Over the past few days I’ve really got into the Halloween spirit.
This past week my office had an autumn pot-luck lunch. What to make? What to make? With my collection of vintage cookbooks, I had to go retro, of course! And what says mid-century better than Jell-O?
Considering I had lemon Jell-O and apples already in the house, I chose the Tangy Cider Mold on page 38 from the 1962 edition of The Joys of Jell-O. Here is the recipe:
As refreshing as a long, cool drink of cider on a warm autumn day!
- 1 package (3 oz) Jell-O Lemon gelatin
- 1 cup boiling sweet cider
- 1 cup cold sweet cider
- 1 1/2 cups unpeeled red apples, cut in match-stick pieces
Dissolve Jell-O in boiling cider. Add cold cider. Chill until very thick (according to the book’s handy chart, that’s about 1 hour 30 minutes). Then fold in apples. Spoon into serving dishes or individual molds. Chill until firm. Makes about 3 cups or 6 servings.
Ok, that was easy. The only problem was that I didn’t have red apples. I used what was in that week’s organic produce crate. My apple was yellow.
Maybe the mold would have been more visually appealing if there was a bit of red in there. As is it looked a little barfy. But how festive is my scarecrow decoration?
Tangy Cider Mold was OK. There seemed to be too many apples for the amount of gelatin. Too much crispy and not enough jiggly. It tasted exactly how one would expect it to–citrusy apple cider. I’m not running to go make this again, but I’d eat it if someone gave it to me.
Another autumnal treat from this weekend was pumpkin seeds because we carved our giant, bigger-than-Brian pumpkin into a jack o’ lantern. We opted for a classic face much like the one that appears on those old school plastic pumpkin trick or treat baskets.
We lost a tooth, but I think it gives him more charm. I’ve named him Chet.
As we carved Chet we watched the Ohio State Buckeyes beat Wisconsin (O-H-I-O!) and listened to The Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of The Haunted House, a Disneyland LP from 1964. According to the liner notes it is an album not intended for young, impressionable children from three to eight. It is intended for older children, teenagers, and adults. Oooh! How thrilling!
It was actually a lot of fun listening to shrieking, groaning, crashes, and space sounds while we dug out pumpkin guts. There were two highlights from the record. Firstly, Brian was utterly confused by track 3–Cat Fight. As the recorded cat screeched and hissed, Brian kept inching towards the speakers and then tried to get into them. He tried to figure out how to get behind the speakers! But when the dogs came on he completely lost interest and left the room.
The other highlight was track 8–Chinese Water Torture. The female narrator starts with, “The ancient Chinese were a great race…” and then talks about the water torture method. The sound fx take over with single drops: plop, plink, plonk! When the narrator returns: “ching chong chang ching chong…oh, I don’t even know Chinese!” Yay for racial insensitivity and the politically incorrect!
We also played the soundtrack from Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. I chose it because Angelo Badalamenti’s songs are so hauntingly gorgeous and just so cool. And because I am a firm believer that, in general, there is nothing scarier than a David Lynch work. I find Twin Peaks is particularly unnerving. And absolute perfection for Halloween. Enjoy the most terrifying man on the planet:
33 seconds of absolute horror. Talk about not intended for young, impressionable children from three to eight!
Needless to say, you get a lot of seeds from a pumpkin that is over 20 pounds. So we decided to make 3 different kinds of seeds: original, sweet spiced, and Maryland.
Readers’ Digest version of How to make roasted pumpkin seeds: rinse seeds, put on paper towels, pat dry, put on baking sheets, spray with PAM, toss with desired seasoning, toast in a 300 degree oven for 45 minutes.
The original version is in salt, the sweet-spiced tossed in a mixture of 1 tsp sugar, dash nutmeg, dash cinnamon, and pinch of Garam Masala. Maryland-style is topped in (you guessed it) Old Bay.
They were all very tasty and I enjoyed the variety.
Overall, between our trip to the corn maze, the cider cocktails, our pumpkin/jack o’ lantern, and all of my autumnal-themed cooking, this has been a very good October.
But the greatest treat of all was this:
I have always wanted a starburst clock and I got this one from an estate sale I went to on Saturday. I believe it was worth every penny and it looks absolutely fabulous on my wall. It does indeed work, I just have to get an extension cord.
But anyway, Happy Halloween from me, Cleveland, Brian and Chet.
I would have liked it if Brian was also in the photo, but, well, you know how he is.