Seasonal Kitchen-Samhuinn 2008

May Jack-o-lanterns burning bright

Of soft and golden hue

Pierce through the future’s veil and show

What fate now holds for you.

~Author Unknown

Samhain/Samhuinn, Oiche Shamna, Winter Nights (Asatru), All Hallow’s Eve brings us to the final turn of the wheel. Summer’s end, some celebrate this at the first killing frost. We are now turning inward during the dark part of the year. Harvests have been brought in, our pantries filled with memories of Summer’s abundance in the form of preserves all to be enjoyed in the deepest part of Winter.

Our menus feature garden harvest, the last of the rich abundance until Spring, meals are now becoming richer and heavier. Typical dishes include ingredients such as apples, pumpkins and other squashes, hazelnuts (and other nuts), meats (pork especially), rosemary, wild rice, anything harvestable from your garden this time of year and to drink, warmed mulled cider or wines.

This is an old favorite, used for many years that the original source is long since lost…

Pumpkin Spice Crescent Rolls

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt. In a separate bowl, mix pumpkin, oil, and brown sugar. Combine pumpkin mixture and flour mixture and stir with a fork. Form into a ball.

Gently knead dough ball on lightly floured surface for 10 to 12 strokes. Divide dough in half and roll each half to a 10-inch circle. Cut each circle into 8 wedges. Beginning with the wide end of each wedge, loosely roll towards point. Curve gently into a crescent and place point side down on a foil lined baking sheet.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle generously over the rolls. Bake at 400 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Best when served warm.

A Samhuinn tradition in Ireland (and in my family!), the potato pancake


1 cup raw potato
1 cup mashed potato
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
large knob of butter, melted
about 1/2 cup milk

Grate the raw potatoes into a bowl. Turn out onto a cloth and wring, catching the liquid. This will separate into a clear fluid with starch at the bottom. Pour off the fluid and scrape out the starch and mix with the grated and mashed potatoes. Sieve the dry ingredients and mix in along with the melted butter. Add a little milk if necessary to make a pliable dough. Knead lightly on a floured surface. Divide into four and form large, flat cakes. Mark each into quarters but do not cut right through, and bake on a griddle or in a heavy pan.

If desired, more milk and an egg can be added to make a batter which can be fried in bacon fat like drop scones.

SOURCE: A Little Irish Cookbook

Acorn squash stuffed with apple couscous

1 c Couscous
1 c Apple juice
1/4 c Prunes, pitted & chopped
1/4 c Dried cranberries
1/4 c Dried apples
1/4 c Apple juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 tsp Cardamom, ground
1 TB Maple syrup
4 ea Acorn squash, halved & seeded
1/4 c Pecans, toasted & chopped, optional

Place couscous in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.

Bring apple juice to a boil in a small saucepan & pour over the couscous. Cover & set aside until the juice is absorbed. This will take 15 minutes.

Stir in the fruit, apple juice concentrate, cardamom & maple syrup. Set aside.

Steam squash halves until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain & place on a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 350F. Fill squash halves with the couscous mixture & bake for 20 minutes. Top with pecans & serve.

SOURCE: “Vegetarian Gourmet” Winter, 1995

This is one of my own creations, I tend to cook by the seat of my pants never measuring and never writing down a recipe

Mama Moon’s Roasted Red Potatoes with Apple & Garlic

2lbs (or a 5lb bag) of red potatoes, well scrubbed and cut into quarters (or use new potatoes cut in half)
2 tart apples (use 4 if using 5lb bag potatoes), washed well, cored and sliced thick
olive oil
3+ cloves garlic, bashed (we add 4-5 cloves as we love roasted garlic)
a sprig of thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Dump potatoes, apples & garlic into a casserole, add herbs, season with S&P and drizzle liberally with olive oil, toss until well coated and roast at 475* until potatoes and apples are soft, about 35-40 min.

This is our must have for each Samhuinn feast…the other dishes may change but our garlic-studded roast pork is a must

Remembrance Rosemary-Garlic Pork Roast

Pork roast or tenderloin, of desired weight

3-4 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4c. Olive oil
2 TB fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 tsp dried Sage
1/2 tsp Pepper, or to taste
1-2 tsp Sea salt, or to taste

Preheat oven to 375*. With a sharp knife, poke slits into the roast on all sides, inserting slices of garlic into each slit. Mix salt, pepper and herbs and olive oil…rub down entire roast and cook according to weight until browned and internal temp reaches 160*

This is a family favorite during October, when most of our family’s birthdays fall. These improve with age…If they last another day or two the spicy richness is mouthwatering.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

2 cups brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp ginger
1/2 Tbsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350. Beat sugar and oil until well blended. Add pumpkin and eggs.

In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients then add to wet mixture. Mix well.
Drop by heaping teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool, then make sandwich from 2 cookies filled with the following.


1st mixture:

2 TB butter
2 TB flour
1/2 cup milk

Heat over low to thicken, then cool

2nd mixture:

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream well and add to first mixture. Then beat with electric mixer. Fill cooled whoopie pies with mixture.

Spicy Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 1/2 cups crushed gingersnaps
2 TB butter, melted
1/4c firmly packed brown sugar
2 (8 oz) pkg cream cheese, softened
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoons light molasses
1/8 teaspoon salt

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Coat the 9 or 10-inch spring form pan with cooking spray.

Mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter and brown sugar together and press into prepared pan.

Puree the remaining ingredients in a food processor and pour into crust. Bake for 50 minutes. Let cool for 30 minutes and refrigerate 5 - 6 hours or overnight before serving. Keep refrigerated.

Yields: 8 servings

Mama Moon’s Maple-Apple Crisp

4 large, peeled, thinly sliced apples (McIntosh apples are ideal but feel free to experiment-I like Cortlands)
2 TB lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup real maple syrup


1 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 TB butter, cut into chunks
2TB real maple syrup
1 tsp almond extract

Mix sliced apples, lemon juice, cinnamon and syrup in a large mixing bowl. Mix topping ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside.

In a greased a 9″ x 13″ baking dish spread the apple mixture across the bottom of the pan. Spread the topping evenly over the apples, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes or until the apples are tender. Remove foil and bake an additional 20 to 30 minutes at 350 degrees until topping is crisp. If you’d like, top with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Serves 6-8

By Stephanie Lowell-Libby ©Copyright 2008