Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tips & Tricks: Wicked Wonderland Menu - Puking Pumpkin Veggie Platter

Here's my adorable puking pumpkin:

I think he turned out really fun! This was a last minute addition to the menu, during my unnecessary panic over "OMG, how do I feed double the people we had last year?!?!" I had seen this photo floating around the Halloween food blogosphere for a while, and I thought it would be quick and easy to put together - as long as I outsourced :)

I have no skill in carving pumpkins. Seriously. A couple years back hubby and I tried it, and though we had bought at least 3 pumpkins I think we made it through 1/2 of one before giving up. They may have been mutants, but their skin was so thick by the time we cut the tops off we were exhausted, and nothing worked as far as penetrating their skin to cut a face. Mission aborted. And I haven't tried one since.

Knowing this history, I knew a jack-O-lantern wouldn't be quick...for me. So I emailed dear old dad and asked if he would like to share some of the fun, and he obliged! Yay!

Then I set out in search of a little pumpkin, like the one in the inspiration photo. These apparently don't exist. I found the mini decorative pumpkins, and huge monster pumpkins, but none of the cute little nerf-ball sized ones I wanted. Hmmm. Finally at the 3rd place I looked I asked the proprietor "Where are the little ones?" and he told me there was a "nation wide shortage, you can't find them anywhere." Uh...okay. when I asked why he said something about them being "pie pumpkins" and there just weren't enough this year. Load of crap? Possibly. Reason enough to stop looking? Sure. I grabbed the smallest of the monster pumpkins and dropped it off at Dad's. He turned it around into the evil demon you see above, complete with drilled out textured eye holes that would have impressed Martha.

An hour before the party I set him on a platter, built a "retaining wall" of radishes to cordon off the dip, and filled in the rest of the platter with cut veggies - which I had also outsourced, and picked up at Target. I've learned that washing and cutting fruit & veggies, while it might save money, takes a TON OF TIME, and when I'm already stressed and busy I shouldn't be playing with knives, so I pretty much only serve purchased fruit and veggie trays now. But I do my best to make them cute.

I spooned the dip into the reservoir and up into the Jack's mouth, so it looked like he was spewing. I think it was pretty effective! The dip was thick enough to hold it's shape and not ooze all over the platter (one of my worries), and even though my pumpkin was bigger than I wanted, it still worked on the platter. I put a battery-operated tealight inside (love those things!)since it would be moving around and I didn't trust a candle.

It was cute, and people ate maybe 1/3 of it - no fault of the platter, there was just too much food overall, and when faced with chocolate vs. celery, I guess there was a clear victor, even amongst the vegetarians I was worried about feeding :) If I made this again I'd do it the same way - EASY. :)

Thanks, Dad :)

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