On the eve of February second we celebrate the promise of Candlemas, or Imbolc,the moment of the year when the days are getting noticeably longer and the newlambs are born. Snow drops push through the crust of snow and we eagerly awaitthe return of the sun's warmth in spring. The Celtic Goddess Brigid comes to us asThe Bride, awaiting the return of her lover the sun. Adorned in her winter whiteshe sparkles in her innocence and expectation. It is time to begin seeds indoors, andclear out closets. Light a yellow candle in the center of a shallow bowl filled withsnow to symbolize the warmth of the sun melting away the winter chill. Feed ourfeathered friends, the winged ones with seed and grain.
White Bean Hummus with Capers and Dill
Serve this delightful white bean hummus as an appetizing dip for crisp veggiecrudités or toasted French bread slices (crostini.)
1 1 lb. can white northern beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup sesame tahini
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. dill
- dash sea salt
- freshly ground white pepper
- 1 Tbs. capers, rinsed
- Place about 3/4 of the white beans into a blender and add minced garlic, tahini,lemon juice, cumin, dill, sea salt and pepper, cover and puree until smooth.Combine the puree with the remaining whole white beans and capers, and mixwell. Chill, covered, for 1 hour or more. Serve this creamy dip/spread slightly coolor at room temperature, garnished with a sprig of fresh dill and a few capers.Perfect with crudités, bagel chips or crostini.
Potato and Carrot Soup
A lovely potato soup to celebrate Brigid's emergence. Laced with sweet carrotsand onion, this Celtic country soup warms the heart with the first promise of spring.
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, diced
- 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1/2 head white cabbage, cored, thinly shredded
- dash of nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. curry powder
- 1/2 tsp. fennel
- sea salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- 5 cups vegetable broth or light chicken broth
- 6 Yukon Gold (or yellow) potatoes, peeled and cut
- 1/2 cup milk, or almond milk
- 1-2 Tbs. light cream, or soy creamfresh
- chives, chopped, for garnish
Add in cream, if desired.
Ladle this creamy soup into colorful bowls and garnish with fresh chopped chives.
Rosemary Cheese Biscuits
Old fashioned biscuits are a treat at any season. According to Goddess lore,sprinkling rosemary into the dough helps us to attract love and longevity.
2 cups unbleached, all purpose flour
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 1/2tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 stick unsalted butter or margarine, chilled
- 1/2 cup milk (or more if needed)
- 2-3 Tbs. dry sherry
In a large bowl combine the flour, cheese, baking powder, salt, rosemary and cayenne.Cut the chilled butter into pieces and mix into the flour mixture, crumbling the dough.Add the milk and sherry and quickly mix the dough just until the ingredients are moistened.Lightly knead the dough inside the bowl a few times to form a ball, and placeon a floured surface. Roll out the dough with floured fingers ( or a floured rolling pin ), to about 1/2 inch thick.
Cut out rounds with a cookie cutter or jelly glass and place them on a baking sheet. Bake them for 10 to 12 minutes, until they are golden brown. Serve warm in a festive basket.
Makes about 15 to 18 biscuits.
Hazelnut Ice Cream
Creamy, and cold as winter snow, with the inviting crunch of hazelnuts, from the hazeltree of the Goddess Artemis. You may make this confection with or without dairy…both ways are delicious.
1/2 cup Half and Half, or non-dairy cream
- 1 1/2 cups milk, or almond milk
- 1 cup sugar, or 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup pasteurized egg substitute * see note below
- 1 tsp. good vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp. hazelnut extract (optional)
- 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum (found at health food stores) (optional, it helps to thicken rice or almond milk)
- 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
Combine the Half and Half, milk, sugar, egg substitute, flavor extracts, and xanthangum in a blender, cover and puree for 3 minutes, until frothy and creamy. Pour intothe freezer of your ice cream maker, and stir in the hazelnuts. Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
I use a pasteurized egg substitute such as Egg Beaters in my frozen dessert recipes, notonly because they are fat and cholesterol free, but safer as well. Raw eggs may contain harmful bacteria. I do not ever recommend including unpasteurized raw eggs in icecream recipes.