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  • Main Dishes

    The category of Main Dishes usually means everything you need for a well balanced nutritional meal in is a one dish or one pot.  Stews, pot pies, casseroles, slow-cooked recipes often fall into that category.  And for a bonus, they are often easy and quick to make, at least in preparation time, though some make cook or bake or simmer for hours.  With time at such a premium in today’s modern paced world when many of the moms are working and running in from work at 5-6 p.m. and then have to come up with supper for a hungry crew, sometimes these one dish meals are a like a life rope in that churning sea of the supper hour.   Even on weekends, putting on a stew in a Dutch oven or a meal in a slow-cooker fills the home with wonderful smells and frees up the cook for some time with the family.

  • Breakfast Foods

    “The most important meal of the day is breakfast.”  Most of us have heard our mothers tell us this since we were small children, and all the nutritionists concur.  Breakfast can set the tone for the day.  After a good night’s sleep, the first meal “breaks” the “fast” to welcome another day.  In the rhythm of Mystical Ventures, morning begins a new day, but soon grows into noontime, then leads to afternoon and finally spills into evening.  The seasons of the year are microsized each day to smaller blocks of time: morning, noon and night.  Taking food from the earth (or from the chickens) and fashioning it into our first meal of the day can be a spiritual act as well as a culinary one.  We welcome the sun.  We welcome a new day.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow!   

  • Soups

    Soups are are one of the most versatile meals.  Usually chock full of vegetables, they are often the center of the whole meal.  A Kale soup full of vitamin rich greens as well as beans and potatoes and linguica (a local Portuguese sausage) is one of the best ways to warm one’s innards on a cold evening at supper.  All you need is some crusty bread to soak up the juices.  Or, on a spring evening, tasting fresh asparagus right from the garden creamed with leeks in a warm chicken broth is about the best way to savor spring, and a colorful chilled gazpacho of diced peppers, onions, celery and summer squash in a tomato base is the perfect meal on a hot summer day.   And to go with the autumn season, one of the best varieties is a roasted root vegetable soup, using just about any combination of carrots, onions, parsnips, turnips, beets, rutabaga, celeriac and fennel.  Soup is a harvest meal.  Thank you, Lord!

  • Desserts

    Desserts are extras, those sweet little lavish enjoyments that top off a good meal.  Favorite cakes or pies or puddings dress up a meal and satisfy those sweet-tooths of ours.  Relishing those sweetnesses often accompanies birthdays or holidays or get-togethers for any reason.  Desserts are celebratory food, relaxing food, enjoyable food, and may even give a taste of things to come…..a  peaceable kingdom, when all is right with the world.  Enjoy some of our favorites below.

  • Breads

    Breads warm the stomach and the soul.  They fill us with tastes and flavors and often compliment the most nourishing soups and salads.  Fruited breads are used for breakfasts, multi-grain breads for sandwiches, and specialty breads for those special occasions like holidays and Sabbaths.  Below are some of our favorites.  Enjoy!

  • Appetizers

    Appetizers are a bit of a tease.  They are just supposed to whet the appetite and entice us to share a good meal with family and friends.  Or, if one is entertaining with a few glasses of wine, a collection of appetizers can be used as tapas, a Mediterranean collection of tiny savoring samples of good food.  In either case, they are a culinary delight.  Over the years, we have identified the ones we like the best, so no holiday is complete now without some type of spinach dip, Nana’s Hankie Pankies have made a comeback, and Bill’s horseradish cheddar goat cheese is always a favorite.  Mange, Mange!

  • Preserving Food

    Preserving food is a big part of living off the land, at least in the Northeast where we live.  There are four seasons here, which includes a winter.  The ground is frozen for months and food that it once produced needs to be kept somehow, so that one can eat throughout the winter.  I know, my daughters tell me there are supermarkets, but we are trying to be self-sustaining here, so using what the earth has already furnished is part of the plan.  So, I freeze some things or can some things or may store them in the closest thing I can manage to a root cellar or dry cool place.  I may also try drying some things like herbs or fruit.  Sometimes I make up recipes for things that can be stored frozen in combination, but not by themselves, e.g. eggplant or zucchini.  Eggplant does not freeze well or can well, but it makes a delicious moussaka (see main dishes) and that can be frozen as a meal.  Most gardeners who grow zucchini get overwhelmed with it when it comes in.  Sometimes, I think they grow 6 inches a day.  It too, does not freeze well or can well, but one can make delicious soups or breads or even zucchini quiches and then freeze those and they will be wonderful mid-winter.  Jellies, jams and relishes are also wonderful ways to preserve food and share the bounty with friends as gifts, especially around the holidays.  Enjoy some of our favorite recipes below for preserving the harvest! 

  • Side Dishes

    Side dishes are sometimes the most important parts of the meal.  A good roast is delicious, but it is enhanced with doubled-baked potaoes with chives and cheddar cheese and mashed turnips and carrots.  Side dishes bring out the flavors and complexities of the main dishes and offer colors and textures that make a meal appetizing and delicious.  They should not be overlooked!