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Prep Frighteningly Good Halloween Meal!

"The Early Show Saturday Edition"'s "Chef on a Shoestring" usually wears chef's garb, but on Halloween, who could resist having a great costume as the attire of the day?

Mike Price, executive chef and partner at Market Table, one of New York's hottest restaurants, accepted our "Chef on a Shoestring" challenge on Halloween, and got right into the spirit of things, donning a costume as the Swedish Chef of Muppets fame.

Of course, Mike whipped up a Halloween-themed meal, preparing ghoulishly good dishes, and showing viewers amazing tricks to wind up with delicious treats!


• Pumpkin Soup Served in Pumpkin Bowls
• Ghost & Bat Shaped Grilled Panini
• Mini-Caramel Dipped Apples

But could he do it on our "Shoestring" budget of only $35?

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And where would he land in our "How Low Can You Go" competition? The "Shoestring" chefs whose ingredients' totals are lowest will be invited back to cook our big holiday meals at the end of the year.


Crème fraiche: This matured, thickened cream has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture. The thickness of creme fraiche can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room-temperature margarine. (Source: "Food Lover's Companion")

Lady Apples: Tiny apples that are only about 1 1/2 inches across with a shape that's slightly flattened on the top and bottom. The skin color ranges from brilliant red to yellow with red blushing. Lady apples have a crisp flesh and mildly sweet-tart flavor. (Source: "Food Lover's Companion")


Pumpkin Soup


Four 4-inch diameter baby pumpkins (tops cut off and hollowed)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup small diced onion
2 tablespoon butter
2 cups smashed pumpkin
1 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg
Pinch all spice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 slices pumpernickel bread
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


Cut the tops off the baby pumpkins and hollow them out with a soup spoon making sure to remove the seeds, but not the flesh. Place the hollow pumpkins in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil and maple syrup. Season with salt and pepper. Bake at 350°F for about 30-40 minutes or until tender. Reserve.

In a medium sauce pot, brown the diced onions in butter over medium heat. Add nutmeg and smashed pumpkin and continue to sweat. Add chicken stock and season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, adjust seasoning and consistency, reserve hot.

Combine crème fraiche, nutmeg, cinnamon, all spice and season with salt and pepper. Reserve.

Dice pumpernickel into ½-inch pieces and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toast in 350°F oven on a baking sheet for about 5-7 minutes until toasted and crunchy. Reserve.

Ladle the hot soup into the roasted pumpkins. Add a dollop of the spiced crème fraiche and top with the pumpernickel croutons.

For more recipes, go to Page 2.

Ghost and Bat Grilled Panini


8 slices white bread or Pullman loaf
8 slices pumpernickel bread
8 slices yellow cheddar
8 slices fontina cheese
8 slices good deli ham
8 slices good deli turkey
2 cups cleaned arugula
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
4-5 inch Halloween cookie cutters


Mix and match bread with different meats, cheeses and arugula. Add any of your favorite toppings and brush with melted butter. Place on griddle or Panini press until toasted and golden. Use cookie cutters to cut out different Halloween shapes and serve.

Caramel Apples


12 lady apples or 6 medium apples (washed, stemmed, dried)
6-12 wooden craft sticks or Popsicle sticks
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
¼ cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoon unsalted butter


Insert the sticks into the tops of the apples.

Prepare a water/ice bath.

Boil the sugar, cream, corn syrup and butter over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 250°F (about 10-12 minutes).

Place caramel in a water/ice bath to stop the cooking and slightly cool the mixture.

Dip the apples in the caramel to cover about 2/3 to ¾ of the apple. If the mixture is too thin, allow to cool longer, if the mixture get to thick simply heat to melt slightly.


At this point you can dip the apples in chopped, toasted nuts. Place in a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate until set. About 20 minutes.

So, how did Mike do in our "How Low Can You Go" competition?

Pumpkin Soup
Pumpkins $3.19
Maple syrup $1.59
onion $0.64
pumpkin $2.59
nutmeg $0.99
chicken stock $1.29
crème fraiche $2.99
pumpernickel bread $1.69
Total $14.97

Grilled Panini
pullman loaf $1.99
cheddar $2.50
fontina $3.50
ham $2.99
turkey $2.99
arugula $1.99
Total $15.96

Caramel Apples
apples $2.29
heavy cream $1.19
Total $3.48

Grand total: $34.41

Our current leaders board:

1. Robert Carter $32.24
Peninsula Grill

2. Paul Liebrandt $32.35

3. George Mendes $32.49

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