Here Are The Best Recipes For Your Zodiac Signs

Photographed by Monte Farber.
Maybe you have a rolodex of recipes on hand for those occasions when you're in the mood to whip up something special (at least a little more special than the usual takeout or frozen pizza). Or maybe you're a culinary wizard who can throw fancy meals together on the fly — sans recipes. But if you don't happen to fall into either of those crafty categories, we may be able to help you out in your quest for ideal meal-making. That's where horoscopes come in.
When you're unsure of what to cook, or even how to cook, why not turn to zodiac signs for support? After all, we seem to look to our astrological signs for guidance in just about every other life query (e.g. Will my Hinge date ghost me this weekend? Or will I go broke this summer as a bridesmaid?) But let's put those questions aside for now, and get to the more urgent (digestible) one at hand: What do I want to make tonight? Luckily, astrologers Monte Farber and Amy Zerner, along with Chef John Okas, have all that kitchen wisdom covered for us ahead. Check out the best recipes for your zodiac sign excerpted from her horoscope cookbook: Signs & Seasons. And now that you've got cooking covered, you can spend that extra energy pondering the upcoming retrograde.
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Photographed by Monte Farber.


The Ram charges, the Bull plows ahead. The Twins wrap their minds around things.

Gemini is multifaceted. Phyllo is a versatile, pliable dough. It can be flexed, bent, folded, twisted, or rolled. It can star in any recipe, appetizer to dessert. Brushed with oil or melted butter and layered, it becomes the crisp, flaky wrapper for meats, vegetables, cheeses. Sheets of it, stuffed with nut pastes, sweetened and held together with honey, make dessert.

Spanakopita is Greek spinach and cheese pie. In this version it is accompanied by a sweet and savory relish of pan-roasted grape tomatoes and Kalamata olives.

Mercury has manual dexterity, with slow and fast hand modes. Sheets of phyllo dough are paper thin and delicate. Be gentle, but if you break the sheets, no worries. The layers are meant to be flaky. They will come together when you bake them.

Pan-Roasted Tomato & Kalamata Spanakopita
Serves 6 to 8

Spanakopita Ingredients
1/4 cup olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 1/2 lb spinach, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
12 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup ricotta
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp finely chopped dill
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup butter, melted (or olive oil, or a mixture)
1 lb phyllo sheets

Roasted Tomato Ingredients
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 lb grape tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved lengthwise

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Make the spanakopita. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and onion, and sauté until the onion is transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach, and stir-fry until the spinach is thoroughly softened.

3. Set a colander over a large bowl, and transfer the cooked spinach to the colander to drain. When the spinach has cooled, press it gently to remove excess liquid. (You can use the liquid in soup stock or pasta water.)

4. Mix together the feta, ricotta, eggs, parsley, dill, nutmeg, cayenne, salt, and black pepper in a separate large bowl. Add the spinach to the feta-ricotta mixture, and mix well.

5. Brush a light layer of butter (or oil) on the bottom and sides of a deep-dish casserole. Then, lightly brushing butter on each sheet as you go, layer half the phyllo sheets on the bottom of the pan.

6. Gently layer the spinach and cheese mixture on top of the phyllo layer. Use a soft rubber spatula to smooth it out into an even layer. Layer the other half of the phyllo sheets on top of the spinach mixture, lightly brushing with butter again, as you go.

7. Place the casserole in the oven until the pastry turns golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting for serving.

8. Meanwhile, make the roasted tomatoes. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat to smoking hot. Add the tomatoes, and sear, shaking the skillet, just until their skins begin to crack, 30 to 45 seconds. Put a lid on the skillet, and remove from the heat. When the tomatoes have wilted a bit, add the oregano, salt, pepper, and olives, and stir.

9. Serve the spanakopita in squares, rectangles, or triangles, with a generous spoonful or two of the tomato-Kalamata relish on the side.

Excerpted from Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Reprinted with permission by Harper Elixir, a line of Harper One, a division of Harper Collins Publishers.
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Photographed by Monte Farber.


In astrological anatomy, the moon rules the breast, the center of feminine softness and responsiveness to the feelings of others; at the same time, the moon is the ruler of the Cancer phase of the Zodiac cycle. The beginning of summer is soft and moist. The warm weather, like sweet cosmic milk, nourishes the spirit.

Magretis the breast of a Moulard duck, which is a cross between a Muscovy male and a Peking Hen. It is larger than other ducks and has a thicker and juicier breast. Tasting more like beef than poultry, magret is the rare bird you can eat rare.

When cooked, most of it is rendered and the skin will be brown and crisp. If your grill allows for indirect heat, you may cook the breasts entirely on it. If not, it is best to sear the breasts on the grill and then place in a preheated oven.

Grilled Magret & Frisée
Serves 4 to 6

Duck Ingredients
2 boneless Moulard duck breasts, about 2 pounds
2 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 oz Cointreau or other orange-flavored Liqueur
2 tbsp thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Frisee Ingredients
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup chopped walnuts
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp orange juice
1 jigger (1.5 ounces) Cointreau
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp prepared mustard
1 scallion, whites only, chopped
Pinch of salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
6 cups frisee, trimmed, washed, and torn into bite-size pieces
1 cup torn or shredded radicchio
1 cup baby arugula

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Make the duck. Place the duck breasts meat side down on a work surface. With a sharp knife, crosshatch the fat, being careful not to cut into the meat.

3. Stir together the orange juice, soy sauce, Cointreau, thyme, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Place the duck in a large ziplock bag, and pour in the marinade. Seal the bag, and massage the marinade into the breasts, concentrating especially on working it into the slits you made. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

4. Preheat the grill to high. If your grill does not allow for indirect heat, raise the oven temp to 400°F.

5. Remove the breasts from the marinade, and place them fat-side down on the grill. Be careful. Because of the fat, the flame may leap. Sear until grill marks appear, about 1 minute or even less. Brush the meat side with some olive oil, flip, and sear it similarly. If your grill allows for indirect heat, brush on some marinade and continue cooking the breasts, skin-side up, at around 400°F (if your grill lets you know such things). Otherwise, transfer the duck to the oven.

6. Cook the breasts for about another 8 minutes total, brushing with marinade halfway through. Use a meat thermometer to check their doneness. An internal temperature of 130°F is medium-rare. Magret is best when it is slightly pink.

7. Let sit at least 10 minutes before slicing. Using a sharp carving knife, slice the meat across the grain on a bias into very thin slices. Try to maintain the original shape of the breast.

8. Meanwhile, make the frisee. Stir together the sugar, salt, and cayenne in a small bowl, and set aside.

9. Combine the butter and maple syrup in a small saucepot over medium heat, and stir, bringing it slowly to a boil. Remove from heat. Add the walnuts to the butter–maple syrup mixture, and stir to coat.

10. Transfer the nuts to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle the sugar mixture over the nuts, and toss gently to coat; spread out the nuts in an even layer. Toast in the oven until they are golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Let the nuts cool completely on the sheet.

11. Whisk together the olive oil, orange juice, Cointreau, vinegar, mustard, scallion, salt, and pepper in a small bowl until emulsified.

12. Place the frisee, radicchio, and arugula in a large mixing bowl, and toss with just enough dressing to coat. Divide evenly among four to six serving plates.

13. Top each portion of greens with a portion of meat, handling it carefully to keep the slices lined up. Scatter the walnuts over each plate, and serve.

Excerpted from Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Reprinted with permission by Harper Elixir, a line of Harper One, a division of Harper Collins Publishers.
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Photographed by Monte Farber.


Enjoy those “Lazy Lion” Leo summer Sundays with brunch, a late, leisurely breakfast that is also a square meal. The frittata is an Italian omelet, an egg and “whatever there is in the house” — meat, cheese, or vegetable — pie. Cooked slowly over low heat, then passed under a broiler, it is satisfying to make and satisfying to eat. It is quite versatile. It can be made ahead of time, even the day before. It can be eaten plain, or as filling in a sandwich. It may be served hot or at room temperature and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or light supper. It travels well. Usually, the pie is cut into wedges. But occasionally it appears cut up into cubes and tossed in a green salad.

Caprese salad originated on the sunny isle of Capri in the Tyrrhenian Sea off Naples. It is typically made with basil or arugula leaves, sliced tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella. This version puts the warm-weather favorite into the eggs.

Use only the fleshy outer layer of the tomatoes. Cut a slice from each side, the top, and the bottom. Scrape out the seeds and discard them along with the stem scar. Save the rest of the tomato for another use, such as sauce. For a creamy frittata, use fresh mozzarella. However, since the tomato fillets will release water, dry, packaged mozzarella will help keep the finished result firm instead of runny.

Frittata Caprese
Serves 4

10 large eggs
25 large basil leaves, chiffonade sliced
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 scallions, whites and greens chopped
4 ounces mozzarella, shredded or cubed
2 cups julienned tomato fillets

1. Preheat a broiler, and set the oven rack in the middle position.

2. Beat the eggs with the basil, parsley, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl.

3. Heat the butter and olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof, nonstick skillet over low heat. When the butter is melted, add the crushed red pepper and the scallions to the pan. Raise the heat under the skillet to high. When the oil and butter are bubbly hot, but before they burn, add the beaten egg mixture. Tilt the pan to distribute the eggs evenly. Scatter an even layer of the cheese over the eggs, then scatter the tomatoes. Lower the heat, and cover, cooking the frittata until the bottom is set, about 15 minutes.

4. To cook the top, remove the lid, and place the skillet under the broiler for about 1 minute, until firm and golden. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes to set fully. Shake the skillet to loosen the frittata from the sides. It should slide out of the skillet onto a platter.

5. Cut into four portions, and serve each wedge with lemony greens, crusty bread, and a dollop of fresh butter.

Excerpted from Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Reprinted with permission by Harper Elixir, a line of Harper One, a division of Harper Collins Publishers.
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Photographed by Monte Farber.


In late summer, figs are at their sweetest. With the excesses of Leo in the past, the Maiden phase of the cycle brings self consciousness. After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and recognized their nakedness,it was the large leaves of the fig tree that they used for modesty. Virgo is mutable earth. She changes, adapts, blends, fixes, and transforms. Dedicated to the service of others, in the kitchen the Maiden is free to use this talent for handling ingredients toward sensual ends. These little bites tickle the palate with a mix-and-match blend of earthy flavors and textures: sweet, salty, nutty, spicy, creamy, juicy, cheesy, meaty, herbaceous, crisp, yet soft.

Goat cheese comes in many forms. A soft, smooth Spanish cabramates nicely with the chorizo.

Chorizo-Stuffed Figs
Serves 4

4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 fresh Mexican-style chorizo sausage link
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 fresh figs, stem ends trimmed

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

2. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in a medium skillet over high heat. Remove the casing from the chorizo, and brown the meat, breaking it apart as it cooks.

3. Mix together the chorizo, goat cheese, pecans, thyme, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl.

4. Make an “X” in each fig, beginning at the stem end and slicing three-quarters of the way down. Gently pull the edges apart a bit, and place them on a lightly oiled oven sheet.

5. Gently pack the figs with the chorizo mixture. A tbsp should do it. You should have more than enough stuffing to fill the fruit. Use what remains as topping, letting crumbles spill onto the oven sheet. Drizzle lightly with the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, and bake until the figs’ flesh is soft, the stuffing is bubbly, and the topping is lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes.

Excerpted from Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Reprinted with permission by Harper Elixir, a line of Harper One, a division of Harper Collins Publishers.
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Photographed by Monte Farber.


While summer squash are tender and bruise easily, squash that arrive in the fall are sturdy and tough. On Libra’s scale, measured by volume, the autumn varieties outweigh their summer relatives. But cooking reveals their essentially balanced, light, moist, soft, sweet squash nature.

In the autumn wind, leaves fall and seeds are cast about. The life force of the dying plant is gathered in the seed. The seed is the source of life for the coming year. In a real sense, the seed is immortal. Until germination, it is a closed unit that contains the plant’s full potential, which it will realize

with a sprout when the conditions are appropriate. This soup welcomes the autumn with a scatter of pumpkin seeds, tokens of good luck and prosperity.

The beautiful golden color of the soup will appeal to the Libra’s refined aesthetic and need to consume food that is as lovely to behold as it is delicious.

Butternut Squash Soup With Roasted Pepitas
Serves 6 to 8

Soup Ingredients
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 tbsp peeled, grated ginger
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled and thinly sliced in rounds
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
1 butternut squash (2 to 3 pounds), peeled, seeded, and cut into small chunks
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp nutmeg
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock

Pumpkin Seed Ingredients
1 tsp honey
1 tsp olive oil
½ tsp onion or celery salt
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, shelled

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

2. Make the soup. In a large stock pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, ginger, onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté until thoroughly softened, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the squash, season with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and stir. Sauté the squash until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes.

4. Add the stock, and raise the heat to high. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, cover, and cook until all ingredients are fully tender, about 20 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, make the pepitas. Stir together the honey, olive oil, seasoned salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add the pumpkin seeds, and toss to coat evenly.

6. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the pumpkin seeds on it in a single layer. Roast, shaking frequently, until they are lightly browned and aromatic, about 12 minutes.

7. Once the soup is ready, remove it from the heat. Use an immersion blender to puree, or blend in smaller batches in a food processor, and return to the pot. Keep the soup warm over a low flame until ready to serve.

8. Ladle the soup into serving bowls, and garnish each with a generous scattering of seeds.

Excerpted from Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Reprinted with permission by Harper Elixir, a line of Harper One, a division of Harper Collins Publishers.
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Photographed by Monte Farber.


Scorpio is the sign of death and regeneration, metamorphosis and transformation. The Phoenix, symbol of transcendence and transformation, is associated with Scorpio. Unlike the sneaky arachnid that kills with poison, the majestic Phoenix soars like an eagle. His predation impresses and inspires. At regular intervals, he makes a funeral pyre of his own nest and goes up in flames. Then, starting as a worm in the marrow of a charred bone, he rises from the ashes and soars again.

Spiritually, we are like chickpeas. Humble beans, we must be “soaked,” “seasoned,” and “cooked” to be transformed into full-fledged human beings.

Since there is no egg or other binding substance, except for the chickpea’s affinity for itself, in these little croquettes, they can be difficult to shape and can fall apart in the frying. To combat these tendencies, a little couscous or bulgur wheat, added to the mix, will absorb excess moisture and make for better shape and texture. Another trick to help them stick together is to make the sesame sauce first and leave a cup or so in the food processor to mix with the chickpeas. The sauce’s viscosity not only helps bind the falafel, but having some of the sauce on the inside adds to their flavor.

Falafel With Sesame Sauce
Serves 4 to 6 (Makes 18 to 20 falafel balls)

2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water for about 12 hours and drained
¼ cup Sesame Sauce
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup chopped parsley
¼ cup uncooked couscous or bulgur wheat
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp baking powder
4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
4 to 6 cups arugula or other greens
1 bunch radishes, trimmed and sliced
1 to 2 red onions, sliced in rings
2 to 3 tomatoes, sliced
1 to 2 cucumbers, sliced
1 dozen pitas

1. Combine the chickpeas and the sesame sauce in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse to a coarse paste. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

2. Combine the garlic, onion, parsley, couscous or bulgur wheat, coriander, cumin, cayenne, onion salt, black pepper, and baking powder in the bowl of the food processor (no need to clean it first), and pulse to a coarse paste. Add this to the chickpeas, and mix thoroughly.

3. Transfer the chickpea mixture back to the bowl of the food processor (do this in batches if it will not comfortably fit), and pulse to a gritty paste. Transfer back to the mixing bowl.

4. Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop out the mixture, and use your palms to form it into a ball, slightly flattened on the top and bottom. Set the falafel on a baking sheet, and refrigerate for about 2 hours.

5. Pour a ½ inch or so of vegetable oil into a fryer or deep skillet, and heat over medium-high to 375°F. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat until the oil is shimmering and beginning to bubble, but not smoking.

6. A small bit of falafel batter added to the pan should sizzle immediately. Carefully add the falafel to the pan, a few at a time, taking care not to crowd the pan and cooking in batches if necessary. Turn them until they are a deep golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.

7. Put the pitas in the oven for about 1 minute or so to heat them. Be careful not to toast them; you want them pliable. Put the warmed pitas in a basket or cloth-lined serving bowl.

8. Serve family style. Arrange the falafel ona platter. Set it out next to a platter of vegetables, the bowl of sesame sauce, and the basket of warm pitas.

Excerpted from Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Reprinted with permission by Harper Elixir, a line of Harper One, a division of Harper Collins Publishers.
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Photographed by Monte Farber.


Persimmons ripen when the leaves have fallen from the trees. They appear briefly in markets around Thanksgiving time. With their sweet taste and sensual fleshy texture, they are Jupiter’s fruit. Japanese folklore has it that the persimmon seeds, which may be shaped like a fork, a knife, or a spoon, have foresight about the upcoming winter. The spoon is the shovel of a snowy winter; the knife means cutting winds and ice; the fork means a mild winter.

Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons are the ones most commonly found in the United States. Virtually seedless, the Fuyu is yellowish orange and has a flat bottom. It has a crisp texture and a moderately sweet taste. You can crunch into it, skin-on, as you would an apple. The Hachiya comes to a point at the bottom and is almost heart-shaped. It can be eaten only when it is fully ripe, and the flesh has a super-soft, almost custard or jelly-like texture. The skin is astringent and cannot be eaten. In this dish, where sliced persimmons are the order of the day, it is best to use the Fuyu variety.

This is a salad to close a late autumn meal. Sweet and savory, it will serve nicely alongside a festively roasted bird at a holiday meal.

Persimmon Pomegranate Salad
Serves 6

Dressing Ingredients
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses or red wine vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp minced shallot
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

Salad Ingredients
1 head Boston lettuce, washed, dried, and torn into bite-size pieces
3 Fuyu persimmons, sliced
1 cup pecans, chopped
½ cup pomegranate seeds
6 oz mascarpone, Saint Andre, or other soft, creamy cheese

1. Make the dressing. Whisk together the maple syrup, pomegranate molasses, olive oil, shallot, salt, and pepper in a bowl until emulsified.

2. Make the salad. Place the lettuce in a large bowl, and add a few tablespoons of the dressing. Toss to coat evenly. Divide the dressed greens among six plates. Top each with the persimmon slices. Sprinkle with the pecans, pomegranate seeds, and a drizzle of dressing. Add a small dollop of creamy cheese in the center, and serve.

Excerpted from Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Reprinted with permission by Harper Elixir, a line of Harper One, a division of Harper Collins Publishers.
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Photographed by Monte Farber.


When the holiday excesses are over and the lights are low, the time comes for quiet, simple dinners. This lively pasta is a welcome relief from the weeks of heavy protein.

In mythology, the Goat is a satyr, a devil devoted to the pleasures of the flesh. In Nature, there’s a bit of the upcoming Aquarian angel in the Capricorn Goat. Billy is pure vegan. He would eat the fries, the bun, and the napkin and turn up his nose at the burger.

For hot fun there’s Fra Diavolo in the Angel’s Hair. The amount recommended is for medium heat. This is Sicilian peasant food. If you want authenticity, double it. The garnish, a “halo” of bread crumbs, is poor man’s Parmigiana.

“Waste not, want not” Capricorn, child of winter, is instinctively economical and finds a use for everything. To get the most flavor out of the fennel, boil the cores and outer layers in the water in which you will eventually cook the pasta. Save the feathery tops to use in the “halo.”

Angel Hair With Fennel Pesto
Serves 4 as a main, 6 as a starter

2 tbsp fennel seeds
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
6 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, cored, and finely chopped (core, outer layers, and fronds reserved; stalks discarded)
½ cup Summer Tomato Sauce
½ cup white wine
½ tsp salt
½ cup currants
½ cup unseasoned bread crumbs, lightly toasted
½ cup finely chopped fennel fronds (from fennel above)
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 lb angel hair pasta (capellini)

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Dry-roast the fennel seeds in a heavy-duty sauce pot over medium-high heat, until they become slightly browned and give off a nutty aroma, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the crushed red pepper, and give a stir or two. Don’t let the flakes burn.

3. Add 4 tbsp of the olive oil and the onion. Sauté until the onion begins to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the chopped fennel. Sauté for another 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, wine, and salt, and stir. Cover, and transfer to the oven. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, place the fennel cores and outer layers in 6 qts of salted water, and bring to a boil.

5. Remove the pot from the oven (the vegetables should be thoroughly soft), and coarsely puree the sauce with an immersion blender. Add the currants, stir, return the pot to the stovetop over low to medium-low heat, and simmer, uncovered, for another 10 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, make the garnish. Combine the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil, the bread crumbs, fennel fronds, and oregano in a bowl, and toss to mix.

7. When the water has come to a boil, remove and discard the fennel, and add the angel hair. Drain the pasta after about 1 minute, when it’s just short of al dente, reserving 1 cup or so of the cooking water. Return the angel hair to the pot, and set it over medium heat. Add the fennel sauce to the pasta, and toss to incorporate. Add some of the reserved cooking water if needed to help incorporate the sauce and finish cooking the pasta.

8. Serve in shallow bowls, topping each with a “halo” of garnish.

Excerpted from Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Reprinted with permission by Harper Elixir, a line of Harper One, a division of Harper Collins Publishers.
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Photographed by Monte Farber.


Folklore dating back to Mesoamerica tells us chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Chemical analysis does show that the cocoa bean contains small amounts of tryptophan, phenylethylamine, and several other substances that are released in the brain when we experience physical attraction. By clinical standards, however, the amounts of these chemicals in chocolate are rather low. Too low to produce desire? Attraction is a force of Nature. It defies logic and has contradictory qualities that are at odds with the quantitative principles and methods of science.

The mind, with its inherent imagination, is our most erogenous zone. Physical love is often entirely psychological. The right shoes, cologne, hairdo, or tone of voice can trigger deep emotional reactions that cause the mind to see an all-too-human female or male as a Venus or an Adonis. Who can say how much of a chemical is needed to effect this miraculous transformation? Perhaps it only takes the taste, or even the smell, to do the trick. If you think that quantity influences quality, however, use unsweetened chocolate, which is 99 percent cacao, or bittersweet chocolate, which is typically at minimum 70 percent cacao. The amount of sugar recommended below supposes you are using bittersweet.

In the archetype, Aquarius is detached, clearheaded, and not easily beguiled. The Aquarian passion is for independence. But aphrodisiacs can come in all forms: for some idealism, freedom to act on one’s own, moderation, and a meeting of the minds are more of a turn-on than unbridled animal passion. This dessert is a little bit different from the average heavy cream mousse, and it is also quick and easy to prepare, leaving more time for an Aquarius to explore the mind-body connections.

Chocolate Chestnut Mousse
Serves 2

½ cup almond milk
½ cup dark chocolate chips
6 oz firm silken tofu
½ cup roasted, peeled chestnuts
2 tsp brandy
8 coarsely chopped chocolate-covered espresso beans

1. Combine the almond milk and chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on medium-high about 2 minutes, stirring midway through. Stir again once the chocolate is fully melted and the chocolate and almond milk are fully blended to a rich, milky consistency. Or you can combine the almond milk and chocolate in a small saucepan and melt gently over low heat on your stovetop. Whisk together and let cool.

2. Combine the chocolate mixture, tofu, chestnuts, and brandy in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until pureed and very creamy. Pour into 1-cup ramekins or small dishes. Depending on the volume your ramekins hold, the mix will fill 2 or more. (If you have extra, mousse is even yummier the second time around.)

3. Cover the ramekins with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours.

4. When ready to serve, garnish with the chocolate-covered coffee beans.

Excerpted from Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Reprinted with permission by Harper Elixir, a line of Harper One, a division of Harper Collins Publishers.
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Photographed by Monte Farber.


Astrology is the study of the rhythm of the heavens and earth and the awareness of pulse points in the yearly cycle. The pulse that is the dried edible yield of certain podbearing plants comes from a different root than that of the beat of cardiac contraction and expansion. But for Pisces, life can be a dream, and in dreams there is a punning nature to reality. The Pisces rains of March add water to the dry seeds. Compassion for others is admirable. But have a heart for your own heart, and sprout some lentils!

Lentil Salad
Serves 6

Crouton Ingredients
2 cups ¼-inch cubes of focaccia bread
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tbsp olive oil
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
⅛ tsp onion salt

Salad Ingredients
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup vegetable juice
1 onion, peeled and halved
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 ribs celery, halved
⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
1 parsley sprig
1 rosemary sprig
1 thyme sprig
1 cup lentils, rinsed
¼ cup Lemon–Olive Oil Dressing
1 carrot, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
3 radishes, cut into ¼-inch dice
½ cup chopped scallions, whites and pale greens only
2 cups lentil sprouts (or any variety of sprout or microgreen)
4 oz provolone cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 head romaine, outer leaves removed (and saved for another use)

1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

2. Make the croutons. Toss the bread cubes with the garlic, olive oil, cayenne, and onion salt. Place them on a baking sheet, and toast them, turning occasionally, until they are lightly browned and crisp on all sides, about 8 minutes.

3. Make the salad. In a pot with a lid, combine the chicken stock, vegetable juice, onion, garlic, celery, cayenne, parsley, rosemary, and thyme over high heat, and bring to a boil. Add the lentils. Once the liquid has returned to a boil, cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook until the lentils are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Discard what is left of the onion, garlic, celery, and herbs. If there is still liquid left, strain well. (You can save any leftover liquid to add to soup or to flavor rice or pasta.)

4. Put the lentils in a large mixing bowl, and pat them dry with a paper towel. While they are still warm, add the lemon–olive oil dressing, and toss to coat. Let the lentils come to room temperature. Add the carrot, radishes, scallions, sprouts, and provolone to the lentils.

5. Split crisp romaine leaves in half along the spine (so that they will lie flat). Arrange them on a platter or individual plates. Spoon the salad onto the leaves. Garnish with croutons, and serve.

Excerpted from Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Reprinted with permission by Harper Elixir, a line of Harper One, a division of Harper Collins Publishers.
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Photographed by Monte Farber.


In Aries season, movement is instinctive. Zippy spices such as ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg say “come hither” to the Aries. A kid at heart, adolescent Aries is not quite over childlike inclinations and childhood dreams. A small portable cake, designed to feed just one person, feeds the inner child of the Ram on the run.

Carrot Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcake Ingredients
2 cups almond flour
4 tbsp coconut flour
1/2 tbsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon, plus extra for garnish
1 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 medium eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup honey
3 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups peeled, grated carrot
1 cup chopped walnuts, plus extra for garnish

Frosting Ingredients
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake liners.

2. Make the cupcakes. Combine the flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium mixing bowl.

3. Beat the eggs, oil, honey, and vanilla in a large bowl until frothy.

4. Working quickly, create a well in the center of the bowl of dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix well, then fold in the carrot and walnuts. The batter should be thick, but not stiff.

5. Divide the batter evenly among the liners. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then remove to a wire rack to cool. Do not frost until completely cool.

6. Make the frosting. Beat the cream cheese, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Use an offset spatula to spread a layer of frosting on top of each cupcake. Sprinkle them with a little bit of cinnamon, and top with a walnut piece.

Excerpted from Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Reprinted with permission by Harper Elixir, a line of Harper One, a division of Harper Collins Publishers.
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Photographed by Monte Farber.


Taurus, ruled by Venus, is represented by the Bull, a definitively masculine animal. Muscular plow-pullers of ancient days, the Bull and the Ox are associated with agricultural productivity. In May, life is good on Venus’s green Earth. Mother Nature’s femininity is not the delicate, passive kind. The Goddess of Love is also the Green Goddess. For all her softness and tenderness, she has a bull-like sense of purpose and determination. An effective nurturer, she is warm and tender, but fixed and enduring.

Venus is at work in May. Before the full heat of summer dries roots and wilts and bleaches tender leaves, when the heat of the day can be counted on, when nights still have a bit of chill and mornings are dewy, the new young greens and early peas are ready for the taking. The arugula is nutty, peppery, and bright-tasting; the peas are sweet, crisp, and tender.

Baby Arugula Pesto and Baby Peas Conchiglie
Serves 4 as a main course, 6 to 8 as a pasta course

Pesto Ingredients
1/2 cup roasted, salted pistachios
4 cups baby arugula, washed and dried
10 basil leaves
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup chopped scallions, whites only
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for the table
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
6 tsp olive oil
1 lb conchiglie
2 cups baby peas, thawed if frozen

1. Combine all the ingredients for the pesto in the bowl of a food processor. Process to a near-smooth paste. If the mixture is stiff, slowly drizzle in more oil as you run the processor. Scoop the pesto into a medium bowl, cover, and set aside in a warm spot. (You can spin a cup of water in the food processor bowl to clean it out, then add it to your pasta water.)

2. Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the conchiglie. Drain when the pasta is just short of al dente, 8 to 9 minutes, reserving 1 cup of water.

3. Return the pasta to the pot, and place it over medium heat. Add the peas and 1 cup of the pesto. Toss to evenly distribute the ingredients. Add more pesto and the reserved pasta water a little at a time, as needed, to make the mixing easier and to finish cooking the pasta. Continue tossing until the conchiglie is cooked to your liking. Serve hot with grated Parmesan on the table.

Excerpted from Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook. Copyright © 2017 by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner. Reprinted with permission by Harper Elixir, a line of Harper One, a division of Harper Collins Publishers.
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Signs & Seasons: An Astrology Cookbook by Monte Farber and Amy Zerner, $20.39, available at Amazon.

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