Today is the longest day of the year. As the wheel of time presses forward we’re told that fairies are afoot. As the fairies dance, Mother Nature provides all manner of fresh foods for our pleasure. In our home we celebrate with a picnic to revel in the sun, have our fire festival (barbecue) and enjoy the company of good family and friends.
This entrée was designed especially for our vegetarian guests as a Greek-Chinese fusion filled with fresh seasonal flavors. It’s a perfect way to use up some of your garden harvest too!
Other vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, etc.) can be substituted in this kabob, as can meat cubes or shrimp.
Prep Time: 4 hours marinating, 15 minutes cutting vegetables, 10–15 minutes grilling
Serves: 4 as a main dish (6–8 as a side dish/appetizer)
Yield on sauce: 2 cups
Directions: Sauce is best prepared the day before to gain flavor. Peel the cucumber and remove any seeds (or use a seedless cucumber). Mince this and let it drain on a paper towel for about 20 minutes. Put the cucumber in a bowl with the remaining ingredients and mix. (Make sure the yogurt is drained of any water in the container before adding it). Cover and chill.
The next afternoon, cut up zucchini and peppers. Place these in a mixing bowl with a secure cover, adding all the marinade ingredients. Return this to the refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours, stirring regularly.
Heat your grill to a medium level. Assemble the tomatoes, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, peppers, and pineapple on the skewers so there’s an equal amount of each ingredient on each one (and in a manner that’s visually appealing). Place on the grill, basting with the marinade to keep them moist. Turn every 4 to 5 minutes until tender. Serve with cucumber sauce drizzle. (This is excellent in a pita too!)
Lore tells us that any herbs harvested on the Summer Solstice have stronger magical potency. In this case we’re using mint to provide protection as the days grow shorter and the weather colder. Ham brings a little serendipity, and in the language of flowers, our sweet pea means "bliss." The best part about this dish is that it’s fast, economical, and very tasty.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Directions: Blanch the peas briefly (2 minutes) then move them into an ice-water bath. Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes then drain. Meanwhile, gently bruise the mint, adding it to a sauté pan with the butter and ham. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, adding the peas to re-warm. Season and serve.
This beverage comes to us from Celtic Pagans and has been handed down for generations. It begins with Orujo, a distilled wine that’s mixed with herbs. In many settings its preparation was ritualistic, complete with spellcasting for protection. One should prepare and enjoy this at night in the great outdoors. Gather your loved ones into a sacred circle, light the beverage as part of the fire festival, honor the past, and welcome what is yet to come for the year.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Directions: Pour all your ingredients into the pot on whatever heating source you’ve chosen (the grill or charcoal works nicely). Warm until heated through. Using a long-handled lighter, ignite the surface. Stir with a long-handled spoon gently. When the flames turn blue, extinguish them by putting a lid on top. Serve in small bowls or stoneware cups.
Banana cream pie makes a great feast for the eyes on Summer Solstice, looking much like a Sun in splendor when completed. Since you’ll want to spend more time visiting than cooking, this recipe cheats a bit with pre-made pie crust.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 8 slices
Directions: Place flour, sugar, and salt in a nonreactive saucepan (clay, enamel, glass, or stainless steel) over a low-medium flame. Slowly pour in milk, whisking constantly. Add the mashed banana and continue to whisk. Within 8 minutes your filling will become thicker and have an even consistency. Beat the egg yolks separately, adding 3⁄4 cup of the warm filling to the yolks before blending them into the rest of the mixture. Cook for 5 minutes, continuing to whisk. Add vanilla and butter, then remove from the stove. This should rest a few minutes before pouring into your crust. Chill the pie before garnishing, piping whipped cream around the banana Sun’s edges, and decorating with banana chips and/or yellow sprinkles to finish the effect.
From Llewellyn's Sabbats Almanac: Samhain 2010 to Mabon 2011. Click here for current-year calendars and almanacs.