During the holidays, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Halloween, Christmas, or whatever people celebrate these days, I get a strong impulse to flip through food magazines – you know, the kind that stare at you when you’re standing in line with groceries. The ones with the catchy titles like “23 best cookie recipes ever” or whatever.
I don’t have to be standing in line for this food-ogling impulse to strike – I don’t even need to be in the presence of a magazine. Sometimes, when I’m working on the computer and my mind starts to wander, the Interwebz becomes my magazine. Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart, Epicurious, Cooks Illustrated, Canadian Living…those websites are my vices and I love them so much. Because, pretty pictures! And food!
One day while I was pondering what would make for appropriate Halloween snacking, I stumbled upon possibly the cutest thing ever – these Bat Bites
from myrecipes. So. Cute. I mean, pink and frilly and unicorns and kittens are totally cute too, but these are like the badass kind of cute.
My mission was to veganize the cheese-based bats, which was fairly simple with my super-easy almond cheese in hand. I also made a smaller batch than the original recipe since it’s just Logan and I – eight bats are more than enough for the two of us.
I’m imagining these as part of a four-course Halloween dinner as the cutest appetizer ever, maybe with some olive spiders hanging out beside them with eight little rosemary twigs sticking out of them like legs. Yeah? Yeah. (Did anyone else notice how many numbers I used in the last few sentences? Whew, I’m getting all mathy.)
Halloween Bat Bites
Adapted from Myrecipes.com
Makes about 8 bats
1 cup blanched almonds
1/3 cup water or more, for blending
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley or basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon light agave
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
8 small black olives, sliced
16 red peppercorns
16 nicely shaped blue corn chips
1. Combine the almonds and water in a blender and blend until smooth. Line a few stacked berry containers with a nut milk bag or cheesecloth and pour in the almond mixture. Cover the mixture with extra cloth, place something heavy on top (I used an unopened pasta jar), and put a plate underneath the berry containers to catch extra liquid. Allow it to drain for at least 3 hours. Remove the almond cheese from the nut milk bag and place in a small bowl. For more pictures and details of this process, visit my herbed almond cheese recipe.
2. In a small blender or food processor, process the lemon juice, parsley, olive oil, agave, garlic and salt until combined – some texture is okay. Stir into the almond cheese until it’s combined. Chill this in the fridge for about an hour so it firms up a little bit, making it easier to roll into balls.
3. To assemble the bats: Spread out the poppyseeds and ground pepper on a small plate in a thin layer. Take about 1 tablespoon of the almond cheese and form it into a ball, and then roll the ball into the poppyseed/pepper mixture until the surface is covered. Place the ball on a serving plate and add two olive slices for eyes, and then lay 2 red peppercorns in the middle of the olives for eyeballs. Insert two corn chips into the bat ball as the wings. Repeat until you’re out of the cheese mixture, and you have an adorable little bat army in your kitchen.
The one in the back looks like he’s freaking out a little. Maybe it’s because he’s a bat.
Another awesome thing about these little Halloween bat bites is that they actually make a fairly practical appetizer, since everything on them can be eaten and they taste great – rich and tangy with a pleasant peppery kick. The “wings” make the perfect vehicle for scooping up that cheesy bat goodness, and you can serve some extra chips on the side if you prefer more chip than spread like I do.
These would also be fairly simple to rawify, since they’re essentially raw anyway with the exception of the corn chips. But I’ve eaten and made raw crackers and chips, so I know this appetizer isn’t out of a rawbie’s reach!
Do you guys have a Halloween menu planned at all? I’d love to know what you’ll be eating, treats and all!