Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Winter Dish for Prosperity

Y'all know I love Indian food.  I curry anything that can't escape my clutches.  I think winter is a great time to eat the warm flavors of sunnier climes, and this recipe is serves up those flavors with a side of pork for prosperity in the new year.

Pork and Fruit Curry
2 lbs pork roast, cut into 1-inch chunks
2-3 tablespoons oil
1 16-oz bag cranberries
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 medium onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, grated, or 1 tablespoon ginger paste
2-3 chilies, minced
1 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala
½ cup brown packed dark brown sugar
½  cup apple juice or apple cider
½ cup chicken broth or stock
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

In a large skillet with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat.  Pat the pieces of meat dry and place in the skillet.  Brown the meat for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.  Add more oil to the skillet if necessary.

Cook the onion for about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, ginger, and chilies and cook another 2-3 minutes.
Sprinkle the spices over this mixture and stir to coat. 

Add the pork back to the skillet along with the sugar, broth, juice or cider, apples, and cranberries.

Cover the skillet. Simmer  on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, until the pork has cooked through.  

Remove the lid and let the sauce simmer a few more minutes to thicken.   Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with Basmati rice. Garnish with cilantro if desired.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thoughts of Yule, the New Year, and Noms

This evening,  I mentioned to my boyfriend that 5:30 felt more like 8:30.  Needless to say, I am looking forward to the solstice and longer days!   This also makes me think of eating some meat again.  I’ve been tempted a couple of times, but I’ve resisted.  At Yule, I’m looking forward to sinking my fangs into a feast.

It’s time to start exploring some traditional foods for the winter solstice.   Now, back before we could ship food everywhere and get almost everything all year long, food wasn’t very plentiful in the winter.  It all depended upon the harvest and what you were able to preserve and put away.   Food was salted, pickled, preserved in honey, dried, or even kept in the snow.  Food was scarce, and therefore, it was extra sacred.

I’ve talked a little bit about my interpretations of some of the meats consumed at this time – namely pork and fowl such as turkey or goose.   For me, meat in general symbolizes prosperity because at one time, only the wealthy could afford to have it with any regularity.    

Despite their differences – wings versus hooves, land versus air and water - I tend to associate these animals with the element of earth, ruling over prosperity, abundance, etc.    I see the winter solstice as the beginning of the new year.  It’s a time when I want to invite prosperity and abundance into my life.

 It’s not a problem if you don’t eat meat.  There are other ways of inviting prosperity into your home at the new year, and I promise I will explore some of these options as we go along.   

Next up:  Pork Curry with Apples and Cranberries  

Thursday, November 22, 2012


I am thankful to exist in this place and time.
I am thankful I am a woman who can vote and own property.
I am thankful I am not someone's property.
I am thankful that I am able to say, "I am pagan", and not be punished.
I am thankful for what I have.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Hot Buttered Rum

I've been making this hot buttered rum recipe for years and everyone loves it.  Since it's getting to be that time of year, here it is once again:

Hot Buttered Rum
1 pint vanilla (or caramel!) ice cream, softened
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 bottle dark rum
Boiling water

Beat the butter and ice cream together with an electric mixer  Mix in the sugar and spices .  Place in a container and put back into the freezer until firm.     When ready to serve, add 1 tablespoon of the batter to a cup with a shot of the rum.  Fill the cup with boiling water and stir to melt the batter.  

From here, you can add a dollop of whipped cream on top, some fresh nutmeg, and a cinnamon stick.  Or you can just drink it!  

As a Kitchen Witch

This is just a list I am working on.

As a kitchen witch, I:
·         Occasionally cover my hair, especially when honoring Hestia
·         Do not eat meat between Samhain and Yule
·         Do not cover my hair as much between Samhain and Yule
·         See the time between those two sabbats as being  between the old year and the new, and our world and the one on the other side of the veil
·         Use seasonal, local ingredients as often as possible
·         Stir clockwise unless I am banishing negativity
·         Prefer wooden spoons
·         Leave offerings of food
·         Donate food to those in need
·         Use cooking as a ritual, especially bread making
·         Chant as I chop or knead
·         Use mealtimes as ritual time
·         Am extra domestic during my menstrual cycle
·         Use my recipe book as a book of shadows and diary
·         Give thanks for the parts of the meal as well as the meal itself
·         Infuse my cooking with love
·         Burn candles when cooking sabbat meals
·         Cook to feed and heal my soul and mind
·         Read cookbooks like novels
·         Research kitchen, hearth, and food deities from other cultures
·         Learn, learn, learn

Monday, November 19, 2012

Nov. 19

I made the black bean soup and cornbread tonight. It just sounded good. Good and easy because I don't have to do anything while waiting on the beans to cook.

I also made pretzels today, using a recipe from Alton Brown.  They are, in a word, amazing.

S has the fast helped me with tapping into my innate witchiness? Have I had a glimpse behind the veil yet?  Well, I don't know.  Make of this what you will:

A day or two ago, I was on the phone and I happened to walk by the television and see that the stand was dusty (as usual).  I mindlessly traced a shape into the dust and moved on to another room.  Later, after I hung up, I looked at the shape and noticed it resembled a rune.  Now, I'm no expert on runes, so I had to flip through a book to find it, but it was Othala.   Ancestry.  Family.

I just found it rather odd that I was on the phone with my parents when I doodled that rune's form.  I wish it were more feasible for me to go home for the winter holidays, but it's an awful lot of trouble and expense for a short visit.   Besides, I am really hoping and praying I hear about a job I applied for.  It's in Washington.  I have a friend in the same town.  It would be so nice to get out of this place.

Tomorrow I will make some cheesy, shroomy manicotti (couldn't get shells at Kroger).  Oh, and here is a bonus pretzel picture:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The best laid plans...

While I'm still sticking to the meatless eating, I haven't been doing a lot of cooking.  Again, I've just been feeling completely wiped out after work.  That and the depression has been slowly creeping back in.  I spent a lot of time crying on the couch yesterday for no reason.  Yeah. So, I just haven't felt like being in the kitchen or doing much of anything lately.  I'll be back eventually.  Just feeling crappy right now and I don't want to let it all out on here.

Friday, November 2, 2012

What's Cookin' Tonight

I've already deviated from my meal plan, and it's only day two.  I had veggie pizza last night (back injury, no cooking), and tonight I'm making lentil-walnut loaf.  The pierogi will happen tomorrow. There may be pictures. Before you get too excited, however, know that I'm cheating and using won ton wrappers.

Lentil-Walnut Loaf
1/2 cup walnuts (I actually like walnuts and pine nuts mixed)
2 TB olive oil or grape seed oil
one small onion, diced
2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup uncooked quick oatmeal
1/4 to 1/2 cup lentil cooking liquid, as needed                                                                                                 2 cloves garlic, minced                                                                                                                              1/2 cup cooked oatmeal
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley                                                                                                                     salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350ยบ. Spray a loaf pan or 8x8 square baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside (an 8x8 pan makes a crisper loaf).
Grind the walnuts (and pine nuts, if using) into a coarse meal using a food processor. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
Saute the onion and garlic in the olive or grape seed (my personal preference) oil until soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add to the mixing bowl along with the remaining ingredients.  Use your hands to combine the ingredients as you would a meatloaf, adding only as much liquid as necessary.  Add more uncooked oatmeal if the loaf mixture seems too wet.  (I usually don't have to add liquid.)
Press mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until cooked through.
Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate or platter and slice.

I’m going to make some mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and green beans to go with this. I had planned to make green beans with smoked almonds, but guess what I forgot? The one thing?  Yeah, the almonds. D’oh! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012


As I mentioned earlier, I've been incredibly wiped out lately.  I've been busy with work, and just exhausted most of the time.  Last night I had planned to lay out a lovely feast for the living and the dead, but that didn't happen.  I ended up making a loaf of pumpkin bread instead, and offering some of that to my ancestors.  I also sat out some dog and cat food, and apples for my guinea pigs.  A little black kitty from the neighborhood stopped by to eat the cat food.  I think that's a good sign, personally :)

This morning, on my way down the stairs to work, I hit a step just the right way with my foot and PAIN shot up my spine and I went down.  I had to crawl back up the steps and lie on the floor for a while.  While on the floor, I sent desperate text messages to the coordinators at work to let them know I wouldn't be able to make it in today, and to please inform my students.  I managed to claw my way onto this chair and send some e-mails and here I sit, hunched over the dining room table like Quasi-freakin-modo,  the muscles in my back screaming at me.    I hope this doesn't look bad at work.  It's not my fault there aren't enough people to cover classes when someone is out.  Fortunately, today was going to be a review day, and I can answer questions and do work from home.  For now, though, back to the floor I go.  Ouch.

Hope you all had a happy holiday.

Here is our humble outside altar:

And our pumpkins: