The fourth season of “The Walking Dead” premieres this weekend and I have been dying to put together a celebration meal to kick off the new season. When Kyle and I did our first Richmond Zombie Walk in 2007, we noticed that a few of the zombies were eating “blood”-stained heads of cauliflower while lumbering down Cary Street. I have not forgotten what a great stand-in the cauliflower was for a human brain, so I knew I wanted to use that as main element of my dinner. We ate this meal a night ahead of time, because we weren’t sure if we would be able to stomach the beet juice stained cauliflower while watching the very graphic show. I have a lot of respect for anyone who tries! Here are three great recipes inspired by AMC’s “The Walking Dead” for your own gory premiere celebration or spooky Halloween dinner.
We started off with a mock-tail that reminded us of the setting of the show. For a spiked version, I recommend adding sweet tea flavored vodka to the mix. But go easy on the sweet tea vodka, *I heard from a friend* that it is delicious and can be very dangerous!
The base of the drink is peach flavored iced tea, which is reminiscent of the series’ Georgia setting. I combined the iced tea with sweetened blood orange juice and soda to give it a bloody twist.
This Martinelli’s blood orange juice comes sweetened and it was all I could find at the grocery stores in Richmond this week. If you have better luck than me finding it, you could use fresh blood orange juice and sweeten to taste if you prefer to control the sugar content.
Iced Blood Orange Georgia Peach Sweet Tea
recipe for 1 pitcher – serves 4-6
- 4 bags Celestial Seasonings Country Peach Passion herbal tea
- 1-1/2 cups sparking water
- 1 cup sweetened blood orange juice
- Optional: 1/2 cup sweet tea or peach flavored vodka
- Boil 2 cups water. Pour hot water over tea bags in large pitcher. Let steep 4 minutes, then remove tea bags.
- Transfer pitcher to refrigerator to cool.
- When cooled, add sparkling water and blood orange juice to pitcher. Optional: add vodka. Stir to combine.
- Serve over ice.
Last season of “The Walking Dead” left us with summer turning to fall. Our next two dishes teamed up to serve us a combination of the sultry, smoky flavor of Southern summer turning to fall, and the raw blood and guts that zombie flick fans have come to love. Here are the final two recipes, that taste great on their own but also go really well together. Scroll the past recipes for a throwback photo and my best zombie joke.
Spicy Roasted Cauliflower “Brains” with Citrusy Beet Salad
- 3 beets, greens removed
- 1 head cauliflower
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 orange
- 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wash the beets and slice off the tops. Lay beets cut side down in a glass baking dish. Add a few tablespoons of water to the dish and cover with aluminum foil. Roast beets in preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 50-60 minutes or until tender. Remove cover and let cool.
- Meanwhile, grate the orange to get about a tablespoon of orange zest. Then slice into segments and dice the orange, discarding the peel.
- Once beets are cooled, remove the skins. The rough skins should slide right off. Set beets aside. Reserve the cooking water in the bottom of the pan.
- Trim the leaves off the cauliflower and place on a cutting board stem side down. Slice the cauliflower into 1-inch slices, cutting from top to stem, working right to left. You should have several cross-sections in which you can see the branches. (See my post on Cauliflower Steaks for a visual)
- Spread the sliced cauliflower in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, combine 2-3 tablespoons of the beet juice from the baking dish, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, liquid aminos, cumin, smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Brush the cauliflower slices with the beet juice mixture. Roast the cauliflower slices at 400 degrees F for 30 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.
- While the cauliflower cooks, dice the cooled beets into small cubes. Toss with diced orange in a medium sized bowl. Add the remaining orange zest, parsley, balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and a dash of cumin and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve cauliflower slices topped with beet salad for a gory beet blood stained meal!
Smoky Chipotle Butternut Squash and Butter Beans with Adobo Brown Butter Sauce
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter (I told you this was Southern. . .)
- 1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 1 chipotle in adobo sauce, finely chopped
- 1 can butter beans, drained and rinsed
- Heat butter in large pan over medium heat until browned and foamy.
- Add the squash to the pan and toss in butter to coat.
- Add the chopped chipotle in adobo sauce and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes or until squash begins to brown.
- Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook an additional 10 minutes over low heat.
- Add butter beans to pan and cover. Cook 5-10 minutes more or until squash is tender.