Be our guest at an All Hallows’ Eve gathering dripping with eerie ideas and a bit of Halloween theater. But beware — ravens and bats abound because this Halloween party comes on wings.
Poison Pink Candy Apples
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
One 3/4-ounce bottle white food coloring
One 3/4-ounce bottle pink food coloring
Insert a candy thermometer into the heavy stovetop pan, and let the mixture come to hard-crack stage on medium-high heat. Remove from the heat, and quickly dip and swirl your apples in the candy. Place apples on greased parchment paper to cool.
A Foggy Night
You can buy dry ice from a butcher shop to add more wisps of creepy fog to the scene. Carefully maneuver the ice with metal tongs and place in a cold-proof vessel, and then add warm water to create instant rolling fog. Use the dry ice for decorative purposes only, and keep it away from kids and animals.
Roasted Orange Bell Pepper Soup
This earthy and easy fall soup selection is a page out of my childhood. Every year in early fall, my Italian-born grandmother, Nettie, would roast the bell peppers we picked at a Yakima farm. The peppers would be canned and frozen and used throughout winter. Roasting peppers brings out their sweet, rich flavor, and it’s so easy. Serve the soup in a fondue pot cauldron to give it Halloween appeal!
3 orange bell peppers
1 sliced Walla Walla onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried thyme
I teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon toasted cumin
A generous splash of Kirsch cherry brandy liqueur
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish options: dried pear and cherries, and fresh thyme
Roast the orange bell peppers and one peeled and sliced Walla Walla sweet onion tossed in olive oil in the oven at 400 degrees until the peppers are slightly charred and the onions caramelize.
Place the peppers in a paper bag, and roll down the top so that the peppers continue to steam while they cool, making it easier to remove the skins. Remove skins.
Slice the peppers, and add to a soup pot along with the onions, garlic, thyme, and oregano. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, and sauté on medium heat for a few minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add broth to the pot, toasted cumin, and a generous splash of Kirsch cherry brandy liqueur. Salt and pepper to taste.
Simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes until all of the flavors combine. Remove from heat, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup mixture in the pot. Return to the heat, and simmer for 15 more minutes. Serve garnished with sliced dried pears, dried cherries, and fresh thyme.
The Frankentini Martini
This pale coconut and vanilla concoction drips with blood-red Amarena cherry syrup. Rim martini glasses in cherry syrup, and chill. Combine 1 ounce each of vanilla vodka, white rum, and canned coconut milk with 3 tablespoons of vanilla simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake, pour, and garnish with an Amarena cherry.
To-Die-for Cheesy Bread Triangles
Grate a cup each of gruyere and fra comte cheeses, and melt into a pan on the stovetop with a splash of white wine and Kirsch brandy. Cool and refrigerate. When you are ready, place a slice of cheese on pumpernickel bread, and toast under the broiler until the cheese melts and the bread is toasted.
Ghostly Meringue-Topped Dark Chocolate Cupcakes
Make dark chocolate cupcakes from scratch or from a box mix. Cool and set aside. Frost with dark chocolate frosting, and add fresh cherries, stems and all.
3 egg whites
1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
Whip egg-white mixture into stiff peaks, adding the sugar two tablespoons at a time. Place in bag and pipe out mini mounds of meringue onto a greased parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake in a 200-degree oven for 10-15 minutes until the meringue is firm and slightly golden. Cool thoroughly. With a food-safe paintbrush, decorate the ghosts with black food coloring to create eyes and mouths.
The Fog Rolls In
Create dramatic special effects with a mini fog machine, found at party stores!
Boos at the Bar
Trick out a tray table with party-store Halloween pieces.
Whet the appetite with an assortment of dried cherries, crackers, and candied nuts in decorative bakeware cups.
Behind the Mask
Venetian-inspired masks create a classy Halloween party vibe.
You can never go wrong with ravens at Halloween! I created these Nevermore raven treat bags with the help of my sis, Linda.
See Monica Hart’s design, recipe, and entertaining ideas in every issue of 425 magazine, and at lafamigliadesignllc.com.
Credits: Hair by Seven the Salon, senior stylist Chu. Lantern, large pedestal, and plush pumpkins from Haley’s Cottage in Kirkland. Ingredients from Metropolitan Market in Kirkland. Dry ice from QFC in Kirkland.