NWK

NWK

Friday, September 30, 2011

National Coffee Day

In honor of Coffee Day, here is some information about one of our favorite witches' brews.

Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Energies: Conscious mind, physical energy

The first commercial coffee house was established in Turkey in 1554. The planet probably originated in Ethiopia. Around 1000 C.E., Arabs in Ethiopia began making a hot drink from the beans of the coffea arabica plant. Another Arabic invention to be thankful for. :)

Source: Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen

Day 13: What are some witchy books that influenced you?

I, like many of you (probably), started out with Scott Cunningham and Uncle Bucky's Big Blue Book. Wicca, however, is not for me. It is not the path I follow. I follow my eclectic path and consider myself to be a kitchen witch. Kitchen witch books that influenced me include:

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen
Cooking by Moonlight by Karri Ann Allrich
Cooking by the Seasons by Karri Ann Allrich
Witch in the Kitchen by Cait Johnson


I would also like to add Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs and The Magical Household to that list. I like books that show me how to make things for my home, whether it be food or a candle or hex sign.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

What's Cookin' for Rocktober

Next month (which beings Saturday, yay!), I will start exploring the fruits of the season. I may not be able to do 31 days of recipes, but I'll do my best to provide you with information on the magical properties of the foods of the fall, along with recipes to use them. Stay tuned!

What else would you like to see for October? I'd like to host a giveaway once I get to 230 subscribers (one more needed), but I'm at a loss as to what. We'll have to see what I can come up with.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 12: Picture of Air Element

Mercimek Koftesi



1 cup red lentils, washed
1 cup fine bulgur, washed
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1/2 bunch dill, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon red chili flake
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
juice of one lemon
lettuce leaves to serve (butter lettuce, for example)

Cook the lentils in 2 1/2 cups water until soft. Add the bulgur. Cover and set aside until the bulgur absorbs the rest of the water.

In a skillet, heat the oil and cook the onion until soft. Stir in the chili flake, tomato paste and cumin.

Place all ingredients in large bowl. Mix well to combine. Allow the mixture to cool.

Make small torpedoes out of the mixture 1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons at a time. Chill. Serve wrapped in lettuce leaves with extra lemon.

This is my take on a favorite Turkish appetizer. I am taking this to the goddess day celebration I am attending tomorrow.


Lentils

Planet: Moon
Element: Water
Energies: Peace

I was watching "Spice Goddess" today, and the host, Bal Arneson, said that lentils were a sign of prosperity in India. I would add prosperity to the energies of the lentil as well, especially when combined with parsley, as in this recipe.

source: Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen

Day 11: Oils

I don't have much to say on this topic. I don't think they're all that necessary, and they're often quite expensive. If I use any oil at all, it's olive oil, possibly infused with an herb or spice such as rosemary or cloves.

More Blog Pimping

Many Thanks

Sources for the Zodiac series:

http://tarot.com

http://en.wikipedia.org

www.cooks.com

www.foodtv.com

www.epicurious.com

www.taste.com.au

www.astrology-online.com

Scott Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen

Foods of Virgo




Virgo is the sixth sign of the Zodiac. It is ruled by Mercury and is considered a passive, introvert (feminine) sign. Virgos can be modest, practical, diligent and intelligent. They can also be fussy, overcritical, and harsh.

Virgo foods include almond, barley, beans, celery, chicory, dill, endive, fennel, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios, oats, parsley, pomegranate, and rye.

Chicory and White Bean Soup

• 2 medium onions, chopped
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 5 garlic cloves, smashed
• 2-3 ribs celery, sliced
• 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
• 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth (40 fluid ounces)
• 1 head chicory (1 pound), torn into 2-inch pieces (16 cups)
• 1 (16- to 19-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and drained

• Accompaniment: grated Parmigiano-Reggiano; extra-virgin olive oil


Cook onions in oil in a 4- to 5-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and oregano and cook, stirring, 2 minutes.

Stir in broth and bring to a boil. Stir in chicory and beans, then simmer, uncovered, until chicory is tender, about 15 minutes.

Transfer 2 cups of soup to a blender and purée until smooth (use caution when blending hot liquids), then stir into remaining soup to thicken. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with cheese and drizzled with oil.


Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chicory-and-White-Bean-Soup-108876#ixzz1YuLjjokP

Foods of Taurus



Taurus is the second astrological sign of the Zodiac. Taurus is considered a passive, introvert (feminine) sign. Characteristics of Taurus include patient, reliable, determined, loving, and placid. They can also be jealous, possessive, resentful, greedy, and stubborn.

Foods for Taurus include: beef, apples, apricots, bananas, barley, avocado, bean, blackberry, buckwheat, cake, capers, cardamom, cherries, chestnuts, gooseberries, guava, kiwi, mangos, oats, peas, peaches, pears, persimmons, raspberries, rhubarb, rye, spinach, thyme, tomatoes,and wheat.

Raspberry-Rhubarb Pie

Pastry for 2-crust pie
1 1/3 to 2 c. sugar
1/3 c. flour
2 c. rhubarb
2 c. raspberries
1 1/2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg

Mix sugar and flour, mix in fruit, pour into pie crust and dot with butter. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg, cover with top crust. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, until crust is golden brown and juice begins to bubble through slits.

Recipe source: www.cooks.com

Friday, September 23, 2011

Foods of Capricorn



Capricorn is the tenth sign of the Zodiac. Capricorn, Taurus, and Virgo are the earth signs. Capricorn is considered an introvert (feminine) sign. It is ruled by the planet Saturn, and it rules bones, joints, and teeth. Capricorns can be ambitious, disciplined, patient, careful, humorous and reserved. They can also be pessimistic .

Foods that are appropriate for Capricorns include barley, beets, cheese, corn, cranberries, peas, bananas, cabbage, lamb, spinach, walnuts, beef, potatoes, quince, tamarind, turnips, vinegar, jams and jellies and preserved foods.

Baby Beet, Lamb, and Spinach Salad

• 500g lamb backstraps
• 1/3 cup olive oil
• 100g baby spinach leaves
• 75g feta cheese, crumbled
• 425g can baby beets, drained, halved
• 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
• 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar


1 Preheat a barbecue plate or chargrill over medium-high heat. Brush lamb with 1 tablespoon of oil. Season with salt and pepper. Cook lamb for 5 minutes each side for medium or until cooked to your liking. Remove to a plate. Cover with foil. Set aside for 5 minutes to rest.

2 Combine spinach, feta, beets and walnuts in a large bowl. Thinly slice lamb. Add to salad. Toss to combine.

3 Combine vinegar and remaining oil in a jug. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad. Serve.

Recipe source: www.taste.com.au

Foods of Libra



Libra is the seventh sign of the Zodiac. It is considered a masculine, positive sign. Libra originated from the constellation of the same name. It rules the kidneys.

Libra, the sign of the scales and balance, is reflected in the traits of people born under this sign. Libras can be diplomatic, romantic, charming, sociable, idealistic, and peaceful. They can also be very indecisive, gullible, and self-indulgent.

Foods include: apple, apricot, avocado, barley, bread, broccoli, buckwheat, pea, peach, pear, plum, caper, cardamom, carob, cherry, cookies, raspberry, rye, spearmint, strawberry, gooseberry, granola, kiwi, mango, oat, passion fruit, pasta, tarts, thyme, tomato, vanilla, wheat

Mixed Fruit Tart

For the crust:
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and slightly softened at room temperature
• 1 egg yolk

For the frangipane:
• 6 ounces almonds, toasted, and cooled
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
• 2 eggs
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
• 3/4 cup plus 1/4 cup apricot preserves
• Assorted fresh fruit, including raspberries, apricots, peaches, plums, kiwis, mangoes, and strawberries, sliced
• 2 tablespoons water

To make the crust, put the flour in a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix. Using your hands, make a well in the center. Place the butter pieces and egg yolk in the well. Using your fingers, work the butter and egg yolk together until well combined then work the butter-egg mixture into the flour mixture until combined. The dough will be crumbly, but when you squeeze a handful in your hand, it should hold together.

Sprinkle into a 10-inch pie or tart pan. Press the dough firmly and evenly onto the bottom of the pan. Make ropes of the dough and press them onto the walls, making sure not to let the crust thicken at the corners. It should make a clean right angle where the sides meet the bottom. Chill the crust at least 30 minutes or, covered, up to 3 days.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

To make the frangipane filling, in a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse the almonds and sugar just until sandy. Do not over-process, or the mixture will become pasty. Add the butter and process just until blended. Add the eggs and process until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla and flour, and process until smooth (you have just made a frangipane).

Spoon the frangipane into the unbaked tart shell. Bake until the frangipane is golden brown and puffy and the crust is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes.

Let cool. Spread 3/4 cup apricot preserves on the surface of the baked tart to act as a bed for the fruit. Slice fruit and arrange it decoratively. Heat the remaining 1/4 cup apricot preserves with the water until boiling and smooth. Brush the fruit with the apricot preserves to protect the fruit from drying out and make it glisten.
Recipe source: www.foodnetwork.com

Foods of Gemini




Gemini is the third sign of the Zodiac. It is ruled by Mercury. Geminis can be versatile, witty, communicative, eloquent, lively and witty. They can also be tense, inconsistent, or superficial.

Foods for Geminis include: almonds, beans, caraway seeds, celery, fennel, mulberry, mung sprouts, pecans, pistachios, pomegranate, fennel, chervil, dill, parsley, peppermint, black pepper, and turmeric.


Fennel-Celery Slaw

• 1/2 cup mayonnaise
• 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 teaspoons ground pepper
• 3/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
• 1 poundsfresh fennel bulbs, trimmed, thinly sliced
• 1/2 pound celery, thinly sliced

Mix the first six ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add fennel and celery and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Chill before serving. Toss again before serving.

Recipe adapted from www.epicurious.com

John Barley Corn is Dead

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Happy Mabon!



Mabon, Equinox, first day of fall, Harvest Home, whatever you call it, maybe it be full of blessings.

Ways to celebrate:

*Go for a walk. Collect leaves and pine cones.

* Feed the birds and squirrels.

*Make a donation to a food bank.

* Simply light a candle and give thanks for the blessings in your life.

*Share a meal with loved ones. Light orange, yellow and purple candles. Place mums on the table. Enjoy foods of the season, such as squash and apples.

* Do a kitchen/hearth/home blessing.

*Bake a loaf of bread. Enjoy with some wine.

* Meditate on the balance of light and dark. Find the balance in your life.

*Pick apples. Make apple sauce, apple butter, apple everything, and share!

From my kitchen to yours, Mabon blessings. May you never hunger, may you never thirst.

Foods of Aquarius




Aquarius is one of the air signs. It is the eleventh sign of the Zodiac, and it is considered to be masculine and extrovert. Aquarius rules the ankles.

Aquarians can be friendly, honest, loyal, original, inventive, independent and intellectual. They can also be contrary, unemotional, and detached.

Aquarius is often associated with Ganymede, a beautiful youth with whom Zeus fell in love. Zeus carried Ganymede up to Olympus to be a cup-bearer to the gods.

Foods for people born under this sign include: anchovies, duck, rice, pineapple, lemon, yogurt, tuna, hearts of palm, ocean fish, chicken, beets, broccoli, almonds, apples, walnuts, lentils, peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, brown rice, corn, lobster, spinach, cabbage, and oranges

Salad Nicoise

Ingredients

Vinaigrette
• 1/2 cup lemon juice
• 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 medium shallot, minced
• 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
• 2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
• 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad
 2 grilled or otherwise cooked tuna steaks* (8 oz each) or 2-3 cans of tuna
 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and either halved or quartered
 10 small new red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter, about 1 1/4 pounds total), each potato scrubbed and quartered
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper
 2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
 3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
 1 small red onion, sliced very thin
 8 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise
 1/4 cup niçoise olives
 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)

Method

*Marinate tuna steaks in a little olive oil for an hour. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, or place on a hot grill. Cook the steaks 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.

1 Whisk lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in medium bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

2 Bring potatoes and 4 quarts cold water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cook until potatoes are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon (do not discard boiling water). Toss warm potatoes with 1/4 cup vinaigrette; set aside.

3 While potatoes are cooking, toss lettuce with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in large bowl until coated. Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter (I used two serving platters, shown in the photos). Cut tuna into 1/2-inch thick slices, coat with vinaigrette. Mound tuna in center of lettuce. Toss tomatoes, red onion, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste in bowl; arrange tomato-onion mixture on the lettuce bed. Arrange reserved potatoes in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.

4 Return water to boil; add 1 tablespoon salt and green beans. Cook until tender but crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain beans, transfer to reserved ice water, and let stand until just cool, about 30 seconds; dry beans well. Toss beans, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste; arrange in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.

5 Arrange hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed. Drizzle eggs with remaining 2 tablespoons dressing, sprinkle entire salad with capers (if using), and serve immediately.

Source: www.simplyrecipes.com

Foods of Scorpio




Scorpio is the eighth sign of the Zodiac. It originated from the constellation Scorpius and is considered a feminine, negative/introverted sign.

Scorpios can be determined, intuitive, powerful, passionate, and magnetic, or jealous, resentful, forceful, and obsessive-compulsive.

Foods for Scorpios include: asparagus, basil, cardamom, figs, onions, cauliflower, lean meat, onions, radishes, coconut, and fish

Curried Coconut Cauliflower Soup

2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1 chili, minced (optional)
1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
1 14-oz can coconut milk
3-4 cups chicken broth
1 – 1 ½ teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot heat the oil. Saute the onion for 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and chili and cook until softened. Add the spices and stir to coat.
Add the cauliflower florets and stir to coat with the spices. Pour in the broth and bring to a boil. Drop the heat to medium and simmer until the cauliflower is quite soft, about 20 minutes.

Using a stick blender or a regular blender, puree the soup until smooth. Return to the soup pot, stir in the coconut milk, and reheat gently. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Foods of Cancer



Cancer is the fourth sign of the Zodiac and one of our water signs. According to a Greek legend, the figure of the crab was placed in the sky by Hera after it was stomped on and killed by Heracles.

Cancers are said to be loyal, dependable, caring, adaptable, and responsive. They can also be moody, clingy, and self-pitying.

Foods for Cancers include tomatoes, pumpkins, pears, pineapples, kiwi fruit, milk, white fish, red and white cabbage, yogurt, cheese, lettuce, rye, and beets.


Borscht and Rye Bread


Borscht:
• 8 cups beef broth*
• 1 pound slice of meaty bone-in beef shank
• 1 large onion, peeled, quartered
• 4 large beets, peeled, chopped
• 4 carrots, peeled, chopped
• 1 large russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
• 2 cups thinly sliced cabbage
• 3/4 cup chopped fresh dill
• 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
• 1 cup sour cream
• Salt and pepper to taste

1 Bring 4 cups of the beef broth, the beef shank, and onion to boil in large pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until meat is tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes.

2 Transfer meat to work surface; trim fat, sinew and bone and discard. Chop meat; cover and chill. Cool broth slightly. Chill in pot until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.

3 Spoon fat from top of chilled broth and discard. Add remaining 4 cups broth, beets, carrots, and potato; bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.

4 Stir in meat, cabbage and 1/2 cup dill; cook until cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in vinegar.
Ladle soup into bowls. Top with sour cream and remaining 1/4 cup dill.
Yield: Serves 6.

Source:www.simplyrecipes.com

Rye Bread

• 1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
• 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 cup rye flour
• 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
• 1/4 cup bread flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons dry milk powder
• 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
• 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 tablespoon caraway seed
• 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Add the yeast to the water with a pinch of sugar. Allow to bloom for a few minutes. Combine the other ingredients except the rye flour and ½ cup of the AP flour. By hand, stir in the rye flour and the rest of the AP flour to form a dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead 5-7 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

Place dough in an oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until doubled, 45-60 minutes.

Punch down and turn out onto a floured surface. Shape into a loaf. Place on a greased cookie sheet, cover, and let rise a second time, 45 minutes.

Slash the top with a sharp knife. Back at 400 F for 30-35 minutes. Loaf will sound hollow when tapped.

This seems like heavy, wintery food for a sun sign, but in the summer Cancers can enjoy white fresh and fresh salads. Enjoy a salad with this meal too.

Foods of Pisces


Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are our water signs. Pisces was once said to be ruled by Jupiter, but Neptune is now considered to be the ruler. Pisces, the twelfth sign, is also connected to the twelfth house.

According to one Greek myth, Pisces represents the fish that Aphrodite and Eros turned into in order to escape the wrath of Typhon. The fish are tied together with a cord at the tails so they do not lose each other.

People born under this sign are said to be compassionate and adaptable, but they can also be over sensitive, self-pitying, and lazy.

Pisces rules the feet and the lymph system. The following list of foods, procured from various sources, is a list that the fish should consume. (The list even includes fish. Hmmm… Astrological cannibalism??)

Almonds, artichokes, endive, leeks, salmon, other fish, seafood, tarragon, apples, cabbage, figs, dates, grapes, olives, potatoes and sweet potatoes.


Almond-Crusted Salmon with Leeks and Cream

• 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
• 2 medium leeks, halved, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
• 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1 cup sliced almonds, chopped
• 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
• 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup all purpose flour
• 6 6-ounce skinless salmon fillets
• 1 large egg, beaten to blend
• 2 tablespoons olive oil


Melt 2 tablespoons butter in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat
Add leeks; sauté 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until leeks are very tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.
Increase heat to medium; add lemon juice and stir until liquid evaporates, about 1 minute.
Mix in cream.
Simmer until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly.
Transfer mixture to blender. Blend until smooth.
Strain sauce into same saucepan, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible.
Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. (Sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Mix almonds, parsley, lemon peel, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper on plate.
Place flour on another plate.
Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper.
Dredge salmon in flour, shaking off excess.
Lightly brush 1 side of salmon with beaten egg.
Press brushed side of salmon into almond mixture, pressing lightly to adhere. Arrange salmon, nut side up, on baking sheet.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 tablespoon oil in each of 2 heavy large skillets over medium heat.
Add half of salmon to each skillet, almond-coated side down, and cook until crust is brown, about 5 minutes. Turn salmon over. Sauté until salmon is cooked through and opaque in center, about 5 minutes. Transfer salmon to plates.

Reheat sauce, stirring over medium heat. Spoon around salmon and serve.


www.epicurious.com
Serve the salmon with a potato gratin and you have a great meal for any Pisces.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Foods of Sagittarius





Like Aries and Leo, Sagittarius also needs meat and spice. Sagittarians should avoid excess alcohol and too many rich foods such as chocolate, too much fat, and fast food. They should eat lean meats and fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, strawberries, figs, and potatoes. Sagittarians should also consume whole grains and foods that are good sources of vitamin C. All the information I’ve seen on fire signs also recommends raw eggs, but I don’t recommend those to you unless you have a strong stomach and a healthy immune system. Just in case.

Not only are they delicious and good for you, pears and figs are also in season when Sagittarius is the ruling sign. Here, then, is a recipe for a delicious fig and pear crumble. It is full of sweet fruit and gently enhanced with honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg. If you want to avoid too much sweetness, reduce the amount of sugar in the crumbly topping, or skip it all together.

Fig and Pear Crumble

1 package dried Mission figs, quartered
1/8 cup Port wine
3 large pears, any kind, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon flour
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg (fresh if you can get it)
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon butter

Nonstick cooking spray for the baking dish


For the topping
:

½ cup AP flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar, light or dark (I prefer dark)
¼ white sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes


Preheat the oven to 350F.
Coat an 8x8 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Alternately, you can butter it, but we’re trying to avoid too much extra fat. Nevermind the butter in the topping. ;)

Put the figs in a bowl with the wine and let marinate 15-20 minutes.
Place the pears in the baking dish. Sprinkle with flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Melt honey and butter together and drizzle over pears. Arrange the fig quarters over the pears.

Combine the flour, salt and sugar for the topping. Rub in the butter with your hands or a pastry cutter (or two butter knives, or whatever) until crumbly. Sprinkle over the fruit.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until topping is brown and filling is bubbly. Serve warm.

Foods of Aries




Aries, another fire sign, also craves meat. Red meat, such as beef and lamb. Aries people like spicy food (unless they’re my Sister, Maz), red wine, and other foods that are red in color.


Aries Beef Vindaloo


2 lbs lean beef, cut into cubes
2 tblsp yogurt
4 stalks corainder
1 tsp coriander seeds
4 tblsp cooking oil (tel)
8 chopped garlic (lasan)
salt (namak) to taste
1 tsp red wine type vinegar (sirka)
1 tsp mustard seeds (raai)
1/2 tsp turmeric (haldi) powder
1 large (chopped finely) onion (pyaj)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
5 green chili
1/2 cup coconut (narial) milk
2 tsp red chili powder

• Grind red chili, coriander, cumin, turmeric, green chili and mustard with vinegar and two table spoon of yogurt.
• Heat up oil mix in cut onion and fry for three minutes. mix in cut garlic and fry till light brown.
• Mix in the ground masala and stir fry with stirring adding little water till masala is well cooked in slow heat up (about five to six minutes)
• Mix in meat and stir fry with stirring for five minutes.
• Mix in coconut milk and two cup of water and stir fry in slow heat up for forty-five minutes till meat is well cooked. stir occasionally.
• Decorate with cut coriander leavesand serve hot.

Recipe source: www.indianrelish.com

Foods of Leo

The foods of the King of the Zodiac (or Queen of the Zodiac) include meat, rice, honey, asparagus, figs, lemons, coconut, peaches, sunflower seeds, almonds, and apples. Leos are supposed to be fond of rich foods (who isn’t?) and fine wines. Blessed with a strong stomach, these foods are usually not a problem for the typical Leo (says who?).

The sign of Leo rules the heart, back, and spine. Leos are supposedly blessed with strength and vitality, but will have to slow down later in life to protect the heart. No matter what your sign, a healthy diet (with occasional rich foods, of course!) and regular exercise are crucial to a healthy heart, and exercise is important for a healthy back.

Now, on to the good stuff.

Honeyed Lamb

This is a Moroccan recipe that calls for a very Moroccan spice blend – Ras El Hanout. Meaning “Top” or “Head of the Shop”, this blend can contain up to 100 spices. If you pare down the spices a bit, it’s an easy enough blend to make. Still, you may not have all the spices just lying around in your cupboard. You can still make and enjoy Ras El Hanout with the ingredients you do have, or you can buy it from a site such as www.spicesinc.com. I just ordered some spices from there today.

Ras El Hanout
• 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
• 2 teaspoons ground coriander
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 2 teaspoons ground ginger
• 2 teaspoons turmeric
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika (I would go with sweet paprika here, not smoked)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
• 1 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


Source: http://www.food.com/recipe/ras-el-hanout-moroccan-spice-mix-262189#ixzz1YeFiq5ej

For the lamb:

½ cup butter
Small pinch saffron threads (expensive, so optional!)
2 tsp. Ras El Hanout
1 tsp. cinnamon
Salt to taste
3 lbs bone-in lamb (bones = flavor)
1 cup raisins
2-3 finely chopped onions
1 cup whole skinless almonds, blanched
2/3 cup water
1 ¼ cup honey
Juice of 1 lemon

In a small bowl, crush the saffron with the spices and
a pinch of salt. Rub most of the mixture into the lamb and mix the
remainder with the raisins.

Put the lamb and remaining ingredients,
except the raisins, honey and lemon juice, in a pan, bring to the
boil then cover and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about
1-1/4 hours until the meat is almost tender. Add more water if
necessary to prevent the meat from sticking or scorching.

Stir in the raisins, honey and a good squeeze of lemon juice and
cook, uncovered, for a further 30 minutes until almost all the
liquid has evaporated, leaving a rich thick sauce.
Serve with rice and you have a perfect Leo meal.

Recipe from www.recipecottage.com

Day 10: My Sun Sign

I'm getting a little bit behind, so here are some make-up posts. I knew I would get behind, so it's all good.




I am a Leo. My birthday is August 4. Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are the fire signs of the Zodiac.

Leos are said to be:

Confident (occasionally)
Ambitious (not really)
Generous (usually)
Loyal (very)
Encouraging (usually)
Pretentious (sometimes)
Melodramatic (me?)
Domineering (no)
Stubborn (occasionally)
Vain (once in a while)

I was born about 5 1/2 weeks early. I should've been a Virgo. I identify with the element of Earth as well as Fire, and that's probably why. I'm a mellow lioness most of the time. Just don't get on my bad side! ;)

Day 9: Favorite Mythical Creature



The Gryphon/Griffin/Griffon is a lion-bodied, eagle-headed beast. The lion is considered the king of beasts, while the eagle is considered the king of birds. This creature is a representation of divine energy. Griffins were known to guard great treasure, and one of their talons could be used as a drinking cup. This cup would change colors if poison were added, and it was considered to be a very valuable prize indeed.

Oh, it's also my family name. :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Cookbook Ideas

Well, ideas for the cookbook I'm sort of working on right now. I also have ideas for other cookbooks if I ever finish one!

I think I might include a special section on breakfast/brunch foods for Yule, since some people have sunrise rituals. At Imbolc and Samhain, some people stay up all night. I might include some special recipes for those nights as well. I'm also working on some alky-hol recipes! w00t!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 8: Photo of a Magical Place Outdoors



I've never been to this exact spot in my home state, but so much of the state is like this. I'm proud to be from West Virginia. This picture makes me draw in my breath every time I look at it. I can feel the magic in this place.

Day 7: Air Element

Air is the element of the east. Its colors are yellow and white. The energies associated with this element are communication and powers of the mind. It represents the soul. Since Air also carries away troubles and removes blockage, I associate this element with Ganesh. In the Tarot deck, Air is represented by the suit of Swords. In the Zodiac, Air is the element of Libra, Aquarius, and Gemini.

According to “The Urban Primitive”, using the telephone lines is one way to contact and communicate with the element of Air. Pick up your phone (a land line if you still have one!), press *, sing three notes, and then state what you want. (I used to use it when I wanted someone particular to call me.)

Harvest Home Rolls

Here is a lovely, fluffy, lightly sweet roll to serve at your Mabon meal.

Harvest Home Rolls – Adapted from allrecipes.com
Makes 9-12 rolls, depending on size

½ cup milk, warmed to 110 F
1 package yeast
¼ cup butter, melted
1 egg, beaten
1/8 sugar
½ - 1 tsp. salt
2 ¼- 2 ½ cups unbleached bread flour ( I used KA), plus extra for dusting
1 tablespoon oil
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash

Bloom the yeast in half the milk. I always add just a pinch of sugar at this stage too, maybe ½ tsp. Wait 15 minutes.

Add the rest of the warm milk, melted butter, sugar and salt. Stir to dissolve. Add the beaten egg and stir.

Gradually mix in the flour with a wooden spoon. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 8 minutes, until the dough makes a satiny ball.
Pour a tablespoon of oil into the bowl. Place the ball of dough into the bowl and turn to coat. Cover with a clean towel and leave in a warm place to rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.

After an hour, punch down the dough and let it rise until doubled again, 45-60 minutes.

After the dough has risen a second time, lightly oil your hands and pinch off 12 small balls of dough. Do this by squeezing the dough between the thumb and forefinger of your fist.

Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Brush beaten egg on top of each roll before baking. Bake 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. The egg wash will make the tops a nice, golden brown.


Kneading dough is an excellent time to infuse it with your intent. Love? Protection? I find that the time passes more quickly when I sing/chant as I'm kneading. "Hoof and Horn" is a favorite of mine because I feel that bread baking also honors gods of grain and agriculture, as well as the cycle of life.

Listening to "John Barleycorn" would also be appropriate. I listened to some Emerald Rose today (www.emeraldrose.com)

Whatever you serve, make the preparation of the meal part of the ritual. Listen to some special, meditative music. Chant. Light a candle as you cook. Say any words that seem appropriate at the time. It's up to you.

You can knead herbs into the bread dough for extra intent, if desired. For example, rosemary would be appropriate at Samhain for remembrance.


Cooking for Your Familiar, II


Protective Carrot-Apple Biscuits

2 cups carrot-apple puree (you can use no-sugar added applesauce and pureed carrot baby food)
2 eggs
2 cups unbleached, whole-wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
¼ wheat germ
1 tablespoon flaxseed oil

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Combine oil, eggs and puree.
Add dry ingredients.
Roll out onto a floured surface.
Cut into 1”-2” squares (depending on the size of your dog). Using a table knife, inscribe the protective rune Thurisaz into each biscuit.
Bake for 45-50 minutes. Centers will harden as they cool.

Mabon Recipes: Side Dishes

Sweet Potato Souffle is a recipe I am trying tomorrow. Hopefully it will turn out. Souffle has a reputation for being very persnickety and easily upset.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 c cream or milk
5 eggs, whites and yolks separated
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

Boil sweet potatoes until tender, 10-15 minutes, depending on size of dice. Drain and set aside.

Preheat over to 350 F. Grease a 2-quart souffle dish. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp sugar and turn to coat.

In a large bowl, mash together sweet potatoes, sugar, butter, egg yolks, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until they peak. Gently folk egg whites into sweet potato mixture in a figure-8 fashion, 1/4 at a time. There will be flecks of white in the finished product.

Pour into souffle dish and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mabon Recipes: Dessert

Applesauce Loaf Cake

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 cups applesauce
2 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

optional: 1/2 cup each chopped raised, dates, and pecans

Preheat oven to 350.

In a mixing bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Mix in applesauce. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Add to wet ingredients and stir well to combine.

Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cooking for Your Familiar, I

Muttloaf

1 ½ pounds ground chicken or turkey (or chicken and lamb, if you're feeling extravagant)
1/2 cup chicken liver, finely chopped
½ cup cottage cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup oats
1 tablespoon olive oil or flaxseed oil
1 carrot, shredded
1/3 cup frozen spinach, thawed, excess water removed
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/3 chopped parsley
3 Boiled eggs, optional

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl mix together the cottage cheese, oil and egg. Add the carrots, parsley, and spinach. Add the meat, liver, and oatmeal and mix together well with your hands. Gently fold in the peas. Mix well to combine.

If using the eggs, press 1/3 of the meat mixture in the bottom of the pan. Line up the eggs and cover with more meat. This recipe makes 2 loaves.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool until barely warm, slice and crumble into your doggie’s bowl.

Note: I made this recipe with 1 lb ground lamb and 3/4 lb ground chicken, and no spinach because I don't know if Zelda likes it or not.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Revised Mabon Menu

Herb-roasted pork
Pear-hazelnut stuffing
Honey-glazed carrots and parsnips
Green beans with cranberries and walnuts
Two-potato gratin
Rolls
Apple...something. Cake, I think. I haven't decided yet.

What are you planning on serving for Mabon?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What Else is Cooking

Call me crazy, but I've been cooking for Zelda. That's right, I've been cooking for my dog. She had an upset tummy last weekend and the weekend before. The weekend before it was bad enough to go to the vet. That was an emergency visit on Labor Day and boy, did *that* cost me! She's worth it, though.

Anyway, boiled chicken and rice was recommended to me by a friend. It's bland and is something a dog with an upset stomach can tolerate. I made her some and she snarfed it down. I decided to take her off the canned dog food all together. That stuff gives her terrible breath, and she happened to get sick to her stomach after eating one particular flavor of a particular brand of dog food. Twice. I threw it away and decided she was getting home-cooked food from now on.

I did some research online to see what foods were good for dogs and what I should avoid, besides the obvious onions, garlic and chocolate. I had no idea avocados were bad for dogs!

Since Zelda enjoyed the chicken and rice so much, I made some beef and rice for her. I used brown rice and added small pieces of carrot and some frozen peas. She LOVED it. Tonight she had boiled chicken thighs (skinned, excess fat removed, boned) with orzo pasta (and some leftover rice), carrots and green beans. My dog eats better than most kids. My dog eats better than I do!

I wanted someone to cook for. I was lonely and felt unloved and unimportant and depressed much of the time. Then Zelda came along and now I have someone who is happy to see me when I get home from work, and I get to cook for her every few days!

I pray that no one tries to come and claim her now. She was abandoned and I've had her for almost 4 weeks. If one of those wretched former owners come around, I'll tell them to go fuck themselves. Pardon my French. ;)

Here, have some cuteness:

Day 6: A Favorite God

I'm sure you all expected me to pick a god such as Ganesh or Shiva, didn't you? believe me, they were close to the top of the list. The winner, however, is...




It’s Pan! Goat-legged, lustful, reed-playing Pan. Pan, who plays a pinnacle role in “Jitterbug Perfume”. God of fertility, he whose season is spring, god of the wild and of the flocks. Hail, Pan! Great Pan is NOT dead!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Palak ki daal

Why not a recipe to go with the culture of one of my favorite goddesses?

Indian Spinach and Lentils

2/3 cup lentils, washed
1 large bag baby spinach, washed
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. freshly grated ginger or ginger paste
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. garam masala
1 small green chile, minced
2-3 tblsp. ghee or oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan with a lid, heat the oil over medium high heat.
Cook the onions 5-6 minutes, until softened.
Add the garlic, ginger, cumin seeds,and chile and cook 3-4 more minutes.
Add the lentils and toss to coat.
Cover with water, bring to a boil, then simmer until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
When lentils are almost tender, add the spinach.
Cover and cook until spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the ground cumin and coriander, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Day 5: A Favorite Goddess


Wikipedia has this to say:

Annapurna or Annapoorna is the Hindu Goddess of nourishment. Anna means food and grains. Purna means full, complete and perfect. She is a form of Parvati, the consort of Shiva.

Annapurna is a favorite goddess of mine simply because she is a goddess of nourishment. As a kitchen witch, that is important to me. I believe that all should be fed, that all can be fed. I give to food banks and click on sites such as www.thehungersite.com.

I believe that food is sacred. It is my connection to the Wheel of the Year and to the gods. Cooking is my ritual. Baking bread is a time of prayer and meditation for me. I chant as I knead, and i give thanks for the grain that I am shaping.

Worship:

She is worshipped through the recitation of her thousand names and her one hundred and eight names. The Sri Annapurna Ashtakam composed by Shankaracharya is chanted by several devout Hindus around the world as a prayer for nourishment, wisdom, and renunciation. Before partaking of any food, Hindus chant the following prayer:

“Oh Annapurna, who is always full, complete, and perfect. Beloved energy of Lord Shiva, for the attainment of perfection in wisdom and renunciation, give me alms, Parvati.

My mother is Goddess Parvati, my father is the Supreme Lord Maheswara (Shiva). My relatives are the devotees of Lord Shiva, and the three worlds are my Motherland.”

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annapoorna_devi

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 4: Water



Day 4 asks participants to post a picture of the water element. I am posting a picture of Papeete, Tahiti because it's a place I long to see. The water there is beautiful.

Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces are the water signs of the zodiac. In the Tarot, water is usually represented by cups. It is associated with emotion and passion. Related to the West, it is used for cleansing and purification. It is feminine, connected to the aspects of the Goddess.

I have always been a little bit afraid of the physical element. As for the emotion side, I think I'm pretty in tune with my emotions and other people's. Sometimes I'm a little too in tune.

What's Cooking This Weekend

The weather is a little bit cooler now, and that has me thinking of all the comfort food I want to cook when the weather gets even chillier. I felt like experimenting a little bit today, to try to come up with a casserole that would be nice and soothing for the fall and winter.

This is in the oven right now:

Filling:

1 lb ground pork
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 cup onion, finely diced
2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1-2 TBL soy sauce
Pepper to taste

10 Savoy cabbage leaves, blanched and tough middle removed
8 portobello mushroom caps, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 small bunch green onions, sliced


Sauce:
½ cup teriyaki sauce
½ cup orange juice
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, grated or minced
Chili flake to taste


Heat the oven to 350 F.
Mix the meat filling ingredients together in a large bowl. Take the blanched cabbage leaves and roll 2-3 tablespoons of the meat mixture up, burrito-style, in each leaf.
Spray a large baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Layer the vegetables on the bottom. Place each cabbage roll on top.
Mix together the sauce ingredients in a bowl or measuring cup. Pour over the cabbage rolls. Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes, until vegetables are tender and meat is cooked through.


Eat this dish for comfort and to increase prosperity and abundance.

A Mabon Menu

The Autumn Equinox is a ritual of thanksgiving. It is the penultimate harvest. It is the time of balance between light and dark, turning toward the dark. It is the season of the witch.

At Mabon, we give thanks for the fruits of the harvest and share with those in need. We feel the chill of autumn and know Samhain is just around the corner. The leaves change and we begin to gather our winter supplies around us.
Spiritually, we begin to turn inward, as fall and winter are times of introspection.

Mabon is probably my second-favorite Sabbat, following Samhain. I love that it is a time of abundance and thanksgiving. For this kitchen witch, it is a time to take the edible gifts of the earth and give thanks for them by preparing them with love and sharing them with as many people as possible.

Mabon represents thanksgiving, abundance, equality, and balance.

Symbols are acorns, pomegranates, grains and corn.

Appropriate foods are meat, vegetables such as corn, potatoes and carrots, bread, pomegranates, nuts, wine and ale

My Mabon menu:
Roasted pork with garlic, thyme, rosemary, and sage
Cornbread
Roasted potatoes
Glazed carrots
Green beans with bacon and tomato

Green Beans with Bacon and Tomato

1 lb fresh or frozen green beans
4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
1 shallot, minced
1/2 cup tomato, diced small (canned is fine)
2-3 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by cooking the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Cook the shallot in the bacon drippings until tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the green beans (ends snapped off of fresh ones, please) and chicken broth. Cook until green beans are tender (about 10-15 minutes for frozen, 25-30 for fresh). Add tomato and warm through. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the bacon and serve.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 3: Witchy Tools: Athame

An athame is a ritual dagger used by Wiccans. I’m not Wiccan. I have a teensy little black knife with a mermaid handle that I put in my altar-to-go box. It’s at my parents’ house, however.

Since I am a kitchen witch, I consider my favorite wooden spoon to be like a wand, and my favorite kitchen knife to be like an athame. My main tools are my hands, and my stove represents fire.

Dang, what a short post! Well, I'll be back with a recipe. How does that sound? Good? Good.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 2: A Myth



The goddess Parvati created a boy from the dirty from her body and gave him the job of guarding her bathroom while she bathed. When her husband, Lord Shiva, came home, he was astonished to find a stranger denying him entrance to his wife’s room. Shiva, in a fit of rage, cut off the boy’s head.

Parvati was broken-hearted. To soothe her, Shiva sent his squad out to bring back the head of any sleeping creature that was facing north. They returned with the head of an elephant. The head was attached to the boy’s body, and Shiva brought him back to life.

Ganesh was named leader (pati) of the squad (gana), hence the name Ganapati.
This is one of the stories that explains how Ganesh got his elephant head. He is the remover of obstacles and we should be prayed to before undertaking any venture.

Day 1: What's Your Witchy Background?

I’m almost embarrassed to share this, but it started as an excuse to call a guy I liked. I asked him if he had any books on the occult. I ended up with a couple of books on Wicca. They were by Scott Cunningham and y’all probably know exactly which ones I’m talking about.

I read the books and the information just clicked with me. Cunningham’s style appealed to me. I returned the books to their owner and didn’t really do anything else until college. It was there that I met my Sister, Maz. She was Wiccan, beautiful, mysterious, and cool. I replaced those books and reread bits and pieces to see if I had finally found what I had wanted.

(Before I met Maz, I was what I called “between religions”. I had read “Skinny Legs and All” for the umpteenth time, and the section that discussed religion as being an imperfect response to the Divine really resonated with me. )

(Writing things in parentheses makes me feel like Stephen King. Cool.)

It was what I wanted, so I did a self-dedication on Samhain, 1998.

44 Days of Witchery

44 Days of Witchery

Here's the list, snagged from The Pagan Blog Directory and A Pagan Mother's Life:

What’s your witchy background?

A myth or story from folklore.

Witchy tools: athame.

Picture of nature (water element).

A favourite Goddess.

A favourite God.

Air element.

A photo of a magical place outdoors.

A favourite mythological animal.

Your sun sign.

Witchy tools: oils.

Picture of nature (air element).

What are some of the witchy books that influenced you?

A favourite pagan holiday that you celebrate.

Thoughts on the afterlife?

Favourite witchy website(s).

Picture of nature (fire element).

Have you had any paranormal experiences?

Fire element.

A picture of a tarot or oracle card, and its meaning.

A favourite scent.

Current moon phase.

A favourite candle.

Your moon sign.

How do your close ones feel about your witchy path? Do they know? Why or why not?

A witchy podcast.

Picture of nature (earth element).

A picture of a witchy I-Want-It-Now!

Water element.

Witchy tools: wand.

A favourite pagan/witchy movie.

A pagan/witchy artwork.

Faerie of your choice.

Rune of your choice.

Something that I think people who don’t know much about paganism/witchcraft should know.

Flower of your choice, and its magical properties.

A famous pagan/witch!
Witchy tools: cauldron.

Something that inspires you.

Your altar, if you have one!

A spell you’ve done.

A favourite nature spirit.

A magical recipe.

Witch’s choice!