Photos by Matt Mckain
Dried leaves crunched under the feet of thousands of ghosts and goblins. I had been told about the throngs of ghouls on All Hallows Eve on Harrison Boulevard for many years. The homes decked out to the spooky nines, the elaborate costumes, and even a choreographed ‘Thriller’ routine in one front yard. Finally, I was experiencing it for the first time.
Entire families dressed as the Star Wars characters or the Scooby Doo clan came in waves so thick it took three people handing out candy at the top of the stairs to fill their buckets, bags and pillowcases. Rumors about which house was really haunted was the favorite question of the night. The haunted house stories grew with the telling and only the gullible believed them.
One teenager, (obviously much too old to be trick or treating) asked for an apple. It came as a bit of a shock. What? Four thousand pieces of wrapped candy isn’t what you want? My hosts, Tim and Kristin Thornton, buy four thousand pieces of candy every year. One three-foot-wide tub filled to the brim was at the top of the stairs, with additional candy reserve buckets at the ready. I got the distinct impression this operation had been fine tuned to perfection. The Thornton’s open their home every year as a stopover for friends and families. It is a warm respite to grab a healthier Halloween bite before joining the candy seeking crowd again. The adult offerings included caprese steak bites, rosemary bread, monster garlic fingers and steak bites beef stew.
My husband spent his boyhood years in a house just one block away and said that it was just as ‘spirited’ then. You can still get a huge candy bar at Simplot’s house across the street, only they don’t cost a nickel per bar anymore. The type and variety of store bought candy has changed dramatically, but this family and neighborhood tradition has continued on for over 50 years! The only thing that has really changed is that the treats back then were home made cookies, hard candy and…apples.
Caprese Steak Bites
- Double R Ranch Co. Steak Bites (or any steak cut into ½ inch cubes)
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive
- Fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes
- Cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Fresh basil, washed and dried
- Balsamic vinegar
- 6 inch wooden skewers
- Season the steak bites with salt and pepper. In a medium size skillet, add olive oil and heat to medium high heat. Add steak bites and sear for one to two minutes, tossing frequently. Set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, slice cheese and tomatoes.
- Pinch off several leaves of basil about the size of a thumbnail.
- Begin threading ingredients onto the skewers starting with steak bites and tomato half, basil, cheese, and finishing with tomato half. Lay the skewers flat on a round plate filling the plate all the way around. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over skewers just before serving.