Thursday, November 5, 2015

Eat, Drink & Be Witchy - Lisa and Carolyn - October 2015

Lisa and Carolyn threw a Witches Soiree for our October gourmet night. This darling sister duo is as fun as they are pretty and put on a meal fit for some happy WITCHES!
Everyone was going crazy over the table decor. So cute and really unique center pieces, all hand made.
The table looked awesome with the black spread and the accents of tortoise shell and gold. 
Center piece was perfection.

The two pumpkins were made out of books! Cut on a band saw and embellished and they were killer!  I was coveting them for sure!
The crow in the book bird cage on the cake stand was honestly the perfect touch. Loved it!
Place settings were gold charges with black dinnerware. A small pumpkin a top each plate with gold ware for utensils. The cups were a tortoise goblet for just the right touch.

And the name tags where glittered lined and placed with a pearl topped pin in each pumpkin. 

And as though every detail wasn't met, the little pearls had 2 black eyes to complete the ghost. Adorable.
Menus followed the design of the invite and lined out a dangerously delicious evening!
Appetizer table was decorated with Halloween houses on fun candle sticks.
Our "Broom Starters" (so cute):
Gorgonzola Truffle with Black Grapes,
Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza
and a Pumpkin Cocktail.
No joke, all divine.
Witches Brew consisted of the creamiest Squash Soup ever poured into our pumpkins no less
and a Spinach Pomegranate Salad.
The Main Corset (heaven knows we were going to need one before the night was over) was a Pork Tenderloin with Coconut Rice and Stuffed Carrots.  Look at that plate. Details, serious details. Not to mention flavor!
Magical Dessert, and it was just that, Layer Pumpkin Spice Cake and Caramel Apple Cider.
Whoever thought a shot was sufficient…well they were wrong! Seconds and mugs the size of your head were more like it.
Fun details in banners, bedazzled pumpkins and the take home table too.

Monster Munch in paint tins with home made caramel apples and the cutest bows and witches brooms to package it perfect, 
along with the recipes.
Wicked good evening in decor, flavors, friends and conversation.
Thanks again ladies!

Witches Night Out Soiree Recipes
Pumpkin Cocktail
Ice cubes,
1-2 Tab pumpkin drink mix
Fill glass ¾ way with ginger ale.
add 1-2 Tab Creamer
Gorgonzola Truffle with Black Grapes
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 (4 oz.) container crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
2 teaspoons finely chopped onion
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon Black pepper
½ cup cooked and crumbled bacon
Black Grapes
Beat first 5 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until well combined. Cover tightly and chill 1 hour or until firm. Roll cheese mixture into ¾ inch round balls. Roll each ball in bacon. Serve immediately or cover and chill until ready to serve. Serve with black grapes. 
Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza
Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza
Total Time: 45 min
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 5 min
Yield:4 side dish servings
1 (1- pound) acorn squash
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1 package fresh tortillas
1 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
1 cup arugula
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Slice the squash in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds. Slice the squash into 1/2 to 3/4-inch wide half moons and place in a medium bowl. Toss the squash with the syrup, olive oil, red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the squash until tender and golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Keep the temperature on the oven at 375 degrees F. Place 1-2 tortillas on a piece of parchment paper to a 13-inch diameter. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese and the Gorgonzola on the tortilla. Bake in the oven until golden and cooked through, about 3 to 5  minutes.
Peel the skins off the squash. Top the cooked pizza with the cooked squash. Top with arugula and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Slice and serve.
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis- Original recipe done on a pizza dough.

Squash Soup
Total Time: 50 min
Prep: 10 min
Cook: 40 min
Yield: 4 servings
6 cups (about 2 large squash) seeded 2-inch wide chunks butternut squash
Melted butter, for brushing
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon minced ginger
4 ounces heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush the flesh of the squash with a little butter and season with 1 tablespoon salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper. On a sheet pan lay the squash flesh side up. Roast for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the flesh is nice and soft.
Scoop the flesh from the skin into a pot and add the stock, honey, and ginger. Bring to a simmer and puree using a stick blender. Stir in the heavy cream and return to a low simmer. Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown
Spinach Pomegranate Salad
Recipe By: Amy Kelley


1 head red or fancy green lettuce
1 bunch spinach
1 small red onion, sliced thin
1 cup fresh mushroom slices
1 cup Swiss Cheese or Mozzarella, shredded
1/2 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled

2/3 cup cider vinegar
1 1/4  cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
green onion bottom half, cut fine, (optional)


Combine lettuce, spinach, red onion, mushrooms, cheese and bacon in salad bowl. Mix dressing ingredients in blender and mix well. Just before serving, break up small pretzels and mix with the greens. Add dressing to taste, toss and serve. Or you can serve the salad and let people pour dressing over the top to their personal taste.

You may add apple cubes, pomegranates, or Craisins for winter salads. This is a great mix around salad, I've even served it with apples, cheese, mushrooms and candied pecans - whatever sounded good together.

Island Pork Tenderloin
Serves 6-8
2 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 pork tenderloins (2 ¼- 2 ½ lb total)
2 TBS olive oil
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 TBS finely chopped garlic
1 TBS Tabasco (It's spicy so if you don't like kick go easy on the Tabasco!)
Preheat oven to 350.  Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon, then coat pork with spice rub.  Heat oil in oven proof 12 inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke, then brown pork, turning, about 4 minutes total.  Leave pork in skillet.  Stir together brown sugar, garlic and Tabasco and pat on the top of each tenderloin.  Roast in middle of oven until thermometer inserted diagonally in center of each tenderloin registers 140 degrees, about 25 minutes.  Let pork stand at room temperature 10 minutes.  (temperature will rise to about 155 degrees while standing.) Slice in 1-2" pieces and serve with sauce. To make sauce pour the drippings in the pan through a strainer and then serve.
***For non-pork lovers, I have made this with chicken too and it turns out just as great. Very Yummy!
Coconut Rice
Serves 6

1 1/2 c Jasmine Rice
2 c milk
1 c water
1 tsp coconut extract
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp garlic diced
3/4 tsp salt

First rinse the rice with cold water until the water is clear and not white. Put the rinsed rice in a medium pan and combine with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and then turn to low. Cover and cook for 25-35 minutes. Stir rice every 10 minutes. Rice is done when liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove from heat and let cool. Serve and enjoy!

Stuffed Carrots

10 carrots peeled
½ cup seasoned bread stuffing mix
¼ cup white cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp fresh parsley chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme (can use additional as garnish)
¼ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp onion powder

In a medium saucepan, cover carrots with water and cook over medium heat until tender, but still firm, approx. 20 min. Let cool. Cut a wedge out of carrot to put stuffing in.  In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Stir well. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Stuff carrots with bread mixture and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake until carrots are hot to the touch and stuffing is golden brown, approx. 15 minutes. Garnish with thyme if desired.

Layer Pumpkin Spice Cake
Heat oven to 350°F.
  • 1 pkg. (2-layer size) yellow cake mix
  • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin, divided
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, divided
  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed
  • 1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping
  • 1/4 cup chopped PLANTERS Pecans
  • Beat cake mix, 1 cup pumpkin, milk, oil, eggs and 1 tsp. spice in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Pour into 2 greased and floured 9-inch round pans.
  • Bake 28 to 30 min. or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 10 min. Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely.
  • Beat cream cheese in medium bowl with mixer until creamy. Add sugar, remaining pumpkin and spice; mix well. Gently stir in COOL WHIP. Cut each cake layer horizontally in half with serrated knife; stack on serving plate, spreading cream cheese filling between layers. (Do not frost top layer.) Drizzle with caramel topping just before serving; top with nuts. Refrigerate any leftovers.
Caramel Apple Cider
¼ 1 Cup. Cream
¼ 2-4 TBS Brown Sugar
Mix together in pot and begin to boil.
3 Cups Apple Juice, or apple Cider
½ cups water
Heat until steamy
Serve topped with whipping cream:  made with brown sugar.

Homemade Caramel Apples
Makes 30 large apples and 36 medium apples
Use a 1/2 batch for a dozen.
Granny Smith apples are best.
Wash and dry apples and remove stem. Refrigerate apples.

Mix and boil
8 cups sugar
2 cups butter
4 cups light corn syrup
Slowly add without stopping boil:
4 cans evaporated milk
After removing from heat add:
2 teaspoons vanilla.

In a heavy sauce pan (pressure cooker or like) combine sugar, syrup, and butter over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil Add milk a little at a time so mixture never stops boiling. Cook at a lower temperature, stirring every few minutes--do not scrape the bottom when stirring. Cook to firm ball stage 230 degrees) You can test the caramel in a bowl of cold water by dropping a small amount of caramel into water and letting it cool. Caramel should make a fairly firm ball when removed from water. Remove from heat and add vanilla. (This portion does take a while. This is an all day activity, but VERY worth it.)  I use a laser thermometer and is works better than a candy thermometer.

Pour caramel into a crock pot on medium-low setting--do not scrape the bottom of the caramel pan. When ready to dip, insert an apple stick into top of each dry apple. Try to keep stick as straight as possible. (Trick--If the apple is not flat, you can turn it upside down and put the stick in the bottom) Make sure there is no juice next to the stick Take one apple at a time and dip into caramel Make sure to cover the apple completely. Do not let it sit in the caramel too long or the apples will weep at the stick end.

Let caramel drip off and use a knife to scrape excess caramel off the bottom of the apple. Set apples on a sheet pan you have sprayed with Pam or have lined with silicone mats. When tray is full, put it in the refrigerator so caramel will cool. Dip all apples and let cool. As the caramel cools some bubbles might appear. This is okay.

After apples have cooled, you can start dipping in chocolate. Use a high quality white dipping chocolate--it can't be molding chocolate (Gutard Vanilla Wafers or "White Glacier" work great.) I use about 5 lbs of chocolate per batch of caramel. Chop the white chocolate into small pieces so they can melt easily. You can then melt in a double boiler or in the microwave--1 minute at a time. Stirring every minute and adding more chocolate until smooth and creamy. Do not let the chocolate get above 118 degrees. (if it does, just retemper by cooling completely and starting again) Take apple and dip it into chocolate about 2/3-3/4 of the way on the apple so that the caramel still shows at the top. Let the chocolate drip and then scrape excess off the bottom. Set the apple in a cinnamon sugar mixture and sprinkle chocolate sides with mixture or candy. Set apple back on the tray lined with parchment paper. When tray is full return tray to the refrigerator.  
Once chocolate is set, you can wrap the apple in a cellophane bag and tie the top.
Monster Munch
(by Our Best Bites)
1 package Almond Bark (1 lb)—I used Gutard Ribbons from Orson N Gygi
12 C popped popcorn (about 1/2 C kernels or 2 bags of microwave popcorn)
1 C candy corn
1 C dry roasted, salted peanuts
1/2 C Reeces Pieces
Pop popcorn and place in a large bowl. Much larger than you think you need. The largest you have. It will make mixing easier! Pour peanuts, candy corn, and reeces pieces on top.
Take a large knife and break up almond bark. Melt according to package directions. I just chop it up a little and microwave it in intervals until smooth and melted. Pour over popcorn mixture.
Stir until everything is well coated and then spread out onto waxed paper, parchment, or foil. Let sit until completely dry and then break up into clumps