Well, I know I bragged incessantly about the perfect pumpkin that Loving Boyfriend had so graciously given me, but I confess that it had to go to a higher purpose other than my foodie longings...the Halloween Shindig. Now, we don't have parties very often (well, not ragers anyway) but occasionally, you have to give the people what they want...and I do have to say, we're good at what we do. When we do have one, we go all out...and I've heard they are awesome.
The "White Trash" party for our housewarming was hilarious...people who didn't come in character actually left the party to go get decked out in trashy attire...but that's another story.
It's Halloweentime, and we filled the house from front yard to back yard full of Halloween horrors.
I know I talked about carving an apple tree into my perfect pumpkin...but that didn't happen, so instead, we hung a zombie from the apple tree.
Entry into the party required a costume, and a brave heart...there were even ghouls coming out of the carpet in the living room (Loving Boyfriend is very proud of this one). There were no real lights in the entire place, just black lights, red lights, and blue lights...
The dining room was complete with a kitty from pet cemetary (I was not the one who hung it from the ceiling fan, I promise! All you weekend kitty bloggers, I'm sorry!) And we had some food (the decorations took all day and I didn't get to make any food!) - mostly orange chips, gummy worms, candy corns, and roasted pumpkin seeds with curry powder and cinnamon and sugar (okay, I did take time out to make those). We also provided apple cider with ice made from filling a glove with water and freezing it so that when it's removed it looks like a hand. I thought this was a great idea, but getting the glove off of the ice proved to be rather difficult, so next time I'll freeze bugs in ice cubes instead.
And of course, the kitchen...a foodie witch's dream...
The backyard was our graveyard...
And of course, the pumpkins. I couldn't get my camera steady enough to take decent pictures of them lighted - it was raining and I couldn't simulataneously get far enough away and put the camer on something to steady it...but here's Loving Boyfriend's perfect pumpkin (plus another one we did...the girl from the Exorcist):
Honestly, believe it or not, I considered buying another pumpkin last night and attempting to carve a kitchenaid mixer in it for all of you...but it didn't happen. Instead, I gave into my longings and I finally got to make some Halloween treats last night (for us, as we didn't get a single trick-or-treater...booooo...). This was right before I watched what is possibly the worst movie I have ever seen in my entire life...I think I lost brain cells the entire 2 hours it was on. Jason X. Did you know there were TEN Jason movies? I had no idea! It was the only scary movie we could find on the television (which still is beyond my understanding...it was Halloween, after all!), and my brain regrets that I wasted 2 hours of my preciously short life watching it. It wasn't even scary enough I got to snuggle up to Loving Boyfriend and feign fear. But hey, it was still a good Halloween, and I spent it making caramels (the first real cooking I've done in almost a week!) and with my honey.
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 stick (1/4 cup unsalted butter)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tsp dark rum
1/4 tsp. vanilla
You'll also need: parchment paper and a candy thermometer
Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper and oil the parchment. Bring brown sugar, cream, butter, salt and 1/4 cup rum to a boil over moderate heat in a 3-4 quart heavy saucepan. Stirring frequently, and watching so that it doesn't boil over, boil until the thermometer reaches 248F (firm-ball stage)...they say this takes about 15 minutes, but on my stove, it took closer to 25. Remove from heat and stir in the remaining 1 tsp. of rum and the 1/4 tsp. of vanilla. Pour into the pan and let cool until firm (1-2 hours). Invert onto a cutting board and discard parchment. Turn the caramel over so that the glossy side is up and cut into 1-inch squares. Store in an airtight container for up to one week with parchment paper between layers of caramels.
My notes: These didn't come out as thick as the picture in the magazine, so next time, I would either use a smaller pan or double the recipe to get that real caramel square shape. In addition, have you ever lined a pan with parchment paper? It's impossible to do it so that it isn't a big mess! This was the hardest part of the whole thing...are you supposed to cut the corners or just push it down into the pan and hope for the best? grrr.... I also would maybe cook it until it reaches about 230 F because they're a bit more chewy than I like them...I prefer them soft and pliable than stick-to-your-teeth hard, but they are tasty!
And don't forget to turn over the caramel so the glossy side is up...I promise you it will stick very well to your cutting board if you forget! Enjoy!