winter solstice

The Darkest Night


Santa's Cookies

Santa’s Cookie Plate by Gina’s Kitchen Musings

Today is Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun!  It is recognized as the day that the sun stands still.  From the northern hemisphere, it appears as though the sun and moon have stopped moving across the sky.  This longest night of the year is a threshold in time followed by the renewal of days filled with sunshine.  There are many rituals, recipes and lore observed at this time of year and sharing food is an important part of any celebration. Baking and exchanging cookies during the winter solstice is a gesture of love and goodwill that I enjoy doing for my family and friends.

Millionaire's Shortbread

Millionaire’s Shortbread

On the chilly Friday evening that I stopped in my neighborhood liquor store, Carroll Gardens Wines & Liquor, to purchase a bottle of dark rum, an ingredient called for in a recipe for Buttered Rum Melt-Aways that I got from “Martha Stewart’s Cookies” cookbook, I was in the middle of discussing with Phil, the owner, what type of rum I needed when a man walked in, smelling like he had just smoked a fresh bowl weed, and interrupted our conversation.  The man proceeded to aggressively pursue me, saying that he wanted to taste whatever it was that I was making.  What came next took me by surprise.  Phil demanded that the aggressor leave his liquor store immediately!  Phil was intolerable of the man’s strong advances towards me.  The man became irate.  Phil then came from behind the counter, confronted the aggressor head on and showed him to the door.  This only further upset the man who angrily shouted obscenities causing the liquor store stocker to stop what he was doing to assist the owner.  I frequent this store and Phil and his crew know me by name but never did I expect that they would “protect” me.  Phil told me that he would have defended his own daughter or wife in the same manner.  For the first time, my nomadic spirit felt “at home”.

Raspberry Cream Sandwiches

Raspberry Cream Sandwiches

We continued our discussion about the rum after the aggressor was off and on his way.  Phil told me that Gosling’s dark rum was the original rum used in the classic cocktail, “Dark & Stormy”.  On my way home I made one more stop to pick up the ginger beer so that I could make this classic while I baked the melt-aways, of which, a special batch was set aside for my friends at the liquor store.  I hope the Friello family feels the same warmth I did on that “dark & stormy” night they stood up for me.

Cheers and Best Wishes!

All packaged and ready to share!

All packaged and ready to share!

 

Warming up with Jack Frost


01-07-2015 Warming up with Jack Frost - Potato Leek SoupJack Frost WindsAs I opened my eyes and returned to consciousness, I had a strong urge to be the first person outside in my neighborhood.  I longed to have the morning to myself, to enjoy the unadulterated break of day.  The air, fresh, crisp, the snow untainted.  The flakes gently kissed my face good morning.  “Honey, how will you spend this first “real” Nor’easter snow day of the winter solstice?” whispered the wind.  I, like the northern hemisphere of the earth have gone dark for the season, shut down to rejuvenate.  This is the time to quietly re-create. I 01-27-2015 Warming up with Jack Frost - Front Dooram one with nature, the freeze has come to chill me out.  I answered, “The lifeless winter months are colder than a witch’s teet, but I plan to weather this storm in peace.”  I fancied Jack Frost as my winter lover as the wind breezily responded with a howl against my skin.  I went back in to make potato leek soup to warm up with my new found friend.

Sensuously yours,

Honey L’Amour

RECIPE

 The All Knowing Potato Leek Soup

The “eyes”, as the roots are called on potatoes symbolize intuition and awareness.  With their natural ability to hold heat, get cozy with this winter soup and rejuvenate your being.  Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 leeks (white part), chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 Yukon Gold potatoes, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 cups chicken stalk
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream

AMOROUS COOKING

  • Brown the bacon in the bottom of a large stock pot
  • Remove the bacon, drain the fat, reserve one tablespoon bacon in the pot, and reserve cooked bacon on the side
  • Add the butter, leeks, celery and garlic until just ‘welted’
  • Add potatoes, chicken stock, thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper
  • Boil on high heat until potatoes are tender
  • Turn off heat, allow stock to cool a bit
  • Put the stalk in a blender and puree, return to pot
  • Over low heat, add the cream

Serve in soup bowls topped with reserved bacon bits and fried shallots, mmmmmmmm