Brew up a spellbinding Halloween block party grown-ups will enjoy
Halloween is coming soon and it’s time to enjoy the fun, enchanting costumes and trick-or-treat excitement.
With the party season in full swing, adults can elevate their grown-up fun by throwing their own neighborhood Halloween parties featuring trendy menus of seasonal favorites.
Start the party by treating guests to this hearty warm soup, served in festive party cups and topped with favorite garnishes.
PUMPKIN CURRY SOUP
Yields: 6 cups
2 slices bacon
2 tablespoon butter
½ cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped fresh white mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1½ teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon white pepper
3 cups chicken broth
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée
1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
Garnishes: Cheese and garlic croutons, sliced green onion tops, sliced mushrooms and crumbled bacon bits
On stovetop in a large pan, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon but leave drippings. Drain, then crumble cooked bacon and save for garnishes.
In same pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Sauté onion, mushrooms and garlic, stirring until soft. Add curry, salt and pepper and cook for another minute.
Add broth and pumpkin, bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cook, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat and stir in evaporated milk.
Transfer to a blender in small batches and process until smooth. Return to cooking pan or save in another bowl and refrigerate until serving time. When ready to serve, warm again without boiling.
HUMMUS WITH SHRIMP
Yields: 2 cups
1 cup diced (cooked and cleaned)fresh shrimp
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (juice of one lemon)
¼ cup tahini (stir before measuring)
2 small garlic cloves, peeled and finely diced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 (15.5-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
2-3 tablespoons cold water
1 teaspoon lemon pepper or to taste
Large bell peppers for serving
Sprinkle of paprika
On stove top in a small pan, melt butter until bubbly. Add diced shrimp and sauté about 1 minute. Squeeze on a small amount of the lemon juice, stir and let cool.
In a small food processor, combine remaining lemon juice, tahini, olive oil and diced garlic cloves and process. Add half of the chickpeas and process another minute until smooth. Add remaining chickpeas and then water and lemon pepper to taste. Continue processing until creamy.
Fold sautéed shrimp with butter into hummusand chill.
For a super fun Halloween presentation, carve cute jack-o-lantern faces on hollowed peppers for serving dips. Dust top of hummus with a sprinkle of paprika and serve with fresh veggies and pita chips.
This spicy cheese ball pumpkin is a party favorite of my sister, Betsy, for fall gatherings, served with crispy fresh red and green apple slices.
HALLOWEEN PARTY CHEESE BALL
Servings: About 16 as an appetizer
2(8-ounce) blocks extra sharp cheddar cheese, freshly shredded
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (7.5-ounce) container chive and onion cream cheese
2 teaspoons paprika
½ teaspoon ground red pepper
1 fresh broccoli stalk
Packages of prepared red and green apple slices
With electric mixer, combine cheese and next 4 ingredients, until blended. Remove from mixer into smaller bowl. Cover and chill 4 hours or until mixture is firm enough to be shaped.
Use plastic wrap cover and press to shape mixture into a ball to resemble a pumpkin. Uncover and smooth outer surface with a spatula.
Make vertical grooves with a knife to make pumpkin shape. Cut florets from broccoli stalk to resemble a pumpkin stem and press into top of cheese ball. Reserve broccoli for later use.
Guests are treated to homemade fresh apple bread packaged in cute little Halloween house cartons.
HARVEST APPLE BREAD
Yields: 5 mini loaves
2 cups red delicious apples, peeled and finely chopped
2 whole eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ cup melted butter, cooled
¾ cup applesauce
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup chopped pecans
In a large bowl, beat eggs, vanilla, butter and applesauce. Add sugars and continue beating. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to butter sugar mixture and mix lightly. Fold in chopped apple and pecans.
Divide dough between 5 mini foil muffin pans that have been lightly coated with flour base cooking spray. Also, carefully, line the bottom with parchment cut to fit.
Bake at 350 F for 30-35 minutes or until top feels firm and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in the pans. Then remove to a rack and continue cooling to room temperature.
Store in covered containers or freeze for later use. Remove and let set out uncovered to eliminate some of the moisture before packaging. Wrap in plastic wrap. Cakes can be placed back in the original foil pans, which come with clear tops for individual giving.
These holiday ready, richly flavored cookie bites, made with Halloween candy favorites, satisfy peanut butter cravings and delight those who love munching on candy corn.
HALLOWEEN CANDY COOKIE BITES
20 mini peanut butter cups, unwrapped and removed from paper cups
20 candy corn pumpkins
½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
½ cup white sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons milk
1¾ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
With electric mixer on high, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add egg, vanilla, peanut butter and milk and continue mixing. Sift together flour, soda and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix thoroughly.
Shape into 1-inch balls and insert into mini muffin pans that have been coated with cooking spray or lined with mini muffin papers. Bake at 350 F for 12-15 minutes or until golden and remove from oven. Do not over-bake.
Immediately press peanut butter cups and candy corn pumpkins into each cookie. Cool completely and carefully remove from tins. Can refrigerate until peanut butter cups are set. These cookies are easy to make ahead and freeze.
For a spellbinding fizzy green dessert, bring out Boozy Margaritas, floated with scoops of refreshing lime sherbet.
BOOZY LIME SHERBET MARGARITAS
1 quart lime sherbet
9 ounces tequila
6 ounces fresh squeezed lime juice
3 ounces fresh squeezed lemon Juice
6 ounces triple sec
48 ounces lemon lime soda, chilled
Green sprinkles and white corn syrup (optional)
Combine tequila, lime juice, lemon juice and triple sec and chill in a small pitcher.
Add 1 scoop of lime sherbet into the bottom of each of eight (12-ounce) canning jar-style glasses. (For a festive touch, first dip tops of glasses in white corn syrup and then in green candy sprinkles.) Place jars with sherbet in the freezer overnight or until the jars become frosty.
When ready to serve, remove glasses from freezer and pour 3 ounces of chilled tequila mixture over sherbet in each glass. Then top with 6 ounces lemon lime soda in each glass. Muddle mixtures together and let fizzing settle. Top each glass with another scoop of lime sherbet.
Tuck in colorful straws and serving spoons, garnish with lime slices and serve immediately.
Martha Justice is the author of “Easy Breezy Coastal Cooking,” inspired by Galveston’s coastal lifestyle. This cookbook is available for order online at www.grandcook.com or through Justice at email@example.com.