Meals to Die By, no. 7

Come closer little one. Let me slip this cloth over your eyes, wouldn’t want you to get scared now, ah ah ha-haaaaa. Reach out your hand; we wouldn’t want you to run in to anything unpleasant, reach further. Long ago, another little one didn’t pay attention, as you are, and came to an unfortunate end. You can meet her if you like…just reach out with your hand. Over heeerrrreee. Yes, she’s a little squishy, you see there wasn’t much left to find.

When I was 7 my family went to Disney World. We did all the normal things…rode Space Mountain, ordered forbidden plates of vegetables at French Epcot restaurants, watched parades, and went to the Haunted House. I remember the walls closing in on us — a helpless group of people — trapped, foolishly believing in the goodness of amusement parks. I watched TV. I knew better. I wasn’t going to be caught here with the rest of the fools. I fought back. At which point I was let out of the building into the bright Florida sunshine and allowed to eat grapes while waiting for the rest of my family.

Don’t be scared little one — the lucky ones make it through. Are you a lucky one?

I recall making it through only one Haunted House just moments before I had to don costume and face paint in order to lie, trapped, under a coffin in the same Haunted House as a way to raise money for my high school theater group. Several hours later I had survived being left alone to die while trapped under this coffin, but came out with a sore neck, sore hands and a healthy dislike of children who thought it funny to kick and step on others. If we had been in a book those adolescents would have never made it out into the bright Texas sunshine. Lessons in politeness would have been learned. Their brains would have ended up in a bowl, their eyeballs perched on top — forever haunted.

As a Meals to Die By post you may be letting your curiosity ask which books and TV shows. Tsk, some people never learn to stop asking questions about times best left forgotten. They all taught me that Haunted Houses are dangerous and that every good clichéd one has to have fake body parts made out of food.

Bwah-ha-ha-ha-haaa. Ha-ha-haaaa. Bwahh-haaa-ha-ha….aaahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!

There are recipes out there for the following two items, but I really didn’t feel like following another person’s rules today. As usual it means there are very few measurements and I’d do a few things differently making it again.  But, all the same I thought this a spicy, tasty little person…err…dish.

Bloody Brains and Eyeballs

(Spaghetti with Eggplant croquettes)


1 good-sized eggplant
3 cloves garlic
good size sprinkling black pepper
sprinkling dried thyme
olive oil
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs

Cut eggplant into cubes. Place in a colander, sprinkle all over with salt and leave to drain for around 20-30 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 375°. Rinse eggplant well and pat dry. Put into a baking dish with garlic. Drizzle all over with olive oil then add in pepper, salt and thyme. Toss to cover, place in oven and roast until eggplant is soft, tossing occasionally. Remove and let cool. Using a food processor puree roasted eggplant and garlic. At this point I added in the egg, gave it a good whir, poured the eggplant puree into a bowl and added in the bread crumbs. However, I think it was a little too smooth and had trouble forming into eyeballs. I would suggest stopping when it’s still a chunky puree. Remove that to a bowl and then add in the egg and the bread crumbs. Refrigerate overnight (like me) or maybe for 30 minutes to an hour. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Roll spoonfuls of eggplant mixture into balls. Place in skillet and heat until golden brown on all sides, turning frequently. This part seems like a lot of work and you can’t leave it, but it goes very quickly and is done in two batches. Makes 30-40.

Spaghetti with roasted red pepper arrabbiata sauce:

1 red pepper
28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Spaghetti noodles

Roast red pepper under broiler or at the same time as roasting eggplant, turning to brown all sides. Remove from oven and place in a paper bag until cool enough to handle. Remove skin and seeds. Puree in a mini chop. In a saucepan heat olive oil, add in garlic and sauté until golden. Add in crushed tomatoes and red pepper puree. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add in crushed red pepper and simmer until ready to eat.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook spaghetti noodles until al dente. Drain. Toss with sauce and top with croquettes.

Happy Halloween!

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