Finger, I am almost at your house!" Ring! "Bloody Finger I am coming up your driveway!" The doorbell rings and through the door he hears "Bloody Finger, I am at your front door!"

The man stands shaking, not knowing what to do. There is a knock at the door. "Bloody Finger, let me in!" He finally decides he can't stand it anymore as the voice calls, "Bloody Finger! Bloody Finger!" He opens the door....

"Hi! Can I borrow a bandaid?"


Hey what did you expect?! I was very young and easily entertained! It was better in a dark car going down the freeway with my sister telling it--but you get the picture!

Here is to another great Blog Party and a toast to Stephanie, our wonderful hostess. (I can't wait to see what great dishes she comes up with!). The date to RSVP for Blog Party is this Thursday, October 16th and the roundup will be posted after Saturday, October 18th so check out all the Gross Anatomy treats here. Happy Halloween Everyone!