Saturday, December 14, 2013

Solstice Preview: First Time at the Farm!

Ahhhh, it's my favorite time of the year. It's cold and brilliantly snowy for December in Ohio. The weeks are chock full of happy endeavors -- from decorating the tree with my 2 kids (tomorrow) and our cul-de-sac's annual progressive party (last night) to family gatherings, cookie baking, crackling fires in the fireplace. . . and my favorite outing of the season, Rett's Winter Solstice Party!

Rett and Pat have been gathering our group of friends together for darn near a decade for the Winter Solstice dinner on December 21. It's a night of fabulous food.

Great friends.

 Much laughter

 And some very thought-provoking, seasonal readings -- and an occasional voice performance -- from Pat.

Last year, in fact, when someone predicted that the world would end that night, he found (and in some cases wrote) prose that reflected on "A Message for the End of Time and Beyond."  Here's what I read after the dinner (written by Pat):

Poem for Winter Solstice 2012
If the Moon is in the Seventh House
and if Jupiter aligns with Mars
Will peace then guide the planets
And Love steer the Stars?

Will the Age of Aquarius
Bring harmony and understanding?
Will sympathy and trust be abounding?
Will falsehoods or derisions
Melt into heavenly visions?
wWll mystic revelation
Bring to humanity liberation?

On tonight's cosmogenesis,
Can we begin our metamorphosis?

But THIS YEAR, this year! Is the first Winter Solstice Celebration at THE FARM!

I can't wait -- Rio and I and 5 other guests (and 3 other dogs) will join Rett and Pat and their 2 doggies at Merry Mount, not just for a celebratory solstice dinner. . . but for an entire, joyous weekend together! Rett, in true southern fashion, already has her dinner planned for Friday evening. On Saturday evening (the solstice), I told her I'd pitch in and bring dinner down so she wasn't donning her apron two nights in a row.

My recipe of choice is simple and so yummalicious. You make it the day before, dump it in a baking dish and bake in the oven for an hour and everyone is in love! Here are the details:

Chicken Marbella
8-10 mix of chicken breasts and thighs (with bones and skin)
1-2 T chopped garlic
2 T dried oregano
salt and pepper
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup pitted whole prunes
1 cup whole Spanish green olives and some of their olive juice
3 bay leaves
1/r4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
1 cup brown sugar
 1 cup white wine

The night before serving, combine garlic, oregano, salt and pepper, vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives and their juice, bay leaves and cilantro or parsley. Mix well. Marinate chicen with mixture overnight (I use 1 or 2 big ziplock plastic bags).

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange chicken in single layer in 1-2 large baking pans. Spoon any marinade over. Sprinkle chicken with brown sugar. Gently pour wine around chicken. Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown. Serve with brown rice and green beans.

Will report on the merry Solstice Weekend at Merry Mount after the jolly weekend!

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