Team La Jolla likes vampire vittles with a bite

Whether you’re Vlad the Impaler (Dracula) from Transylvania, Edward Cullen from the “Twilight” movie series, or a chronically anemic human who needs iron-rich nourishment, here’s a culinary primer for assorted vampire and mortal taste buds and some dietary words of warning.

Plasma mocktails and cocktails for bloodthirsty vampires

Vampires can whet their whistles with a variety of sweet and savories from the clicheic Bloody Mary and Blood Fetish cocktails — this one has a real sting to it with horseradish and habanera pepper sauce blended in tomato juice — to the toothsome Red Moon, a peach schnapps, cherry juice and vodka combo or a Blood Orange Martini. For the teetotling or tween vampire set, some appropriate beverages include Red Bull energy drink, cranberry juice cocktail and the ever-popular juvenile Grenadine Lemonade a.k.a. the Shirley Temple.

Garnish with swizzle sticks impaling maraschino cherries, pomegranate seeds or red pimento stuffed olives.

Red is the new black — anti-anemic foods

Those suffering from anemia where their red blood cells don’t contain sufficient hemoglobin (an iron-rich oxygen-carrying protein that gives blood its red color) can pump iron into their body by eating small amounts of red meat, or the more bio-available iron-rich plants such as purple grapes, avocado, kale, chard, mustard greens and Popeye’s mainstay, spinach. Other anemic-friendly foods are beetroot juice, a ruby super-food that increases the uptake of oxygen by as much as 400 per cent, and blackstrap molasses for red cell production.

Carnivores and pescavores

While steaks (not the homophone stakes) and other red meat are a good source of readily absorbable iron, for those who have forsaken meat and opt for seafood, blood-red caviar, Argentinean red shrimp rich in phosphorous and other minerals and red snapper are good alternatives for the fishing-loving vampire.

And since high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids — as found in salmon, sardines and herring — thin the blood, these are not recommended for vampire fare.

The vegan vampire

There are plenty of tasty vegetarian delights to please this herbivore like a blood orange and radicchio salad, a roasted beet and red pepper burger, sun-dried tomato risotto, gazpacho shooters and hearty and iron-flooded Persian pomegranate and walnut stew.

Sanguinal spices and condiments

For the vampire who likes food with a sharp tang, there’s spicy ketchup, devil’s red-hot sauce, salsa and cocktail sauce spiked with horseradish. As for the dry spices cayenne, red pepper flakes, Hawaiian red salt and red peppercorns would do the trick.

Sweet endings

For the sweet-toothed blood-sucker, a meal isn’t complete without classic red velvet cake, cherries jubilee, blood orange sorbet, strawberries dipped in alabaster chocolate, and for the calorie-conscious vampire, a slice of watermelon, a bowl of raspberries or a sprig of burgundy red grapes.

Culinary taboos

Folklore claims that garlands of garlic have been used for centuries to ward off vampires. Perhaps it is the blood-thinning properties of the “stinky rose” that makes it repulsive to vampires craving iron-rich blood fortification.

Foods that hamper iron absorption should also be avoided from the vampire’s diet. Coffee’s polyphenols and tannins in tea make iron in food unusable. Same with beer and carbonated drinks.

A favorite treat among humans and vampires is the divine southern creation, ruby red velvet cake. Just don’t wash it down with a cafe noir or a cup of tea.

Mouth-watering Red Velvet Cake

  • 1/2 cup of unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • (2) 1-ounce natural red food coloring (beet or strawberry)
  • 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 2 1/2 cups of unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar

For the frosting:

  • 1/3 pound of unsalted butter, softened
  • 10 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 cups of chopped pecans (optional)
Cream the butter and sugar thoroughly. Add the eggs and stir in the vanilla. Mix the food coloring with the cocoa and let set for a few minutes before adding to the mixture. Sift together the flour and salt. Add the flour and buttermilk alternately. Mix the soda and vinegar and fold into the above mixture. Pour the batter into greased 9" round pans and bake at 350-degrees for 25-30 minutes.

For the frosting:

Combine the butter, cream cheese and confectioner’s sugar and whip until fluffy. If desired, add 1 1/2 cups of pecans. Frost the cake and sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup of pecans if desired. Refrigerate an hour before serving.

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