xx Monday, October 26, 1998

Creepy, ghoulish food and drink for Halloween

Clayton Mann, 20, holds Cinderella Fairytale pumpkins he grew at his family farm in Flamborough, Ont. The pumpkins are reminiscent of the pumpkin used for Cinderella's coach. (CP PHOTO)
 Whether you're planning an adult bash for Halloween -- or a neighbourhood gathering of kids and their parents -- ghoulish, horrific foods and drinks are essential.

 Here are a number of recipes to get the party off to a good start:

 Ghoulish Sangria

 1 750 mL bottle of red wine
 60 mL (2 oz) brandy
 60 mL (2 oz) triple sec (orange flavoured liqueur)
 10 mL (2 tsp) fresh lime juice
 10 mL (2 tsp) sugar
 5 mL (1 tsp) hot pepper sauce
  1/2 orange, thinly sliced
  1/2 lemon, thinly sliced
 1 750 mL bottle club soda or sparkling water

 In a pitcher, combine all ingredients except for club soda. Chill. To serve, fill a large wine glass with ice. Pour two-thirds full with sangria and top with soda water. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 Spicy Goblin Casserole

 15 mL (1 tbsp) vegetable oil
 450 g (1 lb) ground beef or ground chicken
 1 onion, chopped
 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
 15 mL (1 tbsp) chili powder
 5 mL (1 tsp) dried oregano
 15 mL (3 tsp) hot pepper sauce
 1 796 mL (28 oz) can diced tomatoes, including juice
 1 450 g package fusilli, penne, rotini or macaroni
 250 mL (1 cup) frozen corn (do not thaw) or drained canned corn
 500 mL (2 cups) grated cheddar cheese
 Salt to taste

 Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add beef; cook stirring until meat is cooked and no longer pink. Drain fat. Add onion, garlic, carrot, chili powder, oregano, hot pepper sauce and about 60 mL ( 1/4 cup) juice from tomatoes. Cook covered, for two minutes. Add tomatoes and remaining juice. Cover; bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer gently 3 to 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta just until tender. Drain well. Toss sauce with pasta. Stir in corn, 250 mL (1 cup) cheese and salt. Turn into medium-sized casserole; cover and bake in preheated 180 C (350 F) oven for 20 minutes. Remove cover, sprinkle with remaining cheese. Continue to bake uncoverd, 10 minutes until cheese is melted and casserole is hot throughout.

 Makes 6 to 8 servings.

 Source for sangria and casserole: Tabasco Pepper Sauce.

 Pumpkin Soup

 1 2.7 to 4 kg (6 to 9 lb) pumpkin
 1.5 L (6 cups) croutons
 250 mL (1 cup) grated Gruyere cheese
 Salt and pepper to taste
 3 L of light cream

 Cut the lid from the top of the pumpkin by cutting around stem. Remove and discard seeds and fibres, but be sure to leave behind all meat.

 Place croutons and cheese in a few alternating layers (until you run out) in the pumpkin. Season with salt and pepper. Add cream and cover well with the "lid." Bake the pumpkin for two hours in a 175 C (350 F) oven.

 To serve pumpkin, remove lid, stir contents gently with a spoon until the pumpkin flesh and other ingredients are transformed into a deliciously thick soup. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if necessary.

 Serves 12 to 24 depending on portion size.

 Source: Play With Your Pumpkins by Joost Elffers and Saxton Freymann (General Publishing $17.95).

 Edible Creepy Witch's Fingers

 250 mL (1 cup) butter, softened
 250 mL (1 cup) icing sugar
 1 egg
 5 mL (1 tsp) almond extract
 5 mL (1 tsp) vanilla
 675 mL (2 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
 5 mL (1 tsp) baking powder
 5 mL (1 tsp) salt
 175 mL ( 3/4 cup) whole blanched almonds
 1 (19 g) tube red decorator gel

 In a bowl, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract and vanilla; beat in flour, baking powder and salt. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

 Working with one-quarter of the dough at a time and keeping remaining dough refrigerated, roll heaping 5 mL (teaspoonful) into finger shape for each cookie. Press almond firmly into one end for nail. Squeeze in centre to create knuckle shape. Using paring knife, make indents in several places to resemble knuckle.

 Place cookies on lightly greased baking sheets; bake in 160 C (325 F) oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until pale golden. Let cool for three minutes.

 Lift up almond; squeeze red decorator gel onto nail bed and press almond back in place, so gel oozes out from underneath. Remove cookies from baking sheets; let cool on racks.

 Makes about 60 cookies.

 Source: Canadian Living Best: Kids in the Kitchen (Madison, $14.95).