Sunday, October 9, 2016

Halloween Zombie Brain!

     Halloween Zombie Brain!
     A tasteful Zombie Brain presentation of Cherry Mango Cream Aspic, Pomegranate Gastrique and Teriyaki Thai Silkworms!  With Zombie Green Chromosome Gummies!  
     Halloween 2012 was definitely the year of the zombie.  The zombie craze has continued to gain popularity in recent years.  There are zombie movies, zombie TV shows, zombie shooting galleries, zombie strippers, zombie slot machines and even Halloween zombie parades.  Anything and everything zombie seems to get a lot of attention these days.
     In Las Vegas, there is a place called the Zombie Apocalypse Store.  This shop stocks everything that one could possibly need to survive an unthinkable catastrophic event.  The Zombie Apocalypse Store also is a good place to get some zombie ideas for Halloween.  
     After visiting the Zombie Apocalypse Store, I got the bright idea to publish some Halloween recipes.  In order to make some crafty Halloween zombie food, some specialized equipment was needed.  After doing some internet shopping, I ended up with a Zombie Brain Gelatin Mold, Zombie Brain Lollipop Molds and Bloody Eyeball Chocolate Molds.  Items like these make it easy to create some macabre Halloween food!
     I could not wait to break in the Zombie Brain Gelatin Mold package when it arrived.  I gave careful thought as to how I was going to present the first zombie brain of the season.  I soon realized that I was developing a mad scientist persona and a sadistic evil laugh.  Instead of making a gelatin zombie brain that would be comically entertaining, I decided to go to the opposite extreme.  Creating a realistic looking zombie brain that tastes good became the goal.
     Mixing colors to create a lifelike effect took a little imagination.  Simmering dried cherries, red food color and dried mango will create a reddish orange tinted water that looks like a lifelike flesh tone when cream is added.    
     To create a grainy translucent effect for the top of the zombie brain, add milk to the boiling fruit broth and allow the milk to curdle.  Fresh curdled milk is still edible.
     Gummy worms are what most people decorate a gelatin brain with, but there are more realistic options.   I purchased frozen edible Thai Silkworms at an Asian food market in Chinatown, Las Vegas.  The silkworms were simmered in a Japanese teriyaki sauce glaze.  The glaze coating made it easy to stick the silkworms to the zombie brain.  The silk worms definitely create a realistic maggot infested zombie brain effect.
     Pomegranate Gastrique was my choice for a sauce that resembled fresh blood.  By pouring the pomegranate gastrique over the zombie brain, an oozing seeping blood effect was created.  The pomegranate gastrique also compliments the flavors of the zombie brain and teriyaki silkworms.  
     The blue green color of the zombie chromosome gummies add a captivating color combination.  The agar gelatin was flavored with mint, so it actually is a mint gummy.  Minty fresh tasting zombie pathogen chromosome gummies add a nice touch.
     Put it all together and you have a nutritious, good tasting and realistic looking Zombie Brain for a Halloween party!

     Mango Cherry Cream Aspic Zombie Brain:
     This recipe is written for a 1 quart zombie brain gelatin mold.  
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of chopped dried cherries in a sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 cup of chopped dried mango.
     Add 1/4 cup of sugar.
     Add 1 quart of water.
     Step 2:  Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Gently simmer till the dried fruit flavor infuses with the liquid and a pinkish peach color develops.  Allow the liquid to reduce to 3 1/2 cups.
     Step 3:  Pour the liquid through a strainer into a large measuring cup.  (Discard the fruit or save it for another recipe, like a porridge.)
     Check if there is 3 1/2 cups of mango cherry flavored liquid.  Add water if the amount is short or drain off any excess liquid.
     Step 4:  Place the 3 1/2 cups of mango cherry liquid in a sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of milk.
     Add 1/4 cup of cream.
     *The total amount of liquid in the pot is now 1 quart.
     Stir the mixture.
     Bring the liquid to a simmer.
     Step 5:  Adjust the color of the liquid to a light flesh tone by adding 1 to 4 drops of red food coloring.  (Add 1 drop at a time, while stirring, till the color is right.)
     Step 6:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Allow the liquid to cool to room temperature. 
     Step 7:  Rain 1 ounce of powdered gelatin over the surface of the liquid. 
     Allow the gelatin to bloom.
     Step 8:  Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Gently stir the mixture, till the gelatin dissolves.
     Remove the pot from the heat.  
     Step 9:  Place the zombie brain gelatin mold on a roasting pan.
     Pour the warm mango cherry aspic mixture into the zombie brain mold.
     Carefully place the pan with the mold in a refrigerator.
     Allow the aspic to chill for at least 16 hours, so it firmly gels. 

     Zombie Green Chromosome Gummies:
     This recipe yields about 1/4 cup.
     The texture of the Green Chromosomes Gummies should firm.
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/2 cups of water in a sauce pot.
     Add 2 tablespoons of chopped mint leaves.
     Add 1 tablespoon of sugar.
     Add 2 drops of green food color.
     Add 1 drop of blue food color.
     Step 2:  Place the pot over medium heat.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Boil for 2 minutes.
     Step 3:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a second sauce pot.
     Allow the liquid to cool to room temperature.
     Step 4:  Rain 5 grams of seaweed agar gelatin over the liquid.
     Allow agar to bloom.
     Step 5:  Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Stir till the agar gelatin dissolves.
     Remove the pot from the heat.
     Allow the liquid to cool to almost room temperature.
     Step 6:  Cut 6 plastic soda drinking straws into 4" lengths.
     Place the short straws on a small pie pan.
     Line the straws up in a row.  
     Place a knife across the top of the drinking straws as a weight to hold them down.
     Step 7:  Slowly pour the agar gelatin mixture into the pan, till the straws are covered.
     Refrigerate till the agar gelatin is firm.
     Step 8:  Remove the straws from the pan.
     Scrape off the excess agar.  (The excess agar can be later melted down for a second use or it can be snacked on.)
     Step 9:  Pinch one end of a straw and squeeze the agar gelatin rod out of the straw.  Repeat till all the straws are empty.
     Cut the green agar gelatin rods into about 3/8" lengths.
     Chill the zombie green chromosome gummies till they are needed. 

     Pomegranate Gastrique:
     This gastrique recipe yields about 1/3 cup!
     The sugar is cooked to a medium dark amber color for today's gastrique recipe.  It is important to observe the sugar as it changes color from clear, to very pale yellow, then to a light yellow brown amber color.  This happens quickly!  
     Take caution!  Hot molten sugar will cause severe burns.  Wear protective clothing!
     Do not stir a gastrique, till shortly after the liquid flavorings are added or the sugar will stick to the utensil like rock candy.
     Step 1:   Separate 1 cup of fresh pomegranate fruit from the rind and pith.  Set the clean pomegranate fruit aside. 
     Step 2:  Boil 1/2 cup of water over medium high heat in a sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 cup of sugar.
     When the sugar begins to turn a light amber color, stay close to the pan and watch for the sugar to turn a dark amber color.  (Dark amber is a yellow brown color.)
     When the sugar turns a dark amber color, immediately add the pomegranate fruit.
     Allow the caramelized sugar to coat the fruit for about 1 minute.
     *The sugar will stop caramelizing when you add the fruit.  The hot molten sugar will seize the fruit and pull all of the flavor and color out of the fruit.  
     Step 3:   Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add 3 tablespoons of pomegranate vinegar.
     Add 3/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1 cup of water.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1 tablespoon of whole black peppercorns.
     Add 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves.
     Add 2 laurel leaves.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of chopped shallot.
     Step 4:  Simmer and reduce the gastrique, till becomes a thin glacé syrup consistency.  The glaçé should be thick enough to barely coat the back of a spoon.  (Keep in mind that when a gastrique cools, it may become a little bit thicker consistency.)
     Step 5:  Pour the gastrique through a fine mesh strainer into a container and set aside.
     A gastrique can be refrigerated for up to six months.  

     Teriyaki Thai Silk Worms:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Frozen edible Thai Silk Worms are available at Asian food markets.  These bugs are actually tasty tidbits of protein!  Stir fry silk worms are traditional Asian street food.
     Gummy Worms can be substituted for a less realistic effect. 
     Step 1:  *The Thai Silk Worms should be prepared just before serving the zombie brain!
     Heat a small sauce pot over medium low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of water.
     Add 1/4 cup of thin soy sauce.
     Add 1/2 cup of sugar.
     Simmer the ingredients, till the teriyaki sauce is a thin syrup consistency.
     Remove the pot from the heat and set the teriyaki sauce aside.
     Step 2:  Heat a sauté pan over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
     Add 15 to 20 edible Thai Silk Worms.
     Briefly sauté till the golden highlights appear.
     Step 3:  Add the reserved teriyaki sauce.  
     Simmer the silkworms in the teriyaki sauce for about 2 minutes.
     Step 4:  Remove the pan from the heat.
     Keep the Teriyaki Thai Silk Worms warm on a stove top. 

     Halloween Zombie Brain Presentation:
     Step 1:  Heat a wide pot of water over medium low heat.
     Dip the zombie brain mold in the hot water to warm the mold.
     Step 2:  Invert the mold onto a serving platter.  
     Tap the platter and mold together as one against a countertop, till the zombie brain pops out of the mold.
     Step 3:  Center the Mango Cherry Cream Aspic Zombie Brain on the platter.
     Pour the pomegranate gastrique over the zombie brain and onto the platter.
     Step 4:  Sprinkle 1/4 cup of pomegranate fruit on the platter.
     Sprinkle 2 to 3 tablespoons of the Zombie Green Chromosome Gummies on the platter.
     Step 5:  Arrange the Teriyaki Thai Silk Worms on the zombie brain and the platter in a ghastly manner.

     Voila!  Magnifique!  A lifelike zombie brain that tastes great!  

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