NWK

NWK

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Recipe Sucess!

Last Sunday, as soon as I arrived in WVa, I had my parents drop me off in Morgantown. Jessi had promised to make my pumpkin samosas at the restaurant where she works. They were offered to workers and a few customers, just to try. They were a hit! People loved them. They are definitely going into the book. I'll also post my apple-cranberry chutney, which would be the perfect dipping sauce.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Tonight's Supper



I had some hot and sour soup from a Chinese restaurant this week and it left me craving more, so I decided to make a version of my own. I'm thinking of working on this recipe for the cookbook, but I won't use the Ramen mix to start it.

I used:
1 package pork flavored Ramen
1 can chicken broth
1 can water
1/3 package dried mushrooms, soaked in boiling water, plus the broth
1/2 package extra firm tofu, cut into cubes
about 1/3 can bamboo shoots
1/2 teaspoon hot chili flake
1.5 teaspoons grated ginger
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Cook the garlic and basically throw everything else into the pot except the tofu and the vinegar. Let it simmer for about 3 minutes, throw in the tofu and wait until 3 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and serve piping hot.

It's garnished with chopped green onion, cilantro, and a drizzle of toasted sesame oil.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Autumn Revisited

Autumn's not over yet, so let's take a look at the revisions that have been made to the recipe line up for the cookbook, shall we?

sweet and spicy nuts
acorn squash soup
black bean soup
mushroom soup
autumn salad
cranberry-apple chutney
corn cakes with pintos
pumpkin samosas
beef and stout pie
green beans with cranberries and walnuts
glazed beet salad
Prosperity Shortbread
pumpkin muffins with chocolate chips and hazelnuts, with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting


I still feel that I am missing something. Any ideas?

Post # 300 and a Peek at Winter

This is my 300th post! Cool. Well, since I am working on organizing the recipes for the cookbook and have already posted the autumn section, I thought I would go ahead and post some ideas for the winter section as well.

Here goes.

Winter

wilted greens with bacon
sesame cabbage
potato soup with rosemary and ham
goat cheese ball/log
ricotta and feta pie
Sun God Fritatta
glazed carrots
stuffed cabbage
hot buttered rum
brandy slush - working on this
orange-rosemary pork loin
herbed roast potatoes
cornmeal cookies with pine nuts and currants

That's all I have so far. I need to get a few more things. Autumn is by far the biggest section right now. You'd think I'd be inspired by summer's bounty or the beautiful new freshness of spring, but me, I like autumn, when shit is dying. Go figure.

Cookbook Update

Well, so far I have the main introduction mostly done. I need to work on an introduction for each season, which is something I plan to do more of when I have more time off from work. I worked on organizing recipes last night, came up with a few more ideas to try, and did a count. So far I have 50 recipes and ideas, mostly tested. I gotta get my butt in gear! November is almost in the bag.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving, Part III

I'll try to wrap it up in this post. Maybe one more. We may even get to dishes that were actually served at the first Thanksgiving!

Although not served at the first Thanksgiving, no table would be complete without that big, jiggly blob of canned cranberry sauce. Perhaps you make your own? If so, bless you! It's so much better.

Cranberries are ruled by the planet Mars. Their element is water and their energy is protection.

To prepare your own, add 1 bag cranberries to a sauce pan. Put in 1 cup sugar and 1 cup orange juice. Cook until the berries start to burst. Easy. If that's not easy enough, just open a can and *plop*.

Another food that was not served in the 1620s was mashed potatoes. For years I didn't like mashed potatoes. After having lap band surgery, I find the texture appealing and I now enjoy them.

The potato is an Earth food, carrying energies of protection and compassion.

Sweet Potatoes are ruled by the Moon and Earth and carry the energies of love and sex. Not that anyone is really thinking about sex after a full Thanksgiving dinner although it would be an excellent way to burn off those calories.

Pumpkins are also ruled by the Moon and Earth. Their energies are healing and money. Pumpkin pie flavored with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg can be used to attract money. You know, for Yule shopping the next day.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving celebration next week. May you be surrounded by loved ones and loving energies, along with prosperity for this new year.

Thanksgiving, Part II

We've briefly discussed the turkey and now it's time for the best part of the dinner for some people - the stuffing.

Whether you call it stuffing or dressing, put it in the bird's butt or not, this side dish is always made with bread. Bread, in turn, is made with wheat. Wheat is associated with Venus. Its element is earth and although its energies can vary, the biggest ones are prosperity and money. Adding a stuffing to the inside of the turkey might punch up the prosperity magic if that's what you're going for, but remember that stuffing adds cooking time and if it doesn't cook all the way through, you could be looking at some serious health issues later.

Chestnut Stuffing

4 cups of day-old white bread, cubed - prosperity, money
2 cups day-old cornbread, crumbled - protection, spirituality
2 onions, finely chopped - protection
2-3 ribs celery, finely chopped - peace, psychic awareness
2 sticks butter - spirituality
1 tablespoon dried sage - longevity, health
2 teaspoons dried thyme - love, psychic awareness, purification
1 teaspoon dried savory - can't find energies, but I would say love
1 pound roasted chestnuts, sliced - love
salt and pepper to taste
chicken or turkey stock to moisten

With a sharp knife, cut an "X" into each chestnut. Roast at 450 F until shells open, about 10 minutes. We do this over an open fire at my parents' house, in an old cast iron chestnut roaster.

When chestnuts are cooled, peel and slice.

In a large bowl, combine the breads. In a skillet, cook the onions and celery with the butter until soft, about 10 minutes over medium heat. Add to the bread mixture. Mix in the herbs and turn well to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Moisten the dressing with stock. Actually, you want it to be fairly wet to keep it moist while it is cooking. Start with two cups and add more. You don't want it to be soupy.

Put the dressing/stuffing/whatever you call it in a greased casserole dish and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes, until the top is brown and a bit crunchy.

This is my mom's chestnut stuffing, more or less. She doesn't use thyme or savory, but I finally talked her into using actual celery and not celery seed. Yeesh!

There you have it. A side dish for love, or a stuffing to add extra prosperity to the bird.

Note: If you are stuffing the bird, remember that stuffing adds to the cooking time. Consult your recipe books or the internet for proper cooking times. The meat should reach 180 F in the leg meat when done, and the stuffing should have an internal temperature of about 165. I recommend a digital meat thermometer for this. Don't rely on the pop-up thingie in the turkey.

Signifiance of Thanksgiving Dishes, Part I


This post is going to explore the energies that are connected to the foods on the typical American Thanksgiving table. With Thanksgiving just over a week away, many people are busy planning menus and putting together shopping lists. Some families serve a traditional turkey dinner, while others serve traditional foods from a different culture, such as ravioli in Italian households. We're going to deal with the regular old holiday menu first - turkey and all the trimmings.

First, we have the turkey. I see turkey as being associated with earth and prosperity, similar to most meats. Nothing says bountiful like a huge platter holding an enormous bird, its skin a nice bronze color with snowy white flesh beneath.

To add an extra punch of prosperity or money magic to your dish, try stuffing the cavity of the bird with herbs for prosperity: basil, parsley, or dill.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Green Beans with Cranberries and Walnuts

I've had this in my head for a while and decided this weekend would be a good time to experiment. I must say, it turned out really well! This is a delicious, festive-looking recipe to grace your Thanksgiving and Yule tables.

1 bag frozen green beans, cooked according to package directions
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted walnut pieces

Dressing
1 small shallot, finely minced
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the green beans, drain and rinse with cool water. Toss in a bowl with toasted walnut pieces and dried cranberries.

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Whisk in the olive oil last, until well combined. Pour over green beans.

Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Simple and delicious.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I know this recipe is already on my other blog, but I wanted to show pictures of the making of the cheese ball. It's just a simple little appetizer to serve on Imbolc. Serve it with some sesame seed or poppy seed crackers, which are also appropriate for that Sabbat.

Ingredients:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
4-6 oz. goat cheese (chevre), softened
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup dried Mission figs, chopped fine

My pictures are *always* out of order because I'm a techno-moron.

Obviously you blend the softened cheeses together first. You really have to give the chevre a good mashing because it's creamy yet crumbly. The cream cheese is the binder.

Add the chopped dates, fresh thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for an hour.

In the meanwhile, toast some pecans either on the stove top or in the oven. Put them in the food processor. You'll need about 1/4 - 1/3 cup of crushed pecans. Place them in a bowl and roll the cheese ball around to evenly coat it. Wrap it up and put it back in the fridge until it's time to serve.





What's Cooking This Weekend

I am trying out a green bean recipe for the Yule table - tender green beans with beautiful red cranberries, toasted nuts, and a nice grain mustard dressing. Designed to be served at room temperature or lightly chilled.

I'm also going to make my Imbolc cheese ball recipe - goat cheese, cream cheese, dried figs and thyme, rolled in toasted pecans.

I hope everyone is having a happy Saturday. I'm getting my kitchen cleaned and am fixing to mess it up again! :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Protective Spice Mix

This spice mix does double duty. You can sprinkle it on your food or just sprinkle it around your property for protection. Make a double batch and do both.

3-4 bay leaves, center stem removed, leaves crumbled
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon each garlic and onion powder or granulated onion and garlic
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

In a coffee/spice grinder pulverize bay leaves, peppercorns, and dried rosemary leaves. Put in a small bowl and combine with the rest of the ingredients.

Add this to protective foods or other dishes to add protection. I'm thinking of sprinkling some on a steak or a nice pork roast this weekend.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Easy Kitchen Smudging

I just tried this out and it worked pretty well after I turned down the heat.

You need:

1 sheet of aluminum foil, folded half, then half again
1 tablespoon rubbed sage
Your electric stove

Fold the foil and gently set it on top of the smallest burner on your stove. Turn the heat to medium. Allow the burner to warm gently, then sprinkle the sage onto the foil.

Please be careful and watch this carefully. Do NOT leave it unattended. After the sage started to smoke, turn off the heat and just fan the smoke around the kitchen.

Ta-da! Kitchen smudged in an easy (probably none-too-smart) way.

I'd post a picture, but it kind of looks like I have pot on my stove. *L*

Spice Blends for Love

Here are two spice blends combining herbs and spices that carry love energies (amongst other energies). I'm still working on the measurements and such.

Sweet:
Anise, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and ginger

Combine about 1/4 teaspoon anise and cloves with 1/2 teaspoon ginger and cardamom and 1 teaspoon cinnamon to add to sweet things such as apple cider or apple, carrot or pumpkin cake.

Savory:
Basil, marjoram, thyme, fennel and coriander and rosemary

Combine a teaspoon of each (1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds), dried, in your blender or spice grinder (to pulverize the dried rosemary and the fennel seeds)

Add this blend to something like a tomato sauce, or sprinkle liberally over pork, beef or poultry.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Cooking Up Ideas

I saw a post on a regular food blog about spice blends and that got me to thinkin'. How about I whip up some magical spice blends? A love blend, prosperity, protection, etc. I see what I have and fire up my coffee grinder, see what happens!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Jumping the Holiday Gun

Here it is not even Thanksgiving yet and I've already started working on more recipes for Yule. Tonight I'm making a ricotta and feta pie with olives, onions and red pepper, amongst other ingredients. I couldn't find everything I needed in the store, so I'm still working on the recipe. More to come.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blogging a Recipe Fail

I decided to make black bean burgers for dinner tonight. I bought the necessary ingredients, including a bag of rather pricey vital wheat gluten, then I hemmed and hawed, not sure if I would like it, etc. I decided to give it a try because I do love black bean burgers, and the ones from the grocery store tend to be a bit bland.

For a recipe, I adapted Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Chickpea Cutlets recipe. They looked so tasty and easy to prepare that I decided to use her methods to make black bean cutlets instead.

I even took pictures of the process, so you could see the strings of gluten being developed. I cooked one patty according to the directions. Then it was time for the taste test. UGH!!! Even though I flattened it out while cooking and cooked for the prescribed amount of time, it was still miserable. It was mushy and didn't have the strong cumin flavor that it seemed to have before cooking.

The original recipe for chickpea cutlets might be worth trying, but as an omnivore, I doubt I'll be putting forth the effort again. I'd rather just have a damn steak. I ended up having microwave spaghetti. Nasty.

Entire Intro (Rough Draft)

Please to be reading and give the feedbacks.

I worry that it gets a bit repetitive.

Btw, you should notify me if you try any of the recipes so I can put your name on the thank-you page. :)


Food is sacred. It is part of the earth to which we are all connected. Food keeps us alive, comforts us, makes us feel loved. We can also create recipes for magical purposes, such as love and prosperity. The fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs that we use all have magical properties - protection, love, healing, prosperity, psychic development, etc. I take this to be further proof of the sacredness of food itself.

The hearth was a sacred spot to our ancestors. At the hearth they warmed their hands and feet and prepared their simple meals, using what was available to them at the time. Today, in place of the hearth, we have the gas or electric stove - a modern hearth that can be just as sacred and alive as a fireplace.

Today most of us have an abundance of food. We go to the grocery store instead of depending upon the harvest. For most of us, winter no longer carries the risk of starvation. Fruits and vegetables are available all year. Our meat comes pre-packaged in foam and cellophane.

We are not as attached to our food as we used to be. We are no longer at the mercy of the elements for our survival. We have become rather disconnected from the gods in that sense. However, we can easily become connected once again through food, that which is so sacred.

People don't seem to know - or care - where their food comes from. There are some small groups of people who try to eat locally, but most of us wouldn't know where to begin. We, as followers of an Earth-based spirituality, should take pride in knowing where our food comes from, and be thankful. We spend time and energy on finding the perfect ritual tools and robes, or learning Reiki or doing past life meditations instead of finding ways to ground ourselves and really, really connect with Nature. Food.

Preparing a meal can be a ritual in itself, as can eating a meal with loved ones. Using the bounty of each season, you can honor that time of year and what the gods have provided. The evidence of the harvest will be on your plate.

I'm not telling you that you have to move to the country and grow everything yourself, nor am I telling you that you must buy organic. What I do want to draw your attention to is the foods that are in season so you can use them when they are at their freshest, most flavorful, and cheapest. In this way you can connect with the seasons in a way similar to our ancestors. They wouldn't have had a fresh tomato in January, and we shouldn't either!

This book is dedicated to all of you who wish to make a deeper connection with the earth and the seasons. If you think the kitchen isn’t magical, this book is also for you. Inside you will find recipes to celebrate the earth’s bounty, as well as some suggestions for making your kitchen a more magical place. Welcome to my kitchen. Please come inside.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cornmeal Cookies

These light, crisp cookies are flavored with orange and lemon zest. They feature crunchy pine nuts and sweet currants. They are the perfect tea biscuit for this time of year. Because of the citrus and currants, I would make these at Yule.

Cornmeal Cookies

1/2 cup plus 5 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons orange and/or lemon zest
1/3 cup currants
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups AP flour
2/3 cups corn meal, stone ground

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment.

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
Crack in the eggs and mix well.
Add the vanilla and combine.
Mix in the salt, pine nuts, zest and salt. Stir to combine.

Add in the flour and cornmeal a little at a time, stirring as you go. Make sure all the ingredients are incorporated thoroughly.

Use a teaspoon to drop mounds of dough onto the cookies sheets. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden.

Feel free to dip half the cookie in melted semi-sweet chocolate if desired.

This makes about 3 - 3 1/2 dozen.

I'll post pictures when they come out of the oven. Yes, I sampled the cookie dough. :)

I have a recipe tester!

I have a recipe tester for my pumpkin samosas. The best part? This friend cooks at a pub and grill in the town where I went to university. One of my recipes is going to be made in a restaurant kitchen and served to some regulars this Sunday. That's the plan, anyway. Heck, I'm excited!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo

No, I haven't written anything new. I had a crisis that provoked a minor meltdown. As soon as Nurse Wratched gets here, I'll be fine.

Since I'm not writing a novel, I'm probably not going to write every single day. Know what that means? Recipe reposts! I'm going to bring back some of my older recipes for evaluation.

Look for a falafel recipe coming your way. Might even dig out the apple-cranberry chutney recipe. Yessirree, I'm gettin' serious about organizing this thing. Freakin' finally.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More NaNoWriMo

Here is some more of my introduction. I seem to be rambling. I promise I'll get to a conclusion soon. I'm almost there, I swear! Feedback is appreciated. Thanks!



People don't seem to know - or care - where their food comes from. There are some small groups of people who try to eat locally, but most of us wouldn't know where to begin. We, as followers of an Earth-based spirituality, should take pride in knowing where our food comes from, and be thankful. We spend time and energy on finding the perfect ritual tools and robes, or learning Reiki or doing past life meditations instead of finding ways to ground ourselves and really, really connect with Nature. Food.

I'll say it again. Food. Preparing a meal can be a ritual in itself, as can eating a meal with loved ones. Using the bounty of each season, you can honor that time of year and what the gods have provided. The evidence of the harvest will be on your plate.

I'm not telling you that you have to move to the country and grow everything yourself, nor am I telling you that you must buy organic. What I do want to draw your attention to is the foods that are in season so you can use them when they are at their freshest, most flavorful, and cheapest. In this way you can connect with the seasons in a way similar to our ancestors. They wouldn't have had a fresh tomato in January, and we shouldn't either!

New Recipes

New recipes are being formulated for the book. I'm going to work more on the introduction (rough draft) today and post a little bit more. Thanks to the people who have left feedback. I really appreciate it.

For winter/Yule - a cornmeal cookie with orange zest, currants and pine nuts
For spring/Ostara - a stuffed lamb shoulder with a Greek-inspired stuffing

I'll hopefully make the cookies soon, possibly this weekend. I'll post the recipe and try to get some pictures up. I never seem to remember to photograph the steps or the finished product until it's too late.

That's about it for now. Getting ready for work, consuming massive amounts of coffee to counteract the 2 hours of wakefulness from 1-3 am. Ugh. Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Please help me to not suck

I'm trying to address how disconnected many of us are when it comes to our food. The goal is to then persuade the reader that s/he can start strengthening that connection by following some of the steps that will be outlined later on.

Here it goes. Please be gentle.

Food is sacred. It is part of the earth to which we are all connected. Food keeps us alive, comforts us, makes us feel loved. We can also create recipes for magical purposes, such as love and prosperity. The fruits, vegetables, grains and herbs that we use all have magical properties - protection, love, healing, prosperity, psychic development, etc. I take this to be further proof of the sacredness of food itself.

The hearth was a sacred spot to our ancestors. At the hearth they warmed their hands and feet and prepared their simple meals, using what was available to them at the time. Today, in place of the hearth, we have the gas or electric stove - a modern hearth that can be just as sacred and alive as a fireplace.

Today most of us have an abundance of food. We go to the grocery store instead of depending upon the harvest. For most of us, winter no longer carries the risk of starvation. Fruits and vegetables are available all year. Our meat comes pre-packaged in foam and cellophane.

We are not as attached to our food as we used to be. We are no longer at the mercy of the elements for our survival. We have become rather disconnected from the gods in that sense. However, we can easily become connected once again through food, that which is so sacred.



That's all I have so far. I suck.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo is Here

Happy November! I hope everyone had wonderful Samhain celebrations. I'd love to see some of your costumes!

Well, here it is. NaNoWriMo is here and so far I've written...absolutely nothing. To be fair, though, I *did* just get home from work and am trying to eat lunch. (Today isn't a good solid food day for my band, apparently.) Still, there is time and I'd like to at least start working draft two of my introduction. Draft one was done ages ago but it's crap and I probably won't post it.

Feedback will be much appreciated while I work on things. I'll be posting some recipes too. Sorry again for the lack of pictures, but I'll mostly be posting recipes that have been finished. If I can find them. Oops.