Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nothing Spooky About it, Even a Zombie can Handle It

When you are preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse, guess there are two questions, can you prepare, and do you believe? Which ever the case may be this may be the instance when you may want to start with a cocktail, to get the party started right.  

Adults Only Blood Bath Cocktail

2 cups pomegranate juice
7 Tbsp vodka
1 dash raspberry flavored syrup
1 dash lemon juice

  1. Mix the pomegranate juice, vodka, raspberry syrup and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker.  Shake well. 
  2. Serve chilled in martini glasses poured over ice.


1/2 oz  white rum
1-1/2 oz  golden rum 
1 oz dark rum 
1/2 oz  151-proof rum 
1/2 oz lime juice 
1 oz pineapple juice 
1 tsp papaya juice 
1 tsp superfine sugar 

  1. Stir together all these ingredients  except the 151 and pour into a 14-ounce glass three-fourths full of cracked ice. Float the 151 as a lid (by pouring it into a spoon and gently dipping it under the surface of the drink). 
  2. Garnish with mint and/or fruit. (A particularly fetching touch: On a toothpick, impale a lemon slice or pineapple cube between two maraschino cherries and lay this fruit kabob atop of the drink). 
  3. Supply a straw and, after two, a hammock. After three: a stretcher

Though as you may move on to calmer waters or the cocktails may have kicked in, and brought you to the more pleasant side.  There is always something sweet that can be found this time of year, and this dish is no exception this is a sweet treat with a salty twist.

Sweet and Salty Caramel Corn

10 cups popped popcorn (pop 1/3 cup of kernels in 1 Tbsp of oil)
1- 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecan pieces
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking soda
1- 1/2 tsp Kosher or Sea Salt

  1. Place the popcorn and pecans into a large stainless steel mixing bowl.
  2. In a small pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter with the brown sugar and the rest of the ingredients, stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. 
  3. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly until the mixture gets foamy and light. Pour it over the popcorn and pecans, and use a wooden spoon to stir it well.
  4. Spread the coated popcorn mixture out on a pair of large, rimmed baking sheets, and heat it in a 200-degree oven until it feels dry to the touch, about 20 to 30 minutes.
  5.  Cool completely before serving - about 20 minutes.

Now just need a little something savory to serve your monsters, friends and family, but  nonetheless, a little make ahead finger food delights that will tantalize all. 

Pork Dumplings with 
Chile-Sesame Sauce

These spicy dumpling are a delicious  with an added kick of spice. You can form the dumplings ahead and refrigerate them on a parchment-lined baking sheet covered with plastic wrap. They also can be frozen on the baking sheet and stored in a zip-top plastic bag once they’re frozen.

3 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 lb shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
6 large scallions, light green parts, finely chopped
3/4 lb baby bok choy, finely chopped
1 med carrot, coarsely shredded
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped           1  lb ground pork
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced                         2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce                      1  cup water
6 tsp mirin or sweet sherry                     1 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp Asian chile-garlic sauce                 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
Kosher salt, to taste                                 4  tsp fresh ginger, minced
2-containers wonton wrappers             4 tsp Asian chile-garlic sauce
1/4 cup Chinese black bean sauce 

  1. In a skillet, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the shiitake, scallions, bok choy, and carrot; stir-fry over high heat until tender, 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, mirin, and chile-garlic sauce and cook until the liquid is evaporated, 3 minutes. Season with salt. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, 15 minutes.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with wax paper. Add the pork to the filling and mix. On a work surface, brush 3 wonton wrappers with the cornstarch solution; spoon a scant tablespoon of the filling in the center. Fold the wrappers over to form triangles; seal the edges, pressing out any air trapped inside. With scissors, trim the the wrappers, leaving a 1/4-inch rim around the filling. Transfer the dumplings to the baking sheet, seam sides up. Keep the dumplings covered with a moist paper towel. Repeat with the remaining wonton wrappers and filling.
  3. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl. Fill a wok or a large skillet with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Working in batches, arrange the dumplings in a double-tiered bamboo steamer lined with oiled wax paper; set the steamer over the boiling water. Cover and steam the dumplings until the filling is cooked through and firm, 6 minutes.
  4. Toss the dumplings in 1 cup of the sauce. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the dumplings to a platter. Serve the remaining chile-sesame sauce alongside.

Scallop-and-Olive Eyeball Canapés

A quick scallop mousse mixed in a processor in under a minute forms the base of these elegant canapés. For the sleekest look of all, cut the mousse slices with a small round cookie cutter into perfect, even rounds. Yeah I know what you're saying, but I would not have put it here if it were not fitting for this group and if I did not think you might actually like it. 

1 lbs sea scallops                         1/2 tsp smoked paprika
2 large egg whites                      1  tsp fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt                                  1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
pepper                                        10  slice packaged white bread
1/4 cup heavy cream                4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, mashed             2 Tbsp black olives, diced
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2  cup pitted green olives or pimento-stuffed olives

  1. In a food processor, combine the scallops, egg whites, 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper, and process until smooth. With the machine on, add the cream in a thin stream. Scrape the puree into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  2. Tear four 12-inch sheets of plastic wrap. Spoon one fourth of the puree onto each sheet in a 6-inch square. Slide the green olives lengthwise onto four 6-inch bamboo skewers. Lay one skewer down in the center of each square. Roll the puree around the olives skewers and tightly roll up the plastic wrap to form cylinders; twist the ends and secure with twist ties. Wrap each cylinder in another sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  3. Bring a large, deep skillet of water to a simmer. Add the cylinders, cover with an inverted heatproof plate to keep them submerged, and poach over moderately low heat until firm, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool, then refrigerate until completely chilled.
  4. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mash the garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt. Whisk in the mayonnaise, paprika, and lemon juice, then whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush the bread on both sides with the melted butter. Using a 2-inch round cutter, stamp out as many rounds as possible from the bread. Transfer the rounds to a baking sheet and toast until golden, about 15 minutes.
  5. Unwrap the cylinders and remove the skewers. Using a sharp knife, cut the cylinders into slices about inch thick. Place a piece of black olive in the center of each green olive. If desired, use a slightly smaller round cutter to stamp the mousse slices into perfect rounds. Spoon the sauce onto the toasts, top with the mousse rounds and serve.

Boneless Buffalo Wings

This recipe was adapted from Eating Well, it is a twist on the traditional wing they have all of the flavor but are actually a healthy treat.  No one will be the wiser, just throw in a generous serving of  vegetables with a lighter version of blue cheese dip and you are good to go. 

3 Tbsp nonfat buttermilk
3 Tbsp hot pepper sauce
3 Tbsp distilled white vinegar, divided
2 lbs chicken tenders
6  Tbsp whole-wheat flour
6 tablespoon cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon canola oil, divided
2 cup peeled carrot sticks
2 cup celery sticks
Spicy Blue Cheese Dip, (recipe follows)

  1. Whisk buttermilk, 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce and 2 tablespoons vinegar in a large bowl until combined. Add chicken; toss to coat. Transfer to the refrigerator and let marinate for at least 10 minutes or up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk flour and cornmeal in a shallow dish. Whisk the remaining 1 tablespoon hot sauce and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a small bowl.
  3. Remove the chicken from the marinade and roll in the flour mixture until evenly coated. (Discard remaining marinade and flour mixture.) Sprinkle both sides of the chicken with cayenne.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken, placing each in a little oil. Cook until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter.
  5. Repeat with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and chicken, reducing the heat if necessary. Transfer to the platter. Drizzle the chicken with the reserved hot sauce mixture. Serve with carrots, celery and Spicy Blue Cheese Dip.

Spicy Blue Cheese Dip

This dip can be used with anything besides this dish and once you taste it it will become a staple to your home and not just for parties.

2/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

  1. Whisk sour cream, blue cheese, vinegar, and cayenne in a small bowl.

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