Veggie Skeleton

Veggie Skeleton

You know your kids are going to have way too much candy on Halloween, so here’s a healthy snack idea for a change. Added bonus: Because kids like the idea of eating this helpless guy’s “bones” (ewww!?), they just may eat more veggies than usual. A healthy snack with entertainment value. A keeper!

Head–lettuce leaves, sliced olives, veggie dip in a small bowl
Body–celery, baby carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, cherry or grape tomatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, cucumbers

Arrange the veggies on a platter in the shape of a skeleton, top with an appropriate sized bowl of veggie dip for the head. (I’m sure your presentation will look better than mine. Note to self: skip the waxed paper next time. I’m not really sure WHY I used it in the first place.)

Take a picture of your final Veggie Man, print it up, then let your kids recreate him with the left-over veggies the next day.

I found this vegetable skeleton idea on the internet last year, but I’ll be darned if I can find it now to give appropriate credit.

 


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Loin of Pork with Fennel and Garlic

Loin of Pork with Fennel and Garlic

Level: Easy

Total: 2 hr

Prep: 10 min

Inactive: 50 min

Cook: 1 hr

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

 

1 (5-pound) loin of pork, bone in,”frenched” and tied

6 garlic cloves

1/3 cup fresh rosemary leaves, chopped

2 tablespoons lemon zest (about 2 lemons)

 

 

 

2 teaspoons fennel seeds

2 tablespoons good olive oil

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Allow the pork to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.

2. Place the pork, fat side up, in a roasting pan just large enough to hold it comfortably. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade process the garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, and fennel seeds until roughly chopped. Add the olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper and process until it forms a smooth paste. Rub the paste on top of the pork and roast for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees F. Remove from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, and cover with aluminum foil. Allow to sit for 20 minutes, then remove the strings, slice between the bones and serve warm.


Loin of Pork with Fennel and Garlic
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Skeleton Meat Platter

Skeleton Meat Platter

For meat lovers and the not-so-faint-of heart:

This edible skeleton will likely bring a ghoulish chuckle from your guests.

Level: Easy
Total: 1 hr 

(includes chilling time)

Active: 40 min
Yield: 12 to 14 servings

Ingredients:

Skeleton Head:

4 strips thick-cut bacon, chopped

Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

One 8-ounce bag shredded Cheddar

4 scallions, thinly sliced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto

1 pimento-stuffed green olive, cut in half widthwise

 

 

Skeleton Body:

1 medium red bell pepper, stem removed

2 pounds coiled hot Italian sausage

1 full rack cooked ribs, cut in half (about 13 ribs)

2 pounds cooked pulled pork (from two 1-pound packages)

Sliced baguette and assorted crackers, for serving

Directions:

  1. For the skeleton head: Cook the bacon in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until golden and crispy, 7 to 8 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel-lined plate; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, Cheddar, scallions, bacon, some salt and a few grinds of pepper and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. On a piece of parchment, mold the cheese mixture with your hands into the shape of a skull, then wrap the head in the prosciutto. Make 2 divots for the eyes and place the olive halves in the divots. Pinch the middle of the face together to make a nose and create an indent below the nose to make a mouth. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes.
  4. For the skeleton body: Prepare a grill or grill pan for medium-high heat.
  5. Grill the pepper whole, rotating occasionally, until charred on all sides and slightly soft, about 10 minutes. Cut the pepper from stem end to bottom on one side to create one long piece of pepper. Grill the sausage coil in one piece, flipping halfway through, until opaque and completely cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. To assemble: Position the skeleton cheese head at the top of a board or platter. Place the red pepper directly underneath the head and fold it slightly to create a heart. Align the baby back rib racks around the heart, one on each side, with the bony parts facing up to resemble a rib cage. Position the sausage coil under the rib cage to resemble intestines.
  7. Fill the space around the intestines, heart and rib cage with the pulled pork, tucking it under as needed. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. Serve with sliced baguette and assorted crackers.

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Squash & barley salad with balsamic vinaigrette

Squash & barley salad with balsamic vinaigrette

COOK: 25 MINS

5 mins, plus cooling

EASY

SERVES 8

A flavour-packed, unusual salad that’s delicious warm or cold – works really well as part of a buffet

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into long pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g pearl barley
  • 300g Tenderstem broccoli, cut into medium-size pieces
  • 100g SunBlush tomato, sliced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp small capers, rinsed
  • 15 black olives, pitted
  • 20g pack basil, chopped

 

For the dressing

  • 5 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

Method

1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Place the squash on a baking tray and toss with olive oil. Roast for 20 mins. Meanwhile, boil the barley for about 25 mins in salted water until tender, but al dente. While this is happening, whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Drain the barley, then tip it into a bowl and pour over the dressing. Mix well and let it cool.

 

2. Boil the broccoli in salted water until just tender, then drain and rinse in cold water. Drain and pat dry. Add the broccoli and remaining ingredients to the barley and mix well. This will keep for 3 days in the fridge and is delicious warm or cold.


Squash & barley salad with balsamic vinaigrette
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Honey roasted fig & almond tart

Honey roasted fig & almond tart

Delicious, sweet and fruity pud, great served with cream or ice cream – make the case with bought pastry

ready in 1½ -1¾ hours, plus chilling time

MORE EFFORT

SERVES 8

Ingredients

 

500g pack shortcrust pastry at room temperature, thawed if frozen

8 ripe figs, stalks trimmed

finely grated zest and juice of one large juicy orange

 

 

1 tbsp clear honey

200g softened butter

200g golden caster sugar

200g packet ground almonds

2 medium egg yolks

Method

1. Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ conventional 200C/gas 6. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface and use to line a shallow loose-bottomed 25cm flan tin. Make sure the pastry comes above the rim – it may shrink in baking and the filling could spill. Chill for 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cut the figs in half lengthways and sit them cut side up on a roasting tray. Mix the orange juice and honey in a bowl, pour over the figs and roast for 10-12 minutes until just soft. Drain off any juice into a saucepan and reserve.

3. Prick the base of the chilled pastry case all over with a fork, then line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the pastry is golden. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to fan 130C/conventional 150C/ gas 2. Leave the pastry case to cool slightly before filling.

4. Cream butter and sugar in a food processor or with an electric beater until smooth and pale. Tip in the ground almonds and zest and whizz briefly to combine. Add egg yolks and 1 tbsp of the reserved fig juice and whizz again until smooth. Spread evenly over the pastry case.

5. Gently press the figs cut side up into the almond mixture. Bake for 11⁄4 hours or until it’s golden all over (don’t worry if the centre still seems soft – a little gooeyness is good). Leave in the tin for 15 minutes, then remove sides and transfer on its base to a wire rack to cool.

6. Before serving, take the tart off its base and transfer to a flat platter or board. If you have juice left from roasting the figs, bring it to the boil and simmer for 1-2 minutes until sticky and syrupy. Brush this over the figs and serve as soon as possible, while the syrup is still glossy on the figs (it will start to seep through into the filling if you leave it too long).


Honey roasted fig & almond tart
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