The culmination of Spookytober has arrived.
It's a cold and windy day in Madison, WI and I'm afraid that the little spooks will be required to wear jackets over their costumes tonight. It somehow wrecks the atmosphere when the ghosts and goblins are wrapped in fleece and gortex.
I was complaining to Cassandra the other day that I'm having, what can only be called, craft-block. For weeks I've felt uninspired and unable to create. The result of this is that:
- I haven't done any creative/craft work of consequence in ages
- My house didn't get decorated for Halloween
While I don't decorate on the same scale as Cassandra, I am (usually) one of the most decorated houses on my block. I have an awesome graveyard and a nearly-lifesized skeleton that lives in it. There are ghosts in the windows and larger-than-life rats and bats living all around my front yard. Then, on Halloween night, I put on my vampire cape and pointy teeth and I sit outside with my black bowl full of candy - a gargoyle and skeleton candles on the table beside me.
For many years, my dogs dressed up and sat outside with me but, as often happens with toy dogs, they eventually became too barky and annoying to participate in the event. Now they're relegated to the house. They're really missing out...
Tonight I'll still sit outside because, frankly, having my doorbell ring every five minutes sends the dogs into fits of barking that builds on itself until they become completely crazed. Plus, I love seeing all the kids running around the neighborhood.
In the spirit of the day, I'd like to share a great creepy food idea with you. My friend Tami made these amazing "meat mice" for dinner the other night.
She modified the original recipe a lot - making hers with ground pork, vegetables and a lot of spice. And, she simply baked them in the oven instead of cooking them in tomato sauce. She also served them over roasted potatoes instead of spaghetti. So, basically, they're meatloaf shaped into mouse shapes. I love them.
Here's the original recipe from the Facebook page, "Better Gnomes & Cauldrons". Obviously, you can alter this considerably to your taste. In the end, you just want to be able to eat some mice.
1-1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
uncooked spaghetti, broken into quarters
thinly sliced raw carrots
black peppercorns, cooked black beans
For the sauce, um, blood:
1 can (19 oz.) crushed or ground tomatoes
1-1/2 cups water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, rice, onion, egg and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Mix well.
Now make the rats. Using a measuring cup, scoop out 1/4 cup of the ground beef mixture. Form it, by hand, into a firmly packed teardrop shape -- pointy on one end, rounded on the other. This is your basic rat. Place it into a 3-quart shallow baking dish and gently pinch in the neck area. Poke a piece of uncooked spaghetti into the larger rounded end as a tail. Repeat with the remaining ground beef mixture. When all the rats are neatly placed in the baking dish, stir together the tomatoes, water, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, remaining 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Pour over the rats. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes, basting occasionally with sauce. Then cover the dish with foil and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the rats are fully cooked. Gently remove rats, one at a time, from the sauce and place gently on a serving platter. (Take care not to damage the tails -- they're fairly delicate.) Into each rat, insert two carrot slices as ears, peppercorns (or whatever) for eyes, and a few more broken strands of uncooked spaghetti for whiskers. Spoon sauce around the rats and serve, smiling wickedly.