We have lots of traditions in my family. Jewish holiday dinners, spending summer days by the pool reading gossip magazines, opening a box of chocolates, taking a bite and putting them back. Hey, I didn’t say they were all good traditions! My husband has a few family traditions. Making Christmas lists (I just don’t get that one), Thanksgiving at his Aunt’s house, Christmas Day at his Cousin’s house, the Christmas gift that’s hidden.
Sadly, we don’t have that many together. We’ve co-opted some from each of our families of birth but we’re still creating our own for our little family of three. One such tradition will be, I suspect, Halloween dinner. I already posted here about last year’s dinner, born out of a need to “nest” because I was pregnant and had some time on my hands. I did it again this year, slightly less successfully- I suspect that having an actual child rather than just carrying one around cut into my free time….
We had carrot fingers:
Directions: smear a small amount of cream cheese on the end of a carrot. Place a sliced almond, pointy side out, on top of the cream cheese. Shudder at how much it actually resembles a finger.
Red Peppers (one for each person)
Spaghetti or angel hair pasta, I used about a 1/2 box for four peppers
4 Tb creamy peanut butter
2 Tb soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tsp agave nectar or honey
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced
4-6 cherry tomatoes, diced
A few slices of white cheese (I used cheddar)
one sheet of nori (dried seaweed used for sushi)
Cook pasta according to package. When you drain it, save about a half a cup of the cooking water. I actually used the same water I had used for boiling my potatos which means that I had added some chicken bouillon to it. I’m not sure if this really made a difference in the taste (it definitely made it not vegetarian) but I figure full disclosure, right?
Wash the peppers well- if you have fruit and veggie wash, use that to try to get the wax off. Chop off the top of the peppers and scrape out the seeds and yucky white parts. Attempt to stand the peppers up. If they don’t stand straight, you can slice off a little of the bottom so that they do.
In a bowl mix together the soy sauce, peanut butter, pasta water, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and agave nectar (or honey). It will be sort of chunky at first but will smooth out as you whisk it. Let it stand for a few minutes and it will thicken just slightly. Mix it with the pasta so that the pasta is coated. Add the cucumber and tomato. Using tongs, pack it into the peppers.
Cut out mouth and eye shapes from the slices of cheese. I think mine would have looked better had I used bigger pieces. Plus it would have been much easier to work with. Use a dab of peanut butter to stick the pieces to the faces of the peppers. If you can figure it out, cut pieces of the nori to make teeth, eyebrows, pupils, etc. Again, it was too small for me to really do a successful job. Next time I might use black sesame seeds. Or just make bigger pieces. It also might make more sense to do what the recipe suggested which was to put the pasta in last- in my mind I wanted them filled first but that made it hard to work with the peppers.
Recipe here. It suggests using red hots for the eyes but I was shopping at Whole Foods and so had to improvise with some Annie’s Fruit Bunnies. I think red hots would have been better, as would thinner pretzels. Also, when you go to coat them in chocolate, don’t pour over as the recipe says. Instead, use a pastry brush to sort of glob the chocolate on- otherwise you just end up wasting a whole bunch of it. And this takes a lot of sprinkles. Lots. Mine definitely weren’t as nice as the ones that epicurious made but, hey, I have no food stylist at my house!
And finally, she’s cute enough to eat. The cutest baby in the world in her first Halloween costume: