Just around the corner is my favorite holiday, Halloween. From rummaging through thrift stores for costume accessories to making yard decorations and, of course, carving pumpkins, I’m all in. Topping my Halloween list is always planning a spooky meal for visiting fiends.
If you are tired of wrapping premade dough around anything and calling it a mummy, here are two unique recipes that will scare your guests as they dig in for another bite.
This first recipe is always a showstopper. Salmon lox is laid out in the shape of a fish and all its accoutrements are paired with litter for a nauseating display.
To make your lox, start by lining a rimmed cookie sheet with foil for the fish. Pull out any bones. Mix together 2 cups kosher salt and ½ cup of sugar and cover all of the salmon.
Cover with plastic and put in the fridge for 24 hours. If your salmon is thick, put another cookie sheet on top and balance a couple of cans to weigh it down. After it’s cured, scrape off the salt, then rinse the salmon and pat it dry.
Next, cover a piece of cardboard with foil bigger than the fish to use as your platter. Slice the fish very thin with a sharp fish knife, cut at an extreme angle. Layout the slices, overlapping a bit, in the shape of the fish.
Next step, dye soft cream cheese green, leaving green ribbons of color. Add other colors like blue to make a gray shade.
As for creating the litter, I like to use plastic 6-pack rings, a large tomato can, a small tuna can and part of a plastic wrapper. Wash and dry them very well. Put your favorite crackers in the large tomato can and capers in the small can.
To put it all together, smear cream cheese in a few blobs around the fish. Add piles of red onion slivers and nestle in the cans, so they are reachable. Then, tuck in the plastic 6-pack rings and other plastic litter for decoration. Add utensils for serving.
Last, cut two small pieces from a black olive to make an “X” for its eye. Proudly put this artwork of awfulness in a prime spot so everyone can enjoy it.
If you are hosting a more intimate dinner, these chicken werewolves have a big “bow-wow” factor. Simple breading with Triscuits adds a hairy touch.
To make your werewolf, pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap to an even thickness.
Next, cut your chicken into the shape of a werewolf. With the round end on top, go down an inch and a half and make two vee notches on either side to make a neck. Save these pieces. Next, go to the bottom and slice in half lengthwise, going halfway up the body. For the arms, slice along the body and then make another slice creating a vee at the armpit and a gap between the arm and the body. Save these scraps as well.
Now let’s put him together. As no chicken breast is alike, neither is every werewolf, so sculpt where needed. To coat him, spread a layer of flour on a rimmed cookie sheet. In the flour, lay down the chicken you took from his arms in a parallel fashion, the pointy ends for ears, excess goes down his back.
Next, lay the head of the werewolf to match up with his ears. Dust him all over with flour. Also flour the two scraps from his neck. These pieces will be his snout. Secure his ears and snout with two toothpicks. Turn him over gently, supporting the head and flour the back.
Brush the egg wash on both sides. Leave him back side up and press in cracker crumbs. Turn him over and dredge the front. Remove ear and snout toothpicks.
Dip a piece of red onion in egg wash and put in between snout pieces and secure with a toothpick. Drop pieces of olives in egg wash for eyes. Lay him and his friends on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes in a 350-degree preheated oven. Chicken has varying thicknesses, so check with a food thermometer and remove from the oven when it reads 165 degrees.
As he takes the center of the plate, serve with mashed potato ghosts and squash pumpkins and drizzle with a dark gravy. He will certainly be greeted by a round of “a paws."
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