Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spooky tooth

Here. I am going to show you a "before" shot from the apparently annual Halloween party that we threw at Jeff's house this weekend. I went as Calvin (Jeff was Hobbes) and my hair is bright blond now. I really had no long-term strategy for what I would do with that after Halloween.

In this picture I'm making one of three of my apparently traditional Halloween-themed dips. How are they Halloween themed? Well, I make pumpkin hummus, pomegranate guacamole, and black bean dip. Orange, green, and black. See? Halloween-themed. The secret to the black bean dip is a little bit of balsamic vinegar. The black bean dip I am making in the picture above had a little too much secret in it and was unpleasantly tart. I was pretty proud of myself when I came up with the idea of blending in a few toasted crumbled corn tortillas, which tempered the sourness and thickened it up.

In the end, nobody at the party, least of all Bret Michaels, pictured above in the same kitchen, really cared about the secrets that my black bean dip held--both it and the pumpkin hummus were basically ignored in favor of the pomegranate guacamole. The secret to guacamole, besides using pomegranates, is this: after you juice the limes, put half the lime juice in with the avocados to stop them from browning and the other half in with the red onion with some salt to quick-pickle it while you get the rest of the guacamole stuff together. No matter what else you put in your guacamole or what proportion of avocados, onion, and lime you use, your guacamole will end up delicious.

I decided to only choose only one "after" picture from the party and this one won out over the POPCORN IS NOT VEGETARIAN sign that I had posted in the popcorn bowl, which was by the next morning bleeding red ink into a pool of congealed duck fat studded with unpopped kernels. I had been wanting to make Chilli Duck popcorn for a while, and this version, with fresh habaƱeros from my garden and crisped duck confit leftover from Valentine's Day, did not disappoint. I had debated whether to call it "Chilli Duck popcorn" so everyone familiar with my number one favorite date spot in Boston would know I made it, or "Satan's popcorn" to go along with the Halloween theme and alert Charlie Chaplin and Voldemort to the fact that it was incredibly spicy, but in the end I think "Popcorn is not vegetarian" was the best possible name for it.

The other thing I made for the Halloween party was a punch, but maybe it's better if I don't tell you about that one.

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