Fear fills the air and creepy characters are lurking in the shadows. Everywhere you turn black cats, scary pumpkins, witches, spiders, skeletons and vampires are out to scare up a good time with some Halloween recipes that are tasty but might cast a spell or two. Eat, if you dare. Only the brave souls will see past their fear, and enjoy these sweet and savory treats.
Vampire’s Curse Chicken
(40 Cloves and a Chicken)
4 to 6 assorted chicken pieces (thighs, legs and breasts); Salt and freshly ground black pepper; 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil; 1 tablespoon unsalted butter; about 40 whole garlic cloves, peeled; 1/2 cup dry white wine; 1/2 cup chicken stock or canned broth.
Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Place a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven over high heat, and add oil and butter. When fats are hot but not smoking, add chicken pieces skin side down and cook until skin turns an even, golden brown, about 5 minutes. Work in batches, if necessary, and carefully regulate heat to avoid scorching skin. Turn pieces and brown them on other side for an additional 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Bury garlic cloves under chicken to make sure they settle in one layer at bottom of skillet. Saute, shaking or stirring pan frequently, until garlic is lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add wine and stock, scraping bottom of pan. Cover and continue cooking until juices run clear when a thigh is pricked, 10 to 15 minutes more. Serve chicken with garlic and pan juices and, if desired, rice or sautéed potatoes.
Note: Leaving the garlic cloves whole makes them sweet and delicious at the end of the cooking process. The overwhelming flavor garlic is known for only occurs when garlic is chopped or cut before cooking.
Sweet & Spicy Pumpkin Kisses
2 1/2 cups crushed amaretto cookies
1 cup ground, toasted almonds
3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
with 2 tablespoons of cream
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup coffee liqueur
Combine crushed cookies, ground almonds, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, chili powder and cinnamon in medium bowl. Add the pumpkin and coffee liqueur and stir to combine. Shape into 1-inch balls. Roll in melted chocolate. Refrigerate. Dust with remaining powdered sugar just before serving.
Red Devil Popcorn Balls
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering hands
1 package miniature marshmallows (10 ounces)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red food coloring
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
3 quarts popped popcorn
1 box semi-sweet Baker’s chocolate
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 sleeve of chocolate graham crackers (generally there are 3 per box)
Melt butter in a large heavy pot over low heat. Add marshmallows and brown sugar and stir until melted. Stir in the food coloring and remove from heat. Pour popcorn into pot; toss well. With buttered hands, shape into 2 1/2-inch balls. Set on parchment lined baking sheet to dry slightly. Process or pound the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Place in a bowl and set aside. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over low heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Using tongs, dip the popcorn balls halfway into the chocolate. Immediately roll the chocolate dipped half in the graham cracker crumbs. Set on parchment paper to dry. Makes 12 popcorn balls
Black Cat Bad Luck Risotto
(Wild Mushroom Broken Spaghetti
Risotto with Hazelnuts)
In many cultures it is bad luck to break long noodles. Only a black cat, another symbol of bad luck, would dare to do such a thing.
1 package dried mixed wild mushrooms or porcini mushrooms
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus a drizzle
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti, broken into small pieces
1/2 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup hazelnuts
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, a few handfuls
4 cups arugula
1/2 lemon, juiced
Place mushrooms, stock and water in a saucepot and heat, keep warm on low. Heat a medium sauté pan or risotto pan with 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 3 turns of the pan, over medium to medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic to pan, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and sauté until tender 4 to 5 minutes. Add pasta and toast until deeply golden in color and very nutty in fragrance, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in wine and let it cook away, 1 minute. Ladle in stock every few minutes, stirring for a good minute with each addition of stock to develop starches. Evaporate almost all of the liquid before each addition of stock. Pasta will cook up quicker then rice. Start tasting after about 8 to 9 minutes of cooking time once you begin to add stock. When you are down to the last cup of your liquids, remove mushrooms, chop and add to pasta. While the pasta cooks, toast hazelnuts in a skillet until fragrant. Peel nuts by rubbing the skins off in a clean kitchen towel. When pasta is cooked to al dente, stir butter into the pan then stir in the cheese. Recipe adapted from foodnetwork.com