Sunday, October 30, 2011

Double Double, Toil and Trouble...

by EP & X

Last weekend, we did something we've wanted to do for a LONG time.  No, not rent a Tuscan villa for the summer (fingers crossed though!).  No, we hosted a Haunted Halloween Dinner Party!  We've been wanting to do a seated dinner for a long time, Halloween-themed or otherwise, but we always struggled with the guest list limitations associated with dinner parties.  You see, we're quite popular, and have trouble only selecting 10 or so guests to join us. (Okay, we're really not that popular, but surely between the 2 of us there are more than 10 people we want to feed and pelt with cocktails- and even squeezing 10 people into Xani's dining room was a challenge.) We figured if it went well (and it did!), we could invite a different group the next time, so we wouldn't feel so guilty. Love that Jewish guilt!

As with all of our parties, we love a theme. This year, we were inspired by a Martha Stewart recipe called Cauldron Curry, that referenced the famous "double double, toil and trouble" witches of Macbeth. We decided we would throw a Witch's Dinner! Here's the witchy recap:


Before getting to the first of our 3 courses, we welcomed guests with cocktails and a few spooky hors d'oeuvres.  In addition to wine and pumpkin ale, we served Dark and Stormy Death Punch, a Food & Wine recipe that called for rum, lime juice, ginger beer, and ice cubes made to look like eyeballs (lychee + maraschino cherry)!  Long-time readers might recall from our Mad Men party that we love anything that calls for Ginger Beer (and rum).

We also served a spooky Black Widow Goat Cheese Log, made with goat cheese, cream cheese, and feta.  It had great flavor and we couldn't stop noshing on this deadly spider lady.

In addition, we served black bean hummus (a favorite of ours, made with black beans, tahini, olive oil, lemon and lime juice, and a bit of cayenne) and spiced roasted black-eyed peas.  While only moderately spooky, they provided lots of protein.

For our first course at our elaborately decorated table (see below for decor discussion), we enjoyed Moldy Morbier Flatbreads: pizza dough shaped like a tombstone, topped with a little dijon mustard, super-caramelized onions, and thinly sliced morbier.  We topped the tombstones with "mold" - arugula tossed in a lemon vinaigrette.  We picked up the dough from a local pizzeria and then Xani par-baked the "tombstones" the day of the party, and we topped them and baked them during the cocktail hour.  They came out beautifully and were totally spook-tacular.

For our second course we served the inspiration for the party: Martha Stewart's Cauldron Curry.  The curry was really spectacular, made with a homemade green curry paste, zucchini, spinach, and coconut milk.  Instead of chicken, as the recipe called for, we used shrimp, which we cooked ahead of time and tossed in at the end just to heat through, so they wouldn't overcook.  We included a couple head-on shrimp as a spooky garnish.  We served the curry over black rice (AKA wild sweet rice), an Asian-style sticky rice that is multi-colored when uncooked, but deep purple when cooked.  Very spooky and the perfect addition to our curry dish.

Our final course was called "Field Mice and Pumpkin Spice."  For this course Xani made tiny, creepy, pain-in-the-ass Chocolate Mice petit fours that were, in essence, cake-pops - the hip new dessert these days.  They were delicious and rich, and pretty darn unnerving to have a rodent on your plate.  We served them along side a bit of pumpkin spice ice cream from a local ice cream parlor (seriously, best pumpkin ice cream EVER at Beach Bums in Federal Hill (try the oatmeal cookie too)).

Chocolate Mouse Army

The Crow enjoys a mouse covered with whipped cream
After dinner we went outside to sit around the cauldron and drink warmed, spiked cider.  And gossip, as witches do.


It would only be appropriate for us to dress as witches for our Witches' Dinner.  We didn't want to be ugly hags - what's the fun in that? - or slutty witches - we're a bit too old for that - so we just wore fab dresses, shoes, hair accessories, and crazy make-up.  Our favorite part of our outfits were probably our shoes - Xani found this great DIY page about glittering your own shoes - like Dorothy's!!  We got green and black glitter and Xani made them sparkle.  What a hit they were!

before the glittery heels go on, we rock Crocs

Dave, the Warlock of the Manor, was Voldemort, and he was pretty damn terrifying.

Our guests also had great interpretations on the witch theme:

Darin and Samantha of Bewitched:

Salem Witch and her witch-burning partner:

The Crow (okay, he wasn't a witch but he did ride his motorcycle, with sunglasses on (at night), to the party):


Decorating for the party is always a lot of fun and we go all out.  We decorated the mantle with bats, candles, spooky driftwood, feathers, birds, and skulls.  The dining table looked awesome - it was covered in candles, skulls, pumpkins, leaves, and bat-shaped placecards.  Our guests also had a decorated mini pumpkin at each setting, plus a witchy menu.

Yes, that pumpkin is covered in a stocking!

The outside was Dave's area of expertise.  He rigged up a bubbling cauldron (filled with dry ice!) over a "fire," a graveyard, and worked his A/V magic so the Halloween tunes played outside as we sipped our cider.  I don't know about you, but to us, the "Time Warp" never gets old, no matter how many times Pandora plays it in a night.

And a few more random pictures since we can't resist:

It was quite a success and we're so pleased at how well everything came out.  Already looking forward to the next one!

Happy Halloween everyone!

EP & X

ps. Here are a few pics from this year's trip to the pumpkin patch and our other costume for a sci-fi themed party: Men in Black.


  1. Looks like so much fun. I love the green heels.

  2. agree, LOVE the shoes! share the link for sparkling your own shoes? And of course the dinner looks great - well done hostesses!

  3. What fun! I love your menu and your photos are terrific. This is my first visit to your blog but I'll be back. You've created a great spot for your readers to visit and I really enjoyed the time I spent here. I hope you have a great evening. Blessings...Mary

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