Finally one of the best times of the year is here – Halloween! Who’s excited for it?! (Raises both hands high.) Every year we decorate the house with skeletons, lights, fog machines. That’s all good, but what about the food? When you think of Halloween you probably don’t think of food first (candy doesn’t count), but it’s one of the only times of the year you can get super creepy and creative with it. Take advantage!
I originally found this creepy cupcake post years ago from Martha Stewart. Looks like Martha’s dark side came out to play!
Below is our “easy” version of the cupcakes, but if you’re feeling daring, her full post is here.
1 box of devils food cake
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
Frosting (Usually I’d say just use the canned stuff, but this is too good to pass up.)
1 lb cream cheese, room temperature
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
6 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup cherry preserves, strained, for garnish
Line the cupcake tin and bake according to box instructions. While they’re baking you can begin on the glass, you’ll need to let it to sit for a while. Pour the sugar and water in to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. When the mixture starts turning brown, remove from heat and pour on to a small cookie sheet. Let cool completely. For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Gradually add in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract until fully blended.
Once the cupcakes have cooled, apply the frosting. Break up the glass, and place a shard or two in the middle. Drizzle the preserves where the glass meets the frosting. Prepare evil laugh.
I know you all have been anxiously waiting to hear the rest of what Martha had to say, so here it is! (If you missed the first post, you can catch up here.) This “part 2” is around Martha’s tips on holiday cooking – they’re coming sooner than you think people!
Martha’s holiday cooking tips
Vacherin cheese is a wonderful “winter” cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s very creamy in texture, a little “funky”, and is best eaten spooned right out of the rind.
She said her couscous royale is always a hit at holiday parties. It has the perfect blend of herbs and spices, and is great for your vegetarian guests.
And now for the big reveal – how Martha cooks her turkeys! Martha is very much about home-grown goodness and sustainable farming, whether it be vegetables, turkeys, or goats. For her holiday turkeys, she prefers to use one of her own grown Lebrun female turkeys as they tend to be bigger (up to 22lbs) and juicier. Her secret for cooking it comes in the form of a cheese cloth soaked in white wine and butter. (I was, and still am, drooling over this.)
From Martha’s Mouth:
Florence asked Martha’s opinion on whether or not you’re born with a good palette. “Yes, I believe you either have a good palette or you don’t. Some people are just born with it.” She went on to reference many famous chefs who have made it because their palette is so broad.
A reoccurring theme throughout the conversation was Martha’s praise for the people she works with. “The greatest influence in my life are the people around me, the people I work with. I learn from them every day.”
It was such an experience getting to meet Martha Stewart and learn a bit about who she is. If any of you ever get a chance, I highly suggest taking advantage! That woman has a wealth of knowledge that we can all learn a little from.
This past weekend I was in East Hampton visiting family, and I heard through a PureWow email (I’m obsessed with PW) that Martha Stewart would be making an appearance at Guild Hall -“A Conversation with Martha Stewart”. Who was I to pass up this opportunity with the one and only Martha Stewart? And for $15?! Yeah…
My friend and I snuck in a couple minutes late (don’t get me started on parking) and although we only snagged seats in the back, we could still see her clear as day.
Florence Fabricant, a critic for the NY Times, was casually talking to Martha over a cup of coffee as if 200 eyes weren’t hanging on each tip she gave. I whipped out my phone so I wouldn’t miss any of it, and could share it first hand with all of you. In fact, she gave so much information I didn’t want to overload you with it. The second post on Martha’s holiday tips will be coming out in a couple of weeks. But now, to get you through the last few weeks of summer…
Martha’s seafood tips
The best lobster: The best time to buy and cook a lobster is right after they molt (shed their shell). You can tell when the time is right because they are a much brighter red than the rest. This is when the shells are the softest and the meat is the sweetest.
Cooking clams: Forget about boiling water, it’s much simpler than that. Get a big skillet and spread the clams in one layer on the bottom. Grind some black pepper over the top of them and cover. Cook on medium heat until they open, anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
Want to make some crab meat salad? Peking crab meat is the sweetest, and in her opinion, the best.
Her favorite pasta dish to make includes bottarga (salted fish ro from mullet or tuna). Buy the bottarga pressed so you can shave it over the pasta noodle of your choice. For the sauce, combine breadcrumbs, parsley, chopped onions, and capers.
Her favorite kind food is Japanese. (Fun fact: Although it may seem simple to prep, the ingredients take years to cure. Seafood for instance can take up to 24 months to dry.) If you’re ever in the NYC area, her favorite sushi restaurants are Sushi Nakazawa and Ichimura.
Her favorite dish, however, is her mother’s perogies.
On health: sadly her sister recently passed away from a brain aneurysm. Martha was adamant about taking care of yourself, no matter how hectic your schedule. “Exercise everyday, get regular doctor check ups, and drink green juice.”
I always admired Martha Stewart because she was “Martha Stewart!”. However during this conversation, you could see she’s more than just the brand. She exudes passion for everything she does; from sustainable farming, family recipes, to living a healthy lifestyle.