It’s that time of year again, when night prevails over day, when the most ordinary of folk transform into the macabre and morbid weirdos that we, here at Gothober, embody all year long. Autumn has descended, bringing with it the bountiful harvest of autumnal flavors and variations on the orange hue that food scientists can manage.
Once inside it’s noisy yellow packaging I’m confronted with 3 rows of tawny blonde cookies on either side of deep orange filling, whose hue have echoes of both butterscotch and rust. Wafting upward is a scent that equal parts vanilla Yankee Candle and Pillsbury frosting can, along with a note of sickly sweet; not unlike that new rubber ball.
I quickly, and greedily, lift the treat to my mouth! I bite down to feel a familiar Oreo texture sensation: the cookie crisp but not brittle, it’s filling yielding and unctuous. Then something new, a rush of holiday flavor! It’s flavor seems more apple cider spice than pumpkin spice. Crunching away, the flavor remains the same. There are notes of vanilla, warm and orange-y like autumnal centerpieces of nostalgia pressed into play-doh and sprinkled with golden spiced hay.
The residual flavor of it lingers….lingers….lingering for much longer than one anticipates. Its feeling is of a warm gingery glow whose welcome has been thoroughly worn. All things considered. Nabisco’s holiday offering, while succeeding at the flavor of an ephemeral autumn night, loses points when it hangs around for too damn long.
Click on Gothtober DAY 11 and receive a delicious and ghastly presentation from Dianne Chadwick, drink vampiress extraordinaire! If you’ve been stumped at what to serve at your Halloween cocktail party, fear no more, here we have thirteen wonderful recipes to knock people’s heads off… literally. From the “Corpse Reviver” to the “Bitter Pumpkin” there’s plenty to add to your boiling cauldron this month that will impress all of your ghoulie guests.
Serve these drinks in themed glasses, if you have the option. If you can find garnishes that call to mind things like severed fingers or bloody eyeballs (or you know, in a pinch, the real thing is even better.)
Nothing builds friendship and good times like wormy ice cubes and plastic spiders.
We’re considering trying each and every one of these before October is done, we’re very goal oriented around here.
There are people who give out toothbrushes to trick or treaters, and then there are the people in the world who are ALIVE. Halloween is not about restraint, or making sense, or paying attention to limits, or going on a diet. Halloween is about rotting your teeth. That’s why we believe this recipe for Peanut Brittle isn’t just a recipe, it’s a Public Service Announcement.
Sure, you can buy peanut brittle and stuff your face and lay on the couch and moan and feel regret, but why do that when you can really fall down the rabbit hole and make your own? If you’re going to feel like you ate too much peanut brittle, make sure it was good peanut brittle. And make sure you did the work that it takes to make delicious, crunchy, melty, peanutty peanut brittle, because the work makes it taste better.
Anything you have to stir for more than a half an hour deserves your attention and appreciation. We recommend that you make this recipe with a friend, because it’s fun to take turns stirring.
And hey, it’s true, the dentist isn’t going to be thrilled with your peanut brittle consumption. But it’s Halloween. And it’s real sugar, real butter, real peanuts, and it’s home made. There is a difference, and no dentist can deny it. It’s time for Peanut Brittle.
The infamous “Pink Slime” has nothing on PinkScary. And what of PinkBerry?
Well no one knows what that’s made of either, but it’s just not as tasty as what the the PinkScary franchise has developed. I mean it really does appear to be an artisan situation with all those hard-to-get ingredients. We hope you’ll be able to try some soon, but get over there before the lines get too long, its popularity is growing.
The mists are gathering over the San Gabriel Mountains. There is a chill in the air. Do you know what time it is? Of course you do. It is the mysterious orange bridge that seamlessly connects the disappearance of the inflatable pool and the emergence of the fire pit. The special netherseason between the innocent pleasures of summer, like sno cones and lemonade, and the vicious, relentless onslaught of baked goods and candy that will only end when the last, sad box of Valentines candy (the one with the missing milk chocolate buttercream) is purchased on February 15th for $2.37. Only one thing can help soothe away the shame of awkward summer tan lines.
Yes, lovelies. It’s Pumpkin Spice time, and there is more to life than lattes. This is a magical time, when all disbelief is suspended and anything edible or olfactible can live up to it’s true flavor potential. Here, for your taste-tacular taste-testing enjoyment are several seasonal delights to prime your palate for your unchecked “It’s the Holidays!” binge.
Gothtober applications are closed, Gothtober contributors have been picked and they’re all boiling and toiling in their laboratories with creativity, we will see their works starting Gothtober 1st!
Which brings me to the subject of Halloween candles and candy corn products. Some of you are “blood and guts” type Hallowen people, some of you are “Pumpkin and Fall Leaf” Halloween people. I, myself, am both. I can see merit in a severed hand candle on book case, or a lovely wreath of shiny black feathers adorning your front door.
I used to really like the store “Illuminations” and felt that, out of all the retail-smelly-candle stores, this was the one that spoke to me. Unfortunately, “Illuminations” didn’t survive the great 700 Billion Dollar debacle of 2008 and was taken over by Yankee Candle. I feel like Yankee Candle is more for people who like baskets or linens, but maybe I’m wrong.
I could be wrong, because despite it all, I do find this Candycorn-scented candle to be intriguing and acceptable. I was a little freaked out, however, to find that it doesn’t just stop at candles. You can purchase candycorn car vent sticks, air fresheners and wax melty thingers. The 65-95 hour candle will cost you about twenty-five bones, and the votives are $1.99 each.
If you don’t want to smell candy corn, but you want to taste it, and you’re looking for an experience outside of the usual candycorn regimen, might I suggest Charms Candycorn Pops? It’s $3.95 for a bag of 15 edible conversation starters.
Vincent Price was really into art, and really into food, and he published a book with his wife many years ago called A Treasury of Great Recipes that I would stare at from time to time during my childhood. It sat in a prominent spot on the cookbook shelf in the family kitchen, and it was perhaps the first time I understood that an actor could have interests outside of being on stage or on screen. Mr. House of Wax put together a fine list of recipes with his wife, and it is a collector’s item today, available on Amazon in mint condition for about three hundred bucks. Published in 1965, this book with it’s padded faux leather copper exterior and gilt lettering doesn’t have fast recipes, it’s got recipes you slave over slowly with love for food. It’s also peppered throughout with beautiful pen and ink illustrations and harkens back to those globetrotting Pan Am days of travel and romance that Mary and Vincent Price were enjoying with true appreciation and wonder.
I called Bill Parr (Dad), and asked him to pick one of his favorites from the book that might be an easy recipe for Gothtober readers, and so here you go, from the vault of Gothtober Dad’s recipe bookshelf is Vincent and Mary Price’s recipe for Spaghetti alla Bolognese. Kind of a great thing is that while it seems that Mary and Vincent were at Tre Scalini a long time ago, the restaurant opened in 1815 and is open for business even today! Just try to read this recipe without hearing Vincent Price’s voice. Bon Appétit!
INSTRUCTIONS SAUCE: In a heavy skillet heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add: 1 onion finely chopped and cook until soft.
Add: 3 rashers lean bacon, cut into small pieces, 1 carrot, chopped, and one stalk celery, chopped. Sauté over medium heat until lightly browned. Add 1/2 pound beef, coarsely ground, and stir until meat is coated with fat.
Add: 2 chicken livers, minced. Stir until meat browns evenly. Add 2 tablespoons tomato puree, 1/2 cup dry white wine, 1 cup beef stock, 1 bay leaf, and 1 strip lemon peel (thin yellow skin only).
Season with: salt, freshly ground pepper, and 1 clove garlic, crushed.
Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf and lemon peel and allow to simmer uncovered until sauce thickens slightly. Just before serving stir in: 1/4 cup cream and reheat sauce. (Makes 1 pint.)
Tre Scalini has a sidewalk café just off the Piazza Navona. You can sit at a table outside and enjoy the view of Bernini’s fountains over an ice cream, or go indoors and enjoy the view of their sumptuous buffet over a dish of pasta. Only people who loved their pasta could have invented so many charming shapes for it. But the great classic dish remains spaghetti with savory meat sauce.
SPAGHETTI: In a large pot pour: 3 quarts of water. Rub a little olive oil or butter around the sides of pot above water line. This will prevent water from boiling over when you cook the spaghetti. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and bring to a rapid boil. When water has been boiling briskly, take: 1 pound spaghetti and feed by handfuls into the boiling water. Dip one end of the spaghetti sticks into the water, and as they get soft let them coil into the pot. Never break them. Stir with a wooden spoon occasionally.
If you are using packaged spaghetti, cook for about 12 minutes, or according to directions on package. It should be soft but firm when you bite it. (The Italians call this al dente, or “to the tooth.”) Homemade pasta will need less time to cook – only 5 to 7 minutes. Drain cooked spaghetti in a colander over a pan of boiling water and covering it with a towel wrung out in warm water. PRESENTATION:
Place spaghetti on a warm platter and dot with: 4 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle with: 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Serve with meat sauce on the side, or in the center of the platter with the spaghetti around it. Pass a bowl of freshly grated Parmesan cheese with the platter.
It’s August, but that doesn’t mean it’s Autumn, why no, far from it. And you’re not really thinking about Halloween right now, I understand, it’s miles away. But the Application to apply for Gothtober is due August 29th so that you can have ALL of September to work on your Gothtober piece! This is why I’m introducing you to TacoPopcorn, it will give you the strength to BELIEVE that applying for Gothtober is something you could do, even if you don’t think you’re the type to do it.
Most people’s idea of “success” is not TacoPopcorn. But TacoPopcorn releases endorphins when you eat it, which means it could reintroduce you to who you are! You could be all like “I made this, I’m a person who can make things, and dang this TacoPopcorn is giving me courage, by golly!”
TACO POPCORN RECIPE
2 tb. vegetable oil
3/4 cup popcorn kernels
1/4 cup butter, coconut or olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 -2 tb. Taco Seasoning (make your own or Trader Joe’s or whatever)
pinch of Berbere Seasoning (the secret ingredient that adds complexity and a tiny bit of sweetness!)
dash of chili powder or Tabasco for heat
another dash of garlic powder because garlic
salt to taste
Pop your popcorn like you do, throw it in a big bowl, drizzle or spray with oil (I have an olive oil mist-thinger) then sprinkle your spice mixture in stages onto the popped kernels, mixing with each stage to make sure you’ve got even coverage. It’s ready to eat, and Olé you’re ready to apply for Gothtober!