Everyone loves a good scare! What better way to scare your Halloween guests than with a gory meal? I know, you are thinking about the kid’s stuff – peeled grape eyeballs and chocolate pudding with gummy worms sticking out of it. I’m talking about adult food with flavor that looks too scary to eat.
Food can be indentified by sight alone – when you see an onion, you know what to expect when you taste it. Although sight is not technically a part of taste, it certainly influences perception.
What would you think if a menu featured “human brain” and you saw a dish that looked like this?
It would be pretty hard to swallow! Unless that “human brain” were really shrimp in Cajun sauce. Divine Dinner Party offers several savory recipes that look terrifying but will satisfy the adult palate.
Consider basic tomato soup, served in a pumpkin bowl with a side of breadsticks that look like fingers. How about ramen noodles dyed green and arranged to look like worms?
Add to the power of perception by creating a dead body buffet. Use old clothes to arrange a “body” on a table draped in black. In the head area, serve brain. Bone-in ribs can form a rib cage, a variety of pastas will create the image of the stomach and intestines and pant legs can be stuffed with breadstick “bones.” Get creative!
Use these recipes to help jumpstart your spooky ideas:
Canibal Cajun Brain (from Divine Dinner Party)
3 lbs. shrimp, peeled, cooked, deveined
2 small roasted red peppers, julienned
1 green onion, sliced into 2″ pieces, then julienned
2 1/2 C. chicken broth
1 1/2 tbsp. (1 1/2 envelopes) unflavored gelatin
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/4 C. fresh lemon juice
1/2 C. tomato paste
3 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp. honey
1-2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1. Into a purchased Jello brain mold, layer your shrimp in, tails facing the middle of the brain. It’s best if you layer them into the brain mold with the tails facing the middle, according to each “hemisphere” of the brain. This will give you the most realistic look. Tuck the shrimps in close together.
2. Drop bits of roasted pepper and green onion in around the shrimp. These should look like veins and nerves when you’re finished.
3. Repeat, alternating between shrimp and vegetables, until you fill your Jello brain mold.
4. Now make the gelatin. In a small saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the unflavored gelatin.
5. Stir in the lemon zest, juice, tomato paste, garlic, honey, cajun seasoning, and a pinch of salt (the amount will depend on how much salt is in your Cajun seasoning– mine’s salty so I don’t use much).
6. Pour this mixture over the shrimp in your brain mold, filling to the top. Discard any extra. With a rubber spatula, smooth the top of your shrimp and gelatin to create a smooth surface.
7. Refrigerate until firm, at least several hours.
8. To unmold, set your Jello brain mold in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds. Place a serving tray underneath, then flip your mold over. The brain should pop right out. This is one of the easiest gross Halloween foods to make in advance!
Marinated Mozzarella Eyeballs (from Divine Dinner Party)
2 (8 oz. each) packages mini mozzarella di bufala balls, drained
1/3 C. extra virgin olive oil
6 sundried tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried basil
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
Crushed red pepper, to taste
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Irises and Pupils:
Unpitted green olives, as needed (about 20)
Black olives, as needed (about 10)
1 disposable plastic straw
1. To make the marinated mozzarella balls, combine the drained mozzarella, oil, sundried tomatoes, herbs, garlic, red pepper, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Stir gently to mix. Marinate a few hours, up to 24.
2. To create the “iris” of your eyeball, cut the top away from one green olive with a sharp knife. You should end up with a nice round little dome.
3. Using the end of a straw, poke a hole through the middle of your iris and remove the bit of olive. This is where you will place your pupil.
4. To create “pupils,” stick the end of a straw into a black olive and pull out a straw-hole-shaped piece. This little round piece of olive is your pupil.
5. Place a “pupil” in the middle of each “iris.” Repeat process until you have enough pupils and irises for all of your mozzarella balls.
6. To assemble your eyeballs, drain the marinade away (I re-use mine for pasta or salads) and place your mozzarella balls on a serving platter. I sometimes line my trays with lettuce or cabbage for effect, and to keep the eyeballs from sliding around too much.
7. Place one set of iris and pupil on top of each eyeball. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Be gentle to avoid knocking the irises off of your mozzarella balls! If they don’t want to stay, use a sharp knife to cut a small flat area on the mozzarella balls for your olive irises.
If this all seems like too much work, treat your guests to America’s largest murder mystery theater at the VooDoo Comedy Playhouse in Denver. The dinner theater features food from Serendipity. Or simply call a Serendipity event planner and let her create the perfect customized party especially for you!