Post # 247 Happy Beltane!

April 30, 2014 at 4:00 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 247 Happy Beltane!

Beltane

 

Beltane, May 1st, May Day.  It’s been celebrated since the beginning of mankind’s life on the planet.  It’s the real beginning of warmth, at least in the Northern Hemisphere.  Plants that were sown at the beginning of Spring have sprouted and have thrived (hopefully.)   The people of older times now felt comfortable in the new harvest.  Even the earth itself seemed to be celebrating with a profusion of color as wildflowers and trees and grasses, even weeds all broke out in blossoms.  That certainly doesn’t help those who are afflicted with allergies, but there you are.

Beltane, pronounced Bel-Tin or Bel-Tayn take your pick, as with the other holy days, was celebrated with a day of feasting and games.   People believed that fairies went abroad at this time encouraging wanton behavior.  In some places, fairies were invited to the celebrations; in others, the celebrations were to ward them off.

As with all other celebrations, the primary focus is food.  Fun and games, romps of all kinds are important, too.  But the focus is food.  Beltane is celebrating the “first fruits.”  The milk producing animals have dropped their young and are producing enough milk to feed their family and the people who have them.  The first shoots of plants are stronger but still tender.  Fiddle Head Ferns can be harvested and eaten.  Young asparagus can be picked and eaten right from the ground.  Even green tomatoes can be sliced, breaded, and fried.

Herbs, in particular, are starting to show healthy growth right now.  My mints are looking incredibly good.  My rosemary plants wintered over nicely and are tall and strong and bushy.  Our Texas Sage bush in the front yard just put out its first crop of purple flowers to show us he’s ready to grow.  Even my one tomato plant, a cherry tomato and just one cuz I can’t go the whole year without vine ripe tomatoes, has a ton of little green balls that are going to eventually be tasty and juicy red fruit.

sage plant

cherry tomato (2)

The first honey is usually ready about now.  It can be used to make wines, mead, baked goods, even medicines.

When I was researching traditional Beltane foods, I was surprised to come across Strawberry Margaritas in one list!  That same list included Bacon Wrapped Scallops and Chocolate Lava Cake so I think they were going more for the sensual side of the celebration.  More traditionally minded are egg dishes that use the new growing plants and herbs.  A Spinach Quiche is an excellent example.  How many times have you been in the produce section of your supermarket and seen Spring Mix Salad greens?  You can get them all year long, they’re just the early growth of the standard lettuces and greens you would see normally.  But they’re more tender, and the flavors are milder.  Making a salad with a light, fruit-based vinaigrette would be perfect at a Beltane feast.  Add some mushrooms, or eat them alone raw or cooked.  Just be careful to get these at a store, unless you’re absolutely certain what you’re picking is safe.  Many mushrooms can be make you very sick, if not outright kill you.

I was very happy to read, too, that one of the most traditional foods of the festival of frivolity is the donut.  Since I’ve already made my taste for donuts known here, I won’t go into it except to say:  yay!

I’ll close now with a recipe for Angel Noodles with Fae Butter and a wish for you to celebrate May Day, Beltane, or just Thursday with as much fun and feasting as you can muster.

Angel Noodles with Fae (or Fairy) Butter

  • 4 hard boiled eggs, cut in half and yolks removed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 tsp fresh minced rosemary leaves <OR> 1/2 tsp dried rosemary crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh sweet basil <OR> 1 Tablespoon of dried basil crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons Rosewater <OR> plain water with a drop of mint oil
  • 1 box of pasta noodles  (recommend Angel Hair since it’s in keeping with the recipe name, but any long noodle will do)
  • 1 orange slice per plate

In a small bowl, beat together hard egg yolks, sugar butter, rosemary, basil, and rosewater.  Mix until very smooth.  Boil water and cook noodles per instructions until al dente.  Drain the noodles BUT DO NOT RINSE.  Move noodles to a large bowl and add the butter mixture.  Toss to coat well.  Divide between number of servings.  Chop egg whites finely and sprinkle over noodles.  Place one orange slice per serving and have guests squeeze orange onto pasta.

Wonderful stuff!  Enjoy!

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