Friday, October 31, 2014

On the Homefront: Black Cats Halloween Table

Even Dalmatian WitchiePoo isn't safe from a grinning black cat
looming behind her!

For better or worse, black cats are traditionally associated with Halloween.  Even the rather sweet black cats on my salad plates fall under this seasonal spell, and they are the inspiration for my holiday table.  Because the plates are accented with the color red, I get to use my favorite color (red) with my second favorite (orange) for the holiday color scheme, combined with the expected black plus a little white.  Throw in some slightly tarnished silver accents (completely intentional rather than due to neglect, I assure you), and the look is complete!

Once again my photos came out very dark (sigh!).
The black tablecloth and runner didn't help, but I may need
a better camera.  However, the gloomy look suits a Halloween
table, so I went with what I got!

Here is another shot with flash, but it only worked
from this angle.

Round red woven placemat from Kmart a few years ago; orange dinner plate from Publix last year;  Black Cat Dessert Plate and Coffee Mug from Wind & Weather; red napkin; stainless steel flatware; orange water glass from The Cupboard in Fort Collins years ago.

There are four different cat poses on the mug and plate sets.  Here are the other three:

A metal "fish bones" bowl holds shiny red apples,
to keep the (witch) doctor away of course!

A silver candelabra atop a silver tray, with four blood red
candles surrounding a central Halloween orange taper,
serves as the centerpiece.

A spooky cemetery scene is set on the spirit board tray I
won from the HGTV "Design Happens" blog site last year.
A menacing gnarly tree (a Halloween decoration I have had
for years) sits in one corner.  The headstones and jack-o-lanterns
are place holders (cards fit onto the top of the latter, and
an erasable marker pen is used on the former).  A giant owl
sits at the front of the tray, completely out of scale but
I am very fond of him!

For the menu, the Dalmatians on the scene are willing to eat anything, but the black cats insisted that cat-friendly fare be served!  To keep them happy, I am serving a tuna noodle casserole made from scratch (no cream soup shortcuts for these finicky felids).  The cider is probably only a people pleaser, but everyone should love the pumpkin crème brûlée (pumpkin for the pups and cream for the kitties, although I did have a cat who adored pumpkin muffins and of course the dogs would eagerly devour cream as well as pumpkin).

I absolutely love the prepackaged chopped salad kits in grocery stores now.  My current favorite is Dole's Sunflower Crunch Chopped Salad.  To make this mix more appropriate for Halloween, I simply added some roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (also available at most supermarkets).  You can use whatever prepackaged chopped salad you prefer, or make your own from scratch if you feel the overwhelming need to whack stuff with a knife.

Black Cats Halloween Menu:

Spooky Spiced Apple Cider*
Pumpkin Seed Crunch Chopped Salad

*Spooky Spiced Apple Cider

2 quarts apple cider
1/2 C. molasses
4 lemon slices, cut in half
12 whole cloves
2 (2-inch) cinnamon sticks
1/4 C. lemon juice

Bring the cider plus the next four ingredients to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.  Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.  Strain out the spices and stir in the lemon juice.  Serve garnished with more cinnamon sticks and lemon slices.  Makes 9 cups.

The candy on the table, in keeping with the cat theme, is a bowl full of black and orange Gummy Cats I found at Home Goods:

(Notice the subtle black spider web runner under the bowl.)

Fish heads for the cats, and leg bones for the
Dalmatians - everybody's happy!

One-Eyed Jack sits safely above the feline fray,
And watches the scene with undisguised dismay!

Have a "purr"fectly "pet"rifying Halloween, every"body"!

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