Welcome to the YourOffice Birmingham laboratory. Have a snack if you dare!
2 – 3 lbs. large shrimp, peeled, deveined, cooked
8 oz. tomato juice
½ oz. lemon juice
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Pinch black pepper
2 packets unflavored gelatin
Arrange shrimp in a 6 1/2- to 7-cup brain-shaped mold with tails facing upwards in vertical rows.
Fill a glass bowl with 1 2/3 cups cold water; sprinkle gelatin over water and let stand 5 minutes. In a small saucepan, cook gelatin mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until gelatin has dissolved. Whisk in remaining ingredients until well combined.
Pour gelatin mixture over shrimp in mold. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down on the surface. Fit a plate into mold and weight with cans. Refrigerate until set, about 5 hours. Invert mold onto a serving platter; serve with cocktail sauce.
Combine all ingredients in a microwave safe bowl. Heat until smooth, stirring occasionally and
cheese is melted, about 5 minutes.
•1 cup red-wine vinegar
•3 cups white-wine vinegar
•1 cup sugar
•1/2 cup salt
•1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
•5 or 6 red pearl onions
•2 to 3 heads cauliflower
Place cauliflower in a large glass heatproof jar or canister, positioning florets against the glass; set aside.
Fill a large pot with 8 cups water. Add both vinegars, sugar, salt, peppercorns, mustard seeds, and onions. Bring to a boil.
Carefully pour boiling liquid over cauliflower; let cool to room temperature. Cover and transfer to refrigerator. Let chill overnight or up to 1 week.
Cheese and Chorizo Intestines
•2 ounces of pork Chorizo Cacique
•6 ounces of Queso Blanco Cacique shredded
•1 box of frozen puff pastry defrosted*
•1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water for egg wash
Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cook the chorizo in a hot nonstick frying pan without oil. The chorizo will cook for about 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
Once the chorizo has cooled, mix in a bowl with the shredded Queso Fresco Cacique and place in the fridge to keep cold until ready to use.
Lightly dust your board or working area with flour and unfold one sheet of the puff pastry. With a floured rolling pin, lightly roll the dough into a 10 X 10-inch square. Do it very gently, try not to put too much pressure on the dough. Cut each sheet into 2 – 3- inch strips. Line up the strips on the short side. Brush the edges of each strip with the egg wash and press them edges together.
Spoon the cheese and chorizo filling into the center. Starting on one end, bring the sides together, brush with the egg wash and press the edges together. Transfer the filled pastry to the prepared baking sheet in a random coiled pattern. If sections break, don’t worry, messy is bloody and it just makes them creepier. Brush with egg wash.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown, rotating the baking sheet once to have an even browning. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.
Notes: *Defrost the puff pastry overnight in your fridge and do not remove until ready to form the turnovers.
Keep chorizo and shredded Mexican Cheese Queso Blanco in the refrigerator until ready to use. That way it won’t melt rapidly and will stay inside the pastry.
•1 lb prosciutto, sliced 1/8 thick
•4 tablespoons sugar
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt
•1/8 teaspoon allspice
•4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Lay the prosciutto slices on the parchment without touching.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, salt, allspice and cayenne. Brush each slice of prosciutto with some olive oil and sprinkle with the spice mix.
Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake until the ham is beginning to crisp and the sugar is caramelized, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer the slices to a cooling rack to cool completely. Blot with a paper towel if beads of oil form.
Cherry Cheesecake Brain Dip
16 oz. cream cheese
•1 c. boiling water
•2 packets of gelatin
•1/4 c. ricotta cheese
•1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract
•1/2 c. powdered sugar
•1/4 c. cherry pie filling
In a large bowl, pour boiling water over gelatin and let bloom for 10 minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine the cream cheese, ricotta, vanilla, sugar and pie filling. Save roughly 2 tablespoons of the pie filling to brush your brain mold ($6, amazon.com) with.
After the gelatin has bloomed, slowly stir the gelatin mixture into the cream cheese mixture.
Once combined, spray your brain mold with non-stick spray and use a pastry brush to line the mold with the leftover cherry pie filling .
Fill the mold with the cheesecake filling and set in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Crumb 2 to 3 graham crackers in a food processor (or a plastic bag with a rolling pin).
Sprinkle the crumbs onto the serving platter. Place the brain on the serving platter and surround it with additional graham crackers. Garnish with surgical scissors for an extra spooky touch.
Fresh Raspberry Intestines
•2 (6 oz.) containers fresh raspberries
•2 Tbsp brown sugar
•3 Tbsp apple juice, divided
•1 Tbsp cornstarch
•1 (17.3 oz) package frozen puff pastry dough, thawed in fridge
•Egg wash: 1 large egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Preheat the oven to 350° F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Stir one of the raspberry packages together with the sugar and 2 Tbsp apple juice in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Reserve the second container of raspberries. Cook the raspberries for about 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved into the juice, the raspberries start to soften, and the juice comes to a simmer.
Whisk the remaining tablespoon of apple juice with the cornstarch and add to the simmering raspberries. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes more, then stir in the remaining fresh raspberries.
Lightly flour your work surface and unfold the thawed puff pastry sheets and cut each sheet into 2 – 3- inch strips. Line up the strips on the short side. Brush the edges of each strip with the egg wash and press them edges together.
Spoon the raspberry filling into the center. Starting on one end, bring the sides together, brush with the egg wash and press the edges together. Transfer the filled pastry to the prepared baking sheet in a random coiled pattern. If sections break, don’t worry, messy is bloody and it just makes them creepier. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until the pastries are puffed and golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes.
Gray Rat Cheeseball
•1 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
•½ cup unsalted butter, softened
• 2 cups powdered sugar
•2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
•18 + 6 double stuff Oreos, crushed
•2 brown M&M’s (eyes)
•Pink icing or marshmallows
In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and butter for 3 minutes. Add powdered sugar and beat an additional 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add chocolate syrup and 18 crushed Oreo cookies. Blend completely.
Drop the mixture onto plastic wrap. Fold up the plastic wrap around the ball and shape into oblong ball. Refrigerate for about an hour.
Remove the plastic wrap and shape the ball into a head and body, pinch up some for ears and legs/feet. Press 6 crushed Oreo Cookies on all exposed surfaces. Press M&M’s on for eyes. Pipe icing (or melted marshmallows) for nose, inside ears, toenails and tail.
Gnome Ears (Cinnamon Rollups)
•8 oz cream cheese
•1 cup brown sugar, packed
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
•1 cup pecan halves
• 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (or 200 C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or grease them.
In a small bowl, stir together the cream cheese, brown sugar, cinnamon and pecan halves
Unfold two sheets of puff pastry and smooth seams if needed.
With a spoon, coat the surface of each sheet of puff pastry the mixture. At one edge of each pastry sheet, leave about an inch bare. This will help keep it together when you roll it up.
Starting from the side without the plain edge, roll your pastry up firmly but not too tightly.
When you get to the plain edge, apply a little water to the plain section and seal firmly against the roll.
Cut each roll into 1/2″ slices with a very sharp or serrated knife. It can help to refrigerate the rolls a little while before slicing if the dough gets too soft.
Curl the pieces slightly into an ear shape and place on backing sheet. Bake about 20 minutes, or until golden-brown.
Eggs of Newt
•1 ½ parts Midori Melon Liqueur
•1 part vanilla vodka
•½ part Skyy Raspberry Infusions vodka
•1/8 part pineapple juice (or to taste)
•1/8 part soda water (or sparkling wine, to taste)
•1 cup blueberry bubbles (from Thirstea)
Chill ingredients in advance. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well, gently pour in bubbles. Serve with a ladle.