Dinner And A Movie Ep. 27: Halloween

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the kitchen, Dinner And A Movie returns with a vengeance (and dripping in blood) on Halloween night! Instead of one full show, we’ll present a triple feature of Phish’s Halloween costume sets over the years. First up is “Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House”, from 2014 in Las Vegas. Then we’ll go back to 1996, to The Omni in Atlanta for Talking Heads’ “Remain in Light”, before finishing off the evening back in Vegas as Phish performs Kasvot Växt’s groundbreaking “í rokk” from 2018. Join us next Saturday, October 31 at 8:30 pm ET at

For the dinner part of the evening we turn to Burlington chef and Phish fan Justin Wright for a fall meal: Delicata Squash Tempura, Primal Soup, and some spooky Ghost Brownies. A graduate of the Vermont’s New England Culinary Institute, Justin cooked at acclaimed restaurants all over the country before returning to Burlington this summer to open casual French eatery C’est Ca.

The beneficiary for the weekend is Fair Elections Center. You can donate at any time at Fair Elections Center is a national, nonpartisan voting rights and election reform organization which works to remove barriers to registration and voting for traditionally underrepresented constituencies. The Center works to improve election administration through legislative, legal and administrative reform, to protect access to the ballot through litigation, and to provide election law expertise, voter information and technical assistance to voter mobilization organizations. Learn more about them at

Primal Soup

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 leek
1 bay leaf
2″ chunk of fresh ginger (grated on microplane or fine shred off a box grater)
1 lb carrots (peeled and cut in small chunks)
1 lb sweet potato (peeled and cut in small chunks)
3 celery stalks
1 t red pepper flake
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 t ground coriander
1 t ground turmeric
1 cup chopped tomatoes
2 quarts water
14 oz. can of chickpeas
1 bunch lacinato kale ( ribbed and chopped a bit)
Garnishes : 1 bunch chopped cilantro, 2 limes cut into wedges, olive oil
Chorizo (optional)

Heat the olive oil in the bottom of your soup pot and add the diced leeks with one bay leaf and a good pinch of salt. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.

Add the diced carrots, sweet potatoes, and celery, continue to cook for 10 minutes to marry the vegetables together. Then add the diced tomatoes and season with grated ginger, red pepper flake, cumin seed, turmeric and ground coriander. Give the pot a nice big stir and a smell.

Another good pinch of salt to all the vegetables and then add the water. Bring the soup to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. The vegetables should be cooked but not mushy.

Next step using a blender, add a few ladles full of the soup ( not too full !!) half of your chopped cilantro, and about half the can of drained chickpeas. Be careful when you buzz it up, start slow with a few pulses, and work the mix into a puree. Do this in two batches if it feels more comfy for your blender.

Add the puree back to your soup pot with the chopped kale and remaining chickpeas. Bring everything back to a bare simmer for 5-10 minutes, adjusting the consistency with a bit water and season additionally with salt if you like.

Garnish each bowl with a bit of lime and cilantro, with a small glug of your finest of olive oils.

Primal garnish option- for meat lovers add some chorizo that has been sautéed with a bit of garlic. Spoon a bit of this in yer soup bowl with its spicy red oil!

Delicata Squash Tempura

2 Delicata Squashes
1 lb. Oyster Mushrooms
400 ml Sparkling Water, icy cold
2 Eggs
2 cups cake flour
1 t Cornstarch

Vegetable Oil, Sesame Oil
Fine salt, togarashi pepper

Prepare the squashes by trimming off the root ends, then cut the squash in half keeping the log shape. Using a butter knife remove the guts and seeds from each squash log. Then proceed to cut each log into 1/2″ donuts going down. Be careful and use a sturdy knife on a clean cutting board. You should wind up with a bunch of donuts.

For the oyster mushrooms, remove the root ends to free the shrooms and then either leave them whole, or tear in half depending on the size of your mushrooms.

Now for the frying – In a medium sized pot/dutch oven, preferably cast iron, add approximately 2 1/2″ of the vegetable oil. Add a spoonful of sesame oil and heat the oils slowly on your stovetop.

Meanwhile mix the tempura batter – whisk the two eggs in a bowl, then add the sparkling water (Cold as Ice). Sift the flour and cornstarch into another bowl, add a pinch of salt and a teeny pinch of sugar. Then mix the wet ingredients slowly into the flour bowl using your favorite chopsticks or a fork, in a circular spinning motion. Lumps are ok, but don’t over mix the batter. Keep it cold in the fridge until you fry.

To start frying the vegetables I like to work in batches, dredging a few pieces at a time in a separate bowl with plain flour, then move to the bowl of the tempura batter, and then carefully into your fry pot. The oil should be about 350 degrees for frying, and to test this without a thermometer just add a small nip of the batter to the hot oil see how it bubbles up. Tongs or chopsticks are useful tools for dropping the battered vegetables into the hot oil (cauldron).

Squash donut rings should fry in 3-4 minutes , mushrooms 2-3 minutes. Remove the crispy tempura to a plate lined with some paper towels, and season with salt and togarashi if you have it.

Serve hot and crispy with some soy sauce seasoned with some grated ginger, sesame oil and a bit hoisin/oyster sauce if you have it.

Ghost Brownies

1 cup all purpose flour
2 t Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/4 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Salt

1 C Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 stick Butter
1/4 C Unsweet Cocoa powder

1 1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Pumpkin puree
3 Eggs
1 t Vanilla Extract

1/4 t Powdered Gelatin, from 1 envelope
1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
1/2 cups Water
* black piping frosting, from the store

Preheat your oven to 350. Line a 9 x 13″ pan with parchment and grease it with a bit of butter.

In a bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients, set aside. Meanwhile in a small saucepan, melt the chocolate chips with the butter and cocoa powder until smooth and silky, about 3 minutes.

Stir together the sugar, pumpkin puree, eggs and vanilla in a medium sized bowl. Then add the chocolate mix to this bowl and fold the flavors together. Now Add the dry mix a bit at a time until its all smooth and brownie like. Spoon the brownie mix into the prepared pan and bake the brownie at 350 for about 20 minutes or so, until a toothpick comes out clean from the middle. Let cool for a bit then remove the brownie to a large plate.

Next for the story of the ghosts – sprinkle the powdered gelatin over 1/4 C of the water to soften it. In a small saucepan combine the remaining 1/4 C of water and the sugar. Bring the mixture up to medium heat while stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once at a boil, stop stirring, and just let it boil for about 5 minutes. Remove this from the heat and add it to the gelatin mixture in the bowl of a Kitchen Aid style stand mixer.

With the whisk attachment, whip this sugary mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. Then increase the speed to high for an additional 5-7 minutes, to achieve soft peaks. Using a spatula remove the marshmallowy mix to a small piping bag, or a ziploc bag with a corner snipped.

Now for the fun – using the piping bag of fluff, design little teardrop shaped ghosts over the top of the brownie…. Picture a haunted door creaking open, Ghosts are everywhere !! Use the black piping frosting to make little eyes and mouths for your ghouls.