Friday, December 28, 2007
For centuries, the kitchen has been the center of the home; a place of warmth and kinship, where visitors are made welcome, laughter is shared and memories are created - a place where we find nourishment for our souls as well as our bodies.
My own kitchen is no exception, and it seems wherever we live, whatever our circumstances, however large or small the house and the rooms, the kitchen is the hub of all the activity - and never moreso than over the holidays! From the simplest no-bake cookie recipe to the most elaborate Dickensian feast, it's always a big part of our celebration.....
Menus this season have included:
Cider baked butternut squash soup with a carmelized onion tart
Vegetarian chili with buttermilk cornbread
Prime rib with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings
Spinach and artichoke lasagne with salad and bruschetta
....And admittedly a few leftovers and one night of Chinese take-out. :)
Recipes are chosen from my collection of well over 200 cookbooks (can we say compulsive, lol?) as well as some of the most treasured recipes, hand written on 3x5 cards and tucked in a wooden box. Some of these are over 40 years old, the paper yellowed and the writing faded, but they'e so infused with happy memories and family tradition as to make the preparation feel sacred and magickal.
All of this has served as the inspiration behind the latest piece, painted just yesterday, and shown above - a double recipe box. Yet another I was tempted to keep (it's considerably larger and prettier than mine) but I'm sending it out into the world with the wish that it become a sacred part of someone's own kitchen magick!
Several other Kitchen and Hearth Witch pieces are in the works too, so stay tuned.....
In the meantime, here's that soup recipe. Enjoy.....
Cider Baked Butternut Squash Soup
2 medium sized butternut squash (at least a lb each)
1/2 c. apple cider
2 T olive oil
1 large sweet onion
2 apples (not red delicious) peeled, cored and chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 large rutebega or turnip, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carton vegetable broth
1 1/2 c. whole milk or half n half
Salt, pepper and fresh ground nutmeg to taste
Split squash down the middle, remove seeds and place halves (you can cut the long ends into smaller pieces) on large baking sheet. Fill the cavities with apple cider and bake at 450 until done (test with a fork). Cool, remove the squash from the peel and set aside.
In the meantime, in a large heavy bottomed kettle, sautee the onion in the olive oil until translucent, then add the apples, carrots, rutebega, celery, vegetable broth and herbs (about a Tbsp each or to taste). Cover and simmer about an hour or until vegetables are tender. Add the squash (cider included) and heat through.
Puree in batches in a food processor and return to the kettle. Add the milk and salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste, and heat through not quite to boiling. Serve garnished with herb croutons or crusty whole grain bread.
Blessings from my kitchen to yours,