NWK

NWK

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Groovy!

So far I have 15 comments for the giveaway. I am keeping track of everyone's comments. If you blog about the giveaway, send me a link and I'll put you in for an extra entry, likewise if you "Like" Witchin' in the Kitchen on Facebook.

The pictures I posted are just samples of what I'm going to include, of course. I will do the actual shopping for the items this weekend. I will include a nazar boncugu, some candy, a small package of Turkish coffee, and whatever else I think the winner might like to receive.

A lot of Turkish delight has nuts in it, so if you are allergic to nuts, please make sure you comment and let me know! I don't want to send something deadly by accident!

My First Giveaway

I think it's high time I hosted my first giveaway, don't you? Well, here it goes. I am hosting a giveaway that includes a few Turkish items.

The nazar boncugu (bon-joo) is a very popular symbol here. It protects the wearer against the evil eye. People place these on the door, wear them as jewelry, carry them in the car, and anything and everything else. I'll include at least one nazar boncugu in the giveaway box. I will also include a small package of Turkish coffee, some Turkish candy, and probably another surprise or two as well. It will be a smallish package, as it costs a lot to send things from here.

To enter, leave a comment to this entry. For an extra entry, "like" Witchin' in the Kitchen on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Witchin-in-the-Kitchen/102358696469804

Blog about it for an extra entry. There ya go, up to three chances to win a bunch of schwag from Turkey. :)

I will leave this open for a couple of weeks. A winner will be picked at random on or around May 11. Sound good?





AIEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

F*cking Mercury retrograde!!! That is all.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Musical Monday - Musical Therapy

This is my first time participating in a Musical Monday. I don't know why I haven't done it before now! There are songs that never fail to make me smile. I can cook to them, relax while listening to them, whatever. This is but a small sample of the songs that cheer me up when I need it most. Enjoy.






Sunday, April 25, 2010

Some of My Favorite May Day Songs









What are you listening to for Beltane?

Unconventional Beltane, II

I normally like to break out the Indian food in the summer, but sometimes it's too hot for many of us. Instead, I'm breaking out my Indian-inspired dishes for Beltane. The fiery garlic, ginger and chiles will awaken the senses and the passions. Woo hoo! :)


Indian-Inspired Dressing
1 cup yogurt, thinned with 2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk if needed
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablspoons fresh chopped cilantro
½ teaspoon grated ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon chili powder, or ¼ if desired

Pour over chopped tomatoes, onions and cucumbers and peppers. You can also mix these ingredients, finely chopped, into the yogurt and make a raita. If making a raita, use ½ small minced fresh chili as well.

Unconventional Beltane Recipes, I

Since Beltane is a celebration of the union of the Lady and the Lord, I like the idea of putting together something of a wedding feast. If the weather is nice, take it outside. Decorate the table with pink and green candles and lots of fresh flowers. Use a pretty cloth and place small boxes under it to give height to the flowers, candles and food. If you are attending a ritual that involves a potluck afterwards, one of these recipes will be sure to please.
Since I am a lover of Indian music, dress, food, etc., I like to put an Indian twist on some of my post-ritual feastie offerings. As dairy and eggs are appropriate Beltane foods, as well as anything spicy, I present to you a recipe that is a bit strange, but it works. There is a story behind it.

A few years ago some friends and I visited our friend Turtle for New Year’s Eve. We had aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower curry) for dinner. The next morning, Turtle began preparing buckwheat pancakes. Maz and I love them, but our friend Lala is allergic, and so the leftover aloo gobi became an omelet just for her. That’s the inspiration behind the Aloo Gobi Quiche.

First you must prepare the aloo gobi.

You will need:
1 cauliflower or bag of frozen florets (easiest option)
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 onion diced
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon ginger paste
½ teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder or 2 fresh chilis, minced
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Begin by heating the oil and frying the onions 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, chili and spices. Stir and fry 3-4 more minutes. Add the potatoes and cauliflower florets (wait a while if using frozen cauliflower, or lightly steam the potatoes first) and some water. Reduce the heat, cover and allow this to cook until the veggies are tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Take off the lid and let any extra moisture evaporate.

Now, on to the quiche part. You may certainly use prepared pie crust, but make sure you blind bake it at 375 for about 10 minutes. Poke holes into the crust with a fork, lay on a sheet of buttered parchment, and top with some beans to weigh things down so the crust doesn’t get puffy.

Take the crust out of the oven, remove the pie weight, and add the aloo gobi filling. In another bowl or blender, mix 4 eggs with about ¼ cup cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour this mixture over the filling and bake until set, 20-30 minutes. Check it after 20.

If you’re not a fan of Indian food, I would recommend a spinach quiche instead. Serve it with a nice salad of cucumber, tomato and onion, some asparagus with a mustard-dill vinaigrette, and round out the meal with the beautiful coconut cake.

For the asparagus, steam until just tender and then plunge the spears into an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Toss the chilled, drained asparagus with the following:

1 1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup Dijon mustard
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper and salt to taste
1 teaspoon fresh snipped dill

Combine everything but the oil in a bowl and slowly whisk in the oil. Toss with the asparagus and chill before serving. You can also add some small tomatoes to this salad, and even some feta cheese if you are so inclined.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mango Upside-Down Sex Cake



This is my poor little mango cake. I didn't have a serving platter so I used cardboard covered with foil. Hey, whatever works, right? This was the ending to an Indian feast from last year.




This recipe comes from Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen. I would add a little cinnamon or cardamom to the batter. I didn't the first time I made the cake. I believe I also used canned mangoes, as the fresh ones weren't very good at the time.

Ingredients

2 cups ripe mangoes, sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 375 F / 190 C.

As you slice the mangoes, visualize yourself enjoying sexual activity. Place the sliced mangoes in a bowl; pour lemon juice over them, toss and let stand for 15 minutes. Melt the butter in an 8-inch pan or casserole. Add the brow sugar; cover with a layer of the mango slices. In a bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar. Add the beaten egg. Sifting the dry ingredients, add alternately with the milk. Pour the batter over the mangoes. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until done. Let cool slightly, and then invert the pan over a plate.

Notes: I used just butter because I didn't have shortening. I melted the butter first, then poured it into my round cake pan, then I added the sugar. It worked fine. I also didn't bake it for as long as the recipe stated. Just make sure you check it often, as ovens vary.

This would be a good cake to have in celebration of Beltane. It's pretty, simple and delicious. Share it with your special someone, and leave out a slice for the gods or fairy folk.

Alton Brown's Coconut Cake

I like the idea of making this cake because it has several layers and it's very pretty. In my mind, it's a wedding cake for the Lady and the Lord.

Coconut is associated with the moon and water.

Recipe courtesy of www.foodtv.com. It's a long recipe because Alton Brown is very thorough, but the recipe itself isn't difficult to follow.


Ingredients

* 1 coconut, see Cook's Note

For the cake:

* Vegetable oil, for cake pan
* 14 1/4 ounces cake flour, plus extra for pans, approximately 3 cups
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/2 cup fresh coconut milk
* 1/2 cup fresh coconut cream
* 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
* 16 ounces sugar, approximately 2 1/4 cups
* 1 teaspoon coconut extract
* 4 egg whites
* 1/3 cup coconut water

For the 7-Minute Frosting:

* 3 large egg whites
* 12 ounces sugar, approximately 1 3/4 cups
* 1/3 cup coconut water
* 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1 teaspoon coconut extract
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* Grated coconut from 1 coconut, approximately 8 to 10 ounces

Directions

Cook's Note: To open a coconut: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the coconut onto a folded towel set down in a large bowl. Find the 3 eyes on 1 end of the coconut and using a nail or screwdriver and hammer or meat mallet, hammer holes into 2 of the eyes. Turn the coconut upside down over a container and drain the water from the coconut. Store the water in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Place the coconut onto a 1/2 sheet pan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. The coconut should have cracked in several places. Using an oyster knife or other dull blade, separate the hard shell from the brown husk. Using a serrated vegetable peeler, peel the brown husk from the coconut meat. Rinse the coconut meat under cool water and pat dry. Break the meat into 2 to 3-inch pieces. With the grater disk attached to a food processor, grate the coconut.

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil 2 (9-inch) cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Oil the parchment paper and then flour the pan. Set aside.

Place the flour, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

Combine the coconut milk and coconut cream in small bowl and set aside.

Place the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, cream on medium speed until fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Decrease the speed to low and gradually add the sugar slowly over 1 to 2 minutes. Once all of the sugar has been added, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. Turn the mixer back on to medium speed and continue creaming until the mixture noticeably lightens in texture and increases slightly in volume, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the coconut extract.

With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture alternately with the milk mixture to the butter and sugar in 3 batches, ending with the milk mixture. Do not over mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the batter, just until combined. Divide the batter evenly between the pans and bang the pans on the counter top several times to remove any air and to distribute the batter evenly in the pan. Place in the oven on the middle rack. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cake is light golden in color and reaches an internal temperature of 200 degrees F.

Cool the cake in the pans for 10 minutes then remove and transfer to a cooling rack. Once the cakes have cooled completely cut across the equator of each to form 4 layers. Place the 1/3 cup coconut water into a small spritz bottle and spray evenly onto the cut side of the 4 layers. If you do not have a spritz bottle you may brush the coconut water on with a silicone pastry brush. Allow to sit while preparing the frosting.

Frosting:

Bring 1 quart of water to a boil in a 4-quart saucepan over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium to maintain a steady simmer. In the meantime, place the egg whites, sugar, coconut water, cream of tartar and salt into a medium size-mixing bowl. Place the bowl over the simmering water and immediately begin beating with an electric hand mixer set to low speed. Beat for 1 minute and then increase the speed to high and continue to beat for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and beat in the coconut and vanilla extracts for 1 minute. Allow the frosting to sit for 5 minutes before using.

Place approximately 3/4 cup of the frosting on the first layer of cake, sprinkle with 1/2 cup coconut and top with the next layer. Repeat until you reach the top layer. Frost the top and sides of the cake and sprinkle with the remaining coconut. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

What's Cooking for Beltane?

Greetings, all, and happy Saturday. Since I was off yesterday for the Cocuk Bayrami (Children's Holiday), today feels like an extra special gift. The sun is shining, I believe it's supposed to be warm, and I think I might go for a long walk by the Bosphorus after I get some housework done. Life is good.

What are your plans for Beltane? Have you picked out some special foods to serve? If not, I have a couple of ideas to share with you, and the reasons behind them.

First of all, if you eat pork and can get it, my Sun God Pork Chops recipe is a good one. It received rave reviews from one Mazikeen and her husband. If, like me, pork chops are not a possibility (i.e. if you also live in a predominantly Muslim country where pork is hard to find and expensive as hell), may I suggest a curry?

Yes, a curry would be a good dish to serve on Beltane. A quiche would also be a good dish, as egg and dairy dishes are traditional. I suggest a curry because it is full of fiery ingredients to awaken the senses and the passions. What more perfect way to celebrate the union of the Goddess and God?

For dessert, Scott Cunningham has a recipe for a Mango Upside-Down Sex Cake that I will post. It's delicious and would also be perfect for the upcoming Sabbat. I am also going to post a recipe for another suggestion - a coconut cake. I'll add the recipes in another post. The coconut cake recipe is Alton Brown's - my Food Network hero.

So, again, whatcha all cookin'?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Recipes

What better way to celebrate Earth Day than by eating locally? Here are some recipes for side dishes to serve this Earth Day or any spring day.

Peas with Mushrooms

2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup butter
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk (or half and half)
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh grated nutmeg

Cook the frozen peas according to package directions or steam the fresh peas until tender. In a skillet heat the butter and cook the green onions 3-4 minutes over medium heat. Add the sliced button mushrooms and cook until tender.
Stir in the flour and cook 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the milk until there are no lumps in the mixture. Simmer until thick. Add the seasonings. Add a bit of freshly grated nutmeg. Stir in the peas and serve.


Asparagus with Garlic and Chili Flake

1 large bundle asparagus, cleaned and trimmed (just snap the spears)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
Red chili flake, salt and pepper to taste

This recipe couldn’t be simpler. Lightly steam or blanch the asparagus until just tender. Drain. In a skillet, heat the oil and sauté the garlic until fragrant – 3-4 minutes. Make sure it doesn’t brown. Add the chili flake. Toss in the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Serve with buttered noodles and a spoonful of Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Blueberry Lemon Loaf

• 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) all purpose flour
• 2-1/2 tsp. (7 mL) baking powder
• 1/4 tsp. (1 mL) salt
• 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
• 1/3 cup (75 mL) butter, softened
• 2 eggs
• 1 lemon (peel grated, juice squeezed)
• 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
• 1 cup 250 (mL) blueberries, fresh or frozen (don't thaw if using frozen)
Lemon glaze:
• 1/4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar
• juice from one lemon (above)
Cooking Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degree F (180 degree C). Grease a 9 x 5-inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan.
2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, the baking powder and the salt.
3. In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the sugar and the butter for a few minutes until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each one. Beat in the grated lemon peel. Add the flour mixture in two or three portions, alternately with the milk, beating just until the batter is smooth. Quickly fold in the blueberries, just until they're evenly distributed. If you're using frozen berries, the batter will turn blue -- don't panic, it will look fine when it's baked.
4. Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a toothpick poked into the middle comes out clean. Leave it in the pan while you prepare the lemon syrup.
5. In a small microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup, combine the 1/4 cup (50 mL) of granulated sugar with the lemon juice. Microwave on high power for 30 to 45 seconds -- just until the mixture boils. Remove from microwave and give it a stir. With a toothpick, poke holes all over the top of the Blueberry Loaf. Using a wide pastry brush, brush the top of the hot loaf with the hot syrup. Let cool for at least 30 minutes in the pan, then remove to a rack and cool completely.
Servings: 8

How kids can help

Stir together the dry ingredients.
Older children (10 and up) can use electric mixer (with adult supervision) to help beat the batter.
Spread batter in prepared pan.
Brush baked loaf with lemon syrup.

• Recipe courtesy of http://recipes.kaboose.com/blueberry-lemon-loaf.html

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Thursday as well. Today is my Friday, as tomorrow is a holiday. Three day weekend! I've been so busy lately that I haven't even really thought of new recipes. Yesterday my guest post appeared on www.pagandad.com. I shared some recipes for Beltane, but they're recipes that I've posted before. I haven't done much cooking for myself lately, but maybe this weekend I'll have a chance to get into the kitchen. First I need to clean it again, then I can cook!

It's just so difficult to cook for one person sometimes. It seems that I make such a mess only to have the leftovers go green and fuzzy on me. With my band, I can't tolerate some of the foods I used to eat, and sometimes I don't know what those foods are until I eat them.

Instead of a food-related post, I'll show y'all my other tattoos instead. I submitted them to Neo Pagan Ink, but I don't know when or if they will appear on the blog.




Here is the triple moon I have on my right arm. I got it just a few months after the Green Man tattoo.




This is the broom that both Maz and I have on our left ankles. Hers is in color.

If any of you have ink, I'd love to see!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Guest Blogging

Click the title of this entry to head over to Pagan Dad's blog, where I will be a guest blogger this Wednesday. I'm sharing some spring recipes for Beltane. They aren't new recipes, but they're still tasty.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Start a Revolution!

A FOOD revolution, that is. I don't know how many of you have been watching Jamie Oliver's program or what you think about him and what he's trying to do/how he's trying to do it, but I support healthier lunches in the schools.

For some children, the school breakfast and lunch program provides their main or only sustenance for the day. If food is sacred and a way of nourishing out bodies, our temples, shouldn't we be putting good things into our bodies as often as possible? Pizza and corn is NOT a balanced meal, but it's a staple of the school lunch program back home.

My mom is a cook but she has virtually no control over the planning of the menus. Someone else does that. She is in charge of ordering what's on the menus. On Cook's Choice day, she tries to make things from scratch. Unfortunately there isn't a lot of time to do that these days, nor is there a lot of support from the other employees. People would rather open a box of weird gray "meat" patties from the government than make some spaghetti with freshly made tomato sauce. It does happen from time to time, however.

What do you remember about school lunches? Here are some of the offerings I can recall:

Pizza and corn

Hot dogs with tater tots and a piece of sugary cake for dessert

Pepperoni rolls - it's a WVa thing and you can't fuck with the pepperoni roll, but a couple of times a month is plenty!

Fatty, grisly chicken nuggets with instant mashed potatoes, salty instant gravy, and canned green beans that were cooked within an inch of their lives.

Sounds great, doesn't it? And in this day and age, people have less time and children are even more picky than before. What's to be done? Well, I don't know how much it will help, but I for one have signed Jamie's petition and am going to sport his badge on my blog.

For more information, visit: http://www.jamieoliver.com/jfr-beta/petition.php#petForm

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Ink

In honor of Maz's trip to Turkey, we got another matching tat. We both have a broomstick on our left ankle, and now we have the crescent moon and star from the Turkish flag on our wrists. Hers is on the right wrist and smaller than mine.

Mine:




All week we looked for an artist who would do it for less than 100 TL. Tattoos are quite expensive here. As luck would have it, a Turkish friend of mine knows an artist. He came to my house and Maz, Deb and I were tattooed while sitting on my couch. Deb has the outline of an Ottoman tulip on her foot. I have a back piece planned with Ottoman tulips, but it will most likely have to wait until I get back to the U.S.

Another tattoo I have planned is a pomegranate tattoo on my leg. It will be from hip to knee, hopefully, and include a branch of the tree, a flower, and an open fruit. This is in honor of what I believe is my new name - Anar. The Turkish word is "nar" and the Hindi word is "anar". I love the symbolism of the pomegranate (as well as the taste - yum!) and I am fascinated with most things Indian, so Anar it is.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Prayer of the Day

"From the blossoming lotus of devotion, at the centre of my heart, rise, O Compassionate Master, my only refuge! Remain as the jewel on the crown of my head, the mandala of great bliss, arousing all my mindfulness and awareness!"


Jikme Lingpa (1729-1798)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Gift from a Friend - The Buddhist Prayer Deck

Debs gave me this deck before I returned to Turkey. In honor of her visit, I thought I would start working through the deck with you all, one card at a time.

Today's prayer is a prayer of truth and awareness.

"When the lamp of the Buddha's mind illuminates sentient beings, eons of darkness are immediately dispelled." ~ Avatamsaka Sutra (2nd - 3rd century CE)

What does this say to you?

Oh, and for dessert today - jasmine rice cooked with 1/2 coconut milk and 1/4 water, sweetened with sugar and seasoned to taste with ground cardamom, topped with mango slices. Yum.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Pictures, Part II

Here are some other pictures from my vacation. We have the church in Digby and the one in Dorrington, as well as some pictures from our trip to Woodhall Spa. The Green Man is, of course, my favorite. :)







Dorrington





Digby





We all know this guy. :)








Damned tree huggers! :)

Pictures, Part I

I thought I would share a few of the pictures I took during my winter break. I went to visit my Sister Maz in Digby. We had a lovely time walking outside, exploring cemeteries, and puttering around the kitchen. We also did a lot of practice Tarot readings, which I need to do again. I wish we lived closer to each other, but at least we're in the same hemisphere for now!









These are some wooden figures from the park in Digby.

Tatil!

I am officially on spring break, finally! Monday night Maz and Debs will arrive in Istanbul and I will meet them at the airport and bring them back here. I will do lots of cooking (I hope!) and should have lots of lovely pictures to share from their vacation.

Today I'm cleaning, cleaning, cleaning in preparation for my guests. The kitchen is going to get a good scrub, which is desperately needs. I'm a bad kitchen witch sometimes! Well, a lazy one, at least. ;) Laundry needs to be finished and the other bedroom needs to be made up. I only have linens for two of the three beds, so Maz and I might have to share. I sleep on the couch most of the time, so the bed in the master bedroom is used for clean laundry storage. See? Lazy girl!

I got my band tightened yesterday. Hopefully I will break this damn weight loss plateau. Walking around Istanbul should help. I started going to the gym last week, but I still have to cut back on the junk food.

Well, that's it for this non-food post. I just wanted to pop in and say hello and share my happiness. Spring break! Maz! Debs! Woo hoo! :)