Halloween treats

For many years our neighborhood has had a potluck Halloween party.  People brought chili and appetizers and everyone enjoyed wine or beer and trying a variety of dishes.  The kids would play together and then peel off in groups for trick-or-treating.  Sadly this year – no party.  As a tribute to past parties, here are some of the things I brought in years past:

Grilled Thai chili scallops

  • 7 – 10 slices white bread, cut into rounds with a 2 inch fluted pastry cutter
  • 15 sea scallops, cut in thirds horizontally
  • 6 – 8 TB Thai sweet chili sauce
  • creme fraiche

Bake bread rounds in a 300 degree oven for about 25 minutes until crisp and browned.  Cool completely and then store in a zip lock bag until ready to assemble.

Heat a grill pan over medium high heat.  Grill scallop slices (dry) for about a minute a side.  Remove from heat into bowl with sweet chili sauce.  Chill until ready to assemble.

When ready to assemble, top each toast round with a scallop slice and a dollop of creme fraiche.

Bruschetta Toasts

  • 1 loaf of French bread
Slice bread into 1/4 inch slices on diagonal to make longer slices.  Brush with olive oil.  Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes until crisp.  Cool before topping.  (Toasts can be made ahead and stored in baggies – just make sure they are cool before bagging.)  I did two loaves – one with the spinach topping and one with the shrimp and arranged them alternately on trays.
Tomato topping
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 3 oz ricotta salata or feta cheese, diced
  • 2 TB chives, minced
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Heat oil over low to medium heat in a small saucepan.  Cook shallots, stirring until soft.  Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.  Toss tomato mixture with cheese, chives and balsamic vinegar.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  To serve, top toasts with 1 – 2 tsps of mixture (depending upon size of toasts.)
Spinach topping
  • 2 bags baby spinach
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese
Saute garlic in medium saucepan over medium heat for about 1 minute.  Add spinach in two batches and stir until wilted (about 5 minutes.)  Drain liquid and transfer to a bowl.  Stir in mozzarella cheese.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Spoon onto toasts.
Shrimp topping
  • 1/2 lb cooked shrimp, roughly chopped
  • 2 – 3 TB olive oil
  • 1 TB lemon juice
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 TB chopped parsley

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate until ready to assemble – up to overnight.  Spoon onto toasts.

Blanched Asparagus with Wasabi Mayonnaise

This is always a hit.

  • Asparagus spears, tough end broken off
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 4 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp wasabi paste

Boil water with salt and blanch asparagus in batches for 2 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking.  Refrigerate wrapped in paper towels.  Stir together remaining ingredients and refrigerate.  Serve asparagus with wasabi mayonnaise for dipping.  NOTE:  Leftover wasabi mayonnaise is great on turkey sandwiches.

Grilled chicken skewers with avocado sauce

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into about 1 inch cubes (I got 50 pieces)

Marinade

  • juice from 2 limes
  • 2 TB honey
  • 4 TB olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

Sauce:

  • 1 avocado, pitted
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1 TB red wine vinegar
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Combine all marinade ingredients and toss with chicken.  Refrigerate for at lest an hour and up to a day.  Soak 6 inch wooden skewers in water while chicken is marinating and then skewer one chicken cube on each skewer.

Broil skewers about 5 minutes a side.  NOTE: I lined my pan with aluminum foil and put the skewers on them.  I did them in our countertop oven and needed to cook in batches as a result.  The skewers started to brown in the first batch even though they had been soaked in water so I figured out that covering the skewers in foil helped to keep them from burning.

For sauce, combine all ingredients in a blender.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  NOTE: If you push plastic wrap flat on the surface of the dip it will keep it from discoloring.

Tuna Tartar
  • 1 lb fresh tuna, chopped finely
  • 4 TB olive oil
  • zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp wasabi powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
  • 5 dashes Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 scallions, minced
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper with seeds removed, minced
  • 1 1/2 avocados, chopped

Place tuna in a bowl.  Whisk together olive oil, lime zest, lime juice, wasabi, soy sauce, Tabasco, salt and pepper.  Pour over tuna.   Stir in  scallions, jalapeno and avocado.  Refrigerate for a few hours until ready to serve.  This is really good on sesame crackers and I found some with lime.

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