Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween Party -- Part 2

So today on Part 2 of our Halloween Party I have some more decor ideas for your home as well as my favorite foods from the party!  I really had a great time coming up with some of these recipes or modifying some recipes I already had to give them that touch of spookiness that Halloween brings.  Everyone’s favorite appetizer from the party was the Roasted Eyeball Crostini {aka, Roasted Grape Crostini with Gouda and Thyme}.   If you haven’t had roasted grapes yet -- give them a whirl!  They are amazingly sweet yet fit so well in savory dishes.  

Ok -- more decor!!!  My guests loved walking through the house and stumbling upon the staircase overrun with rats and candles.  The rat cut-outs and the candles are both dollar store finds and I bought the plastic pumpkin at Michael’s for a few bucks and decorated it with plastic spiders.

I love free printables from the internet!  For any holiday -- just Google “free ‘insert holiday here’ printables” and you will find tons of cute cupcake toppers, art, stickers, invitations, etc, for your next party.

Another big party hit was the menu I put out.  I simply bought a $3 frame from Walmart, downloaded a free spooky font at {the most amazing font website everrr!}, and typed out everything that was being served.  I called everything by it’s “creepy” name then spelled out in detail what exactly was in each dish.  This made it easy for me to point my guests towards something fun to look at while I was putting the finishing touches on my apps.

Yay, Food!

Roasted Eyeball Crostini
{Roasted Grape and Gouda Crostini}

1 baguette, thinly sliced into 24 slices
cooking spray
72 red grapes {3 grapes per crostini}
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
6 ounces gouda, sliced into 24 thin pieces
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place baguette slices on a cookie sheet.  Spray each side lightly with cooking spray.  Bake crostini for 5-7 minutes, flipping over each piece halfway through, until just starting to brown.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. In an oven safe glass dish, combine grapes, salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.  Mix to coat grapes well.  Roast grapes for 12-15 minutes, until they begin to burst.  Remove from oven and set aside.
  3. Top each crostini with a slice of cheese, 3 grapes and a sprinkle of thyme.  Return to oven and bake about 5 minutes, until cheese melts.  Serve immediately.

Crispy Brain-Stuffed Mushrooms
{Chorizo and Asiago Stuffed Mushrooms}

1 package button mushrooms, cleaned and de-stemmed
1/2 lb ground chorizo
1 small onion, minced
3 oz asiago cheese, grated
1/3 c. plain bread crumbs
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

  1. Place cleaned and stemmed mushrooms in an oven safe baking dish.  Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onions and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add chorizo and cook until browned and crispy.  Remove from heat.  Add breadcrumbs and cheese and mix until combined.
  4. Spoon mounds of mixture into mushrooms and press gently to pack in.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Bake 15 minutes, or until sizzling and cheese is melted.  Serve immediately.

Bacon-Wrapped Roaches
{Bacon-Wrapped Blue Cheese Stuffed Dates}

1 package medjool dates
3 oz good quality blue cheese
1 package thinly sliced bacon, each slice cut in half

  1. Make a slit in each date and stuff a small piece of blue cheese inside each.
  2. Wrap a half of a slice of bacon around each stuffed date, overlapping ends.
  3. Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat.  Place bacon-wrapped dates in hot pan, seam side down and cook on each side until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes per side.  Skewer and serve immediately.

Liver Pate Canapes
{Chicken Liver Pate}

-- This recipe makes a lot of pate so consider cutting the recipe in half, unless of course you are crazy for chicken liver pate!

6 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1/3 c. minced shallot
1 lb chicken livers
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp capers
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp anchovy paste
1/4 c. brandy
1/4 c. cream

  1. Trim any fat/connective tissue from livers and discard.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp butter in large saute pan on medium heat and let butter brown, 3 to 5 minutes.  Don’t let it burn.  
  3. Add shallots and saute 1 minute.  Add livers, spacing them well so they can brown.  Sprinkle with salt.  Flip after two minutes.  Once browned, add capers, thyme, garlic and anchovy paste.  Saute 1 minute.
  4. Take pan off heat and add brandy.  Turn heat to high and boil down brandy to consistency of syrup, 1 to 2 minutes.  Turn off heat and cool mixture.
  5. Place mixture in food processor and pulse to combine.  Add remaining butter and cram and puree.  Mixture will firm up in fridge.  Pack in ramekins or small bowl and fridge for 1 hour.  Serve with baguette slices, crackers or in this case, rounds of white bread, buttered and toasted.

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

2/3 c. all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree {not pumpkin pie filling}
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c. half and half or evaporated milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350.  Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.  In medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin puree, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and half and half until well combined.  Add in dry ingredients and whisk until no streaks of flour remain and batter is smooth.
  3. Fill each cup with 1/3 c. batter
  4. Bake 20 minutes.  Cool in pan.  Cupcakes will sink.  Chill before serving and top with whipped cream and nutmeg.

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