haunted gingerbread house-making party of 2006, to spooky caramel apple ghosts last year, we love to cook and craft and top it all off with a fabulous costume (the gorier the better)!
This year we were able to carry out an idea we've had for quite some time: a Seven Deadly Sins party! We were inspired by an episode in season 2 of Top Chef, were there were 7 contestants and each had to design a dish around one of the sins. We decided to do each sins as a different hors d'oeuvre (except one that one ended up being a drink), and also ask each of our guests to either come dressed as their favorite sin or in their "goth finery." As this party also served as Xani's first major party in her new home ("Clementine"), we decided to invite LOTS of folks. To our surprise, many, MANY of them showed up!! We approximate about 60+ people came to the party to eat, drink, walk the runway, dance, and otherwise sin it up-- that is a lot for one rowhouse!
Here was the menu, by sin (but to see some REAL insanity, check out our ridiculous planning document here.):
GREED: 20+ spice-rubbed pork shoulder, and greedy for more spices!
Admittedly, we started out with an idea for mini pulled pork sandwiches as the sin of sloth because it's slow-roasted, but we switched it to greed so we could rub it with an obscene amount of spices. We actually started this dish the weekend before the party while we were out at Blackacre making Dad's birthday dinner. We used this Tyler Florence recipe for the technique, but basically did our own thing for the rub and the BBQ sauce.
Mom picked up the pork shoulders (14 lbs in total!) for us and we rubbed them down with lots of spices, including chili powder, cumin, cayenne, oregano, brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard, turmeric, etc. etc. etc.
Then we roasted them for about six hours at 300 degrees until the thermometer read 170 degrees (basically until they were falling apart). This was the first time we used the convection oven function at Blackacre, and it was a big success. Then we let them cool a bit, and then got to shredding! Once it was all shredded, we put it into bags and froze it until we needed it for the party.
The day before the party, we defrosted the pork and made up the BBQ sauce. Instead of starting from scratch and making the BBQ sauce in the same Tyler recipe, we took prepared sauce (gasp!) and added the things in the recipe that the prepared sauce didn't have, such as cider vinegar, hot sauce, and cayenne. We ended up with a pretty vinegar-y sauce that nice and tangy; not too sweet.
We served this with the....
SLOTH: "Cole Sloth" to go with the pork
It turned out really crunchy and spicy and tangy, and great with the BBQ sauce-dressed pulled pork on a mini potato roll. Yum - never knew greed and sloth could be so delicious, did you??
PRIDE: Prideful mushroom stuffed brie en croute...stuffed full of itself
Next up we have Pride. We really struggled with what to make for this. We wanted to do something "stuffed full of itself" and thought of stuffed mushrooms, deviled eggs, and other adorable hors d'oeuvres, but then we remembered there would be MUCHO people at the party, and we were not interested in making 180 deviled eggs (3 each?). So, we did one of our classic dishes: a baked stuffed brie filled with a delicious mushroom filling. We use an Epicurious recipe by Sarah Moulton. For this recipe, you saute up some onions in butter, then add chopped mushrooms, sherry, nutmeg, and salt and pepper and cook until the mushrooms have given off their liquid and it is evaporated.
Once the filling was done and cooled, Xani assembled the brie. She split the huge 2-lb brie horizontally, placed the filling on one half and added the other half. Then she rolled out some puff pastry dough and wrapped it around the brie. Now, you'd think we would stop there, right? Wrong. We of course had to cut out the letters P-R-I-D-E out of puff pastry and put it on top, just so everyone would know what it was. Duh.
ENVY: Green goddess sauce with green crudites - green with envy!
For the recipe, we turned to Craig Claiborne's The New York Times Cookbook, also a classic. The sauce is very simple: put mayonnaise, parsley, tarragon, green onion, garlic, lemon juice, anchovies, salt, pepper, and white wine vineagar in a food processor and process until smooth. Fold in sour cream. Then we got all of our very green crudites together. We had broccoli, sugar snap peas, green beans (which we blanched and then shocked in cold water), asparagus (ditto), and cucumber.
Keep it green!
The sauce turned out really delicious, with lots of bite from the garlic and anchovies, and a nice herbiness as well. It went well with the veggies, as predicted, and everyone really seemed to like this dish!
WRATH: Wrathfully spicy Thai curry soup
We have always toyed with the idea of doing a soup at our parties, to be served in small cups. We thought a super-spicy curry soup would be a great dish for Wrath. We ended up finding a recipe for a roasted red pepper soup with red curry. We charred the red peppers over the gas flame and let them steam in a paper bag. Then we removed the charred skins of the peppers, meanwhile we cooked some chopped red onion, ginger, garlic, and of course red curry paste in a little butter. Then we added lime zest and juice, the chopped peppers and lots of vegetable broth and let it cook for a while. Then we busted out the immersion blender (aka "boat motor") to blend the soup until it was smooth. Then we added the best ingredient ever: coconut milk.
During the party, it took a while for the soup to heat up in the crock pot, but once it did, it was pretty tasty. However, it was not as spicy was we wanted and it was outshined by some of our other, more fabulous dishes.
GLUTTONY: Every dessert you can think of...feast you gluttons!
For Gluttony, we wanted to have a ridiculous spread of dessert, displayed on Xani's dining room table and therefore one of the first things guests would see. It was a bit of a "show piece" but it was comprised of lots and LOTS of delicious treats! We purchased everything instead of making things from scratch to save time and money. We had quite a spread: we had brownies, cookies, cupcakes, lots of halloween candy, donut holes, cream puffs, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and peanut butter. It was VERY gluttonous and a great success!
LUST: Lusty Shooters a la "lick it, slam it, suck it": lick off some chocolate sauce, do a shot of Cosmopolitan-esque shooter, and down a maraschino cherry
We added a shooter to the menu instead of another food dish, and we brought it old-school with the "lick it, slam it, suck it" format, originally for tequila shots. We used BCD Dad's cosmopolitan recipe for the shooters, which was 2 parts vodka, 1 part triple sec, 1/2 part cranberry juice, and the juice of one lime. We then got some chocolate fudge sauce and paintbrushes so people could paint either themselves or a friend with chocolate for licking. Finally we had a huge bowl of maraschino cherries for the last step of the process.
The shooters were a hit! And we saw more than one sinner drinking them by the glassful-- lusty, indeed.
Signature Cocktail: 7 & 7s, of course! One part Seagram's 7 Whiskey, one part 7-Up.
In addition to our delicious overly-themed foods, we also had lots of decorations! Most important: signs for our food (see above), a fog machine, a very spooky mantle, and of course: jack-o-lanterns!
Our "7" Jack-o welcomed our guests
Spooky Clementine Jack-o!
Finally, we had our costumes! EP went as Vanity, and was a beauty queen who had lost her tooth so she killed herself (very straightforward, I know). Xani did not go as a sin but went as a Goth princess, and she put a LOT of thought into her costume!
Most everyone showed up at the party in costume, including BCD Mom and Dad! They brought friends Deb and Allan (also in costume) and helped us out in the beginning as we were putting the finishing touches on everything. Here are some shots of the sinful costumes!
The BCD Family
Xani and Jessica goth it up
Sinful runway show
Keep on sinning,
EP & X
ps. We went to another Halloween party on actual Halloween, where we brought to life one of EP's greatest ideas for a group costume: the cast of Clue, each murdered by a different weapon!! It was very gory and everyone looked great! Xani was Mrs. Peacock, killed by a lead pipe in the conservatory; EP was Ms. White, killed by a candlestick in the dining room. See also Mr. Green, killed by a rope; Ms. Scarlett, killed by a wrench; Professor Plum, shot in the face with a pistol; Colonel Mustard, stabbed by a dagger, and Yvette, the maid, who was the murderer. Thanks to Kim and Ben who throw a super-spooky party!
EP holding our "Best Group Costume" prize-- Alas, poor Yorick, Halloween is over! 'Til next year!