Sunday, August 2, 2015

Happy Lughnasadh!

August 1st is Lughnasadh (or Lammas, as some call it), the ancient Gaelic festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. It's the halfway point between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. In other words, summer is halfway over. Bummer.

But that also means the height of the growing season! Tomatoes, peppers, watermelons, blueberries, corn, squash, zucchini, and so much more! At my house, we grow cherry tomatoes and peppers, and they're going crazy right now. Every time, I get out of my car to go inside, I pick off a few cherry tomatoes and pop them in my mouth on the way in the front door (my tomatoes are in the front yard, no shame). They're so sweet and juicy, like candy.

Anyway, Lughnasadh is traditionally celebrated by baking bread since wheat and other grains are at their height, too. And often, people bake their loaves in the shape of Lugh, the Celtic sun god. So I shaped my loaf of Rosemary Focaccia into a little man shape. Isn't he cute?

The recipe came from Cooking By the Seasons, an old vegetarian book with recipes that coincide with seasonal holidays. The bread was so good! It was loaded with herbs — rosemary, basil, oregano — and fresh garlic. Plus, I added a little red pepper flakes for spice. You can see that I also attempted to give the sun god some eyeballs with red pepper flakes. I served my bread with herbed olive oil for dipping.

I wanted a simple Lughnasadh feast, just something seasonal and light. So to complement my bread, I made a big ole garden salad using fresh produce from my garden and from the Memphis Farmers Market. And of course some Dang Coconut Bacon!

It's topped with Hampton Creek's Just Ranch! I found a bottle on clearance at Kroger. Apparently, according to my friend who does demos for Hampton Creek, they did a special summer roll-out of Just Ranch at select Kroger stores, but the Kroger stores in Memphis didn't know where to put it. So they just marked it down. And when I found it on-sale, the bottles had an expiration date of August 9th. I didn't think I could use more than one bottle by then, so I just got one.

But I tweeted at Hampton Creek to ask when the official roll-out would be, and they said it would happen, hopefully, within the year. I'm wishing I would have stocked up on those sale bottles though. I'm sure it would have been fine past the date, and now I can't find more anywhere. It's the most amazing ranch dressing I've ever tasted — vegan or non-vegan. I've had a hard time keeping Paul out of it, and he eats dairy. He agrees that it's better than his dairy ranch. God, I love Hampton Creek.

Anyway, I had a lovely Lughnasadh feast. I also drank some apple cider because that's traditional. But I went with Angry Orchard hard apple cider, because why drink non-alcoholic apple cider when you can have hard cider? Am I right?


jackie said...

That Hampton Creek ranch is amazing. As soon as I read your post I ran downstairs to get some ranch and carrots out of the fridge. I'm eating it right now. Sadly, I'm also worried I should ration it. I had no idea it was a special preview and it won't be easily available for a while.

Kim said...

Happy Lammastide! I celebrated unknowingly, by baking banana bread and eating fresh apples.
p.s. I am not thinking about summer being halfway over. Nope in denial over here.

Amey said...

I've never heard of this holiday, but it makes good sense, and I think it deserves to be recognized. Our cherry tomatoes are also going full speed ahead. We have SO MANY. I have been pecking at them every time I go out in the driveway, but as of yesterday, that rate of consumption is grossly insufficient. I"m gonna have to go on an all-cherry-tomato diet for a while!

Susan said...

Once again I am only aware of where we are in the Wheel of the Year because of your post. So happy Imbolc from the southern hemisphere! I think this year is kind of a write off, next year I will hopefully be more aware of the seasons.