Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Spooky (and Cherry-Inspired!) Halloween Party

With all of the candy and sugary desserts consumed during Halloween weekend, incorporating tart cherries is a great way to still enjoy delicious and festive treats while fueling your body with nutrient-rich antioxidants. 

Enough black and orange this Halloween, red is a creepy color that will make your party look just as spooky! And remember, here at Cheribundi, we always say, GO RED INSTEAD with tart cherries!

Here are some fun and simple recipe ideas to get you and your party into the spirit:

Red Punch with Tart Cherry Creepy Crawler Ice Cubes
Ice cubes:
2 packages gummy bear worms
1 (32-ounce) container tart cherry juice

3 (12-ounce) bottles strawberry smoothies
2 quarts orange juice
3 cans lemon/lime soda

Ice cubes:
Stick 1 gummy worm in each cube, with half of the worm hanging out. Pour tart cherry  juice into the ice cube trays. Place in freezer 2 hours before mixing the punch.

Pour the strawberry smoothies, the orange juice and the lemon/lime soda into a large punch bowl and stir. Take the gummy worm ice cubes out of the freezer, and add half of them to the punch. Place remaining cubes into glasses and fill each glass with punch using a ladle.

Monster Eye Cupcakes with Cherry Filling

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 vanilla bean (seeds only) or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Cherry Filling:
1 cup frozen cherries
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cranberry or pomegranate juice, or water
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, sift together flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together oil, coconut milk, vanilla bean, and almond extract. Add sugar and mix until incorporated. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix until relatively smooth (batter will be slightly lumpy). Fill cupcake liners with 3 tablespoons of batter (papers should be just under 2/3 of the way full). Bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden, and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Top with any kind of white frosting you like - buttercream, vanilla, or cream cheese are delicious!

Add frozen cherries to medium saucepan along with sugar and juice. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally and slightly mashing some of the whole cherries. Meanwhile, mix 1 tablespoon cool water with cornstarch in a small dish and set aside. When cherry mixture starts bubbling, add cornstarch mixture and stir until filling is thickened and is no longer milky. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Allow to cool at room temperature for 15 minutes. Move to refrigerator and chill until ready to use.

Pork Chops with Brandied Cherry Sauce and Zucchini with Walnuts
(15-ounce) fresh tart cherries
2 rounded spoonfuls sugar -- for fresh cherries only
large boneless center-cut pork chops
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2
1 large shallot, finely chopped
Splash of brandy
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves

Zucchini with Walnuts:
1/2 cup, chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 medium zucchinis, sliced into disks, 1/-inch thick
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Put cherries in a small bowl with the sugar
Heat a skillet with an oven safe handle over medium high to high heat or, cover a the handle of a rubber handled pan with tin foil and preheat over same setting.
Season chops with salt and pepper. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, to a hot skillet. Place chops in skillet and sear meat on both sides to caramelize the chops. Place a loose tin foil tent over the pan and transfer the chops to oven to finish off, 7 or 8 minutes, until meat is firm to touch, but not tough. While chops are in oven, place a second skillet over medium high heat. Toast nuts 1 to 2 minutes, shaking pan frequently. Remove nuts to cool and add extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, and 1 tablespoon butter. Add zucchini disks, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and cook until tender, tossing discs occasionally, 6 or 7 minutes.
Remove meat from oven and transfer to dinner plates. Cover chops with foil to keep warm. Place chop skillet back on stove over medium heat. Add a tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan. Add shallots and saute 1 to 2 minutes. Add cherries and warm through. Add brandy by removing the pan off the burner to add the alcohol, then flame the pan. Burn off alcohol for 1 minute, then add stock. reduce stock a minute, then add butter in small pieces. Toss sauce to combine and sprinkle in mint. Pour sauce down over chops and serve the zucchini with walnuts along side.
Vampire Bite Cherry Mocktail

2 cups tart cherry juice, chilled
1/2 cup apple juice, chilled
1/4 cup grenadine
1 1/2 cups seltzer water, chilled
1 tube red candy gel
4 gummy vampire teeth

In a pitcher combine cherry juice, apple juice and grenadine. Stir together then add the seltzer water.
Squeeze the candy gel onto a small plate. Rim the edges of 4 low-ball glasses in the candy gel. Pour in the
drink evenly into the glasses. Garnish each glass with the gummy vampire teeth and serve.

Cherry Gooeys
For cookie dough, beat 1 1/4 dark brown sugar and 1 stick butter until fluffy, then beat in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder; stir into the butter mixture. 

Then add 4 ounces melted semisweet chocolate and 2 tablespoons buttermilk with the eggs. Add 2 cups chocolate chunks and 1 cup dried cherries to the finished batter. Drop by tablespoonfuls and chill 30 minutes; bake 8 to 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

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