Saturday, July 15, 2017

Rattlesnake Rolls

Yesterday, my husband took our kids to work with him to give me a day off from my 24/7 summer of kids extravaganza. God bless him!
When the door closed and the house was quiet, I found myself unsure at what to do with my newly found free time! I went for my usual 4 mile walk/jog trying to think of what to do with my day. I showered and dressed. Of course I had a ton of things I should've done, like cook for the blog, write this blog, work on photos of upcoming blogs, and there is always the formidable laundry pile that screams for attention...but no. I sat on the couch and enjoyed the silence. The sheer pleasure of having a quiet house. No kids, no electronics, no TV. It was great! I sat there and did absolutely nothing for a good hour, maybe more. Of course, I felt guilty the whole time thinking that I'm wasting my day. Get up! Do something! But I sat for a good long while until I decided what I would do with myself. I ended up just piddling around the house. I've been on a "lighten the load" kick and have been going closet by closet, drawer by drawer, to clean out the unnecessary! Lighten the that's what I did. I went through two desks, cupboards and a closet to organize and throw crap away! It's amazing how much accumulates in drawers and closets. I dropped off all my discards to the Veteran's Thrift Store and bought myself lunch. For the record, I also went grocery shopping, ran a few errands, paid bills, watered the lawn and cleaned the pool. Do I know how to use my time or what? Anyway, I feel good. I feel recharged, cleansed of the unnecessary and happy to get a little alone time.😁 Next time though, I'll schedule a massage. I could sure use one.

Now...back to blogging. Here's a super easy Halloween recipe for the kiddos. My kids love these Rattlesnake Rolls! Happy summer of Halloween!

       ~Stay tuned for the recipe for Eye of Newt Stew (pictured below)~

Rattlesnake Rolls

Makes 12

1 can of Refrigerated Pizza Dough
garlic powder
12 chopsticks
1 egg, beaten
Parmesan cheese
black sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Unroll pizza dough on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with garlic powder. Using a pizza cutter, cut six strips of dough from half the roll. Roll up remaining dough and place in the refrigerator to prevent dough from rising as it sits. Minimize the handling of the pizza dough by leaving it on your parchment paper and cut angles from one end of the dough to make the head of the snake.
Starting at the head of the snake, wrap the rest of the dough around the chopsticks. Place black sesame seeds for the eyes. Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and each tail with black sesame seeds.

Bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Repeat with remaining half of the dough. Let the dough cool and either serve them on the chopstick or gently remove the chopstick with slow twisting and pulling of the chopstick to release the bread from the stick.

Here is my first attempt at making these Rattlesnake rolls made with the fresh pizza dough from the deli case at the store. I must say, that these tasted much better than the bread sticks that come out of a tube, but the tubed dough was a lot easier to work with and there was less variation in the final baked snake. I still think these are really cute. Enjoy! 

Other Halloween recipes to try:

Roasted Roaches
Tortured Soul Rolls
Antipasto de los Muertos

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Skewered Epidermis (Skirt Steak Skewers)

Okay, so this recipe is not really a Halloween dish all by itself. These skewers can be made anytime of year. They are really great on the grill in summer, but anytime I create a recipe, I immediately go to the dark side and think..."How can I make this for Halloween?" For this one, getting it Halloween ready is merely some fun plating with these cool images from the Internet, that I used as placemats of sorts. Skewered Epidermis is the perfect Halloween party food because they make for easy mingling and stand up eating. Drink in one hand Skewered Epidermis in the problem. The meat is so tender you can bite it right off the stick. No steak knives needed. Enjoy your Summer of Halloween!

Skewered Epidermis (Skirt Steak Skewers)

Makes ~10-12 skewers

2 lbs skirt steak

Cut skirt steak, against the grain into 10-12 even, 1.5-2-inch strips and put into a re-closeable plastic bag. Prepare the marinade.

3/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup olive oil
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger, grated
1 T sesame oil
2 green onions, light green and white parts, sliced
2 T brown sugar

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl to make the marinade. Add marinade to a beef and marinate for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator.  Soak skewers in water while the meat marinates. Once you are ready to grill, skewer the beef strips and grill until done. About 3-4 minutes per side. Set them out for your guests and watch them disappear! Enjoy!

Other recipes to try:

Mummified Meatloaf
Meat Pies
Fiendish Fingers

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Grubs Au Gratin (Gnocchi in Cheese Sauce)

The other day, my husband and I looked through some pictures of my upcoming blogs and a theme emerged. We noticed that all my Halloween ideas were worms, snakes and other wiggly things. It started with Squirmy Wormy Shots, and then Decomposing Deviled Eggs which looked like worms and now, Grubs au Gratin...and I have two more upcoming that are along the same theme. Totally unintentional and I'm sure there's a Freudian interpretation in here somewhere. But hey, I didn't invite the psychoanalyst to my Halloween party. Anyway, I think worms and snakes make for some way cool Halloween inspired dishes. And like all my Halloween recipes they have to taste good! They can't look disgusting and then taste disgusting...what's the art in that?  I thought of this idea back when I was making some homemade Gnocchi for my Potato Gnocchi and Spinach Curry. While I photographed it, I thought those puffy little pillows of gnocchi looked like grubs...and that was the moment this dish was born! Grubs au Gratin. It's actually just a fancy Macaroni and Cheese but I like the sound of Grubs Au Gratin way better than, Grubs and Cheese. The cheese sauce is divine, by the way. I literally want to put it on toast and eat it for breakfast, or make grilled cheese sandwiched with it, or even drink it straight. It is that good!  A classic Bechamel Cheese Sauce with sharp cheddar, Parmesan cheese and a smidge of goat cheese. Happy Summer of Halloween everyone!

Grubs Au Gratin

Serves 4

2 medium potatoes, measured 1 cup cooked
2 cups all purpose flour
1 egg
1 tsp parsley, dried
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

green food coloring

Place unpeeled potatoes into a medium saucepan and cover with water. Cook until potatoes are cooked through. About 20-30 minutes. 
Drain and let potatoes cool slightly. Peel potatoes and mash with a potato ricer. Measure out 1 cup of packed cooked potatoes and add to a medium bowl. Let cool. Add parsley, pepper and salt to the all purpose flour and mix well. Add flour mixture and egg to the potatoes and mix until incorporated. Add food coloring and mix until you get stripes of green throughout but not solid color. 

Cut dough into quarters and roll each quarter into thin ropes of dough. Cut ropes into 1/2 inch pieces and roll and twist with your fingers to mimic grubs. Set aside. Bring salted water to a boil, add a drop or two of green food coloring to the water and drop gnocchi into boiling water. Cook until gnocchi float to the top of the water and then drain and set aside with a little coat of olive oil. 

Cheese Sauce
2 T unsalted butter
2 T all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 small onion, peeled
1 bay leaf
white pepper
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 T goat cheese
salt and pepper (to taste)

Heat butter in a large sauce pan over low heat. Add flour to make a roux. Turn off heat. In another sauce pan, scald the milk and then gradually stir the warm milk into the roux. Whisking constantly. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer. Add bay leaf, onion, nutmeg and pepper to the sauce. Simmer for 15 to 30 minutes. Turn off heat and then add the cheeses. Stir until melted. Add additional salt and pepper if needed. Add hot cheese sauce to gnocchi and top with Parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Other Halloween dishes to try:

Love at First Bite Linguini
Ghoulish Goat Cheese Torte
Nightcrawlers con Funghi

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Skull and Crossbones Cookies

Each year brings new challenges and sometimes the same challenges. For me, those challenges are with melting chocolate. I do this to myself each year with my Halloween blogs...I attempt to make something with melting chocolate. Ugh! My last few attempts using this confection were very challenging to say the least. I began to score my efforts with melting chocolate after I had a little success and last time I checked in, the score was Melting Chocolate 2, Castellon's Kitchen 1. But I think I've just tied the game against melting chocolate on this one. These skull and crossbone cookies turned out super duper cute and believe it or not, they look pretty much like I envisioned in my head, which is success in my book. Usually, my ideas in my head become a compromised version of what I imagined.  

So even though I've tied the game with melting chocolate, I must admit that I went in for reinforcements and bought a melting chocolate warmer from Michael's. See? It's not cheating. It's getting a first round draft pick to assist. I was losing this fight with chocolate and I had to find a way to enjoy using these sweet little buggers. I needed help, don't judge me.😁
It's fantastic if you ask me! It melted the chocolate just perfectly and then kept it warm so it stayed easy to work with. Plus it cleaned up easily because the warming pot is silicone. After use, cool the chocolate and then break it apart and either toss it or store in a plastic bag for reuse. I think I'm going to win this battle against the Melts afterall! 

Final score:     Castellon's Kitchen- 2 (Double Yay!)             Melting Chocolate- 2

Skull and Crossbones Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

2 bags white melting chocolate
24 Snack Factory® Pretzel Crisps®
48 Pretzel sticks
96 mini marshallows
2 T vegetable shortening (as needed)

Melt chocolate according to package directions. adding 1-2 T of vegetable shortening to thin out melting chocolate, if needed.

Use a fork to lower a pretzel crisp into chocolate to coat and tap fork against the side of the bowl to remove excess chocolate. Place chocolate covered pretzel on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Repeat with all pretzels. 


Stick mini marshmallows on each end of the stick pretzels and then coat with chocolate. Place the second crossbone over the first one while the chocolate is still wet so that it will set as an "X" just under the skull. 

Smear some chocolate on parchment paper and when it's almost set, use a sharp knife to cut 'teeth" for the skulls. 

Let set and then break up the teeth and place teeth onto skull pretzel using the tip of the knife or tweezers. Avoid using your fingers as the chocolate will melt. If you don't want to go to the extra work of placing the teeth, use the tines of a fork to make an impression in the chocolate when almost set. Place cookies in the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes to completely cool the chocolate and then Enjoy! 

Happy Halloween!

Other Halloween desserts to try:

Zombie Pretzel Cookies
Black Magic Spell Cakes
Black Velvet Creme Cakes

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Decomposed Deviled Eggs

Halloween in the summer? Yes, it's that time again for me. I've already began working on my Halloween recipes along with a few summery dishes. You'll see a spattering of both from me this summer. But here's my first appetizer of the season...Decomposed Deviled Eggs.  I realize these deviled eggs look a bit menacing, but like all my Halloween dishes, they look the part but taste amazing. These are a Halloween version of my Sriracha Deviled Eggs.  Equally as important, these deviled eggs are super easy to make. I love deviled eggs but I really hate having to peel all those hard boiled eggs. Here's a technique my mom told me about where you prepare deviled eggs by cooking all the whites in the oven and the yolks on the stove top. I was skeptical about how the yolks would turn out, but holy moley, these were super easy to make and tasted great with great texture.  You can't tell that the yolks were not hard boiled.

Decomposed Deviled Eggs 

Makes 24

12 eggs, yolks and whites separated
olive oil or cooking spray
red and purple food coloring
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sriracha sauce
black sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Separate the whites and yolks into two bowls. 

Separate about 2-3 T of egg whites into another small bowl. Add enough red and purple food coloring to the small amount of egg whites until you get it to look like blood. A deep dark red.
Spray an 8"x8" pan generously with cooking spray or olive oil. Cut to fit a piece of parchment paper and line the bottom of the pan with parchment. Take extra care to remove all creases and bubbles from the parchment. See my picture below...I learned the hard way and didn't get all these creases out and some of the egg whites seeped below the parchment and stuck to the bottom of the pan and made my egg whites uneven. So make sure you get all the creases out. Once you get the air bubbles out, spray the top of the parchment with more cooking spray. 

Pour egg whites into prepare pan. Using a fork, drizzle some of the red dyed egg whites into the pan. You do not have to add all of the red egg whites. Less is more in this instance because as the dye sits, it will spread to the rest of the eggs whites to give a mottled appearance. The first time I made these, I was heavy handed with the red whites and got a deeply colored egg white with very little white showing, like this. Still looks creepy as far as Halloween dishes go, but I wanted the whites to be more recognizable in the photos. Here they look like chunks of meat, don't you think?

Once you add the red whites to the egg whites, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Don't let the egg whites sit too long before cooking or the red food coloring will start to spread. If you use less than 12 eggs, you will have to adjust your time. Start checking after 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool. Refrigerate for an hour or more until completely chilled. You can make these ahead of time and then cut and assemble right before party time.  

In a large non-stick skillet, add yolks over medium heat and using a rubber spatula, stir yolks until they are cooked through, about 4-5 minutes. Cool and then refrigerate until chilled. Once chilled, add cooked yolks into a food processor. Add mayonnaise and sriracha and blend until smooth. Add food coloring until the desired color is achieved. I was going for a wormy reddish-brown color. Put prepared yolks into a piping bag and refrigerate until ready to assemble.

Get the cooked and cooled egg whites from refrigerator and use a sharp knife to cut around the pan and turn out egg whites onto a cutting board. Cut into 24 even slices. Place slices on a serving platter and pipe sriracha yolk mixture and top with black sesame seeds. Enjoy! Happy "Summer" Halloween!

Other Halloween recipes to try:
Spider Caviar
Spiderweb Eggs
Bloody Eyeball Bruschetta