Signs of the Tines:

The Ultimate Astrological Cookbook


Tomatoes Stuffed With Artichokes & Feta

Taurus is a bit confusing when it comes to color. Bulls are drawn to the color red; however, the color associated with Taurus is emerald green, symbolizing the pastures in which they love to laze comfortably. Therefore, I offer here a very red veggie dish with a dash of green.

One of the first dishes I made when I was a kid were tomatoes stuffed with chicken and tuna salads. I thought they were just the neatest things. As I grew as a person and a cook, I encountered many recipes that stuffed tomatoes with some kind of creamy spinach messes or ones that were all breadcrumbs and cheese.

This recipe is my grown-up version of the stuffed tomato that embraces the artichoke as well and is easy enough for the sometimes lazy Taurus to make. (Did I say lazy? Oops. I hope they don’t stampede.)

6 large firm tomatoes*
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 14-ounce cans un-marinated artichoke hearts, diced
3 shallots, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
Juice of ½ lemon
½ cup pitted Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
10 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
6 big basil leaves

Serves 6
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut the stems off of the tomatoes and scoop out the pulp, leaving the shell. Set the pulp aside in a small dish. Drain the artichoke hearts in a colander.

Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan over medium heat. Rough chop the tomato pulp and add to the pan; cook down until most of the moisture of the tomato is gone. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté until soft – about 2 minutes. (You may have to drizzle more olive oil into the pan to keep the veggies from sticking.)

Remove the cooked vegetables to a small dish to cool and add the artichoke hearts to the pan. Cook until they begin to turn golden brown. Squeeze the juice of the lemon in a small dish (watch the pits) and pour over the hearts. Let the lemon juice cook down and add the olives. Stir in the oregano and remove immediately from the heat. Add all of the vegetables together in one dish and let the mixture cool to the touch.

Fill the tomatoes ½ way with artichoke mixture, add a layer of feta, fill the tomato to the top with more artichoke mixture and top with more feta. Place a basil leaf on top of each tomato.

Place tomatoes on a greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. The cheese should be melted and lightly brown.

Serve warm.

*Depending on the size of your tomatoes you may have some artichokes left over. The mixture is great reheated and used as a topping for steaks or salads.

Gram’s Cranberry Pie

Every Christmas my friend, Diane Stoy, makes her Gram’s cranberry pie as a way to keep her grandmother’s memory alive. It is a wonderful tradition – to be appreciated by tradition-bound Cancer, and a very good pie! This is what Diane has to say about her Gram’s pie. “So you thought cranberries were only for use in cranberry sauce??

Here is a famous original recipe for cranberry. Gram lives on in many ways, but especially in this recipe. Over the years, her granddaughter shared this special treat with many others in Washington, D.C. Now this delicious memory can be enjoyed by friends everywhere. Thanks, Gram!”

1 ¼ cup fresh cranberries, washed
1 cup sugar, divided
1 egg (2 eggs if you want a fluffier batter)
¼ cup butter, melted
½ cup flour
⅛ teaspoon baking powder
¼ cup walnuts or pecans (optional. Diane leaves these little buggers out when she brings this to my house.)
1 cup whipping cream or vanilla ice cream (optional)

Makes one 8-inch pie

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Place the cranberries in a plate and sprinkle with ¼ cup of the sugar. In a large bowl mix all of the other ingredients well except the ice cream or whipped cream and pour on top of the berries. (Batter may be thick.) Bake for 45 minutes in a greased 8-inch pie plate. Serve warm or cold with the whipped cream or plain.
To serve with the whipped cream just beat the cream with an electric blender until it becomes cream and dollop on top.
You can also serve with vanilla ice cream.

Pasta Primavera

Fresh, fresh, fresh veggies with a fresh tomato sauce are music to Virgo's ears. They will also like the precision of cutting the veggies. You can use quinoa or wheat pasta in the place of regular pasta as the veggies can stand up to the rougher taste of them.

2 pounds cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 large bunch fresh basil leaves
4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch strips
5 carrots, cleaned and cut into 1 inch strips
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1 inch strips
1 cup canned peas
12 ounces green beans
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
1 pound farfalle pasta
¾ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

Serves 6

In a large bowl combine the tomatoes, basil and 2 teaspoons of the salt. Stir gently and quickly. Leave the bowl on the kitchen counter, uncovered, for 3- 5 hours. Virgos love to pick at food. They don’t feel worthy to eat an entire meal so they pick and pick. Keep your Virgo from picking all the tomatoes out of the bowl until they have time to render their juices.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat; add all of the remaining vegetables, garlic and red pepper. Sauté until they are soft and lightly browned – about 10 minutes.

While the veggies are cooking, bring 3 quarts of water combined with 2 teaspoons of salt to a boil in a large soup pot over high heat. Add the farfalle and cook for about 8–10 minutes until al dente.

Pour the tomato mixture into the sauté pan and mix with the other veggies to heat. Drain the farfalle and mix in with the veggies. Top with the cheese and serve immediately.

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

This dish feeds the Sagittarius wanderlust with thoughts of far off places. A tagine is a clay pot used for cooking in many parts of Africa and the Middle East. You don’t need to buy a fancy pot to make this – a Dutch oven works just as well.

1 cup couscous
½ teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon cumin
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups onion, cubed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ¼ cups carrots, cubed
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 cup sesame seeds
1 pound Chinese cellophane noodles
1 cup bean sprouts
¼ cup tahini sauce
1 Fuji apple, sliced thinly
1 cucumber, sliced thinly
¼ cup scallions, sliced thinly
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, diced
¼ cup peanuts, minced
1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups white wine
1 ¼ pounds red-skinned or purple potatoes, peeled, and cubed
1 pound turnips, peeled, cubed
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thinly
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
12 ounces chick peas
½ teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, Chopped

Serves 6

In a medium pan over medium heat combine the couscous and 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat.

Add the red pepper, turmeric and salt and stir well. Be gentle with it, Aries, don’t smash it or mix it. Just let it be.

In a small sauté pan, heat the cardamom and cumin over low heat for 2 minutes until they just begin to brown. Remove from heat. Add the red pepper and turmeric and stir well.

In a large soup pot over medium heat, heat the oil, add the onions and cook about 5–7 minutes until they begin to lightly brown. Add the garlic and cook another minute. Add the carrots and celery and cook another 2 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, wine, potatoes, turnips, tomatoes and toasted spices. Cook over low heat until all of the vegetables are soft – about 35–40 minutes.

While the vegetables are cooking, place the chick peas in a medium sauté pan with olive oil, cook over low heat for about 5 minutes until the peas get a little crispy. Stir the chick peas and parsley into the vegetable pot. Serve over the couscous.

Pollock with Berry Prosecco Sauce

Aquarians have a tremendous sense of brotherhood and shared responsibility. Serving sustainable fish is a sure way to their hearts. I had a similar recipe in Maine with salmon, which you can substitute here for the pollock. I just wanted to feature another sustainable fish because wild salmon gets the entire spotlight these days.

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small bunch shallots, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups blueberries, slightly crushed
½ bottle Prosecco
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ cup soy sauce
4 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 pounds pollock fillets
2 tablespoons fresh chives, diced

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Make the sauce first. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add the shallots, salt and pepper and sauté until they begin to turn brown, about 2 minutes. Add the blueberries and Prosecco. Reduce the heat to low and allow the sauce to simmer until it reduces by a little less than half.

While the sauce is cooking, stir together the red pepper, soy sauce and lemon juice in a medium mixing bowl. Add the fish and coat well with mixture on all sides.

Grease a baking dish with olive oil spray. Place the fish in the dish in a single layer and bake for 20–30 minutes. The fish is done when it flakes with a fork.

Pour the warm Prosecco sauce over the fish, decorate with the chives and serve immediately.

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