Renfield’s Spiders: Blue Corn Tortilla Chips & Transylvanian Salsa

Posted October 2, 2014 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Dracula (Oct. 2014) / 6 Comments


I’ve been looking forward to starting this menu for ages! I just read Dracula this past year, and it easily became one of my favorite books. I love the noble characters, gripping suspense, and quietly menacing nature of the Count. I knew right away that Dracula would be the inspiration for my Halloween menu!

We’re starting things off with a much more appetizing version of the madman Renfield’s favorite snack: spiders! With a simple spider stencil and some blue corn tortillas, I made a batch of spider chips. For a fun twist on traditional dipping sauce, I made a Transylvanian salsa recipe from a Romanian site called Transylvanian Kitchen (the Google page translator doesn’t do a perfect job, but the instructions are pretty easy to piece together). Nothing beats the crisp, simple deliciousness of homemade tortilla chips still warm from the oven, and I love the unique, smoky flavor of the salsa—still recognizable as salsa, but decidedly different from the Mexican variety. Together, they’re just the right kickoff for any Halloween party…or Dracula movie night!

Spider Chips & Transylvanian Salsa

“[Rendfield’s] spiders are now becoming as great a nuisance as his flies, and to-day I told him that he must get rid of them…when a horrid blow-fly…buzzed into the room, he caught it, held it exultantly for a few moments between his finger and thumb, and, before I knew what he was going to do, put it in his mouth and ate it…This gave me an idea, or the rudiment of one. I must watch how he gets rid of his spiders. He has evidently some deep problem in his mind, for he keeps a little note-book in which he is always jotting down something.”
— Dracula

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 regular tomatoes or 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 red onion (depends on how onion-y you like your salsa)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/4-1/2 tbsp Tabasco sauce (depends on how spicy you like your salsa)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • approximately 7 fresh flat parsley leaves
  • 1 bag blue corn tortilla shells (Most major grocery stores don’t sell them. You’ll have better luck at a mercado or international grocer. I got mine at Fiesta Market in Mt. Prospect, IL)

 

Makes about 4 servings

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° and coarsely chop all your vegetables.

    Don’t worry about making them even and pretty. They’re gonna get all blended up soon.
  2. Pour the veg into a blender or food processor and blend for about 45 seconds. Drain out the excess liquid.
  3. Squeeze the juice from the lime into the mix and add all your other ingredients (except the tortillas). Pulse a few times until well combined and you’ve reached your desired consistency. After this, you can drain once more, if you like. Few things bother me more than watery salsa, so I was willing to risk losing a little lime juice for the sake of a second drain.
  4. Salsa’s all done—time to start your chips! For this step, you’ll need a spider cookie cutter or stencil. Since I was a having a hard time finding a cookie cutter that really looked like a spider, I used this stencil that I found on Scrapbook.com:

    Now THAT’S a spider!
  5. Stack 2-3 tortillas on top of each other. If using a cookie cutter, just press firmly into the top the same way you would with cookie dough–quick and easy! If you’re using the stencil, trace around the outside edge of the stencil with a small, sharp knife, being careful to cut all the way through to the bottom tortilla. Carefully remove the extra tortilla bits from around the outside of the stencil and discard. The stencil method takes a little extra time, but to me, the end result was worth it.

  6. Repeat the process until you have approximately 16 spiders. On two ungreased cookie sheets, place the spiders an inch or two apart. Liberally salt both sides.
  7. Place the sheets in the oven until the legs begin to brown slightly. For stenciled spiders, this will be about 7 minutes. For cookie cutter spiders, it will be about 10 minutes.
  8. Allow the chips to cool on the pan for about 5 minutes.

    I love how they curl up a little and actually stand on their legs!
  9. To store, place the salsa and chips in separate airtight containers. The salsa can be refrigerated for about three days, and the chips can be stored at room temperature for the same amount of time before they start to lose their crispness.
  10. Serve in the dark dining hall of a decrepit Transylvanian castle to a sinister-looking Count. 🙂

    Of course, there’s no rule that says you have to stick to spiders. You can make a bunch of Dracula-themed chips: coffins, tombstones, bats, the works!

 

 

 

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Here’s the Yummly printable!

Renfield’s Spiders: Blue Corn Tortilla Chips & Transylvanian Salsa

Makes about 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 regular tomatoes or 4 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 red onion (depends on how onion-y you like your salsa)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1/4-1/2 tbsp Tabasco sauce (depends on how spicy you like your salsa)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • approximately 7 fresh flat parsley leaves
  • 1 bag blue corn tortilla shells

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350° and coarsely chop all your vegetables.
  2. Pour the veg into a blender or food processor and blend for about 45 seconds. Drain out the excess liquid.
  3. Squeeze the juice from the lime into the mix and add all your other ingredients (except the tortillas). Pulse a few times until well combined and you've reached your desired consistency. After this, you can drain once more, if you like. Few things bother me more than watery salsa, so I was willing to risk losing a little lime juice for the sake of a second drain.
  4. Salsa's all done---time to start your chips! For this step, you'll need a spider cookie cutter or stencil.
  5. Stack 2-3 tortillas on top of each other. If using a cookie cutter, just press firmly into the top the same way you would with cookie dough---quick and easy! If you're using the stencil, trace around the outside edge of the stencil with a small, sharp knife, being careful to cut all the way through to the bottom tortilla. Carefully remove the extra tortilla bits from around the outside of the stencil and discard. The stencil method takes a little extra time, but to me, the end result was worth it.
  6. Repeat the process until you have approximately 16 spiders. On two ungreased cookie sheets, place the spiders an inch or two apart. Liberally salt both sides.
  7. Place the sheets in the oven until the legs begin to brown slightly. For stenciled spiders, this will be about 7 minutes. For cookie cutter spiders, it will be about 10 minutes.
  8. Allow the chips to cool on the pan for about 5 minutes.
  9. To store, place the salsa and chips in separate airtight containers. The salsa can be refrigerated for about three days, and the chips can be stored at room temperature for the same amount of time before they start to lose their crispness.
  10. Serve in the dark dining hall of a decrepit Transylvanian castle to a sinister-looking Count.
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