HALLOWEEN-Y CROSTINI AND A HALLOWEEN COCKTAIL

While waiting for trick-or-treaters tonight, my husband and I will be enjoying some Halloween treats of our own.

About a week ago, I made black maraschino cherries to use as a Halloween cocktail garnish. They’re easy — just add black food coloring to a jar of maraschino cherries, and let them sit in the refrigerator for about a week.  Depending on the size of the jar, use about 1/2-1 teaspoon of black food coloring.  Rinse and drain the cherries before using.

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McCormick black food coloring works great

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Steeping in the inky liquid

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Black cherries!

Because it’s almost always hot and muggy on Halloween here, a cold drink is welcome on Halloween. Aperol is an apertif made with bitter and sweet oranges and other “herbs and roots.”  An Aperol Spritz, with its neon orange color, garnished with black cherries, makes a very Halloween-y cocktail.

APEROL SPRITZ
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Recipe type: Beverage
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 ounces Prosecco
  • 1 ounce Aperol
  • Splash of club soda or seltzer
Instructions
  1. For each cocktail, fill cocktail glass with ice. Pour Prosecco into the glass, followed by Aperol and a splash of club soda. Garnish as desired.

aperol[1]

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 Aperol spritzes in their Halloween costumes

Now you can’t just drink on Halloween — or can you?  Halloween-y Crostini is a colorful twist on tapenade, made with kalamata olives, carrots, and pickled banana peppers.

HALLOWEEN-Y CROSTINI AND A HALLOWEEN COCKTAIL
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Ingredients
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 tablespoons chopped jarred banana pepper rings
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Toast crackers or toasted baguette slices
Instructions
  1. Place olives in a food processor or mini-chopper, and process until finely chopped, but not pureed. Transfer to a small bowl. Place capers, banana peppers, garlic, and carrot in food processor, and process until finely chopped. Add to bowl with olives. Stir in olive oil and oregano, and mix well. Transfer to a small ramekin or serving container, and serve with toast crackers or baguette slices. Provide spreaders to spread mixture on crostini.

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 Halloween-y Crostini

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SHEILA LUKINS’ “CANDY CORN”

This is a print from a vintage slide that I found on ebay.  Remember when you used to make your own Halloween costumes?  Me either, unless being a “hobo” counts as making a costume.

There is no doubt in my mind that this man is a lawyer.  Can you spot the telltale signs? First, there is the attention to detail — look at how carefully those hand-drawn freckles have been applied.  The completely humorless expression is another clue:

Then, of course, there is the trophy wife:

But the thing that really gives this guy away is his legs.  The whiter than white legs (don’t look directly at them or you may go blind).  No self-respecting lawyer would ever sport tan legs — that might suggest that you have free time to pursue interests outside of the office and the law is not your life.  Or maybe lawyers, like vampires, can’t handle exposure to sunlight.  Yep, those ghostly white legs are a dead giveaway:

There is one other clue that this man is probably a lawyer.  He was on his way to a party where the costumes were going to be judged, which obviously brought out his fierce competitive streak, because he went for the win:

Holy cow — first prize!  Way to go, Bill!

This photo, and the fact that Halloween is just a few days away, inspired me to dust off a recipe for “candy corn” that appeared in Parade magazine 15 or 20 years ago.  It was created by Sheila Lukins, one of my culinary idols, of Silver Palate fame.

What is it about candy corn?  Looking around the interwebs, I found dozens of recipes using candy corn or incorporating candy corn colors – candy corn truffles, popsicles, cake balls, popcorn, bark, fudge, pretzel rods, cookies, and mousse, just to name a few.  There are a lot of recipes for homemade candy corn floating around, but at about $1.50 a bag, I think I’ll just buy my candy corn and save those hours in the kitchen for something else.  Like this savory “candy corn” recipe.

SHEILA LUKINS' "CANDY CORN"
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Recipe type: Vegetable, Halloween
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 carrots, cut into ¼" dice
  • 1 large potato, cut into ¼" dice
  • 4 ounces slab bacon, cut into ¼" dice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 cups frozen or canned corn
Instructions
  1. Fill a medium stockpot half full with water, add two teaspoons salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Add carrots and potatoes, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered until tender but not mushy, approximately 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Place bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and cook until crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Add olive oil and onions to bacon drippings in pan and saute onions until translucent, approximately 10 minutes. Add maple syrup and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in bacon, potatoes, carrots, and corn, season to taste with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until heated through.

 Trick or treat! 

 Left:  The real deal candy corn

Right:  The Mom has too much time on her hands faux version