Yule 2021

Yule 2021

The eastern horizon begins to glow; pink and peach
and saffron.  A sliver of the Sun lifts just above the
skyline.  The tops of the bare trees begin to shimmer.
The frosty branches release puffs of moisture as
golden rays reach their seeking limbs.  The Sun has
returned once more.  The miracle of the seasons
reveals itself once again to the celebrating citizens
of Gaia.  The Lady has brought forth her son, the
Great Lord.  Today, the Winter Solstice, we hug and
cheer and feast and drink and know that all is as it
should be and the magic of birth and rebirth prevails.

Yule Menu
French Onion Soup Cups
Roast Turkey Breast
Roasted Vegetables with Fruit and Nuts
Mashed Potatoes with Boursin Cheese
Beet Relish
Rolls and butter
Pear Cake

French Onion Soup Cups

4    medium yellow onions, sliced thinly
4    Tbsp. butter
1/2    tsp. salt
1/2    tsp. pepper
1    tsp. sugar
1    cup dry white wine
6    cups beef broth
2    bay leaves
6    sprigs fresh thyme, divided
1    skinny baguette, sliced
1    cup grated Gruyere cheese
1/2    cup grated Fontina cheese
    In large pot over medium heat, melt butter.   Add
    onions and cook until softened.  Add salt, pepper and
    sugar.  Continue cooking onions until deep golden
    brown and caramelized.  Reduce heat if necessary,
    if the onions are browning too fast.  This may take
    up to 30 - 40 minutes.  Add wine and simmer until
    most of the liquid has evaporated.  Add broth and
    three sprigs of thyme and bay leaves.  Simmer,
    uncovered, stirring often until broth thickens, 20 - 30
    minutes.  Taste to adjust salt and pepper if necessary.
    Place sliced bread, on a baking sheet, into 425 degree
    oven.  Toast until crisp on one side.  Flip, sprinkle with
    cheese mixture and return to oven to melt cheese.
    Ladle soup into cups. Top with toasted bread and
    garnish with remaining fresh thyme sprigs.

Roasted Vegetables with Fruit and Nuts

1 lb. brussels sprouts, trimmed, cut in half
1    small red onion, trimmed, cut into eights
1    shallot, rough chopped
4    Tbsp. butter, melted, divided
1    Tbsp. lemon juice, divided
      salt and pepper to taste
4    cups butternut squash, peeled, cubed
2     apples, cored, cut into eights (Granny Smith and
       Honey Crisp make a good combination)
2     Tbsp. brown sugar
1/4    tsp. each cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2    cup rough chopped pecans
1/2    cup dried fruit such as cranberries, golden raisins or

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease or spray
    a large baking sheet.  Toss brussels sprouts, onion and
    shallots with half of butter and lemon juice, salt and
    pepper.  Spread on one half of baking sheet.  Toss
    butternut squash and apple with remaining butter,
    lemon juice and brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
    Spread on the other half of baking sheet.  Roast in
    oven until Brussel sprouts are browned and squash
    is soft, stirring at least once during roasting.  Transfer
    to a bowl and sprinkle with nuts and dried fruit.
Pear Cake

1/2    cup very fine vanilla cookie crumbs
12    Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2    cups sugar, divided
2    tsp. vanilla extract
5    Tbsp. milk (whole milk is best)
5    eggs
2    cups flour
1/4    cups ground hazelnuts
1    tsp. baking powder
1/2    tsp. salt
1    tsp. cinnamon
1/2    tsp. nutmeg
3    ripe but firm pears (Comice work very well), core and
      cut into eights
1    lemon, zested and juiced
1/4    cup powdered sugar to dust cake
1/4    cup finely chopped hazelnuts for topping cake

    Grease bottom and sides of 9 inch springform pan.
    Dust with cookie crumbs.  In medium bowl combine
    flour, ground hazelnuts, baking powder, salt, cinnamon
    and nutmeg,  In a medium bowl, toss pears, 1/4 cup
    sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice.  Set aside.
    In a large bowl, with a hand mixer, cream butter,
    1 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla and milk until light and fluffy.
     Add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Add dry
    ingredient to the butter mixture, mixing with a spoon.
    Pour batter into prepared pan.  Place pears in circles
    on top of the batter.  The fruit may sink a bit.  Place pan
    in preheated 375 degree oven for 90 minutes or until
    cake is golden brown and a pick inserted in the middle
    comes out clean. Allow to cool for 20 minutes on a
    cooling rack.  Release from springform pan.  Place on
    cake plate and dust with confectioner sugar and chopped

The Witches' Almanac


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