Well, it’s almost here! YULE: The Winter Solstice!
We have a busy day today and tomorrow so have decided since everyone will be in and out – we are celebrating both days. Why not, right?
I promised I would talk about some of the fun holiday stuff – FOOD & decorations or other ways to celebrate.
Foods of Yule:
Cookies and caraway cakes soaked in cider, fruits, nuts, pork dishes, turkey, eggnog, ginger tea, spiced cider, wassail, or lamb's wool (ale, sugar, nutmeg, roasted apples).
Activities of Yule:
Caroling, wassailing the trees, burning the Yule log, decorating the Yule tree, exchanging of presents, kissing under the mistletoe, honoring Kriss Kringle the Germanic Pagan God of Yule.
If you want music to go along with your celebration, check out Loreena McKennitt on YouTube. She has some beautiful songs. I have been in a different musical mood lately and have been listening to some not-so-relaxing tunes. However, I found a version of one of my favorite holiday songs as done by none other than guitarist Steve Vai. I have added the video after the recipes, I promise it's relaxing!
Here are a bunch of great menu ideas taken from http://recipesforapagansoul.weebly.com/yule-dec-21-23.html
I will be making my first Yule log cake today (fingers crossed) and sending the kiddies out to find a perfect log to burn tonight or tomorrow depending on when everyone will be home. ENJOY!
Yuletide Pork Pie
2 1/2 lbs. ground pork
1 1/2 cups cold water
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. dried savory
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Salt, to taste
1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats Pastry for two double crust, 9 in. pies
1 egg, beaten, for glaze
In a large, heavy frying pan combine pork with cold water and heat to boiling point. It should be slightly soupy. Add onion, celery, pepper, bay leaves, savory, rosemary, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 1 1/4 hrs, stir often. Add more water if mixture dries out. Halfway through cooking time, season with salt to taste. Stir in rolled oats and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 mins. Remove bay leaves and allow to cool (refrigerating will speed this up). Meanwhile, line two 9 in. pie pans with pastry. When meat mixture is lukewarm, divide it between two pie shells and spread it out evenly. Brush around outer edge of pastry with the beaten egg. Place top crusts on the pies and press gently around the edge to seal. Trim pastry, crimp edges and cut steam vents in top crust. Bake them in preheated 425°F oven for 15 mins., then reduce heat to 375°F and bake another 25 mins. or until crust is golden. Let cool 15-20 mins, then serve.
Celtic Yule Cakes
2-3 Tablespoons Boiling Water
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2/3 Cup White Sugar
Grated Orange Zest
1 1/3 Cup Sultanas
1 Tablespoon Milk
1 1/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Butter
2 Eggs (Beaten)
Beat eggs, butter, vanilla, orange zest and sugar together. Add flour and baking powder. When well mixed add the tablespoon of milk and sultanas. Pour into a well floured/greased cup cake tin and bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. In a small bowl blend boiling water and powdered sugar to make the icing. Lace over celtic cakes in the form of a five-pointed star before serving.
1/2 cup sweet White Wine
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 cup Honey
2/3 cup Flour
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
Oil for frying
1/8 teaspoon Salt
Beat the wine & egg in a medium bowl. Combine the flour cinnamon, salt & sugar in a small bowl. Stir into the egg mixture. Let stand 30 minutes. Combine the honey & nutmeg in a small bowl. Heat 1/2-inch of oil in a frying pan until hot, but not smoking. Drop the batter into the oil 1 tablespoon at a time frying until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Dip into the honey and serve. (makes 1 1/2 doz.)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup softened butter
2 ounces white chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
Coarse white decorating sugar, colored sugars and decorations
Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Then beat the sugar and butter together in another bowl, until it's fluffy. Beat in the white chocolate, egg, and vanilla, then finally the flour mix little by little. When it's blended well, shape it into a disc and refrigerate it for 30 minutes, wrapped in plastic wrap.
Preheat the oven to 350º F. Grease your cookie sheets. Take a heaping tablespoonful of dough, make it into a ten-inch rope, and fold in half. Then twist it around so it looks like an icicle, leaving a big loop at the top if you want there to be room to loop a ribbon through to hang for decorations. (Otherwise it can be a smaller loop--it will still look like an icicle.) Taper the end. Make more ropes and repeat, and before placing on the sheets, roll in the sugars. Place 1 inch apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes (but don't let get brown!), cool on the sheets 1 minute, and then cool on racks. Hang if desired!
Yields: 2 ½ dozen
Lemon Poppy-seed Melts
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon poppy seed
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons finely shredded lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
Beat butter until fluffy, about 30 seconds on medium if using an electric mixer. Add the sugar, poppy seed, and baking soda; mix together. Beat in egg yolk, milk, lemon, and vanilla. Beat in flour. Divide the dough in half, shape each into a 9-inch roll. Wrap in plastic or wax. Chill for 4 to 24 hours.
Cut dough into 1/2-inch slices. Bake at 375º F for 7-9 minutes, 1 inch apart. Sift powdered sugar and put in a plastic bag. When cookies are done and are still warm, put them in the bag and shake gently to coat. When the cookies are cooled (on a wire rack), give them another shake in the bag for a second coat.
Yield: 36 cookies
Pork Roast with Rosemary and Garlic
4 lb pork roast
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Preheat oven to 325F. Place the roast in a pan, then rub the meat first with olive oil and then the chopped garlic and rosemary. Pierce the pork with a knife and stick in some pieces of garlic and rosemary.
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 3-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon melted butter
Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese until thoroughly whipped; about 30 seconds on medium if using an electric mixer. Add 1 cup sugar and the baking powder. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Beat in the flour last. Divide the dough in half. Roll one half between two sheets of wax paper into a 12x8 rectangle. Remove the top wax paper and brush dough with melted butter. Then sprinkle 2 tablespoons of cinnamon/sugar mix on top, dusting evenly. Roll the dough up like a jelly roll, removing wax paper. Seal the edges, then repeat with the other half. Chill the rolls for 4 hours wrapped externally in wax paper. After chilled, cut into 1/4-inch slices and bake at 375º F for 8-10 minutes, 1 inch apart. Cool on the sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to wire rack.
NOTE: Make sure that the rolls have as few cracks as possible, because cracks will become permanent after baking, and they spoil the swirl effect if you are going for a pretty and festive cookie.
Yield: 60 cookies
Sun King Soup
3 Tbs butter (use real butter, not margarine)
1 small onion, diced
2 1/2 C. tomatoes, diced
1 C. vegetable broth
3/4 Orange juice, no pulp
A few sprigs rosemary
Saute the onion in the butter over low heat. Chop tomatoes and add to the onions. Allow to cook until tomatoes become soft, just a few minutes. Add broth, and allow the whole thing to simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
Transfer the entire mixture into a blender and puree, adding the orange juice. Return to stovetop, add rosemary, and simmer for about 5 - 10 more minutes. Add paprika to taste. Serve in warm bowls with a nice loaf of soft bread, or as part of a larger feast.
Sunshine Sugar cookies with Orange frosting
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup shortening
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine milk with vinegar to make sour milk. Let stand for 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugars, shortening, eggs, and vanilla. Add flour, soda, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Stir in sour milk and mix well. NOTE: Dough will be very sticky and hard to handle so be sure to refrigerate either several hours or overnight. Roll on well floured board to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters to desired shapes-a sun shape or large round circles are best to signify the sun with large cutters working best. Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown on bottom. Frost with frosting (recipe below) and decorate.
3 egg whites
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 Tablespoon of orange rind
1 Tablespoon of Orange Juice
Beat egg whites in clean, large bowl with mixer at high speed until very foamy Gradually add sugar, rind, orange juice and extract. Beat at high speed until thickened. Spread over cooled cookies or put in a pastry bag with a piping tip attached and pipe onto cookies.
(traditional with ceremony)
Heat a large container of ale or beer, about 3 or 4 pints. Add:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup mixed spice (cinnamon sticks and whole cloves are also excellent)
2 or 3 small sweet apples, cut up
1 1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 1/4 cup orange juice
the juice of 2 lemons
Place over a slow flame; then, before it begins to boil, take off the heat and whip up some cream. Let this float on top of the brew like foam.
Put in a suitably large bowl (the more ornate the better)
Now go out to a tree or trees with a few friends (these don't have to be apple trees, since all can benefit from a well-intentioned blessing, but it is traditional to wassail fruit-bearing trees) Wet the roots liberally with the brew. Pass the rest around and when everyone is thoroughly warmed up sing a wassailing song, for example:
Here's to thee, old apple tree
Whence thou may'st bud and whence tho may'st blow
And whence thou may'st bear apples enow.
Hats full, caps full, bushel, bushel sacks full, And my pockets full too!
Lift your glasses to the tree and shout "Huzzah!" as loud as you can.
8 cups apple juice or cider
2 cups cranberry juice
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp allspice
2 cinnamon sticks
Turn the crockpot on high and pour in the apple and cranberry juices. Stir in the sugar and allspace, then add cinnamon sticks. Stud the orange with the cloves... about 25 or 30 cloves should do the trick.. and toss it in. Cover the pot and cook on high for 1 hour. Change the setting to low and allow to simmer for 3 more hours, then serve.
Winter Solstice Soup
2 tablespoons margarine
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, shredded
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups milk
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter or margarine and saute the onions for 5 to 10 minutes, or until tender. Add the carrots, potatoes, water, salt, parsley, thyme and bay leaf.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf.
Puree the soup in a blender or food processor in small batches and return to the pot. Stir in the milk, mixing well, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
6 egg whites, room temperature (appx 1 hr)
3/4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 dash salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grease the bottom of a 15x10x1" jelly roll pan; line w/ waxed paper; grease slightly. Preheat oven to 375. In a lg electric mixer bowl, at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form when beaters are slowly lifted. Add 1/4 c sugar, 2 T at a time, beating until stiff peaks form when beaters are slowly lifted.
With the same beaters, beat yolks at high speed, adding remaining 1/2 c sugar, 2 T at a time; beat until mixture is very thick, appx 4 minutes. At low speed, beat in cocoa, vanilla, salt, just until smooth. With wire whisk or rubber spatula, gently fold cocoa mixture into egg whites just until blended (no egg whites should show).
Spread evenly in pan. Bake 15 minutes, just until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip. Sift confectioner's sugar in a 15x10" rectangle on a clean linen towel. Turn cake out on sugar; lift off pan; peel paper off cake. Roll up cake jelly-roll-fashion, starting with the short end towel and all. Cool completely on rack, seam side down.
FILLING: Combine ingredients in medium bowl. Beat with electric mixer until thick; chill.
TO ASSEMBLE: Unroll cake; spread with filling to 1" from edge; reroll. Place, seam side down, on plate. Cover loosely with foil. Chill at least 1 hour before serving.
TO SERVE: Sprinkle yule log w/ confectioner's sugar and decorate with red candied cherries and green angelica "leaves". If you can't find angelica, use cut up green candied cherries.
NOTE:You may make the Yule Log up to a week ahead and freeze, wrapped in foil. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.
Yule Moon Cookies
1 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cup flour
1 1/2 cup grated almonds (blanched)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 Tbsp. water
Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Add grated lemon peel, salt, flour, grated almonds, and 1 tsp. vanilla; mix thoroughly. Place dough in bowl. Cover and chill thoroughly. When the dough is well chilled; or the next day, roll out dough to 1/8" thickness and cut with moon/crescent cookie cutter. Place 1/2" apart on un-greased baking sheet. Bake in preheated 375° oven for 8-10 minutes.
Icing: While cookies bake, combine confectioner's sugar, vanilla and water. Spread over the tops of cookies while still warm, but not too hot, as icing will melt. Thin with additional drops of water if glaze is too thick. Allow cookies to cool.
Yield: 10 dozen cookies
Yule Log 2
5 eggs, separated into yolks and whites
1 cup sugar, divided into two 1/2 cup amounts
1/2 cup cake flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 egg whites
2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa (powdered cocoa)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 egg whites
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
Separate the 5 yolks from whites, obviously into two separate bowls. Place egg whites in a small mixing bowl and let the whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes or more. Grease a baking pan, then line the pan with parchment paper. Finally, grease the parchment paper. I use Crisco (a vegetable shortening) as the grease, but you could use butter, margarine or even (yuck) animal lard. This recipe presumes a 15 inch by 10 inch by 1/2 inch deep pan, but you can use a pan that is larger in any dimension(s), and just crimp the parchment paper at the proper dimensions.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks on high until they are light and fluffy. Gradually add 1/2 cup sugar, beating for a few minutes, until thick and lemon-colored.4 In a dry bowl, combine the 1/2 cup cake flour, 1/4 cup baking cocoa (powdered cocoa) & 1/4 teaspoon salt with a whisk. Slowly add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and blend on medium, until well mixed. Beat egg whites (in a separate clean bowl) on medium until foamy. Add the 1/2 teaspoon of cream of tartar. Continue to beat until soft peaks form.
Then, slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Slowly and gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate flour mixture, until no streaks remain. Gently spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven at 350° for about 12 minutes or until cake springs back (do not over bake; certainly not more than 15 minutes. It is better to under bake rather than over bake!). Cool the cake for 5 minutes, then invert onto a linen towel dusted with confectioners' sugar (or another piece of parchment paper, dusted with the powdered sugar). Peel off parchment paper. Roll the cake up in the towel or paper, starting with a short side. Then let it cool on a wire rack. The cake portion is now done!
If you need to take a break, put the cake in a sealed container or plastic bag.
MAKING THE FILLING. Alternatives:  If you are in a hurry or want a white filling, you could instead just use a topping like "Cool Whip"; but it would need to be served within hours, before the Cool Whip melted and went flat.  Another white filling can be made by whipping 1 cup of whipping cream until it is light and fluffy, then beating in 1/2 cup powdered sugar. Obviously, this requires the cake to be kept refrigerated, except when serving it.  For a white, vanilla buttercream filling, see the "white buttercream filling recipe" at the bottom of this page;  For a chocolate buttercream filling, see the "chocolate buttercream filling recipe" at the bottom of this page;  For a mocha (coffee) filling, add 1 tablespoon of instant coffee granules to any of these above.
Whip 4 egg whites in a clean dry mixing bowl until fluffy peaks form. Add the 1 and a half cups of powdered (icing or confectioner's sugar) to the mixer. Then add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 cup powdered baking cocoa. Whip briefly, but to a uniform color.
Unroll the cake! If you want to make two shorter cakes, simply cut the cake in half before unrolling it. The advantage of this is, you can make one with chocolate filling, the other with a white filling, or mocha, etc.Spread it about at least 1/4 inch thick, up to a maximum of 1/2 inch thick.
Gently and loosely roll the cake, not squeezing! You don't want to squeeze out the filling. Again, the chocolate filling is on the left, the white buttercream (or whipped cream) is on the right. Now, while the white icing looks better, the chocolate tastes much better -- in my opinion.
MAKING THE ICING / FROSTING: Alternatives: If you are in a hurry, you can use a pre-made, store-bought can of chocolate frosting / icing, instead. In a mixing bowl add 1.5 cups confectioners' sugar (also called powdered sugar and in the UK, icing sugar) , 2 egg whites, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 teaspoon lemon juice & 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, then whip it up in your electric mixer.
Add the cocoa, and mix with the mixer until uniform.21 Gently slurp the icing on the cake (top and ends). I use a pastry blending knife to make the lines in the icing to look like a log! I just drag the front of it across the log. Of course, you can buy special decorating tools for this, also. You can also dust it with powdered sugar, to simulate snow!
Last but not least a recipe from:
Sunshine Skillet Casserole
- 2 Tbs. butter (use the good stuff, not margarine)
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 C shiitake mushrooms, chopped
- 2 C southern-style hashbrown potatoes, thawed
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 2 C sausage, browned
- 2 C cheddar cheese, grated
- Fresh rosemary and sage
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 C Asiago cheese, grated
- 1 green onion, chopped
- 1 small tomato, diced
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 60 minutes
Preheat your oven to 350. Heat the butter in a large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add the mushrooms and onions, sauteeing until they are opaque. Add potatoes, and cook until browned, stirring occasionally.
In a buttered or greased casserole dish, spread the potato mixture around to evenly cover the bottom. Mix the eggs, sausage, cheese, herbs, salt and pepper together in a small bowl, and then pour over potatoes.
Bake in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes. About ten minutes into the bake time, sprinkle the Asiago cheese on top.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for ten minutes before serving. To serve, dish onto plates and garnish with tomatoes, green onions, or some fresh-chopped basil.