Your True Love, a small man in a tweed suit sporting a pointy hat, and Father Sky all rendezvous in your dreams and you find yourself quarrelling with all of them. Sort of like being trapped in an elevator with your mom, your Ex, and the head of the neighborhood watch. Listen closely, they each offer small crumbs of truth. Breathe deep, soak in the Muzak version of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” and follow the crumbs toward a more generous and emotionally nuanced understanding of masculinity.
4 slices bread, stale or lightly toasted (any bread can be used, even old bagels!)
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Tear bread slices into small pieces. Process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. Spread the fresh crumbs in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake in a 350° oven, stirring occasionally, until browned and dry, then transfer hot breadcrumbs to a large bowl. Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, season, and toss to coat.
Dress them up with lemon zest, chopped fresh herbs, crushed red pepper flakes, grated Parmesan, or minced garlic.
Be wary of dollar stores and the allure of geegaws posing as missile codes. Jupiter is hanging out in your wallet this month making it hard to make the kinds of decisions that involve language like: “making it rain” or “swag”. Be careful the first week of the Best Summer Ever or ramen will be all you get this month.
Fake Thai Noodles courtesy The Official Ramen Homepage (awesome)
1 package Ramen noodles. (throw away flavor packet)
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons Sriracha chili sauce (Madame Vincent added this)
1/3 cup water
Place the ingredients (except ramen) in a bowl. STIR WELL and microwave for 30 seconds.
Cook the noodles like you normally do. When they are finished strain until fairly dry. Pour in the peanut sauce to taste. Serve with lime wedge.
Picture a gorgeous brown and blue and green John Ford western. You’re riding around on your handsome palomino, your hair whipping in the wind, your seat firmly planted in your saddle. Suddenly, your reliable buddy spots a flock of mean crows. He’s spooked and he gives you the boot. Off you tumble, your leg breaks, your butt hurts. Before you get pissed at the world, Gemini, take a look around. You’ve landed in a wacky Wood Allen flick. There’s a great city to explore, smart weirdos to quibble with, and faulty romances to spark up. Everything’s different but you’re wearing the right clothes and your leg is healed. Amazing how adaptable you can be sometimes, Gemini.
In honor of that great scene in Manhattan where Marial Hemingway and Woody Allen lounge in bed eating Chinese from the cartons: Chop Suey.
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1 pound pork tenderloin, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick strips
2 celery ribs diagonally cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
6 oz snow peas diagonally cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1/2 lb bok choy, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (leaves and ribs separately)
1/4 lb mushrooms cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 onion, halved lengthwise and into 1/4-inch-thick strips
1 green bell pepper cut into 1/4-inch-thick strips, then halved crosswise
1/4 lb mung bean sprouts, rinsed and drained
1 (5-oz) can sliced water chestnuts
1 (5-oz) can sliced bamboo shoots
1/4 cup chicken broth Vegetable
Salt and pepper to taste
Stir together garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon oyster sauce, soy sauce, salt, and 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch in a bowl. Stir in pork and marinate 15 minutes. Keep cut vegetables separate. Heat a wok over high heat until a bead of water dropped onto cooking surface evaporates immediately.
Drizzle 1 teaspoon vegetable oil around side of wok, then stir-fry celery, seasoning with salt, until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Transfer celery to a large bowl. Reheat wok and stir-fry each remaining vegetable separately in same manner (but allow only 1 minute for bean sprouts), adding 1 teaspoon oil to wok before each batch and seasoning with salt. When stir-frying bok choy, begin with ribs, then add leaves and 1 tablespoon water after 1 minute. Transfer each vegetable as cooked to bowl with celery.
Stir together chicken broth, 1 teaspoon oyster sauce, and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Reheat wok over high heat until a bead of water evaporates immediately. Drizzle 1 tablespoon vegetable oil around side of wok, then stir-fry pork until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Return all vegetables to wok and toss. Make a well in center, then stir broth mixture and add to well. Bring sauce to a boil, undisturbed, then stir to combine with pork and vegetables. Serve immediately, with cooked rice.
Global Warming has been/will be particularly difficult on your sign. Your quest is to find the air-conditioning or whatever it is that holds you together in times like these. Madame V recommends a little polka-dotted Esther Williams number or a peach daiquiri-colored guayabera or maybe just a peach daiquiri.
Perfect Peach Daiquiri courtesy a la carte kitchen
1 perfect tree-ripened peach, peeled, pitted and cut up
1 cup crushed ice
2 ounces golden rum
Place all ingredients in blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and serve immediately
Have you been listening to old mix tapes? Crying over old flames until you’re damp and puffy? Take a hammer to the tape player and pull the drain stopper on the baloney. Download the new Frank Ocean album, blow dry your sneakers and snap out of this revery. To reward yourself after your journey back to reality: chocolate grapes.
Chocolate Grapes courtesy Happy in the Kitchen
1 pound cold firm seedless grapes, stems removed
4 ounces 60% semisweet chocolate, melted, at body temperature
1 to 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Dry the grapes well and place them in a bowl large enough to toss them easily. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. Add the chocolate to the grapes about 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring well with a spatula, carefully scraping the sides of the bowl and folding through the center of the grapes to coat all of them evenly. When the chocolate begins to set, using a small strainer, sprinkle the cocoa powder little by little over the surface. Gently toss or stir the grapes as you sift, continuing to add the cocoa until all of the grapes are well coated and separated. Spread on the prepared sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until the chocolate is set, or for up to 1 day.
Neptune in your love sector is making you cute, but delusional, with your pipe and your captain’s hat. Madame Vincent recommends peel-and-eat shrimp. You think they’re good for you, just like that merman/mermaid you’ve been courting, but they’re really just the roaches of the sea.
Peel and Eat Shrimp courtesy Paula Deen (oh, Paula)
2 pounds large shrimp, shells on
3 tablespoons crab boil seasoning
1 lemon, sliced into wedges
Add 8 cups water and crab boil seasoning to a large pot. Bring to a boil and stir in shrimp. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 15 minutes, until the shrimp turn pink. Drain and serve with lemon wedges and cocktail sauce.
You have been mistaking the receptionist for your mom, the janitor for your boyfriend, and your boss for your dad. Don’t sleep where you eat.
Daniel Boulud’s Office Bag Lunch courtesy Bloomberg Businessweek
Bloomberg Businessweek asked Boulud to reveal his version of the perfect bag lunch for the epicurean office grunt.
Lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
Basil or niçoise olives
Combine a few cups of cooked basmati rice at room temperature with diced fresh tomato, celery, cucumber, and hard-boiled egg. Add some pieces of canned tuna fish, minced fresh chives, and/or basil and pitted niçoise olives. Dress with olive oil and a few drops of either freshly squeezed lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar, some grated lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste.
Your emails are getting no replies because your computer is set to spellcheck in Scandinavian. Even your cat isn’t sure what you mean. Check your settings and try again. There is an audience for your ideas but you need to start speaking their language.
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground pork
1/2 cup cream (half and half) or 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup breadcrumbs (or toasted panko, crushed)
2 small cold boiled yukon gold potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 dash allspice (optional)
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 cup low sodium beef broth
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon white flour
1 tablespoon butter
salt, to taste
Fry the onion till golden in a couple of tablespoons of lightly browned butter. Mash the potatoes. Mix all the ingredients just until everything is evenly mixed. Flavor with salt, white pepper and (optional) a little finely crushed allspice. Shape the mixture into relatively large, round balls and transfer to a floured cutting board. Fry the meatballs over medium heat in plenty of butter. Set aside on paper towels once browned.
Melt butter in pan and add flour, whisk till golden brown and flour is cooked. Add beef stock and cream slowly until desired thickness. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the meatballs with the sauce and lingonberry jam.
Mercury and Jupiter have been working on your dating profile and they’re staging a corporate takeover of your emotional state. They’re preparing to introduce you to your other half. Make sure you say yes- it’s the blind date of the century.
Now’s not the time to “go hard” on a whole pizza. You’re about to meet the love of your life. You want to look svelte and have spunk. Try this lovely detox soup with plenty of protein.
Ginger Chicken Soup
1 red onion, sliced
2 celery stalks, chopped
3-4 inches ginger root, cut into 1/2”-thick slices
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10 whole black peppercorns
1 3-pound whole chicken, cut into pieces (2 breasts, 2 legs with thighs attached, 2 wings, 1 back)
Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large heavy pot. Add chicken, placing breasts on top. Add enough water to amply cover chicken (aout 6-8 cups). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover with lid slightly ajar. Reduce heat to low; simmer until chicken breasts are just cooked through, about 30 minutes. Transfer chicken breasts to a plate; let cool, then cover and chill. Continue to simmer soup, uncovered, until broth is fully flavored, about 2 ½ hours longer. Return breasts to soup to rewarm, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from broth. When cool enough to handle, coarsely shred meat; discard skin and bones. Place a fine-mesh sieve over another large pot; strain broth, discarding solids in strainer. Season with salt. Rewarm soup. Divide chicken among bowls. Pour hot broth over, dividing equally.
The full moon on the first is going to clean up your desk and organize your rolodex, which is great because you need mental space to organize the real baggage you’ve been carrying around the last few weeks. Your suitcases soaked with tears definitely need some unpacking. Cash in a sick day or two at work and get down to work.
When Madame Vincent plays hooky, she likes to eat something you just can’t eat in an office when your coworkers are standing by judging you.
Alton Brown’s Amazing Baby Back Ribs
2 whole slabs pork baby back ribs
Dry Rub: 8 tablespoons light brown sugar, tightly packed
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon jalapeno seasoning
1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon rubbed thyme
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Braising Liquid: 1 cup white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Preheat oven to 225 degrees.
In a bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well. Place each slab of baby back ribs on a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil, shiny side down. Sprinkle each side generously with the dry rub. Pat the dry rub into the meat. Refrigerate the ribs for a minimum of 1 hour. In a microwavable container, combine all ingredients for the braising liquid. Microwave on high for 1 minute.
Place the ribs on a baking sheet. Open one end of the foil on each slab and pour half of the braising liquid into each foil packet. Tilt the baking sheet in order to equally distribute the braising liquid. Braise the ribs in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.
Transfer the braising liquid into a medium saucepot. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce by half or until of a thick syrup consistency. Brush the glaze onto the ribs. Place under the broiler just until the glaze caramelizes lightly. Slice each slab into 2 rib bone portions. Place the remaining hot glaze into a bowl and toss the rib portions in the glaze.
Saturn has turned you into an old fuddy dud recently, but mid-month Mars conjuncts Saturn and tweaks its rings and your nipples. You’ll squeal with delight and remember how much you love nipple play. Better wake up and toss out that cane if you ever want to get any action again. Some sexy grilled oysters for you Aquarius. Prepare these for any date and you’re inches away from unzipping their pants.
Bobby Flay’s Grilled Oysters with Spicy Tarragon Butter
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons chopped tarragon
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3 dozen medium to large oysters, such as Gulf Coast or Bluepoint
Light a grill. In a food processor, pulse the butter with the tarragon, hot sauce, salt and pepper until blended. Transfer the tarragon butter to a sheet of plastic wrap and roll it into a 2-inch-thick log. Refrigerate the butter until slightly firm, about 15 minutes. Slice the butter into 36 pats.
Place the oysters on the hot grill, flat-side up. Cover the grill and cook until the oysters open, about 5 minutes. Using tongs, transfer the oysters to a platter, trying to keep the liquor inside. Quickly remove the top shells and loosen the oysters from the bottom shells. Top each oyster with a pat of tarragon butter and return the oysters to the grill. Cover the grill and cook until the butter is mostly melted and the oysters are hot, about 1 minute. Serve right away.
Gas. Bumpees. Flamethrowers. Ripsnorters. Flurpies. Farts. Whatever you call them, you’ve got them. August is a rough month for a flatulence problem. It’s hot and the air hangs heavy keeping all that stink around. But what do you do when the world gives you lemons? You crawl under the covers with some reruns of the Rockford Files and you remember how nice it is to take it easy, how much you like James Garner’s high-waisted polyester pants, and that you secretly like the smell of your own farts.
For you, dear Pisces, Madame Vincent presents Serious Eats much-tested and much-endorsed BEST EVER BEEF CHILI!
The Best Chili Ever
1 pound dried dark red kidney beans
4 quarts water
3 whole Ancho, Pasilla, or 2 whole New Mexico red, California, Costeño, or Choricero chiles, seeded, and torn into rough 1-inch pieces (about 1/8 ounce)
1 whole Cascabel, Arbol, or Pequin chile, seeded, and torn in half
5 pounds bone-in beef short rib, trimmed of silver skin and excess fat
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 quart low-sodium chicken broth (preferably home made), divided
2 whole anchovy filets
1 teaspoon marmite
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds, toasted, then ground
1 1/2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds, toasted, then ground
2 whole cloves, toasted and ground
1 star anise, toasted and ground
1 tablespoon extra-finely ground coffee beans
1 ounce chopped unsweetened chocolate
1 large yellow onion, diced fine (about 1.5 cups)
3 fresh Thai bird chiles or 1 jalapeño, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon dried oregano leaves
2 bay leaves
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup cider vinegar, plus more to taste
1/4 cup vodka or bourbon
1 tablespoon buffalo-style hot sauce, such as Franks RedHot (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
For the garnish (all suggestions optional): Scallions, sliced fine Cheddar, Jack, or Colby cheese, grated Sour cream Jalapeño or poblano peppers, diced and seeded Onion, diced Avocado, diced Saltines Fritos
Place beans, 6 tablespoons kosher salt (or 3 tablespoons table salt), and water in large plastic container or bowl. Allow to soak at room temperature at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse soaked beans.
Add dried chiles to large heavy-bottomed Dutch oven or stock pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until slightly darkened with intense, roasted aroma, 2 to 5 minutes. Do not allow to smoke. Remove chiles to small bowl and set aside. 3 Season short ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Add oil to Dutch oven and heat over high heat until smoking. Add half of short ribs and brown well on all sides (it may be necessary to brown ribs in three batches, depending on size of Dutch oven—do not overcrowd pan), 8 to 12 minutes total, reducing heat if fat begins to smoke excessively or meat begins to burn. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet or plate. Repeat with remaining short ribs, browning them in fat remaining in Dutch oven. Once all short ribs are cooked, transfer all rendered fat into small bowl and reserve separately. Allow short ribs to cool at room temperature.
Meanwhile, return Dutch Oven to medium-high heat and add 1 cup chicken broth, using flat wooden spoon or stiff spatula to scrape browned bits off of bottom of pan. Reduce heat until chicken broth is at a bare simmer, add toasted chiles to liquid and cook until chiles have softened and liquid is reduced by half, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer chiles and liquid to blender, add anchovy, marmite, soy sauce, tomato paste, ground spices, coffee, and chocolate, and blend at high speed, scraping down sides as necessary, until completely smooth puree is formed, about 2 minutes. Set chile puree aside.
Trim meat from short ribs bones and hand-chop into rough, 1/2-inch to 1/4-inch pieces (finer or larger, if you prefer), reserving bones separately. Add any accumulated meat juices to chili puree.
Heat 4 tablespoons rendered beef fat (if necessary, add vegetable oil to reach 4 tablespoons) in large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed stock pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened but not browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add fresh chiles, garlic, and oregano and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chile puree and cook, stirring frequently and scraping bottom of pot until chile mixture begins to fry and leaves a coating on bottom of pan, 2 to 4 minutes. Add chicken stock, chopped beef, beef bones, and bay leaves. Bring to a simmer, scraping bottom of pan to loosen browned bits. Reduce heat to lowest possible setting, and cook, with cover slightly ajar, for 1 hour. Add crushed tomatoes, cider vinegar, and beans, and cook with cover slightly ajar until beans and beef are tender and broth is rich and lightly thickened, 2 to 3 1/2 hours longer, adding water if necessary to keep beans and meat mostly submerged (a little protrusion is ok).
Using tongs, remove and discard bay leaves and bones (at this point, any excess meat still attached to the bones can be removed, chopped, and added back to the chili, if desired). Add vodka (or bourbon), hot sauce, and brown sugar, and stir to combine. Season to taste with kosher salt, ground black pepper, and additional vinegar.
Serve immediately, or for best flavor, allow to cool and refrigerate overnight, or up to 1 week in sealed container. Reheat, and serve with desired garnishes.
The Food Fortunes staff would like to congratulate the lucky 77th winner of a fancy bottle of booze, who submitted the winning question to Madame V:
Why doesn’t the Earth fell down?
—submitted by 8-year old Matthew Samuelson of Chicago, IL
The Earth remains in its magnificent and delicate orbit around the sun because of complicated matters like gravity, centrifugal force, inertia, cheeseburgers, barbacoa, smoked paprika, sugar snap peas, dragon rolls, blow jobs, puppies, sunburns, tequila shots and other things you don’t know anything about yet.
June was a bit of a clusterfuck culminating in the New York hello flashed by Tumblr while they deleted all my posts and prevented me from posting at all. It got to me and got me to thinking. I want to honor those of you who are listening and help someone in real need, as I was this past month.
At the moment I am sitting on a blue plastic milk crate in the western state of Jalisco, on a muddy back street in the city of Zapopanon, an extremely hot and irritable prisoner of Shorty of the Sinoaloa cartel, as you may have heard via the New York Times. He’s much taller and elegant than the Western media is willing to admit, however.
Anyway, Shorty may be the leader of a vicious drug ring but he’s been plying me with these amazing Super Margaritas that make the time pass a little more pleasantly.
This month I may be short (ha!) on predictions for the lot of you but I do have three things:
Be the 77th seeker to email me at MadameVincent1 AT gmail DOT com with your burning question and you will win both the bottle of Veev Acai and my delicious advice*!
Finally, some life lessons from Mexico — get a kite/a cobija/a small dog/someone sexy and go to your yard/ the pier/ a jungle gym/ that shrub in the back of the parking lot and chill out. Burn one and forget all of the stinking steaming bullshit for ten minutes. Watch out for cactus.
* Fine print: Madame Vincent is going to truly award one person with a brand new bottle of booze and delicious advice. Send the Madame your question and if you are the 77th emailer the Madame will reply with an answer and ask for a mailing address for your sweet reward. The winner’s question and answer will be posted in the August edition of Food Fortunes, when predictions for all will also return.
1 1/2 ounces blanco or silver tequila
1 ounce Veev Acai
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Shake over ice and strain into a margarita glass with a sugar rim if you’re so inclined.
My apologies to all. Tumblr has teamed up with Mercury and eaten up all my posts. I’m just trying to get this thing working again.
Madame Vincent’s new bathroom shower flows like it’s coming from a natural spring, winding its way down mountains, through miles of handmade bamboo pipes. That concept may be lovely, but when you’re trying to wash off city grime on 90 degree days, a Mosquito Coast shower just don’t cut it. Aries, this has been your relationship with money over the past few months. It comes, sure, but not in any way that’s predictable. After the eclipse on the 4th, you’ll need to think about how to go from a rubber band to a grown-up wallet complete with room for a business card.
Alfalfa is said to conjure money and success. Here’s a summery alfalfa salad invented by Madame V that tastes rich even if you’re not.
Alfalfa Sprout, Avocado and Cashew Salad
Avocado, cut into bite-size pieces
Package alfalfa sprouts
½ cup shredded carrots
Handful (or 2) cashews, crushed
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons olive oil
Beat rice wine vinegar and olive oil in a cup. In a small bowl, toss dressing with alfalfa sprouts and carrots until fully coated. Add avocado and cashews and toss gently to avoid mushing up the avocado. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve.
Your self-esteem is in the shitter and you really should go or get off the pot. Or you could get drunk around the corner and hit on the souse asleep at the end of the bar. Or you could go do some jumping jacks, plant a tomato garden and catch up with old friends. Madame Vincent is a big fan of the latter, but she’s also an expert in one-night love affairs. In your case, ol’ horny one, the adoration and hugs you seek will last longer if you make a little effort. Take a deep breath, raise your chin and smile a little more. It’s summertime after all.
Here’s the recipe for a beautiful summer cake you can use to advertise your many talents.
Rhubarb Snacking Cake (according to Smitten Kitchen, the only summer cake you need and MV believes her)
1 1/4 pound (565 grams) rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lenghths on the diagonal
1 1/3 cup (265 grams) granulated sugar, divided
1 tablespoon lemon juice (psst, skip ahead and zest it for the cake before you cut it)
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups (165 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/3 cup (80 grams) sour cream
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces, or 55 grams) unsalted butter, melted
Make the cake: Preheat your oven to 350°F. Coat the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan with butter or a nonstick cooking spray, then line the bottom with parchment paper, extending the lengths up two sides. (It will look like a sling). Stir together rhubarb, lemon juice and 2/3 cup sugar and set aside. Beat butter, remaining sugar and lemon zest with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at at time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Whisk together flour, baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon table salt and ground ginger together in a small bowl. Add one-third of this mixture to the batter, mixing until just combined. Continue, adding half the sour cream, the second third of the flour mixture, the remaining sour cream, and then the remaining flour mixture, mixing between each addition until just combined. Dollop batter over prepared pan, then use a spatula — offset, if you have one, makes this easiest — to spread the cake into an even, thin layer.
Pour the rhubarb mixture over the cake, spreading it into an even layer (most pieces should fit in a tight, single layer). Stir together the crumb mixture, first whisking the flour, brown sugar, table salt and cinnamon together, then stirring in the melted butter with a spoon or fork. Scatter evenly over rhubarb layer. Bake cake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes. The cake is done when a tester comes out free of the wet cake batter below. It will be golden on top. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.
Cut the two exposed sides of the cake free of the pan, if needed, then use the parchment “sling” to remove the cake from the pan. Cut into 2-inch squares.
Confused by your own reflection lately? Venus has been hiding in a hollow log in your neck of the woods for the last few weeks. She’ll reemerge on the fifth of June wearing a bikini, riding across the sun on a herd of enormous neon turtles, waving a huge flag to remind you you are beautiful.
Gather some summer flowers and make this unusual pretty pesto to serve with pasta, focaccia or pizza bagels.
Nasturtium Pesto courtesy Yum Sugar
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2 cups packed nasturtium leaves and tender stems
1 green onion, ends trimmed, sliced
1/2 cup freshly shredded pecorino cheese
7 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
In a small skillet, over a medium low heat, toast the pine nuts until golden brown, 2-3 minutes. Be sure to watch them as they can burn easily. Using a food processor, grind up the nuts finely. Add nasturtium, green onion, and cheese. Process until the mixture is smooth and thick like a paste. While the machine is running, slowly add the olive oil and process until well mixed. Taste and season with salt. Makes about 3/4 cup.
From the looks of your recent charts, you haven’t been this adrift in months. Nothing feels right and you’ve lost your sextant. One piece of advice Crabby, life generally doesn’t look very good when analyzed from afar. Put down that telescope. There’s no pressure to set anchor, just enjoy the ebb and flow.
The culinary reminder to shut up and enjoy: deviled eggs. Eggs are traditionally breakfast food and yet they are transformed into rich, delectable party treats. You can’t help but eat at least five and yet you’re still hungry so you just have to relax and eat another.
Ramp Deviled Eggs, courtesy the Willy Street Coop (Madame Vincent suggests at least tripling the recipe)
3 eggs (boiled, cooled, and peeled)
3 tablespoons ramp bulbs (finely chopped, reserving the greens for garnish)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mustard (yellow or dijon)
salt and pepper to taste
Slice the eggs from top to bottom and remove the yolks. Place the yolks in a bowl and the whites on a plate. Add the remaining ingredients to the yolks and mix well with a fork or food processor for a creamier consistency. Spoon the mixture into the egg white halves. To serve, garnish with finely sliced ramp greens.
The earthquake brought on by the eclipse will only register a 4.0 on the Richter scale but there will be tremors. Thing is, the tremors will feel like a ride at Six Flags Great Adventure™. You’ll be buckled in tight, giddily clutching your best friend next to you. You’ll even open your eyes for the ride. Feel free to start your next bbq fire with last month’s HUG ME sign.
How about some fancified theme park food?
Bacon Wrapped Chicken Tenders courtesy my homegirl Martha
8 fresh sage leaves
8 chicken tenders (about 1 1/4 pounds)
8 slices bacon
1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Place a sage leaf on each chicken tender, then wrap each with a bacon slice. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add tenders, sage side down, and cook until fat is rendered and bacon is browned, about 6 minutes. Flip and cook until tenders are cooked through, 6 minutes. With tongs, transfer to a wire rack set on a rimmed baking sheet to drain.
You’ve been on a roll but don’t fall asleep at the wheel. The new moon on the 19th means new business ventures and new opportunities, but on the 20th swerve out of the way of unneeded drama coming at you like the climax of so many bad martial arts movies.
Apparently this Asian-ish sauce created by David Chang is the bomb. Apparently you must try it on noodles, stir-fries, your fingers…everything. Madame Vincent plans to get on that this weekend.
Ginger Scallion Sauce
2½ cups thinly sliced scallions (green and whites, from 1-2 large bunches)
½ cup finely minced fresh ginger
¼ cup grapeseed or other neutral oil
1½ teaspoons usukuchi (light soy sauce)
¾ teaspoon sherry vinegar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste
Mix together the scallions, ginger, oil, soy sauce, vinegar, and salt in a bowl. Taste and check for salt, adding more if needed.
The lunar eclipse on the 4th will give you a chance to vote the daimons doing you no good off your island, and mid-month, Gemini lumbers into your aura bringing good news in the form of a Reality Show immunity necklace you’ll want for wrestling the man in the moon later in the month.
Speaking of reality shows, Madame Vincent’s favorite is Jersey Shore. You know what they eat on Jersey Shore? Drinks.
2 ounces reposado tequila (be sure to use only 100 percent agave tequila)
The juice of 1/2 a lime
Pinch of coarse salt
Fill a 10-ounce glass with ice, and add reposado tequila, lime juice, and pinch of coarse salt. Top with grapefruit soda. (Jarritos, from Mexico, works very well, but you can also try the Jamaican brand Ting. If you can’t find a suitable grapefruit soda, use seltzer + grapefruit juice.)
Old Scratch and his sidekick, dinero, have been taunting you for the last few months. The Sagittarius moon on the 4th has the potential to finally bring a windfall, if you promise to use that money to hang in the old neighborhood and buy some dogs on the corner for everyone.
hot dog, preferably Vienna Beef
Bright green relish, preferably Sweet Super Green Pickle Relish
2 tomato wedges
1 pickle spear
1. Start by placing your Hot Dog in the Bun.
2. Yellow Mustard - Squirt the mustard directly on the Dog from one end to the other.
3. Relish - Add a generous amount of sweet relish.
4. Chopped Onions - Place onions on top of the Dog.
5. Two Tomato Wedges - Place tomatoes along the crevice between the top of the bun and the Hot Dog.
6. Pickle Spear or Slice - Place pickle in the crevice between the bottom of the bun and the Hot Dog.
7. Two Sport Peppers - Place 2 sport peppers on top of your Chicago Dog.
8. Celery Salt - Sprinkle a dash of celery salt over the Dog.
You’re in holding pattern, circling the runway for the majority of the month until the 29th when Mercury enters Leo. An ally will appear like in buddy movies and together you may save the world or at least the social security fund, and very possibly even render 401K’s meaningful again.
For you and your buddy, a sweet duet of chick peas from one of the contributors to Food52.
Roasted Chick Peas Two Ways
Garlic, Cumin & Sea Salt
15.5 ounces can of chick peas
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2-3 pinches white pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
Honey & Cinnamon
15.5 ounces can of chick peas
3-4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse each can of chickpeas under cool running water in a strainer. Some of the chickpea casings may come off. Lay out on paper towels to dry.
You will need a separate bowls for each chick pea mixture. In each bowl, add a can of chickpeas followed by the olive oil or honey. Continue to add the rest of the spices for each chickpea mixture.
Evenly coat the chickpeas in it’s mixture. Place chickpeas on a baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Turn the chickpeas every ten minutes so they don’t burn on one side. Remove from oven and let cool. Share!
Madame Vincent was very excited to discover that your master Saturn goes direct this month. The cosmos is offering you a rare invitation to shake off bad habits and old obligations. It’s opposites day and you’ve got amnesia. Have fun!
Let the fun begin by ordering in. Madame Vincent just devoured vegetable chop suey and kung po chicken and is now convinced all is right in the cosmos.
Your muse is trying is to give you a handjob this month and frankly, so is just about everybody else. You’ve got Jupiter entering Gemini on the 11th to thank. Take a break from the handies to prepare this special tangy soup in honor of Zeus.
Greek Lemon Soup
6 cups chicken stock
Pinch saffron or saffron powder
1 bay leaf
1 lemon, peeled in strips, plus 4 to 5 tablespoons juice
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
Couple drops hot sauce
Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Bring stock to a boil with saffron, bay leaf, and lemon peel. Cover and steep 5 minutes then turn off heat and remove bay leaf and peel. Whisk eggs and yolks with lemon juice and hot sauce. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the soup to temper the eggs. Whisk the egg mixture into the soup then turn heat on low and whisk together until soup thickens slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper.
Your underwater boss, Neptune, does the moonwalk all over your sign during the eclipse on the 4th and you will definitely lose that dance-off. But that’s okay some of the hardest dance moves take a lifetime to perfect, and we all know you know how to get down. Give the victor props and go practice.
Pay homage to Neptune with this dish of the sea and maybe he’ll teach you his signature move.
Shrimp Provencal (a recipe Madame V keeps in her back pocket whenever she wants to look good but doesn’t feel on top of her game)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds uncooked large shrimp, peeled, deveined
2 cups chopped red bell peppers
1 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
3/4 cup Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives, pitted
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
Crusty french bread
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and sauté just until pink, about 1 minute. Using slotted spoon, transfer shrimp to bowl. Add bell peppers, onion, thyme, garlic and fennel seeds to skillet. Sauté until onion softens, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes with juices, olives, wine and tomato paste; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer until flavors blend, about 10 minutes. Add shrimp; simmer uncovered until shrimp are just opaque in center, about 3 minutes. Mix in basil; season with salt and pepper.
Serve over slices of bread in a bowl or use the bread to dunk and sop up juices.
Recipe courtesy Epicurious.
I was hungover and waiting for coffee in Tokyo when I was putting your May chart together. I was on the verge of flipping out. My waitress couldn’t get it together and help wake these cranky old bones with a bit of precious caffeine, when I realized there’s a fine line between free Bloody Marys and a $5.00 charge for whining. I gave up on your chart, took the opportunity for some shut-eye right there at the table and upon waking, I sensed a broken limb on your tree of life. I suggest you dig through boxes of old photos and post up in the tree house for a couple hours of study, and release, of the ghosts of failures past.
There’s a cheap metaphor in this recipe that the Madame couldn’t resist. It’s also earthy, hearty, yet silly — a good choice for looking back on the past.
The Enchanted Broccoli Forest from Mollie Katzen
2 cups brown or white rice
1 pound fresh broccoli
1 tablespoon butter or canola oil (plus a little extra for the pan)
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 teaspoons salt
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)
3 tablespoons fresh mint (or 3 teaspoons dried)
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
pepper to taste
cayenne to taste
Optional: 1/2 cup toasted sunflower seeds
1/4 pound Swiss or cheddar cheese, grated a little extra butter for the top
Trim the tough bottoms from the broccoli stalks and cut the tops into smallish spears of whatever size suits you. Preheat oven to 325° F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking pan. Melt the butter or heat the oil in a large, deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion and salt and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and the lemon juice and saute for about 2 minutes longer. Stir in the rice, some black pepper and cayenne to taste along with the optional ingredients. Taste to correct salt, if necessary, and spread in the prepared pan. Now the fun part. Arrange the broccoli upright in the rice, and, if desired, drizzle with melted butter. Cover loosely with foil and bake just until heated through (15 -20 minutes).
You’ve been playing Cinderella these last few months and it’s time to give your dishpan hands a rest. Mercury, Mars and Pluto settle old quarrels and team up for the intergalactic bowling league on the 13th, setting the stage for possibly the best birthday pizza party ever for you and your pals. Order in the pizza but make your own birthday cake.
Gooey Chocolate Skillet Cake Cake
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
2 tablespoons cocoa
3-4 tablespoons milk (as needed for consistency)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
2 cups icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla ice cream (for serving)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, sugar, and salt together and set aside. In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, bring the butter, vegetable oil, cocoa powder, and water to a boil. Remove it from the heat and whisk in the dry ingredients well. Mix in the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Bake the skillet cake at 350 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
While the cake starts to cool, make the frosting. In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, cocoa, and milk to a boil. Remove them from heat and add the icing sugar, nuts, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Pour over the warm cake, spread with a spatula and serve with vanilla bean ice cream.
You have OCD on the 8th through the 15th so watch out for french-handled doors, butter churns, and spray-tans. Your authority is heckled by small dirty children on the 14th. Old flames wreck dinner parties on the 15th. Thank god for the New Moon on the 20th, Sister. You will have a six-hour window into the metaphysical equivalent of your first visit to a petting zoo. My personal favorite in your chart this month, on the 21st: A fart, not of your own making, will ruin an elevator ride.
Madame thought you could do with a special recipe that comes together almost magically to create an odd yet delicious flavor.
Beggar’s Linguine from Dorie Greenspan
1 (14-16 oz) box linguine
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1/3 c shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/3 c almonds, coarsely chopped
8 plump dried mission figs or 3 dried kadota figs, finely diced
1/4 c plump, moist raisins (golden raisins are nice here)
1/2 c grated Parmesan (more or less to taste)
Grated zest of 1/2 orange (or more to taste)
Minced chives and/or parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the linguine according to the package directions. When the pasta is cooked, drain it well, but don’t rinse it. About 5 minutes before the pasta is ready, melt the butter over medium heat in a large high-sided skillet or casserole. (You’re going to add the pasta to this pan, so make sure it’s large enough.) When the butter is melted, hot and golden, stir in the nuts, figs and raisins. Allow the butter to bubble and boil – you want it to cook to a lovely light brown, or to turn into pan beurre noisette, butter with the color and fragrance of hazelnuts – and when it’s reached just the color you want, add the pasta to the pan. Stir the pasta around in the butter to coat it evenly and to tangle it up with the bits of fruit and nuts. Turn the pasta into a warm serving bowl, add the grated cheese and season with salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Toss and turn the pasta to incorporate the cheese, then dust the top of the mound with orange zest and chives and/or parsley.
You may narrowly escape being deceived by Vince Offer and his promise of greatness on the 24th. Be strong, search your heart of hearts, and you will find that you do not need another Schticky. What you need is the courage to turn down yet another freeloader hitching a ride on your good nature.
One of Madame Vincent’s favorite ways to test and build courage — painfully hot foods.
Chipotle Hot Wings
Canola oil, for frying
2 lbs. chicken wings, separated into 2 pieces
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 or 4 canned chipotles in adobo and 1 tbsp. adobo sauce, puréed
2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
Crema, for serving
Heat oven to 200˚. Pour oil into a 6-qt. Dutch oven to a depth of 2” and heat over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 400˚. Working in two batches, add chicken wings to oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp, 10–12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer wings to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to over. Meanwhile, put butter and chipotles into a medium heat-proof bowl. Set bowl over a pot of boiling water until butter is melted and chipotles are hot, whisking to combine. Transfer chicken wings to the bowl, add lime juice, and toss to combine. Serve with crema.
What could be the worst fortune cookie fortune you might crack open? It would probably say something like: avoid travel between the Full Moon on the 5th and the New Moon on the 20th (and not just if you’re a stunt pilot with a schedule full of air shows and no sick time). Sorry, but the rest of the month seems dismal and confused as well. The Sun and Mercury square Neptune, but fail the geometry test, on the 23rd. You should probably plan on wearing a HUG ME sign all month.
You know what dish is like a sweet warm hug: Banana French Toast.
Madame Vincent’s Banana French Toast
4 slices of bread, Madame prefers Country White & Sourdough
6 eggs, beat
4 bananas, thinly sliced
1/4 cup soymilk
Grease pan. Dip bread liberally in eggs and milk. Brown in pan for 10-15 seconds on each side. Cover with thin slices of banana, pour enough egg on top to allow banana to stick. Flip and repeat. Brown both sides again. Serve with syrup or honey.
Your Garden of Eden could use a little yard work. Perception is everything and your profile picture on Facebook isn’t helping anything. Quit faking. You have sexual prowess and you know it. No need to spray your pheromones all over the place like a broken Swifter.
Madame Vincent finds eating even cow’s tongue sexy, so it wasn’t easy to search the recipe cosmos for a dish that delivers a more modest, sincere experience. Hopefully this does the trick.
The Best Roast Cauliflower (according to Madame V)
1 medium head cauliflower (2 1/2 to 3 pounds), cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide florets (8 cups)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat oven to 450. Toss cauliflower with oil in a large bowl. Add crushed red pepper. Place cauliflower on glass or metal baking tray and roast for about 30 minutes. Toss occasionally to get an even caramelization. When done, toss with salt and juice from half a lemon.
You have been chosen to be on a reality show! Watch for an invitation on the Full Moon of the 5th. Now take off your rose-colored glasses, wrap them in a neckerchief and stomp on them with the heel of your boot. Mazel Tov!
You know what’s “real”, when it comes to food? Potatoes. And you know what’s unpretentious? Good Seasons salad dressing mix. This recipe comes from a mother and grandmother in New Jersey who knocked Madame Vincent’s socks off with this dirt candy.
Garden State Good Seasons Taters
12 small red potatoes, washed, dried and poked with a fork
1/2 packet Good Seasons Italian Dressing mix
couple tablespoons olive oil
Preheat oven to 450. In a large bowl, pour olive oil over potatoes and rub to coat. Sprinkle package of dressing mix and rub to coat again. Place on glass or metal tray in a single layer and roast for about 45 minutes or until they are brown and cooked through.
Your month is all about the 5th, when Saturn is opposed by Mercury and a mournful culmination of the past couple years’ general malaise overcomes you like bad mayonnaise. Madame Vincent wants you to make a beautiful sandwich with that mayonnaise. Lather it all over some sexy sourdough and embrace being human.
The Madame’s JALAPENO MAYO RECIPE
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature 30 minutes
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup olive or vegetable oil (or a combination), divided
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 seeded jalapeno, ground in the food processor
Whisk together yolk, mustard, jalapeno pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until combined well. Add about 1/4 cup oil drop by drop, whisking constantly until mixture begins to thicken. Whisk in vinegar and lemon juice, then add remaining 1/2 cup oil in a very slow, thin stream, whisking constantly until well blended. If at any time it appears that oil is not being incorporated, stop adding oil and whisk mixture vigorously until smooth, then continue adding oil. Whisk in salt to taste and white pepper. Chill, surface covered with plastic wrap, until ready to use.
Wow. This is it. Get ready for your comeback. It’s like 100,000 Hollywood action movies were filmed as practice for this, your defining moment.
Sylvester Stallone’s Power Cookies courtesy Sly Moves
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/8 cup brown rice flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/8 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup Quaker old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons water
1/2 tablespoon molasses
Preheat over to 375 degrees. In a medium-size bowl, combine wheat and rice flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, and oats. Make in indentation in the center and add egg, olive oil, water, and molasses. Mix vigorously until the dough is moistened. Roll into tablespoon-size balls and place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until done. Remove cookies from oven and cool on wire rack. They should be soft and slightly chewy.
Don’t get a haircut. Don’t hem your skirts. Don’t buy that $400 bedazzled denim vest. You’re looking at yourself in a circus mirror all month long. Distortions will certainly lead to poor choices.
Everything’s a mess anyway. Dig into some fried chicken.
Skillet-Fried Chicken (according to Bon Appetit, the only recipe you’ll ever need for fried chicken!?!)
2 tablespoons kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 3–4-lb. chicken (not kosher), cut into 10 pieces, backbone and wing tips removed
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Peanut oil (for frying)
Whisk 1 Tbsp. salt, 2 tsp. black pepper, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and onion powder in a small bowl. Season chicken with spices. Place chicken in a medium bowl, cover, and chill overnight. Let chicken stand covered at room temperature for 1 hour. Whisk buttermilk, egg, and 1/2 cup water in a medium bowl. Whisk flour, cornstarch, remaining 1 Tbsp. salt, and remaining 1 Tbsp. pepper in a 9x13x2” baking dish. Pour oil into a 10”–12” cast-iron skillet or other heavy straight-sided skillet (not nonstick) to a depth of 3/4”. Prop deep-fry thermometer in oil so bulb is submerged. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 350°.
Meanwhile, set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet. Working with 1 piece at a time (use 1 hand for wet ingredients and the other for dry ingredients), dip chicken in buttermilk mixture, allowing excess to drip back into bowl. Dredge in flour mixture; tap against bowl to shake off excess. Place 5 pieces of chicken in skillet. Fry chicken, turning with tongs every 1–2 minutes and adjusting heat to maintain a steady temperature of 300°–325°, until skin is deep golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of chicken registers 165°, about 10 minutes for wings and 12 minutes for thighs, legs, and breasts. Using tongs, remove chicken from skillet, allowing excess oil to drip back into skillet; transfer chicken to prepared rack. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces; let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
It’s time to get the Google Analytics plug-in for your life. Stop making decisions based on your licked finger poking up through the wind. Dig out your graphing calculator, drop the gobbledygook, and get scientific on your next life’s decisions.
Madame Vincent would like you to bake this month. Madame Vincent herself is not much of a baker but understands it requires precision, attention to detail, and an ability to follow directions — all good skills for you to work on Aquarius.
2 teaspoons of active dry yeast
1 ½ tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups of warm water (you may need ± ¼ cup more, I know I did)
3 ½ cups (500g) of bread flour or high gluten flour (will need extra for kneading)
1 ½ teaspoons of salt
Optional Toppings: Caraway seeds, coarse salt, minced fresh garlic, minced fresh onion, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds.
In ½ cup of the warm water, pour in the sugar and yeast. Do not stir. Let it sit for five minutes, and then stir the yeast and sugar mixture, until it all dissolves in the water. Mix the flour and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the yeast and sugar mixture. Pour half of the remaining warm water into the well. Mix and stir in the rest of the water as needed. Depending on where you live, you may need to add anywhere from a couple tablespoons to about ¼ cup of water. You want to result in a moist and firm dough after you have mixed it.
On a floured countertop, knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Try working in as much flour as possible to form a firm and stiff dough. Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and let it rest for another 10 minutes.
Carefully divide the dough into 8 pieces (use a scale to be extra precise, but it’s not necessary). Shape each piece into a round. Now, take a dough ball, and press it gently against the countertop (or whatever work surface you’re using) moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms (as pictured below). Repeat with 7 other dough rounds.
Coat a finger in flour, and gently press your finger into the center of each dough ball to form a ring. Stretch the ring to about ⅓ the diameter of the bagel and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Repeat the same step with the remaining dough. After shaping the dough rounds and placing them on the cookie sheet, cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 425ºF. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Reduce the heat. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to lower the bagels into the water. Boil as many as you are comfortable with boiling. Once the bagels are in, it shouldn’t take too long for them to float to the top (a couple seconds). Let them sit there for 1 minute, and them flip them over to boil for another minute. Extend the boiling times to 2 minutes each, if you’d prefer a chewier bagel (results will give you a more New York Style bagel with this option).
If you want to top your bagels with stuff, do so as you take them out of the water, you may use the “optional toppings” (listed above) to top the bagels and if you’re risky like me, make a combination of the toppings to top the bagels with, but before hand, you will need to use an egg wash to get the toppings to stick before putting the bagels into the oven.
Once all the bagels have boiled (and have been topped with your choice of toppings), transfer them to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
The Instagram sale got you dreaming of get rich quick schemes? Madame Vincent was intrigued by something from a recent New York Times article on its founders and launch: “Ideas are disposable. If one doesn’t work, you quickly move on to another.” This is one way to approach invention and entrepreneurship, and clearly, it works. Would it work for you, Pisces? May is a very good time to ponder this question.
A slow, laborious process-oriented recipe will free your mind to explore this very idea, Pisces. Madame has failed at this recipe a handful of times. If you fail will you be attached to the mess? Or will you simply dump the results and make pizza bagels?
Lidia Bastianich’s Potato Gnocchi
3 large baking (Idaho) potatoes (about 1 3/4 pounds), scrubbed
1 large egg
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, or as needed
Place the potatoes in a large pot with enough cold water to cover. Bring the water to a boil and cook, partially covered, until the potatoes are easily pierced with a skewer but the skins are not split, about 35 minutes. (Alternatively, the potatoes can be baked in a preheated 400°F oven until tender, about 40 minutes.)
Drain the potatoes and let them stand just until cool enough to handle. (The hotter the potatoes are when they are peeled and riced, the lighter the gnocchi will be.) Working quickly and protecting the hand that holds the potatoes with a folded kitchen towel or oven mitt, scrape the skin from the potato with a paring knife. Press the peeled potatoes through a potato ricer. Alternatively, the potatoes can be passed through a food mill fitted with the fine disc, but a ricer makes fluffier potatoes and therefore lighter gnocchi. Spread the riced potatoes into a thin, even layer on the work surface, without pressing them or compacting them. Let them cool completely.
In a small bowl, beat the egg, salt, pepper, and nutmeg together. Gather the cold potatoes into a mound and form a well in the center. Pour the egg mixture into the well. Knead the potato and egg mixtures together with both hands, gradually adding the grated cheese and enough of the flour, about 1 1/2 cups, to form a smooth but slightly sticky dough. It should take no longer than 3 minutes to work the flour into the potato mixture; remember, the longer the dough is kneaded, the more flour it will require and the heavier it will become. As you knead the dough, it will stick to your hands and to the work surface: Repeatedly rub this rough dough from your hands and scrape it with a knife or dough scraper from the work surface back into the dough as you knead.
Wash and dry your hands. Dust the dough, your hands, and the work surface lightly with some of the remaining flour. Cut the dough into six equal pieces and set off to one side of the work surface. Place one piece of dough in front of you and pat it into a rough oblong. Using both hands, in a smooth back-and-forth motion and exerting light downward pressure, roll the dough into a rope 1/2 inch thick, flouring the dough if necessary as you roll to keep it from sticking. (When you first begin making gnocchi, until your hands get the feel of the dough, you may find it easier to cut each piece of dough in half to roll it.)
Slice the ropes into 1/2-inch-thick rounds. Sprinkle the rounds lightly with flour and roll each piece quickly between your palms into a rough ball, flouring the dough and your hands as needed to prevent sticking. Hold the tines of a fork at a 45-degree angle to the table with the concave part facing up. Dip the tip of your thumb in flour. Take one ball of dough and with the tip of your thumb, press the dough lightly against the tines of the fork as you roll it downward toward the tips of the tines. As the dough wraps around the tip of your thumb, it will form into a dumpling with a deep indentation on one side and a ridged surface on the other. Set on a baking sheet lined with a floured kitchen towel and continue forming gnocchi from the remaining dough balls. Repeat the whole process with the remaining pieces of dough. At this point the gnocchi must be cooked immediately or frozen.
To cook gnocchi:
Bring six quarts of salted water to a vigorous boil in a large pot over high heat. Drop about half the gnocchi into the boiling water a few at a time, stirring gently and continuously with a wooden spoon. Cook the gnocchi, stirring gently, until tender, about 1 minute after they rise to the surface. (You can cook the gnocchi all at once in two separate pots of boiling water. If you make a double batch of gnocchi, I strongly recommend cooking them in batches in two pots of water.)
Remove the gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon of skimmer, draining them well, and transfer to a wide saucepan with some of the sauce to be used. Cook the remaining gnocchi, if necessary. When all the gnocchi are cooked, proceed according to the directions for saucing and serving in each recipe.
When saucing gnocchi, remember this tip: If the sauce is too dense or the gnocchi seem too dry, use some of the gnocchi cooking water to thin the sauce and moisten the gnocchi, as you would with pasta dishes.
In 1859 an enormous zit formed on the sun’s chin. The sun, like anybody else, was unhappy with the blemish. He waited a day and put some benzoyl peroxide on it before bed and took a good hot shower the next morning. Needless to say, it was ready to pop.
This month, pop a beer bottle and enjoy the sky stained with blood on fire. Don’t get caught up in the ensuing hysteria however, you will miss an important meeting with a man selling homeowner’s insurance in a chicken suit at sundown.
P.S. Pluto’s got a problem with you.
Treat yourself to a big silly fish boil. Madame Vincent likes to keep it as simple as the beer that washes it down.
Madame Vincent’s Fish Boil
4 white fish steaks, cubed
2 pounds 26-30 count cleaned, raw shrimp, with tails intact
20 tablespoons salt
10 tablespoons Old Bay
20 small red potatoes
10 small onions, mix of red and yellow, ha;ved
melted butter, lemon wedges, hot sauce
Fill a 24 quart kettle 3/4 full of water. Place on stove and bring to boil. Add potatoes and half the salt and Old Bay. When boil resumes, time for 8 minutes. Then add onions wait until boil resumes then time for 2 minutes. Add fish and remaining salt and Old Bay. After a few minutes, the fish will turn pale pink/white. Remove pot from heath and serve with lemon wedges, melted butter, salt, pepper and hot sauce.
April is analog, not digital. The peaks glorious and flat-out fun, but the valleys are abysmal. Early on you will be in the clouds, making it rain swag wherever you go. A dark hag-like force attacks your sign around the ninth, and she will cause the whole lot of you to call in sick to work. Mars moves on and frees you up to be a dreamer or an asshole (your choice) near the last weekend of the month. Either way, go on a picnic. And bring this trashy Sandra Lee pasta salad that Madame Vincent’s stepmother was fond of. It’s dumb like an oversized Mickey Mouse t-shirt.
Mickey Mouse Pasta Salad
1 box rotini pasta
1 head of broccoli, blanched
1 can of sliced black olives
1 pint halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup Italian salad dressing
Boil water and cook pasta till al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Drain and place in fridge until cool. Cut blanched broccoli, slice olives and halve cherry tomatoes. When pasta is cool combine ingredients in bowl and pour in 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing. Mix.
This month aliens will abduct you. Unless you eat lots of Umami.
Mercury’s motion will come to you this month dressed as a bad waiter spilling a tray of drinks on top of your head. Think about former German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s steely reaction after she caught five full steins of beer with her dress. This will help you gain inner-awareness and calm. It’s small beer. Go through with the toast.
Beer Brats Sandwich
1/4 cup butter
2 medium onions, sliced into thin rings
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped (optional)
3 to 4 (12-ounce) cans cheap beer (Wisconsin fans insist on Pabst Blue Ribbon)
8 bratwurst links
8 small, crusty hoagie rolls
Dill pickle spears
Prepare the grill for a medium-hot fire. Place the butter in a medium disposable foil roasting pan. Place the pan on the grill rack and cook until the butter melts. Add the onions and garlic (if using); cook until softened, three to five minutes. Add the beer and bring to a simmer. Place the pan on the low heat zone and keep the onion mixture warm. Place the bratwurst on the grill rack. Grill, turning occasionally, until evenly charred, four to five minutes. Transfer the bratwurst to the onion mixture and let stand until ready to serve. With tongs, place the bratwurst in the rolls. Serve with the onions, mustard, and pickle spears. Can also be made stovetop with a cast iron skillet.
Recipe courtesy Epicurious.com.
You will tear your underwear on a fence in a far away place. The locals will rejoice and exalt your good humor and sense of play, while they erect an indestructible monument to your good nature. Trust all of your heart’s desires this month. Don’t do what you are told, do what the ancients did, go for that shit and take it my friend.
Laugh in the face of 99-cent mac and cheese eaten straight out of the pot. Make it from scratch and while you’re at it, toss in some lobster.
Lobster Mac and Cheese
1 pound cavatappi or elbow macaroni
1 quart milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
12 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated (4 cups)
8 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds cooked lobster meat
1 1/2 cups fresh white bread crumbs (5 slices, crusts removed)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don’t boil it. In a large pot, melt 6 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. Still whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or two more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, 1 tablespoon salt, the pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and lobster and stir well. Place the mixture in 6 to 8 individual gratin dishes.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, combine them with the fresh bread crumbs, and sprinkle on the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.
Recipe courtesy Ina Garten.
Mars has annoyingly been in retrograde and will finally vacate your sign with all the ease and grace of a golf ball traversing a garden hose, leaving you in search of one thousand catnaps.
Madame Vincent equates naps with rainy days, B movies and childhood favorites like grilled cheese and tomato soup. This clever variation from Smitten Kitchen hits the spot.
Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar
3 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large or 4 small cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon (or more to taste) dried crushed red pepper
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 1-inch slices from a large loaf of rye bread, whole wheat sourdough or bread of your choice, toasted until hard and lightly buttered on one side
1 tablespoon grated raw onion
1 cup coarsely grated cheddar (or more to taste)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Wrap garlic cloves in a tight foil packet. Place tomatoes, cut side up, on large baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper (I used 1 full teaspoon of Kosher salt). Drizzle tomatoes with olive oil. Add foil packet of garlic to tray. Roast until tomatoes are brown and tender (garlic will be very tender), about 1 hour. Cool slightly.
Unwrap garlic packet and peel cloves. Transfer cloves, tomatoes and any accumulated juices to a blender or food processor and pulse machine on and off until tomatoes are a chunky puree. Transfer tomatoes to medium pot and add thyme, crushed red pepper and stock and bring to a boil Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings to taste.
To create cheddar lid: Preheat oven to 350. Arrange four ovenproof soup bowls, crocks or large mugs on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Stir grated onion into the warm soup. (I love this last-minute suggestion of onion.) Float toast slice(s) in each bowl, buttered side up and divide grated cheese generously over top. (If you’re using a wide bowl, you might find that you want more cheese to create a thick, broiled lid.) Bake soups on tray for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese on top is bubbling and brown at the edges. If you’d like it even more bronzed on top, preheat your broiler and finish soups for a minute or two under it. Serve immediately.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the scene, impossible to make out the actors, and even harder to identify the plot, if there was any in the first place. And just as things start making sense, when you are on the cusp of understanding, bang! Nothing happens. Time seems to stand still, the protagonist falls dead and divine intervention catapults the whole mess into the middle of next week. Mars may be making a mess of things this month, but Madame Vincent promises that all the bottles smashed over your head will be made of candy glass.
Eat something with soft edges this month Libra.
Congee (Chinese chicken and rice porridge)
3 1/2 to 4-lb chicken, cut into serving pieces, including back and giblets (exclude liver)
10 cups water
3 tablespoons Chinese rice wine or medium-dry sherry
3 (1/4-inch-thick) slices fresh ginger
3 scallions, halved crosswise and smashed with flat side of a heavy knife
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup long-grain rice
Accompaniments: fine julienne of fresh ginger, thinly sliced scallions, and Asian sesame oil
Bring chicken and water to a boil in a 5-quart heavy pot, skimming froth. Add wine, ginger, scallions, and salt and cook at a bare simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes, or until breast meat is just cooked through. Transfer 1 breast half with tongs to a bowl and continue to cook stock at a bare simmer, skimming froth as necessary, 2 hours and 40 minutes. Meanwhile, cool chicken breast long enough to remove skin and bones, returning skin and bones to stock. Cool breast meat completely and tear into shreds. Chill shreds, covered, and bring to room temperature before serving. Pour stock through a large sieve into a large bowl and discard solids. (you should have about 8 cups: if less, add water; if more, cook longer after adding rice.) Return stock to cleaned pot and add rice. Bring to a boil and stir. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered until consistency of oatmeal, about 1 3/4 hours, stirring frequently during last 1/2 hour of cooking. (Congee will continue to thicken as it stands. thin with water if necessary.)
Season congee with salt. Serve topped with chicken and accompaniments.
Recipe courtesy Epicurious.com.
On April 6th you will dream of a science fair in the old gym where they will pin a red ribbon to your pituitary gland due to the spectacular presentation and to-scale model you made of the moon. The moon has you by the balls and boobs this month. Hot flashes, frequent urination, mood swings, chocolate cravings, surprising secretions, and you’ll be fertile as all get out. All hormones, you’ll be lucky to have an uninterrupted thought this month.
Oysters wax and wane with the moon. Maybe you’ll get some peace by slurping them up this month.
You will find yourself putting aside your French dictionary and your laissez-faire attitude and you will trade them in for responsibility and the desire to be prosperous. Be careful however, you are one broken step to becoming a banker and supporting the Romney campaign and if you are into that sort of thing that’s just fine too.
Everyone should cook coq au vin at some point in their adult lives. Sagittarius, this is your month. But Madame Vincent is taking it easy on you. Below is the recipe for Bon Appetite’s Quick Coq au Vin. For the more daring cook with no life, here’s a link to the great Julia Child’s recipe.
Quick Coq au Vin
4 bacon slices, coarsely chopped
4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided
8 ounces large crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, halved
8 large shallots, peeled, halved through root end
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 1/2 cups dry red wine (such as Syrah)
1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth, divided
4 teaspoons all purpose flour
Preheat oven to 300°F. Sauté bacon in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer to bowl. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Add to drippings in skillet. Sauté until cooked through, about 6 minutes per side; transfer to pie dish (reserve skillet). Place in oven to keep warm. Add mushrooms and shallots to skillet; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Sauté until brown, about 4 minutes. Add garlic; toss 10 seconds. Add wine, 1 1/4 cups broth, bacon, and 1 tablespoon parsley. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Boil 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place flour in small cup. Add 1/4 cup broth, stirring until smooth. Add flour mixture to sauce. Cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 4 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken on platter; stir juices from pie dish into sauce and spoon over chicken. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon parsley.
If you’ve been feeling like a street cat caught in the rusty engine block of big city bus, it may be a good idea to whip out your astrocartography map. You’re probably living under a Saturn/Pluto line. What to do, what to do? Not much really. The truth is Pluto is in retrograde and anything going on in your life, good or bad, will just seem absolutely ridiculous. Chaos is yours Capricorn, but stay tuned, Pluto will be moving along come month’s end. In the meantime, Frito Pies all around!
2 ½ lb. ground beef
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
2 tbsp. ground cumin
2 tbsp. chili powder
2 tbsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
1¼ tbsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. paprika
1½ tsp. cayenne pepper
2 bay leaves
3 cups whole peeled canned tomatoes in juice, puréed
1 10.5-oz. bag Fritos-brand corn chips
Toppings: Shredded white and orange cheddar cheeses, sour cream, sliced jalapeños, minced red onion, sliced scallions, and cilantro leaves
Make the chili: Working in batches, add beef to a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring, until browned, about 10 minutes. Drain beef in a colander, and return pan to heat with oil. Add onion, and cook, stirring, until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add garlic, season with salt, and cook until garlic is soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, and bay leaves; stir until smooth and fragrant, about 1 minute. Add reserved beef, tomatoes, and 1½ cups water, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 45 minutes.
Divide chips among 6 serving bowls and top with chili. Garnish with cheeses, sour cream, jalapeños, red onion, scallions, and cilantro.
Recipe courtesy Saveur.
The penmanship exercises you learned in the third grade are morally bankrupt. They were designed to keep you from developing a sense of uniqueness. It’s time to write everything backward and upside down. There is no such thing as a hard-wired brain. Unwind your history, lose your sense of self, and become a light being. Just not a fluorescent one, I hate those. They actually deplete your karma. How about one of those new-fangled LED lights?
Madame Vincent sees lots of oily and delishes fishes down the stream to reinvention. Start with this go-to salmon recipe from one of the Madame’s big crushes, Mark Bittman.
4 6-ounce, skinned salmon fillets
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon coriander seeds or ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon whole or ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seed or ground cumin
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons peanut oil, grape seed or other neutral oil, or clarified butter
Season fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. If necessary, combine spices and grind them to a coarse powder in a coffee or spice grinder. Press some of the mixture onto the top of each fillet.
Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the oil or butter and, when it shimmers, place the fillets, coated side down, in the pan. Cook about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spice mixture forms a nicely browned crust.
Turn the fillets and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the salmon just slightly resists when pierced with a thin-bladed knife.
”There are times when I look over the various parts of my character with perplexity. I recognize that I am made up of several persons and that the person that at the moment has the upper hand will inevitably give place to another.”
–– W. Somerset Maugham
It’s one thing to know that you have several different personalities percolating inside you, but what do you do with the knowledge that that’s true for everyone in your life, your lover, your friend, your boss, & the cop giving you a traffic ticket? You are multiple persons and so is everyone around you. This month beauty abounds when your best personality meets the best of almost everyone around you. Lucky lucky you.
Happiness Soup, courtesy Nigella
2 large yellow zucchini
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon turmeric (Madame Vincent uses 3 teaspoons)
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup basmati rice
Salt and pepper
Wash and dice the zucchini. Put them into a pan with the lemon zest and oil, stir to coat, then cook on a gentle heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they’ve slightly softened.
Stir in the turmeric and pour in the stock and lemon juice and then drop in the rice.
Cook, uncovered, for 10-20 minutes, or just until the zucchini and rice are tender. Taste for seasoning.
Some images and recipes appropriated from other sources and shit.
On March 15, 44 BC, Caesar laughed at an oracle who predicted he wouldn’t last the day through. Later that night, he was stabbed 23 times.
Don’t let Madame Vincent be the oracle to your Caesar on this ides of March. Eat this triple-threat Asian pesto, invented by the Madame for this very day. Incorporating three herbs whose properties heighten the senses — mint, cilantro, basil — you will definitely not get snuck up on by 60 of your colleagues and stabbed to death.
Until now, the year has been all autographs, chumming it up with the paparazzi, and foot massages administered by underwear models. But beware, the anvil overhead is propped up by a toothpick. Time to slow the continuum and consider humility and simplicity. Let them flow over you like a lukewarm shock blanket.
Nothing is simpler than a perfect poached egg. And yet, to make it perfect requires humble tenacity, and a lot of egg shells.
The Perfect Poached Egg, courtesy Alton Brown
Always use fresh eggs. If you can’t see the difference between the “thick” white and the “thin” white, the yolks will probably break in the pan. Always deliver the eggs to the pan with a custard cup or large spoon. Avoid cracking directly into the pan. When using a non-stick skillet cook in no more than an inch of water. If you don’t have a non-stick pan, poach in a deep saucepan containing at least 3 inches of water. Always acidulate the poaching liquid with either vinegar or lemon juice (1 tsp per each cup of water).
Bring liquid to a boil, add eggs, then remove from heat and cover. How long you ask? It depends on how many eggs. I like my yolks barely runny so I’ll cook 4 eggs for 7 to 8 minutes depending on there size. Since more eggs will absorb more heat from the water, they will take longer to cook, so for large batches always include an extra “test” egg. Always remove eggs with a slotted spoon. Poached eggs can be refrigerated in ice water for up to 8 hours, then reheated in hot water. Do not re-boil.
The God of War rolling downhill backwards to his doom on a runaway skateboard may make for a lot of unique visits to your blog, but Mars in retrograde wears us all out. New plans fail, because you can’t climb the stairs. You can barely reach around your super-sized ass to pick up your value meal. I’m not suggesting you quit being a slug altogether, oh horned one, just try a little harder to tie your own shoes this month.
Start the grand slimming down with this curry from Ori Hofmekler’s Warrior Diet. Madame Vincent was quite pleased to discover its low-fat deliciousness.
Fish and Eggplant in Curry Tomato Sauce
1 1/2 lb. of white fish fillet (sole, flounder, turbot)
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes (14.5 oz.)
2 medium or large eggplants, peeled and cut into medium size chunks
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 small onion (optional)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon caraway seeds (optional)
3/4 teaspoon oregano
3/4 teaspoon thyme
Pinch of salt and cayenne pepper or to taste (optional)
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley for garnish
Clean and wash the fish fillet with water. Place the eggplant chunks in a steamer and cook until they are soft (about 15 minutes). Marinate the fish in an oven-proof bowl or pot with lid, with all the ingredients except the eggplant and cilantro or parsley. Preheat oven to 375° F and cook the fish in the sauce for one hour. When done, remove from oven, add the steamed eggplant and mash it all together with a fork. Garnish with chopped, fresh cilantro or parsley.
Although you’re usually a walking Swiss Army Knife, this month you’re all thumbs. If you work as an airline traffic controller, police officer, or are in control of a nuclear waste facility, kindly lay off the button/trigger. If you are a clown, cage fighter, or cat whisperer, let yourself go!
Gemini, Madame Vincent would like you to make something with a delicate flavor and color. A dish that screams “Get the hot sauce!” “Douse me in soy sauce!” Yet, Gemini, please exhibit restraint. Enjoy the simple flavor. Stay still and hopefully you won’t knock over the bowl.
Takenoko Miso Potage/Creamy Bamboo Shoot Soup With Miso, courtesy JustHungry.com
the white part of 1 leek
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup (about 3 heaped tablespoons) plain cooked white rice
1 small bamboo shoot - about 1 cup cut up plus 4 thin slices for garnish
1 cup water
2 cups whole soy milk or cow’s milk
2 tablespoons sweet white miso or saikyo miso, or plain white miso with 1 teaspoon sugar
salt and white pepper
sansho leaves, chives or parsley for garnish
Slice the leek finely. Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pan over low-medium heat, add the leek and saute until soft and translucent. (Adding a pinch of salt will help the onion soften faster.) Cut up the bamboo shoot, leaving 4 slices for garnish. Add the cut up bamboo shoot to the pan and saute briefly. (Remember it’s pre-cooked and already tender.) Add the water and rice. Turn up the heat until the water is boiling, then lower the heat again to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the water is almost all evaporated and the leek is very tender.
Blitz the contents of the pan in a food processor, mixer or with a stick blender until smooth. If you want it to be very smooth, pass through a sieve. Wash out the pan, and return the puree to it. Add the milk. Heat up while stirring over medium heat, until it’s bubbling gently. Take out a little of the mixture and put into a small bowl and add the miso. Stir until the miso is melted, then add to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with sliced bamboo shoots for garnish.
Chill out yo, you’re working too hard. You really got to get your boss to get rid of those fluorescent lights over your desk. You’re also taking too much lip from the barista at your corner coffee shop. Your #customerserviceproblems should clear up near the end of the month and you’ll finally get a chance to braid your best friend’s hair on the stoop.
Pack some magic in your lunchbox by improvising a sandwich that’s a wild caucauphony of flavor, like Saltie’s beloved Scuttlebutt, which you can find in Williamsburg, Brooklyn if you happen by.
Madame Vincent’s rendition of a Scuttlebutt
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced, cold
1 roasted beet, sliced, cold
1 tablespoon capers
1 teaspoon sliced kalamata olives
couple sweet baby gherkins, chopped
handful chopped parsley
salt & pepper
Spread both sides of the bread with generous amounts of mayo. Layer one side with stacks of egg and beet slices. Sprinkle on the capers, sliced olives, chopped gherkins and pickled red onions. Pat everything down so it sticks nicely. You can use a little mayo to secure these little morsels in place if need be. Top with feta cheese and sprinkle with parsley and arugula, and maybe some salt and pepper. Now carefully close it up and give it a nice press downward with your hand before digging in.
I’m supposed to tell you about Caesar getting killed by his senators and blah blah blah. I’m supposed to tell you to watch your back. But something tells me we’ve both been watching too much Sopranos. Just be careful around the 15th. Your beloved cup could finally shatter just as you’re about to take a sip of your morning coffee.
Leo, dig into a dish every Italian grandmother can make in her sleep while rolling rice balls with her feet.
Chicken Parm, courtesy Mario Battali’s Otto
Basic Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup coarsely grated peeled carrots
3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 28-ounce cans peeled whole tomatoes in juice
10 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
3 cups fresh breadcrumbs (from crustless French bread ground in processor)
2 large eggs
1 cup (about) all purpose flour
6 tablespoons (or more) olive oil, divided
3 cups coarsely grated well-drained fresh water-packed mozzarella, divided
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 1/4 cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese, divided
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
Basic Tomato Sauce
Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; sauté until onions are soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Add carrots and thyme; sauté until carrots are soft, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes with juice; bring to boil, coarsely crushing tomatoes with potato masher or fork. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until sauce thickens and is reduced to generous 5 cups, about 1 hour. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Place chicken breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using meat mallet or rolling pin, pound chicken breasts to 1/3-inch thickness. Sprinkle both sides of chicken with salt and pepper. Spread breadcrumbs on plate. Whisk eggs to blend in medium bowl. Spread flour on another plate. Coat both sides of chicken with flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Working in batches, add chicken to skillet and cook until brown, about 2 minutes per side, adding more oil as needed (chicken will not be cooked through). Transfer chicken to platter. Spread 1 cup sauce over bottom of 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange 1 layer of chicken over sauce. Spoon 2 cups sauce over. Sprinkle half of mozzarella, Parmesan, and Pecorino over. Repeat with remaining chicken, sauce, mozzarella, Parmesan, and Pecorino. Bake until cheeses melt and chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and marjoram and serve.
You’ve been saying “No” far too much this year and you have unoriginal, misleading, offensive and repetitive views that are against the status quo. Congratulations! Even though you’ve been feeling you’re doing everything wrong, you’ve been doing a splendid job all along.
When Madame Vincent wants to treat herself, Madame Vincent reaches for the kimchi. So for you, this month, Kimchi Hot Dogs! (Madame Vincent predicts this is the best stove top method of making hot dogs you will find on all the interwebs.)
Kimchi Hot Dogs courtesy Steamy Kitchen
1/2 cup kimchi, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
4 hot dogs
4 hot dog rolls
4 tablespoons Korean hot mustard or any spicy mustard
First prepare the relish by mixing together the kimchi, honey, and vinegar in a small bowl.
Next, follow this method for cooking hot dogs from The Paupered Chef: Add a little water to a skillet, just enough to barely cover half the pan. Heat it up until it begins to steam off, then add the hot dogs. Allow them to steam as the water boils off completely. You may need to tilt the skillet and drain off the last tablespoon or so. Next, add a tablespoon of butter for each dog. The hot dog will begin to blister and turn all sorts of savory colors. Once they’re as brown as you like them, remove from pan, place in a toasted bun, top with relish and chow down!
It’s time to put down the baby, the AK-47 and the bullhorn. The apocalypse will be waiting for you when you get back. Take a vacation from the madness that has been your year so far Libra. Now is the time to gather up the important things in life: sunscreen, margaritas, pulled pork sandwiches, and sunglasses. Gone Fishin’.
Slow-Cooked Pulled Pork Sandwiches (great with this cole slaw)
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 tablespoon smokey hot paprika
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 pound(s) boneless pork shoulder blade roast (fresh pork butt), cut into 4 pieces
12 soft sandwich buns or ciabatta rolls
In 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow-cooker pot, stir onion, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, tomato paste, paprika, Worcestershire, mustard, salt, and pepper until combined. Add pork to sauce mixture and turn to coat well with sauce. Cover slow cooker with lid and cook pork mixture on low setting as manufacturer directs, 8 to 10 hours or until pork is very tender. With tongs, transfer pork to large bowl. Turn setting on slow cooker to high; cover and heat sauce to boiling to thicken and reduce slightly. While sauce boils, with 2 forks, pull pork into shreds. Return shredded pork to slow cooker and toss with sauce to combine. Cover slow cooker and heat through on high setting if necessary. Spoon pork mixture onto bottom of sandwich buns and close.
A funny thing happened to me while I was remote viewing Cydonia, trying to dig up some important news for your month. I totally fell asleep and spilled my inkwell all over your chart. When I mess up like that, I like to zone out for a bit and surf the interwebs. This very night I landed on a ghetto fight video depicting a very small man being sat upon by a very large woman.
Scorpio you are the very small man but you need to work on being the very large woman this month. How can you pull off this voluminous transformation? 1) Practice some of your favorite parlor tricks (how are you at beer pong? tie a cherry stem with your tongue?). 2) Bake your own bread.
There are a few things that make Madame Vincent feel like a kitchen pimp — making cheese, roasting a large bird, and baking bread. This virally popular no-knead recipe from Jim Lahey, via Mark Bittman, has a touch of science project feel, particularly because you let it rest overnight while it does its thing. It’s a recipe that welcomes experimentation. It’s hard to fuck up. And the results are impressive. You’ll be ready to sit on plenty of skinny men once you get a couple loaves under your belt.
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles.
Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes.
Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.
There are some great ideas for tweaks and variations to this recipe here.
The twelfth of the month is disastrous for you and your lover, or you and your pet. I can’t figure out which. Maybe it’s because a lot of Sags in my hood have really ugly mates. I dunno, Madame Vincent’s crystal ball is cracked like your iPhone screen. In any case, lay low on the twelfth and eat some dill for good measure.
In Medieval Europe, the demand for dill was so high, growers could barely keep up. It was and still is considered a powerful herb in protection spells of all sorts. Grab some jars of dill pickles and try this tangy dilly Hanoi dish, one of Madame Vincent’s favorites in the galaxy. Madame tweaked this version from Wandering Chopsticks a bit and it turned out lovely.
Cha Ca Thang Long (Vietnamese Hanoi-Style Turmeric Fish with Dill)
2 lbs sturgeon or other white fish
1 2-inch knob of ginger, grated
1 tsp salt
2 teaspoons Nuoc Mam (Vietnamese Fish Sauce)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 bunches scallions, chopped into 2-inch pieces, white parts sliced in half length-wise
2 bunches dill, chopped into 2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
Prepare 2 lbs of sturgeon or any other firm-fleshed white fish of your choice. Cut into 1- by 2-inch pieces. Set aside. Grate a 2-inch knob of ginger. Set aside.
In a bowl, add salt, fish sauce, ground black pepper, sugar, and turmeric. Add the grated ginger and fish, mix thoroughly to marinate. Set aside.
Prepare the green onions and dill by cutting them into 2-inch segments. Slice the green onions in half lengthwise at the thick white parts. Wash and set aside.
In a large sauce pan on medium-high heat, add a generous amount of olive oil (about 2-3 tablespoons). Add a few cloves of smashed garlic. Toss in the fish pieces and let them cook, flipping over halfway. When the fish look almost done, add in the dill and green onions. Cook until they soften.
Serve over rice or vermicelli noodles. Toss with crushed peanuts and cilantro if you like.
What does it mean when you smell burnt toast? It usually means you have cancer and your puppy is having a stroke. If you are making toast then you may also be burning it. Don’t look for zebras this month Capricorn.
Croissant French Toast
9 day-old croissants
6 large eggs
3 cup heavy (whipping) cream
1 shot whiskey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
Halve the croissants as if you were making sandwiches. Whisk together the eggs, cream, whiskey, and cinnamon, and pour the mixture into a large shallow pan. Immerse the croissant halves in the liquid and let them soak for a few minutes, then flip them over and soak them for another minute. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the croissants, a few at a time, until golden on both sides, adding more butter as necessary. As they’re cooked, put the croissants in a shallow pan loosely tented with aluminum foil to keep them warm.
Recipe courtesy Epicurious.com.
You have been getting so much ass! But by mid-month your suitcase filled with trophy wives will be cobwebbed and dusty. So eat some stinky funking garlicy thing with a side of durian, the rotting corpse smelling fruit. Don’t shower. And let your nose hair grow in. Let it all hang out, Aquarius.
Crawl inside your pillow fort with some garlic onion soup (great with grilled cheese sandwiches). The beauty of this recipe is that you probably won’t even have to leave the house to gather up the ingredients.
Roasted Allium Soup
3 red onions
1 head of garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
juice of ½ lemon
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350F. On a baking sheet, spread 3 red onions (halved but not peeled) and a head of garlic (intact, only the outer dry skin removed and the root cut off). Toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil and roast for about 40 minutes or until vegetables are soft and browned. Once the vegetables have cooled a little, peel and roughly chop the onions. Peel and mash the garlic cloves. In a saucepan, combine 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock, and the roasted onions and garlic. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Blend to a coarse puree (leaving some chunky pieces). Season with freshly-ground pepper, salt, the juice of 1/4 lemon.
A long lost friend will appear by the side of the road, like a ghost looking for a ride back to the cemetery. You have to forgive them.
Marjoram is said to induce calm, clarity, harmony and forgiveness. Lucky for you, it’s also a handy herb and makes a delicious tangy vinaigrette. Pour it on everything this month, Pisces.
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram leaves, coarsely chopped
1 to 2 serrano chiles, minced
Sugar to taste (optional)
Thoroughly combine ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Recipe courtesy Epicurious.com.
This month, to honor Food Fortunes’ first time in print since the tomb of Tutankhamen was unsealed, we’re pleased as punch to present a boozy version of Food Fortunes. Taking a cue from the cocktail horoscopes Madame Vincent was asked to divine for Drink Me magazine, we present a Valentine’s special of drink-o-scopes.
Get your destiny on,
So while you made love to yourself in your rear view mirror, your destiny T-boned you. Can you be held accountable when you’re in a narcissistic trance? Snap out of it, Romeo.
Madame Vincent recommends a potent shot of Sambuca and a double espresso for you Aries. No more bullshit.
No, do not press play on the next episode of Idiotville. There are seven more seasons to go and you’ve been procrastinating about cashing in those Marlboro Miles. Look out the little window in the little cell you’ve boxed yourself in and see the sunrise.
Speaking of sunrise, Madame Vincent suggests one of her favorite and decidedly uncool drinks, a Tequila Sunrise. As you sip the beautiful peach colored elixer, dream of the unknown territories you’ll be conquering.
2 ounces tequila
4 ounces orange juice
½ ounce grenadine
Pour the tequila and the orange juice into a highball glass with ice cubes. Stir. Hold a spoon upside down over the top of the glass. Slowly pour the grenadine over the spoon so that it settles on the bottom and creates the sunrise effect.
Demons can’t break into your dream life. This may seem hard to remember as you, your high school water polo coach, and that bank teller you hate cling naked to one another for warmth in a hot-air balloon ride over Alaska.
Even though the wind is vicious and there’s a lot of screaming, you cannot be possessed or taken by an evil being in your sleep. No matter how scary it gets. You’re safe. So safe, you can tempt the fates with a sinister cocktail from the Savoy cocktail book, originally published in 1930: the Corpse Reviver.
The Corpse Reviver
3/4 ounce gin
3/4 ounce Cointreau
3/4 ounce Lillet blanc
3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice
Splash of absinthe
Put all the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.
”1842. Note in London Times, July 5. At Cupar, Scotland, clothes hanging on a line shot upwards suddenly; a loud detonation was noted simultaneously. Some of the clothes fell to the ground, others vanished. Unexplained.
1842. See Annals of Electricity, 6,499. In Liverpool, May 11th, clothes hanging on a line suddenly ‘shot upward.’ They moved away slowly. Smoke from chimneys indicated that above ground there was a southward wind, but the clothes moved away northward.” — from Haunted People by Hereward Carrington and Nandor Fodor
It’s not your fault you lost your favorite sock in the dryer. A poltergeist ate it. They need them for fuel. Can’t lie to you Cancer, this month interrobangs abound. You’ll be lucky if you find a matching pair all month. The Gin & Bear It, in name and in style, is calling your name.
Gin & Bear It
1 ounce gin
½ ounce beer (Madame Vincent recommends Miller High Life, the Champagne of Beers)
Pour into shot glass. Drink fast. Then drink another. And another.
The obligatory nature of kissing games can be comforting or terrifying depending on who the long neck of the bottle lands on. Look at the arc of your recent past while focusing on the label of the spinning bottle, and think about who you would like to kiss and how you would like them to kiss you back. Then allow yourself to swoon, knees buckling, totally PG-13. I’m jealous of you and your open access to non-hazardous gratification this month, Simba.
When Madame Vincent thinks of Spin the Bottle, she thinks of Three Minutes in Heaven, which was scarier and thus more fun. Madame Vincent also thinks of rum and coke — a high school drink of choice — that today she finds nauseating. Madame Vincent would like you to toast your love with something classier and sweet not in the saccharine sense.
The Rose-Cardamom Silver Fizz courtesy Gilt Taste
2 ounces gin
1 tablespoon Royal Rose Rose syrup
Juice of ¼ lemon
1 egg white
4 cardamom pods, broken
1 tablespoon seltzer
Shake first five ingredients with plenty of crushed ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top with tablespoon of seltzer.
Of course it’s easier to do the borders of a jigsaw puzzle first. This month jump right in on the sky, the water, or the wheat field and refocus your eagle eye on the big picture. Reap the sublime.
It should be obvious why Madame Vincent has chosen this drink for you dear Virgo. If not, please watch Breathless immediately.
Jean Luc Godard created by Kestrel Burley of SwimClub 32 of Denver
2 parts bourbon
1 part St. Germain
1/2 part fresh lemon juice
1 dash black pepper syrup (a simple syrup made from whole black peppercorns and unrefined sugar)
In a mixing glass combine all ingredients over ice and shake. Strain into a pepper and sugar rimmed rocks glass over ice.
My how pretty you think you look. More ho than pimp. Even though it feels like a debutante’s ball it’s a whorehouse. Beware of illusions this month. Like at the end of that Pat Benatar video, first you must confront the pimp before you and your crew can shimmy at him menacingly.
In honor of the pimp you’re about to put down, the Suffering Bastard.
The Suffering Bastard
1 ounce bourbon
1 ounce gin
1 ounce fresh lime juice (or less, to taste)
1 dash Angostura bitters
4 ounces chilled ginger ale
Pour ingredients into an ice-filled Old Fashioned glass and top with ginger ale, adding more ice if needed. Garnish with a sprig of mint or an orange slice.
A big brother’s job is of course to kick your ass when you deserve it, but it’s also about showing you the way when you’re lost. Unfortunately brothers are often wandering in the dark looking for their own big brothers to follow and hoping their own asses don’t get kicked.
Sometimes the clammy little hand your holding lets go, but it’s usually only temporary. The buddy system is still used in grade schools everywhere.
Bittersweet Symphony created at Clyde Common in Portland and here via Cocktalia
1 1/2 ounce gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce Aperol
Dash of lemon bitters
Lemon twist for garnish
Combine all liquid ingredients in an ice-filled mixing glass and stir until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
The most memorable middle finger tossed to Madame Vincent was during a naked backyard turnip dig. The screen door was locked and the poor thing couldn’t get out of her own house. She gave us a good one though, strong and visually interesting like a fifteen-year-old girl in her first year of Flag Corps. Madame Vincent politely finished the dig, keeping my chuckle from a chortle, and went home and made Mom’s Romanian Beet Soup.
Keep your cool Sag. To resort to the digitus impudicus is in your nature. Take the stairs one at time this month, everybody will thank you for it.
No beer muscles for you. Stick to civilized afternoon sipping with a nice hot toddy. Here’s a lovely Chamomile variation.
Chamomile Hot Toddy from the Carlyle Restaurant in Portland
1.5 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce chamomile liqueur
2/3 ounce Meyer lemon juice
1/4 ounce honey
1 dash lavender bitters
In a coffee mug, add first three ingredients. Add honey syrup and lavender bitters, stir to incorporate the ingredients. Add hot water to fill, stir again, and garnish with a lemon peel.
Accept that you’re a goof and you’ve spilled your margarita on an angel’s wings. Best belly up to the bar and buy the 9-foot tall monster and his angry posse from the Third Order (first sphere) a round if you don’t want to wake up in a hospital bed overlooking the Happy Hunting Ground. No time for denial, time for Love of Hell.
Two dashes Cholula Hot Sauce
3/4 ounces fresh lime
1 ounce St. Germain
1.5 ounces Don Julio Reposado
Shake and serve on the rocks. If feeling ambitious rub rim of glass in chili powder and salt.
Erik Weihenmayer is the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest and the first monkey in space was Albert II. Albert didn’t have much of a choice, while Erik did. This month choose to be Erik. Do for you.
With your busy month ahead, Madame Vincent was tempted to suggest you simply don’t drink, but knowing how foolish that prescription is Madame Vincent has decided you will drink the original, no-frills version of this classic, sturdy cocktail. Keep in mind Albert would have added fruit to his.
Old Fashioned per the original 1893 recipe
1 sugar cube
3 dashes of bitters
3 ounces of bourbon or rye whiskey
Place sugar cube, bourbon and bitters in shaker. Shake and serve over ice in an old fashioned glass with a lemon twist.
” When you get caught between the moon and New York City
I know it’s crazy but it’s true
If you get caught between the moon and New York City
The best that you can do (the best that you can do)
The best that you can do is fall in love” — Christopher Cross
Arthur’s Theme is one of those songs we hum and yet we never know what we’re singing. Internet research tells us it’s just a sappy love song. This was a rather disappointing discovery for Madame Vincent who always thought the song was about getting stuck in an impossible, fantastical, absurd situation and pulling a pretty white rabbit with a twitchy pink nose out of your ass.
Pisces, sing Arthur’s Theme all month but think about Madame Vincent’s interpretation. While singing pour yourself one of these unusually delicious drinks and ponder life’s possibilities.
Everest named after a Blackpool, England Indian restaurant
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1 ounce Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut
2.5 ounces gin
½ ounce lemon juice
Garnish: Bay leaf
Mix curry powder with Coco Lopez to make a paste. Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a sprinkle of additional curry powder and a bay leaf.
Recipe courtesy SeriousEats.com
Led by Moses, the people of Israel journeyed on bad shoes from Rameses to Succoth. Chefs and Mailmen & Rabbis and Nurses, they ate from the great invisible wreath with glee and they made it there in 17 days, a day under the Long Walk of the Navajo. Aries, it’s not that often we have a crew at the ready to love us and wash our clothes and rescue us from floods. This year, you will.
Thyme grew wild in Israel during biblical times. Roman soldiers bathed in thyme for courage and strength. Madame Vincent has a favorite standby sauce that stars thyme. This sauce has made appearances on Madame Vincent’s chicken, pasta, and in leaner times, toast. It’s especially lovely over pumpkin ravioli.
Thyme Butter Sauce
1 cup butter
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 shallot, minced
Heat butter in heavy skillet over medium heat. Add shallot. Sautee until translucent. Turn up the heat to medium high. Let the butter brown slightly. Add thyme. Stir. Serve.
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” — Oscar Wilde
Taurus, with your chin tilted up and your eyes bright, lit by the stars and moon, you sure are a sight. The beautiful dreamer with the punched-up face. This year, when flirting with the celestial temptresses make sure your toes are firmly planted in the terra firma. Don’t indulge in what might be so much, that you don’t see what is.
Madame Vincent would like you to prepare something you grew up eating. Whether that be Chinese takeout or lasagna or Tab poured over Cheerios, just make sure it’s prepared according to your tongue’s memory. To get you thinking, Madame Vincent presents a beloved recipe from Grandma Vincent.
Grandma Vincent’s Lamb Stew
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large onion, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
4 cups water, or as needed
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 cup coarsely chopped leeks
chopped fresh parsley
Heat oil over medium heat in a large stockpot. Add lamb and cook, stirring gently, until evenly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook with the meat for a few minutes. Stir in the water. Cover and bring to a boil. Turn down the temperature to a low simmer for 1 hour or longer, until the meat is tender and falling apart.
Stir in potatoes,and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Add leeks and continue to simmer uncovered, until potatoes are cooked through. Stir in parsley. Serve.
Even though you really tried to fuck it up, you won! Rolled out from under the boulder seconds before the band kicked up. And now the question is, who should you thank in your acceptance speech? The other question is (there’s always more than one question) who’s going to Kanye your Taylor Swift?
Madame Vincent thought long and hard about what would make a good celebration meal for you Gemini. Something served in the White House? Served at the Kardashian wedding? Served at the Knights of Columbus Bingo Bonanza? Madame Vincent settled on this special dish. Hopefully your moment in the sun will be as glorious.
10 free-range organic eggs, lightly beaten
4 hard-boiled eggs, roughly diced
1.5 lbs. chicken breast and thighs, on the bone (about half a chicken)
A large handful of bread, crumb only, pulled from a good country loaf
3 cups homemade chicken stock or water
5 tbsp. olive oil or more
½ lemon or lime, cut into small wedges
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a stockpot, poach the chicken in homemade chicken stock or salted water for 25-30 minutes, skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface. When the chicken is no longer pink, remove and discard the skin, but leave some fat, which will give the menina flavor.
Pull the meat from the bones and roughly chop it. Combine the chicken with the hard-cooked eggs in a medium-sized bowl. At this point, if you poached the chicken in water, return the bones to the pot and continue cooking them for another hour until you have a good-tasting broth; otherwise, proceed with the recipe.
In a small bowl, moisten the bread with ¼ to ½ cup of stock. Grease a nine-inch cake pan with a generous quantity of olive oil. Warm the pan in the oven. (This operation should only take a minute or two. If the oil begins to smoke, clean the pan and start over). Wring out the bread and add it to the bowl with the chicken and hard-boiled eggs. Tip in the beaten eggs and season the mixture aggressively with sea salt and fresh-cracked black paper, then, wearing oven mitts, pour it into the prepared pan and cover the pan. Bake the minina for 15-20 minutes until firm. When it is done, turn off the oven, and ladle on a half cup of chicken stock, freezing the rest for another use. Return the pan to the unlit oven for another ten minutes or so until most of the stock has been absorbed. Chill the menina in the refrigerator. Serve in cube-sized pieces garnished with small wedges of lemon.
Cancer, your exoskeleton is in the shop and your skin is working extra hard to keep you from coming apart at the seams. Madame Vincent thinks you should get in line for your Man Card. 2012 will be chock full of all sorts of excitement, some good, a smidge more than some is going to be terrible, and most will be absolutely hilarious.
Bee pollen is said to provide strength, energy and stamina. You could use a mega dose this year Crabby.
Bee Pollen Popcorn, from Gargoylses on the Square in Somerville, MA
1/2 cup popcorn (unpopped)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon bee pollen
Approximately 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
Approximately 2 teaspoons sugar (to taste)
Heat oil over medium high heat in a large, heavy duty saucepan. Place 3 kernels of popcorn in saucepan and cover. When they pop, you’ll know the oil is hot enough. Pour remaining popcorn kernels into saucepan and shake continuously until popping bascally stops, leaving lid open enough to release steam. Remove from heat.
Grind bee pollen to a fine powder in a coffee grinder or flax seed mill. Sprinkle over popcorn and stir. Add salt and sugar to taste and stir again or cover and shake to evenly disperse.
Hibernating bears bypass the winter when their food supply disappears. Madame Vincent suggests you do the same. Life gets a bit serious. Supplies will run low. Roadblocks abound. And you’ll be out of step with the pack. Let the weather pass. During the weeks before hibernation, bears chow down. They can gain as much as 30 pounds per week. Shovel it in and drink up.
Peanut butter and red meat are two of the highest calorie foods. When you combine them? African Peanut Butter Beef Stew.
Peanut Butter Beef Stew
1/2 creamy peanut butter
2 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped carrots
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
Salt and pepper
14 1/2 ounce can diced tomatoes and the liquid
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter and the beef broth until well blended. Set aside. Season the meat with salt and pepper.
In a large saucepan or stew pot, heat the canola oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper, and carrots. Sauté until the onions are translucent. Add the meat and continue to cook, stirring often, until it is browned on all sides.
Add the peanut butter and broth mixture, tomatoes and liquid, thyme, and bay leaf. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender
Add salt and pepper if desired. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Serve hot over rice.
Recipe courtesy AfricaWithin.com
It’s not a good idea to object to your best friend’s wedding just because you’ve mentally undressed the groom. And you can’t firebomb the office because you didn’t get a holiday bonus. An old roommate used to throw his shoes into the bushes to scare away the thrushes but they always returned in song. Madame Vincent has age-old advice for you Virgo: pick your battles. George Washington, the nation’s model of self-control and strategic thinking can be your guide. George had a frequent hankering for something called Mushroom Catsup (ketchup really), a recipe first appearing in the 1800s.
7 1/2 pounds whole cremini mushrooms
Cold water, plus 2 1/2 cups room-temperature water
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large unpeeled cloves garlic
2 whole cloves
Line two or three baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Divide the mushrooms between two very large, deep bowls, then add just enough cold water to cover. Move the mushrooms around with your hand to dislodge any dirt. Let the mushrooms sit in the water for no more than 5 minutes; if they soak longer, the mushrooms will absorb too much moisture and lose some flavor.
Use a large slotted spoon to transfer the mushrooms to the lined baking sheets. Pat the tops dry with more paper towels. Refrigerate uncovered for about 2 hours, so the mushrooms can dry. Stem the cleaned, dried mushrooms; reserve the stems for another use, if desired.
Have two very large, wide pots at hand. Use enough of the stemmed mushrooms to create a single layer in the each of the pots. Lightly sprinkle with some of the salt. Repeat to use all of the mushrooms and salt, dividing them between the pots. Let sit for about 15 minutes.
Add the remaining (total) 2 1/2 cups of water to the mushrooms, dividing it as needed between the pots. Place the pots over medium-high heat. Use a potato masher to crush the mushrooms until you can see the level of liquid among the mushroom chunks. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes.
Working in small batches, strain all of the mushroom mixture through a fine-mesh strainer (or a large strainer lined with cheesecloth) into a separate large saucepan, pushing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the remaining pulp. You’ll have about 7 1/2 cups of liquid.
Add the garlic and cloves to the saucepan; place over medium-high heat and cook for 30 to 45 minutes or until the liquid has been reduced by about two-thirds. The catsup should just coat the back of a spoon. It should taste a little salty and have a strong mushroom flavor and aroma.
Strain in small batches through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl nestled inside a larger bowl filled with ice. Discard the solids.
When the catsup has cooled, cover and refrigerate for several days before serving. It can be refrigerated for up to several weeks.
Recipe courtesy The Washington Post
Two sparkly emoticons, passionately carved from purple quartz, lay on the console in front of you: a smiley and a frowny. One is welcoming and warm. The other is superficial and evasive. The world is begging you to throw one under the bus this year and Madame Vincent bets you know which side will pay the fare. Warm up to the world around you with one of Madame Vincent’s all-time favorite dishes, Pho.
Vietnamese Pho Rice Noodle Soup with Beef
5 pounds beef marrow or knuckle bones
2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 2 pieces
2 (3-inch) pieces ginger, cut in half lengthwise and lightly bruised with the flat side of a knife, lightly charred
2 yellow onions, peeled and charred
1/4 cup fish sauce
3 ounces rock sugar, or 3 tablespoons sugar
10 whole star anise, lightly toasted in a dry pan
6 whole cloves, lightly toasted in a dry pan
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 pound dried 1/16-inch-wide rice sticks, soaked, cooked and drained
1/3 pound beef sirloin, slightly frozen, then sliced paper-thin across the grain
1/2 yellow onion, sliced paper-thin
3 scallions, cut into thin rings
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 pound bean sprouts
10 sprigs Asian basil
6 Thai bird chilies or 1 serrano chili, cut into thin rings
1 lime, cut into 6 thin wedges
Freshly ground black pepper
In a large stockpot, bring 6 quarts water to a boil. Place the bones and beef chuck in a second pot and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil vigorously for 5 minutes. Using tongs, carefully transfer the bones and beef to the first pot of boiling water. Discard the water in which the meat cooked. (This cleans the bones and meat and reduces the impurities that can cloud the broth.) When the water returns to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Skim the surface often to remove any foam and fat. Add the charred ginger and onions, fish sauce and sugar. Simmer until the beef chuck is tender, about 40 minutes. Remove one piece and submerge in cool water for 10 minutes to prevent the meat from darkening and drying out. Drain, then cut into thin slices and set aside. Let the other piece of beef chuck continue to cook in the simmering broth.
When the broth has been simmering for about 1 1/2 hours total, wrap the star anise and cloves in a spice bag (or piece of cheesecloth) and add to the broth. Let infuse until the broth is fragrant, about 30 minutes. Remove and discard both the spice bag and onions. Add the salt and continue to simmer, skimming as necessary, until you’re ready to assemble the dish. The broth needs to cook for at least 2 hours. (The broth will taste salty but will be balanced once the noodles and accompaniments are added.) Leave the remaining chuck and bones to simmer in the pot while you assemble the bowls.
To serve, place the cooked noodles in preheated bowls. (If the noodles are not hot, reheat them in a microwave or dip them briefly in boiling water to prevent them from cooling down the soup.) Place a few slices of the beef chuck and the raw sirloin on the noodles. Bring the broth to a rolling boil; ladle about 2 to 3 cups into each bowl. The broth will cook the raw beef instantly. Garnish with yellow onions, scallions and cilantro. Serve immediately, inviting guests to garnish the bowls with bean sprouts, herbs, chilies, lime juice and black pepper.
How to Char Ginger and Onions: To char ginger, hold the piece with tongs directly over an open flame or place it directly on a medium-hot electric burner. While turning, char until the edges are slightly blackened and the ginger is fragrant, about 3 to 4 minutes. Char the onions in the same way. Peel and discard the blackened skins of the ginger and onions, then rinse and add to the broth.
Develop your baseball memory this year. Beware of break-up pie and don’t turn anyone down pouring a stiff drink. No use crying over spilled milk. Just be thankful it missed your laptop. Take you out to the ballgame with homemade cracker jacks, Scorpio.
Homemade Cracker Jacks
1 1/2 cups salted Spanish redskin peanuts
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons butter, melted plus 1/4 cup unsalted butter
9 cups popped corn
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cane syrup
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine the peanuts, cayenne, salt, garlic powder, Worcestershire, lemon juice, and melted butter, tossing to coat well. Spread mixture evenly over the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on parchment paper or paper towels. Combine the cooled spiced nuts and popcorn and divide evenly between 2 lightly greased baking sheets with 1/2-inch edges. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees F.
In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining unsalted butter, sugar, and cane syrup over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda. Pour hot mixture evenly over both baking sheets of popcorn and nuts. Using a lightly greased spatula, stir the mixture well so that everything is evenly coated. Bake for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Remove caramel corn from the baking sheets and cool completely on waxed paper. Store in an air-tight container for up to 1 week.
Hey Tarzan, sit still you’re freaking everyone out. If you don’t heel, somebody’s going to come along and slap a collar on you. Got any ideas who may be standing by with the dog cops? No matter. Comb your hair. Put on some pants. And wipe that smirk off your face. How about something civilized, dare Madame Vincent say dainty, for you Sagittarius: a classy soup from Per Se’s Thomas Keller.
1 ¾ pounds sunchokes
4 tablespoons sweet butter
2 teaspoons thinly sliced garlic
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
3 ¼ cups chicken stock
2 ¼ cups heavy cream
Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
5 ounces whipped heavy cream
64 croquettes (see recipe below)
8 sprigs of chervil
Scrub the sunchokes and carefully peel the outer skin. Slice them thinly and store in ice water.
Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and shallots and sweat until softened (do not allow them to color). Drain the sunchokes and add to the pan, cover with stock, and simmer until the sunchokes are soft. Add the cream, return to a boil, and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully ladle small quantities at a time into the blender and purée the soup until smooth and velvety. Strain through a chinois.
Just before serving, bring the soup to a simmer and vigorously whisk in the whipped cream to achieve a light, frothy texture. Garnish with chervil.
Rumor has it Confucius was a jerk. He was known to preen around like a proud peacock and prone to fistfights over trivialities. Let disillusionment become inspiration this year Capricorn. Be surprised and then be spurred into action. This spicy beef spurs Madame Vincent into action. Plus, little known fact: red meat was Confucius’ favorite meal.
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or whole dried chilis, more may be added to increase heat
1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 lb flank steak
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 large green onions
Make the sauce by heating 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over med/low heat. Add ginger, crushed red pepper, and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches. Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and lightly boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove it from the heat.
Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4” thick bite-size slices. Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef. As the beef sits, heat up one cup of oil in a wok or pan. Heat the oil over medium heat until it’s nice and hot, but not smoking. Add the beef to the oil and sauté for just two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges.
After a couple minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, then pour the oil out of the wok or skillet. Put the pan back over the heat, add the water, dump the meat back into it and simmer for one minute. Add the sauce, cook for one minute while stirring, then add all the green onions. Cook for one more minute, then serve.
Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com
The cosmos set forth an inscrutable object, a banana-colored Slip n’ Slide for you to navigate while the Ghosts-of-Bullshit-Past stand by in their swim trunks with wiffle-ball bats. Madame Vincent offers you an emerald-studded pair of horse blinders to make it through to Spring. What’s the culinary equivalent of horse blinders? Something so delicious and satisfying, nothing matters? So many dishes qualify, but only one has consistently been a source of comfort: freshly delivered, hot, crispy, thin crust pizza.
Madame Vincent’s Freshly Delivered, Hot, Crispy, Thin Crust Pizza
Call 718-599-2210. Order a large pie. Wait 45 minutes. When doorbell rings, pay man $25. Take box from him. Serve.
The nice thing about being Batman in 2012 is that the costume is much more comfortable with breathable fabrics and less chafing. Pisces you are no longer a sidekick this year, you’re Conan. No more fat Andy sitting dumb in the dumb chair for you. You’re Lucy. You’re Bo. Hop into the nearest phone booth, you’re about to go from unassuming to thrilling. When Madame Vincent tries to conjure up a dish worthy of the word thrilling, too many things come to mind. But one, we only need one.
Last year Madame Vincent ate out many times and many times she was impressed. This dish was one of the most impressive, most unusual and most memorable. Thrilling.
Torrisi Italian Specialties’ Jamaican Curry Cavatelli
1 - Curried Cavatelli
6 cups flour
3 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 cup + 3 tablespoons hot water from the tap
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
2 tablespoons jamaican spice mix
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl of a stand mixer and knead until the dough comes together — about 2 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and let sit for at least 10 minutes and up to a couple hours.
Smush the dough out into a disc about an inch thick. Cut it into strips narrow enough to fit through your cavatelli maker then pass the strips through the machine cranking out the cavatelli. Refrigerate or freeze pasta until ready to use. To cook: boil in salted water for 3-4 minutes.
2 - Jamaican Spice Mix
22.5 g whole annatto seeds
2.5 g whole allspice
9 g cumin seeds
12 g coriander
30 g black peppercorns
18 g ground cardamom
42 g ground turmeric
Grind the spices, mix, and store. Use as needed.
3 - Putting it Together
1 recipe’s worth Curried Cavatelli
1/4 cup Jamaican Spice Mix
2 lbs ground beef
1 1/2 cups beef or chicken stock
1 1/2 lbs onions, peeled and cut into a thick julienne
1 lb tomatoes, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 3-inch pieces ginger, minced
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jalepeno pepper, seeded and minced
2 habanero peppers, seeded and sliced into rings and sauteed in oil separately
1/2 cup ricotta-goat cheese mix (3 to 1 mixture of ricotta and soft goat cheese)
2 tablespoons butter
Heat oil in a wide saute pan over medium high heat. Add onions. Wait 5 minutes and then toss them for the first time. Season with a generous pinch of salt and turn heat down to medium low. The goal is to create sweet, soft, brown-gold onions. Plan to saute for about 45 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add garlic, ginger and jalapeno. Cook over medium low heat for about 15 more minutes. The pan should be drying out. Nothing should be burnt but that should be an imminent threat.
Once the pan is almost dry, add the tomatoes and bring the heat up to medium. Cook until the moisture is about 80% gone and the mixture is dense and paste-like, but not yet a paste.
Add the Jamaican Spice Mix. Cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
At the same time as the above is happening or beforehand, cook the meat in a separate pan. Use a wide skillet. Add the ground beef and a big pinch of salt. Break up the beef with a spoon and cook it through until it browns, making sure to remove it before it dries out.
Transfer the beef and fat in the pan into tomato-onion mixture. Add a pinch of sugar and the stock and cover. Leave the lid slightly ajar, turn heat down to low, and simmer for 1-2 hours. Stir occasionally and add any more salt, pepper, sugar or Jamaican Spice Mix as you see fit. Add a little olive oil to loosen it up if needed.
Boil the cavatelli, drain, and add to the pan with the meat sause. Add the butter and stir, stir, stir. Divide the pasta among the plates, top with a dollop of the ricotta-goat cheese mixture and a few slices of the habanero pepper.