Sunday, November 1, 2015

App Night with Recipes, of a Sort

As much as we enjoy costumes, we don't have any interest in the Halloween thing. Our interest is historical based. This started when I was a little girl. Where I grew up it became dangerous to go trick or treating because of the harm put into the treats. Seeking an alternative to going out and about, we started doing harvest fests at home and at friends' houses which included apple bobbing and other games and real food which was more fun than candy. Over time as our school schedules got busy with college, we were content with great food and movie night and that tradition carried over to my kids, who were never interested in the Halloween gig. Nor do any of us in the family appreciate the  focus on death, blood, guts and fear factor, etc.  Ugh. No, thank you.

However my daughter had to dress up for work, so she put this outfit together. She said all the customers exclaimed, "You look so cute! You look just like Jessie from Toy Story!" Her boss said, "You're adorable!"


My son would have dressed colonial, since he works at the same place. However he became quite sick, running a fever so he pretty much crashed all day.

At home the big deal is the food (finger food) and the movies (Arsenic and Old Lace and Harvey). It was funny that after pulling docent duties at a nearby museum for a quilt show (which included quilts from the 1880's to 1930's-stay tuned!) I went to the grocery store to pick up last minute ingredients for cooking the annual spread of appetizers for the family. Somehow the young gal checking me out found out that I was cooking by myself and was adamant that the family help me out. lol However it was okay with me. I think appetizer night is my favorite meal to prepare. I had chosen an assortment of foods I was willing to cook for us to enjoy, despite my being a bit tired. I also geared the carb load to be low. I count my carbs for my diet since I'm prediabetic and I was excited about this spread. Not too heavy. Simple for me to pick and choose my carbs. Lots of flavor. Filling.
Also, my family was excited. When asked what we do for Halloween every year, my daughter told her friends at Campus Crusade for Christ at college and my husband told his co-worker about the food I usually cook for appetizer night. They were impressed. They exclaimed, "Your mom/wife cooks all that? Can I/we come too?" Awwww. We seriously considered letting the college kids, especially, come. I'm often so tired but I like this kind of thing. However my kids had to work late that night...then my son got very sick. Alas, not this year.

I wasn't organized in my meal prep. When I was shopping I had a generic idea of what I wanted. When I got home I laid all the ingredients out and ended up creating 4 new recipes. I have no measurements, because I cook to taste. However I'll share what I did...primarily so that I can reference this for next year because it worked very well for my diet to choose between carbs, proteins and even veggies. The family seemed to enjoy it too. I have a vague memory of my husband mentioning during the movie how much he enjoyed everything. 

When creating recipes I'm looking for freshness and bright flavors, well...depending on the dish. I guess dips are heavy on my mind right now. I like dips in and of themselves, however more and more processed dips seem to be tasting worse and worse to me. I bought a processed dip recently after an insanely busy day to pair with sandwiches, but that dip was disgusting. Therefore I am experimenting with homemade dips.

At the top right is Green Goddess Dip, inspired by a recipe in an America's Test Kitchen cookbook. On a sidenote, did you know that Green Goddess Dressing originated in San Francisco in the 1920's? The chef of the Palace Hotel created the dressing in honor of a guest of the hotel who was acting in the play, "The Green Goddess."

However I was missing some of their ingredients so I decided to use what I had on hand, which converted it to a Texas-style Green Goddess Dip! This tasted so bright and fresh...that it is now gone! We used it as a dip for orange sweet bell pepper strips, carrots, and potato chips.

Texas-style Green Goddess Dip
sour cream
green onion
chipotle powder
lemon juice


At the bottom of the picture (above) are Asian style chicken wings inspired by a recipe by Guy Ferrari. I never have all of his ingredients, so this is the mix I used.

Asian-inspired Chicken Wings
Dry rub-salt, garlic powder, cumin
Add dry rub to the chicken wings. Sear in pan with a bit of oil in batches so that they do not steam. Move to a separate plate as each batch is finished. Once all have been seared, add all chicken wings back to skillet and place in 350 oven to cook through, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile make dressing.
Dressing-soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, chopped green onion, chopped cilantro, grated ginger, minced garlic
When the chicken wings have cooked through, toss with dressing and serve.

Above the wings is pumpkin dip. I normally make pumpkin hummus but I prefer to soak dried garbanzo beans and cook them through for this. I did not have time to do this, however I do not like canned garbanzo beans. Therefore I chose a can of white beans. Either would work.

Pumpkin Hummus (or Pumpkin White Bean Dip)
1 can of white beans or garbanzo beans
1 can pureed pumpkin
olive oil
lemon juice
chipotle powder
Process all ingredients.    


Finally I adapted the traditional magic cookie bar recipe. I added heath toffee bits to the chocolate layer. Instead of pecans, I used almonds. Very autumnal tasting!

Oh no! I forgot to buy apple cider for my husband. Actually he is quite picky as he is a connoiseur of apples and prefers a certain blend of apples for his cider. Sadly, it's a random chance in selecting ciders to purchase, because types of apples are not listed on the label. Some ciders fall flat whereas others are full of flavor. Do you have a favorite apple for autumn eating/drinking?


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