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Flavors of Halloween

It's Halloween and you've spent so much time on your costume that you haven't had a minute to think about dinner. Not to worry.

There is still time to serve something hauntingly delicious. And if you have any black dishes left over from the 1980s, now is the time to break them out.

You can decorate your table quickly, using black fabric if you have it, or orange, gold or dark purple if you don't. Scatter dried leaves on top and set low candles everywhere possible. Add pomegranates and white mini pumpkins here and there.

I like to serve beverages in old vessels — anything from small Mason jars to tarnished silver flutes — no matter what goes into them, and I like the room lights dimmed or entirely off.

Today's recipes call for dried beans and you won't have time to soak them overnight; instead, boil them in water for 10 minutes, cover, rest for 10 minutes, drain and use as you would soaked beans. In a pinch, use a good brand of canned beans.

Happy haunting!

Forbidden rice, which is black, was once eaten only by China's emperors but is now widely available. It has an aroma similar to jasmine rice and a texture chewier than either white or brown rice. It is delicious paired with creamy white beans. For a more substantial meal, fry four spicy sausages, such as Franco Dunn's Calabrese, slice them and scatter them on top of the beans and rice before adding the sauce. Vegetarians can top the beans and rice with sliced and steamed winter squash instead.

Forbidden Rice, Evil Beans and Pumpkin Blood

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