Sunday, October 24, 2010

Muffin Tin Monday - Double, Double Toil and Trouble

This week's Muffin Tin Monday theme is Halloween. I had loads of ideas and found lots of great recipes on other blogs and magazine websites. It took me a while to settle on a uniting theme and which ideas I wanted to incorporate, but I finally settled on "realistic-scary/gross" food ideas. I found a neat pickle frog and pickle bats. I thought about doing an easy set of olive eyes, and while I was thinking "Eye of newt..." I had some niggle of a poem. Here's my stream-of-consciousness thought process: "Eye of newt and something of frog... eyes? No it wouldn't be eyes again... what else do frogs have? feet? legs? Okay. Eye of newt and legs of frog... hmmm still sounds wrong... what's the rest? Something something something dog? Are there bats? What else?" And then I googled it. "Eye newt frog dog" and got the bit from Act 4, Scene 1 of Macbeth.

"Double, double toil and trouble.
Fire burn and cauldron bubble"
"Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
lizard's leg, and howlet's wing -
For a charm of powerful trouble
like a hell-broth boil and bubble"

Eyes of newt, and Pickle frog. Wing-ed bats and tongue of dog.
Witch's finger, Blood-worm things, Rotting mouths with toothy things.
For this muffin tin I broke one of my informal rules in that I bought food specifically for this meal. So far I've limited it to 1 special item, like refrigerated biscuit dough, or just scrounged around. But for this one, I bought most of the ingredients especially for this meal, with just a few foods I happened to already have.

Eyes of Newt: I had a can of green olives, bought for no particular purpose last week when I was out getting ingredients for my MNO hummus and pita crisps. I hadn't seen green olives without pimientos before, and I know Z doesn't like the ones with. When I thought of making olive eyes, I had originally planned to use bits of black olives cut using a straw. But while raiding the pantry looking for the can of black olives I had just bought on Wednesday, I found a can of chopped olives. The picture on the front looked like sliced olives cut into 8ths. Should work perfectly! Upon opening, however, I discovered that they are actually finely chopped. Very fine. I decided to jam it into the green olives anyway and call it good. I didn't think I'd have skill to not make a huge mess of it if I tried getting it in with a large spoon, so I cut a segment of drinking straw and snipped out a bit to make a scoop shape.
 That's about as far as I got before my little assistant arrived. She can hear the sound of a can of olives opening from a mile away!
I managed to shovel in some chopped olives, and blew them in from the straw when too much of it got stuffed up inside! Little Z was very enthused about this project, since she's never had plain green olives or chopped olives before, so there was much quality control testing.

Pickle Frog: I found this idea from Better Homes and Gardens' website. I thought that the large pickle with a whole bunch of little ones was too much pickle for my little Oompa-Loompa, so I was just going to use mini pickles. I don't like sweet pickles, so I skipped the Gherkins and just got mini dills. But Unka Seesee had just bought a jar of Sweet Pickles that were about half the size of regular dills, so I opted to use one of those for the body. Z likes sweet pickles, but I thought it was a waste to buy 2 jars of pickles just for this meal, especially as I wouldn't eat any from one of them!
I sliced a little off the bottom of the sweet pickle, so it would lay flat. I then selected various mini dills that looks like the right shape/size. I sliced 4 of them in half lengthwise, and used half for each part of the legs. This worked well, since they not only lay flat, but the shapes and lengths matched perfectly for each leg segment with it's opposite leg.
For the front hands, I made a diagonal slice on top towards the front, and cut out little triangles to make fingers.
I had a hard time getting it to fit onto the tin. I ended up cutting toothpicks to the right length [The scissors didn't cut through them well, so I notched them and then snapped them at the right length] and used them to prop up the parts hanging over empty muffin tin space. I used sliced olives for the eyes. 

Wing-ed Bats and Tongue of Dog: I was originally getting the mini dills to make these, which is why I could justify buying a jar just for this meal - I got to use it for 2 elements. The recipe I found called for salami for the wings, but I don't like salami. I knew I'd need something firm, so the wings wouldn't flop around, but most of the firm sliced meats are processed, which I dislike, both in flavor and concept. I figured I could find something later, and didn't worry about it. But when I was buying the pepperoni for the Monster Pizzas, I decided I could just use that. I should have just bought a slice of salami.
I didn't realize that half a slice of salami was big enough for the whole wingspan. I thought half-pepperonis could each be a wing. They turned out okay,  but they had to lay flat so the wings didn't just swivel down, so I had to cut the toothpicks in half.
I sliced 2 pepperoni circles in half, then used a petal from my small flower cookie cutter to take little bits out to make the webbed-look.
 I stabbed my half-toothpick in through the top inner corner of each wing, then through the back of the pickle. I used a toothpick to apply ketchup eyes on the first one, but only the old crusty ketchup in the nozzle showed up well, so I used mustard for the second one.
For the "dog's tongue" I was going to just use fruit leather, but I found a sugared strip of candy in my grocery store's bulk food section, so I was able to get just 1 strip. I cut a smaller piece off, then used scissors to round one end.

Witch's Finger: I've seen several versions of this, using sandwiches, cheese sticks and bread dough. I decided I'd do a cheese stick, until I remembered my tube of refrigerated bread stick dough in the fridge, and a recipe to make snails with it too. [Bread snails will be in another post!] I was in a hurry, trying to whip these all up Saturday, since I didn't think I'd have time Sunday morning to get the baking and other food prep done in time for lunch. But we were headed out to Nana's Saturday afternoon, so she could babysit while we went to Bob & Jessica's annual Halloween party. And we had food to make to bring to that too. [More about that later too!]
And it turned out that I had buttery crescent roll dough, not bread sticks, as I had thought; and it was pre-rolled and cut into triangles. So I had to try and smoosh it back together to form decent finger shapes. I sliced some knuckle wrinkles in with a knife before baking, but they didn't appear very well after. Only one of my 2 fingers survived the baking process. I used the flat edge of a knife blade to make new knuckle wrinkles, and Nutella to glue on an almond slice (purchased a whole bag, for this one purpose. :P) In hindsight, I should have used pesto, but it didn't matter, as she didn't eat it. Just licked off the Nutella. [It was very good reheated in the microwave for 10 seconds and dipped in pesto!]

Blood-Worm Things: I'll post more about our experience making these, but my husband found this idea online and I thought it would be awesome. I had to buy everything for it though, so more extra expenses for this tin. Basically, jello, gelatin and whipping cream, solidified in straws.

Rotting Mouth With Toothy Things: I've seen this idea several places, as Zombie Jaws using a red apple and almond slivers, and as a Monster Mouth with green apple and candy corn. I opted for red apple with almond slivers, and PB inside. [I had to buy a bag of almond slivers. I didn't like the look of the almond slices for this.]
I cored an apple using my new Pampered Chef corer, then sliced the apple into 8ths.
 I picked the 4 best looking slices, and started jamming almond slivers into them. I did just a few on the bottom, placed so that the mouths could close a little better. Turned out not to matter, since the PB didn't hold them together very well, so they wouldn't stay closed.
 Slathered some PB inside and called it good!

Are jyoo done taykkin a pik-shuress now mommee?
Are jyoo done? Can I tushch it nao?"

She licked off the PB and removed all the almonds. She ate a few pickles and the sugared candy strip. And the olives, of course. Most of the pickles were left behind, as was the pepperoni, breadstick (after licking off the Nutella and discarding the almond sliver) and most, if not all, of the jello worms.

Muffin Tin Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth


  1. okay that witches finger looks eerily I think i just shivered over here. great job. ;)

  2. The blood worm just looks nasty! Otherwise my Little one saw your tin and begged me to make a pickle/olive frog, she went nuts over it. Great tin!

  3. I love the worms. Yes, they look gross! They are perfect for this theme.

  4. Great tin! Love the pickle frog!

  5. After buying Almond slices for the finger (which came out awesome, btw) I'd have used a knife to cut it into slivers for the teeth!


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