Midday Fix: Halloween DIY entertaining tips from Carol Mackey

Carol Mackey


Halloween is not just for the kids, here's some ideas & recipes for a  grown-up Halloween party - featuring a spooky drink and some sophisticated yet easy appetizers and dessert. Also, showing creative and affordable tablescaping!

Serves: 1

2 oz vodka (I used Blavod black vodka)
1 oz dark rum
1 oz half and half
2 Tbs canned pure pumpkin puree
1 oz maple syrup
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
sprinkles for the rim
cinnamon stick and Brach’s pumpkin mellow crème candy for stir stick garnish

Combine everything but black vodka into your cocktail shaker. Pour into glass, using the back of a spoon slowly pour black vodka on top. Garnish with a little bit of fresh grated nutmeg.
TIP: use maple syrup on the glass to help sprinkles stick.

Squash Tostada Bites

1 large butternut squash
flour tortillas cut in 3 inch rounds and toasted oil in sauté pan
goat cheese
butter and olive oil, for cooking squash

Cut a large butternut squash horizontally below the neck; reserve bulb for another use. Cut squash into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes; leaves, pumpkins. Cook squash leaves in butter and olive oil over medium heat until brown, 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to paper towels to drain; sprinkle with salt. Top each tortilla with a small dollop of goat cheese and cover with one of the leaves. Serve with chipotle lime sauce.

Chipotle Lime Sauce

1 can chipotle chili in adobo, about 2 peppers (remove as many seeds as possible) or chipotle sauce in a bottle
2 tsps fresh lime juice
1 cup sour cream

In a small bowl of food processor, add chilies and lime juice add sour cream and process until combined, salt to taste

Marinated Mozzarella Eyeballs

1 container marinated mozzarella balls
Irises and pupils:  unpitted green olives, as needed (about 20) black olives, as needed (about 10)

To create the iris of your eyeball, cut the top away from one green olive with a sharp knife. You should end up with a nice round little dome. Using the end of a straw, poke a hole through the middle of your iris and remove the bit of olive. This is where you will place your pupil. To create pupils stick the end of a straw into a black olive and pull out a straw-hole-shaped piece. This little round piece of olive is your pupil. Place a pupil in the middle of each iris. Repeat process until you have enough pupils and irises for all of your mozzarella balls. Skewer a pair or place on platter in twos.

Fiery Pepitas

2 cups pepitas raw hulled green pumpkin seeds (Trader Joe's)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsps lime juice
1 tsp salt
2 to 3 Tbs olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, stir the seeds and continue to bake for 5 more minutes, remove and salt again.

Death by Chocolate with Blood Pears

3 or 4 seckel pears peeled (these are the small pears)
2 cups red wine
dash vanilla
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

Heat water in small sauce pan with sugar, add wine and vanilla add pears simmer about 20 minutes or until they are a nice reddish purple color.  Set aside.

Chocolate Flourless Cake
(or use any dense chocolate cake mix)

1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar
12 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 sticks butter, room temperature
5 eggs, room temperature

Combine water and sugar and bring to a simmer.  Chop chocolate (or break up) and slowly whisk in the chocolate to combine after each incorporation.  Add butter by chuck, whisking after each incorporation.  Whisk eggs together and add slowly. Pour into a small loaf pan.  Bake at 325 about 45-50 minutes.  Refrigerate until solid, invert on to cake plate, let sit out about 30 minutes before serving, place on wire rack and pour ganache over, use small spatula to distribute. Freezes great.  Serves about 8-10.

Makes: 1 1/4  cups

4 oz. bittersweet, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature

Place chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl; set aside. Place cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Pour over chocolate and let stand until chocolate has softened, about 5 minutes add butter and stir until smooth. Pour over cake.  Place pears on top of cake.