It’s autumn. I love, love, love the change of seasons. Living out in the woods we see quite the color change out here and it is gorgeous. But there are a lot of reasons why I love it.
- sweater season
- soups and stews suddenly seem like an excellent dinner choice (and tater tot casserole too)
Yep, I’m a total dork for Halloween. To me there is nothing better than dressing up and pretending you are someone else for an evening. My affinity for this holiday probably stems from being a performer for so many years. But even as a kid, I LIVED for Halloween night. My sister and I would go out with a group of girl friends and hit up as many houses as we could. There was nothing more satisfying than carrying that heavy pillow case filled with goodies home, and then dumping the contents out onto the living room floor. Sugar bliss!
So this year we are blending my obsession for Halloween with The Dude’s love of brewing beer. It’s Brew-o-Ween, the most magical day of the year, and we’re throwing a party/beer tasting for all of our friends. Not only will we be sampling some of our own 3TW Brewing libations, but we’re asking our friends to bring one of their favorite craft brews to sample as well. You all need to know that there is nothing I like more than decorating the house and throwing a great Halloween party.
These are some photos from a Halloween dinner party I threw several years ago. It was a much more formal affair than the typical Halloween party I like to throw. But it was so much fun designing my table and menu to reflect the season. One dish I made was a wicked good garlic soup with toasted black bread bats. I’ll post the recipe at the end of the post.
Now I know that not everyone likes to dress up in costume so I’m making it a “costume optional” party, but I’m really hoping that our party goers get into the spirit of the holiday. This year, I’ve decided that I’m going as Bride of Frankenstein. But not just ANY Bride of Frankenstein. I’m going as Madeline Kahn’s character “Elizabeth” from my all time favorite movie – Young Frankenstein. She was hysterically funny and had so many great lines in that movie.
For research I guess I’m going to have to watch the movie several times. Then I’ll need to get out my sewing machine and get busy on the costume!
5 heads garlic
2 TBSP unsalted butter
4 leeks, white and pale green only, thinly sliced – be sure to wash and remove grit
2 sprigs fresh thyme
8 sprigs flat leaf parsley
1 TBSP whole black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ dice
4 14 0z. cans of chicken stock
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wrap 3 heads of garlic in aluminum foil and roast for 45 minutes. Let cool, halve crosswise, and squeeze garlic from cloves. Reserve garlic puree, discard paper skin. Peel remaining 2 heads of garlic.
In a 6 quart stockpot, melt butter over medium low heat. Add leeks and garlic cloves, stirring frequently until translucent but not brown (about 20-25 minutes). Wrap thyme, parsley, peppercorns and bay leaf in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine. Add to pot with potatoes, stock and garlic puree. Raise heat to medium and simmer until potatoes are tender (about 25-30 minutes). Discard cheesecloth bundle. Use food processor or blender to puree soup then return to soup pot. Add wine and simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Add heavy cream, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Garnish with black bread bats. Use bat shaped cookie cutter to cut bread slices and toast in a 350 oven until crisped.
(Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart Halloween)