Friday, October 11, 2013

From witches and zombies, to ghouls and goblins, Maria Zoitas, catering director at Westside Market NYC and creator of "Maria’s Homemade", a line of prepared food sold exclusively at Westside Market NYC, is sharing her tips on how to throw a ravishing Halloween party.


1.       Children’s Activities: For children that aren’t out trick-or-treating ensure that there is something at the party to keep them entertained and occupied. Set-up a small table for spooky cookie decorating by providing plain sugar or chocolate-chip cookies, and decorations such as chocolate chips, festive sprinkles and colored icing.

2.       Pumpkin Dishes: After spending all of that time carving pumpkins for decoration, use the fruits of your labor as unique, autumnal offerings for your guests. Dish ideas include toasted pumpkin seeds as an item to snack on before dinner, oven roasted butternut squash with toasted pumpkin seeds for a side dish, crusted pumpkin seed chicken as a main dish at dinner and baked apples with pumpkin seeds as a delicious, sweet dessert.

3.       Creepy Cocktails. In the spirit of scary, create a signature drink for your Halloween party and give it a creepy name. Cocktails such as a Bloody Mary or red sangria provide a traditional cocktail offering to suit your guests’ taste buds, but are in tune with the Halloween theme due to their blood-red coloring. Serve the sangria out of a Witch’s cauldron and the Bloody Marys in individual “mad scientist” beakers. 

4.       Haunted Playlist. To top it all off, make sure to have a playlist of Halloween classics such as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the age-old party favorite, “Monster Mash,” to ensure guests stay in the spooky spirit.


Oven Roasted Butternut Squash With Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
·         1 medium size butternut squash – about 2 lbs peeled, seeded and cut into inch cubes
·         1 medium size white onion peeled and ¼ inch diced
·         ½ cup dried cranberries
·         1 bunch of kale, remove stems and slice into one inch wide pieces
·         ½ cup shelled toasted pumpkin seeds
·         ½ tbsp. clove powder
·         ½ tbsp. nutmeg 
·         1 tbsp. salt (kosher)
·         ½ cup olive oil
·         ½ gallon water

1.       In a medium bowl, toss the butternut squash with salt, clove, nutmeg and ¼ cup olive oil.
2.       Place the butternut squash in a 9x8 sheet pan and bake for 20-25 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 400⁰, then remove and leave at room temperature.
3.       In the meantime, pouch the kale for 3-4 minutes in ½ gallon of broiled water.  Remove the kale and place in cold water, drain and set aside.
4.       In a sauté pan, heat the 1.4 cup of oil left, sauté the onion for about 5 minutes and add cranberries.  Sauté for 2 minutes and add the pumpkin seeds, cooking for one.
5.       Add and mix all ingredients together in a bowl and serve.

Crusted Pumpkin Seeds Chicken
·         2 chicken breasts
·         2 cups of panko
·         2 cups of pumpkin seeds
·         4 whole eggs beaten
·         1 cup all purpose flour
·         1 tbsp. salt (kosher)
·         1 tbsp. fine chopped oregano leaves
·         1 tbsp. orange zest
·         1 cup sunflower oil
·         1 tbsp. black pepper

1.       You need 2 chicken breasts, sliced in half.  Pound them down lightly until they are ¼ inch thick.
2.       In 3 separate bowls, put flour in one, eggs in another and the panko, pumpkin seeds, salt, black pepper, chopped oregano and orange zest in the third bowl
3.       Coast the chicken breast with flour, then dip into beaten eggs, followed by into the panko bowl.
4.       In a sauté pan, heat up the oil at medium heat.  Lightly sauté the coated chicken breast until it reaches a golden color – about 1 minute on each side.
5.       In the meantime, pre-heat oven at 350⁰ for 10 minutes.  Place the chicken breast onto a sheet pan and cook it for an additional 10-15 minutes.
** Note: You can also use your favorite fish fillet instead of chicken.  You may put it in the oven for less time or you may finish in a pan.

Baked Apples with Pumpkin Seeds
·         Roma apples
·         1 cup red wine (dry)
·         3 cups sangria wine
·         1 ½ cups dried cranberries
·         ¼ cup currents
·         1 cup sugar
·         1 tbsp. cinnamon
·         1 cup honey
·         2 tbsp. orange zest
·         1 cup pumpkin seeds

1.       Core the apple to remove the seeds.  Score with the tip of a small knife in the middle of the apple and around it – this will help bake the apple evenly.
2.       Pell the skin an inch around the top of the apply.
3.       Meanwhile, in a sauté pan put the red wine and sangria wine.  When half is consumer, remove from heat and set aside.
4.       In a roasting pan, place the peeled apples (inside side up).  In the center of each apple, add sugar.  Then pour cinnamon powder around each apple.
5.       In a 300⁰ pre-heated oven bake the apples for 15 minutes.
6.       Meanwhile, in a medium size bowl, toss together the cranberries, currents, honey, pumpkin seeds and orange zest. (This will act as a topping for the apples)
7.       Remove apples from the oven and top each with ¼ cup of the honey mixture.
8.       Put baking pan with apples back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and serve either hot or cold.

Have a spooky great Halloween and don't forget your bottle of Fairytale Wishes Monster Repellent for a great party favor!