snow in the garden
Arugula Meadow under snow

Happy Solstice!

I did not intend to take a break from posting. Life has been happening. I will talk more about that in another post. Because this is Winter Solstice, the one day a year I actually cook an entire meal!

I asked James several weeks ago if there was a flavor he was hankering for and he said Italian. While I briefly considered letting myself off easy by making spaghetti, heh, that would not do. So I combed through recipes and landed on ravioli e fagioli in our Cool Beans cookbook.

It turns out fagioli is basically bean soup. So I bought some cranberry beans like the recipe called for—I have never had these and they are so good!—I and used ingredients mostly from our winter csa share, which are not exactly what the recipe calls for but hey, dinner needs to be seasonally appropriate and as local as possible. So instead of red bell peppers I used cubed acorn squash. Instead of spinach I used kale. The garlic, carrots, and onion are all locally grown. I did buy a can of fire roasted tomatoes though.

ravioli e fagioli
ravioli e fagioli – yum!

The recipe called for store-bought ravioli, but we can’t have that. So I found a vegan recipe that uses chickpea flour and is filled with macadamia nut ricotta. But organic macadamia nuts are $35 a pound! So I made a much cheaper, and still tasty, ricotta from hazelnuts. I have never made pasta of any kind before, so I was rather nervous. But the ravioli making went great and only four of the many little raviolis fell apart while boiling. Yay me!

James was going to make a crusty peasant bread for us, but Sunday when he was making our weekly regular bread loaves, the oven failed to heat. He did learn how to make bread in a Dutch oven on the stovetop, which still worked just fine, thankfully. But one cannot make crusty bread on the stovetop. I thought, drat, we really should have made that solar oven over the summer. And then I looked outside at the thick gray clouds and the lightly falling snow. James called and scheduled a repair visit for today, the earliest anyone could come.

Without being able to make our own bread, we had to settle for some crusty (local) French bread from our food co-op. James got quite a lot so I suspect there will be French toast in the near future, a not bad consolation. I also planned for roasted garlic to spread on that crusty bread, and lucky for me, I learned from a co-worker last week how to make roasted garlic in the microwave. In hindsight, it seems like I had some kind of premonition, but I did not.

mug cake
Mug cakes

The repair person was supposed to be here today between 8 and noon. Around 11, we got a call that the repair window had been changed and was now until 7 p.m. They arrived around 4:30 and took about 45 minutes to install a new igniter. The oven works but it is too late to make the planned dessert, a self-saucing black forest chocolate pudding cake. I found this recipe two months ago and have been looking forward to making it for Solstice since then. I even have cherries in my freezer from my own garden. The cake will happen, it will just be a Christmas or New Year cake instead.

What to do for dessert? Microwave mug cakes! Not quite up to Solstice celebration standards, but we still got to have cake so that’s something. And we made them in our Solstice mugs with a little whipped peanut butter topping.

The one thing missing from our usual celebration was our beautiful sun and moon bowls that match the dinner and bread/dessert plates. I had completely forgotten that in spring one of the pins holding the cabinet shelf the Solstice dishes live on came out. The shelf tipped and the bowls fell out and broke. I wish I had remembered so I could have been on the lookout for some new bowls. But now I will be on the prowl. We won’t be able to find the same bowls, but I’m sure we will be able to find something. James was upset when the bowls broke, and I was sad too. We’ve had our sun and moon set of dishes for over 25 years. While they were special, what really matters is the holiday and the love and joy that goes into making a celebration. 

The chickens did not get mug cakes or ravioli for their Solstice celebration, but they did get chopped up broccoli stalks and seeds from the acorn squash. They seemed pretty happy about that.

The days won’t be noticeably longer until the end of January, but just knowing daylight is gradually increasing is enough to get me through the coldest time of the year.

No matter whether or how you celebrate the Solstice, may your days be filled with light and your heart with joy!

16 thoughts on “Winter Solstice

  1. We celebrated summer solstice by driving to Melbourne for Christmas – which is why I am very behind in reading this and many other posts. Things have quietened down a bit at the moment so I am trying to catch up.

    What a saga, but I love that you soldiered on. I also always love reading about your Winter solstice tradition. (PS, Sorry, but I’m sort of glad your days won’t start getting noticeable longer for a while because that means outs won’t be getting noticeable shorter.)

    I have never made pasta so I’m impressed that your first effort was a filled version. And I’ve copied out that pudding cake you were going to make as it looks great and I think – as the creator says – that it will work with gf flour.

    How very sad about your bowls though. I remember seeing them in previous posts. Good luck with finding replacements.

    Anyhow, it’s now 2022, and I wish you the happiest of years in a difficult time. x

    1. I always think of you on Winter Solstice as I am celebrating the days getting longer, and imagine you in the warm summer sunshine.

      One of the benefits of not cooking much is not realizing all the things that can go wrong when you make filled pasta. I didn’t even think about it until when I was making it and the recipe said make sure it is a gentle boil so they don’t come apart 😀 And oh, I hope you enjoy the pudding cake!

  2. Happy belated Solstice! What a shame about your dishes. There’s an online company here called China Search, there’s bound to be something similar in the US – or there’s always Ebay. I always feel happier after the Winter Solstice, at least the light is going in the right direction again. I’m fed up with closing the curtains at 3 pm.

    1. Happy belated Solstice to you too Katrina! James has looked on eBay and found someone offering the two bowls for something like $40, gulp. We’ll do more looking and also see if we find anything different that we might like.I too feel happier after solstice even though the coldest part of the year is ahead, at least I get to see the sun more often!

  3. Happy Solstice! I did think of the two of you, imagined the meal you might have been enjoying (and, yes, okay, I spent an extra amount of time thinking about your dessert). We had a very low key day because we still had things we had to complete before EOY so postponed our treats and relaxation (mostly) but did stop to reflect and note the turning. I hope you’ve had some quiet and restful days on the other side, as the days grow longer now!

    1. Aw thanks Marcie! I always spend more time thinking about dessert than I do the meal 😀 Even though you had a busy day I am glad you had a chance to stop and reflect! Happy longer days!

  4. Oh, I’m as shattered as your dishes to read that they’ve been destroyed! I love them! But, life goes on, I guess. You’re very adaptable and your solstice menu sounds yummy. Happy Solstice!

    1. Thanks Joan. It’s ok. It’s just the bowls that broke. James was really upset when it happened and I was sad, but we have both come to terms with it. I am now imagining finding blue bowls with gold flecks or rims. They will be beautiful 🙂

  5. Happy belated solstice! I thought of you, you are the person who introduced me to celebrating this celebration. James is right to love Italian food! And italian people do love local, sustainable, vegetable heavy, slow food too. On Dec 21 we celebrated with a dinner with candles and no electric light, it was fun! In true French fashion we had snails in garlic butter… (this might not be a popular choice with you but for us it is very special). I hope you can find new sun and moon dishes!

    1. Thank you for thinking of me Smithereens! Your Solstice celebration sounds wonderful! I can’t say that eating snails sounds delicious, but I am glad it is a tasty special meal for you 🙂

  6. Happy Solstice! I thought about you yesterday as well. It was out late night at the library so my co-workers and I celebrated by ordering pizza. 🙂 When I got home I did a journal prompt about the solstice, a personal reflection I found on Instagram. It feels good knowing that even if I can’t tell, I am getting a little bit more light every day.

    Congrats on that homemade pasta! The thought of that intimidates me. I have made mug cakes, though – pretty tasty. 🙂

    1. Aw, to be thought of is such a nice gift. Thank you Laila! I could totally go in for some pizza right now, yum! The pasta was easier to make than I expected. It took a long time to cut the little circles, stuff them, and crimp the edges, but the dough was so easy!

  7. Happy Solstice! I was thinking about you two yesterday. We did a small solstice ritual (bundled up! on the back porch!) and am eagerly awaiting updated snow reports — we could have a White Christmas! Which would make me very, very happy. So sad about the solstice dishes — it’s nice to renew things every once in awhile, however. May you enjoy the search!

  8. I’m glad you had such a yummy bean feast! Even amidst all the chaos. I’ve had the power go out and been snowed in and once was sitting on an island in a flooded cul de sac all during the winter holidays. But I’ve never not had some way to cook. There’s always been a wood stove. Now there is not and I’m eyeing this electric oven, wondering when it’s going to fail me and what I will do. At least in this house there is water when things go wrong, albeit cold water. Last two houses were pumped wells.

    Best wishes for more celebrations and mug cakes!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! We are currently investigating whether we might be able to install a small wood stove in the house for heat and cooking because we don’t believe the grid will always be reliable. We do have a little rocket camp stove so technically we can cook no matter what, but camp cooking is not an ideal long term backup 🙂

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: