Ahhh…Winter Solstice. My favorite way to wrap up the end of the year. The best thing about how we commence our celebration, is that we start on whatever day Solstice falls that year, usually the 21st or 22nd of December, and then keep it going everyday until Christmas. We try to have at least one day of celebration with friends, an exchange of a gift-a-day, and plenty of food and drink for all four days. Sometimes I even pick a ‘cultural’ theme and serve food from certain countries on a specific day. All this delightful gluttony for three, or sometimes four, days in a row! I really enjoy the indulgence of it all and it really makes me feel like we are honoring the original Saturnalia celebrated in Roman times. If you’d like to learn more on this subject, Wikipedia has a great summary about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saturnalia.
The first day of Solstice is pretty special because we like to “keep it real” by mostly eating what we grew, traded, caught, or hunted. The weeks leading up to Solstice require vigilance and good hunting and/or fishing abilities to supply the meat for the feast. Typically, for our feast, we will have Kalij pheasant and/or feral rooster, smoked fish (if we can get it locally), and various vegetables from the yard. The vegetables usually include Okinawan purple sweet potatoes, chayote (or pipinola) squash, chili peppers, kale, tomatoes, fennel and taro. The chayote squash can be made into a delicious mock ‘apple crisp’ for dessert. Occasionally, I may do something creative with coconut, plantains or bananas for an additional dessert, if a friend gives us some for our feast.
This year I honored the yuletide tradition of creating a holiday wreath by baking a delicious dessert into the traditional circle . The Yule wreath is made with pecans and cranberries wrapped into a ring and drizzled with a glaze topping. The taste is reminiscent of a cinnamon roll and it goes very well with a cup of hot coffee or green tea the next morning. I adapted the recipe from a lovely place called: https://everydaywitchcraft.tumblr.com/. They too, adapted the recipe and ‘veganized’ it from thekitchn.com, and have great step-by-step pictures and very thorough instructions. It seems to be a pretty good recipe if everyone thinks it’s worth adapting. Here is my adapted not-so-vegan version of this amazing Yule Dessert Wreath: https://wordpress.com/post/mybestislandlife.com/447