Let’s say you’ve invited a gaggle of Sagittarians over for dinner, but haven’t the faintest idea what to serve them. Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this monthly feature I thought we’d have a little fun (I know – since the rest of the newsletter has been sooooo serious…). Sure, the love of good food is universal, but this section is dedicated to placing some sure bets on gastronomical preferences for each of the astrological signs. Now let’s hurry back to your dining room full of hungry Sagittarians before they start breaking grandma’s china. What will they eat? Short answer – anything. Long answer – well, everything. Think of that adventurous spirit extending to every area of their lives. They may not have traveled the globe literally, but chances are they’ve tried about every cuisine known to bipeds, and then some. Italian? Yawn… don’t bother breaking open that jar of Ragu for them. Of course they’ve had their share of pasta marinara, but with so many foreign kitchens to pillage and plunder their tastes run a little more exciting and exotic. Count on anything with an international flair being a safe bet – rich and savory foods that taste like they were seasoned with a museum of spices.
Like Ethiopian food – Have you ever tried it? It’s not only a meal; it’s tactile exercise. The dishes are eaten sans utensils, using instead a sourdough flatbread called Injera to scoop up plates filled with a wide variety of spicy vegetable and meat dishes- so many options and all delish. If you haven’t tried it, and happen to live in a city where you can find an Ethiopian restaurant, give it a shot. (Though I caution about inviting your Virgo friends to tag along – all that eating with your hands thing might freak them out.)
And Sag eaters are fearless – they’ll try just about anything. In fact, it’s more of a personal challenge –if it exists and they haven’t tried it, by God they will, regardless of how strange or intimidating. For example, few people would venture to try haggis. What is haggis? It’s a traditional Scottish dish where the sheep organs (heart, liver and lungs) are minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and simmered in the sheep’s stomach for approximately three hours. That dinner would be like an Amazing Race/Top Chef mashup! OK, turning a sheep stomach into a Crock Pot is a bit much for most of us, so how about sushi? Why of course–they love sushi, and they’ll try everything including the oh-no-you-didn’t looking items like squirming, live shrimp, octopus (chewy, but not so bad when you get past the tentacles) and uni (sea urchin) which someone told me tastes like ‘ocean at low tide’. Yum. Needless to say, you don’t have to worry about them turning up their nose at your proudly labored dish saying, ‘Oh, I don’t eat that.’ (Don’t you hate those people? You know who you are!)
Also, be sure you have enough food on hand, as Sagittarians like their food (as everything in life) in abundance. Too many choices? Not possible. Too much food on hand? They’ll manage. In fact too much is just right, thank you very much.
My friend Tory believes that we could have world peace if only the ‘enemies’ could sit down to enjoy a meal together, as in her opinion, it’s impossible to be angry with another when you’re appreciating the intimacy of their good food. So during this season of good will toward men, I encourage you to go forth and spread a little world peace of your own, or whirled peas – share your finest cooking and report back the results of your delicious expeditions. I’ve included some Sagittarian inspired dishes worthy of winning over your archer friends, or if you’d just like an excuse to do a little world traveling around your kitchen table.
Now your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to do a little global meal planning of your own and send us your own ideas for great Sagittarian dining – or better yet photos of your Sag inspired dinner and we’ll feature our favorite recipe and photo submissions in the next update of Dine Like Your Sign! Send them to LeeAnn@sherastrology.com.
Adventure is out there!
Chicken, Shrimp, and Chorizo Paella
Paella is a perfect choice because it’s international AND abundant — it has sausage AND chicken AND seafood all infused with delicate saffron threads swimming in a sea of Spanish rice and peas. See, you don’t have to decide – you CAN have it all! This traditional Spanish dish is not only delicious, but a gorgeous centerpiece of color and spice, and there’s enough to feed a hungry armada. Just make sure not to start an international conflict over the drumstick.
(cut the breast in half, so everything cooks evenly)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
18 large shrimp, peeled, with shells reserved, and deveined
10 Cherrystone clams
6 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, bruised, plus 2 tsp. minced
2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
5-6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tsp. saffron threads
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 (3-oz.) chorizos, casings removed and cut into 1/4 dice (Spanish chorizo if possible)
1 tsp. sweet paprika
1 (14 1/2 oz.) can diced tomatoes with the juices
1 1/2 cups Spanish rice
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 lg. lemon, cut into 6-8 wedges, for garnish
Generously sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the chicken in a large bowl or large resealable plastic bag. Add the shrimp, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, the bruised garlic, and the chopped rosemary. Cover the bowl, or seal the bag, and refrigerate 2 hours or up to overnight.
In a 2-1/2 to 3 quart saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Decrease the heat to low and cover to keep hot.
In a 10-inch skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the shrimp shells and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until they turn dark red. Add 1 tsp. of the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, bring to a boil, and boil for 1 minute. Add the shrimp mixture to the chicken broth, bring to a simmer, re-cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Set a strainer over a clean saucepan and strain the broth. Discard the shells. Keep broth warm over low heat.
Crush the saffron with the back of a spoon. Transfer to a small bowl and add a ladleful of the simmering broth. Cover and let stand until ready to use.
When ready to cook the paella, remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place them on a plate. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-14 inch paella pan (set over 2 burners if necessary) or an extra-large skillet over medium heat until hot enough to sizzle the chicken. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook the other side for 5 to 8 minutes, or until browned. Return the chicken to a plate
Add the bell pepper, onion, chorizos, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of garlic to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are browned. Add the paprika and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes, or until the juices boil off and the tomato is dry. Add the rice and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring the chicken broth to a boil and pour 4 cups of it over the rice. Add the reserved broth (with saffron) and stir into the other ingredients. Arrange the chicken pieces around the outer edges of the pan.
Cook uncovered over medium heat, without stirring, for 15 minutes, or until most of the broth has been absorbed by the rice. Taste the rice and add more salt if needed.
Tuck the shrimp down into the partially cooked rice, concentrating them in the center area of the pan. Ladle 1 cup of the simmering broth over the rice and cook 5 minutes more. As the rice cooks, it will continue to absorb the broth. Add more broth as needed, tasting the rice each time. It should be tender, but firm. If you run out of broth before the rice is ready, use boiling water. Sprinkle the peas on top. Tuck the clams into the rice and the broth. Lay a piece of extra-wide aluminum foil over the paella for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Remove from the heat and let the paella stand covered for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.
Thai Flavored Carrot Soup
1 onion diced
1 lb of carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
1 shallot, roughly chopped
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 inch knob of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
3 tablespoons fish sauce
Juice of one lime
1 quart chicken stock
2 cups coconut milk
1/2 cup of cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add vegetable oil and onions, and cook until onions are wilted, about 3 minutes. Add carrots, shallot, garlic, ginger and saute until the ginger and garlic become fragrant, about another 3 minutes. Add fish sauce and lime juice and cook for another 2 minutes. Add all of the chicken stock, and cover soup, simmering until carrots are tender, about 15 minutes. Using a handblender, puree soup, until it becomes smooth. (Be careful! HOT!) Add coconut milk and cilantro, and puree again until soup is a lovely uniform texture and smooth. Season with salt and pepper if necessary.
Savory Indian Sweet Potatoes
This is one of my favorite dishes. It’s featured in the Moosewood Restaurant Low Fat Favorites. They’re creamy, sweet, spicy, filling and look so colorful. Paired with a warming soup, like split pea or lentil they make a hearty meal for your health conscious world travelers.
2 large sweet potatoes
1 cup diced onions
1/3 cup water, unsweetened apple juice or orange juice
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 ½ tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 minced small fresh green chili, seeds removed for a milder “hot”
2/3 cup diced red and/or green bell peppers
3 tablespoons low fat cream cheese
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup fresh or slightly thawed frozen green peas
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
While the potatoes bake, combine the onions and water or juice in a medium saucepan. Cover and simmer until the onions soften, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, chili and bell peppers,; cover, and simmer until the peppers are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cut the cream cheese into small pieces and stir it into the hot vegetable mixture to melt. Set aside.
When the sweet potatoes are baked, cut them in half lengthwise. Hold each potato half with a hefty towel or mitt in one hand and scoop out the central part of the flesh with a spoon. Leave a ¼-inch shell so that the potatoes maintain their shape. Mix the potato flesh with the vegetable-cheese mixture. Add the lemon juice, peas, and salt and pepper. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Stuff the potato shells with filling. Place them in a lightly oiled baking dish. Cover and bake for 15-20 minutes until thoroughly hot.
Apple and Pomegranate Tart Tartin
It just wouldn’t be right to not include a French dish in our international League of Nations. What would Julia say? The Tartin takes apples and bakes them into rich caramelized goodness, with the exotic addition of the pomegranate, which makes the dish not only more tart, but colorful.
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter (cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
3 cups refrigerated pure pomegranate juice
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
7 medium Golden Delicious apples (about 3 1/4 pounds), peeled, quartered, cored
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Large pinch of coarse kosher salt
Vanilla ice cream
Blend first 3 ingredients in processor 5 seconds. Add chilled butter and blend until coarse meal forms. Add crème fraîche. Blend, using on/off turns, until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap; chill 1 hour. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to 11-inch-diameter round. Slide onto rimless baking sheet, cover, and chill until ready to use, up to 1 day.
Boil pomegranate juice in heavy large saucepan until reduced to scant 1 cup syrup, about 15 minutes. DO AHEAD: Pomegranate syrup can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Spread room-temperature butter evenly over bottom and up sides of heavy medium oven-proof skillet (10 inches across top; 8 inches across bottom; 21/4 inches deep). Sprinkle sugar evenly over butter. Cook over medium heat without stirring until mixture bubbles all over, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stand apple quarters on 1 end around edge of skillet, leaning 1 cut edge against pan side and fitting snugly. Stand as many apples in center as will fit. Sprinkle apples with allspice and salt.
Cook apples over medium-high heat without stirring until thick, deep-amber syrup bubbles up, adding any remaining apples as space permits (apples will shrink as they cook), about 20 minutes. Pour 1/4 cup pomegranate syrup over (mixture will bubble). Cook until juices thicken again, 4 to 5 minutes (syrup will be deep amber). Remove from heat.
Using spatula, press apples gently toward center, then down to compact. Slide crust over apples. Press crust down around apples at edge of skillet. Cut 4 slits in top for steam to escape. Bake tart until crust is brown and juices at edge are thick and dark scarlet in color, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove skillet from oven; let stand 1 minute.
Place large plate over skillet. Using oven mitts and holding plate and skillet firmly together, invert tart onto plate. Carefully lift off skillet. Return any apples to tart that may be stuck in skillet. Let cool at least 15 minutes. Serve Tartin warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream and drizzle of remaining pomegranate syrup.
So, it’s not the most exotic drink around, but everyone needs an old reliable toddy to end a cozy evening sharing travel stories over digital photo albums. Is it cocktail or dessert? Who cares. Quaff, baby!
½ cup chilled heavy (double cream)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
9 tablespoons firmly packed golden brown sugar
6 cups hot, freshly brewed strong coffee
1 oz. semisweet chocolate (shaved)
In a bowl, whisk the cream until slighty thickened. In each warmed cup, stir together 3 tablespoons of the whiskey and 1 ½ tablespoons of the sugar. Divide the coffee among the cups and stir to dissolve the sugar. Top each serving with the lightly whipped cream. Sprinkle with the chocolate shavings and serve at once. (Serves 6)