Episode #8: Trick or Treat

21 Nov

Our halloween evening got off with a bit of a twist.  Once everyone had gathered, they were notified of David’s planned trick of the evening.

It was a quick bait and switch.  Each couple had to select one person from their team and, on the basis of a coin flip, that person stayed with their original dish while the other got paired with a different course.  The names of all those determined to move on were placed in a hat and then paired with each course down the line: snacks and drinks, course#1, course #2, course #3, course #4, and desert.  Essentially one part of the team would be preparing the dish on the fly with the help of one member of the home team.

Here is what it looked like.

First up:

Snacks/appetizer and cocktails originally by Valeria and Ken.


with the help of Caroline; see her there in the background……

the final product: mushroom terrine and finger bread sticks paired with a scaratini (Saki and Lychee eyeball)

Anyone with a photo of the scaratini feel free to post it up here.

Moving onto the first course was a pureed “candy corn” soup created by Caroline and Stuart

with the bait switch including J. David.

pureed tomatoes, corn, and butternut squash with a dab of creme fraiche paired with a pumpkin ale


and Stuart

Oh….and in case you forgot what that candy corn looked like…

Soup was followed by homemade gargati (made with the torchio press) with  shrimp flambeéd in a Strega reduction sauce, The ‘Imposter” (Richard) lending a huge hand in pulling this dish off.

The Pasta Maker-great costume huh….

Because we were 12, we had to set up a separate table for two that rotated a different couple each course.  There’s the dish — half the gargati were made with squid ink.

The pairing: Werewolf to fight off the vampires…..

The name

Strega is the Italian word for “witch” and since legends of witchcraft at Benevento date back to the time of the Lombard invasion, it was a natural choice of name for the liqueur. The liqueur is sometimes called “the witch” in the English-speaking world.

Next up: The Guests of Honor

Lamb meatball spider in a squid-ink yogurt garlic cobweb

That scary creature…..

was compliments of our visiting Pittsburgh Chefs: Jim & Celeste

with a helping hand from our FMC rookie Ken

paired with a sparkling Shiraz: “Goose bumps”

Ohhh and then that quadruple-D… death, decay, destruction, and decadent fois gras BLT

by Alicia and Richard

with a hand from Celeste

my apologies but you will have to help me out with the wine pairing here. [There were two — a Vouvray, and…another white? -d]

I can’t think of a better way to end this halloween evening other then by……death by chocolate

This masterpiece was constructed by Lisa and Brian

Served in a seabed of orange cotton candy (can’t think of a fonder childhood memory)

and paired with a Ramos gin fizz

A bountiful october-fest, enjoyed by all.

The End…

with special thanks to our guest appearance..


my family

and Richard for the special halloween armband graphics of FMC triple D (death, decay, destruction)

If anyone wants to post photos of the episode or a description of your dish — ingredients, sources, inspiration, recipes, etc — just email it to David or Francine and we’ll post it up.

PS: all the photos we took are in a gallery here, and linked in the list of Photos from episodes past way up there on the right–>

PPS: Any ideas for Number 9?

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