Winter Solstice

Last night, our family celebrated the Winter Solstice, that time of year when the night is the longest it will be for the year and soon the light of day will slowly return to the sky. We lit a row of candles on the table. We prepared a feast of rosemary roast beef, colored carrots, and acorn squash and sweet potato soup. Finishing this off were freshly baked Moravian Christmas Cookies (i.e. ginger snaps). A very tasty start to a new tradition.

For the last week, we haven’t seen much of the sun anyway. It has been cold and cloudy and wet with either snow or rain. The clouds broke for a couple of hours on Saturday, but otherwise, our sky has been completely shrouded by a gray sheet. We weren’t able to view the meteor shower. We haven’t seen the moon. However, the clouds have been keeping it slightly warmer that it would normally be, trapping the reflected heat of the Earth underneath like cozy bedding.

The forecast does not call for a white Christmas day, much to my husband’s dismay. He loves to have snow on Christmas. Instead, the temperature is going to soar to around 50 degrees (F) and will stay above freezing even through the night. For me, this means the kids should be able to go outside and run off some energy. We will be crowded in at the grandparents house for the holiday with 8 adults and 4 children between 3 and 10. Someone is going to need a breather outside. (Maybe I’ll go for a walk.)

Back to last night’s dinner. The soup was delicious. We picked up the recipe from AngelFire.com. I’ll say that skinning an acorn squash isn’t the easiest task, but I got it done with a peeler and a paring knife. It’s the ridges in the body that make it a little tougher. Stewed in homemade broth, the soup was really divine. We plan to have this on our menu more often.

I cooked my roast to a nice medium. I would have been happier with a roast from the meat market instead of the supermarket, but the meat market is closed on Sundays and Mondays. I patted rosemary all over the outside and cooked with the fat side up. Instead of a rack in my shallow roasting pan, I lay down a bed of sliced onions to keep the meat moist.

The cookies were tricky. We bake dozens of cookies this time of year to share, so I’m not new to baking such creations. I love ginger snaps, but I hadn’t made my own before. This particular dough is incredibly silky and must be the coldest you can get it before trying to roll it out. Otherwise, it just falls apart under its own weight. It took a few tries to get the thickness just right. And when it comes to baking, no recipe ever mentions that after baking a few rounds, don’t bake the next few as long. Everything is so hot, including the cookie sheets, that the baking time happens more quickly. I over-cooked a round, and burnt molasses is particularly sooty on the tongue.

We look forward to tomorrow and the continuing changes of the seasons. We look forward to the light.

sunset

 

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