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Archive for October, 2010

HALLOWEEN: Trivia & The History Of Halloween

The Jack o’ Lantern evolved from a
turnip. Photo by Rawkus | SXC.

 

Halloween Trivia To Share
Bring these fun trivia facts to work, to school, to a Halloween party:

  • Halloween has its origins in the festival of Samhain (sah-WEEN), celebrated by ancient Celts at the end of the harvest.
  • The Celts believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc.
  • To avoid the spirits and ghosts that roamed the countryside, they began to wear masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.
  • Samhain marked the end of the “lighter half” of the year and beginning of the “darker half.” The Halloween colors of orange and black represent the lighter side (fall harvest) and the darker side.
  • Jack o’ Lanterns were not originally pumpkins. To keep away spirits and ghosts on Samhain, people placed candles in their windows, using hollowed-out turnips and other vegetables as the holder.
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  • Around 600 C.E., Christian missionaries replaced the pagan festival of Samhain with All Saints Day, also called All Hallows Even (even means evening).
  • The name Halloween is first found in 16th-century Scotland, evolving from All Hallows Eve.
  • Afraid of Halloween? That’s called Samhainophobia.
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    HALLOWEEN: Scary Halloween Recipes

    What’s for dinner on Halloween?

    Something scary and creepy, we hope!

    How about some Spooky Shepherd’s Pie and some BBQ Worm Sandwiches?

    There’s still time to whip up some devilishly delicious Halloween fare.

    These recipes are good party fare for kids or adults. But if you have no other plans, sit home and dig into a party-in-a-dish.

    HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

     

    Ghoulishly good and easy to make. Photo
    courtesy Pillsbury.

     

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Savory Mascarpone Recipes

    A bowl of mascarpone dip. Photo courtesy
    Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

    Mascarpone, the thick and delicious “Italian cream cheese,” is the key ingredient in tiramisu and a favorite for topping berries. In fact, it’s thanks to tiramisu, which has become a favorite dessert in the U.S., that most of us know what mascarpone is.

    The fresh cheese is used in savory recipes too, of course. We like it as a quick and easy cocktail spread.

    Blend mascarpone with your favorite flavors—Dijon mustard, mashed anchovies, capers and fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme), curry, salsa—there are vast opportunities. You can even divide the tub of plain mascarpone and make two different flavors.

    Serve the spread in ramekins with fancy crackers or with thin-sliced toasted baguette. Delicioso!

    By the way, a surprising number of people mispronounce and misspell the name of the cheese. It’s MAH-scar-POE-nay, not MAR-scah-POE-nay; mascarpone not marscapone.

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    HALLOWEEN: Pumpkin Pizza Recipe

    Pizza for Halloween? Sure, when it’s pumpkin pizza!

    Theo Kalogeracos is an Australian pizzeria owner based outside of Perth. He was named 2010 World Champion Pizza Maker at the Las Vegas Pizza Show.

    Celebrate all through pumpkin season with his new pumpkin pizza recipe. Serve it with pumpkin ale, one of our seasonal favorites.

    SMASHING PUMPKIN PIZZA WITH GOAT CHEESE

    Ingredients

  • ¾ cup basic pizza dough, ball rolled and ready
  • ¼ cup mozzarella, grated
  • 2 tablespoons roasted unsalted cashews, crushed
  • 1¼ cups roasted pumpkin, cubed and marinated in one teaspoon of basil pesto
  • 1½ tablespoons white cream sauce (recipe below)
  • 2½ tablespoons fresh goat cheese
  • 4 tablespoons good Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon fresh parsley for garnish, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons cashews for garnish, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons extra Parmesan for garnish, grated
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    Pumpkin pizza. Photo courtesy Ballantine Books.

     

    Preparation
    1. Preheat the oven to 500°F for 15 minutes.
    2. Spread mozzarella evenly over the base.
    3. Add crushed cashews and cubes of pumpkin.
    4. Drizzle with white cream sauce.
    5. Scatter crumbled goat cheese and grated Parmesan evenly over the surface.
    6. Cook pizza for seven to 10 minutes at 500°F. Remove from the oven and cut into slices.
    7. Garnish with fresh parsley, extra cashews and Parmesan cheese before serving.

    WHITE CREAM SAUCE RECIPE

    Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup unsifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cup milk
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    Directions
    1. In a heavy saucepan, heat butter until melted. Remove from heat and add flour, salt and pepper, stirring constantly until smooth.
    2. Add milk slowly, stirring and return to medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook 1 minute.

    Use extra sauce in soups, on chicken and vegetables.

    Find more delicious pizza recipes.

      

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    MENU: Perfect Halloween Food

    Head to the butcher and make some
    tempura brains. Photo courtesy Blu
    restaurant.

    Looking for inspiration for a Halloween dinner?

    We love the menu at Blu restaurant in New York City’s Hotel Indigo. It’s not for the faint of heart (and there’s no heart on the menu):

    • Sautéed Chicken Livers with Artichokes and Lemon
    • Traditional Pinocchio Tripe with Crostini
    • Tempura-Style Calf Brain* with Marinara Dipping Sauce and Prickly Pear Salad
    • Black Risotto with Frogs Legs
    • Blood Orange Sorbet with Black Cat Cookies and Prosecco Zabaione

     

    “In the spirit of Halloween, I wanted to get creative and playfully pair and plate items that diners might not ordinarily consider—but which are quite delicious,” says Chef Patrick Nuti. “All these items are perfectly normal in Italy and most other cultures but can seem foreign to American palates.”

    We love culinary adventure, and we’re headed to Blu for Halloween. Maybe we’ll run into the Munsters or the Addams family.

    *THE NIBBLE’s wine editor prefers lamb’s brains.

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