Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Christmas Cosmopolitan

A Christmas Cosmopolitan

1 oz Vodka
1/2 oz Blueberry Pomegranate Juice
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Lime Juice
Sugar rim
Lemon Wedge
Candy Cane

Mix vodka, juice, triple sec and lime juice in glass w/ ice
Shake well
Rub lemon wedge on rim of glass
Dip rim in sugar
Strain liquid into martini glass
Garnish w/ lemon and candy cane

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Winter Solstice Tribute to the Gods

According to ancient Babylonian tradition, Semiramis (who eventually became known as the goddess Astarte/Asherah/Ashtoreth/Isis/Ishtar/Easter in other pagan religions) claimed that after the untimely death of her son/husband Nimrod, a full grown evergreen tree sprang up overnight from a dead tree stump. Semiramis claimed that Nimrod would visit that evergreen tree and leave gifts each year on the anniversary of his birth,  December 25th.

Birthday of the Twins:
Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) holy day. Birthday of the Twins, Heru Sa Aset and Bast, children of Aset [Isis]. Origin of Yule and Christmas. On Winter Solstice Asar [Osiris] dies. Aset [Isis] with the magick help of Nebt Het [Nephthys] creates a Djed Pillar [artificial penis] for Her husband and impregnates Herself. For three full days (December 22-24) Asar lies dead and the Twins grow in Aset’s belly. On this day (December 25th) the Twins are born, the reincarnation or resurrection of Their Father. 
The green tree is a symbol of the green-skinned Asar, God of fertility and vegetation. 
The colored lights are symbols of Aset, Goddess of magick and divine light. 
Red, green, and white are the traditional candle colors of Bast (this was Her birthday alone for several thousand years of early Kemetic history), later being adapted to red for Aset (the color of the Mother’s menstrual flow), green for Asar (the color of vegetation), and white for the Twins (the color of pure light).

Leading up to December 25th in ancient Rome, a festival known as Saturnalia was one of the biggest celebrations of the year.  Saturnalia was a festival during which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of their god Saturn. This holiday began on the 17th of December and it would last for an entire week until the 23rd of December.
Saturnalia was typically characterized by gift-giving, feasting, singing and lots and lots of debauchery.  The priests of Saturn would carry wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession throughout the pagan Roman temples.
Later on, the Romans also started holding a festival on December 25th called Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, which means "the birthday of the unconquered sun."  Basically it was a way for the empire to consolidate all of the December 25th "sun god" birthdays throughout the empire into one holiday.

Yule celebrates the winter solstice, the year's shortest day when the sun ceases its southern
journey and begins its return north. Yule is a Nordic word meaning wheel. The Celtic name for
this solstice is Alban Arthuran. The winter solstice was celebrated throughout the ancient
pagan world and included Greek and Roman festivals. The sun provided light and warmed the
earth; its gradual disappearance each fall caused great concern. Each year our ancestors
worried that maybe this year the sun would not return. Consequently their solstice
celebrations used lots of lights in an attempt to lure back the Sun.

Yule also celebrates the death and rebirth of the sun god(s). Ancient Celts believed that the
Goddess lived forever, but the sun god was annually born at Yule. He matured during the
winter and spring, became her lover and mated with her during the fullness of the growing
season, then grew old and frail as the crops matured and were harvested. At Yule the Goddess
gave birth to his son, the new sun king, after the old king died, and so the annual cycle began
Later, the Druids believed that the Oak King ruled during the waxing year. At Yule he battled
and overcame the Holly King who ruled during the waning year. At Litha, the summer solstice,
the two kings battled again with the returned Holly King emerging as victor until the next Yule.

 Happy Birthday, Happy Solstice, Happy Yuletide & Merry Christmas to:
Dionysus the son of Zeus
Sol Invictus - (The "Unconquered Sun")

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Holiday Menu

I go a little outside the "traditional" every holiday for my family dinners. I guess i have just never been fond of the standard menu. I always love to put a little twist on everything. Not that there is anything wrong with the standard fare, but if you are looking to add a little fun to your holiday dinner, i have managed to put together my non-traditional, traditional Winter Solstice Santa Fest menu! Recipes below & Happy Holidays!

- Fresh Mozzerella and Tomato with Balsamic Vinaigrette 

Main Course:
- Teriyaki Standing Rib Beef Roast
- Roasted Garlic & Vegetables w/ carrots, turnips, parsnips, shallots, Sage, Rosemary and Bay Leaf
- Roasted Prosciutto wrapped Asparagus
- Wasabi Mashed Potatoes
- Grand Marnier Sweet Potatoes w/ marshmallows

- Chocolate Fondue w/ strawberries, rasberries and bananas
- Creme Filled Pirouettes - vanilla and chocolate
- Candy Cane Sticks in Lemon Halves
- Kona Blend Coffee w/ Baileys

- Cambria 2008  Pinot Noir - Caifornia
- Louis Jadot  2009 Beaujolais  Villages - France

{Fresh Mozzarella & Tomato with Balsamic Vinaigrette}

Vinaigrette Ingredients:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup olive oil

-Beat the vinegar in a bowl with the optional sugar, garlic, salt and pepper until sugar and salt dissolves. 
-Then beat in the oil by droplets, whisking constantly {Or place all the ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake to combine}
Taste and adjust the seasonings.

{Teriyaki Standing Rib Beef Roast Roasted Vegetables}

Standing Rib Beef Roast
  • Soy Vay's Veri Veri Teriyaki
  • 2 whole heads of Garlic 
  • 6-8 Carrots {halved}
  • 3 Turnips {quartered}
  • 6-8 Parsnips {halved}
  • 4-6 Whole Shallots
  • Sprig of Rosemary & Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Coarse Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
 RIB ROAST Directions:

For a perfect Standing Rib Roast recipe, this is an absolutely perfect way to cook it - from Simply I personally marinate it in the most amazing teriyaki sauce in the world - Soy Vay's Veri Veri Teriyaki. So if you are inclined to do the same, and i highly suggest you do, just follow Simply Recipe's directions in addition to the teriyaki.
    {Cook time: 45 mins to an hour}
-Heat oven to 400 degrees
- Cut carrots and parsnips in halves
-Cut turnips into quarters
- Peel outer layers of garlic, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. Cut off 1/4 to a 1/2 inch off the top of the cloves.
- Cut very top portion of shallot, leaving shell intact. 
-Combine vegetables into baking pan or casserole dish
-Add sprigs of herbs
- Drizzle olive oil all over vegetables, coating well
- Sprinkle rock salt, freshly ground pepper
- Stir once or twice while roasting

Serve together on large serving tray.

{Roasted Prosciutto & Asparagus}

1 bunch fresh asparagus {trimmed}
1/2 pound proscuitto {sliced}
1 tablespoon olive oil
dash of rock salt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Wrap slices around 2-3 asparagus spears
-Drizzle olive oil on tips and ends of asparagus
- Sprinkle salt
- Roast in oven 15-20 minutes or until tender

{Wasabi Mashed Potatoes}
6-8 Red Potatoes {quartered}
4-6 Tablespoons of butter
1-2 Tablespoons of Wasabi Paste
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons salt
-Rinse Potatoes, cut into quarters
-Boil potatoes in large stock pot until tender
- Drain and return to pot
- Add butter, salt & sour cream
- Mash with hand mixer, leaving lumpy
- Add Wasabi to taste, stir
{Grand Marnier Sweet Potatoes w/ Marshmallows}
5-6 Yams {peeled and quartered}
4-6 tablespoons of butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
30-35 large marshmallows
1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Rinse yams, peel and cut 
- Boil in large stock pot until tender
- Drain and return to pot
- Add butter, brown sugar, salt, nutmeg, vanilla & Grand Marnier
- Stir or mash. Add sugar or salt to taste if needed
- Transfer to oven safe casserole dish
- Top with marshmallows & sprinkle with cinnamon
- Bake 15 minutes or until marshmallows are brown
{Chocolate Fondue w/ Strawberries, Raspberries, Bananas}
This is really, quite an easy dessert and quite a beautiful table setting. Granted, you will need a fondue pot and fondue chocolate {which are both widely available at any major grocery store}. I did this for my family last year and they have now requested it to be an annual tradition. It was heavenly! 
Fondue Pot
Chocolate Fondue
Fresh strawberries
Fresh raspberries
Fresh Bananas
Dessert Pastries such as Cream-filled Pirouettes
Whipped Cream {optional}
Warm fondue in fondue pot {following fondue pot directions}
Place fruit pieces on skewers, dip and devour!
Serve with your favorite coffee and don't forget to add a little Baileys!
The kids might need assistance, but this is a winner for any child!
{Candy Canes in Lemon Halves}
And last but not least, this is one of my favorite childhood memories. All you need are candy canes and lemons. Cut lemons in half, stick candy cane in center and enjoy instant minty lemony happiness.