Thursday, May 27, 2010

Now I Can Divulge the Contents

Annette over at Ward House informed me that her package arrived so now I can share with everyone exactly what was in the giveaway box. I'll be taking Turkish things home with me over the summer, so I'll probably have another giveaway then. She will be blogging about it this Saturday.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Recipe Analysis

IF you head over to http://witchsrecipes.blogspot.com/, you can see that I am working on nutritional information for the recipes there. I may do that instead of analyzing everything for the book. We shall see how long it takes!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Good Vibes Needed ,Please

I hope to hear something about a job in the U.S. this week. I am praying for Ohio University. I am so frustrated with my students here right now that I actually cried a little this morning. If OU doesn't hire me and I have to stay here another year, I won't get to go home. My uncle is coming for a vacation and he is leaving on August 5. I have to be back here August 30. I won't be able to afford to fly home for just three weeks. Ugh. I'm so effing depressed right now. \bitching.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

To My Testers

I would like to thank everyone who has volunteered to test recipes for me after I finish formulating them. This will probably not take place until I am in the U.S., however. I plan to go back for a visit in August, or if Ohio University contacts me with good news, I'll be going back permanently in August! Well, I'll probably come back to Istanbul eventually... So, when things start to come together I will give you all another shout out and if you're still interested we'll exchange contact info. Thanks so much!

Steps to Make the Most of Your Witchin' in the Kitchen

* When you clean your kitchen, try putting an herbal infusion in your bucket of mop water. Rosemary and sage are nice all-purpose spiritual cleansers. You can also simply add salt to the water. Try rose and lavender for love, citrus for protection, and cinnamon for prosperity.

* Burn sage or rosemary.

* Get a good book on magical herbs, such as Cunningham's. Go through the book and become familiar with herbs for specific purposes. Put the ones that go best together into your dishes. For example, spices such as ginger, garlic and chili are good protective ingredients and taste good together in a curry.

* Stir clockwise. Scrub counter-clockwise if you feel the need.

* A pot of basil growing in the kitchen promotes love. Bundles of rosemary are good for protection. A dish of sesame seeds draws money.

* You can use a solution of salt water to trace protective runes onto the doors, walls and cabinets in your kitchen. Only you will know they are there!

* If you have a kitchen deity but don't have room for an altar, simply find a picture and hang it up in your kitchen. You can make offerings as you see fit.

* Light a candle as you cook. Light pink for love, green for prosperity or healing, blue or purple for psychic awareness, etc.

*Enter the kitchen with love in your heart. Try not to prepare foods when you are in a foul mood, as this energy might transfer to the food. That might sound silly to some, but I always try to think of good things when I am cooking. Maybe I've read Like Water for Chocolate too many times!

*Listen to music that calms you, energizes, you, or fills you with love and warmth as you cook. Listen to some loud rock if you're making a dish for protection and really use the sound and energy to work up some protection! Listen to soft, soothing music if you are making a recipe for love. Listen to a meditation track or trance music if you are making something to promote psychic awareness.

*Enjoy yourself. The kitchen is a place to play and to create. You are taking the gifts of the gods and combining them to create new tastes and sometimes to create magic. Have fun! Fill your work with love and people will be able to taste the care you've put into the food. Things taste better when prepared with love.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Let's Do Brunch!

I am going to host my first brunch next Saturday. That means lots of cleaning this weekend and throughout the week, unfortunately, but I'm looking forward to it. I am a big fan of the idea of brunch because it's perfectly acceptable to have a Bloody Mary before noon! hee hee

I think brunch or breakfast can also be part of your post-ritual eating. For example, many people greet the sun at Yule. Why not serve breakfast after? I'm working on a recipe for a Sun God Frittata that will be in the cookbook.

My brunch menu for Saturday is as follows:

Baked frittatas with sucuk and kasar (Turkish sausage and cheese) and with leeks and onions

Vegetarian sausages - new recipe, also for the book

Fruit salad

Cheese and bread

Roasted potatoes

Smoked salmon spread

Possibly a fruit crumble or if I'm feeling motivated, I might make sweet rolls.

Bloody Marys, Tequila Sunrises, juice, tea and coffee

I'm so excited! I wish I could invite you all to my apartment in Istanbul for brunch.

To Analyze or Not to Analyze?

Most people want to eat better these days, which means watching sodium sugar ,fat and calorie intake. My question is, do my cookbook readers want to see the nutritional breakdown of the recipes? Would such a thing encourage you or discourage you to make and eat the recipes? I just plugged my new test recipe's ingredients into caloriecount.about.com and according to that website, each serving will only set you back about 70 calories. There will be some oil for frying, but just a drizzle. I'm working on a vegetarian sausage recipe.

That brings me to another question. Would anyone out there be interested in helping me test recipes? I would send you the recipe in question and only ask that you not share it with anyone. It would have to be kept confidential. You could, however, blog about your results and the taste and appearance of the food. Any takers?

Life Is Good Recipients

I would like to share this award with:

Patrick at www.pagandad.com
Rob at redfyredragon.blogspot.com (Hail the Hammer and Pass the Horn!)
Merlin's Magickal Mistress at merlinsmistress.blogspot.com.

Actually, this award is open to other followers as well because you make writing the blog a pleasure. It's always wonderful to hear from you.

Now, my questions for the recipients:

1. Do you incorporate much kitchen witchery into your path? If so, how?
2. What book(s) are you reading right now?
3. What's your favorite way to relax?
4. How do you meditate/put yourself into a state of altered conscience?
5. Is there a song, movie or book that has had a great impact on your life recently? If so, what?
6. Do you say some sort of blessing before meals? How does it go?
7. What is your favorite chant?
8. If you could have a dinner party with any 5 people, living dead or even fictional, who would you choose and why?
9. What would you serve?
10. What is the most recent spiritual experience are you willing to share?

Life IS Good

The sweet BlakkDuchess at Absinthe and Arsenic has bestowed the Life is Good meme on me. Thank you! I always appreciate being personally tagged. It still amazes me that people actually read this thing, hee hee!

Anyroad, here are the questions she asked:

1. What book(s) are you reading right now?

I'm reading Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs. She's the person behind Temperance Brennan, the forensic anthropologist of "Bones".

2. What is your preferred crafting medium (if you have one…)?

I love using Sculpey, Fimo and other polymer modeling compounds. You can make so much with them! I'm not that good, but I like to play around. I made miniature foods for my kitchen goddesses, goddess figurines, and other little things.

3. Is there a book, movie, conversation etc. that has impacted your way of thinking so profoundly that your entire world view has changed? (And what is it if yes…)

Hands down, Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins. Read it if you haven't done so!

4. If you could make a living doing what you love best, what would that be?

I still dream of being a writer. I have ideas for at least two cookbooks, and I always dream of finishing the bazillion short stories I have started over the years. I'd like to be a teacher, a wife and possibly a mom, and a writer. I'm already a teacher, at least. I'd also like to have my own Pagan business - a shop with books and things, or a Pagan-friendly pub/inn. Maybe a catering business. I also want to be a nutritional anthropologist and or paleontologist. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up!

5. Favorite carbonated beverage? (Energy drinks count!!!)

I tend to avoid fizzy things because the gas sometimes hurts my pouch and could also stretch it. However, lately I've been drinking lots of fizzy cherry-flavored mineral water. I have some pomegranate too, but the cherry is my favorite. The brands are Akmina (Dannon) and Ozkaynak.

6. Have you ever read anything by Chuck Palahniuk? (if not, go grab Fight Club, sit down & read it!)

I haven't read it, but I think I would like to.

All right, ya'll, I'm going to go create some questions and then pass this beauty on to someone else!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Recipes for Midsummer

Midsummer is about a month away and I'm already dreaming of the menu I'd prepare if I were with my witchy family back in the U.S. I may get a small portable grill and have some friends over here.

The summer solstice is the longest days of the year. This is a time for weddings. Dew collected on the morning of the summer solstice is said to bestow beauty upon those who wash their face with it. Herbs collected on this day hold special power. This is a celebration of love, beauty, and the ripe, voluptuous sensuality of the goddess.

The menu for Midsummer should of course be full of the fruits of the season. Hit up a farmers market to get the freshest, most delicious produce you can. Decorate your table with fresh flowers and candles of pink, yellow and green.

On the menu:

Tequila-lime chicken
Grilled corn on the cob with herb butter
Fruit salad with yogurt-honey dressing
Watermelon mojitos

Tequila-lime chicken

4 boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup gold tequila
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

Combine the marinade ingredients and pour over the chicken. Cover and allow to marinate for 1-2 hours. The lime juice will sort of cook the chicken as it does ceviche, so don't leave it too long.

Heat the grill and oil the racks to keep the chicken from sticking.

Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 5-6 minutes per side, or until flesh is firm and juices run clear. Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

For the corn: Soak the corn in their husks for about an hour before grilling. Place the corn on the racks and cover. If using a charcoal grill, turn the corn every 10 minutes or so. If using a gas grill, turn every 5 minutes. Remove the corn with tongs and use a dish towel to grasp the husk and pull away from the cob.

For the herb butter: Mix 1 stick softened butter with 1 minced clove of garlic, 1 teaspoon chopped dill, 1 teaspoon chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon chopped thyme, 1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary, salt and pepper. Spread this liberally on the corn.

Yogurt-honey dressing

1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoons honey
fresh chopped mint, optional

Combine ingredients and use to dress a salad of grapes, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, honeydew, raspberries, etc. Serve with love.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What I'd Like

I'd like to have a lunch truck so I could travel to Pagan events and vend food. Some people just don't like to pack all of their food for a week and hope the ice doesn't run out. Some people don't really know what to do with a camp stove. Some people just don't like to cook, period. Not to mention the fact that some events and retreats don't have a kitchen. I know some do, but the one I went to didn't. We were responsible for carrying our own food with us. We made several trips to the Sprawl-Mart in town, believe me. There was a staff tent where the presenters got fed, but the rest of us had to fend for ourselves.

How are the events you attend? Are there food vendors or is there a meal plan? What kind of rigamarole would I have to go through in order to do this? Besides moving back to the U.S. first, I mean. ;) What sorts of foods to Pagans want? Organic, free-trade, freerange, fresh, lots of veggie options? Talk to me!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Welcome, New Followers!

Please feel free to go through past posts and add your voice. If you have any questions or there is something you would like to see, please drop me a note. That goes for all of my readers. What else would you like to see? More goddesses? More magical food info? Whatever you wish, I will try to provide!

Memorial Music Monday

RIP, Dio. \m/

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cadi'nin Turk Mutfaga 2 - Sucuklu Mercimek ve Patates Puresi

Today I made lentils with sucuk (sujuk), a spiced, garlic-y beef sausage. I served it on top of the potato puree. I made the potatoes with butter and a milk and chicken broth combination. Delicious!

On the Agenda for Today

I'm going to be making a sucuk (sujuk) and lentil stew for dinner. I'll probably served it with pureed potatoes. Recipe and pictures to come!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Floral Friday / Saturday in my City

Some pictures from around the campus and in front of the apartment buildings. No cooking today. Maybe this weekend!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

True Beauty - My Interview

I sent in an interview on True Beauty to FiveSeed. Click on the title of this post to check it out!

Tuesday is Tunesday

I love Phil Collins. To the people who know me in real life, this is no secret. I have been madly in love with him since I was 10 years old. No, really! I love to listen to Phil when I'm just hanging out, when I'm cooking, when I'm showering, when I'm falling asleep...you get the picture. This is one of my favorite songs.

We have a winner!

I put all the names into a bag and asked one of my coworkers to choose the winner. The winner is...Ward House (http://wardhouse.wordpress.com). Please contact me at hariscruff at yahoo dot com with your name and mailing address. I plan on mailing the package this Thursday. It will take around 10-14 days to arrive from Turkey.


Monday, May 10, 2010

Spell Help/Request

I usually don't do this, but I need some assistance. Does anyone have a good justice spell? I have a friend who is entangled in a pretty bad case right now and I want to be able to help him. Thank you.

P.S. Post 201!

Tomorrow is Giveaway Day!

I hope everyone is as excited as I am! Tomorrow I will print out the list of names (your name is on the list more than once if you have more than one entry) and have one of my work friends randomly select the winner. No pictures of the prizes yet because I want it to be a surprise! The winner will, hopefully, post pictures on his/her blog for all to see.

Good luck!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers out there. If I were in the U.S. I would cook my mom a nice meal. A phone call will have to do for now, unfortunately. I hope you all get lots of love from your chilluns, and maybe dinner at a nice restaurant or a lovely home cooked meal!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Goodies Purchased!

Yesterday I did the final shopping for my giveaway. I got the candy and coffee while I was out and about. The candy comes from Koska, which is a pretty famous shop around these parts.

Kitchen Witch Questions - Heather

This set of answers comes from the lovely Heather/Maevan Kayt at http://inamongtheheather.wordpress.com. Thank you!

1. Does your magical name have anything to do with the kitchen, foods or herbs? Not currently. My magical name is Maevan Kayt, which is losely linked to the goddess Maeve and to cats :D I'm working on finding a new one though, as this was definitely a name that suits a time now past.

2. What do you think are the three most important tools for a kitchen witch?
Glass measuring cups, a mortar and pestle and of course your own hands. Even though I have a fancy dancy kitchenaid mixer, I still really prefer working with my hands when it comes to spellwork.

3. What do you do to make the kitchen the center of the home? Is it decorated in any special way? Do you have a kitchen altar?
Growing up, the kitchen was always the big meeting place and heartbeat of the whole house. Unfortunately, our current place doesn't have any room for gathering, though it's still where I spend quite a bit of my time. It's painted a bright orangy-red, has a fruit inspired stained glass lamp, with a bunch of orange and red candle holders and vases.

4. Which kitchen deity/deities, if any, do you feel closest to? How do you honor him/her/them?
Brigid. <3 She and I have come to be very close over the last couple of years. I wear a pendant with a lovely painted image of her. I try to work with her or in her name when doing magic.

5. What is your signature dish? Does it have a magical purpose? You can share the recipe unless it’s a secret.
Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I used to make them all the time when things were difficult or tense at work. They instantly diffuse hard feelings and can brighten anyone's day. This is a decent recipe, though not quite what I do ;) Gotta keep some secrets, right? http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-III/Detail.aspx

6. What are your favorite cookbooks? They can be magical or non-magical.
My own. My mother put one together for me for my 18th birthday, full of family recipes and secrets.

7. What is your favorite food?
Potato anything. Latkes, perogies, french fries, poutine, twice baked potato. YUM

8. What is your least favorite?
Sauerkraut. So gross. Can't handle it. Not a huge fan of most meat, either to be honest.

9. Do you like to listen to the television or listen to music while you are in the kitchen? If so, what?
Music. Lately I've been very much into Florence and the Machine, though Tori Amos, Sarah Harmer and the Amelie soundtrack are big favourites for cooking.

Nine Questions for the Kitchen Witch - My Answers

The first set of answers comes from yours truly. Oh, and non-kitchen witches can certainly answer these questions too! Anyone who cooks is free to answer. Please,do! :)

1. Does your magical name have anything to do with the kitchen, foods or herbs?
Yes, my name is Anar, which is the Hindi word for pomegranate. The Turkish word is ‘nar’.

2. What do you think are the three most important tools for a kitchen witch?
I will count my two hands as one tool. I think a mortar and pestle is a nice, primitive food processor and I’ve been looking for a good marble one for quite some time. The third tool would be a good sharp knife. It’s hard to narrow it down to just three!

3. What do you do to make the kitchen the center of the home? Is it decorated in any special way? Do you have a kitchen altar?

I use cooking smells to make the entire house feel like a home. When you walk in and smell garlic frying or something simmering on the stove or baking, you think, ‘This is a home!’. My kitchen isn’t decorated because this is a temporary spot for me. My kitchen things are in another country. I'm working on an altar in the U.S. I have a small table here with a statue of Ganesha, a bundle of dried rosemary, a nazar boncugu, and some offering dishes.

4. Which kitchen deity/deities, if any, do you feel closest to? How do you honor him/her/them?

I am working on learning more about Annapurna, the Hindu goddess of food and the hearth. I have honored Hestia in the past. I honor her by giving the kitchen a good scrub, burning some rosemary, and placing a lit candle in the oven for a while.

5. What is your signature dish? Does it have a magical purpose? You can share the recipe unless it’s a secret

I don’t know if I have just one signature dish. There is an Indian chicken dish I make called Murgh Musallam and it’s very good. The recipe can be found at www.ruchiskitchen.com. At work I am known for my cookies. I make them to carry love into the work place.

6. What are your favorite cookbooks? They can be magical or non-magical.
I read cookbooks the way other people read novels. I really enjoy my copy of Cooking by the Seasons by Karri Ann Allrich. It was the book that really inspired me to start writing my own. I also like Scott Cunningham’s encyclopedias – magical herbs and Wicca in the kitchen. They are good reference books.

7. What is your favorite food?
I love tacos. I could eat them every day.

8. What is your least favorite?
I think canned fish – tuna, anchovies, salmon, mackerel – is the most vile substance I’ve ever smelled. I used to eat the tuna when I was younger, but now I won’t touch it.

9. Do you like to listen to the television or listen to music while you are in the kitchen? If so, what?
I like to match the music with the food. I listen to Indian music or to George Harrison when I make Indian food. I like Spanish-language music when I make Mexican food. I like classic rock all the time.

Nine Questions for the Kitchen Witch

In my extreme weekend boredom, I have come up with nine questions for the kitchen witch. If you wish, please feel free to steal this questionnaire, answer it, and post a link to your blog so we can all read your answers. You can also e-mail me at hariscruff [at] yahoo [dot] com, along with a picture of you and/or your kitchen and I can post it on my blog. I look forward to getting some responses! I will answer it in another blog post.

1. Does your magical name have anything to do with the kitchen, foods or herbs?
2. What do you think are the three most important tools for a kitchen witch?
3. What do you do to make the kitchen the center of the home? Is it decorated in any special way? Do you have a kitchen altar?
4. Which kitchen deity/deities, if any, do you feel closest to? How do you honor him/her/them?
5. What is your signature dish? Does it have a magical purpose? You can share the recipe unless it’s a secret.
6. What are your favorite cookbooks? They can be magical or non-magical.
7. What is your favorite food?
8. What is your least favorite?
9. Do you like to listen to the television or listen to music while you are in the kitchen? If so, what?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Another Award!

Thank you to Crookedways (crookedways.wordpress.com) for the Kreativ Blogger award in my sidebar! I'm honored to have won another award. I never thought that my little blog would win awards or have the wonderful followers that I do. Thank you so much. You all motivate me.

Let's Brainstorm Book Titles

Witchin' in the Kitchen is the title of the blog, so should I keep that as the title of the book I'm working on? Or is it too close to another title? Cait Johnson wrote Witch in the Kitchen and I'm afraid people will think I copied her idea.

Any thoughts? Maybe it's too early to be thinking of a title, but every little bit of work and motivation helps!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Giveaway Entries Update

So far I have a list of 43 entrants, some with 2 or 3 entries for the giveaway. Keep 'em coming! I picked up a pretty nazar boncugu yesterday, along with a couple of other teensy things. I want to pick out just the right things for whoever wins.

Are there any Sag entrants? I have a pretty little money pouch that has Sagittarius on it. I am a Leo, but I couldn't resist snatching it up when I saw it, but I know several Sagittarians and it just wouldn't be fair for me to give one friend the money pouch and not the others. If you're a Sag and you've entered the giveaway, let me know. If you win, you'll have an extra thingie.

I hope everyone had a lovely Beltane! I made kiymali ispanak (see other entry for pictures and recipe) and had a friend over to hang out. My friend is still snoozing, so I should think about breakfast. See you all later!

Cadi'nin Turk Mutfagi

I'm pretty sure that's how you say "The Witch's Turkish Kitchen", but my Turkish isn't very good. Let's hope I'm close enough! EDIT: I checked with a Turkish friend and that is correct. Woo hoo! :)

Today, for my Beltane meal, I made kiymali ispanak - spinach with ground meat. The pictures below illustrate the recipe.

1 onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
300 grams ground beef
450 grams frozen spinach
1/2 teaspoon red pepper
2 tablespoons rice
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh parsley and dill
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the onion, garlic and ground beef until the beef is brown. Add the tomatoes, spinach, rice, salt and pepper. Add some hot water if needed. Cover and cook until the rice is tender. Add the fresh herbs and cook for another 5 minutes. Check for seasoning and serve with garlic yogurt.

Blessed Beltane!

A very merry May Day to you all. What's cooking in your kitchens? I am toying with the idea of making empanadas today (using store bought crust because I'm also feeling a trifle lazy today!). I also plan to start picking up things for the giveaway.

The winner will be chosen randomly, probably by one of my coworkers, on May 11. The winner will be announced that day. Good luck to all the entrants! I want to pick up some things in Taksim but I don't dare go there today. Today is the first legal Labor Day celebration in 32 years. Last year there were riots, tear gas, the whole enchilada. I'm expecting something similar to still go down, even though people are allowed to assemble in Taksim Square again. We shall see.

If you're interested in reading about it, go here: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=may-day-celebration-in-taksim-after-32-years-2010-04-30

Oh, and before I forget, I have a question. Do you all want to see what I pick out for the giveaway before it happens, or should I wait? The winner might want to be surprised. What do you all think? Do you want to be surprised, or do you want to see everything beforehand?

Happy Beltane!