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Sep 22, 2016 03:40PM

Wicked snacks: 4 Halloween treats to haunt your holiday


By Laura Anderson Shaw
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Todd Mizener / tmizener@qconline.com

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Todd Mizener / tmizener@qconline.com

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Todd Mizener / tmizener@qconline.com

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Gary Krambeck/gkrambeck@qconline.com
Halloween pumpkins made of Oranges filled with fruit.
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I absolutely love hosting and attending parties, especially those of the Halloween variety. I especially enjoy the planning process — what will I serve or bring, and what in the world should I put it on?

Unfortunately, I'm also very good at waiting until the last minute. Much of my creativity and many of my plans go out the window at that point, when I'm flying through the supermarket and snagging last-minute, ready-made treats I have to plop down on my everyday plates.

Not this year! This year, with help from the internet, Pinterest and a flurry of emails promoting the latest Halloween dinnerware, I've settled on four dishes that are a snap to prepare, and a delight to eat. They are adorable and festive without being overly indulgent, which makes them perfect for parties and school functions that certainly will be packed with candy and other sweets.

Whether you're hosting a cast of ghouls and goblins this year, or traveling to another haunt, here are a few ideas for what you can whip up.

• Chips & Swamp Sauce
Basic tortilla chips and guacamole get a frighteningly fun makeover this month with this easy-to-assemble dish.

All you need is a bag of blue corn tortilla chips, guac, a platter and a decorative bowl. I snagged this bowl from Michaels, but there are many like it on the shelves at other area stores, thrift shops included. Be sure that the dish you are using is food-safe. This particular dish was not, so I loaded the guac into a small, clear ramekin, and then set it inside of the dish.

Then, I placed the dish in the middle of the platter and arranged the chips around it.

If you're in a rush, snag ready-made guacamole from your favorite grocery store. If you have a few minutes, here's an easy, five-ingredient guacamole recipe you can try:

Homemade 5 ingredient Guacamole
3 avocados
2 small tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 lime
salt

Scrape out the middle of the avocados into a mixing bowl. Add the juice of one lime, and mash it into your desired consistency. Then, chop up the tomatoes and garlic. Add them to the bowl, and salt to taste, then mix.
Recipe source: manouvellemode.com


• Paranormal Parfaits
Candy corn is perhaps one of the most iconic Halloween treats. Too bad it's a waxy concoction of essentially sugar and chemicals. While it looks adorable all piled up in a glass candy dish, it doesn't taste good enough to bother making room for it on my snack table.

But I knew my Halloween just wouldn't be the same without it, so I set out to find an alternative. Enter the fruit parfait: a tasty and colorful addition to the spread, made with fresh pineapple, mandarin orange slices and topped off with a squirt of whipped cream.

The amount of ingredients you will need for the parfaits will depend on the number you need and the size of the glasses you are using. For instance, for my two stemless wineglasses, I used about a cup of fresh pineapple chunks and 3/4 of a cup of mandarin orange slices for each, then I topped them with a couple of swirls of whipped cream. If your glasses are smaller, you will use fewer pieces of fruit. Likewise if you like pineapple more than mandarin oranges!

First, decide how many cups you'll need and which you will use, and you can sort of eyeball the rest.

For a little depth in my food display, I made a sort of cake stand with a plastic plate and a glass candle holder. It's definitely a crafty way to make the most out of the supplies you have on hand! Make your own by gluing or duct-taping a candlestick holder to the bottom of a plate. There are plenty to choose from either in your own cupboards or your nearest thrift shop.


• Bootiful Pumpkins
These tiny "pumpkins" can liven up any Halloween fare.They are part decoration, part treat — and they're a breeze to make, and easy to eat!

Each "pumpkin" requires a clementine and a 1-inch piece (or so) of celery. To make them, simply peel the clementines, and remove the tiny stem that runs through their centers. Be sure to leave the fruit intact! Then, place a 1-inch piece of celery into each of the fruits' centers.

To make a stand for them, I taped the bottom of a plate to the bottom of a cylindrical votive candle holder, and wrapped a skull and crossbones-clad scarf I had in my closet around it for a little extra decoration.


•Freaky Fruit Bowls
Berries, sliced kiwi, grapes and other bite-sized fruits make excellent finger foods at parties, especially when they're already loaded into individual serving bowls. To put a Halloween twist on the snack, and to save yourself from having to wash some dishes later, serve the fruit inside of little bowls made from orange rinds.

The bowls become a sort of snack within a snack. As you make them to hold the fruit, you'll carve out the insides of the orange, which make for a nice little bite as you work.

To begin, turn the orange on its side and cut off the top using a paring knife. Then, use the knife to cut the fruit away from its rind, following the circle around. Using a spoon, remove as much of the fruit as you can. You may need to go back in with the paring knife to scrape away what's left behind.

Then, carve a face into the front of the orange just as you would a jack-o'-lantern, but with a fraction of the force. I opt for simpler faces, since you're working with far less space, and without a sketch of where to cut.

Once your face is made, spoon a mix of fruit into the dish, such as berries, grapes, and the like. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

Laura Anderson Shaw is the editor of Radish.




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