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Tradition background

My primary Pagan tradition is best described as:
 
Lesson 3 - Magical Cooking, for the Sabbats PDF Print E-mail
Written by AmberVine   
Friday, 22 June 2012 20:11

Cooking for the Sabbats

When cooking for the sabbats, the two most key elements to keep in mind are seasonality and the meaning of the sabbats and the foods you are thinking about serving with them. In keeping with this, anything that you harvest from your own garden, is always appropriate. For an example of seasonality, strawberries would not be particularly appropriate fare for a winter festival, nor would something roasted in the oven for several hours be appropriate for summer. You may also want to consider th region when making your foods selections--what foods are native to your area, or what foods are in season specifically where you are. This promotes a stronger connection to the Earth and the cycle of the year. You also will want to keep in mind what symbolism the sabbat holds and what it means to you. For this reason, before the recipes I have included for each sabbat, I have included some basic information about that sabbat, including what the significance of that day is, what foods may be considered traditional, as well as symbols, colors, herbs (not just cooking herbs, so DO NOT EAT THESE UNLESS YOU KNOW THEY ARE EDIBLE), and flowers for each sabbat, in the hopes of inspiring you to create your own menus and give you ideas on how you might like to present your feast if you are sharing it with others. I also have provided a recipe for a main dish, side dish, dessert, and bread so that you can have a complete feast without looking any further or, if you wish, you could just make the bread to have in your ritual for cakes and ale.


Samhain

Samhain is a time of darkness. It is the beginning of the Dark half of the year. It is also called the Day of the Dead, and is the Third Festival of the Harvest, the Meat Harvest. Symbols of this sabbat include black cats, cauldrons, tools of divination, animal bones, pictures of ancestors, and fall crops such as pumpkins and apples. The main colors of this sabbat are black and orange. Appropriate herbs and flowers include: allspice, broom, chrysanthemum, comfrey, dandelion, deadly nightshade, dragon's blood, catnip, dittany of Crete, ferns, flax, fumitory, hazel, heather, mandrake, mugwort, mullein, oak (leaf and acorn), pumpkin, sage, straw, thistle, and wormwood. Foods include: apples, beans, beets, bread, corn, cranberry muffins, gingerbread, grains, hazelnuts and other nuts, meat dishes, pears, pork, pumpkin, red foods, any root crops, squash, turnips, ale, cider, herbal teas, and mulled wine. Pomegranates are also extremely appropriate as a symbol of Persephone’s abduction to the Underworld.

*** Main dish: Packet Dinners ***

This dish strikes me as being very symbolic for Samhain, as the foil packet used to cook the food in reminds me of a grave. In addition, the ingredients in it, the meat and root vegetables, are very appropriate for this, the Third Harvest.

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 ½ lbs. beef or pork, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 10 oz. frozen green peas

  • 4 medium carrots

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered

  • 1 (10 ½ oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup

  • 1 envelope (1 ½ oz.) onion soup mix

Preheat oven to 450° . Tear 4 pieces of aluminum foil, each 18x15 inches. Layer 1 carrot, 1 potato, and ¼ of the meat on each piece. Mix soup and soup mix; spoon it over the meat. Top with peas. Securely wrap foil and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 50 minutes or until the meat is tender.

*** Side dish: Baked Apples ***

Apples have a very strong association with this time of year, and baked apples are one of my favorite ways to serve them.

Ingredients:

  • 6-8 apples, peeled and sliced

  • ½ cup butter

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • ½ tsp nutmeg

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 cup light brown sugar

  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350° . Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the pecans. Heat until the sugar is melted. Place the apples on an ungreased baking dish. Pour the sugar mixture over the apples. Top with pecans. Bake for 45 minutes. These may be served warm or cold.

*** Dessert: Pumpkin Pie ***

Pies make wonderful sabbat dishes since their shape can be considered symbolic of the Wheel of the Year and nothing says Samhain to many like the pumpkin.

Ingredients:

  • 9 inch pie shell, uncooked

  • 2 cups pumpkin

  • 2 cups canned milk

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tsp salt

  • ½ tsp ginger

  • 2 tsp cinnamon

  • ½ tsp allspice

  • 1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 450° . Combine all ingredients thoroughly and pour into the pie shell. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350° and bake 30 to 45 more minutes or until firm.

*** Bread: Apple Bread ***

This has always been a favorite in my house and it never lasts more than a day! In order for it to last long enough to be included in ritual, I have to hide it!

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 shredded apples with peels

  • 2 eggs

  • ¼ cup water

  • ¼ cup honey

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • ½ tsp baking soda

  • ¼ cup walnuts

  • 2 tbsp raisins

  • 2 cups flour

  • 3 tsp oats

  • 1 tbsp walnuts

Preheat oven to 350° ; grease and flour a loaf pan. Mix apples and all the ingredients except the flour, oats, and 1 tbsp walnuts; beat well. Stir in the flour and oats until just blended. Pour into the loaf pan. Sprinkle the loaf with the remaining walnuts, patting them gently down. Bake for 1 hour.


 

Yule

Yule is the winter solstice, the high point of winter. It is the shortest day of the year. After this day, the sun starts growing in strength and so this is the rebirth of the sun. Symbols of Yule include evergreens, fire, garlands of dried flowers or popcorn, holly, mistletoe, wreaths, Yule logs, Yule tree. Appropriate colors include red, green, white, silver, and gold. Herbs and flowers for this season include: bay, bayberry, blessed thistle, cedar, chamomile, evergreen, frankincense, holly, ivy, juniper, mistletoe, moss, nutmeg, oak, pinecones, poinsettia, rosemary, and sage. Some good foods for this sabbat include cakes (especially fruitcakes) and pies, fruits (especially apples and citrus fruits), gingerbread, nuts, roasted turkey, goose, or pork, popcorn, sweets, eggnog, mulled cider, and mulled wine.

*** Main dish: Turkey with Cranberry Stuffing ***

Nothing says Yule time like a nice roasted turkey with stuffing, with the family gathered all around. This recipe puts a twist on the old favorite with a stuffing that includes one of the few winter berries--cranberries.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chopped celery

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • ½ cup butter

  • 1 (16 oz.) can whole berry cranberry sauce

  • 6 chicken bouillon cubes

  • 12 cups dry bread crumbs

  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  • 2 tsp poultry seasoning

  • 1 tsp sage

  • 3 cups hot water

  • 16 lb whole turkey

  • ½ cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 325° . In a large skillet, cook celery and onion in butter until tender. In a small saucepan, over low heat, cook and stir cranberry sauce, bouillon, and ½ cup of the water until the bouillon dissolves. Combine the remaining ingredients except turkey and melted butter; add in celery and cranberry mixtures. Mix thoroughly.

Remove giblets (if present) from the turkey. Rinse the cavity. Fill wishbone area with stuffing first. Stuff loosely. Fasten the neck skin to the back with a skewer. Fold wings across the back so the tips are touching. Tuck drumsticks under the band of skin at tail. Place the turkey, breast side up, on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Brush with the melted butter. Place a meat thermometer in the thigh muscle, so it doesn’t touch bone. Roast approximately 5 hours. After about 3 hours, release the legs from the tail skin and place aluminum foil loosely over the turkey. The turkey is done when juices run clear and the internal temperature reaches 180° . Let stand about 15 minutes before serving.

*** Side dish: Apple Salad ***

To me, the white color of this dish is very symbolic of winter. The raisins are a wonderful symbol of the sun, so this makes a great dish to celebrate the rebirth of the sun in the heart of winter.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium apples, cubed (about 4 cups)

  • 2 cups raisins

  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

  • 1 small tub whipped topping

Toss all ingredients until the fruit and nuts are thoroughly coated. Serve cold.

*** Dessert: Lemon Meringue Pie ***

Lemon meringue pie has long been a Yule tradition in my family. My grandfather, who was born on Yule would always ask where his lemon meringue pie was after the Christmas or Yule feast. Even now that he has passed on, we always include a lemon meringue pie in honor of him. The citrus flavor, the circle shape, and the warm color of this pie make it a great dish to celebrate the sun.

Ingredients:

  • 9 inch baked pie shell

  • 1 ½ cups sugar

  • 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp cornstarch

  • 1 ½ cups water

  • 3 eggs yolks, slightly beaten

  • 3 tbsp margarine or butter

  • 2 tsp grated lemon peel

  • ½ cup lemon juice

  • 3 egg whites

  • ½ tsp cream of tartar

  • 6 tbsp granulated or brown sugar

  • ½ tsp vanilla

Preheat the oven to 400° . Mix sugar and cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir half of the mixture into the egg yolks and then stir it back into the mixture in the saucepan. Boil and stir 1 minute, then remove from heat. Stir in the margarine, lemon peel and lemon juice. Pour into the pie shell.

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a medium mixing bowl until foamy. Beat in the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time until the foam is soft and glossy. Take care to not under beat the meringue. Beat in the vanilla. Spread the meringue onto the pie filling, carefully sealing the meringue to the edge of the crust to prevent shrinking or weeping.

Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until the meringue is light brown. Cool away from draft.

*** Bread: Grandma’s Fruit Cake ***

This was my grandmother’s recipe. Even though fruit cakes can have a bad reputation, I always remembered this one as being pretty yummy and it makes a wonderful Yule cake for the cake and ale ritual.

Ingredients:

  • 6 egg whites

  • 3 cups sifted flour

  • ¼ tsp baking soda

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 2 cups sugar

  • 1 cup margarine

  • 6 egg yolks

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1 tsp almond extract

  • 8 oz candied fruit, coarsely cut

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar

  • 1 ½-2 tbsp milk

  • 1/8 tsp almond extract

Preheat the oven to 350° . In a large bowl, let the egg whites warm 1 hour. Grease a bundt cake pan. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat egg whites until they are foamy. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar until soft peaks form. In a large bowl, beat margarine and the remaining cup of sugar, then add egg yolks one at a time until it is fluffy. At low speed, beat in the flour mixture, alternating with the sour cream. Add the vanilla and 1 tsp almond extract. Add in the fruit and walnuts and mix well with a wooden spoon. Fold in the egg whites, blend, and put the mixture into the pan. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Blend together the powdered sugar, milk, and almond extract together until smooth and spread on the cake.


Imbolc

Imbolc is viewed to be the beginning of spring, although many places it looks nothing like spring at this time of year, but rather is a time to prepare for spring. Seed catalogs come out this time of year and many animals begin producing milk, getting ready for the birth of their offspring. It can also be seen as a festival of lights, as it is traditional to light candles and turn on lights to burn off the remainder of winter. Symbols of Imbolc include candles, evergreens, and snow. Colors of Imbolc include white and blue. Appropriate herbs and flowers include angelica, basil, bay, benzoin, blackberry, celandine, coltsfoot, heather, iris, myrrh, snowdrop, tansy, violets, and any white or yellow flowers. Foods for Imbolc include bread, cake, curry, dairy foods, garlic, honey, leeks, muffins, onions, peppers, raisins, scones, seeds, spicy and hot foods, herbal teas, and spiced wines.

*** Main dish: Cheese Enchiladas ***

To me, this is the quintessential Imbolc dish since it is both full of dairy products and has a bit of a spicy taste to it (you can always add more spiciness if you like more). It is also quite delicious and very simple to prepare.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • ½ cup sour cream

  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

  • ¼ tsp pepper

  • 6 flour tortillas (7-inch diameter)

  • 1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce

  • 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper

  • 1 tbsp chili powder

  • ½ tsp dried oregano leaves

  • ¼ tsp ground cumin

  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

  • ¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350° . Grease a rectangular baking dish, 12x7½ x2 inches. Mix together the Monterey Jack cheese, 1 cup cheddar cheese, onion, sour cream, parsley, and pepper. Spoon ½ cup of the mixture onto the center of each tortilla. Roll the tortillas around the filling and place seam down in the baking dish. Mix the remaining ingredients except for the remaining cheddar and pour it over the enchiladas. Sprinkle them with the cheddar. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until they are hot and bubbly. Serve with sour cream if you desire.

*** Side dish: Sautéed Peppers ***

This makes a colorful side to the cheese enchiladas.

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium bell peppers (1 each green, yellow, and red)

  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 1 clove garlic, crushed

Wash peppers; remove stems and seeds. Cut the peppers into 1 inch pieces. Heat the parsley, basil, oil, salt, and garlic in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add peppers and sauté 3 to 5 minutes or until the peppers are crisp-tender.

*** Dessert: Rice Pudding ***

The combination of the dairy with the sun-dried goodness of raisins make this the perfect dessert to welcome back the spring and to celebrate the growing strength of the sun.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ½ cup raisins

  • 2 cups milk

  • ½ tsp vanilla

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 2 cups hot cooked rice

  • Ground cinnamon or nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325° . Beat eggs in an ungreased 1 ½ quart casserole. Stir in the remaining ingredients except cinnamon or nutmeg. Sprinkle the cinnamon on top. Bake uncovered 50-60 minutes or until a knife inserted halfway between the center and edge comes out clean, stirring occasionally.

*** Bread: Honey Bread ***

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup water

  • ¼ cup honey

  • 2 tbsp shortening

  • 2 tbsp brown sugar

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • ¾ tsp baking soda

  • ¼ tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 375° . Combine water, honey, shortening, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Mix the dry ingredients into the honey mixture, combining thoroughly. Divide the dough in half. Shape into 2 loaves on a lightly floured surface and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove loaves from the baking sheet and allow cooling  on a wire rack. Serve warm or cool with butter.


Ostara

Ostara is the spring equinox. It is a time of renewal and fertility as the world wakes from the cold night of winter and begins to grow. Symbols of Ostara include fertility symbols such as eggs and rabbits, as well as signs of spring like flowers. Colors include pastels as well as white. Herbs and flowers for this time of year include acorns, celandine, cinquefoil, crocus, daffodil, dogwood, gorse, Easter lily, honeysuckle, iris, jasmine, narcissus, olive, peony, rose, strawberry, tansy, woodruff, and violet. Ostara foods include foods made from flowers, honey cakes, hot cross buns, leafy green vegetables, sprouts, seeds, and milk punch.

*** Main dish: Broccoli Quiche ***

This dish combines a green vegetable and eggs in an entrée good enough that some people that don’t like vegetables like it!

Ingredients:

  • 9-inch unbaked pie shell

  • 1 cup fresh broccoli

  • 1 cup shredded cheddar

  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup milk

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¼ tsp pepper

Preheat oven to 425° . Sprinkle broccoli, cheese, and onion into the pie shell. Beat eggs slightly, and beat in the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture into the pie shell. Bake for 25 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300° and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the quiche stand 10 minutes before cutting.

*** Side dish: Spring Green Salad with Green Goddess Dressing ***

This dish just screams “welcome spring!”

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • ½ cup sour cream

  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

  • 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh chives

  • 3 tbsp tarragon vinegar

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1/8 tsp ground pepper

  • Assorted spring salad greens

  • Sprouts (if desired)

  • Edible flowers such as violets or pansies

Mix all ingredients except for the salad greens, sprouts, and flowers. Put greens, sprouts, and flowers into bowls. Pour dressing over the greens and serve.

*** Dessert: Violet Cupcakes ***

A beautiful dessert that brings a bit of the outside to your table.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp margarine, softened

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 1 egg

  • ½ tsp vanilla

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon

  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

  • ¼ tsp ground ginger

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 2/3 cup milk

  • Frosting of your choice

  • Fresh organic violets

Preheat the oven to 350° . Beat margarine, sugar, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt; mix into the large bowl, alternating with the milk. Pour into lined muffin cups. Fill each about half full. Baker about 30 minutes or until the cupcakes are browned and spring back when touched. Removed the lined cupcakes from the muffin cups and allow them to cool completely on a wire rack. If desired, use food coloring to tint the frosting pink or other pastel colors. Frost each cupcake and top with a fresh violet.

*** Bread: Hot Cross Buns ***

This is a traditional dish for spring that long predates its current Christian look. The crosses we see today used to be phallic symbols or other fertility symbols.

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup warm water

  • 3 tbsp butter

  • 1 tbsp instant powdered milk

  • ¼ cup white sugar

  • 3/8 tsp salt

  • 1 egg + 1 egg white

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast

  • ¾ cup currants

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 2 tbsp water

  • ½ cup powdered sugar

  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

  • 2 tsp milk

Combine the warm water, butter, powdered milk, sugar, salt, egg, egg white, flour, and yeast. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead about 5 minutes. Knead in the currants and cinnamon; continue kneading for another 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and turn the greased side up. Cover and let it rise until it is double in size. Punch the dough down on a floured surface, cover and let it rise another 10 minutes. Shape the dough into 12 balls and place in a greased 9x12-inch pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until they are doubled, about 35-40 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375° . Mix the egg yolk and 2 tbsp water. Brush onto the balls. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the pan immediately and cool on a wire rack.

Mix together the powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk; use it to paint your desired symbols on each cooled bun.

 

Beltane

Beltane marks the beginning of summer and the Light half of the year. It is the opposite of Samhain so it is a festival of life. It also represents the union of the Goddess and God so fertility and phallic symbols are major themes for this sabbat. Beltane is rich in vibrant colors, including green, yellow, red, blues, purples, pinks, and even white are all appropriate. Herbs and flowers for Beltane include almond, angelica, ash tree, bluebell, cinquefoil, daisy, frankincense, hawthorn, honeysuckle, ivy, lilac, marigold, meadowsweet, primrose, rose, woodruff, and yellow cowslips. Beltane foods include dairy products, doughnuts, cookies, fresh fruit (especially red ones), herbal salads, honey, marigold custard, oatcakes (often called bannocks), vanilla ice cream, mead, and wine punch.

*** Main dish: Meatball Stroganoff ***

A spherical shape and the rice in this dish give it a fertile oomph.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef

  • ¼ cup fine dry bread crumbs

  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion

  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 1 can (10 ½ oz) cream of mushroom soup

  • ½ cup sour cream

  • ¼ cup water

  • Hot cooked rice

Mix thoroughly beef, crumbs, onion, egg, and salt; shape into 16 meatballs. Brown in skillet; pour off the fat. Add the soup, sour cream, and water. Cover and simmer 20 minutes, stirring often. Serve over rice.

*** Asparagus Spears with Cheese Sauce ***

The symbolism of this speaks for itself.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds asparagus spears

  • 3 tbsp margarine or butter

  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ¼ tsp pepper

  • ¼ tsp dry mustard

  • ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 ½ cups milk

  • 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese

Wash asparagus spears and tie stalks together in bundles with string. Heat 1 inch of water to boiling in a deep pan. Place asparagus upright in the pan. Heat to boiling; reduce heat. Boil uncovered for 5 minutes. Cover and boil 7 to 10 minutes longer or until stalks are crisp-tender and drain.

While the asparagus is cooking, heat the margarine in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat until melted. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring constantly until it is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in the milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Stir in the cheese. Heat over low heat, continuing to stir constantly until the cheese is melted. Serve the sauce on the asparagus.

*** Dessert: Vanilla Ice Cream ***

As a symbol of love, and with vanilla being an aphrodisiac, this is the perfect end to a Beltane feast. This recipe allows you to make your own ice cream without having to have special equipment.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy cream, well chilled

  • 2 fresh egg whites

  • 5 tbsp granulated sugar

  • 2-3 tsp vanilla extract

Chill a large mixing bowl; pour the cream into this bowl. Use an electric mixer at medium-low speed to beat the cream until it holds its shape softly. DO NOT OVER BEAT. Cover and refrigerate.

In a medium mixing bowl, use an electric mixer at low speed to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. At medium speed, add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating at high speed until you have a glossy meringue that holds stiff peaks. The stiffer the meringue is, the fluffier the ice cream will be.

Uncover the beaten cream. Use a rubber spatula to gently and thoroughly fold the meringue into the cream. Fold in the vanilla. Turn the fluffy mixture into a plastic, lidded freezer container. Freeze overnight before serving.

*** Bread: Oatcakes ***

This is just one version of this traditional fare.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup margarine

  • 1 cup oat flour

  • ¼ cup bran

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup milk

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • ½ tsp cream of tartar

  • ¼ tsp vanilla

  • ½ tsp cinnamon

  • 6 tsp sugar

Preheat the oven to 425° . Cut the butter into the flour and bran. Add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls into greased muffin pans. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve with butter and jelly if desired.


Midsummer

Midsummer is the summer solstice. At this time, the sun is at the height of its power, as is life. It is a wonderful time to be outside, so you may wish to have your feast on a patio or at a park. The main symbol of Midsummer is fire, and the great fire in the sky--the sun itself. Colors for Midsummer include gold, yellow, green, blue, and tan. Midsummer herbs and flowers include carnations, chamomile, cinquefoil, daisy, elder, fennel, ivy, larkspur, lavender, lily, male fern, mugwort, oak, pine, rose, St. John’s wort, wild thyme, wisteria, verbena, and yarrow. Foods include yellow and orange foods, flaming foods, ice cream, pumpernickel bread, summer fruits, yellow squash, zucchini, ale, and mead.

*** Main dish: Oven BBQ Chicken ***

This has a lovely orange color that makes it a great selection for Midsummer. It tastes great cold, so you may wish to make it early in the morning before the summer sun gets too strong. This also makes it a great selection for a picnic.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds chicken pieces

  • ½ cup ketchup

  • 2 ½ tbsp water

  • 2 tbsp margarine

  • 1 ½ tsp paprika

  • ½ tsp brown sugar

  • 1/8 tsp pepper

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce

Preheat oven to 375° . Place the chicken in an ungreased baking pan. Mix together the remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Spoon sauce in the bottom of the pan back on the chicken. Bake uncovered for an additional 30 minutes or until the juices of the chicken run clear.

*** Side dish: Fennel Cucumbers ***

This is a nice, cool summer favorite.

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium cucumbers, peeled and sliced

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

  • 1 tsp fennel seed

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion

  • 1 cup mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup finely chopped spinach

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 1 tbsp fresh dill weed

  • 2 tsp tarragon vinegar

Place the cucumbers in a glass or plastic bowl. Shake together oil, lemon juice, fennel, salt, and onion in a sealed container. Pour the mixture over the cucumbers. Cover and refrigerate at least 12 to 15 hours, stirring occasionally.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a blender until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Drain the cucumbers and mix with the mayonnaise mixture.

*** Dessert: Very Berry Rhubarb ***

This is another dish that can be made ahead of time, when the temperatures are cooler.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup sugar

  • ½ cup water

  • 4 cups sliced rhubarb

  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries

  • 1 cup blueberries

Combine sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and add the rhubarb. Simmer, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until rhubarb is tender. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in cinnamon. Cool completely then stir in the berries.

*** Bread: Zucchini Bread ***

This is a great way to use this abundant vegetable.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups shredded zucchini

  • 1 ⅔ cups sugar

  • ⅔ cup vegetable oil

  • 2 tsp vanilla

  • 4 eggs

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

  • ½ tsp ground cloves

  • ½ tsp baking powder

  • ½ cup coarsely chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350° . Grease the bottom only of 2 loaf pans. Mix all ingredients together and pour into the pans. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in it comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes then remove the loaves from the pans. Cool completely before serving.


Lughnassadh

Lughnassadh is the first festival of the harvest. At this time, we begin to reap in the rewards of our hard work. It is also the beginning of autumn according to some. Grain, corn dollies, and loaves of bread are symbols of this sabbat. Its colors are that of the grain harvest: gold, yellow, and green, as well as the red of the fruit harvest. Herbs and flowers appropriate for Lughnassadh include acacia flowers, aloe, cornstalks, cyclamen, fenugreek, frankincense, grains of all types, heather, hollyhock, myrtle, oak, and sunflowers. Lughnassadh foods include apples, barley cakes, berry pies, bread, crabapples, grains, grapes, nuts, pears, potatoes, rice, roasted lamb, star-shaped cakes or cookies, turnips, wild berries, ale, elderberry wine, and meadowsweet tea.

*** Main dish: Corn and Potato Chowder ***

This is a hearty chowder, but it isn’t heavy enough to weigh you down during the heat of the summer.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh or frozen (thawed) whole kernel corn

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

  • 2 cups unpeeled potatoes, cubed

  • ½ cup sliced celery (optional)

  • ½ tsp dried thyme

  • 1 ¾ cups milk

  • 2-3 tbsp flour

  • ½ cup water

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté the corn and onion in oil in a large saucepan for about 5 to 8 minutes. Mix ½ of the vegetable mixture and all of the broth in a blender or food processor. Return it to the saucepan. Add the potatoes, celery, and thyme; heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 10 to 15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Stir in the milk; heat to boiling. Mix together the flour and water; stir in and boil, stirring constantly until the chowder is thickened, about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

*** Side dish: Cucumber and Tomato Salad ***

This is a tasty way to enjoy the bounty of the harvest.

Ingredients:

  • 6 large tomatoes, wedged

  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

  • 3 cucumbers, peeled and sliced

  • 1 cup olive oil

  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar

  • 1 tsp white sugar

  • 1 tbsp minced garlic

  • 2 tsp chopped fresh oregano

  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers. Mix together the remaining ingredients. Pour the dressing over the tomato mixture, and toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

*** Dessert: Blackberry Cobbler ***

Blackberries are one of the season’s most sacred berries and this is a tasty way to enjoy them.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 1 tbsp cornstarch

  • 4 cups blackberries

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 3 tbsp shortening

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 tbsp sugar

  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder

  • ½ tsp salt

  • ½ cup milk

Preheat the oven to 400° . Mix ½ cup sugar and the cornstarch in a large saucepan. Stir in the blackberries and lemon juice. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir for 1 minute. Pour the mixture into an ungreased 2-quart casserole; place in the oven to keep it warm.

Cut the shortening into the remaining dry ingredients until the mixture has a crumb-like look. Stir in the milk. Drop dough by 6 spoonfuls onto the hot blackberry mixture. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Serve warm.

*** Bread: Cornbread ***

This is a good choice for any harvest celebration.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup freshly ground corn meal

  • 1 cup white flour

  • ¼-½ cup sugar

  • ½ tsp salt

  • 4 tsp baking powder

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup milk

  • ½ cup butter

Preheat the oven to 375° . Grease an 8 inch cake pan or muffin pan. Beat together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, and salt until just mixed. Beat in the baking powder, egg, milk, and shortening until just mixed. Pour into the pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.


Mabon

Mabon is the second festival of the harvest. It is a time of balance, with the day the same length as the night. As a harvest time, the Earth is giving us gifts of her bounty. As when receiving any gift, it is important to say thank you, so this is a time of Thanksgiving. It also marks a time of year when the warmth gives way to chills and, as such, it is a time to prepare for the coming of winter. Symbols of Mabon include wheat stalks and other grains, acorns, pine cones, vines, apples, and other fall fruit. Colors of this sabbat are gold, red, yellow, and brown. Herbs and flowers of Mabon include fern, hazel, honeysuckle, marigold, milkweed, chrysanthemum, myrrh, oak leaves, passionflower, pine, rose, sage, and thistle. Foods for this sabbat include underground vegetables, corn and wheat products, bread, nuts, apples, cider, beans, squash, pomegranates, as well as anything harvested from your garden.

*** Main dish: Sage Chicken ***

This recipe combines a couple different foods for Mabon: onion, in powder form, and sage.

Ingredients:

  • 8 pieces chicken

  • ¼ cup butter or margarine

  • 1 tsp onion powder

  • 1 tsp sage

Preheat oven to 375° . Mix together butter, onion powder and sage. Place chicken in baking pan. Brush butter mixture on chicken pieces. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Turn over chicken, scooping melted butter onto the other side of the chicken pieces. Bake for another 30 minutes.

*** Side Dish: Squash and Apple Bake ***

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup light brown sugar

  • ¼ cup melted butter

  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour

  • 1 tsp salt

  • ½ tsp ground mace

  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded and sliced

  • 2 large apples, cored and sliced

Preheat the oven to 350° . Combine all ingredients except for the squash and apples in a medium bowl. Arrange the squash in an ungreased 9x13 inch baking pan. Layer the apple slices on top of the squash, then sprinkle the sugar mixture on top. Cover and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the squash is tender.

*** Dessert: Apple Crisp ***

This is a pretty simple dessert that is pretty tasty as well.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups sliced apples

  • ¾ cup brown sugar

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup oats

  • 1/3 cup butter, softened

  • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375° . Grease a 1½-quart casserole. Arrange the apples in the casserole dish. Mix the remaining ingredients and sprinkle over the apples. Bake about 30 minutes or until the topping is browning and the apples are tender. Serve warm.

*** Bread: Acorn Pound Cake  ***

A lot of people don’t even realize that acorns are food, but this is a super tasty treat that is sure to change their minds! You’ll need to collect a lot of acorns to make it, and it is a labor intensive process, but well worth the effort. Directions for preparing acorn meal can be found all over the internet and there are several ways to do it, so you can decide what  the best way is for you.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup cooking oil

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • ½ cup acorn meal

  • 1 ¼ cups flour

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • ½ tsp cream of tartar

  • ¼ tsp baking soda

  • ¼ cup milk

  • ½ tsp vanilla

  • ¼ tsp mace

Preheat the oven to 350° . Mix cooking oil, sugar, eggs, and acorn meal in a mixing bowl. Then combine the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Combine the dry ingredients in the second bowl with the moist mixture in the first bowl slowly, alternating with the milk. Add vanilla & mace and beat well. Pour batter into a well oiled and floured loaf pan. Bake about one hour.


References/Recommendations for Further Reading

cover Celebrate the Earth : A Year of Holidays in the Pagan Tradition
by Jean Mills (Contributor), Laurie Cabot (Author)
New York: Dell Publishing, 1994.
cover Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs (Llewellyn's Sourcebook Series)
by Scott Cunningham
St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1985.
cover Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Wicca in the Kitchen
by Scott Cunningham
St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2003.
cover Circle Round : Raising Children in Goddess Traditions
by Starhawk, Diane Baker, and Anne Hill.
New York: Bantam Books, 1998.
cover A Kitchen Witch's Cookbook
by Patricia Telesco.
St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 1994.
cover The Wicca Cookbook: Recipes, Ritual, and Lore
by James Wood and Tara Seefeldt.
Berkley, CA: Ten Speed Press, 2000.
Last Updated on Thursday, 04 July 2013 20:18