Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Food & Fun Guide

We're scared. What's in that picture? Is it sending chills down your spine?

Could it be a scene from Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern gleefully eating 3-foot long worms accompanied by nuclear-spiced chili peppers? That was our first guess, but luckily it's Black & Orange Halloween Pasta from the folks at Epicurious. As you may know, FoodPair makes it easy to search for recipes across multiple sites like Epicurious, Food Network and Cookstr, so we found this savory & spooky recipe in a jif.

Now that Halloween weekend has finally arrived, FoodPair is here to present our Halloween Food & Fun Guide. We only have 2 days left till the big day, so let's get to it:

1. Buy some pumpkins to create your Jack-O-Lanterns.

Admittedly, most of us hadn't made Jack-O-Lanterns in a number of years and were intimidated by the prospect of turning orange with embarrassment. Luckily, most grocery stores have Pumpkin Carving Kits that are worth every penny of the $2 to $4 purchase price. Get some of those! Then, all you have to do is cut off the top of your pumpkin with a serrated knife, scoop the insides (naturally, you'll save the seeds for roasting and toasting) and it's time for carving.

Carving is where the genius of the kit is evident. They have pages and pages of cool designs and come with tracing and serrated carving tools that make creepy pictures possible. We found it best to tape the page from the kit directly onto the pumpkin and just carve through it with the tools. We've never been so proud of our handiwork!

2. Toasting the seeds

Toasting and roasting pumpkin seeds is easy. Simply put all the pulp & seeds in a pasta strainer for rinsing and pick out the pulp. Then, you have a ton of great options. The classic toasting method uses olive oil & salt, but the creative recipes are where the fun starts.

We enjoyed the spiciness of adding cayenne powder to the mix, the savoriness (aka umami) of adding garlic salt & parsley, and the sweetness of cinnamon & sugar. No need to limit yourself, so get creative with the toppings and then toast the seeds for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

3. Drinking tasty Halloween cocktails

Sure, Vampires drink blood, but for something sweet & tasty we're big fans of apple cider. There are plenty of varieties available this time of year and apples are in-season, so enjoy! Our favorite Halloween cocktail is to heat regular or spiced apple cider and serve it with regular or spiced rum. It'll warm you up and keep the pumpkin party going!

4. Baking, then eating fun cookies and candies

Sure, it's easy enough to go to the store and clean out their candy aisle. We're all fans of the classics and have fond memories of competitive trick-or-treating to see who could get the most mini Milky Way bars. But, it's actually very easy and fun to make your own Halloween goodies for in-house snacking.

First, these Peanut Butter Squares can easily be made into circles to replicate a Reese's. Second, these Chocolate & Orange Cookie Stacks are delicious and have the Halloween colors covered. Finally, you can decorate any classic cookie (like chocolate chip or sugar) with brightly colored frosting or sprinkles to make it Halloween ready. Red, for a fake-blood look is always good. Plus, get some funky cookie-cutters for spider, zombie, and vampire shapes!

We can feel it: you're ready for Halloween. Get out your best Justin Bieber, Twilight, Jersey Shore and Lady Gaga costumes and let's get cookin'!

Have other favorite Halloween recipes or tips? Post them in the comments section!

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