food

The Kitchen Witch

November, 2018

Wicked Simple and Easy Black Beans and Rice

Every Thanksgiving, I make a huge dinner for my son and myself and sometimes his father – if he is in town from Florida – and maybe one or two other people. I always make homemade bread stuffing for the turkey that I lovingly roast. I make garlic mashed potatoes with creamy gravy. There is always some kind of squash on the table – butternut squash or acorn squash or perhaps a nice creamy mixture of several squashes, delicately seasoned. I can’t imagine any meal without a salad, so of course there is a large bowl filled with mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, sliced red onions, and other salad goodies. Neither my son nor I are great fans of cranberry sauce but if I have guests who crave some of that condiment, I happily cook down fresh cranberries, sugar, some citrus and spring water into a toothsome treat. And of course, there has to be some corn and some beans. I used to make either succotash or a green bean casserole – both yummy dishes – but now I make beans and rice. There are several reasons for this. The first is that I can make it up a day or two before the holiday and reheat it in minutes before the meal and it’s always yummy good. The second is that if I happen to have any vegetarians at my meal, I don’t have to worry about them not getting a nutritionally complete meal – beans and rice are a complete protein all by themselves. The third is – of course – I can have corn and beans on my table all in one luscious dish!

I make beans and rice all the time. It’s one of those things that I make a little differently every time I make it, depending on what I have on hand – I almost always have leftover rice, so I make a batch of beans and rice usually once a week. I prefer black beans over all other beans but I will use red beans or garbanzos or black-eyed peas or lentils or any kind of bean at all.

But for this recipe, you are going to want a can of black beans. I used day-old leftover rice but if you make it fresh, you will need a cup and a half. You will also need a half a can of corn, a medium-sized green pepper, a small onion or half a medium-sized one, some chunky salsa, and about two tablespoons of olive oil. And your seasonings: dried cilantro, dried parsley, garlic powder, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

Start by chopping the green pepper and onion. You can have a rough chop on these. You need about a cup of each.

Put the olive oil in your pan and heat for sautéing and then add the peppers and onions. Give them a good stir and let sauté in the hot oil for about two minutes.

Then add the rice and mix well. Reduce the heat.

The next thing you want to do is add the black beans, but before you do that, you need to drain them and rinse them or else the liquid in the can will stain the entire dish. This is the only time I strain black beans.

After making sure there’s no moisture left on the beans, add them to the rice and peppers and onions mixture, mixing well.

You are not going to need the entire can of corn – if you want to buy a smaller can, go ahead but that’s much more expensive and there’s always something extra corn can be thrown into – soups, casseroles, potpies – so I don’t mind using half a can of corn and then saving the rest for some other use. And of course, you can always use frozen corn – the amount comes out to about 2/3 cup. And maybe you like lots of corn! And you want the entire can in there! Who knows? We’re all different. Anyway – add the corn and mix well. It’s looking really pretty, isn’t it?

After mixing the corn in, I add the salsa. I have to admit – I was a little light in the salsa department but there was enough to make it pretty and give it flavor. I also seasoned it with garlic powder, dried cilantro, dried parsley, sea salt and lots of black pepper.

At this point, it’s ready for serving or for putting into a container for saving for Thanksgiving dinner. This works well if you make it twenty-four hours in advance but I wouldn’t try to make it three or four days in advance. The peppers and onions don’t sit around that long very well.

Whether you are making this for your Thanksgiving dinner or just a quick meal on a chilly winter night, you can’t go wrong with the perfection of Wicked Simple and Easy Black Beans and Rice.

Until next month, Brightest Blessings!

***

About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

MagickalArts

November, 2018

The Hall of the Goddess Hestia

Light fills the Hall as you step through the doorway and Hestia stands centrally awaiting you. Gentle and loving eyes look upon you and although youthful in appearance, you feel the aeons of time that she has stood watch in the hearth spaces of home and community. She is radiant and filled with Light and Life and it is within her Hall that you will see the hearth flame that glows within……

Who is Hestia?

My hearth fires burn
And keep safe those
Blessed by my hand.

Food lovingly prepared
And family’s joining as one
These are my gifts
These are my boons.

This Goddess of the hearth fires and home was known as Hestia in the Greek Mythos, with Latin/Roman name of Vesta. She was considered a virgin Goddess, whose priestesses were known as the Vestals or Vestal Virgins in Ancient Rome. Hers is the domain and sanctuary found in the kitchen. The preparing of food for those loved and the warmth of sitting close together as the hearth burns in the long winter nights.

The primary focus of Hestia was that of keeping the sacred fires burning. In ancient times, this continued flame ensured fire for warmth, protection, light, cooking and more. She was Goddess of the sacrificial flame and as such received an offering share of every sacrifice to the Gods.

Hestia oversaw the cooking of every meal both in private home and communal gatherings. Her blessing was sought that the meal would nourish and sustain as well as forging the connections of sharing the meal with others.

In Myth, Hestia was the first-born of Kronos, God/Titan of Time and the Ages and Rhea, the Great Mother of the most powerful of the Gods, the Titans. She was fertility and Motherhood. Kronos, fearful that his children would depose him as he had done to his Father, Ouranus, ate each of the children as they born. Hestia, being the first-born was also the first to be consumed and the last to be disgorged when Zeus, (who had escaped the devouring of his Father, being hidden away by his mother Rhea), forced Kronos to release his swallowed siblings. I find this to be a very interesting story surrounding Hestia and the nature of her energy as Goddess of family, home and fires.

In an other tale, Hestia was pursued for marriage by Poseidon and Apollon, both of whom she refused and then asked Zeus to allow her to remain unmarried, an eternal virgin. Zeus agreed and she took her place at his Sacred Hearth.

So, how do we honor Hestia within our Hall? These are some of the thoughts and feelings I have regarding this Goddess. Consider her parentage, daughter of the Great God of time. Time is something we all wish to have more of with dear friends and families. Time is filled with joy and abundance when we spend some of that time, preparing a meal together and/or sharing the bounties of a hearth well-tended. Hestia’s mother, Rhea, was mother of the Gods, fertile and fierce in her protective nature. Motherly care speaks to the nourishment of those children tended, not only in the form of food, but also in the sustenance of mind, heart and encouragement to achieve their best possible selves. We do this for friends and all those we love as well. At times, being the Mother and at others allowing the expression of care to be given as we receive it with the innocence of the child who knows only this way of receipt.

Hestia’s sacrifice of refusing the offer of Marriage, thus parceling herself to another, speaks to the passion of choice in giving what we wish of ourselves and holding some intact for ourselves so we may focus on what is needed from others. This may seem as an odd comment, but keeping those fires burning brightly, to light the way for those who are wandering in the dark, to welcome another to the table for a feast lovingly prepared or to become the flame itself as source of inspiration requires at times an attitude of self-focus and being unfettered by another’s demands.

Hestia chose to remain the eternal virgin. In ancient Rome and Greece the term “Virgin” meant not married, not belonging to a man. This was a woman who was “one-in-herself.” The word is derived from a Latin root meaning “strength, force, skill”; and was later applied to men as the term “virile”. To provide for others requires that you must be strong within yourself. To offer up the bounty of food and relationship, you must know the wisdom of yourself singularly and what it is you have to offer in contribution to what is more than yourself.

Hestia maintains the inner flame that burns within each of us and the magick that we exercise is crafting the precise recipe that will produce the transformation of wheat to life-giving bread is successful to the degree that we acknowledge her presence in all of our working. Every word we speak, every action we take, every emotion expressed and every idea we share is blessed by the potential of taking a new form that will sustain, warm, and light the way for others.

This month is a wonderful time to come to know this Goddess. We have celebrated the First Harvest (Northern Hemisphere) or the First Sowing and Planting of Seeds that will require sun and care. Hestia’s fires call us to our dinner tables as friends and family gather round. And, as we offer up our thanks for her bounty and night draws near, the oil of her lamp will carry us into the cradle of gentle sleep.

Spend some time with Hestia. Think on how you connect with her as you move through your day. Light a candle or prepare a meal and feel her presence guiding and watching over.

Excerpted from:

Cornerstones of Magick

https://awitchssacredjourney.com/2015/09/07/cofmagick2-the-hall-of-the-goddesshestia/

Cornerstones of Magick: Lesson Index

https://awitchssacredjourney.com/cornerstoneslesson-index/

Image Credit: Howard David Johnson

***

About the Author:

Robin Fennelly is a Wiccan High Priestess, teacher, poet and author.

She is the author of (click on book titles for more information):

 

The Inner Chamber Volume One

It’s Written in the Stars

Astrology

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Two

poetry of the Spheres (Volume 2)

Qabalah

 

The Inner Chamber, Vol. Three

Awakening the Paths

Qabalah

 

A Year With Gaia

The Eternal Cord

 

Temple of the Sun and Moon

Luminous Devotions

 

The Magickal Pen Volume One (Volume 1)

A Collection of Esoteric Writings

 

The Elemental Year

Aligning the Parts of SELF

 

The Enchanted Gate

Musings on the Magick of the Natural World

 

Sleeping with the Goddess

Nights of Devotion

 

A Weekly Reflection

Musings for the Year

 

Her books are available on Amazon or on this website and her Blogs can be found atRobin Fennelly 

 

Follow Robin on Instagram & Facebook.

The Kitchen Witch

May, 2017

Super Fast! Super Easy! Super Good!

After last month’s total screw-up, I decided to make one of my favorite quick meals. I have this at least once a week. It’s super fast and super easy, and super yummy good.

kitchen1

First you boil a pan of water.

I always salt the water, because that makes it boil faster – salt changes the chemical composition of water, making it more susceptible to the effects of heat. Once it comes to a full boil, I add angel-hair pasta. For two servings, I add about an inch and a half diameter of pasta – I use my thumb and index finger as a measure, which admittedly isn’t exactly accurate, but I’ve done this for years, and it always works.

Kitchen2

As soon as you get the pasta into the water and give it a good stir so it’s fully submerged, add a cup of frozen salad shrimp and half a cup of frozen peas.

Kitchen3

The water will immediately stop boiling. Stir the water and stir once or twice during the cooking period. When the water comes back to a boil, then everything is cooked. Pour the pasta, shrimp, and peas into a colander and then into a bowl.

Kitchen4

Dress with butter or olive oil, whichever you prefer, and grated cheese.

You can use a thicker pasta than angel hair BUT you will have to let it cook a little while before adding the shrimp and peas. Thin spaghetti means letting it cook about a minute before adding the shrimp and peas and regular spaghetti requires an entire five minutes of cooking time before you add the shrimp and peas! So, if you don’t have angel hair pasta on hand, you let that stop you from making this fab dish, but just know that you’re going to have to adjust the cooking time of the pasta.

ThriftCrafting: Witching on a Budget

September, 2016

 

Mabon Kitchen Magic

Merry meet.

You have to eat something, so why not make it magical to celebrate the second harvest? It could be a dessert, something for cakes and ale, dinner or a feast. Making it yourself makes it thrifty, and allows you to infuse it with your intentions.

Whatever the food is for, apples are a Mabon staple in any form: applesauce, apple butter, baked apple chips, baked apples with caramel sauce, apple cake, apple and acorn or butternut squash soup, apple muffins, apple pie, apple pound cake, apple fritters, applesauce cake, apple crisp, apple cider doughnuts, apple cobbler or Waldorf salad.

Where I live, the last of the summer squash, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes are harvested, making ratatouille another good Mabon food.

Wild mushrooms are generally plentiful in September. Beans, beets and corn are also in season in many places. Pomegranates – which are part of the Persephone story – make for another Mabon food.

The winter squashes such as butternut and acorn are traditional this time of year, and lend themselves to roasting, stuffing, mashing and baking. They are good for making soups and casseroles, too. Pie pumpkins can be used in the same recipes, in addition to making pies, of course.

I found a paleo pumpkin pancake recipe by Paleo Grubs that I’m going to try at our Mabon retreat this year.

It calls for combining 1/2 cup well-drained pureed pumpkin, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons almond flour and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. The caramel sauce that goes with it is made by boiling 1/8 cup coconut milk, 1 1/2 tablespoon honey and 1 teaspoon coconut oil until it thickens, then adding 1/2 tablespoon chopped walnuts and mixing well.

I found another recipe I plan to make at  wickedspatula.com. Its DIY Autumn herbal Tea Blend could just be the best of the season in a mug. The recipe calls for 1 part each of chicory, cardamom, cloves, pink peppercorns and star anise; 2 parts ginger and 3 parts crushed cinnamon. Store in an airtight glass container. Use 2 teaspoons per cup of water. Steep for 5 minutes.

Although Mabon is considered the witch’s Thanksgiving, the one food that is difficult to secure – at least in my neck of the woods – is cranberries. The fresh ones don’t start showing up in grocery stores until sometime toward the end of October. I learned to buy two bags at the end of the holiday season in January and freeze them in case I want them.

To bless your Mabon food, “A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book,” by Ceisiwr Serith offers this simple sentence, “I offer to the gods [or goddess] of the dark season this fruit of the light.”

Merry part.

And merry meet again.

Thriftcrafting: Witching on a budget

April, 2015

Culinary Magic

Merry Meet.

Making magic using the objects on your altar is expected. Making magic in your kitchen may take some thought at first, but once you connect cooking and spell casting, you’ll see limitless possibilities – and cooking will go from being a chore to becoming a ritual.

Since the beginning of time, meals have been about coming together of family, so that – with their knowledge and consent – you can share the magic. Eating becomes away of internalizing or absorbing the magic, making the spell more powerful.

Think about the symbolic foods you carefully select for the sabbats that are rich in magic: custard at Imbolc, eggs at Ostara, corn and bread at Lughnassadh.

Likewise in everyday culinary magic, you choose ingredients for their correspondences. Cinnamon is associated with money, fertility, protection, happiness and love. Looking for insight? Try marjoram or lemongrass. For courage to face an obstacle, reach for pepper, horseradish, nettle or chives for help. And don’t forget salt. Every civilization has believed it to have magical properties and used it to purify, protect and bless. Salt absorbs psychic energy and holds it. It also is used for wealth.

Many lists of foods and their associations exist. Here are links to two:

http://www.wejees.net/herbs.html

http://thelivingwiccan.tumblr.com/post/91273159597/magical-correspondences-of-food.

My suggestion is that while you let them guide you, you trust your own intuition.

Any recipe can be turned into a culinary spell. Apple or strawberry pie can become a love spell. So can spaghetti sauce. Chocolate is so magical, it positively tastes like luxury and prosperity and can be added to so many things. Rather than go out and buy charms and a drawstring pouch make a success mojo bag, you could reach into the cupboard and stir some cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg – and a bit of honey or a pinch of sugar – into a dish of applesauce, then enjoying it spoonful by spoonful, all the while feeling that giddy lightness and bliss that often accompanies success.

In addition to the ingredients chosen for their correspondences, bless all your ingredients. Work with intent and care. Being mindful as you stir (clockwise in harmony with nature to put something into the bowl or pot and counterclockwise to remove something) makes for stronger magic.

You can also inscribe symbols onto the bottom pie crust before adding the filling, stamp cookies with pentacles, and shape or cut foods into moons or stars.

My challenge to myself – and to you – is to come up with some go-to magical dishes that become comfort food for the spirit.

Here’s one to start with: dip fresh strawberries into melted chocolate into which you’ve added a bit of heavy cream. Eat with love in mind. (Don’t overlook self love.)

You know the Goddess has a wicked sense of humor, is playful and encourages joy – so have some fun with your food. Turn fruit kabobs into magic wands. Mull cider to make a witch’s brew. Pop corn to bring about wealth and abundance – and don’t forget to bless it with butter and salt.

The witch who introduced me to this whole idea of making magic with food also notes, “Starting with a tidy kitchen creates sacred space.”

I think there also might be a bit of magic in wearing an apron while doing culinary magic. At the very least, it connect me to the spirit of my mother and her mother, and no doubt her mother, who wore aprons in the kitchen. Putting one on is one way I honor my ancestors.

Merry part. And merry meet again.

Nelland Living

May, 2014

Eating Plan For Beltane

It has been a habit of mine to make eating plans for each Sabbat. It just makes life so much easier. This is my newest plan for the next six weeks or so, until Litha draws near.

I am a lazy cook, and dread each minute spent in the kitchen. But dining out or on conveniece food is not an option, they just don´t provide the same freshness and nutrition as home made food does. So there is no way around cooking, but there are shortcuts! This Beltane I try to skip all the fuzz in the kitchen, but still eat lean and healthy.

Nell1

 

A breakfast: rice cakes topped with super easy, healthy, raw chocolate spread.

The recipe:

1 banana, mashed

1 tsp dark cocoa powder

Mix and spread over rice cakes.

(Not quite the real thing, but a great substitute.  =)

 

 

The dynamic duo

For each meal I now choose only two ingredients (and as ingredients I count foods that I can eat a stomach full of, so for example mustard would not do ).

Two foods does not sound like much, but the amount is unlimited, and the variety is great when chosen different foods for each meal. Most often we eat the same stuff over and over anyway, so I actually predict this will increase the variety in my diet.

The dynamic duo in a nutshell: grains and raw veggies.

Examples of grains/starches:

fresh veggie juice

cucumber sticks

wholegrain rice

oven baked potato wedges

corn

oatmeal

quinoa

wholegrain spelt bread

wholegrain, low sugar, breakfast cereal

Nell2

Wild drink:

A handful of stinging nettle

1 Granny Smith apple

½ inch piece fresh ginger

water

Blend in a high-speed blender. Add enough water to make 2 cups.

Examples of proteins:

peas

tofu

lentils

chickpeas

textured vegetable protein

butter beans

All the above can be mixed and matched freely, and eaten when and how much desired. That´s when you can rely on the wisdom of your body, it´s intuition. I believe that as long as healthy foods, low in sugar, salt, and fat, are eaten, your body will tell you when it has had enough. You will not desire more than is needed.

It is easier for me to surf through the day with super healthy foods, when I know that in the evening I can have one decadent dessert. That is chocolate. No matter how much I have tried, I have not yet found an equally satisfying substitute. I figure it is better to a smaller amount of store-bought chocolate than chow down substitutes by the gallon…

Nell3

An example of a day´s food choices:

Breakfast: 2 cups green tea with soymilk + rice cakes with banana

Lunch: 2 cups wild green drink + rice + mushrooms

Afternoon: 2 cups green tea with soymilk + wholegrain bread + cucumber

Evening: 2 oz. favorite chocolate

This plan uses whole, fresh, almost all vegan, foods to enable high nutrition. I reserve all my sugar for the evening, when I enjoy the dessert of the day. It is difficult to keep the daily amount of sugar below the recommended (WHO: under an ounce /25 grams), but with that in mind, I indulge in my chocolate. Besides, healthy food requires unhealthy desserts to keep yin and yang in balance! =)

Happy and healthy Belatane!

HearthBeats: Recipes from a Kitchen Witch

August, 2011

Merry Meet and welcome to my Kitchen Hearth. Come and sit for a spell while we whip up something yummy.

This month we will be looking at some preserves. Fruit and veggie preserves. I am giving the recipes only as I have touched on the canning methods in past articles or you can look online at this link… http://www.pickyourown.org/allaboutcanning.htm

Tomato Preserve

Ingredients

  • 1 pound yellow pear tomatoes
  • 1 pound sugar
  • 2 ounces chopped or shredded ginger
  • 2 lemons

Instructions

Peel tomatoes, cover with sugar, and let stand over night. In the morning pour off syrup and boil until quite thick; skim, then add tomatoes, ginger, and lemons which have been sliced and the seeds removed. Cook until tomatoes have a clarified appearance.

Apricot Jalapeno Jelly

1/2 cup jalapeno peppers — stems & seeds removed ( use other types if you want a hotter preserve.)
1 large red bell pepper — stem & seeds removed
2 cups cider vinegar
1 1/2 dried apricots — chopped
6 cups sugar
3 ounces liquid pectin
4 drops red food color ( omit if you want true color)

Put jalapenos, bell pepper, & vinegar in blender. Puree until coarsely ground and small chunks remain. Combine apricots, sugar, & jalapeno/pepper/vinegar mixture in large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Boil rapidly, 5 minutes. Remove from heat; skim off any foam that forms. Allow mixture to cool for 2 minutes. Then mix in pectin (and food coloring if you’re going to use it). Pour into sterilized jars, follow canning instructions.

Kiwi – strawberry Jam Recipe

2 cups chopped kiwi
1 cup chopped strawberries
1 package pectin
1 cup unsweetened apple juice
4 cups sugar

Combine kiwi, strawberries, pectin and apple juice in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4th inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. follow canning instructions. Yield: about 4 half-pints.

Pineapple Jelly
Makes about 2 pints

4 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
2 cans crushed pineapple — 8 oz cans
1 pouch (3oz) Certo Liquid Fruit Pectin — do not use powder

Add the sugar, pineapple, and lime juice to a sauce pan. Bring to a full rolling boil. Add the liquid pectin and bring back to a full rolling boil. Let cool slightly and pour into clean containers. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Simple Jalapeno Jelly Recipe

3 jalapeno peppers with seeds removed, chopped finely
4 medium bell peppers with seeds removed chopped coarsely
1 cup of vinegar
5 cups of sugar
3 oz. jar of pectin

cook the peppers and vinegar in a 4 quart pan until soft. Add the sugar and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, add pectin then return to heat and boil for 1 more minute. Fill jelly jars. Follow canning instruction.

Apple Pie Jam
4 cups tart apples, chopped
unsweetened apple juice
1  tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
4 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 (1 3/4 oz) box dry pectin
1 tsp. butter

Measure apples in a measuring cup, and then add in the same measuring cup applejuice to fill up to the 4 cup line (with the apples in it). Put into a heavy saucepan. Add pectin, butter, spices and lemon juice. Bring to a boil.

Add sugars and bring back to a full rolling boil, and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and skim off any foam.

Ladle into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4? . Put on lids, and follow canning instructions.

Mulled Apple Jelly
Makes approximately 5 small jarfuls.

Ingredients
2.25 lbs of apples – a mixture of cookers and eaters works well
water
1 quart apple juice
1 cinnamon stick
12 cloves
1/3 cup cider vinegar
granulated sugar

Method

Roughly chop the apples and place in pan. There is no need to peel and core. Cover with apple juicer (I used a little over 1 qt) and add spices. Bring to the boil and then simmer, covered, for 45 minutes.

Pour into a  jelly bag suspended over a large bowl. Leave to strain for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight. Don’t be tempted to prod or squeeze the jelly bag to get more juice out as this will make the jelly cloudy.

Measure out the juice and return to the pan along with 1 lb sugar for every 1 pint of juice. I found I had exactly 2 pints of juice so used 2 lbs sugar but obviously this will vary depending on how juicy your apples were, how long you strained them and how much apple juice you used.

Stir in the cider vinegar and bring to the boil. Boil rapidly for approximately 10 minutes until setting point is reached.

Pour into warm, sterilized jars, follow canning instructions.  Keep in the fridge once opened and used within 3 weeks.

Summer berry and lemon verbena jelly

1 lb plus about 2 oz. berries – any or all of the following: raspberries, blackberries, red currants. This recipes used a mixture of about 70% raspberries, 25% red currants, and 5% blackberries.

1 lb white sugar

1 tsp pectin (see Notes)

1 large handful, or a couple of sprigs, of lemon verbena

Wash and sort the berries. If you are using red currants, carefully pick off all the stems.
Put the berries and sugar into the stainless steel or other non-reactive pan. Mash and let it macerate for about half an hour.
In the meantime, put a plate into the refrigerator to make it very cold.
Mix the pectin in with the fruit. Turn on the heat, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low, and cook for at least 45 minutes, stirring up the bottom periodically to keep from burning. Skim off the scum that forms on the top.
For the last 10 minutes of cooking, drop in the lemon verbena.
Drop a bit of the jam liquid onto the cold plate. If it forms a skin almost immediately, it’s done.
Fish out the lemon verbena leaves. Pass the jam mixture a ladleful at a time through a time through a sieve or strainer, taking out all the seeds.
Can using your favorite canning method.

Notes: This recipe has used pectin, which is a natural jellifying agent. Berries in general don’t have much pectin, and it’s needed in this case to make it ‘jell’ enough. You may also be able to find something called sugar for jam making, which has pectin already mixed in. This version (with 1 teaspoon per 1lb fruit) results in a fairly runny jelly, which is great for using on yogurt and ice cream, but if you prefer a firmer jelly you will need more pectin. Follow the package directions.
If you don’t mind the seeds, especially if you don’t use red currants which have rather large seeds, you can skip the straining step. In that case you will have a jam rather than a jelly.

Grapefruit and Vanilla Marmalade

3 large grapefruits ( ruby red work best)
3 cups water
4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
2 tablespoons rose water or lemon juice

Set a large pot of water to boil. Cut off the peel of the grapefruits, working to get good thick slices, but leaving the inner white pith closest to the fruit still attached to the fruit. Cut the peels into strips. Blanch the peels by submersing them in boiling water for about three minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under running water. Bring a fresh pot of water to a boil and repeat the blanching process again, to remove any bitterness. Drain and rinse again.
Place the peels in a large pot. Cut off all the white pith from the remaining fruits then, working over the pot, cut between the grapefruit membranes so that the fruit sections fall into the pot. Squeeze juice from the membranes and discard them.
Add the water and sugar to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring to combine. Lower the heat to a very low simmer. Simmer until the marmalade is thick and translucent, about one hour. The marmalade may still appear a touch watery- keep in mind it will thicken as it cools.
Add the vanilla bean seeds and simmer another five minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the rose water (or lemon) and set aside to cool. Follow canning instructions or use within 3-4 weeks

And lastly .. I am not even sure where this recipe came from. I am sure if I searched my cookbooks or the web I would find it.. but yummo!!!

Onion Marmalade
4 lbs onions (sliced thin)
3 slices bacon (thick cut)
2 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar
2 cup red wine
1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Directions:
Place a large, non-reactive pan over medium-low heat cook the bacon. The goal is to render the fat. Once the bacon has crisped, remove.
Turn up the heat to high to medium- high, add the onions, salt and olive oil. Stir to coat all the onions with the oil and bacon fat. Cook covered with a tight lid for about 20 minutes. Continue to cook stirring every 5 to 10 minutes until the onions begin to turn golden brown.
Add the sugar, brown sugar, red wine, and balsamic vinegar. Cook over medium heat until very thick. To test if it’s the right consistency, dribble a bit of the reduction on a plate and it still liquid, but slowly slips down the plate after it cools briefly. You can also look to for doneness by dragging a spoon against the bottom of the pot. If it leaves a long valley, then its done. WARNING: Do not walk away from this once it begins to get close. There is enough sugar in this that it can burn and forever attach to the bottom of your pan..
Remove from heat and let cool before storing.
Place in a glass or heat resistant container. Cover and refrigerate.
This is both acidic and high in sugar, so its excellent for long term storage. It keeps in the fridge well for at least 2 months.
ome of the fat may become solid at the top after cooling. I simply scrape it off and dispose of it.
Additionally, if the marmalade become too thick after cooling, simply reheat in the microwave for 30 seconds and it will then spread very easily.

Until next month
Merry Cooking and Blessed Eating
The Hearthkeeper

PS. If there is anything you would like to see here.. Please email me at  thehearthkeeper@gmail.com

Blessed be…

Airmid’s Cauldron

November, 2010

Soul Cakes & Honeyed Milk

Samhain is a wonderful time of year to bring out this old Pagan recipe. Traditionally soul cakes were baked and given as a token for the dead. These delicious little cakes can be made on Hallows Eve and are often formed into the shapes of people and sat out for the dead with a mug of warm honeyed milk.

Soul Cakes

1 cup butter

3 3/4 cups sifted flour

1 cup granulated raw sugar

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon allspice

1 teaspoon dried marigold blossoms

2 fresh eggs

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

4 -6 tablespoons milk

Powdered sugar, to sprinkle on top

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or a large fork. Blend in the sugar, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, dried marigold blossoms and allspice; beat eggs, vinegar, and milk together. Mix with the flour mixture until stiff dough is formed. Knead thoroughly and roll out 1/4-inch thick. Cut into 3-inch rounds (or form into shape of people), and place on greased baking sheets. Prick several times with a fork and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar while still warm.

Honeyed Milk

8 oz skim milk

1 tsp honey

Directions

In a small sauce pan heat milk till just warm

Pour honey into milk and stir

Place milk mixture back on the heat till warm again; pour into mug and enjoy. Make sure to sit aside a small mug to go soul cakes for the dead.

Hally’s Hints

July, 2010

Food and Energy – What This Means To You

NB: The energy of food and the affects this has to your ethereal being is a huge topic; this is a snippet…

Recently I had this interesting experience where it was a cold, wintery day and I had rushed outside to go to the local café to get some soup. Usually their soup was full of warmth, grounding substance and very, very tasty.

This particular day I realised the usual chef was not in but did not think much of this. It is not something that one would consciously think would matter too much. That was until I got the soup back to my office and as I lifted the lid I heard my spirit guides yelling in my ear to not eat it. I looked at it and it did lack the usual finesse and I had one sip of the soup and that one sip was enough to understand that it had no taste. Not only that, it is hard to ignore if being screamed at. So, as a result the soup ended up in the bin and I got thinking about what was really going on.

Can you recall a time where you went out of to enjoy lunch or dinner only to be met by a disgruntled waiter that for some reason decided that today you were going to wear the issues of the day?

Though you brushed it off and put it down to them having a bad day; what transpired was receiving some very average and almost disappointing food. After leaving the place you felt this heaviness slowly come over you and as the day progressed could not help but turn into a subtle version of the waiter from earlier in the day.

Perhaps it was not as obvious as that. It may have been a bad coffee, an average sandwich or a tasteless soup.

As energetic beings we leave an energetic imprint on everything we touch, even if we walk into a room we will leave a slight energetic imprint of ourselves there.

In the case of preparing food, it may be touched by several people before it reaches you, which means you receive a bit of everyone when you take those first and consecutive bites into your food.

Some use Reiki symbols to negate this which leaves the food in its true form and often has a sweetness unlike anything else.

Consider the term “cooking from the heart” which brings to light that when you make something with pure intent and pure of heart, no matter how basic it is, the food will taste great and be well received by others.

Going back to energy transference through food, be aware of how powerful we really are as humans. Be aware of the impact this has on you and how this awareness can allow you to gain the most in the simplest of situations.

There are so many places to eat and so many options in terms of food. Be selective and go with what feels right for you. The chances are that you will feel fantastic for it.

Pagan Parenting

May, 2010

Family Values: Food

If there is one thing that attending festivals, gatherings, rituals whether private or public has taught me about the Pagan community is that: we LOVE food.   We strive to worship this earth, and consume the wonderful bounty that it graces us with.   Nurturing your child’s relationship to food is pivotal in their development.   Food weaves through almost every part of our lives our social relations, our relationship with the earth and our relationship and feelings towards our heath and body.   Eating together whether in ritual or family settings can be so rewarding and fulfilling.   It should be a high priority for every family since we have to eat in order to live and it usually happens at least three times a day.  Our culture has made eating, cooking and growing food into something that needs to be fast and convenient but as Pagans we celebrate with food, we try and be reverent of food, so should we promote this culture of frozen dinners, microwaves and drive-through consumption or should we strive to move in rhythm with the earth, eating seasonally and having a relationship with what we choose to put in our bodies?

Children emulate what they see not what they are told.  So if we tell them the earth is sacred and that the fall bounty is a gift to us and then leave them rarely seeing, let alone consuming a vegetable in its “from the ground state”  what sort of values do you think they’ll develop regarding food?  I would guess that they’d pick a burger and fries over a garden salad and chicken breast any day.  Most children go through a picky eater stage and we can indulge that with letting them only eat jello and drink soda or we can set an example and present them with ways to change their feelings, ideas and interaction with food so that they move past the picky stage with healthy and grounded eating habits.  Below you’ll find ideas for helping your kids (and yourselves) have a positive and reverent attitude towards what you eat.  I’ve included links and hope that you will challenge yourself to make this value one that is fundamental to your family’s present and future.  Don’t worry if you have hiccups or days when the family indulges in some bad habits, no one is perfect and it is hard to completely remove habits that have developed around food.  Just take small steps, introduce different foods slowly and keep trying even if there is resistance.  Habits take a while to break and the more relaxed but dedicated you are the more likely the positive results will start happening.

Grow Your Food

Whether you have a big backyard or a city balcony; grow something with your kids.  Herbs, strawberries, green beans, they are more likely to eat it if they’ve invested time and energy into planting a seed, watering it and watching it grow.

Purchase food at Farmer’s Markets

Besides having a fantastic family atmosphere farmer’s markets allow your child to meet the people growing their food.  This can open up discussions about country living versus city living, taking care of animals and plants, seasonal changes in the earth and it is also a wonderful place to meet your neighbours and participate in the community at large.

Visit Local Farms

Many farms offer a u-pick option which is often not only more economical but a great way to experience your food.  Your child sees the fields, the farmer, the plant in its living state and then gets to pull, pick and harvest the food that you will later eat.

Get Kids Cooking

The whole family should cook together when possible.  Learning to cook is an indispensable skill for your kids it will greatly affect how they think about and interact with their food.  They can set the table, fill the water jug, just get them involved in the process somehow and as they get older they can help more and more.  It is even a good idea to have them help with meal planning so that they see what is involved in the process.

Can & Preserve Foods Together

Another fun activity is to make jams, pickles, or tomato sauce together.  This can be time consuming but you can always make it a more community minded project pooling time and resources with other families.  Your kids will taste the difference in a sauce they made during the summer months and they can feel proud of their part in making food for the family to enjoy together.

Eat as Many Meals Together as Possible

The statistics prove that it makes kids happier and healthier.  And you can really enjoy each other as well as the meal you’ve created together.  Perhaps some activities need to be sacrificed to make it happen but making this a priority in your family will benefit everyone.

Bless the Food and remember its Magic

Taking a moment before you eat to honour the cycle that brought the food to your table will give your children a sense of gratefulness and reverence for the process they participated in.

During your celebrations this spring and summer and throughout the wheel of the year may you and yours eat well, feel well and honour the earth with your choices about food.  I’ve included a few more resources that you and your family may find helpful in making the myriad of decisions around what to consume, how to consume it, and where to find what you are looking for.

Food Inc. the documentary film

Deconstructing Dinner – Food podcast

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