Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Haunted Halloween Party

I am always up for a reason to throw a party. Halloween is a great holiday to get your creative juices going and let the adults and children have a little fun. We had our annual Halloween Dinner last weekend. Just thought I'd pass on a few of the ideas--collected from various places: my mother-in-law, myself, and random magazines.

Here is our Haunted Menu:

Roast Beast: We chose to do London Broil this year, but usually we just do Roast Beef.
Mummies: Hot dogs wrapped with bread dough to look like mummies
Witch's Garden: Green salad
Fingers: Bread dough rolled long with an almond for the fingernail, and poppy seeds or dill for "hair"
Brains: Cauliflower with cheese (dyed red, if desired)
Moldly Mashed Potatoes: mashed potatoes with chives on top (I was going to do Martha's Ghost Potatoes, but ran out of time)
Eyeballs: Round fruit--grapes, various melons, balled.
Worm Salad: Jello w/ gummi worms (New this year--Jenny's idea)

Poison Caramel Apples
Pumpkin-shaped Rice Krispie Treats
Sugar cookies decorated by kids, w/ candy corns, m&ms, sprinkles
Spider Web Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

Ice Water with frozen ice hand
Orange Soda
Dark Soda--Black Cherry, Rootbeer

Whenever I am hostess I never seem to have it together enough to take good pictures. Here are just a few to give you an idea of the ambiance (I might add more as guests send me some). Also, this menu is great for assigning your guests to bring something. We had guests bring the green salad, the eyeball salad, the worm jello, and some drinks. If only I had a house big enough to invite all my friends. And a maid to help clean up would be nice!

Some of our activities included: A donut eating contest for the couples, homemade pinata for the kids (using a bag--thanks Reb, for the idea!), decorating sugar cookies, pin the face on the jack 'o lantern.

Because this is a food blog, I will post a recipe for the London Broil. This is my go-to recipe for London broil when I don't feel like thinking about it. I found it on Epicurious a couple years ago.

Filipino-Style London Broil

2 medium-size lemons
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 medium-size onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 bay leaves, crumbled
1 tablespoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds London Broil

Rinse the lemons. Cut each in half and squeeze out the juice with a citrus press. Place the lemon juice in a large nonreactive mixing bowl. Cut the rind of 1 lemon into 1/4-inch dice and add it to the juice. Add the soy sauce, vinegar, oil, onion, garlic, bay leaves, coriander seed, and pepper and whisk to mix. Set aside half of the lemon juice mixture to use as a sauce.

Spread half of the remaining lemon juice mixture in the bottom of a nonreactive baking dish just large enough to hold the meat. Place the meat on top and spread the other half of the lemon juice mixture over it. Let the steak marinate for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight. The beef can also be marinated in a resealable plastic bag.

When ready to cook, drain the meat, scraping off most of the marinade with a rubber spatula. Preheat the grill to high; there's no need to oil the grate. Place the beef on the hot grill. Steak will be cooked to medium-rare after 6 to 9 minutes per side. To test for doneness, use the poke method; when cooked to medium-rare the meat should be gently yielding.

Transfer the meat to a cutting board and let sit for 5 minutes. Cut the meat into broad thin slices, holding a sharp knife blade at a 45-degree angle to the top of the meat. Spoon the reserved sauce over the slices and serve at once.

So, no excuses, send out those evites, and get your Halloween party planned!!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Black-Bottom Cupcakes

Black-Bottom Cupcakes, originally uploaded by mud pie gourmet.

There is a cupcake craze going on. There are shops for cupcakes alone, blogs of only cupcake recipes, and man I could really eat one right now. Enter Mom Mud's amazing Black-bottom Cupcakes. So moist, (eww, I hate that word. See Vanessa's blog), and delectable. Maybe they should be called "Rock-bottom Cupcakes." Something to eat when nothing is going right, when you're a little down. Naaa, they should be eaten anytime (especially right after your 30th birthday).

Black-Bottom Cupcakes

1 1/2 cup flour, unsifted
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine above in a large bowl. Set aside.

1 cup water
5 T oil
1 T cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

In another bowl, combine above (water-vanilla). Add to flour mixture and stir. Set aside.

8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Beat together above ingredients until smooth.

In lined or greased muffin cups, fill half-full with cocoa mixture. Add about 1 tablespoon of the cream-cheese/chocolate chip mixture. Makes about 18 cupcakes. Bake for 25 minutes or until cupcake springs back.