Leprechaun Pie! Happy Haunting St. Patrick’s Day!

P1010538_SMWhen I was in Ireland two years ago, my family and I couldn’t help getting drawn into its past full of myths and legends. Of course, the leprechaun has no links to any historical significance and remains mostly an irish fairy tale. The folklore goes that leprechauns spend most of their time making shoes in exchange for gold coins which they keep in hidden pots of gold that only appear at the end of rainbows. Lucky are those folks who reside in misty regions! Of course, one has to wonder why Ireland hasn’t become the shoe capital of the world, and what’s with that shoe fetish anyway? They must be related to the Dutch and their clogs.

LEPRECHAUN (PIZZA) PIE:

I used a portabella mushroom for the facial structure. Cover with cheddar and jack cheese, then trim out the eyes and mouth. Cut the mushroom carefully to carve out the teeth. Olives for eyes with mozzarella cheese in the center. Use pesto for the shirt and top portions for the hat. A strip of zucchini made up the brim, and jack cheese outlined the buckle. The hair is composed of asparagus- boiled for 10 minutes so it could soften and split.

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The choice of MOVIE was obvious, as I had never seen it:  LEPRECHAUN.
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It features that very young future starlet who went on to Friends and would briefly date Brad Pitt:  Warwick Davis!  Oh yeah, and Jennifer Aniston is in it too, sporting some hot  L.A. Gear’s!
If you haven’t seen it, it’s actually quite comical if you can forgive the campy silliness of it.
Aniston1Probably best enjoyed in a group setting.

 

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The Walking Dead (plants)

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Every time I start a dinner macabre, I get nervous. The meals always seem to turn out okay (with one or two exceptions I’ll publish sometime), but that doesn’t prevent the anxiety. But after four hours of having slaved in my kitchen, my anxiety turned into elation. I knew I had something special. My goal was to complete this by the start of the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead, which was 6pm for me. Now if you haven’t watched this series that everyone’s talking about, it is worth having a look for the sheer camp fun it provides. It’s certainly not a template to survive the zombie apocalypse, but the characters and the drama are engaging and the gore is aplenty.

Which brings me back to my engaging set of heads. If you’re looking to spook your roommates or loved ones, just bake some of these and tell them you’ve cooked them a little something in the fridge. When you hear a shriek, you’ll know they found them.

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It all starts with the ever versatile eggplant. I used tomatoes for the lips and gums and white corn for the teeth.

I shredded some cheese and packed it on, to resemble skin.  I’d probably recommend jack or mozzarella, but I used pepper-jack because I thought the green peppers would enhance the visual texture of the dead skin.  I’ll let you decide if I was right or not.
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I baked it on 350 degrees for roughly 10 minutes- enough for it to melt yet still mold. The nose is constructed out of a tomato, and the tendons and veins are sun-dried tomatoes.  Green olives complete the eyes, mushrooms for the ears, and the hair is zucchini, sliced into pasta.

The whole dish is edible and delicious!  (Albeit a little gross-looking).

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There are any number of fantastic zombie flicks to choose from for a spectacular zombie feast:  Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, the excellent and creepy follow-up Dawn of the Dead (1978), 28 Days LaterPlague of the Zombies (1966), Dance of the Dead (2008), the humorous Shaun of the Dead, the foreign nazi-zombie movie Dead Snow (2009), the fast-running zombies in Dawn of the Dead (remake 2004), Zombieland, Planet Terror, the Japanese hit Versus, the strangely comedic Fido, the campy 1985 The Return of the Living Dead, Peter Jackson’s earlier film Dead Alive (Braindead), and of course the cleverly humorous episode of The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror III (1992).

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Nutty Fringe Pie

FRINGE_Pie_02sOnce in a while I may stray from the dark macabre and steer into an adjacent genre, and in tonight’s case I am celebrating the series finale of Fringe– the sci-fi show that fuses science with horror and conspiracy… or today’s version of The X-Files.  We really are fortunate to live in a graphite-golden age where nearly all genre shows are represented, and some in various shades to boot.  Horror comes in many forms:  American Horror Story preys with the evil tendencies of human nature; Supernatural grapples with monsters and demons; Grimm chases us with fairy tale monsters; True Blood serves us with vampires and a side of witches and werewolves; Vampire Diaries is True Blood lite, or what I call McBlood; and The Walking Dead is post-apocalyptic zombies.  But Fringe, like The X-Files, dances on the plausibility of “what if” along the fringes of science (hence the name and organization) and leaves us in the darkness of our own paranoid curiosities.

TheX-Files_2The X-Files played a big role in my life.  It connected me to a culture of followers and believers in the show.  The rise of its popularty came at the same time as the internet (I was plugged in since 1991 via AOL), and as such the show had a big following online with user groups and fan sites.  The fact that the show’s writers culled their episodes from true events made it all the more fun to fact-find online- with what limited information there was out there.  Discussions evolved around everything from a single photo pinned behind Mulder, to facts of similarly true cases mirrored in the show.  If you weren’t sure about something specific, there always seemed to be an X-Phile (fan) who had captured an image and posted it online (the early pics were literally someone taking a picture from their camera off the TV screen, and uploading it).  I remember driving home from work one evening, thrilled to see a taped “X” over an office window- a tribute from a fan.  x-files_windowYou felt as if you were part of an underground, cultural club.  It was probably the way Trekkies felt after the cancellation of the classic show.  With popularity came other accessible media:  X-Files events to attend, and the fan club to join. There were magazines and behind-the-scenes books to satisfy every geek’s desire.  I knew the names of my favorite writers and could anticipate if the episode would utilize long lenses or wide, depending on the director credited. It was the show that ignited my creative fire, and made me a regular card-carrying geek member.

When I was a child there were only a handful of shows that could give you chills: Friday13thseries There were The Hardy Boy Mysteries, The Incredible Hulk, Kolchak (which I missed out on), The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits.  In the late 80’s there were short-lived shows like Amazing Stories, The New Twilight Zone, Eerie Indiana, and Friday the 13th The Series.

The only thing they all had in common were main characters who seemed nerdy and weird.  You may have rooted for them, but you never wanted to be them.  The X-Files came along and made science fiction-horror cool again, with its two badge-carrying and gun-wielding x-file hunters.  mulder-and-scullyMulder and Scully showed you it was okay to be obsessive and geeky, human and vulnerable. It was okay to be scared, to trust no one but your own instincts, and to stick to your own beliefs when in the face of doubt or ridicule. Being called “spooky” was better than giving up your stubborn search for the truth.


Fringe
was the second-coming of The X-Files.  It may not have started out that way in the pilot, but the producers evolved it to play on similar emotions and story elements:  Fear, paranoia, the wonders of scientific possibilities, and a cast of characters that are brash, vulnerable yet fearless, and always fallible. Walter_Bishop There were the supernatural monster/events-of-the-week episodes, and the running arcs that drove the spine of the characters.  Tonight’s two-hour season finale will wrap the show’s intriguing yet elusive clues featured in my above apple pie, Fringe_Poster9and sadly it will mark the end of this type of genre… once again.  As I sip my wine and enjoy a piece of tonight’s macabre meal, I will wonder if someone out there is already dreaming the next generation of this type of show.  I just have to believe.

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 NUTTY APPLIE PIE

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CRUST:  Ground walnuts, cashew, dates, and agave syrup.

FILLING:  Sliced apples, agave syrup, maple syrup, lemon juice, and cinnamon.

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Cabin (in the woods) Lasagna

Camping.  It’s one of America’s great pastimes. Cabins, tents, hiking, and water activities if there’s a lake nearby. And then there’s night:  the stillness of the starry sky. The smell of roasting campfires and gourmet food (for those of us who love cooking). The sounds of chirping crickets  muffled over the crackling campfire.

And the darkest trees surrounding your camp. An occasional howl. Coyote? Wait, was that a bear or is someone out there? It’s so dark…

Which brings us to our other favorite pastime:  CAMPING MOVIES! The amazing, cathartic experience about horror movies is role-playing with the characters: What would we do in their situation? Would we suspect an intruder if it were us? Would we panic if our friend’s went suddenly missing, or stay calm and just wait it out? Here I am watching Cabin Fever which baffles me as to how idiotic people can be. (If that moron Burt doesn’t die soon I’ll kill him myself!)  Sometimes we just can’t help but root for certain characters to die. Ruthlessly, please, if at all possible- they’re ruining the movie!  And yet our silly curiosity nags us to watch further. Who’s going to die next? What dumb thing are they going to do that I certainly wouldn’t (so I say)? We can’t help but empathize, no matter how much we roll our eyes at stupidity. We have all fallen to doltishness, one time or another. So we cut a little slack (so-to-speak).

What’s your favorite camping movie? What characters did you hate most and were glad they finally got their due by the big bad? I think the champion of camping movies is still the Friday the 13th saga. The first three are always go-to’s. And if you haven’t watched Part III in 3D (and you don’t need a special player to watch the 3D Blu-Ray), then I suggest you turn off all the lights and adjust your TV for the perfect 3D contrast to maximize the amusing effect.  It’s the first time Jason puts on his trade-mark hockey mask. And it has all the perfect camping macabre elements:  nudity, campfires, cabins, a machete, and lots of interesting deaths.

Of course, as Cabin in the Woods reminded us…. there are lot of other monsters lurking in the dark besides serial killers. Deathly insects, rabid animals, mutant plants and aliens are just a few waiting to leap out from behind you. But these are the movies, silly. Chances are slim you’ll encounter anything unusual next time you’re camping. In fact, you would be lucky to see something so cute as a baby fox… and not the three-eyed monster that’s waiting to butcher it for his inbred family.

DINNER MACABRE MEAL:  Cabin Lasagna, complete with masked killer (eggplant and cheese), spider (mushrooms), mutant blood-thirsty plants (brussels sprouts), and your cabin (Tofurkey sausage). Vegetables layered with lasagna, ricotta, mozzarella, and Daiya cheese, and home-made pasta sauce.

My movie recommendation? Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil – a twist on the cabin horror saga, but with all the macabre trimmings served up. Happy Camping, monsters!

Crêpe Crawly Breakfast!

What do you serve up after a horrific night of fun slumber partying? Breakfast isn’t typical horror fare, but some of my fondest memories are waking up the morning of Halloween knowing the day’s adventures and activities ahead. (On Halloween I’ll relay my fondest slumber party and why I still occasionally sleep with a knitting needle). But first… here are two great breakfast treats to start your ghoulish day.

Spider Crêpe and Eggs!

My crepe was thicker than standard, so technically it’s a pancake. But whatever your preference, the real trick is managing your patience and artistry when laying the webbing with powdered sugar. Carving the spider is fairly easy. You can’t see well in the picture (click to enlarge), but you might want to lay it over a slab of your favorite butter.

And what better to serve it with than SPIDER EGGS!

You’ll need three eggs to create two spiders (one for the body, two for the legs). And serve on a colorful plate for contrast.

My most fondest breakfast memories were Sunday mornings. Saturdays you couldn’t get me out of bed- I’d sleep in as late as I could, enjoying the fact that I didn’t have to go to school while the sun slithered through the shades. But Sunday mornings my biological clock woke me up at 8am on the dot so I could curl up on the sofa with a blanket, bowl of cereal in hand, and watch my favorite array of cartoons– Popeye and friends. That was living!  Now I watch horror movies instead… and I still sleep in on Saturdays.

The perfect morning spider movie:  Arachnophobia.

Though not the most macabre spider movie (refer to The Mist), Arachnophobia will still crêpe you out. For a more nostalgic 70’s movie, check out The Giant Spider Invasion (both the original and MST3K version).

 

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