June 25, 2008 · Updated 12:33 PM
"Things can get silly in Halloween seasonWith tongue lodged firmly in cheek, I set out to write a pre-Halloween column with a bit of humor, suggesting that we should begin collecting our slugs now so we'd have a ready supply for Halloween treats. Well, after several phone calls and a couple of e-mails, I guess I'd better take tongue out of cheek and set the Record straight.First, Yes! It is true that slugs are edible, or I should say at least some of them are, and the methods I suggested for slug cleaning and preparation are valid. There is at least one slug cookbook out there that I know of, although it may now be out of print and hard to find, and there are probably others. More amazing, however, is the Official Pacific Northwest Slug Page, which you, too, can reach via the Internet atwebelegance.com/slug/slug.htm. And here's where things get silly.Visit the aforementioned Slug Page and you'll find serious information about slugs, should you need it. But you'll also find slug poems, jokes, cartoons and all nine verses of The Slug National Anthem. First verse goes Slugs are slimy, slugs are green, They love to play in your latrine! Slugs are sticky, icky, too, I don't like them, but I LOVE you! After that gem, it gets worse, so don't bother unless you've plenty of time with nothing better to do. You'll also find Slugs for Breakfast, with a full-color photo of a plate with two fried eggs and four or five brown slugs as sausage accompaniment. It certainly put me off eggs for breakfast for awhile. And Slugs for Lunch is nothing short of obscene.Which brings us back to the phone calls and e-mails. Yes, the cleaning/prep and recipes work, and if some ghastly holocaust hit, forcing us to forage in the forest for our food, slugs would start looking pretty good, even with fried eggs. But, do I eat them, as some of you asked? No, Hermione, I don't. I have, but I don't now. Same goes for sea cucumber, sea urchin or sea slugs, all of which are quite edible, readily available at some Asian restaurants, and enjoyed by many. I also do not eat escargot, not because they happen to be slugs without shells, but because I flat out don't enjoy them enough to pay for a plate of snails when I could have many other things. But some of you who called/mailed told me how much you really enjoy escargot, then in the next breath made it quite clear how you feel about eating slugs. Who's fooling whom?Recipes So, you didn't care for my slugs for Halloween suggestions; OK, here are some you may find more palatable, especially if you're having or attending a Halloween party. First, a great one for the kids. You could even make up enough of these in paper cups to hand out as treats.Cup Of WormsChocolate pudding (make up as much as you need from instant pudding mix)Chocolate pie crust crumbs or chocolate cookie crumbsGummy worms (available in most supermarkets in the candy section)1. Spoon about 1/2 cup chocolate pudding into a serving dish or paper cup. Push 3 or 4 gummy worms into the pudding, leaving about half a worm body hanging out over the edge of the cup. Sprinkle top with the crumbs so it looks like dirt. Refrigerate until ready to serve; hand out with small plastic spoons.A bloody finger pizza would probably appeal to both kids and many adults.Bloody Finger Pizzas1 red bell pepper12 mozzarella sticks (available in packages in cheese section)8 small baked pizza crusts1 to 2 cups pizza sauce1. Core, stem and seed the red pepper. Cut lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces and round the corners on one end of each piece (these will be fingernails).2. Cut each cheese stick in half crosswise. On the rounded end of each stick (these are the fingers), cut out a small notch so you can fit the red pepper fingernail on.3. Lay the pizza crusts on baking sheets and spread with pizza sauce (blood). Lay 3 cheese fingers on each crust, fitting the red pepper nail onto each one as you put them on the crust. Bake pizzas in a preheated 450 degree oven until the fingers (cheese) just begin to melt (5-8 minutes). Don't let the fingers melt so much they're unrecognizable.Bloody Hand Punch1 rubber glove (oh, please, use a new one)Red food coloring1 lb. coffee canApple juice, cranberry juice, ginger aleRed wine, vodka, gin (optional, depending upon who's invited or imbibing)Green grapes, sliced in half to make eye balls (also optional)1. To make the bloody hand, fill the rubber glove with water, tie tightly at the wrist and freeze until solid. Carefully peel the glove off to unmold; don't worry if a finger falls off, this is for Halloween, remember? (I found that if I lightly oil my own hand with vegetable oil then put the glove on then remove it and fill with water, it makes it easier to unmold). Then make a base for the hand by filling the coffee can about 1/3 full with water, inserting the frozen hand and freezing the whole thing until solid. Or, you can ignore this part and just have the hand floating in the punch bowl instead of sticking up.2. Make the punch with remaining ingredients, to your taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, use a few drops of red food coloring on the hand in whatever bloody pattern you like. Fill punch bowl about half full, place hand mold in the center and gently fill bowl. Float grape eyeballs on surface, if desired.Hors D' Worms1 cup earthworms3/4 cup blanched almonds6 hard boiled eggs3 T. mayonnaise1 can cocktail shrimp, drained and rinsed1/2 cup celery, finely chopped3/4 cup grated cheddar cheeseOnion and garlic salt, to tasteSourdough bread rounds1. Wash the earthworms and boil for 15 minutes. Rinse and repeat boiling, then rinse and pat dry with paper towels.2. Finely chop the almonds and mix with the earthworms. Spread mixture on a cookie sheet and toast to golden brown in a hot oven. 3. Using a fork, mash the cooked eggs,; add mayonnaise, shrimp, celery and salts, mixing well. Add earthworm mixture, which will now break up nicely; mix well. Spread on sourdough squares and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Top with the grated cheese, put back in oven and bake just until cheese melts.Note: If you'd prefer not to use earthworms, replace the cup of worms with 1 cup chopped, cooked slug.HAPPY HALLOWEEN ONE AND ALL! "