Toasting the Bountiful Harvest ~ Beaujolais Nouveau

Dear friends and Pagani,

I dedicate this Thanksgiving post to Night Wandering Dionysus and the rest of the Theoi Daitioi (Gods of Feasting).

Folks who look at the evolution of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday will often point out that the Pilgrims weren’t farmers or they would have had arranged to arrive earlier and harvest in October.   Luckily for us, they didn’t know much about farming; and however much the pilgrims really had to do with the evolution of the U.S. Thanksgiving, we get the opportunity to enjoy a superlative wine with our Civic Harvest Festival!

For U.S. Pagans, Beaujolais Nouveaux is the perfect wine to toast Thanksgiving in its aspect as a Harvest festival, as it is usually only a matter of weeks before that the wine in the bottle or glass was grapes on the vine waiting until the growers detected that they were at their peak, and ready for harvest.

Beaujolais Nouveau is the briefly fermented first batches of wine pressed from the current years wine grape harvest, Gamay grapes to be specific.  Beaujolais grapes are picked only by hand, as are the grapes of the Champagne region; both of which are strictly regulated under French law.  Beaujolais Nouveau also under goes a specialized fermentation process known as carbonic maceration, where most or all of the grapes are left whole and very little fermenting must is added, the weight of the grapes themselves helps crush the grapes on the bottom and aids in a fermentation process where the grapes ferment individually and relatively little of the harsh tannins present in the grape skins are pressed into the resulting wine, as is usually the case with longer aged and more traditionally pressed red wines.  All of this results in a fruity and light flavor profile.

It debuts in the Third Thursday in November, no matter when the Harvest begun, and its flavor profile tends to blend well with rich and hearty foods of the type common to the Beaujolais region, or of the sort that we in the U.S. associate with Thanksgiving and the Winter Solstice feasts!  The average quality Beaujolais Nouveau should be able to last a few months, and may take you as far as a celebration in March or even May.  An excellent vintage (in a good year for the grapes) you could very well keep it for a year!  Consult a wine professional or expert near you for advice if you are not sure.

In looking at a Beaujolais Nouveau you should be aware that the California wines marketed as a Gamay Beaujolais, or similar title, will tend to use a different variety of Gamay grape, and as they are grown in different land and microclimates the California Beaujolais will tend to have a different flavor profile than the French, in the end, try both and see what you like better and which blends better with your Holiday feasting!

Happy Thanksgiving,

Pax / Geoffrey Stewart

Some informative links…


Beaujolais Nouveau Wikipedia Entry

Beaujolais Nouveau: History Behind the Third Thursday in November

10 Fascinating Facts About Beaujolais Nouveau

Its Party Time for Beaujolais Nouveau

Le Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrive!!

A Witch at rest…

So today was one of the first real days off I’ve had in over a week… new job and old job and a bunch of running around on the theoretical day off I had on Friday…

I did a little bit of writing on the new definitions page… but otherwise I think I mastered a serene and contemplative meditative (or possibly vegetative) state.  Relaxation and slack were the order of the day!

I am feeling a little blocked mentally… like I need something to clear out the cobwebs but I am not sure what that something is/  Although as I write this I am feeling a little less muzzy headed, so perhaps I just needed to sit down and start some free-writing and summon, stir, and call forth my own creative energies.  Creativity is both an art and a discipline… as is meditation, and I need to apply some discipline to both my creative and meditative practices!

I toyed with meditating today…. but again lethargy won out.  I did however take a brief but pleasant nap, so as to be ready for the Monday night wing night excursion.  Seriously though I need to commit to more regular meditative and creative practices.  (Note to self: DO IT!!)

Speaking of creativity, in another week or two when the big juicy first paycheck from the new job comes in I think I shall buy some baking ingredients and bake a couple of the recipes from the ginormous Baking book I bought during my running around looking for the Witches date book last Friday.  (I failed to find it, but found a suitable organizer and am customizing it to my needs)

The baking book is one of those gloriously large coffee-table cook books with reasonably simple recipes one per page with accompanying glorious and sexy photographs of some of the steps and the finished product.  I have taken to pouring over it at odd moments during the day and referring to in conversationally as my culinary porn.

That this terminology, and my habit of reading it aloud like I was narrating a passage of erotic poetry, vexes The Big Guy to no end is only icing on the cupcake.

It was originally written for Great Britain, and only the measurements have been changed to Imperial/U.S. measurements, so it refers to cookies as biscuits and quickbreads as teabreads and golden raisins are sultana’s … is their anything linguisticly sexier than the word sulatana?!?

Back to slacking…

I even tried mustering up the energy or courage to go for a quick dip in the pool… the daytime temps are hitting the upper 70’s and low 80’s this week… but the pool is only up to 66*F… which is a little much for me these days… I am holding out for 68… silly I know given that I probably hapilly swam ing 50* water in my youth in Alaska… but 68 degrees is my boundary for swimabillity.

I tried standing at the edge of the pool and psyching myself up, but I settled for sitting and dipping my feet in the way beyond brisk pool water.

I had been gearing up to go visit a friend of mine North of Orlando, but have to straighten out some confusion with my insurance status and my eligability for a vehicle registration here in Florida so things are up in the air for tommorrow right now.

Even though I have been recovering from an exhausting week or so today, it feels wonderful to be busy again!   I was able to find a personal organizer that had the moon phases and some inspirational weekly quotes and am going to do some customizing of the special days in the notes sections.



Something for the Culinary Pagan

So for Imbolc I am sharing a variety of Culinary, Crafty, and Poetic posts.  This first non-poetry one is to share an outline for Potato Soup, and share a wonderful Pagan culinary list…

Wine and Cakes: Kitchen Witcheries and Heathen Hospitality

Is a delightful culinary and cooking list for Pagans and Heathens of all sorts.   Sometimes dormant and sometimes boiling over with posts and ideas!

Here’s something I recently posted there…

So the Big Guy and I have a ton of Potato’s around the house… His
brothers are Truck driver’s and occasionally they turn us on to a
great deal on veggies and other items they encounter in their hauls…

So we have, seemingly, a metric butt-load of potato’s in the fridge
and pantry. Last week I had a few days off and was feeling fairly
ambitious and the weather here in Central Florida was especailly
cold… overnight temps that week were in the 30’s and daytime temps
were in the 50’s to low 60’s; I know that’s not bad at all compared to
what a lot of folks are dealing with but her in Central Florida it’s a
cold day! So Soup seemed appropriate!

I’d never made potato soup before so I went to the shelf and dug
through The Joy of Cooking and some of my other culinary books for
ideas and inspiration relating to Potato Soup…

I thoroughly washed 5 or 6 potatoes, cut them into small bite-sized
pieces, and boiled them.

While the potatoes were boiling I fried up some Ground Turkey and some
Onions, adding some minced garlic and a few herbs and spices.

I then ran the boiled potato pieces through the blender. While I was
doing that I also reserved a couple of cups of the starchy potato water…

I wasn’t sure how thick the potatoes would be once I’d gotten them
through the blender. I’m glad I had saved the water as the blended potato was still a little thick and besides it’s like Chef Adams used to say.. you can
almost always thicken a soup back down by simmering out some of the water!

From this point, it was a matter of looking for other ingredients and
side fixings.. in this case we had some Cheddar Bratwurst and Broccoli
and Vegetable Mix (cauliflower, carrots, and more broccoli) in the
freezer… some quick thawing and slicing of the Brats… and Ta Da!
It’s Soup!!

I’d love to have had either some chicken broth or some vegetable broth
to use as a base… and maybe instead of the frozen veggies a big pan
of Roasted veggies to add at the last minute? (especially if I were
doing this as a vegetarian recipe…)


So if you are intrigued, or hungry, go to the Wine and Cakes and sign up and start sharing some of your own Hearthy goodness for Imbolc!



Imbolc draws near…so Blog about Craft and Hearth and Poetry!


The first of the new years Sabbats is coming.  Some of you may be familiar with the Imbolc Poetry Blogging phenomenon that has taken the Pagan Internet over the last few years…

For me, Imbolc and it’s patron Goddess Bride relate to Smithcraft, Healing, and Poetry or more appropriately to my modern life … Craft (Arts and Handicrafts), Hearth, And Poetry…

While I realize that not all Pagans celebrate Imbolc… it seems to me that we modern Pagans do celebrate, to differing degree’s and in differing times, Craft and Hearth and Poetry.  So I am not only going to be blogging about these three fires of Bride, I am going to encourage my Pagan friends of all paths to blog about them…



Chicken Noodle Soup…

There are a number of ways to approach this dish…

Going to the Freezer and the pantry for some Frozen Veggies, Frozen Chicken Breast, Chicken Broth, Noodles (star shapes are preferred) and some dried herbs…

This is as valid, and in our modern world sometimes a lot more likely that boiling the chicken carcas from a roast chicken, cutting up and simmering fresh veggies, herbs, spices… and star noodles agian… (Star shaped noodles, my friends, feed and nourish the Younger Self!!)

I sometimes get the sense when I read the few things written about Pagans and Food that I am the only Pagan in North America who has yet to bake home-made bread from scratch for Lammas while serving an Organic and Vegan stew and my own organic hooch for feast…

Am I the only Pagan in North America who has celebrated Lammas with Blackberry Manishewitz and Popcorn? (Do what you can with what you have!)

I have toyed with the idea of starting a writing project called “The Culinary Pagan” and writing about food and cooking and spirituality…