How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

First Longer Day

THE REASON FOR THE SEASON
Image: Dreams Time
Followers of this blog will know that we often choose our foods to mark special days, including those marking the changes of seasons. And between the latkes of Hanukkah (this year they were even better than the "best ever latkes" of 2012, greatly assisted by our home-made mead) and the lobster of Christmas Eve, we turned once again to Jamie Wood's The Wicca Cookbook.

During the shortest day of the year, we were still enjoying food from the day before, so we actually waited until the day after the longest night to celebrate solstice. This seems more fitting, actually, as it is the first in a string of 182 days of increasing light.

When I made cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving this year, a friend had actually given me two bags of the precious berries, directly from her work at Ocean Spray, so the Chakra Cranberry Sauce recipe (pp. 180-181) was an obvious choice. I heated one cup of water in an indispensible cast-iron saucepan, and added one cup of organic granulated sugar. When it was boiling and the sugar dissolved, I removed the berries from the freezer and poured them in. I added one orange (pureed with our immersion blender), a diced apple and a diced pear. To this I added a cup of raisins (the recipe calls for any dried fruit) and a cup of chopped pecans. I omitted the 1/2 teaspoon of salt the recipe calls for, but did include plenty of ground cinnamon and freshly-shaved nutmeg. I simmered covered for the  recommended 30 minutes, but kept it going afterward, as it was a bit too liquidish. The trade-off here is that it did not have time to cool very much. I recommend making this at least a few hours ahead if you want it to set up right, but it was delicious warm, served with a slotted spoon.

Our main course was stuffed turkey burgers (p. 188), which were similar to one of our staple dinners. In this case, to a pound (or so) of lean ground turkey, I added breadcrumbs, a tablespoon (or so) of dried thyme and the juice of half a lemon. I then made two very thin patties for each serving, forming a kind of pocket that I filled with a small amount of cheese. The recipe calls for bleu cheese, but nobody in our house eats that, so I used two cheeses we always have on hand -- aged Vermont cheddar for Paloma and me, and feta crumbles for Pam. I pressed the edges of each double patty together and put them on a plate in the fridge for a couple hours before cooking them up on our griddle.

I had been unable to find fresh thyme -- the recipe calls for 1/2 cup -- and our front-yard crop is way out of season; This was so delicious that I look forward to trying this again in the late spring, perhaps on Beltane.

The "perfect pairing" for this was to have been Gl├╝wein (mulled wine - p. 194), but I completely forgot. As it was, we were quite satisfied to pair this meal with water, and will make the wine on some frostier day. We will compare Wood's recipe with the TasteFood version.

As always, Thank the Farmers!
Image: Ocean Spray Cooperative

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