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10 Useful Herbs for Everyday Magic

“… Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.” ― Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic     I am working on a sort of directory of different herbs, their medicinal and magical properties as well as the folklore associated with them. Though I am not an herbalist, I am a cook / anthropologist and have always been fascinated with how herbs play into flavor, culture, magic, old life ways and seem to have collective past all of their own. I figured I’d start with the 10 that always seem to have a place in my pantry: Thyme –  Thyme can be found in most modern kitchens due to its culinary uses, but it great for magical work as well. It attracts devotion, friendliness, and admiration from others, making it great for spells and rituals regarding relationships, particularly new ones, including interviews. Additionally, thyme can be used to attract good health, luck and money, …

A Simple Silence

How to Be a Poet (to remind myself) BY WENDELL BERRY Make a place to sit down. Sit down. Be quiet. You must depend upon affection, reading, knowledge, skill—more of each than you have—inspiration, work, growing older, patience, for patience joins time to eternity… Breathe with unconditional breath the unconditioned air. Shun electric wire. Communicate slowly. Live a three-dimensioned life; stay away from screens. Stay away from anything that obscures the place it is in. There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places. Accept what comes from silence. Make the best you can of it. Of the little words that come out of the silence, like prayers prayed back to the one who prays, make a poem that does not disturb the silence from which it came.

Pickle Soup (Zupa Orgorkowa)

A lovely, light, spring or summer soup. *Note: It is important to use brined cucumbers (sour cucumbers) as opposed to the sweet, vinegar based ones you find in the grocery store. You can easily make your own using this recipe. Ingredients 20 g (3/4 oz) Butter 300 g (10 1/2 oz) Polski Ogorkie (those brined dill cucumbers) thinly sliced, or grated (reserve the pickle juice to add to broth.) 2-3 Potatoes (russets or yukons work great,) peeled, diced 1-2 Carrots, peeled, diced 1 liter (35fl oz/4C) Soup stock (I use chicken stock or bone broth…. but you can easily make this recipe vegetarian or vegan by substituting for veg. & using sunflower oil instead of butter). 60 ml (2fl oz / 1/4 cup) cream (for pouring) Fresh, chopped dill Instructions  Melt butter in stock pot over medium heat, after foam separates add in sliced cucumbers. Reduce heat,  stir and wait until softened. Remove cucumbers and reserve. Add potatoes, carrots, and stock and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook veg until soft. Add pickles and cook for another …

Ogórki Małosolne

These Polish-style, slightly salted cucumbers are a bit different to regular pickled cucumbers, the vinegar based ones you find in stores or make at home. They don’t use vinegar at all and contain less salt in the brine therefore they ferment faster and have to be eaten within weeks. These are also the ones that are used for cucumbers soups (zupa orgorkowa) These pickles do no require vinegar as the preservative method, but instead, use a salted water solution (brine) allowing for a natural fermentation process. I’ve talked to several Polish women, my mother-in-aw included, who claim these are much healthier than vinegar based pickled cucumbers (though I’m not a nutritionist, so I can make no such claims.) These salted cucumbers are a traditional Polish dish but other countries have similar marinated cucumbers recipes: Danish syltede agurker, Estonian soolakurgid or German salz-dill Gurken just to mention few. INGREDIENTS – Garden cucumbers / pickling cucumbers – About 4 liters of boiled water – One TB Kosher salt (per jar you want to fill) I usually do …

Rainy Day Recipes: Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush is a savory eggplant dip that is as simple to make as it is delicious to eat. If you’re a fan of hummus I urge you to give this dish a try! Ingredients  1 large eggplant  (I make large portions of this dip to eat throughout the week, feel free to double or triple the recipe if you so wish!) 3 gloves of garlic 2-3 TB of tahini (Make your own, it’s super simple!) Sea sale/ Kosher salt (TT) Lemon juice (TT) Instructions  Cut eggplant in half and score. Don’t waste your time dicing the eggplant as it will be much easier to remove the skin if the eggplant is left in bigger pieces. Salt and lay skin side down on sheet tray. Drizzle a oil over eggplant (I generally put the garlic on the sheet tray along with the eggplant and a couple of Serrano peppers… the peppers aren’t necessary, I just like the kick) Let the eggplant roast in the oven (350 degrees) until soft. Take sheet tray out of the …

Rainy Day Recipes: Kimchi

Ingredients VEG. 1 Napa cabbage, around 1000g (2.2lbs) 2 bunches of green onions, washed with bulb removed 1/4 medium size daikon, julienned (or whatever is your preference) 2 medium carrots, julienned (or whatev.) 6 garlic cloves, peeled 1 meduim piece of ginger, peeled 2 aisian pears, peeled OTHER 1/3 cup kosher salt 4 tb Korean chili powder (ground chili flakes or sambal can also work) 1 tablespoon fish sauce 1-2 tablespoon Korean salted shrimp (you can also buy shrimp in chili flakes for an extra kick) 1 cup water 1-1.5 tablespoons sugar Instructions Clean cabbage and remove any browned leaves and quarter it. From here you can cut it into strips or larger pieces. Salt the pieces of cabbage evenly, mixing with your hands so that all pieces are lightly coated with salt. Let this sit overnight (generally for eight hours). You’ll wake up to find the leaves softened and wilted. Now rinse the cabbage (I like filling up my sink and soaking it) and squeeze out the excess water (you don’t want super salty …