Monday, October 31, 2016

Three Holidays One Great Party

Halloween, Divali and Dios di Muertos all intersect this year.That means endless arrays of savory and sweet treats to enjoy. They can be traditional or exotic, full of chocolate or full of spice.It's just a fun way to celebrate ancient traditions.

Halloween and the Mexican  Day of the Dead have always intersected. Halloween is All Hallow's Eve is when the spirits come back while the next day is dedicated to remembering those who have passed. All Hallows is a time for fun parties, with usually ghoulishly themed foods and drinks. They can be entwined by having  a ghostly guacamole and vampire red salsa,For the first sprinkle a layer of Monterey jack or crumbled queso fresca, a kind of south of the Border fromage It can easily be made at home using just milk and distilled white vinegar.It's then cooking over a low heat so that curds are made,It's then ready for tacos and fajitas. A fun drink after a chilly night of trick or treating is Mexican hot chocolate. It's just adding the tiniest pinch of chili pepper and cinnamon  to hot cocoa mix or Droste cocoa powder. Add a big puff of whipped cream for a cooling sweetness Day of the Dead also had sweet treats, usually sugar skulls,There is also a bread too,It is a sweet, glazed loaf laced with orange juice and orange zest. There's also the addition of anise to give it more sweetness and a slight licorice taste. Another offertory gift is candied pumpkin, Cubed pumpkin is cooked in butter and sugar until tender, Maple syrup mixed with cinnamon and ginger is then poured over it. and allowed to marinate for two hours in the fridge.

The Indian festival of Divali also intersects with Halloween this year, and is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs The holiday's dishes can be easily integrated into a party.with American treats.One of the most famous and party friendliest is biryani, This is a tasty rice dish made with chicken along with a variety of vegetables and spices.Tomatoes and potatoes round it out along with cumin, turmeric, and ginger.itlaso has the zing of chili powder  , perfect for warming up on a cold fall night. Samosas are a fun finger food that would be great on any party menu.They are baked  turnovers stuffed with peas , and potatoes. The flavor comes from garam marsala which any home chef can make.It's an intoxicating blend of cumin, cardamon, coriander, cinnamon , ground clove and nutmeg. This can also be sprinkled on a Divali- Halloween veggie pizza, and, yes, this is served during the holiday. Doughnuts are always a must at a Halloween party.Divali has its' own too, this time savory.instead of flour its' made with urad dal which is ground, roasted lentils and can be found at any market. The fritters  or medu  vada are zested up with coriander and coconut  along with fresh ground peppercorns and green chilis, It's usually served with a tamarind and veggie sauce called sambar.

This is a triple holiday, celebrating life and the afterlife. It's a time of fun and feasting, of trying fun foods. Enjoy it ,both the savory and sweet side of it.

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