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Red wine pasta dish, courtesy of Liz Barbour.




Parent-child Halloween Dinner Date

Where: The Culinary Playground, 16 Manning St., Derry
When: Friday, Oct. 28, from 6 to 8 p.m.
What: Parent and child teams will make pumpkin-shaped pizzas and owl cupcakes.
Tuition: $40 per pair, for parent and child 6 years or older
Visit: culinary-playground.com
 
Frankenstein marshmallow pops
From the kitchen of Maureen Porter, adapted from Pinterest
 
1 bag chocolate chips, semisweet
Small pretzel rods
Green candy melts
Marshmallows
Edible red or black markers or gel icing
Toothpicks, lollipop sticks or colorful straws
 
Stick toothpicks, lollipop sticks or straws into marshmallows and dip into melted green chocolate. Once dried, dip partway into melted semisweet chocolate chips (for Frankenstein’s hair). Stick a pretzel rod through bottom of marshmallow, add googly eyes and draw mouth and stitches with edible markers or gel icing.
 
Red wine pasta
From the kitchen of Liz Barbour
5 ounces chopped baby arugula
1 pound thick spaghetti
1 bottle red wine (zinfandel or red blend)
1 teaspoon sugar
⅓ cup olive oil
10 thinly sliced garlic cloves
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
Pepper, freshly ground
Extra virgin olive oil
 
Fill large pot with 12 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and bring to boil. Add spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally for five minutes until pasta is partially-cooked. Drain pasta in colander, return empty pot to stovetop. Add wine and sugar to pot and bring to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes. Add spaghetti and stir until spaghetti is coated. Boil over high heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the wine is absorbed (about 6 minutes, al dente). While pasta cooks, place olive oil, garlic in large saute pan and turn heat to low. Cook garlic slowly until lightly-browned, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add crushed red pepper and chopped arugula. Add wine-cooked pasta to garlic and arugula and toss gently. Finish with grated cheese and drizzle with EVOO. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
 
Crescent roll mummy hot dogs
From the kitchen of Maureen Porter
 
1 8-ounce tube crescent rolls
8 hot dogs
mustard, mayo or ketchup for eyes
mozzarella cheese
black olives
1 large straw
1 regular straw
 
Heat oven to 375. Unroll crescent roll dough and separate into 4 rectangles. Press together to seal. Cut dough into ½-inch strips and join 3 together for long “bandage.” Wrap bandage dough around hot dogs, leaving space for mummy’s face. Repeat with all hot dogs; arrange on baking sheet covered with parchment paper and bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cut tiny slices of cheese with large straw, olives with regular straw, then stick to hot dog using mayo, mustard or ketchup.
 
Pumpkin-shaped cheese ball
From the kitchen of Kristen Chinosi of The Culinary Playground
 
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon minced onion
4 tablespoons salsa
1 teaspoon cumin
¾ cup shredded cheddar cheese
Large handful Doritos, crushed
Piece of celery or green pepper stem for pumpkin stem
Bay or basil leaves for leaves
 
In a large bowl, mash together cream cheese, onion, salsa, cumin. Stir in cheddar cheese. With slightly dampened hands, shape into a ball (pumpkin). Sprinkle crushed Doritos onto pumpkin and gently press down. Turn pumpkin and sprinkle on remaining Doritos, pressing lightly over entire pumpkin until covered. Place ball on platter, push celery or pepper on top for stem. Push bay or basil leaves into stem for leaves. Serve with tortilla chips, baby carrots and celery. 
 
*If making ahead of time, place filling cheese ball in fridge and chill; cover with Doritos right before serving.




Beyond candy
Halloween treats, from mummy dogs to Frankenstein marshmallow pops

10/20/16
By Kelly Sennott ksennott@hippopress.com



 There’s only so much candy corn you can eat, so why settle for traditional Halloween treats? Spice up your fare by adding a little scariness to your entrees, hors d’oeuvres, sweets and healthy snacks.

 
Creepy entrees
All it takes is a little twist to make a traditional dish into one with Halloween flair.
If you’re craving pasta, Liz Barbour, owner of The Creative Feast in Hollis, likes cooking it in red wine, giving noodles a deep burgundy color — the drier the wine, the sharper the flavor. She finishes it off by sauteing the pasta in oil and garlic (to keep the vampires away) and serving it in a jack-o’-lantern pumpkin with a low-carved mouth, allowing the noodles to fall out like guts. She suggests using roasted sugar pumpkins because they’re fleshy and thick. 
“Then, when somebody takes some of the pasta, they can scoop out some of the pumpkin,” Barbour said via phone last week.
If you’re looking for a side dish, go orange — there are so many vegetables of this hue that are in season, from carrots and squash to local tomatoes.
Sometimes, all your dishes need is a shape alteration, said Kristen Chinosi, owner of the Culinary Playground in Derry. Add some arms, legs and a head to your meatloaf, and you’ve got a dead body — for extra effect, stick a fork in its chest, add ketchup (blood) and draw a face (with olives for eyes, sliced red pepper for a mouth). If you’re serving butternut squash soup, pipe sour cream on top in a spiderweb pattern.
“Another one we do a lot is pizza,” Chinosi said. “Halloween night — that’s like the biggest pizza-ordering night of the year. But if you want to make it more healthful, you can make your own.”
Give the pizza a pumpkin shape and add the toppings — veggies, pepperonis, bacon, whatever — into a  jack-o’-lantern face. Chinosi said the Culinary Playground is hosting a parent-child workshop making these pizzas a couple days before Halloween. One of her goals, she said, is to show you can be healthy (or somewhat healthy) while still being festive.
 
Finger food
It’s not hard to give finger food a holiday vibe; it might just be a matter of rearranging and restyling. 
If you’re serving cheese and crackers, cut the cheese into maple leaf or skeleton head shapes, said Maureen Porter, who runs Leave it to Me Catering. If you’ve got dip, plop it into a hollowed-out gourd, or re-vamp your pigs in a blanket by making crescent roll mummy dogs.
Chinosi suggested spooking up guacamole by turning it into a Frankenstein head — shape it like a rectangle and use black olives and veggies to design the hair and facial features. A big hit at the Culinary Playground, Chinosi said, are pumpkin-shaped cheese balls made with crushed Doritos.
For the ultimate finger food, Barbour suggested roasting fingerling potatoes and sticking olives on the end as fingernails.
 
Sweets and adult treats
Making creative Halloween treats might be easier in the sweet department because of things like colored frosting and creepy candy, like gummy worms, which Porter likes to press into ice cubes and serve with drinks at Halloween parties.
She said kids especially get a kick out of Frankenstein-themed pops, which involve dipping marshmallows in melted green chocolate and decorating them with chocolate sprinkles, pretzel sticks, candy googly eyes and gel icing. Another mummy munchy, courtesy of Porter, involves Rice Krispies Treats — dip them in melted white chocolate and pipe on “bandages.”
For grown-up parties, you can create the look of a bubbling witch potion by serving green Hawaiian punch and club soda in a bowl that sits inside a giant, hollowed-out pumpkin — between the bowl and pumpkin, stick dried ice and warm water to create a smoky effect. 





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