To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween House Tournament and the Lucky Wizard's Pot Luck Feast

My roommate took a little trip earlier this year to a place called Hogsmeade, relocated from the UK to Orlando, Florida so the wizards stateside could take a real-life gander at the world of Hogwarts. When she returned, she brought with her two very special items: a wand for her and a wand for me. Thus, was our fall obsession born. It started as a Halloween costume (she, a Gryffindor student and I, a Ravenclaw), but as our ideas progressed, so did our plans. And the Halloween House Tournament was born.

The Tournament, which took place on October 29th, involved sorting our guests into their respective Houses, a series of games and activities in which our guests could earn House points, and - of course - the Lucky Wizard's Pot Luck Feast, hosted by representatives from Honeyduke's and The Leaky Cauldron.

Provided by the Prefects (that was us) was a wide selection of sweets and savories that delighted both the eyes and the taste buds. There was a Triumphantly Tasty Vegetarian Lasagna for the main course, accompanied by an offering of Honeyduke's Delectable Desserts (including Quidditch Sticks, Transfigured Beasties, Licorice Wands, Garlic Pumpkin Seeds, Cauldron Cakes, and Pumpkin Pasties).

Triumphantly Tasty Vegetarian Lasagna
(serves 10, or 20 grazing servings)

8 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles (9 noodles)
1 tsp salt, divided
2 cups low fat ricotta cheese
2 cups part skim shredded mozzarella
2 eggplants
10 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 lb baby spinach, chopped
1 28 ounce can crushed plum tomatoes
1 large jar marinara sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup basil, chopped fine
olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat a large baking dish (9x13) with olive oil spray. Coat two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until they're not quite completely tender. There should still be a little stiffness to the noodles when you take them off heat. Drain the noodles, fill the pot with cold water, and put the noodles back in. Set aside.
Slice an eggplant in pinky width slices, lay the slices out on the cookie sheets, spray them with olive oil, sprinkle salt over the slices, and put in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
Combine crushed tomatoes and marinara in a large bowl, mash with a potato masher until the mixture is combined, but still chunky. Add basil and 1/2 tsp salt and stir. Set aside.
Coat a large, deep skillet with olive oil spray and turn the burner onto medium high heat. Add 1/3 cup water for each bag of spinach and heat until the spinach is pleasantly shriveled. Add the mushrooms, and continue heating until the mushrooms have shrunk and softened. Set heat to low.
Now, spread a thin layer of sauce along the bottom of the baking dish. Take three cool noodles and lay them side by side along the bottom of the bottom of the baking dish. Spread a layer of ricotta along each noodle. Lay 1/3 of roasted, sliced eggplant over the noodles. Spoon sauce over eggplant. Spoon 1/3 of spinach/mushroom mixture over the sauce and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle 1/3 of mozzarella cheese over the layer. Lay out another layer: 3 noodles, ricotta, 1/3 eggplant, 1/3 sauce, 1/3 spinach/mushroom mix, 1/3 mozzarella. And the last layer: 3 noodles, ricotta, last third eggplant, last third sauce, last third spinach/mushroom, last third mozzarella.
Bake on top rack of the oven for 1 hour. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Pumpkin Pasties
(makes 35 pasties)

1 pie pumpkin, baked and mashed
2 eggs worth of egg whites, beaten to a froth
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
12 fl oz evaporated milk
1 8 oz roll Athens Phyllo
Earth Balance butter substitute
cinnamon-sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a small casserole dish with baking spray. Prepare 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Cut the pie pumpkin in half, removing stem. Scoop out seeds and save them for later. Scoop out strings and toss them. Put the two halves of the sliced pumpkin on the cookie sheet and bake for 1.5 hours.
Remove from oven and cool for at least 20 minutes. Scoop out the meat of the pumpkin and put it into a food processor (or put it in a bowl and use a fork or a potato masher on it until smooth.
Set oven to 425 F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg whites with a fork until frothy. Add sugar, salt, and all spices. Stir to combine fully. Add evaporated milk. Stir to combine. Pour into the prepared casserole dish and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake for 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.

When the filling is cool, take out 1 roll of phyllo dough. Take two large spoonfuls of Earth Balance and put them into a microwave safe bowl; heat for 1 minute til melted.
Take a paper towel, wet it, wring it out, and then unroll the phyllo dough and lay the damp paper towel over the sheets (this will keep it from drying out on you).
Carefully separate a few sheets from the pile and lay them on top of the damp paper towel. Cut the sheets into 5 inch squares. Brush one 5 inch square with the melted butter using a pastry brush (brush carefully, lightly, from the center out and then dab the edges). Layer another square on top of it and repeat the buttering process. You will want 4 sheets layered. Butter the last sheet, then scoop 1 tbsp of the pumpkin filling into the center of the square. Roll from the top down over the scoop, then fold the sides in, place folded-side down on the cookie sheet. Brush a little melted butter over the top of the finished pastie, sprinkle a teensy bit of cinnamon-sugar over the top.
When you finish 1 cookie sheet, bake for 15 minutes at 350 F.
You should finish the roll of dough at the same time as you finish the filling with no leftovers. Enjoy!!

Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans were a combination of Jelly Bellys and Jelly Belly's "Weird and Wacky Flavor Box" (including the flavors: pencil shavings, mulch, and baby wipes).

Cauldron cakes in the books were referenced as chocolate cakes with a "yellowish filling". My answer to this? Betty Crocker's Sugar-Free Extra Moist Devils Food Cake Mix, made as directed. Next, we cut out a small circle in the center of each cake and filled it with JELLO Sugar Free Fat Free Vanilla pudding. 
Replace the removed circle of cake, ice over the top to make a uniform surface, and decorate. :) 
Easy peasy.

Our Honeyduke's Treat Table consisted of - from left to right - Licorice Wands (red vines), Transfigured Beasties (gummy worms and bugs), Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans (mentioned above), Special Wizard's Treat Mix (wasabi peas, raw almonds, raisins, and cranberries), and Quidditch Sticks (crushed almond pocky sticks). 
This is 20 servings of our Leaky Cauldron inspired Home-Brewed Butterbeer. Ingredients for 20 servings: 2.5 cups almond milk, 2.5 cups butterscotch schnapps, 20 tbsp light smart butter, 15 cups of cream soda. We placed all ingredients in a massive pot on the stove and heated until the butter was all melted and then a little longer, until a level of foam began to form on top. Then the contents were ladled through a funnel into these containers until we were ready to serve. It was a big hit. :)
Our Potions Lab consisted of a set of test tubes and some optional "brewing potions" that our guests could use to concoct their own mixtures. We used a variety of different colored smart waters as well as some other ingredients with a teensy bit of food coloring in them. 

These potions were based on potions found in the Harry Potter books.
The actual "potions" in the bottles were a well-contrived blend of water and food coloring.
This Transfiguration Board was made from a black foam board, paint, and silver markers. Oh, and my roommates incredible artistic skills. The imagery was taken from a book I have on alchemy and mysticism, as well as latin translation sites, and spell names from the HP books.
We took turns drawing on balloons to make some flying owls and ghosts for our guests to interact with. 
The Gray Lady
The Bloody Baron

The Fat Friar

The Tournament Game:

Janet and I wrote (and she designed) these awesome "spell" cards,
which our guests could use to cast spells on each other to earn
House Points! Look how pretty they are!

The Sorting:
Each of our guests underwent a Sorting, completed by donning the Sorting Hat I made, drawing their House Badge from the cauldron, and having their House name crowed by all assembled.

A good time was had by all! And - if you're wondering - the winners of the Halloween House Tournament? 
Yep. They went home with shiny new Golden Snitches. :)

1 comment: