islamically

Foodie Friday: Stuffed Bell Peppers

Serves: 6

Ingredients: 
-6 large red bell peppers
-1 lb ground beef
-½ cup onion, chopped
-1 can tomatoes, diced
-½ cup rice (any kind you prefer - my mom uses Spanish rice!)
-1 cup water
-Salt
-1 tsp BBQ sauce
-1 cup shredded cheese, plus some for topping (any melty kind - Mom usually used shredded Mexican blend)
-Pepper
-Optional: diced jalapeno pepper (my family never ate it like this on account of the jalapeno reacting rather negatively for all of us, but my friends love it!)

1) Get a large pot of water on heat to boil. While you wait for it to boil, get your rice started and preheat your oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit)

2) Cut off the tops of the bell peppers and remove the stem. Reserve the red part, and discard the seeds and membranes from inside the peppers.

3) Dice the reserved parts of the pepper caps.

4) In a large sauce pan or skillet, cook the ground beef, diced pepper, and onions, until meat is browned and the veggies are tender.

5) Drain off the excess fat and add the drained tomatoes, BBQ sauce, salt, and pepper.

6) Get some cold water ready. Put the bell peppers into the boiling water and allow them to cook for 2-5 minutes. Then immediately transfer them into the cold water to halt the cooking process. This will blanch them and allow them to more easily hold the filling while baking.

7) Mix rice and cheese into the beef mixture. Portion out into the bell peppers and arrange on a baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes, add the cheese topping, and finish up with five more minutes of baking.

Serve as a main alone, or with tortilla or corn chips!

Magical Ingredient

As I was growing up, I could always tell when my mom was going to make stuffed bell peppers for dinner. The refrigerator would be filled with peppers, onions, and beef, and my dad would be giddy with excitement. With so much focus on food in our family, the dinner selection often influenced how the day would go. In all honesty, as a kid I wasn’t a fan of the bell peppers. But as is usual, my palate changed as I grew up, and I found myself loving bell peppers.

But it wasn’t really the peppers that would get the house excited. It was the beef. We ate a lot of chicken and pork, but for one or two days of the week, we broke out the beef - which was always something we loved. Given our Irish heritage, this comes to me as no surprise. After all, beef and cattle had a prominent place in Irish Celtic lore.

I’ve mentioned in previous Foodie Friday articles, meat isn’t usually the main feature of kitchen witch articles. This makes some sense, as many witches shy away from meats and focus on the magical properties of plants either because of personal dietary choices or so as to avoid any issues with karmic law. However, as not all witches adhere to a karmic law, and many still consume meat and animal products, I feel there is a need to acknowledge the magic meat can bring to a dish.

Beef is one of those meats that can be somewhat polarizing due to cultural influence. In plenty of European cultures, consumption of beef was part of life, but in Hinduism, consuming beef is taboo - something I’ll get into later.

In general, cattle represent prosperity and health. After all, in some cultures, the survival of livestock was a matter of life and death. This dependency on domesticated meat sources elevated cattle to a near-sacred level. War and skirmishes in Celtic Ireland, for example, were usually waged over the acquisition of cattle and grazing land. An excellent example of this is  Táin Bó Cúailnge - The Cattle Raid of Cooley. 

In this epic, two rulers - Ailill and Medb - compare each others’ wealth (they were a somewhat competitive married couple). They are evenly matched in wealth with one exception: Ailill has in his possession a particularly fertile bull. This bull had been born to Medb’s herd, but scorned being owned by a woman. As a result, he had transferred himself over to Ailill’s herd. In order to equal the wealth, Medb conspires to rent an equally fertile bull from Cooley for a year. When it’s revealed that she would have taken the bull by force if the deal hadn’t been struck, war is declared.

To sum up a rather drawn out epic, the story ends up being about the hero Cu Chulainn defending Cooley. And who else but the Morrigan appears to him at several points in the story, once as a heifer and once as an old woman with a three-legged cow. 

The entire story revolves around cattle and ownership of cattle!

Meanwhile, in Norse mythology, cattle are important from the very beginning, in which the cow Audhumbla uncovered the first of the Aesir gods by licking salt from ice. Nerthus is a Vanir goddess who was attributed to fertility and the drawing of a wagon by heifers.

The significance of cattle wasn’t limited to Northern Europe. In Judaism, the Torah describes the ritual sacrifice of an unblemished red cow. It would then be made into a burnt offering, whose ashes would be added to water used in ritual purification of a person who had come in contact with a human corpse. Unlike shellfish, beef is kosher in Judaism provided the cow is slaughtered and blessed through the shechita ritual and served separate from any dairy.

This bears resemblance to a similar practice of ritual slaughter and blessing of cattle for consumption in Islam. In fact in a passage from the second surah of the Quran (Al-Baqara 67-73), a story describes some conflict between the Israelites regarding the proper cow to be sacrificed  in order to resurrect a murdered man.

In ancient Egypt, the cow was sacred to Hathor, who was a goddess of fertility, feminine love, joy, and motherhood.

In Hinduism, cattle has a rather significant role, being used as a symbol for the dawn and sometimes depicted listening to Krishna’s music. While the slaughter and consumption of meat isn’t observed in all sects of Hinduism, some condemn the killing of bipeds and quadrupeds and therefore pursue vegetarianism so as to abstain from slaughter. As I’d mentioned, however, not all Hindus practice vegetarianism - in Shaktism, cattle is still sometimes sacrificed and consumed during certain rituals and holidays.

Even Zoroastrianism holds the cow to be sacred, as the soul of the earth is also described as “the spirit of the cow.” And at one point, Zoroastrianism hailed cow urine as being a powerful panacea for all moral and bodily sin. Treatment of the cow was to not be abusive, though the meat could be consumed if done so properly.

Ultimately, what we see as an underlying theme in all of these cultures and religions is that the cow is a symbol for the earth and for prosperity and health. It was equally attributed to wealth, and was the very core of life in some areas. This carries over into modern witchcraft, in which the cow continues to be a symbol of fertility and prosperity.

In kitchen witchery, we can focus on these properties in our cooking, turning a meal into a spell for health, love, fertility, and wealth. These very same properties are shared with dairy products, which could mean that that cheeseburger you had for lunch is a double-whammy of love and prosperity!

As you cook up your next beef dish, take into account the long history and religious significance the cow has had, and take a moment to make use of that magic!

May all your meals be blessed! )O(

As Muslims striving on the Straight Path, in adherence to the methodology of the noble Salaf-us-Sālih (Pious Predecessors), it is upon us to denounce all forms of terrorism – whether that is the actions of White Supremacists in defence of a heinous ideology or those of the Khawārij Renegades in the horrifying Barcelona attacks.

Our blessed religion al-Islām commands that we enjoin the good and forbid the evil, to the best of our abilities, in every time, circumstance, and place. And so, we leave no stone unturned when it relates to the condemnation of extremism and the twisted ideologies it perpetuates.

I ask Allāh to protect us from the tribulations of the Khawārij / extremists, to destroy them, and to aid us in upholding the truth at all times, Ameen.

Psa

The terror attack that happened in my hometown Turku/Finland has a lot of people scared and lot us are angry that it happened.
And im not telling you that you shouldn’t feel and react the way you do.
It was god damn tragedy and shocked not just us, but the whole country. And a lot of people want answers and know who to blame that these people got hurt.

But keep in mind that the alt-rights are not your allies. They are not just danger to muslims but for a lot of minorities.

They are protesting islam today. If you happen to be around these protest, take care of muslims and other innocent people who this blame will be put on.

Terrorism has no religion or color. Dont buy into the fear and hate.