Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Party Appetizers

I love appetizers. They are dainty, fun and for those of us not on the cocktail party circuit, they are a special treat. When it comes to sharing Halloween recipes I always have to struggle because there are already so many cool recipes out there, and I don't like to repeat what's been done. I was looking through my Modern Encyclopedia for Cooking this morning, and my eye caught the appetizer section. Whether a party is for adults, kids, adults or a mix of all three, presentation is the key. An appetizer buffet can turn into a Halloween themed party by sprinkling the counter with Halloween themed confetti and decorating your home with pumpkins, flowers and other fall decor.

Everyone is so excited about their costumes it's often hard to get them to eat a full mean during Halloween festivities, but who can resist an buffet of appetizers?

Grape Shrub

3 cups grape juice
6 tsp. lemon juice
3/4 cup cold water
4 tbsp. sugar
dash salt
2 pints sherbet, orange or lime

Combine all the ingredients except the sherbet and chill thoroughly. Serve in juice glasses with a scoop of sherbet. Serves 12.

Note: Shrubs were traditional beverages made in Colonial times, always with fruit that was past it's prime. It was made as a syrup, sometimes with alcohol, but always with sugar and some type of acid such as lemon juice or vinegar to preserve it. Water was added to this to make the beverage as it was needed.

Apple Tempters

2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. water
2 tart red apples
slice of sharp cheese, 1/2 inch thick
1 stalk celery

Combine the lemon, sugar and water. Cut the unpeeled apple into 1/2 inch cubes. Marinate in the lemon mixture for an hour. Remove to drain. Cut the cheese into 1/2 inch cubes and cut the celery in 1/2 inch lengths. On each toothpick stick a cube of cheese, apple and celery. Cover and store in the refrigerator to keep moist and cold til serving time. The apples will not discolor.
Makes 30-36.

Dried Beef Pin-Wheels

1/4 cup Roquefort cheese
2 drops Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. grated onion
5 whole slices dried beef
2 carrots

Mash the cheese and blend with the Worcestershire and onions. Spread on each slice of dried beef . Roll up as a jelly roll. Make rolls about 4 inches long and thick enough to be 3/4 inch in diameter. Chill. Then cut into 1/2 inch lengths. Cut slender carrots into 1/8 inch thick crosswise slices. Stick a slice of carrot and dried beef roll on each toothpick. Makes about 40.

Potato Scoops

1 1/2 ounces cream cheese
2 tbsp. Roquefort cheese
1 tsp. chili sauce
1/2 tsp. vinegar
1/8 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. paprika
dash of salt
30-40 potato chips *see note

Blend the cheeses thoroughly, then add the rest of the ingredients except the potato chips. Mix well. Drop about 1 tsp. of the mixture into center of each potato chip just before serving. Makes 30-40.

Note: The Tostitos Scoops work great for this recipe!

Norse Nods

2 tbsp. anchovy paste
2 tbsp. creamed butter
2 tbsp. finely cut chives
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
24 wheat crackers *see note
optional: pimiento

Combine the first four ingredients and blend well. Spread about a 1/2 tsp. of anchovy mixture on each cracker. Garnish with pimiento or a small piece of chive.

Note: They didn't have the type of wheat crackers we have back in 1949, so I adapted this recipe. Wheat Thins work well, or the wheat Ritz crackers, which I really like.

On OFL I shared plans for an old fashioned apple social:


Sunday, October 16, 2011

More on Bulbs and Fall Plantings

I'd like to share some tips from The Old Dirt Dobber's Garden Book, published in 1944, today. We are almost running out of time to plant bulbs, rhyzomes and corms in the Northern areas. It's not too late to dig up Iris and replant them if need be. They don't do as well crowded in clumps, so it's a good time to divide. Lilies of all varieties can be planted and divided as well. I also do this in the spring with success. Mr. Williams has this to say:

Fall is the best time to plan all varieties of lilies. The bulbs should be kept out of sunlight, preferably stored in damp sand or moss until time for actual planting. When the scales of the lilies dry out excessively, they frequently take two or three years to recuperate sufficiently to bloom. Do not worry about whether your soil will grow lilies; any good garden soil in which you've been growing annual, perennials or vegetables will suit them.

Note: I've found this is true too. The only problem I've run across is they don't do well when crowded, or when weeds become to thick. The north side of our house had three or four types of lilies planted when we purchased it, but they were overgrown with thick weeds, and crowded. Each year I dug up a clump or two, divided and moved to new flower beds where they flourished. However, there were so many, it took me several years to get them relocated since I had to dig new beds around our property.

More from Mr. Williams:

Water standing around bulbs will increase the likelihood of rot. An easy solution to this essential requirement is to put one inch of sand in the bottom of each hole, set the bulb on this sand, and then surround and cover the entire bulb with sand before filling in the hole with top soil.

Do not allow any fertilizer to come into contact with the bulb itself. Any of the good commercial fertilizers or well-rotted stable manure may be mixed with the top soil in filling in and covering the area where lilies are planted.

Notes: I used compost and organic fertilizer when planting bulbs or new plants.

More on planting:
The depth of planting for lily bulbs varies according to their size, and a safe rule to follow is to plant them four times their depth in light soil, and three times their depth in heavy soil. The applies to all except the Madonna lily, which is shallow-rooted and should not be put more than two or two and a half inches below the surface of the ground. Madonnas should be planted in August or early September to allow for the fall growth of leaf rosettes which remain green throughout winter.

Notes: The Madonna lily, L. candidum, is an heirloom plant and one of the oldest around. It's white/cream colored and grows similar to an oriental lily. Once established it's very hardy and will thrive in fertile soil.

I love growing lilies, and can't imagine not having them in my landscape. Check your local garden nurseries for deals this time of year, and divide what you have only if they seem to be crowded and blooming less each year. Otherwise, leave them alone and enjoy!

On OFL I also have tips on growing Oriental lilies: