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Oct 22, 2019 12:50 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Settle Into Halloween With Festive Foods

Oven Baked Meatballs with Tomato and Onion Stew JANEEN SARLIN
Oct 22, 2019 1:16 PM

By Janeen Sarlin
Happy Halloween! Start the party with smoked salmon pumpkin canapés and ice-cold sparkling apple cider or Prosecco.
Keep the main course very flexible because the doorbell will be ringing with trick or treaters throughout the evening. Oven baked meatballs in an onion stew is ideal. So is penne pasta dressed with garlic, olive oil and parsley served with crusty bread for sopping up the juices.
If needed, add a tossed green salad. Serve crisp red apples and Crispy Rice and Peanut Butter Treats for goblins and ghosts of every age and size for dessert. Bon appetit!
Smoked Salmon Pumpkins
(Serves 8)
16 slices seeded rye bread
About 2 ounces cream cheese, softened
About 4 to 6 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon
About 1 tablespoon capers, drained
Few chive spears, washed and trimmed
To prepare:
Place bread on a cutting board. Working with a 1.5-inch cookie cutter, cut out circles. Save crusts for breadcrumbs. Place circles on a baking sheet and toast in oven or toaster oven.
Evenly spread softened cream cheese over each toasted circle. Top with smoked salmon and trim around edges with kitchen scissors. Create eyes and nose with capers, and the mouth with chives. Arrange on a black lacquer tray to serve.
Oven Baked Meatballs With Tomato And Onion Stew
(Serves 8)
2 to 3 thick slices whole grain bread, crusts removed, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup half and half or more if necessary
3 pounds lean ground beef
1 pound lean ground pork
3 eggs, beaten
About 1 tablespoon sea salt or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons basil
2 teaspoons thyme
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or more to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves or more to taste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, to taste
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or more to taste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
For the stew:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds yellow onions, sliced
Pinch of sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
About 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste
3 to 4 large fresh ripe tomatoes, chopped, seeded with their juices (or 3 cans, 14.5-ounce organic diced tomatoes)
1/2 cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
1 1/2 cup full-bodied red wine or beef stock, or more as necessary
To prepare:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
For the meatballs, soak the bread in the milk for a few minutes; squeeze out the excess liquid. In a mixing bowl, with your hands mix the ground beef and pork, eggs, add soaked bread, salt, pepper, basil, thyme, nutmeg, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and balsamic vinegar until well blended. In a small skillet over high heat, spray the bottom with vegetable oil and sauté a small patty of meat mixture until brown on both sides. Taste and adjust the seasonings according to personal preference.
Dip your hands in cool water and shape the mixture into small meatballs.
Line two jelly roll pans with parchment paper and spray with vegetable oil. Place meatballs on the paper and bake until they are browned and crispy on one side, about 10 minutes; turn to brown the other side, about 10 minutes longer. Remove meatballs to an ovenproof dish.
Meanwhile, in a large heavy casserole over moderate heat, add oil and butter. When the foam subsides, add onions, sprinkle with salt and pepper and slowly cook until soft and translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Add sugar and sauté until they begin to caramelize and 5 minutes longer. Add red pepper flakes, tomatoes, and wine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and slowly simmer, uncovered, until the tomatoes are soft but still hold their shape, about 10 minutes. With an immersion blender, blend the tomatoes and onions until the stew is evenly chunky, but not smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Pour the stew over the meatballs. Can be done ahead, refrigerated or frozen until a few hours before serving.
To serve, reheat covered in the casserole in 350 degrees F oven until the stew is hot, about 30 minutes. Or reheat in a crockpot on lowest setting until hot and bubbly.
Penne with Olive Oil, Garlic, and Parsley
(Serves 8)
2 pounds penne, imported
3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
About 1/3 cup olive oil or more as needed
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
Sea salt to taste
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
Few pinches red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, to taste about 1 1/2 cups
To prepare:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and bring back to a boil. Add pasta, stir well and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes or according to the directions on the side of the package.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and garlic, and sauté about 5 minutes. When garlic is golden, add the parsley and stir well to coat the parsley and set off the heat.
Reserve one cup of cooking water, whisk about half into the garlic and oil. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl. Pour garlic and oil over the penne, season with salt, pepper and red pepper and toss as if it were a salad. Serve at once with the meatballs and onion stew. Pass grated Parmesan cheese at the table.
Crispy Brown Rice and Peanut Butter Treats
(About 2 dozen bars)
1/4 cup peanut or macadamia nut oil and 1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup organic chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 cups organic brown rice syrup
8 cups crispy brown rice cereal
Pinch of salt
6 ounces dark chocolate, broken into pieces or coarsely chopped, melted
To prepare:
In a large saucepan over moderate high heat, add the butter/oil, peanut butter, rice syrup, and salt and simmer, stirring until the mixture is melted, blended, and creamy.
Meanwhile, spray a large bowl and a 9-x-13-inch baking pan with oil. Add rice cereal to the bowl.
Once the peanut butter mixture has melted, pour it over the rice cereal. Working quickly with a wooden spoon, stir until it all sticks together. With oiled fingers/hands, press the mixture to the prepared pan. Cover with waxed paper and refrigerate until firm, for 2 hours.
Meanwhile, place chocolate in a large metal bowl set over barely simmer water and stir until completely melted.
Remove the cold cereal/peanut butter and with a sharp knife, cut the bars into medium size squares or triangle bars. With a fork or pastry bag, drizzle melted chocolate over the bars. Refrigerate until the chocolate is firm. Store in the refrigerator until serving time.

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