summer recipes

Elderberry Wine

– ½ bushel elderberries

– 6 gallons water

– 6 pounds Demerara sugar

– 2 pounds valencia raisins

– 1 tablespoon ginger

– 8 cloves

– 4 tablespoons fresh brewer’s yeast

– Cognac

Pick the elderberries at midday on a hot, sunny day. Add water, Demerara sugar, valencia raisins, ginger, and cloves. Clean the berries and pour on them the boiling water. Leave set for 24 hours. Strain through a muslin bag, breaking the berries to extract all the juice. Add the other ingredients and boil, removing the scum. Remove from the fire and leave the pot to stand until the contents are blood-heat. Strain through muslin into a cask and allow 4 tablespoons fresh brewer’s yeast to each 9 gallons of wine. Leave to ferment a fortnight. Then to every of wine, allow a quarter pint of old Cognac. Seal tightly and allow to ferment for 4 months before bottling. 

(Note: Prepare this recipe several months in advance.)

Recipe Source: “Celtic Folklore Cooking” by Joanna Asala


Floral Punch

– 1 quart red grape juice

– 4 tablespoons sugar

– 40 mint leaves

– 1 quart red wine

– 1 quart strong tea, cooled

– juice of 3 lemons

– array of edible flowers, such as nasturtiums, marigolds, primroses, pansies, borage, orange and apple blossoms

Heat grape juice with sugar until sugar has dissolved. Add mint leaves and steep overnight. Strain liquid, discarding leaves, and add wine, tea, and lemon juice. 

Chill for at least 2 hours.

(Note: Prepare this recipe a day in advance.)

Recipe Source: “Celtic Folklore Cooking” by Joanna Asala


Floral Cheese Pie

– pastry to line a pie dish

– 12 ounces cottage cheese, drained

– ½ cup sugar

– ½ cup bread crumbs

– 4 egg whites

– ½ cup fresh elderberries

Leave your elder sprays in a glass of water until the crust is prepared. 

Beat the cottage cheese, sugar, crumbs, and egg whites together using a blender. When the mixture is smooth, set aside. Carefully strip off the white elder blossoms, being careful not to include the little green stems. Fold the blossoms into the cheese mixture and pour into the prepared shell. Bake about 45 minutes in a 350 degree F. oven. Serve pie hot or cold.

Recipe Source: “Celtic Folklore Cooking” by Joanna Asala


Rhubarb Bread

– 2 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons flour

– 1 ½ cups dark brown sugar

– 1 teaspoon baking soda

– ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste

– 1 egg, beaten

– 1 cup buttermilk

– ½ cup vegetable oil

– 1 teaspoon vanilla

– 1 cup chopped fresh rhubarb

– butter, cinnamon, and sugar for topping

Combine 2 ½ cups flour, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. 

In a separate bowl, beat together egg, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla; add to dry ingredients and mix well. Fold the rhubarb pieces and remaining flour into the batter and pour into four greased 7x3x2-inch loaf pans. Dot with butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Recipe Source: “Celtic Folklore Cooking” by Joanna Asala


Faerie Butter

– 4 egg yolks

– 2 cups sugar

– 2 tablespoons orange-flower water

– 2 sticks butter, softened

Beat together egg yolks and sugar; blend in the orange-flower water and butter. Force it through a cookie press to form decorative shapes, if desired, and serve on a platter at supper.

Recipe Source: “Celtic Folklore Cooking” by Joanna Asala


Summer Pudding

– 8 to 10 thin slices 2-day-old artisan bread

– 4 cups ripe strawberries, stemmed and quartered

– 1 cup sugar

– 2 cups fresh raspberries, rinsed well

– 2 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed well

– 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

– 1 tablespoon chopped fresh lemon basil or mint

– 1 tablespoon framboise liquor (optional)

– pinch of salt

– 1 cup whipping cream

– sugar to sweeten cream

– sprigs of lemon basil or mint to garnish

Remove crusts from the bread. Reserve 2 or 3 slices to cover the top of the pudding.

In a 2-quart glass bowl, arrange the remaining bread slices to cover the entire inside of bowl, cutting to fit. Put the strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat for approximately 2 to 3 minutes until the strawberries begin to give off juice. Add the raspberries and blackberries and continue cooking for about 3 more minutes or until berries break down. Cool the berry mixture and add the lemon juice, lemon basil or mint, framboise and a pinch of salt.

When cool, pour the berries and juice in the bread-lined mold. Cover with the reserved bread slices. Place a plate on top and weigh down with another pan or heavy cans. Refrigerate overnight. 

When ready to serve, whip the cream until stiff. Sweeten cream, if desired. Invert the pudding onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges, top with whipped cream. Garnish with sprigs of fresh lemon basil or mint.

(Note: Prepare this recipe a day in advance.)

Recipe Source: “It’s About Thyme” by Tulsa Herb Society


Curried Chicken Tea Sandwiches

– ½ cup flaked coconut

– ½ cup chopped almonds

– 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

– 2 tablespoons orange marmalade

– 1 ½ teaspoon curry powder

– ⅓ teaspoon salt

– ⅓ teaspoon pepper

– 2 cups diced, cooked chicken

– 12 slices artisan bread, sliced ½-inch thick (rye, wheat, whole-grain)

– 3 tablespoons chopped chives or green onions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In shallow baking pan, put coconut and almonds and toast for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often. 

Mix together the cream cheese, marmalade, curry powder, salt and pepper. Gently stir in chicken. Spread evenly on bread slices. Trim crusts and cut each slice into 3 strips. Sprinkle evenly with coconut, almonds and chives. 

Recipe Source: “It’s About Thyme” by Tulsa Herb Society


Bee Balm Tea

– 5 to 7 bee balm flowers

– 4 cups boiling water

Gather 5 to 7 bee balm flowers soon after they open. Trim away stems and leaves and gently wash the blossoms in a steady stream of cool water. Coarsely chop flowers. Add 2 tablespoons of chopped flowers to 4 cups of boiling water. Remove from heat and steep for 5 minutes or longer for a more intense flavor. Strain tea and discard flower pieces. Serve tea hot or cold with sweetener, if desired.

Makes 3 to 4 servings.

Recipe Source: “It’s About Thyme” by Tulsa Herb Society


Plum Sorbet

– about 8 red or black plums

– 1 cup water or fruit juice

– ¾ cup agave nectar or honey

– ¼ teaspoon vanilla

– 1 cinnamon stick or ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cut up plums and place in pan. Add water and agave or honey. Cook about 10 minutes or until soft. Put in a blender and blend until pureed. You should have about 4 cups. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Refrigerate mixture until cold. 

Remove cinnamon stick (if using one) and place mixture in an ice cream maker; process 25 to 40 minutes until frozen. 

Recipe Source: “It’s About Thyme” by Tulsa Herb Society


Sunny Peach Pie

– 1 unbaked pie crust

– 3 to 4 cups sliced fresh peaches

– 2 teaspoons unbleached flour

– ¼ cup peach preserves

– 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

– ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

– freshly grated nutmeg

– dash of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In the unbaked pie crust, arrange the peach slices in overlapping concentric circles. Sprinkle the peaches with the flour. Combine the peach preserves, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of sea salt in a saucepan and heat until hot while stirring. Pour this glaze over the peaches and bake for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 degrees F. and continue baking for an additional 30 to 35 minutes. May be served warm, at room temperature, or cold. 

Recipe Source: “Witch in the Kitchen: Magical Cooking for All Seasons” by Cait Johnson


Lemon Verbena Tea

– 2 to 3 fresh or dry lemon verbena leaves per serving

– 1 cup water per serving

Boil the water. Put the leaves in a teacup and cover with the boiling water. Steep for at least 10 minutes, and serve with sweetener, if desired.

Recipe Source: “Treat Yourself Natural” by Sof McVeigh


Blueberry Lavender Pound Cake

– ½ cup sliced almonds

– 1 tablespoon brown sugar

– ¾ cup softened butter

– 6 ounces softened cream cheese

– 2 ounces almond paste

– 2 cups granulated sugar

– 4 eggs

– 1 tablespoon lemon zest

– 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour

– 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

– 2 ½ teaspoons culinary lavender flowers

– 1 ½ teaspoon salt

– 1 ¾ cup blueberries, fresh or thawed

– confectioners’ sugar to dust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bundt pan and dust with flour. Sprinkle bottom of pan with brown sugar and almonds. Cream together butter, cream cheese, almond paste and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add lemon zest; mix well again. 

Combine flour, baking powder, lavender and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture and mix thoroughly. Stir in blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour or until toothpick inserted close to center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn onto baking rack to cool. Dust cake with confectioners’ sugar in a sifter while still warm. 

Recipe Source: “It’s About Thyme” by Tulsa Herb Society


Lughnasadh Pie

– 1 cup sugar

– ¼ cup flour

– grated zest of ½ lemon

– salt to taste

– 5 cups fresh blueberries

– pastry for a 9-inch, 2-crust pie

– juice of 1 lemon

– 1 tablespoon butter

Combine sugar, flour, lemon zest, and salt to taste. Add blueberries, tossing to thoroughly coat fruit. Pour mixture into a pie crust, drizzle with lemon juice and dab with butter. Place top crust over pie; seal and flute edges. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. Remove foil and bake for another 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Recipe Source: “Celtic Folklore Cooking” by Joanna Asala


Blackberry Wine

– 2 ½ pounds fresh blackberries (handpicked if possible)

– enough hot water to make 1 gallon of liquid when mixed with the berries

– 3 to 6 cups sugar

Let the berries sit in a large bowl for about 4 weeks, stirring them occasionally.

The berries will get a rank smell and may even begin to mold. With mortar and pestle, crush the berries into as smooth a pulp as possible. Add the hot water and stir in the sugar. Pour the wine into casks to ferment for 8 to 10 months. The longer it is kept, the better it will be. The wine will need to be aired every few days to allow building gases to escape.

(Note: Prepare this recipe several months in advance.)

Recipe Source: “Celtic Folklore Cooking” by Joanna Asala


Cornbread with Cinnamon Honey

– 1 ½ cups cornmeal

– ½ cup flour

– 2 teaspoons sugar (or to taste; I like my cornbread sweeter)

– 2 teaspoons baking powder

– ½ teaspoon baking soda

– 1 teaspoon salt

– ¼ teaspoon ginger

– 1 ½ cups buttermilk

– ¼ cup vegetable oil

– 2 eggs

– 1 teaspoon vanilla

– 2 tablespoons butter, melted

– 2 tablespoons honey

– dash of cinnamon 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and ginger in a medium-sized bowl. In a small bowl, beat the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients; mix thoroughly. Pour the batter into a greased 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes.

While the cornbread bakes, blend the butter, honey, and cinnamon. Baste the top of the bread with the butter mixture during the final 5 minutes of baking. Serve hot or cold.

Recipe Source: “A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook” by Patricia Telesco (under “Cornbread with Honey”

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