A GOOD WITCH BRINGS WINE
You don’t have to be a Witch or a Pagan to appreciate this special time of year. The smell of burning leaves, the vibrant earthy colors of the farmer’s field, costume parties, glowing pumpkins, comfort foods and candy! Almost everyone will enjoy a party or two with family, neighbors and coven members. When I think about food and the parties that people prepare this time of year, only two words come to mind and they are…
The Pot Luck costume party will be our inspiration for the first half of this Halloween Wine Blog. I’ve chosen just a few of my family and friends best pot luck dishes. I like to incorporate the very last of the garden vegetables, mostly vibrant colored peppers and squashes as well as making good use of the hardy herbs that thrive through the month of October. What wines could possibly pair with pot luck dishes? Why Halloween Themed wines of course! Our selection will be some the top Halloween wines sold this time of year.
Part two of this blog will be the traditional “Silent Supper”. I’ve prepared a quick and quiet meal paired with a full bodied wine that will surely raise your spirits and hopefully entice a friendly ghost or two to join your table.
The list of pot luck recipes can be endless, for the purpose of this blog I’m just going to include one dish each of a starch, meat, and a vegetable.
A quick note on appetizers and desert: Use your imagination when it comes to preparing finger foods and sweets. A round loaf of pumpernickel bread can be carved out to look like a cauldron, fill it will green avocado dip and place red & yellow pepper slices around the bottom to look like fire. Use a variety of olives to look like eyeballs or make a pumpkin shaped cheese ball! And there is no better time to turn ordinary cupcakes and cookies into scary spiders, ghosts and goblins!
POT LUCK RECIPES
Virge’s Macaroni and Cheese – No pot luck party is complete without creamy, crunchy baked mac & cheese! This is my sister’s recipe that was handed down to her by a WWII army cook named Virge. Virge passed away some years ago, to honor his friendship we like to prepare this dish every year on Halloween.
Preheat oven to 375°
(measurements can be adjusted)
1 box Macaroni
4 Tbsp Butter
2 Cups Half and Half
2-1/2 Cups Shredded White Cheddar Cheese
Salt & Pepper
Toasted Breadcrumbs (melt butter, sauté breadcrumbs until golden brown)
Prepare Macaroni per package directions adding 2 tablespoons of butter to boiling water. Meanwhile shred 2-1/2- 3 cups of a sharp white cheddar cheese. When mac is done, drain and add another pat of butter to keep from sticking, season lightly with salt and pepper. Prepare a rue by heating up remaining butter (use more butter if needed), on low heat add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until a thick paste forms, do not burn rue. Using a whisk, add the Half & Half about a ¼ cup at a time to loosen up the paste, add remaining half & half, stir until thick (If it does not thicken, make another rue in a separate pan, add to mixture and stir until thick enough). Add salt and pepper to taste. Using a whisk, begin adding the shredded cheese until completely melted. I like a real creamy cheese sauce and will usually end up adding some of the milk and more cheese. Season with a pinch or two of nutmeg and more salt & pepper if needed. Put cooked mac in a greased casserole dish, pour in melted cheese and combine. Top with more shredded cheese and breadcrumbs. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until bubbly, use broiler to crisp top if needed.
Slow Cooked Texas Chili - Sure garlic might keep away vampires, but red hot chipotle peppers will surely vanquish demons! Try this dish to keep your party safe from evil influence!
(original recipe can be found at allrecipes.com)
4-5 slices bacon 4 lbs Beef Chuck cut in cubes
2 small onions diced About 4 cups water
8 cloves garlic minced 1 can beer
2 tsp dried oregano 4 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
1 tsp cayenne pepper 2 Tbsp cornmeal
3 Tbsp paprika
1/3 cup chili powder
1 Tbsp cumin
In a heavy pot or Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until crispy, stirring occasionally. Drain off excess grease, leaving enough to coat the bottom of the pan, remove bacon. Add beef cubes dredged in flour to lightly brown meat, remove meat. Add olive oil (or excess bacon fat) enough to sauté onions and garlic; cook and stir until the onions are tender. Season with oregano, cayenne pepper, paprika, chili powder and cumin. Cook and stir for about 30 seconds to toast the spices.
Stir in the beef, bacon bits, water, beer, chipotle peppers, and cornmeal; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until beef is tender, stirring occasionally 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Butternut Squash Soup – A couple of years ago, my sister in North Carolina put together a “Come as someone dead” Halloween party. It was one of the best theme parties I’ve ever attended, Nostradamus, Janis Joplin and even Mae West showed up! It was getting near 3am in the morning, the party was slowly thinning out, but lucky for us Ronnie Van Zant decided to stay and entertain us with some acoustic guitar. Sitting around a small fire, we listened to the solo performance of one of the greats. As the night rolled on it started to get a bit chilly. Before we knew it, Marie Antoinette was serving us bowls of warm Butternut Squash Soup! At first I was reluctant to sip a creamy soup after drinking so much beer lol, but one spoonful was enough to convince me this was the way to end a great party.
2 tbsp butter
1 onion diced
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1 jalapeno pepper diced
2 lbs cubed butternut squash (about 1 large, peeled, seeded and cubed)
1 can chicken broth
1 (12oz)can evaporated milk, ½ cup coconut milk, pinch of sugar
1 cup sour cream
Chopped fresh thyme
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, ginger, and jalapeno pepper; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the butternut squash and chicken broth, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes.
Stir in the evaporated milk, coconut milk, sugar, salt and pepper. Cook and stir 5 minutes more.
Use a stick blender and puree the soup right in the cooking pot. Ladle into bowls, and garnish with sour cream and thyme serve.
HALLOWEEN WINE LIST
The following is a selection of wines you might be able to find this time of year. I've included some pictures of the labels which really liven up the buffet table!
Look for the "Silent Supper" to be posted soon. Until then
May you never thirst
May you never hunger
Merry Meet and Blessed Be!