Monday, January 30, 2012

Another Imbolc Side Dish

I absolutely love this recipe. You can add a little thyme if you want, and a couple of cloves of garlic, but I like it simple.

Glazed Parsnips and Carrots

3 carrots, peeled and sliced into rounds
3 small parsnips, peeled and sliced into rounds
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the carrots and parsnips with the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Using your clean hands, toss to coat. Line a baking dish with foil. Spread the vegetables in an even layer. Roast at 400 for 35-40 minutes, until they are tender. Mix together the melted butter, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper. Pour over the carrots and parsnips and stir. Bake for an additional 5 minutes, until sauce is bubbly and thick.

Imbolc Celebration Menu

One of the ways in which I used to celebrate Imbolc/Candlemas was to inscribe a wish for the coming year onto a candle and leave the candle to burn. We would stay up all night with the candles to make sure there were no fires.

However you decide to mark the occasion, may you have a warm, nourishing meal on your table. Here is a homey winter meal (that's a little bit Slavic!) and a deliciously different appetizer. Hold on to your socks, as this post is recipe heavy!

Imbolc Celebration Menu

Baked Brie with Bacon Jam
Stuffed Cabbage
Balsamic Beets
Poppy Seed Noodles
Rye Bread with Caraway Seeds
Stuffed Figs in Wine

Bacon Jam

1.5 pounds applewood smoked bacon, cut into ½” pieces
2 medium red onions, finely diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cup packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup strong brewed coffee
1-2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground ancho chile powder
Smoked salt to taste (or just use regular salt and ¼ tsp liquid smoke)

In a large pot, cook the bacon until bacon is slightly browned and fat is rendered. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all but about 3 tablespoons of the fat.
Cook the onions in the bacon fat until onions are translucent, 7-8 minutes. Do not brown.
Add the vinegar and coffee. Scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any stuck bits. Stir in the brown sugar.
Add bacon back to the pot.
Simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is thick and syrupy, about an hour. Watch it and stir occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick. When most of the liquid is evaporated and the sauce is thick, it is done. Stir in the paprika, ancho chile powder, and smoked salt.
Allow jam to cool. Store in jars in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Baked Brie with Bacon Jam

½ package puff pastry, thawed
1 wheel of brie
¼ cup bacon jam

Preheat oven to 425 F.
Take a sheet of puff pastry. Roll slightly on a lightly floured surface.
Place the wheel of brie (rind and all) on the sheet of pastry. Top with bacon jam.
Fold the puff pastry over the top of the cheese.
Bake 20-25 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Stuffed Cabbage

8 cabbage leaves, lightly blanched in boiling water for 2-3 minutes
1 pound ground beef
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons oil
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup tomato sauce
½ cup white wine
½ cup beef broth

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, onion, egg, parsley and rice. Use your hands to thoroughly mix the ingredients together.
Divide the meat mixture into 8 portions and form into thick oval shapes.
Take one cabbage leaf and fill it with 1/8 of the meat mixture. Roll it burrito-style to form a package. Secure with toothpicks if needed. Repeat.
In a large skillet with a lid, heat the oil on medium heat. Cook the garlic for about 5 minutes, until softened. Deglaze the pan with the white wine and beef broth.
Add the tomato sauce.
Place the cabbage parcels seam-side down in the skillet. Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 40 minutes, basting often with the sauce.

Balsamic Beets

8 small beets (about 2 pounds)
6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Trim the beets and place in a large pot. Cover with water. Boil until tender. Drain and allow beets to cool.
Remove the skins and trim the ends of the beets. Slice into rounds or wedges.
In a sauce pan, simmer the balsamic vinegar for 5-7 minutes, until thick. Add the beets and stir to coat.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Poppy Seed Noodles

1 1-pound bag wide egg noodles
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons poppy seeds
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the noodle in salted boiling water until al dente.
In another pot, heat the oil on medium. Cook the shallot for 5-7 minutes until softened but not browned.
Add the poppy seeds.
Add the drained egg noodles and butter. Toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Rye Bread with Caraway Seeds

2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
2 cups warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees), divided
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon caraway seed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 cups rye flour
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add brown sugar, caraway, oil, salt and remaining water; mix well. Stir in rye flour and 1 cup all-purpose flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining all-purpose flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; divide in half. Shape each half into a ball; place in two greased 8-in. round cake pans. Flatten balls to a 6-in. diameter. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

Stuffed Figs in Wine

10 dried Mission figs
¼ cup soft goat cheese
2 tablespoons crumbled gorgonzola
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup red wine or port
¼ cup balsamic vinegar

Heat the oven to 325 F.
Slice the figs most of the way through, but do not cut them completely in half.
Mix together the cheeses and honey.
Stuff each fig half with a scant teaspoon of filling.
Place in a baking dish.
Mix together the wine and vinegar. Pour over the figs.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and formed a bubbly, thick sauce. Figs should be softened.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sun God Frittata

This is a recipe that I meant to share at Yule, but it can certainly be eaten at Imbolc as well. The eggs and especially the dairy - including pecorino romano - make it appropriate for Imbolc. Incidentally, I learned that Imbolc is February 5 this year.

Okay, now about the recipe. I wanted to include preserved meat, especially pork, because that was an important winter food before we had refrigeration. Then I included something that is completely out of season - bell peppers. There is a method to my madness, however. I included these red and yellow beauties because this is a SUN God Frittata. You can, however, leave them out if you can't find good produce in your market this time of year. The recipe also includes butternut squash and its sunny color is also lovely with the golden yellow of the egg.

Enjoy the contrast of creamy eggs and tender squash against crisp peppers. Notice the earthiness of the herbs and the saltiness of the cheese. Think of the strengthening sun. Think of spring.

Sun God Frittata

6 tablespoons olive oil
1 butternut squash (about 1 ½- 2 pounds)
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
5 sage leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
½ tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
¼ pound Prosciutto, thinly sliced into ribbons
10 eggs
3 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the squash in half. Remove the seeds. Brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place, cut side down, in a baking dish and roast at 425 F until squash is tender, about 40-45 minutes. When the squash has cooled, peel and cut into ½” cubes.

In a deep, oven-proof skillet (I like cast iron), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Cook the prosciutto until lightly crisp. Remove and set aside to drain.

Heat the rest of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper. Season with a little salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables begin to soften, about 7 minutes.

Add the rosemary, sage, and thyme. Cook for one minute.

Return the prosciutto to the pan.

Add the squash to the vegetables and prosciutto. Stir to combine.

In a bowl or blender, combine the eggs and cream. Combine with the cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour this mixture into the skillet. Allow the eggs to cook for 3-4 minutes, using a rubber spatula to allow the uncooked egg to flow into the bottom. Cover the skillet with a lid or plate and allow it to cook for 9-10 minutes, or until partially set.

Preheat the broiler. Remove the lid and place the skillet under the broiler until frittata has set completely and top is lightly browned, 2-3 minutes.

Loosen the frittata and turn it out onto a plate. Let it cool to room temperature. Slice into 8 wedges and serve.

Serves 8

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Imbolc is almost upon us. It’s time to start thinking about the growing strength of the sun, the approaching warmth, and the life that is lurking just below the surface of the frozen earth. Imbolc, or Candlemas, is a time to honor Brigid, a deity of fire, healing, and fertility. It is also a time to focus on the signs of spring and observe another turning in the Wheel of the Year.

Winter was a hungry time for our ancestors, and they look forward to springtime when they could enjoy fresh foods and begin to plant seeds. Appropriate foods include grains, seeds, winter vegetables such as potatoes and onions, raisins, and dairy foods. Fiery foods to honor Brigid and the growing sun are also appropriate.

Whip of a loaf of homemade bread, with or without raisins, to adorn your Imbolc table. Prepare a spicy curry to honor goddesses of fire and the hearth, or a creamy white custard to reflect purity and symbolize the melting snow.

My offering to you this Imbolc is a slightly sweet, creamy spiced korma that features winter vegetables. Serve with steamed rice and let this dish warm you from the inside.

Winter Vegetable Korma

3 cups winter vegetables – choose from: carrots, cauliflower, sweet potato, potato, rutabaga, cabbage, kale, broccoli (I used sweet potato, carrot, and cauliflower)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2 teaspoons garam masala
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ cup coconut milk
Salt to taste
2-3 tablespoons cashew butter
Water as needed
2 tablespoons oil or coconut oil
Unsalted cashew pieces and chopped cilantro to garnish (optional)

2-3 green chilis (seeded if you want to avoid too much heat)
5-6 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger

Place these ingredients in a food processor and grind to a fine paste.

Prep the vegetables by breaking broccoli and cauliflower into small florets. Peel the potatoes and cut everything into 3/4” pieces. Roughly chop the kale if using.

In a skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and fry 5-6 minutes. Soften, do not brown. Add the paste and fry 3-4 more minutes. Sprinkle in the powdered spices and stir to coat. Cook one more minute.

Add the vegetables . Pour in about 1 cup water. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are almost tender and most of the liquid is gone.

Blend in the cashew butter and coconut milk. Simmer another 3-4 minutes, until sauce is slightly thickened. Season with salt to taste.

Serve with hot basmati rice. Garnish with chopped cilantro and unsalted cashew pieces, if desired.

Serves 4

Saturday, January 21, 2012

And the winner is...

The winner of "The Wicca Cookbook" is (drumroll, please) Crystal Harper! Congratulations, Crystal! I'll announce this on the facebook group as well. As soon as I get contact information, the package will be in the mail!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mushroom Quiche

I keep adding to my autumn and winter cookbooks. I'm going to have to start weeding out recipes or rearranging them, but this one is a keeper. I didn't make it in time for the full moon, but you certainly can make it for the next one.

Note: Yes, the photos are out of order. I really suck at technology. Sorry! At least the steps of the recipe are in order. ;)

Melt about 3-4 tablespoons of butter on medium-low heat. Add 6 ounces (1 package) of portobello mushroom caps, coarsely chopped. Add 2 minced shallots and 2 minced cloves of garlic. Season with sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Cook until softened, about 12 minutes.

Place the softened mushroom mixture in a food processor and pulse until you have a coarse paste. Spread on the bottom of a blind-baked pie crust.

Top the mushroom mixture with 1/2 cup grated Gruyere.

Place 4 eggs and 1/4 cream in the food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Whip for a few seconds until combined. Slowly pour this mixture over the mushrooms.

Bake quiche in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until set. Cool for 15 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Potato-Broccoli Soup

This is the perfect soup for a cold, snowy evening. Chock full of nourishing, grounding ingredients (and bacon!), this soup might just become a winter staple.

2 cups broccoli florets (I used frozen)
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
1 bunch green onions, sliced
½ pound bacon, cut into 1” pieces
3 tablespoons flour
1 8-oz pack Cheddar cheese, shredded
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups whole milk
Sour cream to serve

In a large soup pot, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cook the onion and garlic in the bacon fat until the onions are tender, about 7 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and garlic. Stir together to make a roux. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add the potatoes to the pot and cover with the stock. Cover and simmer until potatoes are very tender. Remove from heat. Puree the soup, leaving some chunks of potato.

Return the soup to the stove. Add the broccoli and cook until tender (or heated through, if using frozen broccoli).

Lower the heat and add the milk. Add the cheese and stir to melt. Return the bacon to the soup and add the green onions.

Serve the soup with dollops of sour cream, plus extra bacon and green onions for garnish if desired.

You can also replace the green onions with crispy fried onions. That's also delicious.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Giveaway Time

I brought back a bunch of stuff from my parents' house in West Virginia. My boyfriend and I loaded up the car with my keyboard, guitar, Sculpey and other crafting crap, and books. Since I brought back so many books, I thought I'd have a little giveaway.

I'm giving away a copy of "The Wicca Cookbook: Recipes, Ritual, and Lore" by Jamie Wood and Tara Seefeldt. It is in fantastic condition, even though I've had it for a while. It had been packed away in a plastic container for years!

Another thing I brought back is my polymer clay and the tools I use to work the clay. I have been going a little bit crazy making little Matryoshka dolls and kitchen krones. My bookshelf is getting ridiculous! I made two especially for this giveaway. One is dark blue with gold stars and a gold kerchief. The other one is black with a silver moon, silver stars, and a silver kerchief. They are handmade and hand painted. Each one is a little bit different.

To Enter:
Comment on this entry.

For extra entries:
1. Comment on this blog post.
2. "Like" the page for this blog. (Look to the right.) Leave a comment on the wall.
3. Blog about this giveaway and send me a link.
4. Tweet about this entry and send me a link.
5. "Like" my other page, "Nar's Figures and Runes". Leave a comment on the wall.
6. Follow my blog. Comment about it.

Below are some pictures of the book and the figurines. They can serve a variety of purposes. Place them in the light of the full moon to fully charge them with goddess energy and place them anywhere in your home. They are especially at home in the kitchen or around books.

The winner will be randomly selected on Saturday, January 21.

Good luck!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Kitchen Witches

Here are a few of the little kitchen witches I've been working on. They're rather rustic, which I think adds to their charm. They have a lot of personality for such little figures!

Happy New Year (A Bit Late)!

Greetings! I hope everyone had a nice solstice and a lovely new year. Happy 2012 to you all! I spent part of the time at my parents' house in WVa. It was a nice visit, but I'm happy to be back in my own apartment.

I thought I would welcome the new year by hosting a giveaway. More details to come soon. I have also come up with a really great winter potato-broccoli soup, and I will post the recipe for that as well. This is a really good, grounding soup.

I hope everyone is eating well. I've been thinking about recipes for my winter and spring cookbooks, as I need to add a smidge more to both of them. Lack of funds, however, has gotten in the way of my creativity a bit lately. Hopefully that problem will be resolved shortly.

I have started making and selling little clay kitchen witches, goddess figures, and runes. The giveaway will feature one of my little kitchen witches. If you're on facebook and want to "like" my page, that would be great. Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nars-Figures-and-Runes/142646715850386

That's it for now! Stay tuned for some kitchen witch photos and details on the giveaway.