Sunday, August 16, 2020

GHOUL AT HEART

 

CASTELLON'S KITCHEN IS MOVING...

I'm happy to announce my new website, ghoulatheart.com . After seven years of blogging my Halloween creations along side my regular recipes, I'm finally giving my Halloween recipes and decorating ideas the attention they deserve with a platform all its own. You'll see all new recipes and decorating ideas as well as some old favorites from Castellon's Kitchen and the best part is that you don't have to wait for fall for Halloween inspiration because I post them all year long. 

So, Halloween lovers rejoice and come visit me at Ghoul at Heart! And don't forget to hit the subscribe button to never miss out on a new post and follow Ghoul at Heart on social media to be the first to see  sneak peek photos of upcoming posts. 

Since you're here...Here's a peek at this year's Carn'evil' themed food and decorations. 

I Scream Cones

Slaw-ter Burgers

See you soon! 🎃

Lori

Monday, May 4, 2020

Black Mirror Candy (Black Sesame Seed Brittle)


Mirror, Mirror on the wall...can you believe no food coloring was used at all? 

The beautiful black color was created entirely from black sesame seeds. All those little gems make a striking piece of candy, don't you think? The color so dark and pure that you cannot see through it. The real beauty is when it's cracked and all the layers of creamy, nutty deliciousness are revealed!


Mirror, Mirror on the wall...who's the fairest of them all?

Beautiful on the outside with deliciously complex flavors in the inside, is a perfect metaphor for the way we should see ourselves. Our inner most desires, experiences, and feelings create a complex landscape that shapes who we are, and our personality. But often we spend a lot of time tending to how we look, and how we are perceived on the outside. And often we work hard to protect the delicate centers of ourselves from revealing the things that are painful or make us feel insecure. 
So how about we use this brittle as inspiration to help us to no longer hide all those fears, feelings and experiences. Let's silence those inner voices that whisper uncertainty that wear down our confidence, by letting them break free and speak to our beauty, not just the familiar reflection in the mirror, but that beautifully flawed and gorgeously unique inner self. Let's go crack some mirrors! 
                                   💀180 days until Halloween💀



Black Mirror Candy (Black Sesame Seed Brittle)

Makes ~1 pound candy

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 cup black sesame seeds

Needed equipment: candy thermometer


Measure out all ingredients and prepare cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper before beginning. 

Add sugar, corn syrup, and water to a small saucepan with a candy thermometer and cook over medium heat. Stir occasionally and heat until the sugar mixture reaches 305-310 degrees on a candy thermometer. This is the hard crack stage. If you do not have a candy thermometer, heat until a small amount of mixture dropped into very cold water separates into hard brittle threads. 

Once the sugar mixture has reached 305-310 degrees, turn off the heat and immediately pour the sesame seeds into the sugar mixture. Quickly stir to incorporate. (I wasn't able to get a picture of this step because the candy sets up very fast) Immediately pour out the sesame seed brittle onto your parchment lined cookie sheet(s). Note: I used two parchment lined cookie sheets and poured half of the sugar mixture into two ovals to mimic my broken mirror frames, but you can pour it all onto one cookie sheet.

Work quickly as the candy will immediately begin to harden but try to spread the candy mixture to about 1/4 inch thickness, with a silicone spatula. If it's too firm to spread with a spatula, place another piece of parchment paper over the hot candy and use a rolling pin to roll it out to a 1/4 inch thickness. After rolling it to desired thickness, leave the parchment in place until the candy is cooled enough that it releases easily. 

The surface of the candy will be dulled a bit after using the rolling pin and parchment paper. To polish the surface of your candy after removing the parchment paper, raise an oven rack to second highest setting and turn on the broiler and let the oven heat up for about 5 minutes. 
Once the oven is hot, transfer the cookie sheet with your dulled candy under the broiler. Leave the oven door open and watch the surface of the candy until it turns shiny, moving the cookie sheet to evenly heat the surface until it's glossy. This process only takes about 1 minute total so DO NOT close the oven door and Do NOt stop watching your candy at any point while under the broiler. Once glossy, remove immediately and let cool. 
Once completely cooled, break up the brittle and serve or store in an air tight container until ready to serve. 

More Halloween candy recipes to try:
Candy Corn Peppermint Patties
Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows
Skull and Cross Bones Cookies

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Midnight Jack (Smoky Cheddar Cheese Ball)

Smoky Cheddar Cheeseball for Halloween
My 12 year old son, who doesn't like cheese on anything but pizza, opened the fridge the other day and said, "Mom, why is there nothing but cheese in here?" I started to laugh because he was right, there was a hell of a lot of cheese in there. I'd been working on a few recipe ideas and had to make them a few times to get it right. Also, I'd been online shopping and had a bunch of artisanal cheeses that didn't look like the usual suspects of mozzarella and cheddar. He was not happy. Needless to say, my laughter made him turn and walk out of the kitchen. 😉 


Halloween Fruit and Cheese Plate
'Green' Reaper Platter 
Despite already blogging this gorgeous fruit and cheese plate and a whole refrigerator full of cheese, I was compelled to squeeze in one more cheese dish with these festive and fun Midnight Jacks. I made two variations, a traditional orange and black jack-o-lantern made with sharp cheddar and smoky paprika, and a green and black lack-o-lantern made with Gouda, and Spinach Pesto to match my green and black Halloween theme this year. 

Honestly, I wish I had thought of this Midnight Jack last year when my color theme was orange and black...but oh well, better late than never. The best thing about this easy recipe is that it's so versatile. Create any flavor combination or color combination desired to match your Halloween theme. Here are a few ideas to play around with.

Orange: sharp cheddar with smoked paprika.(recipe below)
Green: green Gouda with spinach and herbs (recipe below)
Purple/Pink:red wine cheese with beet powder or blackberry jam.
Blue: a white cheese with blueberry powder or jam.
Yellow: a white cheese with yellow curry, turmeric and spices
Black with Orange coating: add charcoal powder and garlic to the cheese mixture and roll in finely crushed cheese crackers or Cheetos®

Here's the Spinach and Pesto Cheese version. Didn't he turn out cute? Enjoy!
Spinach Pesto Cheeseball for Halloween

Midnight Jack (Smokey Cheddar Cheese Ball)

Makes ~2 cups
Midnight Jacks

8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 clove garlic, grated
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1/2 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. reg. paprika (to intensify color)
1/2 t. dry mustard
1/2 t. ground coriander
1/4 t. white pepper
1-2 t. olive oil
1/4 cup poppy seeds
Vanilla bean pod for stem
Charcoal Crackers (link

In a food processor, blend cream cheese and grated garlic together until smooth. Add cheddar cheese and blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and process adding olive oil if cheese mixture is too dry. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Line a small 4 inch diameter bowl with plastic wrap and spoon in about half of the cheese mixture. Press cheese mixture into bottom of the small bowl making sure to remove gaps and air pockets. Add remaining cheese. Lift plastic wrap over cheese and twist molding a tight ball. Refrigerate overnight.


Cut jack-o-lantern faces out of parchment paper and position parchment paper cut outs onto one side of cheeseball, pressing gently to ensure parchment sticks to cheese. 

Pour poppy seeds into a shallow bowl or plate and roll cheese ball in poppy seeds.


  

To insure a sharp line of poppy seeds that outline the face of the jack-o-lantern, gently push poppy seeds around the edge of the parchment paper. and into the cheese. After cheese ball is completely covered, use tweezers to slowly remove the parchment to reveal the jack-o-lantern face. 







Add broken vanilla bean to the top of the cheeseball to create a stem for the Jack-o-lantern and serve with crackers.  
Halloween Food- Smoky Cheese


Midnight Jack (Spinach Pesto Cheese Ball): 

Spinach Pesto Cheeseball for Halloween8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 clove garlic, grated
2 cups Green Pesto Gouda (link)/Sage Derby Cheese (link)
1/4 cup basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh spinach (add more to enhance color)
1/4 t. white pepper
1 T olive oil
1/4 cup poppy seeds
bell pepper stem 
Charcoal Crackers (link

In a food processor, blend cream cheese and grated garlic together until smooth. Add gouda and derby cheeses and blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and process adding olive oil if cheese mixture is too dry. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Line a small 4 inch diameter bowl with plastic wrap and spoon in about half of the cheese mixture. Press cheese mixture into bottom of the small bowl making sure to remove gaps and air pockets. Add remaining cheese. Lift plastic wrap over cheese and twist molding a tight ball. Refrigerate overnight. 

Cut jack-o-lantern faces out of parchment paper and position onto side of cheese ball, pressing gently to ensure parchment sticks to cheese. Pour poppy seeds into a shallow bowl or plate and roll cheese ball in poppy seeds. To insure a sharp line of poppy seeds that outline the face of the jack-o-lantern, gently push poppy seeds around the edge of the parchment paper. After cheese ball is completely covered, use tweezers to slowly remove the parchment to reveal the jack-o-lantern face. Add bell pepper stem to the top of the cheeseball to create a stem for the Jack-o-lantern and serve with crackers.

More Halloween Recipes to try:
Halloween Food
Bloody Eyeball Bruschetta
Jack-o-lantern Cupcakes
Halloween Food Deviled Eggs
Spiderweb Eggs

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Baked Entrails (Chorizo Empanada with Blackberry Chipotle Sauce)

Chorizo and Cheese Empanadas for Halloween

There are a million recipes out there for these popular Halloween intestines. Some are sweet and some savory. I think my favorite sweet version on Pinterest is the one made with red velvet cinnamon rolls. The icky pink color really kicks up the gross factor and they are truly horrifying visually...which is a good thing.:) So despite my urge to make disgusting red velvet cinnamon roll guts, I went for a more savory approach. 
My cooking tends to be on the savory side because I don't really eat a lot of sweets normally, but I do love when savory foods are sweet and spicy. My Baked Entrails are the best of all worlds...savory, buttery, smoky, spicy, and sweet with a hint of heat. The best part is that they're easy to throw together thanks to ready made puff pastry and a handful of ingredients. The blackberry chipotle sauce may seem like a strange combination, but I promise you that you will not be disappointed. In fact, you may question why you haven't added a spicy jam to your empanadas before. It's absolutely delicious! 
So...if you are one who thinks it's too early for Halloween food, or if this gruesome recipe just makes your stomach turn (pun intended), don't be afraid. This Mr. Hyde can be easily transformed into the respectable Dr. Jekyll equivalent of Chorizo Empanadas with Blackberry Chipotle Sauce. Instead of rolling up the filling into intestinal tracts, just cut squares of puff pastry, fill with chorizo and cheese, fold diagonally into triangles, bake and serve with sauce. Same great flavors with a lot less guts. 
Have fun and enjoy!
                                ...🎃193 Days until Halloween🎃

Baked Entrails (Chorizo Empanada with Blackberry Chipotle Sauce)

Serves 4-6

2 tubes of chorizo, casings removed (Beef, Pork or Soy)
1 medium red onion, diced
1 cup pepper jack cheese, grated
1 1/2-2 packages frozen puff pastry dough, thawed
1 egg plus 1T water (egg wash)

Bloody Blackberry Chipotle Sauce
1 cup blackberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
1 T adobo sauce
salt (to taste)

Add blackberries to a small saucepan and crush with a potato masher. Add sugar, water, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce, and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce begins to reduce and thicken, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Blend in a food processor and strain to remove big chunks. Reserve the remaining smooth blackberry sauce. Salt to taste, if needed.

Prepare filling:Cook chorizo and onions in a large skillet over medium high heat. No additional oil is needed as the rendered fat from the chorizo will add fat and flavor as the onions cook. Reduce heat and simmer until onions are soft, stirring occasionally about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and allow the chorizo mixture to cool. 

Preheat: oven to 350 degrees. 
Egg wash:Beat egg and 1 T water for egg wash and set aside.

Assemble pastry: Working on a long piece of parchment paper, remove one sheet of tri-folded puff pastry and cut along the two folds, to create three narrow pieces of pastry. Align the short ends of the pastry end to end, pressing the seams together to create one long piece of puff pastry. Spoon chorizo filling and pepper jack cheese to the center of the pastry dough leaving a half inch on each side of the filling. Run a small amount of egg wash on one side of the filling and fold pastry over to seal it, working your way down the length of the pastry dough. Repeat with remaining tri-fold sheets of puff pastry until you make 3 or 4 rolls of intestines (I used 3 whole puff pastry sheets to make 3 long rolls)

On a parchment lined baking sheet, begin assembling your intestines SEAM SIDE DOWN by coiling and creating twists and turns of filled pastry rolls. Add another roll and join each end by pinching together the seams and continue to coil them to create a gory maze of twisted entrails. 

If you did what I did and assembled the entrails SEAM SIDE UP, not to worry. Line another cookie sheet with parchment paper and place it directly over the SEAM SIDE UP pastry. With the puff pastry sandwiched between two cookie sheets, pick up both cookie sheets and flip them over. Remove the top cookie sheet and parchment, the intestines are ready to bake with SEAM SIDES DOWN. Brush with the egg wash and bake in a 350 degree oven for 25*-30 minutes. 


*Optional: To add a little baked in color, remove entrails from oven at 25 minutes and using a paint brush, paint the areas between the twists and turns with the blackberry chipotle sauce. Then place the entrails back in oven and continue to bake an additional 5-8 minutes. 

Remove from oven and let the pastry cool 10 minutes. Run a spatula underneath the cooked pastry to make sure it will slide freely from the parchment paper. If serving on old, worn out cookie sheet, like I did, gently pull the parchment on one side to remove it. Generously spoon and drizzle the Bloody Blackberry Sauce between the folds and twists of the entrails for a gory look. Serve with additional sauce on the side.  If serving on another platter, use the parchment paper to lift then slide the entrails onto the serving platter.  'Bone' Appetit!

More Halloween body-part recipes to try: 
Skewered Epidermis
Sixpence Meat Pies
Amputated Appetizer

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Bread of the Dead (Squid Ink Flatbread w/Mushrooms, Shallots & Herbs)

Squid Ink Flatbread with Mushroom Skulls for Halloween

I'm not eating bread for the rest of this month. I've made this recipe so many times this week that I can barely look at these photos without feeling like I'll burst. Sure the first few times it was to get the flavors and ingredients right, and then to get the right shots. I really thought I was done because the photos looked great. It tasted great. The blog was written and I was just about to press publish for this darkly gorgeous mushroom flatbread when my husband said, "You know what you should've done? Instead of using these regular sliced mushrooms, why don't you make it with your mushroom skulls from a few years ago?" 

Hold up...stop the presses! I slowly moved my cursor away from the PUBLISH button and I sat there with mixed feelings. 
In my mind, I thought...Noooo! I can't possibly make this pizza again. No. More. Bread. No!
But, in my heart, I knew...I had to make it one more time with these super festive mushroom skulls. It was such a great idea that I couldn't believe I almost posted this recipe without them. Check out the recipe and how to below. 

About this recipe 
I like a good flatbread where the bread is soft but chewy with a crisp bottom that holds up the toppings well and gives a little crunch when you bite all the way through it, and this dough is just that. It also has squid ink, but don't let that scare you. It's just for color. The bread does not have a fishy taste or smell once baked. It will smell faintly of the sea while the dough is unbaked, but I promise you it won't taste like that once it's baked. 
I also used this beautiful Pesto Gouda instead of your typical mozzarella or parmesan. I think it adds an organic grassy look to the flatbread and packs a lot of pesto flavor.  I picked it up on-line from here.

I also topped them with an assortment of fresh herbs from my garden, like thyme, parsley, oregano, savory, and marjoram. Feel free to use your favorite herbs or what you have on hand.

And lastly, I drizzled a balsamic glaze over a few slices that I ate and really loved the acidic pop that added contrast to the earthy flavors. Here's an easy recipe if you'd like to drizzle it on. 
Balsamic Glaze
1 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced to 1/3 cup
honey (to taste)
~Over medium heat, reduce the balsamic vinegar to about 1/3 cup. Cool and add honey to taste.




Bread of the Dead (Squid Ink Flatbread w/Mushrooms, Shallots and Herbs)

Makes 4

Squid Ink Flatbread Dough
2 cups bread flour
2 t garlic powder
1 t salt
1 t active dry yeast
1 T olive oil + more to oil the bowl
1/2 t squid ink
1 cup warm water (110 degrees)

Stir together flour, garlic powder, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. Add the olive oil to flour mixture and lightly mix. Dissolve squid ink in the warm water and add to the flour mixture, and mix with a fork until it comes together into a shaggy dough. 
Use your hands to work the loose flour into your dough while in the bowl until its mostly incorporated. Turn it out on a floured surface and knead lightly, forming the dough into a ball.  Clean and dry the bowl you used to mix the dough. Oil the bowl and place the dough in it and roll to coat the dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to double in volume. About 2 hours. 

While dough rises, grate cheese, prepare mushrooms skulls and shallot topping.
  
Mushroom Skulls
I used button mushrooms for the skulls and chopped up some baby bella mushrooms to give the mushroom topping more flavor, but if you can find small baby bella mushrooms, they can also be used to make the skulls. 

Create two skull faces on opposite sides of each mushroom using a straw to form the large eye holes. Use a pairing knife to cut the nose holes and to scrape down the stem to create teeth. Trim the stems if desired. Cut mushroom in half creating two skull halves. Save the mushroom eye holes and saute them with the mushroom caps.  


Flatbread Toppings
2 T butter 
4 oz. small mushroom skulls, halved
1/2 cup shallots, thinly sliced (can substitute with red onion)
4-5 cloves garlic, sliced thin
2 T cooking sherry
1 t fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper (to taste)
1/2 cup jarred pesto sauce (such as Classico)
1 cup Green Pesto Gouda (I purchased it here- link)
Mixed fresh herbs (Use your favorites or whatever you have on hand) 
Optional topping: Balsamic Glaze (see below)

Melt butter in a large skillet, add mushroom skulls and saute about 5-8 minutes. Add shallots, garlic and sherry and continue to cook until all the liquid has cooked down, about 3-5 minutes more. Add thyme leaves, salt and pepper and set aside. 

Balsamic Glaze
1 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced to 1/3 cup
honey (to taste)
~Over medium heat, reduce the balsamic vinegar to about 1/3 cup. Cool and add honey to taste. Set aside and drizzle over flatbread if desired.




Preheat
Place a pizza stone or a rimless cookie sheet on the bottom rack of the oven and preheat oven to 500 degrees. 

Back to the dough...
When dough has doubled, remove from bowl and cut into 4 equal pieces and shape into a ball pinching edges together. Push in a circular motion to form a taut ball. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Brush each with oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes. (Note: Only 2 of the 4 are pictured below)

Cut a length of parchment paper. Coat hands with oil and gently pull one piece of dough into an 6 inch length. Place it on the parchment paper and gently dimple surface of dough with fingertips and then flatten with your palms into a  8" by 4" oval. Repeat with remaining dough. Brush each flatbread generously with pesto sauce, grated Pesto Gouda cheese, and the mushroom and shallot mixture. 

Slip parchment onto the pizza stone, or cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. To remove from the oven, pull the parchment paper onto a baking sheet. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool 5 minutes then cut crosswise into triangles. Top with your favorite fresh herbs and drizzle with the Balsamic glaze. Repeat for remaining flatbread dough.  Bone Appetit!

More Halloween bread recipes:
Deathcap Kabobs

Brimstone Bread
Tortured Soul Rolls