Here is a grab-bag of seasonal deliciousness, as crowdsourced by members of the Atheopagan Facebook group. Enjoy!
Mulled Wine—Mark Green
1 (375-ml) bottle of red or tawny port wine
2 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon (cheap! Don’t do this to the good stuff!)
1/2 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
2 oranges, zested and juiced
8 whole cloves
6 star anise
4 oranges, peeled, for garnish
Combine the red wine (not the port), honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Add port wine. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve. Serves 8.
Hot Buttered Rum—Sara Robinson
This is a batter that you make up ahead of time and keep in the freezer, ready to mix when company shows up.
1 cup soft butter (we like unsalted)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup powdered or caster sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
large pinch allspice
2 cups softened vanilla ice cream (we like Breyer’s)
Put all the ingredients except the ice cream together in a mixer. Mix until well blended. Add ice cream, and blend throughly. Scrape this batter into a large Tupperware-type container, and stick it in the freezer. It will keep 1-2 months.
When you’re ready for some hot holiday cheer, get a coffee cup and:
1. Put 2-3 heaping tablespoons (depending on size of mug) of frozen batter into the cup. (It will freeze soft, so it should be easy to spoon.)
2. Add a shot of Bacardi. The gold rum has more flavor, but white will do if it’s what you’ve got.
3. Pour boiling water to fill the cup, and stir thoroughly to mix.
4. Top with whipped cream, nutmeg, and/or caradamom, and serve.
For a non-alcoholic version, replace the rum with 1/4 teaspoon of alcohol-free rum flavoring. (It’s actually not bad if you leave the rum out entirely.)
It’s also interesting — though another drink entirely — if you use hot coffee instead of boiling water.
Blueberry Tea Toddy—Sara Robinson
Our new favorite this year, as taught to me by the bartender at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
In a glass coffee mug, put:
1/2 shot Grand Marnier
1/2 shot Amaretto
1 stick of cinnamon
1 thick half-slice of orange
In a small teapot, brew up some strong blueberry tea. (I’m using Stash’s blueberry, which is quite nice.) Allow it to steep at least five minutes. Pour into mug to fill. Stir with cinnamon stick, and enjoy.
This one’s very easy and friendly to share with folks who come over. It even works for holiday breakfast or lunch, and would be a great accompaniment to present-opening.
Make it virgin by replacing the Grand Marnier with 1/2 tablespoon orange syrup; and the Amaretto with 1/2 tablespoon almond syrup.
Red Beans and Rice (recipe: Emeril Lagasse)
After a wet hike in the rain (or on a snowy day indoors), hearty fare is just the thing. Red beans and rice is probably very much like what many of our ancestors might have managed with as their winter stores dwindled: a little meat, stretched with dried legumes and grain.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1 pound boiled ham cut, into 1/2-inch cubes
6 ounces smoked sausage, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices (1 cup)
1 pound dried red beans, rinsed and sorted through, soaked overnight and drained
3 tablespoons chopped garlic
8 to 10 cups water
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute the onions, bell peppers, celery, salt, cayenne, black pepper and thyme for about 5 minutes. Add the bay leaves, ham and sausage and saute for 5 to 6 minutes. Add the beans, garlic, and enough water to cover the contents in the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours. Add more water if the mixture becomes dry and thick. Use a wooden spoon to mash about half of the mixture against the side pf the pot. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the mixture is creamy and the beans are soft. Add more water if it becomes too thick. The mixture should be soupy but not watery. Remove the bay leaves and serve with steamed white rice.
St. Brighid’s Oaten Bread—Jen Savage Okelberry
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, in small pieces
3/4 cup uncooked oatmeal (old fashioned)
1/2 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a baking sheet.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add butter bits and cut in with knife until mixture is crumbly. Add oats and mix well.
Beat the egg with the buttermilk in a separate bowl.
Make a “well” in the dry ingredients, then pour in the egg mixture and mix all with a fork until the crumbs hold together. Form the dough into a ball and knead (on a floured surface, about 20-25 times). Add flour if the mass is still too sticky to work with.
Form the doughball into 8-inch round and transfer it to the baking sheet.
Score the bread into sections (to break along).
Bake for fifteen to twenty minutes, or until medium brown and a tester comes out clean.
Raspberry Lemonade—Mark Green
3/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen raspberries
9 cups water
2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 12 lemons)
2 cups very fine or powdered sugar
Puree the raspberries in a blender and strain through a fine sieve into a pitcher. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk together until the sugar dissolves. Serve over ice; serves 12
Editor B’s Vernal Equinox Quiche—Bart Everson
1 pie-crust (homemade or store-bought)
1 1/2 cups cubed extra-firm tofu or seitan
1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (12 oz)
1 cup broccoli florets (fresh: steamed or frozen: thawed & drained)
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Optional: sautéed onion and garlic
Heat oven to 375°F. Place pie crust in 9-inch glass pie pan as directed on box for One-Crust Filled Pie.
Layer tofu, cheese and broccoli in crust-lined pan. You don’t want broccoli poking up high above the rim. In medium bowl, beat eggs and milk with fork. Stir in spices. Pour over broccoli, making sure not to leave any florets uncovered.
Bake 35 to 90 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean — being careful not to burn the broccoli! Let stand 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
May Wine—Mark Green
Pour 4 bottles of cheap white wine such a Riesling or Gewurtztraminer into a large punchbowl. Add several pinches of dried sweet woodruff leaves, and refrigerate for two hours. Add two bottles dry sparkling white wine. Float strawberries in the May Wine to add color and a pleasant taste combination. Sexy!
Nothing like this Cuban favorite on a long, warm summer evening.
1 bunch fresh mint, cleaned
1 cup sugar
4 lemons, juiced
4 limes, juiced
1 (750 ml bottle) light rum
1 liter club soda
In a large pitcher, muddle mint sprigs with sugar and lemon and lime juices until well combined. Add ice, rum and club soda and stir together. Pour into glasses, straining out mint. Serves about 8.
Summer’s End Rye Bread (from Wheel of the Year by Pauline Campanelli)
In a large mixing bowl, combine two cups of milk warm to the touch with two packages of dry baking yeast, one teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup honey and 1/4 cup dark brown sugar. Cover bowl and set aside in a warm place until it has doubled (about 1/2 hour). Add 3 tb softened butter and 2 cups unbleached white flour, and stir until bubbly.
Mix in 1 cup rye flour and 2 cups stone-ground wheat flour. With floured hands, turn dough onto floured board and gradually knead in more white flour until the dough is smooth and elastic and no longer sticks to your fingers.
Place dough in a greased bowl, turning it so the dough is greased, then cover with a clean cloth and keep in a warm place to rise until doubled (about an hour). Then punch it down and divide in half. Shape into two round, slightly flattened balls, place on greased cookie sheets. Cover and return to a warm place until they double again.
When the final rising is almost complete, use a consecrated knife (or just a knife) to cut any symbol that is meaningful to you into the top of the loaves, saying a blessing. Beat a whole egg and 1 tb of water together and brush over the tops of the loaves. Bake at 300º for about an hour or until they are done (sound hollow when tapped).
All the things! Harvest is “early Thanksgiving”, and is celebrated with community dinners of locally grown foodstuffs. Any delicious recipe you can think of belongs here!
Chocolate Death—Mark Green
Find the richest, most decadent brownie mix you can, and prepare according to directions. When done, remove from the oven and poke holes all over the brownies with a fork. Pour Kahlua over the brownies and let them soak in it. Refrigerate for 1 hour and then cut into bite sized pieces. Deadly decadent!