“But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door; Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking. Nevermore.”Edgar Allan Poe

"A Spoo-Key Soiree!"

“A Spoo-Key Soiree!”

October is a fine time to be in Beaufort, SC! Cooler temperatures invite Beaufortonians out of doors to CELEBRATE EVERYTHING! about our beautiful southern town. Jodie, Ginger, Susan and I recently met in the pumpkin patch at Carteret Street United Methodist Church to plan our Halloween blog and photo shoot. Hope you enjoy our Spoo-Key Soiree decorating ideas and recipes!

Tablescape by Plum Productions!

Tablescape by Plum Productions!

Ginger Wareham of Picklejuice Productions came up with the brilliant name for our party! She also created the creepy tea-stained A Spoo-Key Soiree menu and even used her very own skeleton keys for our blog shoot. Jodie Miller and her team at Plum Productions created our eerie tablescape. Don’t you just love the black raven? We do! We named him Faux Poe – with respect to Edgar Allan, of course. Jodie used clear glass decanters and bottles for tapered candle holders. She pulled Spanish moss from the trees in my front yard for an eerie overgrown effect. The antique birdcage came from a local thrift shop. The small skull votives are actually shot glasses and the skeleton arms are salad tongs! Our talented photographer, Susan DeLoach of Susan DeLoach Photography was able to create an illuminated ambiance using special lighting and tricky flash photography.

"A Spoo-Key Soiree" menu by Picklejuice Productions!

“A Spoo-Key Soiree” menu by Picklejuice Productions!

The menu for our Spoo-Key Soiree includes three seasonally-inspired recipes.

Pumpkin Bisque En Croute!

Pumpkin Bisque En Croute!

Delicious and creamy Pumpkin Bisque En Croute is a wonderful soup hidden under a fluffy crust of puff pastry.

Even without the pastry crust, this creamy soup is a winner!
3 cups carrots, peeled and diced
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth, divided
1 (30-ounce) can pumpkin
2 (12-ounce) cans evaporated milk
2 tablespoons ketchup
¼ cup dry sherry
Salt and pepper, to taste
Dash nutmeg
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten
In a 3-quart saucepan, cook the carrots and onion in 2 cups of vegetable broth until tender. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Pour vegetables and broth into a food processor; process until smooth. Pour mixture back into saucepan. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, ketchup, sherry and spices. Pour soup into four deep oven-proof bowls. Cut rounds of puff pastry slightly larger than the bowl tops and cover each bowl with pastry. Seal the pastry edges and brush lightly with the beaten egg. Place the bowls on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Serves 4. 

Autumn Salad with Apples!

My recipe for Autumn Salad changes with the freshness of the local fruit. This recipes features red delicious apples. You can easily exchange the apples for pears, the blackberries for raspberries, the dried cranberries for raisins and the bacon for chopped walnuts. Make the salad your own!

Arugula has a peppery bite that marries well with the sweetness of delicious apples!
For the vinaigrette:
½ cup olive oil
½ cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons honey
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For the salad:
1 (5-ounce) package arugula
1 large red delicious apple, thinly sliced
2 kiwi, peeled and sliced
Fresh blackberries
½ cup dried cranberries
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients until blended. On a large platter, toss arugula with apples, kiwi, blackberries and cranberries. Top with crumbled bacon. Serves 6.

Halloween Martini (from the cookbook "Celebrate Everything!")

Halloween Martini (from the cookbook “Celebrate Everything!”)

And now, for our scariest treat! We’re featuring Halloween Martinis from my NEW cookbook, Celebrate Everything! BEWARE!

This is a vodka-based martini with the infusion of tropical oranges — in both taste and color!
1½ cups vodka
¾ cup Grand Marnier
¼ cup orange Curacao
¼ cup maraschino cherry juice
Chill all ingredients before mixing. Pour ingredients into a martini shaker. Shake the alcohol mixture and serve in martini glasses. Serves 10.

Thank you for attending our Spoo-Key Soiree! We had a SCARY good time!

Ginger, Debbi, Jodie and Susan!

Ginger, Debbi, Jodie and Susan!

Please visit my blog page often for new recipes, event and decorating ideas and catering advice. 

Happy Halloween!