Kill it at this year’s Halloween bash with kooky, creepy mood lighting you can make yourself!
The eyes have it
Let guests know you’re keeping an eye on them! Use a craft knife to cut a half-inch X into a Ping-Pong ball. Slide the “flame” of a battery-powered tea light into the slit. With fine-point markers, draw an eye (preferably bloodshot!) on the opposite side of the ball. Make several pairs and plant them in dark corners.
Facing your fears
Let a creepy guy scare guests who pass by. Choose a lightweight mask with relatively flat sides. Then buy a wood plaque slightly larger than the mask from the crafts store and stain or paint it. Working from the inside of the mask, tape sheets of colored tissue paper over the eye and mouth openings, so that light shines through. Attach two battery-powered tea lights to the center of the plaque with glue dots (also from a crafts store). Use more glue dots to mount the mask to the plaque, then hang.
Candles can mysteriously levitate with a little bit of black magic—in the form of thin, clear fishing line. Tie a length of it around the bottom of a battery-operated candle’s “flame” (look for a metal loop or simply tie it around the base of the fake flame) and use clear packing tape or hooks to attach the other end to the ceiling.
Slithering snakes on a candle! Use straight pins to attach rubber snakes to wax pillar candles. You can even make it look like one is about to chomp down on the wick. (If you’re having trouble getting it just right, snip the head off the body and pin it to the back of the candle.) Brush acrylic paint on the snakes and pinheads and let dry.
Jarring science jars
In the right setting, white asparagus pieces look like amputated fingers, knotty ginger doubles as mummified bones, and lychees appear to be eyeballs. Fill jars with your creepy body parts of choice, insert cracked glow sticks, and top off with water dyed with yellow food color for added glow. Also try cauliflower (to resemble tiny brains), gummy worms (ground-up flesh!) and more. You’ll never look at food the same way!
– By Taryn Williford; Photography by Aaron Dyer
You’ve probably seen giardiniera dressing up antipasti platters at your favorite Italian joint, but the brined vegetable medley is much more than a pretty face. Packed with a variety of vegetables—like cauliflower, peppers, carrots, celery and spicy chiles—it’s like getting a bunch of different pickles in one jar! You can buy it from the supermarket or make your own with this recipe.
In the October 2016 issue, Rach chops some up to make an easy burger relish—and here a few more ideas for adding a little tang to your day.
1. Spice up your sides. Stir chopped giardiniera into potato or pasta salad.
Try it here:
2. Give cocktails a kick. For a drink with extra zing, use the brine in a dirty martini. Garnish with a few of the olives or cauliflower.
Try it here:
3. Make grilled cheese greater. Roughly chop giardiniera and place between Read more
If you’re curious about those packets of dried porcini or cremini or shiitake, but aren’t sure how to use them, these three reasons should convince you to snag a bag right away and start cooking.
1. They last. A package of dried mushrooms will keep at least a year in your cabinet. And if you store them in an airtight container and stick them in the freezer, they’ll be good for years. Talk about shelf life!
2. They’re cheap. It takes nine ounces of fresh ‘shrooms to make one ounce of dried, but they still cost about half as much. Use them in any recipe calling for cooked mushrooms: Just pour boiling water over them, let sit until softened and they’re ready to use.
3. They’re so good. Dried mushrooms are umami gold! They’re full of extra-concentrated flavor, and so it their soaking liquid. Substitute it for water to cook grains, use as a broth for soup, or add it to the dish you were constituting the mushrooms for.
Try these recipes!
Fun fact: You don’t have to carve a pumpkin to enjoy crispy, salty, fresh-roasted seeds. You can make a version using any winter squash, such as butternut, delicata, kabocha or acorn—just scoop out the guts, separate out the stringy bits, and place the seeds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with 1/2 tsp. olive oil per 1/4 cup seeds and season. Arrange in a single layer (so they’ll roast instead of steam) and bake at 325° until crunchy, 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle on salads, soups or ice cream (seriously!), or gobble them up right off the baking sheet, like we did in the test kitchen. Here are 5 fall squash recipes to try it with:
– By Ananda Eidelstein
So you want to bake some monkey bread or a Bundt cake, but don’t have the right kind of pan? You can create a makeshift one using what you already have in your kitchen. Piece of cake!
If you have a springform pan: Place a greased pint-size ovenproof jar (like a Mason or Bell jar) right side up in the center of the pan. Add the batter or dough and bake. Let cool about 10 minutes; remove the jar.
No springform? No problem! Two 9- or 10-inch cake pans will also work, but you’ll end up with two thinner Bundt cakes. Grease two small ramekins and put them upside down in the centers of the pans. Keep in mind that these cakes will cook more quickly, so start checking them sooner.
Ready to give it a go? Try these recipes!
Wine and cheese are a classic pairing for a good reason: Astringent items (like wine) and fatty foods (like cheese) balance each other on your tongue, making each flavor stand out more. Next time you’re having a party, tempt guests with savory bites loaded with goat cheese, Brie, Gorgonzola and more. You should probably plan to make seconds!
Hot tip: You can make these grilled cheese sandwiches up to an hour ahead of time. Just heat in a 450 degree oven for 3 to 5 minutes to warm them through before serving. We won’t tell if you taste-test a few!
Don’t feel like cooking? Don’t sweat it — everyone loves a cheeseboard! Follow @rachaelraymag on Instagram for inspiration to achieve all of your #CheeseBoardGoals.
Now that Labor Day Weekend’s over and everyone’s snapping out of lazy vacation mode, you might find yourself spending more time at the office to play catch-up. If you’re eating lunch at your desk more often than not these days, you’re not alone: sixty-two percent of office workers report that they typically eat lunch at their desks. But not every desk lunch has to be a #saddesklunch! Here’s how to give your midday meal a well-deserved promotion.
Fork it over — Give your meal a boost with silverware and a proper plate and bowl. In one study, people ate the same yogurt with a plastic spoon and a metal one, and rated it 15 percent tastier when eating with real flatware.
Play dress up — According to a survey by Bon Appétit Management (which operates cafés at companies and universities), 94 percent of millennials think customizing their meals is important. Make it easy to tweak your lunch with a stash of flavored olive oils and vinegars, or your favorite hot sauce.
Call a friend — Grab lunch with your coworkers—it might make you even better at your job. One recent study found that firefighters who ate together performed better than those who dined apart, an effect that also applies to those who wield Excel files instead of fire hoses, according to Kevin Kniffin, the study’s author. Eating with friends is more fun, too!
Ready for your lunch break? Try these cool recipes made from brand new supermarket products. The best part? You can whip ‘em up right in your breakroom!
Vietnamese Noodle Soup — Break 1 oz. thin rice noodles in half; place in 2-cup jar with a lid. Fill jar with boiling water; close lid. Let sit 20 minutes; drain. Add 1 1⁄2 cups Nona Lim’s Vietnamese Pho Broth ($6.99). Microwave, uncovered, until noodles are tender, about 2 minutes. Top with bean sprouts, halved sugar snap peas, shredded chicken, cilantro, mint and sriracha.
Sausage & Egg Toast – Microwave 2 Johnsonville Fully Cooked Breakfast Patties ($3.99) until hot, about 40 seconds. Crack an egg into a water-filled bowl. Microwave 1 minute, then cook in 15-second bursts until white is opaque, about 30 seconds more. Place egg and sausage on a toasted slice of Pepperidge Farm 3 Cheese Italian Bread ($3.99); season. Top with halved cherry tomatoes.
– By Cecily McAndrews and Grace Rasmus; Photography by Aaron Dyer
When you hear the word jerk—once you’ve determined nobody’s calling you one—you probably think of spicy Jamaican food. The hot-sweet flavor that’s associated with the Caribbean island is a bit of a catchall term: It refers to a dry rub, a paste, a marinade, a style of cooking and the ultimate Jamaican street food. In classic jerk cooking, meat (usually pork or chicken) is marinated in more than a dozen ingredients, including allspice, fiery Scotch bonnet peppers, thyme, black pepper and sugar. If you don’t have time to marinate, add a quick kick with a dry jerk seasoning blend. You can buy it at the market, but it’s easy to make at home. Rub it on meat, sprinkle it on grilled corn or add a pinch to chili. So don’t be bummed if you can’t make it to the Caribbean this Labor Day Weekend. Add some island flare to any nearly any protein with this DIY jerk seasoning recipe—even if you’re miles and miles away from the nearest island breeze.
DIY Jamaican Jerk Spice recipe:
Maple syrup (or lack thereof) can make or break a stack of pancakes, but not all syrups are the same. Letter grades (“A” or “B”) on labels didn’t make it clear what was inside the bottle, so to fix the sticky situation, the International Maple Syrup Institute suggested more specific categories. The new guidelines would reclassify pure maple syrup sold in the supermarket as Grade A and would include one of four descriptions: golden, amber, dark or very dark.
Golden syrup has a delicate flavor; try it for sweetening tea.
Try this: Sweet-Heat Iced Tea
Use maple-y amber for your short stack. Read more
If you rely on the same veg-centric cookbooks each summer, get produce inspo from this bumper crop of recent releases. Then, look out, farmers’ market!
If you like… Vegetable Literacy by Deborah Madison
You’ll love… The Vegetable Butcher: How to Select, Prep, Slice, Dice, and Masterfully Cook Vegetables from Artichokes to Zucchini by Cara Mangini
As the chef behind Little Eater in Columbus, OH, Cara Mangini wrangles veggies for a living. The more than 250 step-by-step photos in her book mirror the encyclopedic Vegetable Literacy, while sharing updated essential know-how for everything from cleaning sandy greens for creamed spinach crepes to prepping fresh artichokes for the grill.