Long Term Healing Spell

Long Term Healing Spell

 

Supplies:

  • a feather
  • rosemary oil
  • a shell
  • a stone
  • an onion
  • a horseshoe

 

Directions:

This spell is good for slowly healing long-term illnesses.

Write the name of the person you wish to heal on the onion. (You can either use your athame to inscribe it or use a pen; it’s fine either way…)

Plant the onion in a pot or garden. Put a stone to the north, 3 drops of rosemary oil to the south, a shell to the west, and a feather to the east. Cover the objects with soil.

Place the pot on the horseshoe, or place the horseshoe close by if the onion is planted in the garden.

Long Term Healing Spell

Long Term Healing Spell

Supplies:

a feather
rosemary oil
a shell
a stone
an onion
a horseshoe
 

Directions:

This spell is good for slowly healing long-term illnesses.

Write the name of the person you wish to heal on the onion. (You can either use your athame to inscribe it or use a pen; it’s fine either way…)

Plant the onion in a pot or garden. Put a stone to the north, 3 drops of rosemary oil to the south, a shell to the west, and a feather to the east. Cover the objects with soil.

Place the pot on the horseshoe, or place the horseshoe close by if the onion is planted in the garden.

The Witches Spell for Aug. 19th – Spell To banish Anger

magick21

Spell To Banish Anger

 

Items You Will Need:

One onion

Black Candle

Cleanse an onion in fresh water, consecrate by you for your purpose. During a waxing moon, preferably on a Monday (unless you need to do it sooner) otherwise, Monday for the moon’s emotions.

Take the onion and light your candle. You can carve any protective symbols you wish on the onion to personalize it, or leave it as it is. Remember the onion represents you.

As you sit in the light of the candle, peel the onion, layer by layer, knowing that with each layer you peel, you remove on more layer of pain you hold within yourself, one more layer of hate, anger, rancor or greed.

After you have completed your task, and your onion is completely peeled away, place the remains in a white bowl on your windowsill, in the kitchen, recognizing that the moon’s power will remove the negativity around you, (even if the light of the moon is not visible, it’s the energy and thought that is important).

Once you have finished the spell, take a shower, or bath to cleanse and purify and complete your work. Know you are cleansed.

The Witches Spell I Give To You for Jan. 12th: To Banish Anger

Celtic Comments & Graphics

To Banish Anger

You will need one onion, a black candle

Cleanse the onion in fresh water, consecrated by you for your purpose. During a waxing moon, preferably on a Monday (unless you need to do this sooner) otherwise, Monday for the moon’s emotions–Take the onion and light your candle. You can carve any protective symbols you wish on the onion to personalize it or leave it as it is. What you must remember is, the onion represents you.

As you sit in the light of your black candle, peel the onion, layer by layer, knowing that with each layer you peel, you remove one more layer of pain you hold within yourself, one more layer of hate, anger, rancor or greed.

After you have completed your task, and your onion is completely peeled, place the remains in a white bowl on your windowsill in the kitchen. Recognize that the Moon’s power will remove the negativity around you, (even if the light of the Moon is not visible, it’s the energy and thought that is important).

Once you have finished this spell, take a shower, or bath to cleanse and purify and complete your work. Now that you are now cleansed.

Yuletide Herb – Cloves

Cloves

Botanical: Eugenia caryophyllata (THUMB.)

Family: N.O. Myrtaceae

 

—Synonym—Eugenia Aromatica.

—Part Used—Undeveloped flowers.

—Habitat—Molucca Islands, Southern Philippines.


—Description—A small evergreen tree, pyramidal, trunk soon divides into large branches covered with a smooth greyish bark; leaves large, entire, oblong, lanceolate (always bright green colour), which stand in pairs on short foot-stalks, when bruised very fragrant. Flowers grow in bunches at end of branches.

At the start of the rainy season long greenish buds appear; from the extremity of these the corolla comes which is of a lovely rosy peach colour; as the corolla fades the calyx turns yellow, then red. The calyces, with the embryo seed, are at this stage beaten from the tree and when dried are the cloves of commerce. The flowers have a strong refreshing odour. If the seeds are allowed to mature, most of the pungency is lost. Each berry has only one seed. The trees fruit usually about eight or nine years after planting. The whole tree is highly aromatic. The spice was introduced into Europe from the fourth to the sixth century.

The finest cloves come from Molucca and Pemba, where the trees grow better than anywhere else, but they are also imported from the East and West Indies, Mauritius and Brazil.

In commerce the varieties are known by the names of the localities in which they are grown. Formerly Cloves were often adulterated, but as production increased the price lowered and fraud has decreased. Cloves contain a large amount of essential oil which is much used in medicine. When of good quality they are fat, oily, and dark brown in colour, and give out their oil when squeezed with the finger-nail. When pale colour and dry, they are of inferior quality and yield little oil. Clove stalks are some times imported, and are said to be strongerand more pungent even than the Cloves.

Clove trees absorb an enormous amount of moisture, and if placed near water their weight is visibly increased after a few hours; dishonest dealers often make use of this knowledge in their dealings, and the powdered stems are often sold as pure powdered Cloves.

 

—Constituents—Volatile oil, gallotannic acid; two crystalline principles – Caryophyllin, which is odourless and appears to be a phylosterol, Eugenin; gum, resin, fibre.

—Medicinal Action and Uses—The most stimulating and carminative of all aromatics; given in powder or infusion for nausea emesis, flatulence, languid indigestion and dyspepsia, and used chiefly to assist the action of other medicines. The medicinal properties reside in the volatile oil. The oil must be kept in dark bottles in a cool place. If distilled with water, salt must be added to raise the temperature of ebullition and the same Cloves must be distilled over and over again to get their full essence.

The oil is frequently adulterated with fixed oil and oil of Pimento and Copaiba. As a local irritant it stimulates peristalsis. It is a strong germicide, a powerful antiseptic, a feeble local anaesthetic applied to decayed teeth, and has been used with success as a stimulating expectorant in phthisis and bronchial troubles. Fresh infusion of Cloves contains astringent matter as well as the volatile oil. The infusion and Clove water are good vehicles for alkalies and aromatics.

—Dosages—Fluid extract, 5 to 30 drops. Oil extract, 1 to 5 drops. Infusion, B.P., 1/2 to 1 OZ.

Just In – Garden Fresh recalling 7 tons of packaged salads

Garden Fresh recalling 7 tons of packaged salads

MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin company that makes packaged salads is recalling nearly seven tons of products because they contain onions that are the subject of a separate recall.

Milwaukee-based Garden Fresh Foods makes packaged pasta salads and chicken salads. The company is recalling 13,600 pounds of products that contain onions possibly contaminated by the bacterium Listeria.

The onions are from supplier Gills Onions LLC. The Oxnard, Calif., company launched its own recall last month due to contamination concerns.

The Garden Fresh products have the establishment number “P-17256” or “Est. 17256” inside the U.S. Department of Agriculture mark of inspection. A list of the specific recalled products is available on the USDA website.

No illnesses have been reported in connection with the products, which are sold nationwide.

Natural Oestara Eggs

Natural Oestara Eggs

by Ariadne


Natural egg-dying is like recycling. It takes a li’l bit longer to do, but gives you that Oh-Im-soooooo-WC (witchly correct) feeling.
Cover your plant material (see list below) with about 3 inches of water, bring to a boil, and simmer until the color looks good. You’ll probably have to let the eggs sit in the dye overnight, so if you’re planning more than one color per egg, start this a few days before Oestara. Experimenting is half the fun, but here are some hints to get you started:
Yellows- daffodil petals, saffron, turmeric, onion skins
Blues- blueberries, red cabbage leaves & vinegar
Greens-broccoli, coltsfoot
Pinks- cochineal, madder root
Browns – walnut shells, tea, coffee

Wanna get fancy? Gather some small leaves, ferns, flowers and grasses. Dip them in water (to help them stick) and press them onto your eggs. Wrap each egg in a piece of cut up pantyhose and secure it with a twist tie before dyeing. When you remove the flower or leaf, it’s design will appear (either in white or in your first dye-color). Rub your finished eggs with a tiny bit of vegetable oil on a soft cloth to shine them.
Too hard?? No hosiery??? Okay, try using crayons to draw spirals and pentagrams on the eggs before dying them.
Now, plan a fertility ritual for your garden. Bury an Oestara egg in the east corner of your garden, or one egg for each direction, or dig an entire circle for them (depends on how much you hate egg-salad).

Natural Dyes for Ostara Eggs

Natural Dyes for Ostara Eggs

Yellow – Carrots, Fenugreek, Turmeric, White grape juice

Yellow Orange – Vanilla extract

Orange – Dandelions, Yellow onion skins, Paprika, Orris root

Pink – Heather, Iris blossoms

Red – Cayenne, Madder root, Red onion skins

Reddish Purple – Purple grape juice, Red raspberries

Blueish Purple – Beet juice, Blackberries, Mulberries

Blue – Black raspberries, Blueberries, Red cabbage

Green – Bracken, Carrot tops

Yellow Green – Daffodils

Connect to Earth Powder (for grounding)

Connect to Earth Powder

(For Grounding) 

1 teaspoon dirt from your yard or a favored plant

3 drops of patchouli oil

1 teaspoon barley, wheat, corn meal or rye 

Combine the ingredient in a mortar and grind to a fine powder. Sprinkle it about your meditation area to connect with earth while meditating. If you have trouble grounding after ritual or spell work, keep a bit in a covered box and smell it or touch it when you need help grounding.

ANGER BANISHMENT SPELL

The following ingredients are needed

One onion

This is the banish anger from yourself.

Take your onion and wash it in fresh spring water (purchased also from the witches’ friend, the local supermarket). This spell is best performed during a waxing moon. Wear earth colors to ground you and, if you wish, burn some sandalwood oil or incense. By the light of a black candle (black absorbs negativity, remember!) peel your onion at midnight. As the tears_come, take away a layer of the pain you are feeling with each layer of the onion that you peel away. Onions represent Mars, which represents war and feelings of angst and anger at our enemies, so peeling through the onion will open the heart chakra, allowing you to experience the feelings you have been hanging on to, and layer by layer, release them. This spell is all about not wishing to get even, or to obsess any longer over those who have harmed you. After you have peeled your onion, place the peels on a plate (stainless steel or silver) and put on a window ledge in the kitchen where overnight the moon’s energy will draw away the negativity banishing it from your environment for good._complete this simple spell with a long, languid bath into which you have emptied three handfuls of sea salt. This will purify, protect, and strengthen you further. As you lie there, think of how much better you feel now that the desire to get back at someone has dissipated.

To Brew a Cauldron of Roots and Bones

To Brew a Cauldron of Roots and Bones

by Catherine Harper

When the year turns, the earth is less gentle, and the outdoors is no longer safe. The soft green woods of summer are now stripped bare and home to winds and rain. For light and warmth, we must retreat inside, even in the gentle clime of Puget Sound, where we are sheltered by the mountains and the extremities of season are kept at bay by the vast thermal mass of the ocean.

All at once, it seems, it is autumn, and past the drawn-out golden harvest and into the dark days and rain. There may be a few peppers and tomatoes left to us, but the season has turned from fruit to fallow. For the gardener, there are a few hardy greens, the squash lying amidst their shriveling vines and the late apples. For the forager, there are a few roots and the cool-weather fruiting of mushrooms. But the focus has changed from the fields and orchards to the kitchens, pantries and root cellars, from what is fresh to what can be saved for later use.

After the extravagance of the autumn harvest, it is a good time to contemplate the dark season. All that is left of the corn are the stalks in the field; in the orchard, the branches are bare. The supermarkets bring us strange and often illusory delights from far distant lands (yes, one can have hothouse strawberries in winter, or bland and mealy fruits picked too early and ripened far from their trees, but do the limp imitations you may purchase feed your body any better than they do your soul?). But you still may take a step back and look at the land around you, and recall both to the mind and table the humble foods that are still with us.

Consider, then, the onion.

The origins of onions are hidden back in the misty recesses of antiquity. There are wild onions known and enjoyed throughout the world, and by the time the pyramids were built the onion was widely cultivated. Herodotus records indeed that the builders of the pyramids sustained their strength on a diet of “radishes, onions and leeks,” and onions and bread were the staple diet of workers throughout the greater region. The Egyptians honored their onions, and were well-known in the ancient world for the quality of their leeks. But by the Roman period, while the leeks were considered a fit item for the tables of emperors, the onions, though grown in vast quantities, were confirmed in their place on the poor man’s table.

In the garden, it is easy to see why the onion has been so embraced by those lacking in both time and money. It is a hardy plant, resistant to disease and pests, and needing little in the way of cultivation. A bit of rich soil, perhaps a quick weeding once or twice during the year, and the tiny shoots you planted that looked like nothing more than frail blades of grass send up a tower of sturdy, pungent greenery, and then below ground swell into plump bulbs.

In our own kitchens, onions are ever present, and yet little regarded. They are so often used as a flavoring agent that I suspect few people realize how much they contribute to the bulk of a dish, and so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget how much flavor they add, while their cousins garlic and shallot get most of the press. Few vegetables have ever carried so much weight with so little notice. In the store, there are always onions, vast piles of onions, cheap and long-lasting. Red onions and white, yellow onions in their darker skins, pearl onions and boiling onions, green onions, dried onions and french-fried onions.

I think too little thought often goes into the selection of onions. Red onions and white onions are sold, usually at a jacked-up price, peeled and trimmed, a form in which they must be kept refrigerated. This allows you to get a good look at the onions and is undoubtedly more convenient, if one is willing to pay twice the price and use the onion swiftly. The yellow onions, our local most common staple, are sold only untrimmed and often poorly sorted. And yet a good yellow onion will sit like a bronze pearl, filling its skin smoothly with no trace of bruising or of the black powdery mold that likely infests many of its neighbors. I have been laughed at by produce clerks for my careful selection of onions, but I have never regretted looking closely. (Onions in bags, while cheap and convenient, I have often regretted, in part because the bag often prevents close inspection, and onions only last a long time if they are intact.)

When I was first on my own, at 15 finding myself abruptly responsible for my own sustenance, I kept my ears always open as I made my way through the produce aisle. One day, I overheard a woman talking of the labor of feeding a family after a long day at work herself. “When I get home, sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to make, and no one else wants to wait at all. But my mother told me a trick — chop up and fry an onion in a pan, and you’ll buy yourself some time. When they smell that onion coming out of the kitchen, they’ll sit back and wait, because they know it’s going to be good.”

Or consider the venerable soup bone.

It is a curious reversal that the thrifty old art of boiling meaty bones for soup, and the great equalizer of the soup pot where the taste of the ingredients is shared by all even if the best pieces might not be, has become something of a mark of culinary distinction. True cooks now build their stock with love, patience, time and often fairly expensive ingredients. Indeed, it is common now for a stock to be made for soup, after which the meat the stock was drawn from is thrown away and replaced by fresh pieces for the finished product.

I can’t quite see that. From a technique point, yes, this is a fine way to build a soup, but to rob meat of its flavor and yet little of its nutrients and then to throw the meat away… perhaps there is a time and a place for such extravagance, but not in my kitchen, as late autumn mutters of the coming of winter. There are generations enough of hungry dead.

Soup bones are almost an anachronism to most home cooks. They come from a time when people were more comfortable with the animal origins of their meat, when larger roasts were more common and yet also more dear, and when people took care to extract all the nutrients they could from their food. Today, one is more likely to see beef “stew meat” for sale, though this ignores that the purpose of a soup bone isn’t only meat, but tendon, cartilage, connective tissue and even marrow. (A dear friend of mine, retired lawyer and accomplished Jewish mother, informs me that the curative powers of matzoh ball soup reside in the gelatin leached out of the chicken. I hesitate at such a reductionist explanation, but the theory is the same. A good rich homemade broth will thicken and even solidify when cold.)

Onion Lemon Soup with Mushrooms

This soup has Greek avgolemono in its ancestry, but it has become vegetarian and shifted its focus to include the onions and mushrooms that form the base of the stock. The onions must be thoroughly caramelized.

The dried mushrooms in this recipe can be six or so good-sized shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted in warm water and then sliced, or a slightly smaller quantity of dried porcini, matsutake or other strong-tasting wild mushroom — chantrelles, delicately flavored as they are, would be lost. One could also substitute a cup or fresh shiitake or porcini for both the dried and fresh mushrooms, or use some combination thereof. I’m afraid this really only qualifies as poverty food if you hunt your own mushrooms, considering the prices wild mushrooms command, though during my impoverished years I sometimes found dried mushrooms in the marked-down bin.

  • 1 or 2 large onions (yellow or white) chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 3 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • Dried mushrooms
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, pepper
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 quarts water, plus an additional &fraq14; cup

In a thick-bottomed pot, caramelize the onions in olive oil over medium heat until they are thoroughly brown. (If they begin to stick to the bottom of the pan too badly, you may deglaze the pan by pouring in a few tablespoons of water and stirring vigorously, until the water boils off and you resume caramelizing.) Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring gently, until the mushrooms are tender.

Add two quarts of water, the rice and the bay leaf, bring soup to a simmer, and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper, taste the broth and correct the seasoning if needed. (Add more salt, more mushrooms or perhaps a teaspoon or so of molasses.)

Remove pot from heat while you juice the lemons and separate the eggs.

Add lemon juice. Beat the egg yolks. Beat in about a quarter cup of lukewarm water. Then beat in a half-cup of broth from your soup. (The idea here is for the egg yolks to blend smoothly with the broth and not to cook too quickly.) Finally, whisk the egg and broth mixture into your soup, and return the soup to the burner, over medium low heat. Return to the barest simmer, gently, then remove from heat and serve

Beef Bone Barley

This soup is based on a savory, layered broth that still uses all of its edible parts. The bones and raw and roasted meat add richness and complexity to the broth.

  • 1 soup bone
  • 1 small package beef stew meat
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 or 3 carrots (optional)
  • 2 or 3 stalks celery (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 to 10 peppercorns
  • 1 glug of red wine, if available
  • Salt

For the soup bone, if you do not have easy access to a neighborhood butcher, nose around in your grocery’s meat department. Often bones for soup are hidden in the frozen section. I’d recommend a nice joint, if possible, and don’t worry too much about whether it has meat on it, as you’ll be adding meat later. Ox tails are never a bad thing, either, though they make for a very rich soup.

Cover your soup bone in cold water in a thick-bottomed pot, and then slowly heat the pot over a low burner. Seek a stable temperature just at the edge of simmering, cover and allow to stew overnight.

A few hours before dinnertime, remove the soup bone and discard. Add half your stew meat to the pot, and roast the other for some 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Add the roasted meat as well to the pot. Add the cup of barley, cover and continue simmering.

Forty minutes or so before dinner, add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaf and peppercorns. Add your glug of wine, and quickly cover and return to simmering.

In the last few minutes before serving, add salt, remove the bay leaf and taste the broth. Add more salt, wine or fresh ground pepper if needed.

A Witch’s Pantry: Foods to Warm Your Samhain and Winter

A Witch’s Pantry: Foods to Warm Your Samhain and Winter

by Catherine Harper

The year has turned towards dark, and the last of the autumn harvest is in. Every year, I grieve a little more for summer — this year all the more as the squash and beets come in, the farmer’s markets roll up for the year and I contemplate the long winter without the abundance of produce that has made the bulk of my diet. The more time I spend outside, the more I regret the fading of the light. Every year, the seasons penetrate a little deeper.

But it is also a good time. The winds come back, making the cedars dance, and I hardly had realized I’d missed them. On the best days, they carry the orange leaves of big leaf maples and just a few drops of rain swirling around. The grass turns green again, and then grows, until the light becomes too scant even for that. The rooms of our house grow, at least in import, and the kitchen is cheery and warm from the oven despite the dark and rain outside.

I wonder, sometimes, if there is an inherited factor in my relationship to my pantry. (I can certainly imagine that it might carry survival advantage.) There is something very satisfying for me about deep shelves full of canisters and gallon jars of rye, split peas, rice and lentils. Some of it makes a kind of sense, even in this world: Most years, for instance, I dry several gallons’ worth of boletes for use during the rest of the year. Home-dried tomatoes from our garden or wild ginger from the woods also has an obvious place, things that cannot simply be purchased as needed. And my (in part environmentally motivated) hatred of excessive packaging, love of durable storage and a bad experience with grain moths in my last apartment has combined to make me prefer jars and canisters to cardboard boxes and plastic bags for those things I can buy in bulk.

But there is also an almost atavistic sense wherein I know that my dry goods and what I could glean from the woods even in this dark time of year could keep a family fed and healthy for many months. (When I was first on my own, I lived this way quite often, though not really by choice. And indeed, in many ways it was healthier than the richer and more varied diet I am blessed with today.) And there is something very honest in the piles of squash, onions and garlic in the downstairs pantry, and the kales and chard that hold so well in the garden.

Much of this borders on ritual use. I may grow most of our green onions and kale and stock up on local squash near the end of the season, but almost all of the storage squash from our own garden is eaten either at Samhain (pumpkin soup with chili anchos, a touch of bitter chocolate, and a dollop of cream, some years) or Thanksgiving (traditions are easily established, and I will make stuffed squash each year until my dying day, I fear). In many things, our garden doesn’t meet our needs, but the things we’ve grown and saved ourselves are special and usually hold places of significance in the meal.

Tomato vines that still bear unripe tomatoes when the cold comes can be cut and hung upside down in the garage or basement. Squash, kept somewhere cool, dry and well-ventilated, can last through the next spring (some varieties better than others, of course). It will sweeten in storage, and the flesh will become drier. The first new squash of the year is always a shock to me because in comparison to the older squash it has so little sugar. Potatoes (which I don’t grow, though I know people who do in strange wire mesh and straw contraptions that keep the tubers out of our heavy clay soil) keep well if they are dry, well-ventilated and out of the light. Onions, too, prefer the dry and dark, but one must check them frequently for rot, or a single rotted onion will taint its neighbors.

And of course the dried grains and legumes will keep almost indefinitely. Whole-grain flour will often go rancid, but the whole grain will not if you have a hand mill to grind it at need. (It is my understanding that fresh ground flour, wherein the nutrients have not had a chance to oxidize, is also more nutritious. But mostly, I like the taste and texture.) Dried beans, which must be soaked in water at least overnight and then simmered for a good portion of the day, have fallen a bit in popular favor, but the slow-cooked soups that simmer and warm your kitchen are worth remembering. Oats, whole, rolled or steel cut, can be mixed with liquid, nuts and dried fruit and left to sit in a still-warm brick oven overnight. And many whole grains can be cooked with meat, broth and sturdy vegetables rather in the manner of a risotto. There is much good food in winter that relies neither on refrigeration or transport from sunnier climes.

Barlotto-Stuffed Pumpkins

Barley is a grain too seldom used. Mild and creamy in texture, it is a good foil for many hearty winter foods. The pumpkins described here are small pie pumpkins, measuring about four inches across — pumpkins are not the best storage squash, but these little pumpkins are available each year from our local organic farmer’s stand, and make for particularly attractive presentation. If they are not available near you, halved and seeded delicata or acorn squash also works well. These should be baked at 350 degrees, cut side down, for at least half an hour or until just tender before being stuffed, for their thicker walls will not quickly bake through after stuffing.

Barlotto

1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon oil
2-4 cloves garlic
4-6 dried shiitake mushrooms
1&fraq12; cup hulled barley
2 cups water
Salt

A note on the mushrooms: Fresh shiitake or other strongly flavored fresh or dried mushroom can be substituted. If anything, increase the amount. Or add grocery-store button mushrooms to the shiitake.

Soak the shiitake mushrooms in a couple of cups of warm water for 20 minutes. In a medium-sized (and thick-bottomed) sauce pan, caramelize the onion in a little oil over medium heat. As the onion begins to turn a nice brown, slice the shiitake mushrooms and add them to the pot, continuing to stir gently. Add next the garlic, crushed or pressed. Let everything get a chance to brown — better browning will improve the flavor, but if you’re in a rush you can cut this down to a token browning. Then add the dry-hulled barley, stirring it to absorb the oil and letting it, too, brown lightly.

Add to this the two cups of water, and salt to taste. (The water you soaked the mushrooms in is particularly good for this, if you are careful not to pour in any sediment.) Bring to a simmer, reduce to low heat, and cover. The barley will need to simmer for at least 40 minutes. Check every 10 minutes or so, and add more water if needed. Simmer until the barley is tender.

Stuffing Your Pumpkins

To stuff the pumpkins, use a small knife or pumpkin saw to cut a large circle out around the stem of the pumpkin, as you would to make a jack-o-lantern. Remove seeds, and fill with the hot barley mixture (the heat will speed the cooking time). A little grated cheese can be added if desired. Replace the lids, and cook at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until the pumpkins are tender.

To Brew a Cauldron of Roots and Bones

To Brew a Cauldron of Roots and Bones

 

by Catherine Harper

When the year turns, the earth is less gentle, and the outdoors is no longer safe. The soft green woods of summer are now stripped bare and home to winds and rain. For light and warmth, we must retreat inside, even in the gentle clime of Puget Sound, where we are sheltered by the mountains and the extremities of season are kept at bay by the vast thermal mass of the ocean.

All at once, it seems, it is autumn, and past the drawn-out golden harvest and into the dark days and rain. There may be a few peppers and tomatoes left to us, but the season has turned from fruit to fallow. For the gardener, there are a few hardy greens, the squash lying amidst their shriveling vines and the late apples. For the forager, there are a few roots and the cool-weather fruiting of mushrooms. But the focus has changed from the fields and orchards to the kitchens, pantries and root cellars, from what is fresh to what can be saved for later use.

After the extravagance of the autumn harvest, it is a good time to contemplate the dark season. All that is left of the corn are the stalks in the field; in the orchard, the branches are bare. The supermarkets bring us strange and often illusory delights from far distant lands (yes, one can have hothouse strawberries in winter, or bland and mealy fruits picked too early and ripened far from their trees, but do the limp imitations you may purchase feed your body any better than they do your soul?). But you still may take a step back and look at the land around you, and recall both to the mind and table the humble foods that are still with us.

Consider, then, the onion.

The origins of onions are hidden back in the misty recesses of antiquity. There are wild onions known and enjoyed throughout the world, and by the time the pyramids were built the onion was widely cultivated. Herodotus records indeed that the builders of the pyramids sustained their strength on a diet of “radishes, onions and leeks,” and onions and bread were the staple diet of workers throughout the greater region. The Egyptians honored their onions, and were well-known in the ancient world for the quality of their leeks. But by the Roman period, while the leeks were considered a fit item for the tables of emperors, the onions, though grown in vast quantities, were confirmed in their place on the poor man’s table.

In the garden, it is easy to see why the onion has been so embraced by those lacking in both time and money. It is a hardy plant, resistant to disease and pests, and needing little in the way of cultivation. A bit of rich soil, perhaps a quick weeding once or twice during the year, and the tiny shoots you planted that looked like nothing more than frail blades of grass send up a tower of sturdy, pungent greenery, and then below ground swell into plump bulbs.

In our own kitchens, onions are ever present, and yet little regarded. They are so often used as a flavoring agent that I suspect few people realize how much they contribute to the bulk of a dish, and so ubiquitous that it’s easy to forget how much flavor they add, while their cousins garlic and shallot get most of the press. Few vegetables have ever carried so much weight with so little notice. In the store, there are always onions, vast piles of onions, cheap and long-lasting. Red onions and white, yellow onions in their darker skins, pearl onions and boiling onions, green onions, dried onions and french-fried onions.

I think too little thought often goes into the selection of onions. Red onions and white onions are sold, usually at a jacked-up price, peeled and trimmed, a form in which they must be kept refrigerated. This allows you to get a good look at the onions and is undoubtedly more convenient, if one is willing to pay twice the price and use the onion swiftly. The yellow onions, our local most common staple, are sold only untrimmed and often poorly sorted. And yet a good yellow onion will sit like a bronze pearl, filling its skin smoothly with no trace of bruising or of the black powdery mold that likely infests many of its neighbors. I have been laughed at by produce clerks for my careful selection of onions, but I have never regretted looking closely. (Onions in bags, while cheap and convenient, I have often regretted, in part because the bag often prevents close inspection, and onions only last a long time if they are intact.)

When I was first on my own, at 15 finding myself abruptly responsible for my own sustenance, I kept my ears always open as I made my way through the produce aisle. One day, I overheard a woman talking of the labor of feeding a family after a long day at work herself. “When I get home, sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to make, and no one else wants to wait at all. But my mother told me a trick — chop up and fry an onion in a pan, and you’ll buy yourself some time. When they smell that onion coming out of the kitchen, they’ll sit back and wait, because they know it’s going to be good.”

Or consider the venerable soup bone.

It is a curious reversal that the thrifty old art of boiling meaty bones for soup, and the great equalizer of the soup pot where the taste of the ingredients is shared by all even if the best pieces might not be, has become something of a mark of culinary distinction. True cooks now build their stock with love, patience, time and often fairly expensive ingredients. Indeed, it is common now for a stock to be made for soup, after which the meat the stock was drawn from is thrown away and replaced by fresh pieces for the finished product.

I can’t quite see that. From a technique point, yes, this is a fine way to build a soup, but to rob meat of its flavor and yet little of its nutrients and then to throw the meat away… perhaps there is a time and a place for such extravagance, but not in my kitchen, as late autumn mutters of the coming of winter. There are generations enough of hungry dead.

Soup bones are almost an anachronism to most home cooks. They come from a time when people were more comfortable with the animal origins of their meat, when larger roasts were more common and yet also more dear, and when people took care to extract all the nutrients they could from their food. Today, one is more likely to see beef “stew meat” for sale, though this ignores that the purpose of a soup bone isn’t only meat, but tendon, cartilage, connective tissue and even marrow. (A dear friend of mine, retired lawyer and accomplished Jewish mother, informs me that the curative powers of matzoh ball soup reside in the gelatin leached out of the chicken. I hesitate at such a reductionist explanation, but the theory is the same. A good rich homemade broth will thicken and even solidify when cold.)

Onion Lemon Soup with Mushrooms

This soup has Greek avgolemono in its ancestry, but it has become vegetarian and shifted its focus to include the onions and mushrooms that form the base of the stock. The onions must be thoroughly caramelized.

The dried mushrooms in this recipe can be six or so good-sized shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted in warm water and then sliced, or a slightly smaller quantity of dried porcini, matsutake or other strong-tasting wild mushroom — chantrelles, delicately flavored as they are, would be lost. One could also substitute a cup or fresh shiitake or porcini for both the dried and fresh mushrooms, or use some combination thereof. I’m afraid this really only qualifies as poverty food if you hunt your own mushrooms, considering the prices wild mushrooms command, though during my impoverished years I sometimes found dried mushrooms in the marked-down bin.

  • 1 or 2 large onions (yellow or white) chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 3 to 6 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • Dried mushrooms
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt, pepper
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 quarts water, plus an additional &fraq14; cup

In a thick-bottomed pot, caramelize the onions in olive oil over medium heat until they are thoroughly brown. (If they begin to stick to the bottom of the pan too badly, you may deglaze the pan by pouring in a few tablespoons of water and stirring vigorously, until the water boils off and you resume caramelizing.) Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring gently, until the mushrooms are tender.

Add two quarts of water, the rice and the bay leaf, bring soup to a simmer, and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so. Add salt and pepper, taste the broth and correct the seasoning if needed. (Add more salt, more mushrooms or perhaps a teaspoon or so of molasses.)

Remove pot from heat while you juice the lemons and separate the eggs.

Add lemon juice. Beat the egg yolks. Beat in about a quarter cup of lukewarm water. Then beat in a half-cup of broth from your soup. (The idea here is for the egg yolks to blend smoothly with the broth and not to cook too quickly.) Finally, whisk the egg and broth mixture into your soup, and return the soup to the burner, over medium low heat. Return to the barest simmer, gently, then remove from heat and serve

Beef Bone Barley

This soup is based on a savory, layered broth that still uses all of its edible parts. The bones and raw and roasted meat add richness and complexity to the broth.

  • 1 soup bone
  • 1 small package beef stew meat
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 or 3 carrots (optional)
  • 2 or 3 stalks celery (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 to 10 peppercorns
  • 1 glug of red wine, if available
  • Salt

For the soup bone, if you do not have easy access to a neighborhood butcher, nose around in your grocery’s meat department. Often bones for soup are hidden in the frozen section. I’d recommend a nice joint, if possible, and don’t worry too much about whether it has meat on it, as you’ll be adding meat later. Ox tails are never a bad thing, either, though they make for a very rich soup.

Cover your soup bone in cold water in a thick-bottomed pot, and then slowly heat the pot over a low burner. Seek a stable temperature just at the edge of simmering, cover and allow to stew overnight.

A few hours before dinnertime, remove the soup bone and discard. Add half your stew meat to the pot, and roast the other for some 20 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Add the roasted meat as well to the pot. Add the cup of barley, cover and continue simmering.

Forty minutes or so before dinner, add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaf and peppercorns. Add your glug of wine, and quickly cover and return to simmering.

In the last few minutes before serving, add salt, remove the bay leaf and taste the broth. Add more salt, wine or fresh ground pepper if needed.

A Pioneer’s Apothecary

TO RELIEVE A COUGH, squeeze the juice of one large onion and add one tablespoon of honey. Take one teaspoon three or four times daily. Apply the onion to the chest, “mashing it well.”

Mix two teaspoons of cider vinegar in water or wine. Sip one tablespoon four times daily.

Combine two tablespoons of honey with one tablespoon of grated horseradish root to sooth a cough.

Make a tea of one teaspoon grated nutmeg in one cup of hot cider. Drink three times daily.

Lady A’s Spell of the Day for 4/5: ANGER BANISHMENT SPELL

ANGER BANISHMENT SPELL

The following ingredients are needed

One onion

This is the banish anger from yourself.

Take your onion and wash it in fresh spring water (purchased also from the witches’ friend, the local supermarket). This spell is best performed during a waxing moon. Wear earth colors to ground you and, if you wish, burn some sandalwood oil or incense. By the light of a black candle (black absorbs negativity, remember!) peel your onion at midnight. As the tears_come, take away a layer of the pain you are feeling with each layer of the onion that you peel away. Onions represent Mars, which represents war and feelings of angst and anger at our enemies, so peeling through the onion will open the heart chakra, allowing you to experience the feelings you have been hanging on to, and layer by layer, release them. This spell is all about not wishing to get even, or to obsess any longer over those who have harmed you. After you have peeled your onion, place the peels on a plate (stainless steel or silver) and put on a window ledge in the kitchen where overnight the moon’s energy will draw away the negativity banishing it from your environment for good._complete this simple spell with a long, languid bath into which you have emptied three handfuls of sea salt. This will purify, protect, and strengthen you further. As you lie there, think of how much better you feel now that the desire to get back at someone has dissipated.