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Halloween Festivities!

November 1, 2012

Last year, the office I worked in celebrated Halloween by throwing a dessert party in the office (see: A Frightfully Ghoulish Treat!).  The hospitality staff closed off our biggest conference room and went about decorating the room with all sorts of tasty treats and scary decorations, including a cauldron, a big scary spider, and random bloody body parts strewn all over the place.  Recently, I changed jobs and I wasn’t sure what to expect for Halloween this year at my new office.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that not only did my new office celebrate Halloween, but the building where the office is located in also had a big Halloween celebration!

Halloween is a great time, as adults, to let loos and have some fun, show some creativity through costumes, and treats, and pumpkins.  The building I’m currently working in set up a pumpkin carving contest for the tenants in the building to participate in, and I was blown away by some of the entries in the contest.  Some people are really way more creative than I could ever hope to be, either that or they just have too much time on their hands.  I had been to this building last year on Halloween and was amazed then at some of the tenant pumpkin creations, but the ones this year just blew me away.  There were pumpkins that were carved into scary and ghoulish pictures, there were other pumpkins that were covered in paint or dyed and then carved, and then there were others that were just so creative, that it defies words, such as the pumpkin in the picture above that was turned into a super-realistic-looking hamburger complete with fries!

In the office that I work in, it was decided last week that in honor of Halloween we’d have a potluck!  This was all predicated on the fact that there was someone in the office who really wanted to celebrate fall and cooler temperatures (which we unfortunately haven’t really had yet) by making turkey chili.  So the chili was the star of the potluck!

But before we could eat the chili, we had to start with appetizers, which were provided by someone else in the office.  I think we all got to experience something different when this particular person brought in their appetizer.  Essentially, it was a try of crackers, salami, and vegetables – including beets, cucumbers and bell peppers.  But there was element on the tray which one of were familiar with. Burrata cheese is what threw all of us off.  There was a plate on the platter that was filled with what kind of looked like cottage cheese, and that’s what I think most of us thought it was.  To help show us the possibilities of what we could make with what was on the platter, this person put together a couple of sample combinations together for us so we could see what we could do on our own.

At first, we all thought it strange to be putting cottage cheese on salami and crackers, but then it was explained to us that the white substance was actually burrata cheese.  As soon as cheese was mentioned, we all dug in!  And boy was it delicious.  Burrata cheese is a fresh Italian cheese made of mozzarella and cream.  The cheese comes in hand-formed balls where the outer shell is mozzarella and you cut into it and reveal a center that is a mixture of mozzarella and cream, so it has a soft, texture which throws everyone off.  The taste of the cheese mixed with the incredible salami that was brought in was just fantastic!

After appetizers, it was time for salad!  Someone else in the office and brought in the fixings for a salad and put it all together to serve us.  Super colorful with a combination of fresh greens, red bell peppers and multi-colored grape tomatoes, we had a choice of creamy balsamic vinaigrette or champagne caper vinaigrette.  The salad was super crisp and refreshing and the perfect lead in to some yummy chili!

All of the normal chili fixings were there – diced red onions, grated cheese, and even rice for those who like to have their chili over rice.  And then there was the star, the delicious, not-too-spicy turkey chili.  It was flavorful and rich, and amazingly delicious.  It was such a great idea to make chili on Halloween!

And of course, you can’t have chili without cornbread.  Someone else in the office was nice enough to bring in cornbread to have with the chili.  We had these cute little cornbread muffins with butter and honey.  It was the perfect amount of sweetness to balance out the spice of the chili.

There’s always got to be dessert to end a meal, right?  Well, the dessert was provided by the building who put together a great spread of Halloween-themed treats, including cookies, brownies, various cupcakes, and candies.  It was a ghoulish good time!

Ok, so we may not all get dressed up and go trick-or-treating.  We may not even all celebrate Halloween.  But there’s nothing to say that a group of co-workers can’t come together and use Halloween as excuse to have a terrificly delicious potluck in the office so that we can all enjoy lunch together in the company of friends.  At this rate, I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Halloween next year.  I hope everyone out there had a terrific, and safe, Halloween!

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