Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween Treats!

When my 7 year old proclaims..."I don't want to go trick-or-treating this year.  I've done it my whole life."...what's a mom who loves Halloween to do?  Have a Halloween party instead!  The house is decked out with black webbing, white & black pumpkins, and glittery purple accents (I was stuck on a black/purple theme this year), complete with black lights that flank the inside of our porch.  And of course, there is the food.  It's amazing what people can come up with to make food look spooky and gross!  Witches fingers, tombstone sandwiches, calzones made to look like witch hats.  Some of the most fun items are the desserts.  These Spooky Halloween Eyeballs are quite labor intensive, but so worth it.  They taste like peanut butter cups and you can make your monster eyeballs look however you want.  
We also made Chocolate Spiderweb Treats.  The base is essentially a rice krispie treat made with cocoa krispies instead.  They are topped with melted milk chocolate and then drizzled with circles of white chocolate.  To give them a cobweb effect, use a toothpick to pull through the white chocolate. 
Lastly, there are the Cinna-Mummy Wrapple Pops.  A slice of green apple, mummy-wrapped with strips of pie crust that have been tossed in cinnamon and sugar.  They literally taste like little pieces of apple pie in your mouth.  Using raisins for eyes, this is definitely one of the more healthier Halloween treats out there, and delicious too.  

Much more cooking to do, but I wanted to share these ghoulish delights!  Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Pear and Almond Crostata

What Would Brian Boitano Make?  To be brutally honest, I didn't really care until I tried his Pear and Almond Crostata.  I remember Brian Boitano the Olympic ice skater, the role model for the kids from South Park, but the chef?  I'm a convert.  I'm sure I'll be posting more of his recipes since there are several gems, but with pears in season right now, I thought this one was fitting.
I love rustic tarts and crostatas since you don't have to be perfect with rolling the dough.  My rolling pin may be close to my heart (it was my grandmother's) but a pastry chef, I am not.  To make things even easier, this crust is made from store bought almond paste. 

After rolling out a small portion of the flavorful paste to a thin pancake, a dollop of cream cheese filling (cream cheese, egg, vanilla extract, and a touch of flour and sugar) is spread around the center.  Then you take a quarter of a pear, cut it into 5 slices, and fan it on top of the filling.  To finish the package, wrap the edges of the almond paste around the filling.  Once the crostata is brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with raw sugar, it bakes until it reaches a rich, golden brown shade, shimmering with sugar crystals.  I chose not to use all of the garnish that Brian called for (ice cream, almonds, mint), but I did opt for the scoop of cherry vanilla ice cream.  Now don't get me wrong, his show is laden with slapstick humor and quirky story-lines, but the recipes are great!  So the simple answer to "what would Brian Boitano make?"...really good stuff!