Saturday, March 20, 2010

So Not A Tree Hugger

Image via Tourism Vancouver
I'm having a hard time getting into a groove with this blog. It's not that I don't want to write it. I've been thinking about it for a long time. I think the thing that is stopping me is something entirely different.

I'm not comfortable in my own "Pagan" skin.

It's all because of the "nature" thing.

I used to joke that being a city girl, I got nervous if I couldn't see concrete. I've finally admitted to myself that it's not a joke. Don't get me wrong. I like nature. I just don't seem to be able to "connect" to it. Could be because I'm allergic to a huge portion of the things in nature. I'm just SO not a tree hugger.

I don't feel anything when I look at scenery. When I moved to Vancouver from Calgary 20 very odd years ago, I took the train. I was told the scenery on the trip was great along the way. After a half hour of looking at trees going by I'd had enough. And I still had another 23 hours to go.

Add to that the fact that I seem to have a "black" thumb. I killed a cactus for Demeter's sake! I think you can
see that there's a whole side of Wicca or Paganism that I'm just not connected to. It's not that I don't understand how important nature is. I'm always ready to do what I can to help the environment and the creatures of Earth. Walks, petitions, letters to politicians, emails, phone calls, donations I'll do it all for everything from climate change to pit bull rescue. I'll do what I can to help. As long as you don't expect me to actually be out in nature to do it.

Which leads me to the whole kitchen witch thing. Deep down inside, I believe that food made with love is magical and it can work wonders. Sharing that magical food is probably the best thing anyone can do. I don't do it often enough. I've always got excuses. I don't have the right tools. My kitchen is too small. Yada yada. Not only have I been cheating other people by not cooking for others, I'm cheating myself because too often I'll grab something ready made from the store. Tonight's dinner was a prime example. I bought a frozen pizza from Safeway. As I was eating it I was thinking that a) it was even worse than I imagined and b) I could have made one much better. From scratch. If I hadn't been so lazy.

I sometimes have this fantasy that I live on a small farm where all the food I need is grown or raised right there. I imagine this fantastic herb garden where that would help me make my own soap and shampoo etc. Beautiful. Perfect. Self sustaining using solar and wind power. A TOTAL fantasy.

I used to spend time on farms. Not a lot, maybe a week or so at a time. It drove me insane!

I have this other fantasy where I know all the plants on the planet and what they're used for. You know, use such and such for a burn and that for the hiccups. I'm lucky that I can tell rosemary from bay leaves. Or a maple leaf from a pine cone. I know that a lot of that is just remembering bits of information. But I don't feel it. I can't seem to get a connection. It would be so much easier to memorize that stuff if I did.

Which brings me back to cooking. I can follow a recipe. I just can't ad lib. I have no feeling for what goes with what in the kitchen. Nothing. I was shocked when I figured out that rosemary goes with lamb. To be fair, I never had lamb until I moved to BC. Nobody in my family knows how to cook it. Thank all the forgotten Goddesses for the Food Network.

I'm so jealous of people who are instinctual cooks. Lou Diamond Fraking Philips is better at experimental cooking than I am. How do I know? I follow @LPhillips on Twitter (doesn't everybody?) and my mouth waters every time he posts what he's cooking for his family. Sigh.

I started this blog thinking that it would spur me on to cooking more often. I hoped that my cooking would inspire me spiritually. Or vice versa. Hasn't happened yet. At least I'm thinking about it. Baby steps.
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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chocolate Guinness Goodness

A recipe for St. Paddy's Day from epicurious.com


Ingredients:

8 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
One 14.9-ounce can Guinness Draught
3 cups heavy cream
7 ounces high-quality bittersweet (70 to 72% cacao) chocolate, finely chopped

Special equipment: Six 8-ounce old-fashioned glasses

Preparation:

In large nonreactive mixing bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar.

Open can of Guinness and slowly pour into 4-cup measuring cup, pouring down side of cup to reduce foaming. Pour half of Guinness (about 7/8 cup) into heavy-bottomed 3-quart saucepan.

Add 2 1/4 cups cream and whisk to combine. Set over medium heat and heat, whisking occasionally, until bubbles just begin to form at edges. Remove from heat, add chocolate, and whisk until smooth.

Slowly pour hot chocolate mixture into eggs, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Return mixture to saucepan and set over moderately low heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and coats back of spoon, about 15 minutes. (Pudding will look separated.)

Pour into blender and blend on high for 1 minute. Divide pudding among glasses, leaving at least 1 inch of space at top of each. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled and set.

Meanwhile, pour remaining Guinness into small saucepan and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer, uncovered, until reduced to 1 tablespoon, about 20 minutes. Pour syrup into small bowl and let cool.

Beat remaining cream until soft peaks form. Add Guinness syrup and beat until combined. Divide cream among 6 glasses of pudding and serve.

Note: you might want to add a couple of teaspoons of sugar to the reduction.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Kitchen Witch’s Creed

In this pot, I stir to the sun
an’ follow the rule of harming none.

Banishment of bane when goin’ widdershins;
an’ with water and salt negativity is cleansed.

Household duties are more than chores.
Magic abounds when mopping floors.

With this broom, I do sweep
to clean my house and safely keep.

Marigold, Basil, Thyme, and Yarrow
my spell is cast for a better tomorrow.

Lemons for joy and apples for health
the pow’r within brings great wealth.

And, in this kitchen, I do pray
To truly walk the Witches’ Way.

Copyright 1998, 1999 E. Zeigler