A Tiki Party to Wake the Dead

undeadluau1mainSo my absolutely fabulous, mid-century and Halloween loving bandmates host an annual tiki-party which they’ve penned as the “Undead Luau”.

 photo P1000371_zpspcqjunmk.jpgMostly this is an excuse to deck out their apartment with the accouterments of a South Pacific graveyard and make ridiculously tasty classic, tropical drinks. However the chance to cool off in the neighborhood pool during the hot Atlanta summer is more than enough motivation to come out bedecked in island of the dead finery.

As one walks through the door, colored lights bathe tiki statues and skeletons with an eerie glow while Hawaiian steel string guitar music plays hauntingly through an old Victrola. Ghouls in summer shirts wander through the rooms, sipping on rum and pineapple juice to stave off further decay before gathering to terrorize the neighbors, swim in the pool, and salivate over fresh meat on the grill. As the sun falls, they then all return to quell their near insatiable hunger and thirst on more tropical goodies and libations. My friends never disappoint and everyone always has a good time. photo P1000378_zpsgjddwwuw.jpg

Figuring that everyone should have a chance to say Aloha the spirits of the underworld,  I decided to combine the convenience-oriented style of mid-century cooking (canned food), traditional Hawaiian cuisine (spam and pineapple), and a little bit of moldy death (blue cheese) into a fun little little appetizer and share the recipe with you. Fun fact: pineapple and blue cheese share the flavor compound methyl hexanoate, which is why this unusual pairing works so well together.

Another fun fact: see all those tutorials on Pinterest and Buzzfeed extolling croissant dough as the Holy Grail to making easy appetizers? LIES! If you are trying to do any other shape than the pre-cut triangles, the dough will fight you because IT CAN SMELL YOUR FEAR!! Once tamed by the scorching heat of the oven, however, I found that is was actually rather forgiving. The pictures show where I’ve slit the tops of the puffs to vent, but it was largely unnecessary.

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What results is a puff of soft pastry brimming with island and earthy flavor — tangy, sweet, creamy, and mouth-meltingly delicious.

Since a Graveyard Tiki party is not complete with some sort of spirits, my bandmate Nick Picard has kindly allowed me to post the recipe for his original cocktail of the evening, the Honu Honi.

Undead Luau Spam in a Shroud

Makes 36-38 pieces

Ingredients photo spaminshroud_zps9c7eg7uo.jpg

For Filling:

  • 3/4 can of Spam, diced
  • 1 cup chopped pineapple
  • 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
  • Pineapple juice from can or container
  • 1 tsp of arrowroot or cornstarch
  • 5 oz.container blue cheese crumbles

For “shroud”:

  • Three 12 oz cans croissant dough
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs water

Instructions:

  1. Let spam and pineapple marinate in bowl with juice and teriyaki sauce for about 15 minutes.
  2. With a slotted spoon, remove the pineapple and spam from the bowl and cook in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. As the pineapple and spam are cooking, mix cornstarch or arrowroot in bowl with juice and sauce.
  4. When the spam has started browning around the edges, add the sauce mixture to the skillet and stir until the liquid has thickened to a glaze.
  5. Remove skillet from heat and transfer the contents back into the bowl. Start preheating the oven to the croissant dough’s package directions.
  6. Roll out one of the cans of croissant dough onto a lightly floured surface. Try to even out the edges with a sharp knife and cover the perforations with the extra dough.
  7. Start placing little mounds of blue cheese crumbles in rows along the dough, leaving enough space around each to form pockets. I used probably half a dessert spoon’s worth on each, like shown.
  8. Place a few spam and pineapple chunks on each pile. Cover with another rolled out sheet of croissant dough, press on the dough in between the pockets and cut with a sharp knife.
  9. Fold and smooth over the dough to seal the seams.
  10. Place pieces on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Mix egg and water in a bowl and brush the tops of the pieces with a light coat.
  11. Bake in a preheated oven according to the dough package’s directions.
  12. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack before serving.

The Huna Honi


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1 oz Cachaca
1 oz El Dorado 5 Year Demerara Rum
1/4 oz Cherry Heering
1/4 oz Orange Curacao
1 oz Demerara Syrup
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/4 oz White Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
2 dashes Fee Brother’s Aromatic Old Fashioned Bitters
One splash of real grenadine

The Gluttonous Geek