I have written several articles on Litha, Mid-Summer, or Solstice recipes and ideas to help embrace the full abundance of the season and really revel in the spirit of the season. This is the part that really grabs the richness of summer and nourishes us with all that the Goddess has to offer and warms us with the strength of the sun. Try some of these recipes or experiment with variations of your own.
The summer is full of beautiful green veggies and celebrating with the freshest of them is a wonderful way to enjoy the season; here are great veggie dishes:
Fresh Veggie Dishes:
Asparagus bacon wrap or Asparagus Lemon wrap:
Asparagus is great on the grill on under the broiler. Steam your asparagus a bit, but not all the way through, you just want to get it going. Take small bunches of them and wrap a piece of bacon around the bunch and secure with a wooden toothpick or skewer that has been soaked in water overnight. Finish on the grill or under the broiler until the bacon is completely cooked.
Do the same thing, but instead of bacon, use a thin lemon slice and grill or broil until the lemon is charred a bit. It won’t take long, so keep your eye on it. Both versions are delicious. Maybe try both.
Green Beans and Avocado:
This recipe comes from my father’s husband. Whenever I visit them in San Diego this is often on the menu. At first I was surprised by the combination, but it delicious and perfect for the summer season.
Steam green beans and chill
Slice a ripe avocado into small chunks.
On a plate place chilled steamed green beans, avocado chunks, and dress with raspberry vinaigrette and add some lightly salted peanuts. That’s it. It has crunch, sweet, salty, tangy and creamy all at the same time. You’ll love it. Try it.
Roasted or Grilled Fennel:
Quarter two fennel bulbs and coat with olive oil place on the grill or under the broiler turning occasionally until wilted and golden.
or in the oven (at about 350 degrees) cut fennel into small bite sized chunks and coat with olive oil.
Roast in oven until golden brown, around 20 -30 minutes.
Dandelion Greens with garlic:
Stir fry sweet onions until golden brown, add some minced or sliced garlic and cleaned dandelion greens in some olive oil and until wilted. Finish with a hint of lemon zest and a little fresh lemon juice.
Mandarin Orange Salad:
This recipe comes from a friend of mine who worked with me when I was teaching in Coolidge, Arizona. It’s summery and delightful and will make your taste buds dance.
½ lb Sliced Almonds
Green onions 4-5 sliced thinly
Celery 3-4 stalks sliced thinly
Mandarin Oranges 1 large can, drained
Romaine lettuce or other leafy greens
Combine 2 tablespoons of parsley with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 3 shots of Tabasco, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of sugar, salt and pepper to taste.
In a dry skillet place 3 tablespoons of sugar on a low heat until melted. Add in the sliced almonds, tossing constantly to coat. Do not stop or the sugar will burn. Remove from heat, let cool. Remove from heat and allow to cool on a plate. Set aside.
In a large bowl place all of your leafy greens, celery and green onions, add your mandarin orange slices and gently toss with dressing. Finish with almond slices. Enjoy.
Cucumber tomato onion salad:
This is simple and always delicious. Cut into small chunks, peeled, seeded cucumbers or use English ones that don’t really have many seeds and an edible peel, and tomatoes. Slice a purple onion or sweet white onion very thinly into small bite-sized strips. Toss with a red wine vinaigrette. Add some Italian seasonings, salt and pepper to finish.
Watermelon Feta salad with Mint:
Combine olive oil, 1 teaspoon of fresh mint minced, lime juice with salt and pepper for a dressing.
Cut watermelon and Feta cheese into similar sized small chunks. Put the watermelon into a large bowl first and cover with dressing. Toss gently to coat. Add the feta, again tossing gently. This is also simple and delicious, extremely quenching on a hot day.
Citrus fennel salad:
This is refreshing and surprising. Section one blood orange, one regular orange and one grapefruit and place into a bowl. You can add mandarin oranges as well for an additional hint of sweetness. Slice one fennel bulb into thin, bite-sized strips. Add juice of one lime and some dill to finish. It is sweet tart and full of licorice flavor. It’s also beautiful to look at and fun to eat.
Ginger Carrots Soup:
In a large pot, brown one diced sweet onion, add 5-6 thin slices of peeled ginger root, and 1 lb of diced carrots. While stirring, allow to brown slightly. Add 16 0z. or chicken or vegetable stock, salt and pepper to taste and allow to simmer until everything is tender. Using a wand blender or transfer carefully to blender, blend until smooth. Transfer back to pot add ½ cup of cream stirring continuously for about 5 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls or cups and top with fresh scallion slices.
In a large pot, brown one diced sweet onion, add 2 cans of diced tomatoes, and 2 garlic cloves minced. Allow garlic to sweat a bit. Add a handful of fresh basil or as much or as little as you like. Add 16 0z. or chicken or vegetable stock, salt and pepper to taste and allow to simmer until everything is tender. Using a wand blender or transfer carefully to blender, blend until smooth. Transfer back to pot add ½ cup of cream stirring continuously for about 5 minutes. Ladle into soup bowls or cups and top with fresh basil leaves.
The beauty of a gazpacho soup is that it is chilled and filled with fresh summer veggies. It’s delicious and filling at the same time. Here’s a basic recipe:
In a blender combine diced tomatoes, 1 8oz can of V-8 or other tomato juice, 1 English cucumber diced, one bell pepper, a purple onion diced, 1 jalapeno or 4-5 shots of Tabasco, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/8 cup olive oil, ¼ cup of fresh lime juice, 1 tablespoon each of balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, ¼ teaspoon cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Blend well until you have a smooth texture. Chill. Serve chilled.
Some people put lemon juice instead of lime juice, red wine vinegar instead of balsamic, bread in their recipes or tarragon, or even pine nuts and blend it that way. You decide what you like in the recipe. I prefer it this way.
Pestos are a great way to bring in the green of fresh herbs and celebrate the season. They are usually made to taste based on what herbs are available. Think about regular past in all of its various shapes or use whole wheat, tri-colored or any of the plethora of fancy gourmet pasta types out there. There are even gluten free versions that are delicious. Here’s a basic pesto recipe, but feel free to experiment and try your own.
Combine in a food processor several bunches of fresh basil, 2 garlic cloves, ½ cup of pine nuts. Slowly add ½ cup of olive oil as you are processing until you get a smooth blend. Add ½ cup of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend until smooth adding another ½ cup of olive oil. For a smoother blend, some slowly add a ladle of the warm pasta water to the mix. Toss pesto with your favorite pasta.
Some variations are adding parsley or substituting walnuts for the pine nuts. Try some experiments with flavors and see what your palate enjoys.
Tortellini and Mint salad:
This recipe comes from a roommate I had in my house when I first started my undergraduate degree. It’s a great recipe that is delicious and refreshing on a hot summer’s day. I have been enjoying it for over 20 years!
Cook and drain 1 package of cheese tortellini. Set aside to cool. (You can also use tri-colored or any other pasta version you like.)
Julienne I red pepper and 1 green bell pepper, 1 medium purple onion
¼ cup of sliced pitted black olives
Drain and cut into bite sized chunks 1 can of artichoke hearts
½ cup of crumbled feta cheese
Combine ingredients in a large bowl and cover with dressing. Mix Well. Allow to chill an hour in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to blend. This is always better the next day. Just before serving allow the salad to warm up a bit so that the cheeses aren’t so hard.
3 tablespoons fresh mint or 1 tablespoon of dried mint
½ cup of rice wine vinegar (you can use white vinegar as well)
½ cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh is best)
2 tablespoons dry sherry (cooking sherry)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 ½ teaspoon of seasoned salt
Well with all of the munching and crunching of fresh veggies, digging into a good protein is essential so you can enjoy the festivities well into the evening; here are some main dish ideas:
Summer Solstice is a great time to enjoy your lighter proteins. Try fish such as Salmon or other choices on the grill or baked, chicken and even pork if you eat it. You can also find turkey or chicken sausages for your recipes instead of pork sausage. Follow the cooking instructions on the labels for each type of protein you are cooking; however here are some ideas for Solstice flavors you might like to try.
Try any of these glaze ideas on fish, (Salmon or other of your choice), chicken or pork, (tenderloin, chops of sausages. I’d stay away from ham this time of year.)
Glazes for Proteins:
1 cup of soy sauce (I use low sodium)
¼ cup of cup water
½ inch grated ginger
1 minced garlic clove
5 tablespoons of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of raw local honey
2 tablespoons of corn starch
Combine all ingredients except cornstarch together in sauce pan on medium heat. Separately combine one cup of cold water with cornstarch until corn starch is dissolved. While whisking the sauce, slowly add the water cornstarch mixture until smooth and fully incorporated. Continue heating until the sauce is as thick as you want it.
Combine a 1 inch piece of ginger grated, 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce, 1/3 cup brown sugar, olive oil, 1/3 cup orange juice, I tsp lemon pepper , 2 cloves of minced garlic. Try replacing brown sugar with honey for a slight variation.
Honey Mustard glaze:
Combine 2 tablespoon of local raw honey, 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 3 teaspoons of olive oil, 2 cloves minced garlic. ½ teaspoon thyme
Rose and Pink Peppercorn glaze:
Combine two tablespoons dried rose petals, ¼ tablespoon ground pink peppercorns, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, ½ inch of grated ginger, 1 tablespoon of honey, salt and pepper to taste.
Orange Hibiscus Glaze:
Combine ½ cup of orange juice, 2 cups of strong hibiscus tea, and 3 tablespoons of raw local honey, 1 minced garlic clove, salt and pepper to taste in a sauce pan and reduce by ½. It will thicken and intensify as it reduces.
Of you don’t want a glaze here are some dry rub ideas:
Dry rubs are a blend of herbs and spices that you rub on dry, with out oils or other liquids and cook or grill the protein with creating a crust of flavor. It’s wonderful on fish and meats like a pork tenderloin or chops and steaks. Try it out.
Dry Rubs for Proteins:
Combine 3 tablespoons of chai tea, ¼ cup of brown sugar, salt and pepper to taste and rub on meat or fish, let stand for 30 minutes before cooking.
Ginger, fennel, garlic, brown sugar, peppercorn, salt rub:
Combine 1/8 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of ground ginger, 1 tablespoon powdered garlic, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon of ground peppercorns and rub on meat or fish, let stand 30 minutes before cooking.
Lavender, fennel, sage rub:
Combine 1/8 cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of ground lavender, 1 tablespoon powdered sage, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon of ground peppercorns and rub on meat or fish, let stand 30 minutes before cooking.
Rosemary, lemon peel, lavender rub:
Combine 1 tablespoon Rosemary, 1 tablespoon lemon peel, 1 tablespoon lavender with ¼ cup of powdered honey, salt and pepper to taste and rub on meat or fish
Lemon Thyme Chicken:
Stuff a whole chicken with lemon slices and thyme and rosemary. Massage the exterior skin with 1 tablespoon lemon pepper, ¼ cup of olive oil, 1 tablespoon thyme, 1 tablespoon rosemary, salt to taste. If you have Adobo I recommend that instead of salt as a variation.
Roast a chicken in the oven at 350, keeping an eye on it until the skin is golden. Cover it with foil to protect the skin from burning, and continue roasting until the leg can pull away from body and not reveal any pink. (About an hour) Let rest for about 15 minutes to allow juices to return to the meat.
Sausage with fennel and onions:
Cook your favorite sausage or brats on the grill or under the broiler. On the stove top caramelize one large white sweet onion and one bulb of fennel cut into strips with some coconut oil until golden. Serve together in buns or on plate. Dress with mango salsa or other condiments.
So here is a menu with a variety of different ideas you can make to help bring in the energy of the season. Food prepared with love and positive intention with have the greatest nutritional energy and nourish your mind, body, and soul; try any of these ideas and see how wonderful not only the flavors are, but also the joy of celebrating the energy and abundance of the summer at solstice time. Don’t forget to leave a little bit for the fairy folk so they can celebrate too.
2016 copyright by Katie Pifer http://www.witchpetals.wordpress.com