Elegant And Easy Halloween Dinner Party

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Happy Halloween!

At the risk of being kitsch, this menu is for a lively and festive dinner party for adults. No recipe is too complicated.

For a colorful and in-the-spirit side, serve baked yams. Dress them with olive oil and sprinkle with black sesame seeds.

With a little planning ahead, you can bob for apples and enjoy yourself at the party. So let the fun begin, and bon appétit!

Black Kettle Steak Au Poivre(Serves 6)3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns

1 tablespoon whole white peppercorns

1 tablespoon whole freeze-dried green peppercorns

2 teaspoons whole freeze-dried pink peppercorns

1 teaspoon whole allspice

2 teaspoons juniper berries

Optional: 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

6 small well-trimmed 1-to-1 1/4-inch-thick shell steaks or your favorite steak

Coarse sea salt

1 cup demi glace or good quality beef stockTo prepare:Mix all the peppercorns and spices together in a bowl.

In a spice grinder, add peppercorn mixture and grind until coarse and set aside.

Score the outside membrane of the steak with a sharp knife.

Using your fingers and palms of your hands, press the peppercorn mixture into both sides of the steaks.

Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate for 2 to 24 hours.

Return steak to room temperature before cooking.

In a well seasoned cast-iron or heavy skillet, over high heat, sprinkle the bottom with salt and heat until the skillet is very hot.

Holding the steak with tongs, sear the edges until brown, and then sear both sides until brown crust forms, about 4 minutes per side.

Remove the steaks to a warm serving platter and let rest for 5 minutes, or up to 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a dry paper towel, wipe the excess salt out of the skillet.

Set the pan back on the heat.

Add the stock and bring to a boil.

Cook until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Taste, adjust the seasonings and transfer to a pitcher.

Serve hot and enjoy.The Cat’s Meow Mango & Bell Pepper Salsa(Serves 6)2 to 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

2 large cloves garlic, minced

2 large orange bell peppers, cored and diced

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Pinch red pepper flakes

2 large mangoes, peeled and diced

Juice of 2 limes

1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsleyTo prepare:Coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and cook over moderate heat.

Add onion and sauté until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes.

Add garlic and sauté until aromatic, about 2 more minutes.

Stir in bell peppers, then season with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile dice mangoes, then drizzle lime juice over to prevent discoloration.

Add mangoes to the cooled peppers.

Toss with lime juice and a few drops of extra virgin olive oil to bind the sauce.

Stir in parsley, then taste and adjust the seasonings.

Transfer to a bowl and serve on the side with the steak au poivre.Chocolate Fallen Angel Cake With Voodoo Chocolate Cream(Serves 6 to 10)1/2 pound plus 3 teaspoons unsalted butter

8 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces

6 large egg yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

8 large egg whites

Pinch kosher salt

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

For sinful cream:

2 cups heavy cream

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tablespoons sour mash whiskey or dark rumTo prepare:Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Coat the inside of 9-by-3-inch springform pan with 2 tablespoons melted butter.

Line the pan with parchment and brush with remaining butter.

In a double boiler over medium heat, add water in the bottom and bring to a simmer.

Add chocolate and butter in the top and cover with plastic wrap.

Heat until the chocolate and butter begin to melt, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir until smooth.

Set aside.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg yolks until they are frothy.

Gradually add sugar, beating and scraping down the sides of the bowl until it becomes thick and lemon-colored, about 4 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, fold melted chocolate into egg yolks.

In another mixing bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold egg whites into the chocolate batter until no large clumps of white are visible.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and set it on a baking sheet on the center rack of the oven.

Bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center comes out fairly clean (it should have some batter on the skewer), 52 to 54 minutes.

Remove from oven, let cool for 15 minutes on a rack.

Release the cake from the pan and invert onto a cake plate.

Peel off parchment paper and keep at room temperature.

Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.

For the cream:

In bowl of an electric mixer beat the cream, sugar, and cocoa powder until soft peaks form.

Whisk in whiskey and beat until stiff peaks form.

Cut cake into serving-sized pieces and top with voodoo chocolate cream.

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