OCTOBER

OCTOBER

September 28, 2011

Trick or Treat Night Favorites

In Celtic days, Oct. 31 was the eve of Samhain, which brought the first day of cold and barren winter. In ancient times, the transition from autumn to winter included the return of the souls of the departed to the
warmth and light they remembered from living days.
 In Ireland, it was thought that on that night fairies ventured forth.

A Maine House Mosaic

We always look forward to Halloween. The neighborhoods come alive with children running from house to house with sheer happiness and anticipation of what goodies will be dropped into their little pumpkin pails. Abbs and Noah always paid a visit to Grandma and Papa's house in Texas, where we had warm and hearty casseroles for dinner before the night's adventures began. Luke the Duke was a perfect Bob the Builder last year and I believe, he is going to be a "cute little nightmare" this year. His costume resembles a cookie monster of sorts so I am certain there will be great pictures to follow. Estelle's is preparing a grown- up tuna dish for the adults and a favorite ravioli pasta casserole the children always request. We all look forward to the featured cupcakes, which are going to be chocolate chip this year!



Estelle's Grown Up Tuna-Noodle Casserole

1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for baking dishes
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 pound wide egg noodles
2 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), thinly sliced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
5 cups whole milk
4 cans (6 ounces each) tuna in olive oil, drained
1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts, drained and thickly sliced
5 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil two 8-inch square (or other shallow 2-quart) baking dishes. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles until 2 minutes short of al dente; drain, and return to pot.
Meanwhile, in a 5-quart Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium. Add bell peppers; season with salt and pepper. Cook until crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Gradually add milk, stirring until smooth. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a simmer.
Remove from heat; add mixture to noodles in pot, along with tuna, artichoke hearts, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper, and toss. Divide between prepared baking dishes, and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake until golden and bubbling, about 20 minutes.






Estelle's Baked Ravioli
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, or oregano
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 pounds store-bought frozen ravioli
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add thyme and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, breaking up tomatoes with spoon, until sauce is thickened and reduced to about 5 1/2 cups, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water just until they float to the top (pasta will continue to cook in oven). Drain pasta; return to pot.Toss sauce with pasta. Pour pasta into a large gratin dish or 9-by-13-inch baking dish, and sprinkle with cheeses. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.





Estelle's Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
3 1/4 cups sifted cake flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 ounces (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
5 large egg whites, room temperature
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Make cupcakes as directed in Basic Cupcake How-To, omitting eggs and using milk and vanilla for wet ingredients. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks, and fold into batter. Fold in chocolate chips. Bake cupcakes about 22 minutes. Frost withyour favorite buttercream icing.






Chocolate Chip Frosting
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Basic Buttercream


Fold chocolate chips into buttercream. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. (Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed before using

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