December 2002 A Conscious Evolution Newsletter
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in the Eyes of the Magi
Holiday Recipe Swap
Walking Softly
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Volume 1, Number 4

Opinions presented in Metamorphosis are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others associated with the newsletter.

  Holiday Recipe Swap

It’s that time of year again! All over the world, in many different cultures and countries December is a time of festivity and family. Whether it’s Christmas, Eid-Al-Fihr, or Chanukah, these celebratory times all have one thing in common - they are a time for sharing. Whether it’s stories from the past, food for a feast or a tradition that stretches across the miles and unites generations, these holidays all bring a sense of unity and peace to the people who observe them. And in the spirit of sharing, Metamorphosis and the Conscious Evolution site members have united to bring to you six delectable recipes that offer the best of the season. From our homes to yours, Happy Holidays!

Potato Latkes
(Chanukah)

The oil used in the preparation is in observance of the one-day’s supply of sacred oil to light the menorah that miraculously lasted for eight after Judah the Maccabee and his followers reclaimed the Jewish temple from the Syrians.

    Ingredients:

    5-6 medium white potatoes, grated
    1 medium yellow onion, grated
    2 eggs, beaten
    1 tsp. dried parsley
    1 tsp. pepper
    1 tsp. salt
    3 Tbsp. matzo meal or breadcrumbs
    1/4 cup oil for frying

Directions:

Peel and grate potatoes. Put in strainer and press down hard to drain away liquid. Alternately, wrap in cheesecloth or a clean dishcloth and twist as if you were wringing water out of a towel. Peel onion. Grate into large bowl. Add beaten eggs, spices, and crumbs to onions. Beat well. Add grated and strained potatoes and mix. Set frying pan at medium heat. Add oil. When oil heats, add one large tablespoon of batter for each pancake. Cook 4-5 minutes on one side, flip, and cook another 4 minutes. Serve hot with a dish of cold applesauce.

Raspberry Pecan Rugalah
(Chanukah)

Cheese is often served during Chanukah as a tribute to the bravery of the widow Judith, who plied the Assyrian General Holofernes with wine and cheese before she beheaded him in his sleep, causing all of Holofernes’ generals to flee in fear, resulting in a great victory for the Israelites.

    Dough:

    1 4-oz. package cream cheese, softened
    1 cup butter, softened
    2 Tbsp. sugar
    2 cups all-purpose flour

    Filling:

    1 cup toasted coarsely chopped pecans
    1/2 cup golden raisins (optional)
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    3/4 tsp. cinnamon
    3/4 cup raspberry jam

    Topping:

    1 egg
    2 Tbsp. granulated sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. In bowl, beat cream cheese with butter until fluffy; beat in sugar. Using wooden spoon, gradually stir in flour. Form dough into ball; cut into quarters and shape into rounds. Wrap each in plastic wrap; refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 day. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling.

In small bowl, combine pecans, raisins (if using), granulated and brown sugars, and cinnamon. In separate bowl, stir jam with 1 teaspoon water until spreadable.

On lightly floured surface, roll out 1 round of dough into 11-inch circle. Carefully spread 3 tablespoons of the jam evenly over top. Sprinkle with one-quarter of the nut mixture. Using sharp knife, cut circle into 12 pie-shaped wedges. Starting from wide end, roll up each wedge to form crescent shape. Place on foil, or parchment lined baking sheets; refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.

Beat egg lightly; brush over surface of chilled cookies. Sprinkle sugar over top. Bake in oven for about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on racks.

Ma’amoul
(Ramadan)

The cookies derive their name from the traditional wooden cookie press of the same name. Ma’amoul means “filled” in Arabic. Originally from Lebanon, these delicious date-filled cookies are now popular throughout the Middle East and served often during the feast days of Eid-Al-Fihr, the celebrations that follow Ramadan, a month of fasting and charitable deeds observed by over 1 billion Muslims worldwide.

    Ingredients:

    1/4 cup orange blossom water
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup semolina
    1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 cup butter, cubed
    1 1/2 cups pitted dates, chopped
    2 Tbsp. icing sugar

Directions:

In a small glass bowl, stir orange blossom water with 1/3 cup water. Refrigerate 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, semolina, sugar and salt. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs; drizzle orange blossom water over flour mixture, stirring briskly with fork until dough holds together. Form into ball; press into disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes (will keep in refrigerator for up to 3 days).

Meanwhile, in saucepan over medium-high heat, bring dates and 1 cup water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened and smooth, about 5 minutes. Let cool.

Drop chilled dough, about 2 tablespoons of dough at a time, onto baking sheet lined with waxed paper to make 26 mounds. Roll each into ball. Place 1 ball in palm of hand; press thumb halfway into center of ball, forming cup shape to hold filling. Spoon in 1 teaspoon filling; fold dough over filling and pinch edges to seal. Repeat with remaining balls and filling. Place, pinched side down and about 1 inch apart, on parchment-lined or greased rimless baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 15 minutes (or cover and refrigerate up to two days).

Bake in center of 400° F oven, 20 to 25 minutes, until bottoms are golden brown.  Remove from oven, transfer to wire cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Note: Orange-flower water and semolina are available in bulk food stores, health food stores and Middle Eastern grocery stores.

Glühwein - Hot Red Wine Punch
(Christmas - Germany)

Originating in the 18th century and quickly spreading from the warm confines of the parlor into the street, Glühwein (mulled wine) has since become a tradition of Germany’s Christmas markets, a godsend when fingers and toes start getting numb from the cold. The following recipe is a simple replication of the original, and stays true to the origins of the word “punch” - from Hindi, meaning made with five ingredients.

    Ingredients per 24 ounces
    (1 small bottle) of wine:

    1 bottle dry red table wine
    4-5 tsps. granulated sugar, or to taste
    1 cinnamon stick, broken into 4-5 pieces
    10-15 whole cloves
    1 lemon rind, washed and cut into a continuous spiral strip

Directions:

Heat all ingredients in heavy-bottomed pan. Simmer for approximately five minutes before serving, being careful not to let mixture come to a boil. Strain and pour into glasses (insert metal spoon to disperse the heat and prevent the glass from cracking). Top with freshly ground nutmeg, if you like an extra spicy whiff. Keep remaining mulled wine on hot plate, but remove lemon rind, letting it spiral from the lip down into the pot for decoration. (If left in punch, the lemon rind may turn bitter).

Non-alcoholic variation (Kinderglühwein)

Pour 32 ounces of red grape juice into a casserole. Add 1/4 cup of honey, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cloves and peels of half a lemon and half an orange. Heat, but do not cook. Strain into preheated glasses.

Lindy’s Lemon Slice
(Christmas - Australia)

The soaring summer temperatures of a Christmas in Australia call for the light and tangy taste of this simple yet elegant dessert, contributed to us by site member Lindy, who likes to garnish it with a piece of holly before serving.

    Ingredients:

    1 package Marie biscuits (plain arrowroot biscuit)
    8 oz. butter - melted
    1 can condensed milk
    1 handful grated coconut
    3 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)
    Lemon juice
    Zest of 1 lemon

Directions:

Crush biscuits and mix in melted butter. Press into lamington tin (9” x 13” baking dish). Bake 10 minutes in moderate (350° F) oven.

Cool Next layer. Mix a can of condensed milk with heaps of grated coconut until a thick consistency. Pour over the biscuit base. Bake 10 minutes.

Cool Top layer. 3 cupfuls of icing sugar mixed with a little lemon juice. Smooth on with spatula, and top with grated lemon rind. Refrigerate for 24 hours. Cut into 1-inch squares before serving.

Grandma Landes' Chocolate No Bake Cookies
(Christmas - North America)

What’s a holiday recipe collection without some chocolate? Site member Danette, donates this family favorite, handed down by her Piscean grandmother from Alberta, Canada. Grandma Landes raised six children during the depression and gave the family the gift of memories preserved in handmade quilts presented to each of the grandchildren at high-school graduation. (Grandma Landes also NEVER used Danette’s nickname.)

    Ingredients:

    3 cups quick cooking oats
    2 cups sugar
    1/2 cup margarine (Not butter)
    1/2 cup peanut butter, creamy or crunchy, whichever
    you like more (Do not use store brands or old-fashioned;
    Jif works best).
    1/2 cup milk
    1/3 cup cocoa
    1 tsp. vanilla
    1/4 tsp. almond extract (you can go up to a 1/2 tsp.
    if you like more of a cherry flavor)

Directions:

Spread out a 3-foot strip of waxed paper.

Have all your ingredients measured and ready because once you start it goes fast. In a 3-quart saucepan mix together the sugar, milk, cocoa and margarine. Stirring constantly, cook on low until margarine is melted and all ingredients are well mixed. Turn heat up to high and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.

Once boiling, stir and boil for one minute, that’s important to get the right texture for the chocolate. Remove from heat and add in extracts. Add in peanut butter and mix until melted. Add in quick oats and mix until evenly coated. Immediately drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper - quickly, as it will harden fast. The cookies do not need to be large, just a regular table service teaspoon size is fine. Let cool. Store in an airtight container.

These are really better the second day, as it seems to “cook” the oatmeal. But I would not plan on eating them for at least 4 hours.