Halloween party tips, recipes help hosts celebrate successfully
BY NICOLE MARSHALL MIDDLETON World Scene Writer
Thursday, October 25, 2012
10/25/12 at 4:08 AM
The thought of hosting a Halloween party shouldn't be scary.
With a simplified menu and a little planning ahead, even the host can have a frightful time - in a good way.
Cooking class instructor and chef NeMar Noulles offers recipes this time of year that would be perfect for a Halloween party. Noulles lives in Maple Ridge, a neighborhood well-known for its Halloween festivities, and she has thrown a big party for the past 12 years.
"We will have 60 to 80 people, a live band, chili and curry pumpkin soup," Noulles said. "It is one of my favorite times of year."
And she has learned to make as much food as she can ahead of time. She has already made about 300 cutout cookies as dessert for her guests.
"It is just a fun thing to do every year," Noulles said.
Offering food on a buffet is one way to simplify, she said.
"And you don't need to have a ton of different foods - chili, chips, dips and maybe a salad and dessert."
Another suggestion for a simple, but satisfying meal, is a slider bar, Noulles said.
"Grill two or three different types of sliders. My suggestions are ground turkey, ground pork, ground lamb, ground elk or other game. On the slider bar, offer sliced red onion, pickles, hot sauces, cheeses," she said. "Offer different types of rolls for buns - potato rolls, butter rolls. The slider patties should be between 2 and 2 1/2 ounces. This is a great buffet offering."
She suggested that if the guests list grows to more than 50 people, it might be time to call for backup.
"It would be really nice if you could hire someone to come help. It is hard to take care of that many people by yourself," Noulles said.
She also suggested renting dishes from a local party supply store.
"I think it can be cheaper than buying disposable stuff. That can really add up. I have rented them for about 20 cents per plate," Noulles said. "Many places will drop them off and pick them up."
And Halloween decorations don't have to be expensive, she said, adding that dollar stores often have a good selection.
Here's a dip recipe from Noulles and several others that would be perfect for a Halloween party.
CHIPOTLE CORN DIP
Makes about 6 cups
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1 or 2 canned chipotle peppers, finely chopped
1/2 cup diced tomatoes (use a good quality canned tomato)
2 cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayo
1 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Chopped fresh hot pepper, optional
1. Melt the butter in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat and cook onion, garlic, cumin, chile powder and chipotle pepper; cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the tomato and corn and toss once or twice to coat with the onion mixture.
3. Stir in the sour cream, mayo, cheeses - heat through - let the cheese melt. Stir in the cilantro and fresh pepper, if using. Serve with chips.
DRAGON'S BLOOD PUNCH
1 (46-ounce) container red punch, such as Hawaiian Punch
1 (46-ounce) container apple juice
1 (48-ounce) bottle cranberry juice
1 (2-liter) bottle ginger ale
Berry vodka, optional
Orange liqueur, optional
1. Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl or pot. Add ice and stir. For grown up version, add 4 cups berry vodka and 1/2 cup orange liqueur.
2. Ladle into serving glasses.
- adapted from Sandra Lee
Here's a recipe from Abby Booth in Coweta that is so good it was featured in Taste of Home magazine. Booth says that her family loves pumpkin pie flavor, and this is a delicious, creamy, healthier alternative.
PUMPKIN PECAN CUSTARD
1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
1 can (12 ounces) reduced-fat evaporated milk
3/4 cup egg substitute
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1. In a large bowl, combine the first nine ingredients. Transfer to eight 6-ounce ramekins or custard cups. Place in a baking pan; add 1 inch of boiling water to pan. Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, for topping, in a small bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over custard. Bake 15-20 minutes longer or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.
3. Remove ramekins from water bath; cool for 10 minutes. Cover, refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Original Print Headline: Scare up a good time
Have fun but be safe with dry ice
Dry ice can create a creepy effect for your Halloween buffet or decor.
But there are a few safety precautions to take if you have never worked with it before.
Continental Carbonic offered some tips to produce a multitude of effects this Halloween. Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide (CO2). It's called "dry ice" because it does not melt like wet ice. Instead, dry ice converts into carbon dioxide gas, which creates the "fog" effect.
In Tulsa, you can buy dry ice at many grocery stores, as well as Continental Carbonic, 131 S. 122nd East Ave. It will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and during normal business hours Oct. 29-31. It carries foam coolers and gloves and will have printed safety tips available for handling dry ice.
Continental Carbonic can be reached at 918-437-8622. And for instructions on doing Halloween effects, go to tulsaworld.com/dryice
Here are some safety precautions to take when handling dry ice:
- Always use gloves or a towel when touching dry ice. Dry ice can freeze skin cells and cause a burn-like injury.
- Because dry ice displaces oxygen as it converts to a gas, open car and room windows to ensure proper ventilation. Leave the area if you experience difficulty breathing.
- The CO2 gas produced by dry ice can cause an explosion if left in an airtight container. Continental Carbonic sells foam coolers that ensure the dry ice will ventilate properly while preserving the life of the dry ice.
- Always supervise children when using dry ice.
CHRISTOPHER SMITH / Tulsa World
Dry ice can create spooky effects. CHRISTOPHER SMITH / Tulsa World