Meals To Die For
"I want people to walk in, look at the food, get excited about it, and start talking to each other," says Beth Jackson Klosterboer. "Food is always the biggest ice breaker at my parties."
Beth Klosterboer took her first candy-making class at age 13. A chocolatier and event planner based near Dayton, Ohio for more than 20 years, she just wrote Hungry Halloween [www.hungryhalloween.com], a spectral-occasion cookbook with step-by-step instructions and photos. She met her husband, Jim, at a Halloween party, and now the couple makes the evocative eve "their" holiday, generally hosting three to five parties each season.
"I took techniques from chocolate making and transformed them into general food recipes," she explains. Here she shares recipes for main courses and "dead-serts." -RISA WYATT
Recipe excerpted from Hungry Halloween by Beth Jackson Klosterboer
Occhipinti, ‘SP68,’ Nero d’avola/Frappato, Sicily, IGT 2009 13% abv.
Lithe, with no oak, it has a bright acidity and floral, almost mandarin blossom perfume. Complex notes of clove, allspice, and wild rose, with persistent mineral finish. Young female winemaker, Arianna Occhipinti, farms organically and biodynamically. Louis Dressner Imports–approx retail $32
- 2 cups marinara or spaghetti sauce
- 9 no-boil lasagna noodles
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- Pinch of salt
- 1 slice mozzarella cheese
- Blue, red, and yellow food coloring
- Special Equipment Needed:
- 9” round baking dish or pie plate
- 1 1/2” round cookie cutter
- 3/4” round cookie cutter
- Small pastry brush
- Notes: If you prefer, you can add the boiled noodle bandages and cheese eyes to the lasagna before baking, but the noodles will get a bit dry and the sauce will bleed through, turning the noodles red. Cover with non-stick foil and bake for 50 minutes. Serve hot.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Spread 2/3 cup marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9” round baking dish. Top sauce with 3 sheets of lasagna noodles, broken into pieces to fit.
In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, shredded mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, egg, and salt. Stir until mixture is creamy. Spread half of cheese mixture over layer of lasagna noodles. Top with 2/3 cup sauce, 3 more noodles then the remaining cheese mixture. Top with remaining sauce. Cover with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, create noodle bandages. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place remaining three lasagna noodles into boiling water and heat for 5-7 minutes until noodles are soft and pliable. Remove noodles from boiling water and set on a cutting board. Cut each noodle into 5 long strips. Set aside.
Cut two 1 1/2” circles and two 3/4” circles from the slice of mozzarella cheese. Squeeze one drop blue food coloring into a small bowl. Brush coloring over the 3/4” cheese circles. Add a drop of red coloring and a drop of yellow coloring to the blue coloring in the bowl. Stir to create black. Paint a black circle into the center of the blue colored cheese. Place one colored cheese circle on top of a 1 1/2” cheese circle, creating eyes.
Remove lasagna from oven. Place cheese eyes on lasagna and place strips of cooked noodles in a criss crossing pattern over lasagna to create the look of mummy bandages. Cover and return to oven for 15 minutes. Serve hot.