Being as the Harvest Moon has already come and gone, (what?!) (I know!), let’s look to the approach of the Full Hunter’s Moon before it’s too late. The Harvest Moon, which happened way back on the 12th of September, is defined as the full moon closest to the Autumn Equinox (that was on Sept. 23rd).
And doesn’t “Hunter’s Moon” also strike a romantic chord? It is defined as the full moon that follows the Harvest Moon and occurs this year on the 11th of October. First Nations people gave it the name because by this time, wild game would have fattened (hopefully), and would be yet more visible against the bare trees and harvested fields. With winter looming closer on the horizon, it all adds up to hunting season. Historically, the Hunter’s Moon was celebrated as a feast day in western Europe and among some First Nations tribes.
Here in Canada, our Thanksgiving falls on the 10th of October this year; so we have a harvest feast back-to-back with a hunter’s feast.
Personally, I like to think of Thanksgiving as an every-day affair. Not that I would want to stuff a turkey (or myself!) daily. But I think of gratitude as a particularly desirable state of being, and it’s not that hard to get to. Granted, there are people who have far less than I do to be grateful for. And I know that I have way more to appreciate than I often do. Here is a video about the subject that’s worth a look (indulge me!)…..
“Louie Schwartzberg is an award-winning cinematographer, director, and producer whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, television shows, documentaries and commercials.
As a visual artist, Louie has created some of the most iconic and memorable film moments of our time. He is an innovator in the world of time-lapse, nature, aerial and “slice-of-life” photography – the only cinematographer in the world who has literally been shooting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week continuously for more than 30 years.” – TEDxTalks
Just here for the food? Hang on. I have a few offerings in the side-dish department that may prove useful come next Monday (Thanksgiving). What to do with the lovely Italian blue plums? Try stewing them for a richly colored compote that goes well with turkey, chicken, beef brisket, or perhaps a vegetarian entrée of stuffed squash. It can also be layered with yogurt in a parfait glass for a simple dessert.
Don’t wild mushrooms and autumn go together like a horse and carriage? If you’re looking for a worthy vehicle for them, quinoa makes a very palatable choice. Simmer in a mushroom broth and top with a sautéed mélange, in this case, of oyster, baby king oyster and chestnut. Even ordinary cultured whites or brown creminis would be a useful addition if that’s all you can get your hands on.
Lastly, the regal pomegranate has the power to gladden the noble cabbage in a cole slaw with apples and to uplift a groovy root in a beet and feta salad. For these, no recipes are given; I’ll leave you to your instincts and hope that the pics provide enough inspiration. If I ever try my hand at time-lapse photography, I might be able to offer some interesting demonstrations!
Recipe: Italian Plum Compote
4 c. Italian blue plums, pitted, quartered
1/2 c. honey
1/2 to 3/4 c. water or wine
Stir all ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil, immediately turn heat down to low and let simmer for 20 to 30 min. Serve alongside poultry, meat, or vegetarian stuffed squash.
Also try layering with yogurt or ice cream for a delicious parfait.
Recipe: Wild Mushroom Quinoa Pilaf
1 c. quinoa
1 and 3/4 c. cooled mushroom broth (made using a mushroom broth cube, or use soaking water from reconstituted dried mushrooms)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. finely minced green onion
8 oz. wild mushrooms, fresh, cleaned (or 2 oz. dried mushrooms, soaked)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Rinse quinoa at least twice, straining through a fine mesh sieve.
Put broth, quinoa, and 1 Tbsp. oil into a pot, cover, and bring to a boil.
Immediately turn heat to low and simmer for only 15 min.
Turn off heat and let sit 5 min.
Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in skillet on med. heat.
Add mushrooms and sauté for 8 or 9 minutes.
Fluff the quinoa and stir in the green onion.
Turn out onto a platter. Top with mushrooms.
Serves 4 as a side dish.