Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Friday, October 11, 2013
My Cairn terrier, Mungo, is a bit of a gourmand. He utterly refuses to eat dog food of any kind, dining only on people food -- and that preferably home cooked. He's been like that ever since the day I arrived in Savannah and he tracked me down at the carriage house.
It is nice to have someone else to cook for when I'm home, even if I bake for other people all day at the Honeybee. Mungo can be a bit demanding, however. He also likes some things he really shouldn't eat. He's what you might call a magical dog, being a familiar and all. Perhaps that's why so far he hasn't been affected by foods that would make most dogs sick as a ... well, you know. However, I don't want to risk him becoming ill -- or worse -- so there are certain things he's simply not allowed to eat.
- Chocolate (of course)
- Grapes (and raisins)
- Onions (and other things in the onion family like garlic, chives and leeks)
- Avocado (He's more upset about that than he about the chocolate because he'd much prefer his BLT have a little smear of avocado on the toast.)
- Gum (bad for tummies)
- Coffee (which he hates anyway)
- Alcohol (duh!)
- Macadamia Nuts (news to me!)
- And I do try to mitigate his salt intake -- despite his love of potato chips when he's watching his soap operas.
Monday, September 30, 2013
It’s the time of year for this classic way to use up those extra zucchini from the garden. And boy oh boy do I have a lot! Luckily, friends and family tend to be more amenable to getting a loaf of zucchini bread than they are to being handed a big, raw summer squash. In fact, my next door neighbor, Margie, just put in a request for more – says it’s a way to trick her kids into eating more vegetables. And, of course, we offer nice big slabs of this yumminess in the Honeybee – with and without chocolate chips and pecans.
I fine-honed this recipe when I lived up in Akron, but now that Lucy has been teaching me so much about hedgewitchery I love it even more because I understand how some of the ingredients work magically:
- Cinnamon = prosperity
- Clove = protection and courage
- Ginger = energy and money
- Lemon = health and purification
- Orange = joy
- Vanilla = sexy!
Hard to argue with all those good things! So I thought I’d share my recipe with you. Happy eating!
Honeybee Zucchini Bread
Makes one large 9x5x3 inch loaf.
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 1/2 cups coarsely shredded zucchini
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
- 3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips or pecans (or both!)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.
Beat eggs at medium speed in mixing bowl until foamy. Drizzle in the oil, beating all the while. Add sugar and beat at high speed until creamy and light. Stir in the grated zucchini, lemon zest, vanilla, and the orange and lemon extracts.
Mix the flour with the salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, baking soda and baking powder. Stir into batter, one cup at a time, beating only long enough to combine. Fold in chocolate chips/pecans if you’re adding them.
Spoon into prepared loaf pan, spreading to the corners, and bake one hour. Bread will pull away from the edge of the pan slightly and brown on top. Cool bread in the pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Turn out onto the rack and allow to cool completely before slicing.
This recipe can be doubled or tripled (use a really big bowl, though). As is, it will fill three mini-loaf pans, and I’ve even used it to make two 9-inch round cakes and frosted the whole shebang with cream cheese frosting.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
The Honeybee Bakery is named after Honeybee the Cat
The second Magical Bakery Mystery, Bewitched, Bothered and Biscotti, is officially releasing tomorrow. It’s the story of how Declan and I found a dead body in Johnson Square and the tattoo that led the spellbook club to an ages old secret society and ultimately to a murderer who was after more than a man’s life.
Here’s what Kirkus Reviews said about the book – and my author, Bailey:
“Cates is a smooth, accomplished writer who combines a compelling plot with a cast of interesting characters that are diverse and engaging without falling into simplistic stereotypes…Overall a light, clever and engaging read. Cates’ second Magical Bakery mystery is a charming addition to the food-based cozy mystery repertoire, while the story’s magical elements bring a fun, intriguing dimension to the genre.”
Now, how nice is that? Thanks, Kirkus!
I also wanted to let you know that Honeybee the Cat is over at Killer Characters today talking about what it’s like to be a witch’s familiar. It would have been nice if Mungo had volunteered since I’d love to know what that little dickens is thinking sometimes. Most of the time I can figure it out, though. He’s not exactly subtle. Ha!
Monday, October 29, 2012
Time to carve those pumpkins and light them up. Everywhere I go the orange orbs leer at me from doorsteps and windows and ledges. Some are downright works of art, intricate designs carved with special tools. Some aren’t even faces, but spooky houses, cats, spiders or whatnot. But I like the classic toothy grins best.
Halloween is the witches’ New Year – a time of reflection and gratitude for the past growing season, and a time to get ready for the coming dark season of winter. It’s also a time to remember those we’ve lost. Otherwise called Samhain (pronounced Sow-un), it’s the sabbat that falls right between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. And for centuries the Jack-o-lantern has been part of the celebration.
But did you know the original Jack Os weren’t carved from pumpkins? They were mostly carved from turnips! If turnips weren’t handy then beets might be used. But pumpkins were more plentiful in America, and larger, too. Whatever they were carved from, Jack Os were often used as lanterns to light the way on Samhain night. Some people also put them in windows and around homes to scare away bad spirits. Some even believed that the light flickering out from the carved holes could identify vampires.
And the name? Well, Aunt Lucy told me a story about ol’ Jack. Apparently he was a bit of a thief and lazy to boot, but he was a clever man nonetheless – enough so that he fooled the devil into agreeing not to take him to hell when he died. Problem was, he was enough of a scoundrel that he couldn’t get into heaven either. So after he died, the devil gave him an undying ember from the netherworld which Jack put into a carved turnip to light his way. To this day he wanders the earth with nowhere else to go.
All I know is that I love the soft light glowing from within a carved pumpkin and the faces people choose, whether they’re funny or dorky or scary or freakish. My appreciation of Halloween pumpkins was almost eliminated by a little incident recently, though. Who knew a pumpkin could be so dangerous?
Sorry, though. No spoilers. My author insists. You’ll just have to read about that story in the upcoming Bewitched, Bothered and Biscotti, which will be out at the end of the year. But if you want to know a little more about how Halloween figures in the book you can check out Bailey’s guest post on Sirens of Suspense tomorrow, October 30.
p.s. – If you can, go out and enjoy the full moon tonight! This one is called the Hunter’s Moon or the Blood Moon. I only hope it doesn’t make tropical storm Sandy too much worse than it already promises to be.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Today is May Day, also known as Beltane. What a perfectly auspicious time for Brownies and Broomsticks to release! And Bailey is guesting over at Terry's Place today, talking about just that and giving away a copy of the book. Just comment on the post to enter.
You can find the first Magical Bakery Mystery on shelves and online, and the ebook is available on Nook, Kindle and Apple ibooks.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
I grew up thinking of parsley as that pathetic limp sprig of green on the edge of restaurant dinner plates or tasteless dried stuff that had been sitting in the kitchen cupboard for a year.
Since then I’ve gained a new respect for his humble herb.
Of course, parsley has been around for a long time. Even before people ate it they recognized its ability to deodorize. Greeks wore it in wreaths and used it in funerals.
Ah, but it was those crazy Romans who figured out that chewing a bit of parsley disguised the smell of alcohol on their breath. It’s also a classic way to freshen breath after eating pungent foods like onion and garlic.
That’s why it was on the edge of all those restaurant plates: not just a bit of green that looked nice, but to eat a bit of at the end of the meal so you didn’t walk out smelling like garlic bread. At one time it was also placed among food to protect it from contamination. What kind of contamination, you ask? I have no idea. But the reason it’s a good breath freshener is because of the extremely high chlorophyll content.
The Latin name is Petroselinum which translates to “rock celery”, because parsley will grow in rocks and walls. It’s a biennial, which means it grows for two years then dies. Nowadays parsley oil is used in shampoos, lotions, soaps and perfumes. Dried, it can be used as a dye for food and fiber.
But what about its use in hedgewitchery? Well, first off NEVER cut/harvest parsley if you are falling in love because it’s said that it will end the affair. Antithetically, it is supposed to promote lust and fertility! Go figure. Traditionally parsley has been added to bathwater for purification as well as to prevent misfortune.
So there you go – one more plain Jane herb with a long history and many varied uses. And did I mention it tastes pretty good, too?