Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Falafel Experiment

This falafel recipe isn’t true falafel, but it’s incredibly delicious.  First of all, it’s baked instead of fried.  Secondly, cannellini beans have been added to make the texture creamy rather than crumbly.   Try these little patties in some fresh pita with a yogurt sauce and maybe some lettuce, tomatoes, and onions.   Add some hot sauce, too, if you’re in that kind of mood.

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ 15-ounce can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup packed cilantro leaves
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
½ small onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
Juice of ½ lemon
½ jalapeno pepper, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a food processor, combine all ingredients.  Process until the mixture is relatively smooth.
Chill for 30 minutes to an hour.
Take about a tablespoon full at a time and form into 22- 24 patties.
Lightly oil a baking sheet.   Place the falafels onto the baking sheet and place in the oven.
Bake for 18 minutes on one side.  Flip carefully with a spatula, and bake for an addition 7-10 minutes until golden brown on both sides.  Serve hot.

Update Time!

My goodness! June is nearly gone and soon Lammas will be upon us.   You know that's the start of my favorite time of year - late summer through late fall - and I've been preparing recipe ideas.  I've also been making lots of different calzones for my boyfriend to take to work for his lunches.

Thursday night was a women's party at work.  Our events coordinator organized a women's party so the Muslim women could feel comfortable, remove their hijabs, dance, and have a good time.  I think most of them had a pretty good time.  I took baked falafel, but I mixed in about 3/4 can of white kidney beans to make the texture creamy rather than crumbly.

Even though summer is an amazing time for produce and I am enjoying berries and zucchini and such, I am craving a lot of sweet potatoes.  I've been mashing them with butter, honey, salt, and garam masala. Delicious!  I think I might try whipping them with a little ginger and coconut milk in there, too.  Look for a recipe soon...

I've been working on weekly meal plans and trying to shop accordingly to avoid food waste and overspending, but there are nights when I am just too damn tired to cook.  For those of you who have families to feed, my pointy hat goes off to you.  I don't know what I would do if I have kids, honestly.  Having a dog is plenty right now.

The June issue of Pagan Edge magazine is out and my article on faery foods is in it. The recipes are Honeyed Milk and Rose Thumbprint Cookies (thumbprint cookies with dollops of rose preserves). July will feature a recipe for grilled vegetable and tofu tacos with black beans and avocado spread.  That was a delicious recipe experiment, let me tell you!

What else? Oh, I applied for a couple of jobs in Ohio.  I'd really, really like one of those Assistant Program Manager positions.  It's a Catholic Marianist university, but that doesn't worry me. I can get by with my head scarves there just fine. So...good energies, please?  I'd really appreciate it.

That's about it for now. I'll get the white bean falafel recipe together for y'all, too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Midsummer: Ideas and a Quick Ritual

At Midsummer, the strength of the sun is honored.  The sun is necessary for life to exist and flourish.  The sun helps nourish crops that will soon be harvested. As a kitchen witch, this is a time to honor the strength of the sun.  Here is a simple kitchen witch ritual and a few ideas to celebrate Midsummer. 

This ritual is best done alone in the kitchen.  Send everyone else out to tend to the grill or drink lemonade while they watch the sunset.

Place a gold, red, orange, yellow, or white candle on the stove and light it.  Offer your kitchen deity a bit food such as grain (it can be in bread form).   You may also offer other seasonal foods such as fresh berries.

   Sit where you can see the candle.  Breathe deeply a few times, drawing in cleansing breath.  Ground in your own way.  Close your eyes and focus on the candle flame with your third eye.   

You may wish to contact your particular hearth deity, patron god or goddess, fertility or harvest deity at this time.  Feel the presence of the divine within and without. 

When the time feels right, give thanks for the season.  I might say something like:

“I give thanks for the longer days and the warm weather that helps the crops flourish. I am thankful for the extra time to spend with loved ones.  I give thanks for the bounty of the season.  I look forward to the upcoming harvests with gratitude.” 

Share some of the berries with loved ones and leave the rest as an offering.  

*Decorate your Midsummer table with candles the colors of flame.

 *Add yellow and orange flowers.

*Serve spicy fare that captures the very heat of the summer sun (think: Tex-Mex dishes or vibrant Thai or Indian curries using local, seasonal veggies).

*Use your grill (outside hearth) if you have one.  

*Visit your local farmer’s market to gather produce for your meal.    

*Don’t forget to donate some non-perishables to your local food pantry as well.  We kitchen witches want all to be fed!

This post is copyright to the author and may not be reused, reprinted, or otherwise reproduced without the permission of the author.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pagan Edge - Choose My Recipe Adventure!

Help!  My column for Pagan Edge magazine is due in two days and I'm still torn between two recipes.  This issue is all about food and spirituality, so I thought I'd bring in some sun-powered fertility.   Problem is, I don't know if I want to use rice or corn.

I love both rice and corn, but I am trying to avoid too much corn, as most of it is genetically modified these days.  Still, once in a while wouldn't hurt, I suppose.

Here are the recipes I'm kicking around.  Would you help me decide?:

Grilled tofu tacos with grilled vegetables and a cool avocado spread

(Asian-inspired flavors here) Baked rice with tofu and summer vegetables

I know, most soy is GMO these days, too.  Dammit.   I could pull out my grilled vegetable salad and beef kebab, if necessary.  I am just having such a hard time deciding for some reason.

Help! :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there.  I called mine this morning and will hopefully get to see him in August.  I couldn't ask for a more perfect dad for me.  :)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Whoa! Yeah, I changed my picture.

 I've made entirely too many Kitchen Krones.  I'm like a woman possessed.  Gods, I hope I can send a few to good homes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Basic Calzone Dough Recipe

The other day, I mentioned making calzones, and today I thought I would share the dough and method.  It's been a while since I've seen the original recipe, but I think it came from allrecipes.com.  I have since adapted it and doubled it for my own purposes.

I'll give you the recipe for the dough and the method, but I will leave the filling up to your imaginations.  The barbecue chicken and bacon is very popular here,  as is the sausage-and-pepper combo.

For the dough:

2 packets yeast
2 cups warm water (no higher than 110 or you'll kill the yeast)
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons olive oil

2 teaspoons salt
2.5 cups all-purpose flour
2.5 cups white whole-wheat flour

1 egg, beaten

Combine the yeast, honey, and warm water.  Let sit 10-15 minutes, until frothy.   Add the olive oil.

In a mixing bowl, combine the salt and flour.   Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture.

Stir to combine.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and with floured hands, knead for 5 minutes.

Oil the mixing bowl and place the dough in and turn to coat.   Let the dough rise for 40 minutes.*

Punch down the dough.  Preheat oven to 375.

Turn dough back onto floured surface and divide in half.  Place one half back in the bowl.  Divide remaining portion into 8 pieces and roll into balls.

Using a floured rolling pin, flatten the balls of dough into 5" rounds (or as close as you can get).

Use the filling of your choice and place a small amount on half of the dough.   Fold the other side over and press sides together.  Crimp with a fork.

Transfer calzone to a greased baking sheet.  Repeat until you have 16 calzones.

Brush each calzone with beaten egg and bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, one tray at a time.   Dough will be golden brown and will sound hollow when tapped.

* I place the bowl in my oven on the top rack. On the bottom rack, I place a pan of boiled water.  The steam makes a better rising environment.

I refill the pan of boiling water when I start baking.  The steam helps the dough form a nice crust.

All content copyright Brandy Griffin.  This article may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I Got Autumn in my Bones

Here it is barely June, and for the last MONTH all I've been able to think of is autumn.  I swear I've felt in some of these summery days, either at the very beginning or the very end.

I love summer; don't get me wrong.  I love, love, love the longer days, the warm temperatures, the lightning bugs, the smells of fresh-cut grass and charcoal smoke... But part of me wants that smoke to be from wood fires.  I want the wind to waft the fragrance of fallen leaves toward me.

I want to cook autumn food, too.  Things that are warm and comforting.  I'm enjoying lighter, fresher vegetable dishes during this time of year, but part of me wants to say, "To heck with this! I'm making a pot of stew!"  I've compensated by making loads and loads of calzones for my boyfriend to take to work.

My freezer is going to be full of calzones after today.  I made a baker's dozen yesterday, and will probably make at least that many today.  I found a really easy dough recipe online somewhere, and I've been having a lot of fun coming up with tasty fillings.

So far I've made:
sausage and pepper
chicken, bacon, and onion with and without barbecue sauce
meatball-eggplant Parmesan

Today I'm going to make more of the chicken and sausage fillings as they were very popular.  I load 'em up with plenty of cheese as well.  I bake them, let them cool, and wrap them in foil.  At work, the martian simply unwraps and nukes.  And the people he works with are usually very jealous of his lunches!

I think I'm going to think about my favorite time of year and how I plan to celebrate it when it comes.  I hope you all have a lovely Sunday.  Let me know what's going on in your neck of the woods.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Our Friend, the Coconut

Do you love coconut, or do you hate it?  I love it!  When I was younger, I called them "monkey faces" because of the three little black dots on the end.  Yeah... *L*

The coconut is one of the most useful trees in the world.  Hundreds of products can be made from the coconuts themselves, as well as the leaves, the trunk, and even the husk.

Ancient Hawaiians offered coconuts to many of their deities.  Coconut groves were worshiped as sacred spaces.  The goddess Hina, a good goddess, is linked with the creation of the first coconut.

Because of this, the coconut is ruled by the moon.  Its element is water, and it carries the energies of spirituality, psychic awareness, and purification.

Coconut meat is good to eat before full moon rituals, or as part of the cakes and ale portion of the ritual.

I've been using a lot of coconut oil lately.  If you have read this blog for a while, you know how much I love coconut curried everything, and adding coconut oil instead of ghee or olive oil increases the delicious flavor.  It also has a high smoke point.

However, I haven't been cooking with the coconut oil recently.  I've been using it for natural bath and beauty products.  It seems to have hundreds of uses,as evidenced by all the blogs that list them.    I like to think it also helps to purify me and add an extra layer of protection.

What I've done with coconut oil so far:

* Homemade deodorant - mix equal parts coconut oil, cornstarch or arrowroot power, and baking soda.  Add essential oils for fragrance if desired.  Mix to form a stiff paste and store in an airtight container.  You'll find this recipe all over the Internet.  I used tea tree and rosemary oils.

* Hair conditioner - melt coconut oil (it melts at a very low temperature) and add a few drops of peppermint and rosemary oils. Massage into hair and scalp and leave for 20 minutes.  Shampoo as usual.

* Body scrub - Mix one avocado with 3-4 tablespoons soft or melted coconut butter, and enough salt or sugar to make a paste.

* Moisturizer - I rub it into my still-damp skin after a shower.  I also use it as a lip balm.

I plan to use it for some homemade mosquito repellent as well.  I feel a protective layer of glowing white moon energy around me the more I use it.

I invite you to share your uses for coconut oil or the flesh of the fruit.  I love coconut recipes!


Cunningham, S. ( 1990). Cunningham's Encylopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen Llewellyn Publications. Woodbury, MN.

This post is copyright to the author. No portion of it may be reproduced in any manner without express permission from the author.