Each week I do a radio/webcast show, right now they are split up, one on Astrology, the other on Food. When I was pitching this idea to my partner she immediately jumped on board, she brought her immense talents, enthusiasm and expertise and launched the programs alongside and continues on as Executive Producer. What she immediately knew was this - this show - about two seemingly very different subjects was exactly the road that I should travel, and that road, we will pave together. As I got up this morning and was doing my morning reading, trying to figure out what my blog was going to be about, either the tremendous food show I had this past week- talking about the AOC cookbook with celebrated chef and author Suzanne Goin and her business partner Caroline Styne. Or the approaching full moon in sensual, food-loving Taurus, opposing the spiritual self-probing Scorpio sun, it struck me - like a bat over my head - exactly why I chose to do this show.
In my chart I have Scorpio rising, with my descendent in Taurus, in the exact degree of this full moon. Scorpio, is a sign of transformation and healing- power and determination. Taurus ruled by Venus, is practical, reliable, loves the luxuries in life. On one side of my chart-Astrology/Spirituality, the other side, Food- practical, life affirming, luxurious. Clearly right there spelling it out for me, my career path- my venus in the 6th house of service to others - my north node in cancer in the 8th house ruled by Scorpio. So let it be written, so let it be done. (10 Commandments reference)
For me this week, I have been struggling to find ways to bring these two shows together, and that's exactly what this full moon is about, for everyone! Finding that balance between the needs of the Taurus Moon and the Scorpio Sun, this does not mean that we should ignore one side or the other. In order to reap its benefits, we will need to address both sides and we all have this in our charts, we are truly not one sign but a combination of them all, thats why each month we are affected by these transits in our skies. So you have to ask yourself what are you doing and is this making you truly happy? Scorpio's ultimate goal is to heal through transformation, Taurus, ruled by Venus is to explore - through love - what makes us happy, i.e, material possession, physical manifestations, love of nature? Love of all things pleasurable.
Also at this time Venus is conjunct Pluto, Scorpio's ruler, squaring Uranus urging us to define that which we love and to make damn sure that will be helping us grow and transform ourselves and those around us. In other words, we will see an increase in people saying to themselves, am I on the right path, is this helping or hindering me, and is this truly what I love to do! This week will also shed some light on the events that took place during the new moon/solar eclipse that happened on November 3rd, think back, did something happen, did you lose a job, or perhaps gain a client? Did you meet someone special, or perhaps have a meeting about a possible new venture? Are the characters in that book or screenplay really breathing and speaking to you, or are they not yet gasping for air. This week new opportunities come out of the shadows, but you have to see them. Remember we only see what we want to, thats how transformation works, so ask yourself this: Do you want to be happy, if so then just open your eyes and se the beauty that surrounds you, whether its little white snow flakes, or palm trees and clear blue skies, both are beautiful you just have to see it that way.
Speaking of happy, this weeks shows have made me the happiest i've been in awhile, Tuesday was all about money in your chart, how to identify it and where you can manifest it. Thursday I learned more about food and wine and coffee than I have in a LONG time! If you haven't seen or listened to the shows, watch them on youtube.com/purepollino
Or you can go to my website Michelle Pollino As promised I have another recipe from Suzanne Goin, who is a Libra, and I will say I was afraid to ask both her and Caroline their signs, but i know I will in the future, I too still struggle with the stigma about astrology, but I hope you will bear with me. Either way I cannot express to you how wonderful these ladies are. Suzanne is charming and passionate and is one of those women who you ultimately admire and adore. You know she's a great boss by hearing her deliberate speech, you know she's a great mom, by hearing her talk about her kids. You know she's a great chef by tasting her food. She is all that and a Fattoush salad. Her book is funny, wise and educational. But even more than the recipes, Goin puts it all out there in this book, giving us a glimpse into her idiosyncrasies, in the most charming, unfettered way. We get to know this celebrated chef and understand the choices she makes and why. We see that her connection to food is an extension of her love and connection to the people that come into her life, this is truly how she celebrates them, transforming her connection to them, into dishes for the world to enjoy. She literally strikes the perfect balance between that Scorpio/Taurus energy that I spoke of earlier, and after all isn't that what life is all about, striking that beautiful balance of of love, life and work.
Below is one of her recipes form her new book that she has graciously handed over for us to enjoy!
Thank you! xo,m
Fattoush salad with fried pita, cherry tomatoes, crumbled feta, and sumac
Fattoush is the Arabic word for a traditional salad made in most Middle Eastern countries, originally as a vehicle to use up stale leftover pita bread. I think I must just be a leftover lover, because so many of my favorite foods—stuffings, daubes, terrines, meringues—all evolved from using up excess or old product so it wouldn’t go to waste. Traditionally, the stale pita is torn into bigger-than-bite-sized pieces, fried, and then tossed with lettuces and seasonal vegetables.
I’m sure there are as many “recipes” for fattoush as there are cooks, but I credit the key to our delicious version to Brian Wolff—one of our A.O.C. chefs in the early days, who was determined to make a better fattoush than the one he ate every Sunday at the local Middle Eastern restaurant in his San Fernando Valley neighborhood. Besides, of course, the super-farm-fresh ripe and crispy ingredients, the secret behind this salad is the dressing—and it’s the touch of cream in the dressing that really brings this fattoush to greatness.
For me there are two types of salads, the ones that need to be gently and carefully tossed, and the more rugged ones with bold-flavored dressings—like escarole with anchovies and Parmesan, the farro salad with spring vegetables, and this fattoush, which I like to toss really well, almost massaging the dressing into the greens and other components. The flavors and textures really need to be brought together and integrated to create one glorious whole. It’s amazing to me that you can give the same ingredients, and even the same dressing, to two different cooks, and, between the seasoning and the way the salad is dressed and tossed, you can end up with two very different results. So remember to toss this salad well; get your hands in there, make sure every element is getting well coated, and taste. You actually want the tomatoes to break up a tiny bit, so their juices meld with the creamy lemon dressing and bring all the flavors of the salad together.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut the pita bread into rustic 1-inch squares, and toss, using your hands, with 3 tablespoons olive oil until the pita is well coated and saturated. Spread on a baking sheet, and toast for about 20 minutes, tossing once or twice, until the pita squares are golden and crispy. (You can also deep-fry the pita if you like.)
Using a mortar and pestle (or the side of a knife on a cutting board), crush the garlic clove with a little salt, and then transfer it to a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and a heaping ¼ teaspoon salt to the bowl. Whisk in the remaining ½ cup olive oil, and the cream. Taste for balance and seasoning.
Cut each head of romaine in half lengthwise, and place them cut-side down on a cutting board. Make three long slices lengthwise, then turn the romaine and chop across the slices into ½-inch-sized pieces. Clean the lettuce, spin it dry, and place in a large mixing bowl.
Thinly slice the onion. Cut the cucumbers in half lengthwise, and cut them on the diagonal into ¼-inch-thick slices. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half. Add the onion, cucumbers, and tomatoes to the romaine, and toss with the dressing, the chopped parsley, toasted pita, half the feta, ¼ teaspoon salt, and some freshly ground pepper. Taste for balance and seasoning. Gently toss in the whole parsley and mint leaves, and arrange on six dinner plates. Sprinkle the remaining 2 ounces feta and the sumac over the top of the salads.
3 pita breads
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 large heads romaine lettuce
1 small red onion
3 Persian cucumbers, or 1 hothouse cucumber
½ pint cherry tomatoes
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsely, plus ½ cup whole fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
¼ pound feta cheese
¼ cup mint leaves
1 tablespoon ground sumac
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
This is one of my all-time favorite A.O.C. salads, and one that I have probably eaten over a hundred times. Though the crispy pita adds an indulgent, rich crunch, the essence of this salad is very clean, calling for a wine that is similarly so. I’ve found that the best match for this dish is a white wine with a savory core and notes of bright-green herbs, like Assyrtiko from Greece, which is lean, refreshing, and kind of unfruity. The wine almost becomes an extension of the salad, creating a seamless connection between the two, while also allowing the sweetness of the tomatoes to shine through.
Excerpted from The A.O.C. Cookbook by Suzanne Goin. Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Goin. Excerpted by permission of Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.