Halloween Entertaining: Food and Wine Pairing

When I realized I was too old to trick-or-treat, I decided it was time to start dressing up and stay IN for Halloween!  It’s such fun inviting guests over, decorating and serving some spooky inspired nibbles and sips.  Here are a couple recipes I made and wine I plan on serving.  But before we get to that, I wanted to share some tips for flawless entertaining.

Don’t overcommit. When someone offers to bring food, napkins, paper plates, whatever…say yes! It’s actually a tip I hope I can follow myself, usually I’m running around last minute and angrily muttering how I wish I would have accepted help instead of trying to do it all solo.

Half hour before the party, stop what you’re doing and go get ready.  Even better, pour yourself a glass of wine and get ready.  There’s nothing less attractive than a sweaty host without makeup and her hair in a bun.  Take a few minutes to tidy yourself instead of fluffing those final pillows.

Light candles and dim lights.  A celebrity event planner once told me, ‘Put every light switch on a dimmer. Everyone looks better and the mood is softened with warm light and the glow from candles.’

Now on to the food and wine! See recipes below, or watch the video above for tutorial.

Sabra Dip

Mediterranean Spider Web Seven Layer Dip

2 containers hummus (I used Sabra Classic Hummus and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus)

1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes

1 cup chopped yellow bell peppers

1 cup chopped red bell peppers

1 cup chopped cucumbers (I prefer Persian, they have less seeds and water and are crunchy and full of flavor)

1 cup crumbled Feta cheese

1/2 cup sour cream mixed with a splash of heavy cream (place in a Ziplock and refrigerate until ready to use)

2 olives

Directions:

In a clear bowl (I like trifle dishes, they have a pedestal and look beautiful on a table) scoop half of the hummus and spread as a layer on the bottom of the bowl.  Now add a layer of chopped cherry tomatoes. Make sure the vegetables are scattered around the edges so you can visibly see them from the side.  Next add half of the roasted red pepper hummus in an even layer.  Continue layering vegetables and feta and hummus until you reach the top of the bowl.  Finish with a final layer of the roasted red pepper hummus.  Remove the sour cream and snip off a corner of the plastic bag.  Pipe a spider web around the top of the bowl. Cut an olive in half horizontally and place him on the spider web, rounded side up.  Cut the other half and the other olive into strips and place four ‘legs’ around the body of the olive to create the spider. Serve with purple corn tortilla chips or veggies like carrots and celery.

 Black Widow Spider

Black Widow Cheese Ball

8 oz low fat cream cheese

1, 5 oz jar Kraft Old English Cheddar Cheese (when I can’t find this, I just use shredded cheddar and it works well too)

2, 5 oz jars Roka Blue Cheese

1 small onion chopped small

2-3 garlic cloves minced
pecan meats chopped
1, 5 oz jar black sesame seeds
(red frosting gel, 2 small pieces of red bell pepper, and 4 silver pipe cleaners for decorating)
Directions:
Bring cheese to room temperature.  Blend with electric mixer until fluffy.  Add onion, garlic and pecans and mix on low.  Scoop onto a plate, cover with plastic wrap loosely, and use your hands to form into the shape of a spider (two circles, one smaller for the head, and one bigger for the body). Refrigerate for several hours or overnight.  Coat with black sesame seeds and add two small red bell peppers for eyes and an X-shape triangle for the ‘black widow’ on the top of the spider’s back.  Cut pipe cleaners in half ad bend in a V-shape for spider legs.  Tuck each of the eight legs onto the spider’s body. Serve with your choice of crackers and veggies like carrots and celery.

Apothic

Wine options.  I prefer to serve blends like this Apothic Winemaker’s 2012 Blend.  It’s Californian, so it’s bold, jammie and fruit forward, comforting flavors for a chilly Halloween night.  Plus the bottle looks dark and sultry, perfect for the spooky holiday.

 

 

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