I'd say I don't know what it is about this time of year that gets my magic up, but I totally know. It's the season!
Pumpkins line my kitchen counter, apples are stacked high in a brown glazed bowl, squashes of all forms rest among the bowls and pie plates and knives. There are sides of pork and beef in my freezer waiting for the cast iron pot they'll cook slowly in, soaking in cider and spice and yams or mixed with cardamom and dried cranberries and pecans. I have very medieval views on how to prepare a piece of meat. Skewing is high on that list, as is pie crust.
The glory of this season is that unlike the summer months where the last thing you want is a hot kitchen, the winter months bring the revel of the warmth that comes from running the oven all day and the scents that imparts on the whole house. Where in the spring it's all we can do to serve bright and sweet dishes full of soft colors, in the fall we serve rich, deep dishes full of savory flavors and strong contrasting color.
So here's a few tips to bring your magic into the kitchen this fall and winter....
*Keep squashes on your counter. They're a quick, savory side dish when topped with butter and garlic, or a warm, sweet side when topped with maple syrup and thyme. Additionally, squash represent the resilience of the harvest so use these when you need to up your stamina to deal with the weather. Savory for calming, sweet for happiness.
*Garlic is your friend. Whole cloves are the best way to go, and they store very, very well. Raw and straight off the ground keeps the longest but if you use it as much as I do then you'll go through it faster than it can go bad so it's not a worry. Roasted garlic is a scent we all adore - don't be scared about making this at home. Take one head of garlic and DO NOT PEEL it, cut off the top so you can clearly see a good bit of the actual clove and set it in a piece of tin foil. Be super generous with the olive oil. (hint - if you have a small brie baker that has a lid, use this instead and do two heads of garlic. The oil will collect easily and you can then jar it and store it in the fridge to have roasted garlic olive oil for ANYTHING.) Close the foil up around the clove loosely. Put it in the oven to roast for about 20 minutes at 350deg. You'll smell it when it's done - and the garlic will have started to pop out of the head. Wait for it to cool and then either spoon out or squeeze out the garlic cloves into your recipe, or a jar to store in the fridge. This really has to be refrigerated if you're not using it immediately. (I suggest adding it to mashed potatoes)
*Look up winter vegetables and use them. Carrots glazed with brown sugar, honey, butter, and ginger are excellent, easy, and a wonderful use of spices that help bring clarity of Sight. Cloudy visions? Not anymore.
*Take the down time you find on those snow days to really clean all your kitchen implements. Use salt and sage to clear out the energies built up around your kitchen and dining room, and then do the whole house. This is the time where we can use the quiet of the dark to really clear out the old of last year to make room for the new of next year.