Gross treats for a Halloween feast
Among Halloween’s many delights — the fake scabs, the miniature Take 5 bars, the “Monster Mash” — is the opportunity to be really yucky.
And not just your run-of-the-mill yucky, but secretly delicious yucky!
Yes, it’s the time of year to appall your dinner guests and nauseate your kids by making them think you’re feeding them alien spawn and eyeballs. Then zing! It’s yummy!
Gross-but-good treats are as simple as glass jars, a spritz of red food coloring and some truly warped ideas about otherwise wholesome Asian fruits.
Start with clean, lidded glass containers (half-price this week at Hobby Lobby). Make sure they’re dry and spot-free inside and out.
Then, make appropriate labels: “DO NOT OPEN,” “Cucurbita yucko,” “Donated by D. Jekyll,” “Sample found Oct. 31, 2011, by Mars Rover,” for example. Make sure the font is appropriate to the message. Cut or tear them to size. You can dip them in tea or weak coffee (dry completely before attaching to jars) for an aged look, or flick them with red food coloring for blood spatter. Tape the labels to the jars.
The best part, of course, is what’s inside the jars. For a sweet treat, this can include:
Canned lychees* in their own syrup, or with the syrup drained and replaced by Sprite, Fresca or another citrus soda pop. Add a few drops of lime juice and exactly one drop of black food coloring.
Canned green jackfruit* (which tastes good but looks like thick slices of innard) in its own syrup, or with the syrup drained and replaced by Sprite or other citrus soda pop. Add a few drops of lime juice or a few drops of half-and-half.
Canned rambutan* (turned inside-out) and mangosteen* with their syrup drained, as well as dried cherries. Over these pour melon-flavored gelatin before it sets up, then chill until it does.
German chocolate frosting and gokubuto kuro karinto*, a Japanese snack made from flour and brown sugar. Spread a rough layer of frosting in the jar, then stand the gokubuto upright in the frosting.
Red beans and tapioca pearls in coconut milk*. Drain most of the liquid before putting in the jar.
Whole pitted dates (which everyone knows look like cockroaches), sliced lengthwise on one side and stuffed with whole or mashed raisins, small cubes of green gelatin, red bean paste*, Nutella, peanut butter and raisins, strawberry frosting or anything else that might look like guts.
Large tapioca pearls soaked in room-temperature water overnight then drained and rinsed thoroughly. Pour them in a jar and add strawberry sauce or syrup, and maybe add a few drops of red food coloring if it doesn’t look bloody enough.
If you’re having a party or a family dinner, make one for each guest. It will be the creepiest dessert they’ll have all year!
*Available locally at Carol’s Oriental Food & Gifts, 2814 North Ave.