Tim Burton Inspired Food
By: Geek Girl Mistress Zelda|
Geek Girl Zelda shared eight of her amazing Tim Burton inspired meal and dessert recipes with us...
I do a lot of entertaining at my house, and one of my favorite parts of hosting is creating fun, geeky themed menus! I cook often, but it always add a unique interesting challenge that helps inform the menu when I work it into a theme. This will be a series of posts so that you can try it at home. My most recent party was a Halloween party with a Tim Burton inspired menu, so I'll be starting there. Check back for my video game, Hobbit, and medieval/viking themed menus! I didn't think to take photos of everything in advance, so some recipes will include my inspiration or base recipes.
Tim Burton has a pretty recognizable aesthetic and a sizable list of films he's directed and produced, so it was a fun menu to work out - lots of inspiration! It fit in perfectly with Halloween, both because of the style as well as the fall-inspired menu options. I did a mix of sweet and savory dishes that were easy to distribute and serve. I had vegans and vegetarians at my event, so I tried to mix in a few vegan options as well, where I normally would have been compelled to fill all my dishes with cheese and meat :) I also always do between 2-3 dishes in the crockpot, as for the most part you just dump in the ingredients and leave them all day to cook, and they keep warm and serve big groups of people well!
SWEENEY TODD MEAT AND MUSHROOM PIES
This dish certainly informed itself. Besides the fact that I love making meat pies and it works nicely as a savory vegetarian dish as well, it's pretty much the most iconic food in the Tim Burton universe. Plus, you can make the filling in advance and just dump them in the oven when you are ready to serve your guests. I make several different varieties of this, but for this particular theme, I used a few different ingredients and traditional medieval, holiday spices. I actually sourced a lot of my produce from Farm Fresh To You
, so most of my ingredients for this dish were organic - but that's a little bit on the pricier side. I used to same base for both the vegan and the meat options, which filled 4 pies. I then separately cooked the meat and mushroom fillings and mixed it in with half of my veggie base to make 2 meat and 2 mushroom pies. I use a pre-made pie crust because it saves me a lot of prep time when I'm making many dishes and it keeps well in the fridge overnight, but if you are just making this dish by itself I'd recommend making your own crust. The recipe below is enough to make 2 pies, although I doubled it for my servings since I had a lot of people and meat pie is always one of the first things to go.
-1 bunch rainbow carrots (this gives the pie more color and they have added flavor, although regular carrots are fine in a pinch)
-1 large onion, minced (I used a mix of white and red onion, but white onion on its own is fine)
-1.5 cups thin sliced, medium diced potatoes (I use mostly red potatoes, although I had some unusual organic purple ones this time! I peel baking potatoes but leave the skin on red and purple potatoes)
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1 teaspoon brown sugar
-1/2 teaspoon saffron, if available
-1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
-1/2 teaspoon paprika
-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
-1 large dash allspice
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-Store bought pie crust x2 or your own recipe
You will also need 1 pound meat (pork, beef, or a mix) and/or 2-3 packages mixed mushrooms. Add extra if you intend to make only meat or only vegetarian options. You can also do meat AND mushrooms.
(The mushroom and meat pies before they were brushed with butter and went into the oven)
This time, I mixed all the vegetables and spices along with ½ the olive oil into a Tupperware container to sit overnight, then sautéed the vegetables in a skillet over medium heat with a little additional olive oil. You may need to add in a tiny bit of water, cover the pan and let it simmer to help the root vegetables cook through. The next day, I separated it into 2 different bowls and created the additional filling for both the meat and veggie versions.
For the meat version, I used 1 pound of beef, but you can use pork or a mix of beef and pork as well (especially since pork is meant to be the closest thing to actual human meat, ie long pork
). For the veggie version, I used a mix of different mushrooms. I like to mix small mushrooms like enoki that you can put in whole as well as chopped up portabello, shiitake or maitake. Asian markets have the widest selection of mushroom varieties! They do provide different taste and texture, while behaving the most closely to meat. Mushrooms take on the flavor of everything else you cook with it, so I always like to use them as a meat replacement when I can.
With both the meat and the mushroom versions, sauté it over medium heat in a little bit of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Then, mix it in with the veggies and fill the pie crust. Brush butter or olive oil on the crust of the pie, depending on your dietary restrictions (I prefer butter), and sprinkle some cinnamon and brown sugar onto the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes and you have yourself some tasty pies!
Onto the next main dish...
Yay, more easy crockpot cooking! I used my giant crockpot for this, and there were NO SURVIVORS. This was one that I literally just started at the beginning of the day and left alone, and by the time the party rolled around they were perfectly cooked and delicious. If you have any BBQ sauce left over you can even store and re-use it for another day.
-I used 4 packages cocktail weenies, but you can scale this recipe down if that is too many. It made A LOT! (I had about 50 guests)
-12 oz jar of grape jelly (this is the secret ingredient)
-12 oz ketchup
-12 oz sweet BBQ sauce (do not
-10 oz can pineapple chunks, drained
-Small can diced jalapeno, to your taste depending on how spicy you want it
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 small onion, diced
-4-5 cloves garlic, minced
Put all ingredients in the crockpot, making sure the meat is fully submerged in the sauce, and cook on low for about 6 hours. Stir at least once during the process, and taste to see if you want to add any salt or pepper (mine did not need any)
PUMPKIN KING SOUP
Making vegan butternut squash soup was a challenge, as I LOVE making it with cream cheese. I did an alternative version using unsweetened coconut milk, and I dare say it turned out just as good if not better. This one took some taste testing as it cooked to get the flavors tasting perfect since the ingredients were a little unfamiliar to me, so you may need to do some minor adjustments to your taste as it cooks. I admit for me cooking is more of an art than a science and I don’t do a lot of measuring as I go. It was delicious and also was one of the first things to get scarfed up ☺
-1 large butternut squash, peeled and medium diced
-1 medium onion, diced
-1 lb carrots, peeled and diced
-1 tart green apple, cored, peeled and diced
-3.5 cups vegetable broth
-16 oz coconut milk, unsweetened
-2 bay leaves
-1 tablespoon salt
-1 tablespoon pepper
-1/4 teaspoon dried sage
-1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
-1/4 teaspoon brown sugar
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon olive oil
You can skip this step if you want, although I wouldn’t. Roasting your squash before putting it into the crockpot gives it additional yummy flavor. Spread it out on a cookie sheet, drizzle in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and toss to fully coat. Roast at 350 for about 20-25 minutes before transferring it into the crockpot along with the onion, carrots, apple, spices, and vegetable broth. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours. When cooked, remove bay leaves, transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour back into the crockpot, slowly stir in coconut milk and blend. Taste, and add in more salt or pepper if necessary. Serve with crusty bread or croutons (croutons are easier in a party setting!) This one works well to cook in advance and re-heat in the crockpot the next day. Most soups and stews do!
Now, onto the drinks and desserts.
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH SANGRIA
I also always like to have one themed adult mixed drink available at events that can be chilled and served out of a giant jug. Originally I intended this to be a plain white sangria, but some mistakes were made - the good thing about making sangria is it’s a very forgiving drink, so long as you manage to keep the flavors in the same family. The red color in my sangria is due to me not buying enough white wine and substituting a framboise lambic in the place of the final bottle of white wine (a fruity, thick style of French beer). While delicious, it definitely dominated the color palette and washed out a bit of the peach flavor and I would not include it again if I wanted to keep a more peach flavor profile – but it was tasty! It did make it feel a bit more fall and less summery, as well.
Peaches are also out of season when I made this, so I used canned peaches in place of fresh ones.
-1 cup peach schnapps or peach flavored vodka
-1/2 cup triple sec (orange liqueur)
-1/2 cup cognac
-1/4 cup white sugar
-2 mangoes, peeled and sliced
-1 large can peaches, or 3 fresh peaches
-1 liter ginger ale
-1 cup sliced strawberries
-1/4 cup lemon juice
In pitcher, combine schnapps or vodka, triple sec, cognac, sugar, and fruit. Chill for at least 1 hour. Pour mixture into punch bowl and stir in chilled wine, lemon juice and ginger ale. Alternatively, you can mix everything into one pitcher, although it is possible fruit may get lodged in the dispenser. Sangria is easier to serve out of a bowl with a ladle.
VODKA AND TEQUILA SANDWORMS
I also made some adult gummies! These are super easy. Normally they are made with regular gummy worms, but Oriental Trading
sells both realistic worms and realistic roaches in gummy form, and I thought they’d be more in theme. They have a slightly harder texture than regular gummy worms which helps keep them from falling apart or turning into mush as they soak. All you have to do is put them in a container and pour vodka or tequila over them, slightly above the line of gummies, and soak them overnight. Voila! Alcoholic candy. You can even go in for a second pour after the gummies have soaked up the first pass of alcohol if you want them extra dangerous.
JACK SKELLINGTON OREO POPS
These are super easy, super cute, and super tasty! They are a bit time consuming and labor intensive, but they are always a big hit!
-1 pack of Oreos (I tried to find the orange filled kind, unsuccessfully. I thought double stuff would work better, but they actually made the sticks have a hard time staying in, so I recommend regular Oreos)
-1 package lollipop sticks
-1 large package white melting chocolate, available at crafting or baking stores
-1 package black icing, either in a tube or with a icing tip and bag combo
-Non-stick wax sheets
All you have to do for this recipe is put a lollipop stick into the individual Oreos, microwave the melting chocolate as per the directions on the back, and dip the Oreo into the melted white chocolate, making sure to drip off any excess. Put the Oreos onto the non-stick wax paper and chill them in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Take them out and decorate the faces with the icing, chilling them again in the freezer once they are done. Yay, Oreo pops!
MARS ATTACKS STRAWBERRY BRAINS
-1 brain chocolate candy mold
-1 package strawberries
-1 small package pink, orange and white melting chocolate
-Optional candy eyes
This is another super easy one. Cut some large strawberries in half lengthwise, removing the stem. These will be the base of your brains and should fill of a large part of your mold. Mix 2 parts pink, 1 part white, and 1 part orange melting chocolate, microwave as per instructions. Mix so you get a good fleshy color. Fill up the brain molds halfway, making sure chocolate fills all edges. Firmly press strawberry halves, flat side facing out, into the chocolate. Add chocolate around edges to fill up any additional space.
Place the filled molds in the freezer for about 10 minutes, then remove. If you desire, take 2 candy eyeballs and attach them to the base of the brain with icing. I thought of this idea afterwards and didn’t have any more candy eyeballs or I would have done it! So Mars Attacks!
Additional idea! I didn’t get to execute this as well as I wanted to as I ran out of time to make them from scratch. Originally I wanted to make dirt style cupcakes (like from when we were kids, chocolate cupcakes cut up to look like dirt). I ended up just adding on a roach gummy alongside candy graves I wrote “Here lies Betelgeuse” on, and they ended up still being a fun additional treat.
ADDITIONAL TREATS AND DECORATIONS
Black and white striped lollipops, a Willy-Wonka themed candy bar, Alice in Wonderland tea sandwiches or rosewater tea, bubblegum themed Mars Attacks dishes, Beetlejuice shrimp cocktail, Batman bat symbol rice crispy treats or cookies, or a baked “Big Fish” casserole. I couldn’t think of anything for Edward Scissorhands or Sleepy Hollow, so comment below if you’ve got an idea!
Decorations of pumpkins, balloons, black and white stripes and swirls, graveyards. Pretty traditional Halloween stuff. You can find all sorts of things the day after Halloween at a discount and squirrel it away for when it’s time for this party ☺
By: Geek Girl Mistress Zelda
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January 09 2017