Strega Nona Entertaining: Conjuring Creative Fun

From recipes to rituals, I will kindly divine the perfect celebration for you!

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Corn Moon Celebration

The word "harvest," immediately conjures up the calendar pages of September and October in the mind's eye – replete with dried corn husks, gourds, pumpkins, red wine, and tart juicy apples. Although all of these images are thoroughly justified, the first of the harvest fests technically begins August 1. Lammas/Lughnasadh has come and gone, but you can feel the full ripeness and end of the summer all around you. It is there in the rich green leaves and vivid colors of plant life and flowers – their lush smell from the warmth of the summer sun at its peak. The corn moon rises this Thursday the 18th. What better occasion than to gather some of your clan near and toast to the changing of seasons, then?

If you have a craft brewer in your midst, by all means, this is the time to invite them to share their bounty! Likewise with anyone who dabbles in home fermentation in the way of kombucha or wine. Definitely roast some ears of corn from a local farmer's market over an open flame, and toss some fresh Caprese salad with bursting cherry tomatoes (surely a guest had good luck in their garden this year), fragrant basil leaves (ditto), creamy mozzarella (cheesemakers step up) and drizzle lightly with extra virgin olive oil and a good three leaf balsamic vinegar. Plump blackberries or plums (anyone's backyard pickings), would certainly be appropriate at this gathering, as would any just-caught perch that the fisherperson in your group would be willing to pan-fry for the crowd. Make it a true Pagan potluck where each guest can bring to the table some of their own personal harvest for others to sample. As host/hostess, you could bake up some little "Wolf and Moon Cookies" for dessert. Here's a favorite recipe that I like to go to:

     LEMON WOLF COOKIES
     *If you don't own a wolf cookie cutter, have no fear! Just make little full moons, half moons   
     and new moons by rolling out the dough and firmly cutting the shapes out of the bottom of a 
     shot glass. If you do own one, make the wolves first, and then the moons out of the left-over dough.
     4 1/2 cups flour
     1/2 teaspoon salt
     1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
     1/2 teaspoon allspice
     1/4 teaspoon cloves
     1/4 teaspoon ginger
     2 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
     1 cup sugar
     6 oz. cream cheese
     1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
     5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
     Stir dry ingredients together and set aside.
     Cream butter, sugar, cream cheese and grated lemon peel. Mix in fresh lemon juice. Add dry ingredients a little at a time, until well blended. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for 1/2 to 1 hour.
     Preheat oven to 350 F. Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8" thick. Dip cookie cutter in flour and cut out your wolf cookies.
     Bake cookies on ungreased cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes.
     ICING
     2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
     1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
     2 1/2 - 3 tablespoons water
     food coloring (optional)
     Mix sugar and meringue powder in large mixing bowl. Add water and beat at low speed for 8-10 minutes until icing forms peaks. Add food coloring a tiny bit at a time, stirring until you have the color you like.
     Spread on cooled cookies or pipe designs on with a pasty bag. Keep icing tightly covered when not being used.
     (Recipe from Patricia Lynn Bradley, Bark & Bradley®, Inc., adapted by Colleen DuVall)

Sing some songs around the fire pit. Pass one chalice of the last of the home-brew that everyone takes a sip of to further bond your friendship. Finally, partake in a bit of communal moon-watching together. According to space.com, "The next full moon will be the Full Sturgeon Moon of Aug. 18. It will peak at 5:27 a.m. EDT (0927 GMT), but will appear full to the casual stargazer a day prior and after the peak day. August's full moon has also known as the Full Red Moon (because the moon can look reddish through haze), as well as the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon."

Resources:
Photo, "Corn And Mazie Field," by franky242 at http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
http://www.space.com/16830-full-moon-calendar.html
http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/fishing/documents/consumption/HealthDishWisFish.pdf

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Colleen DuVall has written articles, plays, short films, and a novel. Most recently, her work has been featured in her new blog, Off The Beaten Path for the Shepherd Express online (http://shepherdexpress.com/blogs-1-1-1-61.html), and the Wisconsin Life radio show for WPR. She recently adopted a little grey and white cat named Tessa, after beloved 22-year-old Bootise passed on.

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