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HearthBeats: Recipes from a Kitchen Witch

Merry meet and Blessings all

Mabon, the Autumn Equinox, September 21, is coming up, no longer will the day
rule the night. The time for the second harvest is upon us. The fields are becoming very full and soon there will be a hint of yellow in the green leaves. The geese in our neck of the woods are going south. The fruits and vegetables at the farmers market are no longer the sweet, small offerings of summer but are now full, ripen gifts of Fall..

This is a wonderful time of year for food ; The feast is upon us. It is a
time for bread and baked goods. Wine, ale, and cider are the drinks of choice.

Here are some recipes that you can share for Mabon and all year.


Mabon Moon Cider

4 cups apple cider
1/2 tsp. whole cloves
4 cups grape juice
additional cinnamon sticks
2 cinnamon sticks for cups, 6 inches long
1 tsp allspice
In a 4-quart saucepan, heat cider and grape juice.
Add cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
Bring just to boiling. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Serve with ladle from a cauldron. Makes 8 cups.

ACORNS (cookies)
(Yield: 3 dozen)

1 cup butter or margarine, melted
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1½ cups chopped pecans
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups self-rising flour
1 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
Finely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and brown sugar
until lightly and fluffy.  Beat in pecans and vanilla until blended.  Stir
in flour until blended. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on UNGREASED
cookie sheets; flatten slightly, pinching at one end to form a point. Bake
10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges.  Remove from cookie sheets; cool completely on a wire rack. In the top of a double boiler over simmering water, melt chocolate morsels, stirring until smooth.  Remove from heat; keep double boiler over water.  Dip large ends of cooled cookies into melted chocolate; roll in chopped pecans.  Cool to set chocolate.


CRESCENTS

(Yield: 4 dozen)

2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup ground almonds (hazel nuts or pecans work well too)
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
Confectioners’ sugar

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, butter, ground almonds, sugar,
vanilla and almond extracts; knead until well blended and mixture holds
together. Shape into a ball; refrigerate, covered, for 1 hour. Preheat oven
to 375°F. Form the dough into 1-inch balls; form each ball into a
3-inch-long roll. Place 2-inches apart, on UNGREASED cookie sheets; curve
to make crescents. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until set but not brown. Remove
from cookie sheets; place on a large piece of aluminum foil. Dust
generously with confectioners’ sugar, turn and dust again to coat both
sides. Cool.

ALMOND COOKIES
(Yield: 4 dozen)

2¾ cups self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
Sugar
Almond halves

Preheat oven to 325°F.  Spray cookie sheets with non-stick vegetable spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar; cut in butter until mixture
resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, combine egg, milk, and almond
extract.  Add to flour mixture, blending well.  Shape the dough, 1 teaspoon
at a time, into balls.  Roll in sugar.  Place on prepared cookie sheets.
Press an almond half onto each cookie. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until
delicately browned. Remove from cookie sheets; cool on a wire rack.

Apple upside down cake

This is a great cake to make for a special occasion or to top off a family dinner or holiday meal.
Ingredients:

* 3 large golden delicious apples
* 2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
* 1 scant teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 4 tablespoons melted butter
* .
* Cake
* 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, stirred before measuring
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2/3 cup milk

Preparation:

Heat oven to 325°. Butter a 9-inch square cake pan or spray with baking spray. Core the apples and cut into wedges; peel and slice thinly. Combine apple slices with the brown sugar, 1 scant teaspoon of cinnamon, and 4 tablespoons of melted butter. Arrange the apple mixture in the prepared baking pan.

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl. In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer, beat butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture to the first mixture, alternating with the milk, beating just until blended. Spoon the batter evenly over the apple slices; gently spreading to cover. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Invert the hot cake onto a platter or cake plate and let stand for about 5 minutes. Remove the pan and scrape up any fruit slices clinging to the pan and arrange them over the cake.

Potato Leek Soup

3 tablespoons butter
3 leeks, thinly sliced*
1 medium or large onion, chopped
4 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
3 1/2 cups chicken broth (or enough to barely cover potatoes)**
1 cup heavy cream
salt to taste
fresh ground black pepper to taste

1) Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat then add onions and leeks. Cook, stirring, until onions are limp and just slightly brown.

2) Add sliced potatoes to saucepan then pour in enough chicken broth to just barely cover the potatoes. Continue cooking over medium heat until potatoes are tender. Using a potato masher, mash and stir potatoes until desired consistency is reached. As you mash the potatoes and the soup thickens, turn down heat and stir frequently with a large spoon to prevent scorching on the bottom.

3) Add one cup of heavy cream (or more if you desire) and salt and black pepper to taste. Cook 15 minutes more over low heat, stirring frequently, then remove from heat and serve.

*Make sure to remember to clean leeks thoroughly and slice only the white and light green part of the leeks.

**This can easily become a vegetarian soup by simply using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
Savory Sweet Potato and Ginger Pancakes

Serving Size : 6
Categories : Florida Dept of Agriculture Side Dish
Vegetarian

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes — peeled and diced
1/4 cup yellow onion — chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger — minced
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup green onions — sliced
Peanut oil — as needed for frying

Place a small amount of the sweet potatoes in a food processor and pulse
until the potato pieces are about the size of dried rice; repeat procedure
with remaining potatoes until they are similar in size. Add the yellow
onions to the last batch of potatoes to be processed. Combined remaining
ingredients and add to processed potatoes in a large bowl; mix thoroughly
and spoon potato batter into a skillet and fry with 1/8-inch of oil over
medium heat; brown both sides and serve hot.

Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 180 Calories; 4g Fat (18.0% calories
from fat); 6g Protein; 31g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 98mg Cholesterol;
410mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0
Non-Fat Milk; 1/2 Fat.
Source:
“The Florida Department of Agriculture”
(Internet Address):
http://www.fl-ag.com

Pasta with Fresh Tomato Ragout

Serving Size : 6
The Florida Tomato Committee

Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
——– ———— ——————————–
2 pounds fresh Florida tomatoes
12 ounces medium pasta shells (about 4 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano — crushed
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 slices lean bacon — cut into 1/2-inch pieces
10 ounces fresh mushrooms — quartered (about 3 cups)
1 cup frozen peas

Use tomatoes held at room temperature until fully ripe. Core and coarsely
dice (makes about 5 cups); set aside. Bring a large covered pot of water to

a boil. Add pasta; cook until barely tender, about 10 minutes; drain. Place
in a serving bowl; cover to keep warm. Meanwhile in a large nonstick
skillet, stir together olive oil, garlic, salt, oregano and black and red
peppers. Cook and stir over medium-high heat, until garlic just begins to
turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add bacon; cook and stir until lightly cooked,
but not crisp, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms; cook and stir until mushrooms
are lightly browned and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in reserved tomatoes;
increase heat to high and cook until tomatoes start to release their juices
and start to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium and simmer,
uncovered, until tomatoes are cooked down and saucy, but still chunky, about
8 minutes. Stir in peas. Spoon tomato sauce over pasta; toss until combined.

Source:
“The Florida Tomato Committee”
Yield: “5 1/2 cups”
Herb tips
There are quite a few ways you can preserve your herbs for use over the rest of the year. One method I found works well for herbs you will use most in wet foods is to chop them up and place them by the teaspoon full into ice trays. Place enough water over them to fill the cover each ice cube compartment(slowly so you do not send them pouring into another compartment.

You can also dry herbs by laying on clean screens until dry.
If using this method, turn the herbs during the first few days.
You can also dry in a very low temperature in the oven on cookie sheets.
Watch carefully and turn often.
You may want to invest in a food dehydrator if you plan on large scale herb gardening..

Herb Salts:
this is a great gift idea as well as a tasty seasoning.
In a 250 degree oven spread a layer of free running salt on a cookie sheet.
Sprinkle the chopped fresh herbs on top of the salt, and bake for 10-20 minutes,
stirring and checking often. When they are dry enough to crumble,
then let cool and crumble the herbs into the salt, stir and place in
a jar.
You can use this as a seasoning salt; especially good with vegetables!
Herbs that work well are chives, oregano, thyme, lemon balm or lemon thyme, parsley rosemary or basil.

You can also puree the herb and place into 4 ounce jars. Then store them in the freezer. Take out one at a time . Usually good for a week or 2

Puree
4 tablespoons olive oil
8 cups washed and dried basil leaves
Blend until pureed. Transfer to clean jar. Store in refrigerator.

Each time you use it stir and then top with a thin layer of oil. It
will keep one year by doing this. This is good on grilled chicken or
fish, stirred into soups or mixed with sun dried tomatoes and
broiled on bread.

Zesty Herb Blend

3 tablespoons dried basil
3 tablespoons dried marjoram
3 tablespoons dried thyme
3 tablespoons dried tarragon
1 tablespoon dried lemon peel
1 tablespoon whole oregano

Place all items in a small jar and seal. Shake until well blended.
This is great for adding to meat and vegetables.

Fine Herb Butter

1 cup butter
2 tablespoons parsley
2 tablespoons chives
1 tablespoon tarragon

Mince herbs and mix all with room temperature butter by hand or
mixer. Chill for at least 3 hours before serving. Wonderful with
vegetables, eggs, fish or bread.

Julia Childs Spices Fines Mix

1 teaspoon ground bay leaf
1 teaspoon ground clove
1 teaspoon ground mace
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried savory
1 tablespoon ground white pepper

Combine all ingredients.

Author: Julia Childs
Well another month has flown on by , as if on butterfly wings. Samhain is fast approaching and food becomes comfort. Look for some fun Samhain and Halloween foods next month.

Merry Cooking and Blessed Eating
The Hearthkeeper