By Suzanne Corbett, Travel/Food Editor
I don’t think any one out grows Halloween. Perhaps the reason why Halloween has crept up on New Years Eve and replaced it as the number one favorite adult party; which especially true this year as Halloween and the World Series share the spotlight.
There’s still time to plan a spook-tacular throw –down that won’t cost a coffin of cash.
Start with the décor; beginning with lighting and linens. Dim the lights and break out the candles. Tea lights and the new battery powered tea lights are a favorite to illuminate and cast a ghostly glow. Besides slipping tea lights into Jack-o-lanterns drop them into mason jars or position them in apples, mini pumpkins or gourds that a have a niche carved out to accommodate a tea light or taper candle.
Linens can complete an eerie table by simply mixing and mismatching what you have on hand. And don’t forget the white sheets. Alone of splashed with red paint can make a great table cover. Gather and scatter leaves and branches from the yard to create a centerpiece or decorate a mantle. Add a few dime-store decorations as fake spiders, skeletons or orange ribbons for a finishing touch. Set with tarnished flatware and grandma’s old chipped dishes for a touch of a creepy chic.
Next, think creatively when planning your menu where you can be as camp as you like. No one does this better than River City Casino and Hotel’s Chef John Johnson whose ghoulishly Halloween creations can serve as an inspiration. A couple years back Chef John brought brain sandwiches to the October Beer House menu, which has since become a menu mainstay thanks to its 100-plus year history as a Southside St Louis specialty. Last year’s Tongue Nachos where a little too creepy for this girl. However, this year Chef John’s not-so-scary offering is the Headless Horseman, a roasted jack-o-lantern filled with Guinness Beef Stew.
To get in the Halloween spirit as Chef John, start in your own kitchen by making a few simple name changes that can make your culinary creations sound creepy. . Shrimp can become “Creatures of the Deep”, Hot Chicken Wings could become Gates of Hell Bat Wings, and chili, the traditional Halloween favorite sounds more wickedly savory when renamed Cauldron Chili. Just remember to make menu title cards to I.D. your devilishly delights on the table.
To get you into Halloween spirit try one of my spooky sounding recipes. Each is a perfect menu addition for a Halloween/World Series Watch Party, which just might help add a little more mojo in the air to frighten the Red Soxs into an early defeat.
Angel of (Red Sox) Death Cheese
1 large bulb garlic, roasted
8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
1/2 cup whipping cream
salt and pepper to taste
2 ñ4 fresh sage leaves, finely minced
1/3 cup finely chopped pistachios
Combine roasted garlic with cream cheese and beat until smooth. Add Gorgonzola, cream, sage, salt and pepper. Press into a serving dish and sprinkle with pistachios. Serve with crackers or pita crisps.
Spiced Maple Cocktail Bones
2 pounds cocktail spareribs, cut into 2-inch pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons molasses
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place the ribs in a shallow roasting pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 35 - 45 minutes. While ribs are cooking, combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside.
Remove the pan from the oven and drain off any fat. Toss the ribs with 1/2 cup of the marinade. Return them to the oven and bake, turning the ribs and basting them occasionally with the remaining 1/4 cup marinade, for 30 minutes.
Serves 8 - 10