Halloween: A little dish of naughty to start a season full of nice and spice

Don't be afraid. It's just a Halloween party. 

We're here for you as you battle the season's zombies. We've collected some electrifying ideas for a Halloween party below ... and you can even sign up to get a PDF of all these monster morsels sent right to your inbox. See the end of the post for the PDF sign-up form!

Let's get to it, shall we, the undead are starting to howl at your door ... 

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Whether you're serving children of age 6, 36, or 60, it's time to blend in a lot of fun, and a bit of funk, into your Halloween fantasy night. For one night of the year, people put on masks to give themselves permission to reveal a bit more about themselves -- their inner silly, their superpowers, their ability to wear a gorilla suit without feeling out of place. Which is something, frankly, that we all hope for, all year 'round, don't we?

Cake in the EuroCAST grill pan? Yes, we've done it. And in the Dutch oven. Remember to use cutting tools that are pan-safe -- silicon, wood (like bamboo), and so on. Take care of the cookware and it will take care of you, and your guests, and the occasional gorilla. 

Cake in the EuroCAST grill pan? Yes, we've done it. And in the Dutch oven. Remember to use cutting tools that are pan-safe -- silicon, wood (like bamboo), and so on. Take care of the cookware and it will take care of you, and your guests, and the occasional gorilla. 

The keys to a great Halloween party are simple, explosive food (not literally exploding food ... but now that we think about it ...); freshly made, age-appropriate libations; plenty of themed napkins; and lots of little, nutty, crazy touches like pumpkins and fake cobwebs around the table and house to put people in the mood. 

As for what to eat -- we've got you covered (and not in spooky slime) with our recipes for putting on a frighteningly great party this Halloween. You know it's going to be boo-tiful. 

Don't just get by with old Halloween decorations. Raise your game. 

Don't just get by with old Halloween decorations. Raise your game. 

Macabre Menu for All Hallows Eve

Put food around, and don't mind if it all looks a bit scary or chaotic. People coming over (prior to tricking and treating, or after, or even during) are not focused on anything formal. Keep it fun, delicious, and simple. Except for store-bought candy, our menu can be made in EuroCAST cookware, so do yourself a frightening favor and don't make your Halloween about the cleanup. 

  • Candy dishes all around, all mixed with different varieties
  • Chicken drumettes
  • Shrimp skewers
  • Steak sliders
  • Pan cake
  • Roasted broccoli with pine nuts (and garlic if you want to double-down on Dracula defensive moves)
  • Roasted baby potatoes
  • Bread knots
  • Cheese tray

The strategy is obvious. Some things sweet, some savory, all accessible to fingers (or if you're wearing gorilla gloves, toothpicks), all small bites that put the treat in trick-or-treat. 

You will take her coveted EuroCAST Dutch oven from her only by taking it from her cold, dead hands. Which, at this point, looks like it's completely doable.

You will take her coveted EuroCAST Dutch oven from her only by taking it from her cold, dead hands. Which, at this point, looks like it's completely doable.

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Chicken Drumettes

5 pounds equals about 30-32 pieces. 

  1. In a single layer, lay the drumettes on a cookie sheet or -- for faster cleanup and lovely cooking --  in your EuroCAST double roaster's top. 
  2. Drizzle with olive oil, and spread over top a good seasoning of kosher salt and ground black pepper. 
  3. Roast in your oven at 450 degrees F until golden, about 15 minutes. 
  4. Remove from heat and add to one of the sauces below. They are all favorites in my family, so you can't go wrong making any -- or all -- of them. Toss and serve in one of these sauces, or your own ghoulishly clever Halloween sauce.
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Gates to hell sauce (a rap-scallion's dream)

  • 1/2 cup melted butter 
  • 1/4 cup Tabasco or similar hot sauce 
  • 1 scallion, minced fine

Stir well until completely incorporated.

Sweet death (for a witch's toast)

  • 1 cup fig or other fruit-filled jelly 
  • 1 jalepeno, minced fine

Process these two ingredients in the food processor and you're done.

Graveyard green sauce (Frankenstein's favorite when visiting Cancun)

Tomatillo sauce. Check out this link for my tomatillo sauce. 

Steak sliders to die for (don't worry, they can also bring you back to life)

I love Meryl Streep. In the hilariously gruesome movie, Death Becomes Her, she ends up with a hole in her tummy. 

Here's something that might have filled it. 

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Death Becomes You steak sliders with fresh caught eel

That's what you put on the placard near these beauties. There's really no eel in it. (That might come with a sushi posting in the future.)

These steak sliders are simply some perfect steak with peppers and onions. 

Here’s the story: 

  1. Acquire slider buns or mini hot dog buns. When you're ready to assemble the sliders,  fill with a smear of the very best mayo and a combo of steak and peppers and onions.
  2. For the steak, put flank steak on your Eurocast grill pan and grill it to desired doneness (in the spirit of Halloween, please leave some pink at least).
  3. Let the steak rest for a good 15 minutes while you cook the veggies in the next step. Once the steak has rested, slice that steak super-thin with a great, sharp knife.
  4. Don’t clean that skillet. It's filled with flavor. Now add 3 T. olive oil, then add one sliced white onion and a whole, thinly sliced sliced red pepper. Sauté till soft -- some like it very soft.
  5. Layer the steak and peppers with the onions and eat until you're on death's door! Or at least until you fill that hole in your Meryl Streep-like tummy. 

Vampire sauce for shrimp

Shrimp are easy. Keep the prep easy by buying them deveined and peeled. Use your favorite technique for cooking them just through -- cook them on our grill pan, or one of our EuroCAST woks for perfect shrimp. I did mine in the EuroCAST grill pan. Then, present with the Vampire Sauce you see below. Wait, what dropped into my Vampire Sauce?

The skull in the sauce is a serving suggestion. If you have squeamish guests, a little, formal place card in front of this dish might be appropriate: "All shrimp and skulls are scrubbed clean to the highest standards."

The skull in the sauce is a serving suggestion. If you have squeamish guests, a little, formal place card in front of this dish might be appropriate: "All shrimp and skulls are scrubbed clean to the highest standards."

  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley 
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped (baseline vampire protection)
  • 1/2-1 whole Serrano pepper chopped (depending on how much inspiration you need to battle a hungry Dracula)
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1-2 cups good quality olive oil 
  • Kosher salt
  1. In a blender combine all above except the oil.
  2. Pulse until smooth.
  3. Add oil bit by bit until the sauce starts to come together to a smooth consistency, perhaps 10 seconds. 
  4. Taste. 
  5. Season. 
  6. Blend again. 
  7. Add the zest and juice from 1 lemon. Vampires, it is not widely known, do not like the taste of lemon. Luckily that means there can be more for us.

Let sit, taste before serving to check seasoning and lemon levels.

Broccoli for the little zombies

Broccoli and pine nuts all roasted together are delicious -- and nutritious for kids. It's Halloween, so the pomegranate molasses dipping sauce is both seasonal and also a way for kids to pretend this is candy. You know better.

Broccoli and pine nuts all roasted together are delicious -- and nutritious for kids. It's Halloween, so the pomegranate molasses dipping sauce is both seasonal and also a way for kids to pretend this is candy. You know better.

It's time to reframe broccoli. Put a stalk on your counter, lean down into it. Now get up really close to the stalk and put on your Headless Horseman bifocals, you'll see why I call these:

Monster Mist Cold Green Trees (with Dragon Blood Dipping Sauce)

This is a simple recipe with a magical sweet and nutty twist: Toasted pine nuts and pomegranate molasses. Full details:

  1. Steam or roast broccoli florets (chopped bite-sized) till no longer raw, and easily bitable, but not soft. 
  2. Season the florets well with a little drizzle of olive oil and kosher salt. 
  3. Refrigerate them.
  4. When ready for the party, toast some pine nuts and toss together with the cool florets. 
  5. Serve with pomegranate molasses. That's the Dragon Blood. Of course. 

Moaning Myrtle Cheese Tray

For you Harry Potter fans, here is a cheese tray fit for your favorite ghost. 

Grab your biggest cheese board, or, to be clever, get a nice piece of plywood and cover it with wax paper. It's surprisingly beautiful and so easy to clean up. 

A cheese board demands variety, not just to please everyone's palette, but because real cheese lovers (raising my hand) like to go among different cheese to compare and contrast. It's like dating but with dairy products. 

Pick 2-3 cheeses, minimum. Get something:

  • Ooey and gooey. 
  • Stinky. 
  • Hard smoked.
  • And one that the little monsters will eat and not spit out in your martini. 

Fruit, veggies, and cheese go together like Dracula and Vampirella and Renfield. Or like Abbott & Costello and Frankenstein and Dracula and the Mummy and whoever was in that movie. Vincent Price sort of appears at the end. 

Plan for little grabs that require no removal of your gorilla gloves. 

So, for fruit and veggies: Single bites like berries, grapes, grape tomatoes (they're a bit sweeter than cherry tomatoes) and baby carrots;  and a separate board for cut apples and stone fruits. Include a good knife and a pit bowl for the cherries. And napkins.

A classic cheese board full of delights. Be generous. Even a scorpion or two makes for a little variety (just kidding ... boo!)

A classic cheese board full of delights. Be generous. Even a scorpion or two makes for a little variety (just kidding ... boo!)

Your favorite cake recipe -- or even a reliable cake mix! -- works perfectly in the EuroCAST grill pan. This one is vanilla spice with cream cheese frosting covered in black sprinkles and lots of “I see you" eyes. Nothing like lots of delicious cake with a side of paranoia for Halloween. 

Your favorite cake recipe -- or even a reliable cake mix! -- works perfectly in the EuroCAST grill pan. This one is vanilla spice with cream cheese frosting covered in black sprinkles and lots of “I see you" eyes. Nothing like lots of delicious cake with a side of paranoia for Halloween. 

Bread knots that disappear like the Invisible Man

Here's a fun experiment: Put these bread knots out on your table with a little placard marking them as Baby Brains Bread Knots. Watch to see which parent eats them voraciously. 

Baby Brains Bread Knots

Check out your grocery store's freezer section to make these knots. Look for frozen, uncooked bread dough. Buy it. Thaw it ... and then you can turn it into all sorts of delightful treats, including these baby brains. I mean, bread knots. 

  1. 1 loaf frozen uncooked bread dough, thawed, and cut into 10-12 pieces. 
  2. Roll each piece into a long snake and tie into knots. 
  3. Place on parchment lined cookie sheet or your EuroCAST griddle (I have the biggest griddle -- it's awesome for this)
  4. Repeat as needed
  5. Drizzle with olive oil and cover with another piece of wax paper. 
  6. Let sit to rise in a warm place till almost doubled, about 40 minutes 

In the meantime, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Then, when the doubling is done, brush the knots with 7 tablespoons melted unsalted butter. 

Sprinkle with: 

  • Kosher salt 
  • Garlic powder 
  • Dried parsley

Cook till browned and puffy, 10-12 minutes.

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Delicious potatoes to pop into any skull

I call these Death Drop Potatoes. Their superpower is that they are super easy to make and they give you a huge flavor return. 

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  1. 3 pounds new potatoes in the largest EuroCAST Dutch oven
  2. Cover with water to cover and 3 tablespoons of salt.
  3. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes. 
  4. Cover off heat.
  5. Drain potatoes. 

In your EuroCAST grill pan: 

  1. Potatoes from above
  2. 10-15 roughly chopped shallots 
  3. 1/4 cup olive oil 
  4. Kosher salt 
  5. Black pepper
  6. Roast for 40-45 minutes at 400 degrees F.
  7. Top with 1/2 cup finely chopped flat leaf parsley. 

Serve at room temperature. Not that I can wait. (I eat these like a werewolf.)

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The party's over. Now what?

The best treat of all are the sweet things you remember about a great dinner party. When you relax, open up, share laughs and good food, you're ready for what's next.

Which is either a good night's sleep, or, for some of us, planning Thanksgiving.

With fewer skulls and spiders. 

Perhaps.

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And now, to thank you for signing up for a PDF of this Halloween Must-Have Party Tips, a few more pictures to whet your monstrous appetite. Enjoy!

A party ghoul's delight, without the nightmare of cookware cleanup.

Click on the bread knot below to see the secret Halloween pictures we captured. 

Paul WardComment