Often served at Halloween, these muffins symbolized of the souls of the dead releasing to the other side. In some Catholic countries they were symbolic of a soul leaving Purgatory for the glories of Heaven. While they have fallen out of favor they are a delightful memory from Halloween’s past.
Makes 12 cookies
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease two cookie sheets.
In a small bowl, cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or a large fork. In a separate mixing bowl beat the eggs well, then beat in the sugar until the mixture becomes a light yellow. Stir in the rest of the spices and then add the milk. Combine the wet mixture with the flour. Turn onto a floured board and knead until the dough becomes stiff. Roll out until the mixture is ¼ inch thick. Cut into 4 inch rounds with a floured cookie cutter or glass and place on cookie sheets. Prick the top gently with a fork three or four times.
Bake for 20 minutes, cool on racks and then place the currants in a cross on top.
We now celebrate the “coming out” of a silly ground hog on February 2. However, from ancient times, this has always been a serious celebration of return of the Sun and warmth. Farmers returned to the fields for early clearing and women aired the homes from the winter stuffiness.
The Celts honored the goddess Brigid, who would later be St. Bridget, the goddess of the light and of farm animals. At this time of year grains were still relatively plentiful. Many of the dishes honoring this day between the winter solstice, the darkest day, and Autumnal Equinox, when the Sun returns, emphasized oats. If you want to honor the day, try this Brigid’s Oat Bread.
1 cup flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup honey or agave
3 tablespoons butter, softened
¾ cups oatmeal, don’t use instant oatmeal
½ cup milk
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried fruit – optional
1/8 cup flour
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Lay parchment paper on an 8 inch baking sheet – and then grease the parchment paper with butter.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and honey and mix well. Stir in the butter and oats and stir until all of the oats are moistened. Stir in each egg separately and then add the milk. Stir in the raisins and fruit (if adding).
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead about 1 -2 minutes until not sticky. You can add some more flour if it is sticky – but not too much.
Form the dough into an 8-inch round and place on the baking sheet. Score a deep cross on top of the bread – but don’t cut all the way through the loaf.
Bake 20 -25 minutes – until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
If you plan to jam potatoes and stuffing in your face on Thanksgiving, you can still end your feast with the taste of chocolate sans the flour and sugar. The chocolate is so rich and delicious that you really don’t miss the less healthy aspects of this cake.
Makes one 8-inch round cake
6 oz. semi sweet baking chocolate (I use ones that are at least 80 percent cocoa)
½ cup butter – you can use coconut oil
¼ cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup honey
Optional Berry Topping
Combine 12 ounces of your favorite frozen berries, ¼ cup of water and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook about 10 minutes until they are soft. Cool and blend until smooth in blender.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and grease an 8 inch pan with cooking spray or butter.
In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat and then stir in the butter or coconut oil until melted and mixed well with the chocolate. Stir in the rest of ingredients until the batter is smooth. There should be no clumps.
Bake 20 minutes or until the center just bounces back to the touch. Cool on a wire rack and serve at room temperature.
You can serve with berry topping and/or whipped cream. (Blend up real heavy cream in the blender don’t use the canned stuff.)
This and more recipes can be found in my cookbook, “Signs of the Tines: The Ultimate Astrological Cookbook” – available at B&N online and Amazon and joanporte.com
A yummy Halloween dish for you…
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon of ground coriander
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 pounds pork cubes
1- 7 ounce can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
4 tablespoons tomato paste
½ cup chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the oil in an oven proof medium sauté pan over medium heat and then add the onion. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and sauté and another minute. Remove the onions and garlic to bowl off the heat.
Sauté the pork cubes (about a minute on each side.) You may have to add a drop more oil. Return the onion mixture to the pan and then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and then place the pan in the oven.
Two of the titans of the universe, Saturn and Jupiter made a direct square on August 3. These two do a twenty-year dance together. This one started with a conjunction in 2000 – now we are at a more disharmonious placement – a square of Saturn at 28 degrees Scorpio and Jupiter at 28 degrees Leo.
These two are at odds in many ways. Jupiter wants expansion and risk. She beckons us to search out people who are different from us and who hold different beliefs. She opens the door to the new, fresh and different. Jupiter breaks inhibitions and makes us ponder the once unthinkable.
Jupiter tells us that our garden may be lovely, However, did we take a minute to see that one across the world that has different flowers and a Statute of a god we never saw. Why not go investigate and learn. Travel, education, publication – all are the arenas of Jupiter.
Saturn, on the other hand, demands that we meet our responsibilities, our duties before we go gallivanting all over the place. Saturn, known as Chronos or Time to the Greeks, is all about barriers – time, awareness of the limitations of a physical world. Before you take those big trips, says Saturn, make sure you make enough money and have saved more than what you need.
Saturn is like the father saying go get a job and Jupiter the hippy aunt saying go find yourself. So when these two square we have a battle of freedom and responsibility. We can be caught into a tailspin of should I or shouldn’t I? AM I having too much fun and adventure (Jupiter) or am I stuck in the doldrums of life (Saturn)? Instead of getting confused, it is best to work on balancing these energies in our lives. Am I paying too much to either master?
This is a good carb loaded recipe perfect for a cold winter’s dinner and quirky enough to satisfy your favorite Aquarian. Aquarians are the rebels of the Zodiac. They love to innovate and just shake up the normal flow of life. Often described as the teenagers of the sky, Aquarians have a low tolerance for the mundane.
In my cookbook, “Signs of the Tines: The Ultimate Astrological Cookbook” www.signsofthetines.com, I include this fried pasta recipe in the Aquarius section because it appeals to their sense of the different. Anyone can boil or bake pasta but it takes an Aquarian to fry it.
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 ½ pounds thin spaghetti – not angel hair
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 tablespoons of basil pesto*
¾-cup ricotta cheese
10 sprigs fresh basil
In a large pot, add 3 quarts of water and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring often about 8 -10 minutes until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until it just begins to brown. Stir in the red pepper flakes. When the spaghetti is cooked, drain well and pour into the pan. Stir in the best, being sure to coat the spaghetti well. Lower the heat and cook the spaghetti for 4 minutes, flip it over and cook on the other side for 4 minutes.
Turn the spaghetti into a platter, dollop the ricotta cheese on top and decorate with the basil.
*You can purchase basil pesto or make it by mixing 1 cup fresh basil leaves, 2 tablespoons pine nuts (or walnuts or no nuts if you don’t like them), 2 tablespoons for freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a food processor. Start the processor and slowly pour in 1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil. Keep processing until the mixture is very fine.
January is the time of Capricorn and this recipe will give them that comforting, traditional food Capricorn craves and use up the last of those cranberries! I made this with gluten free bread because I have a friend who really needs to go gluten free and it worked fine but another cup of cream. In addition, you can use low fat cream – it is a little less thick – but who needs more fat after the Holidays?
Cranberry Bread Pudding
8 ounces of croissant, cubed
2 cups of half-and-half
1 ½ cups of heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1-cup sugar or stevia
1 ½ cups cranberries
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Butter a deep baking dish generously on the bottom and sides. (You can also use 6 -8 individual ramekins.)
Place the bread on a sheet pan and toast for 15 -20 minutes until just lightly browned. Be sure they do not burn. Remove from oven and raise temperature to 350 degrees.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the half-and-half, cream, and vanilla bean. Heat stirring constantly – make sure it doesn’t stick or boil over. As soon as it starts to bubble, remove from heat and set aside for 15 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until well blended and then slowly whisk in the cream. Remove the vanilla bean and then add in the bread making sure they full absorb the cream. Fold in all but ¼ cup of cranberries, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Pour into the baking dish or ramekins and decorate the top with remaining cranberries.
Place the pudding dish-roasting pan and then add enough water to come ½ up the side. Bake until set – about 45 minutes for a large dish and 30 minutes for ramekins.
This can be served warm or chilled. I prefer room temperature.
We need the spring season. We haven’t seen much of spring but it will arrive – eventually. While those who know me know that I am a cool weather gal we have to honor the beauty and necessity of spring.
Spring begins when the Sun moves into the constellation of Aries on the equinox. Aries is the typical sign of upward and outward movement – or masculine energy looking to change paths and lead a new way. How perfect! This is the time to clean away the old growth, sow the fields and make plans for the rebirth of late spring and early summer.
In Five Element Acupuncture, spring is the time of wood – also a planning time – when Yang energy begins to awaken from a long Yin winter.
|Pastina and Pesto a spring dish from “Signs of the Tines: The Ultimate Astrological Cookbook.”
The sign that follows Aries is Taurus, the most tactile sign, that which loves to feel and engage with the Earth. Taurus is considered the sign of the Ecology Movement. As the first flowers appear and the Earth is reborn we feel very close to Taurean energy.
I beg of my clients one thing – if you do nothing else with Astrology use it to be in cycle with nature. So use the Aries energy to clean away the cobwebs of winter – physically and emotionally – and then be like Taurus the Bull and run through the new grass and smell the new roses.
Pick up a copy of this month’s “Pathways” Magazine or read on line – and check out page 41 – for the great review of “Sign of the Tines!”
“I assure you that the usefulness of knowing even the most basic astrological information…will be matched and exceeded by the enjoyment of cooking and eating your way through this book.”
“Signs of the Tines” is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble.com and www.Signsofthetines.com.
Check out two sites today for some fun listening and reading. First, I am excited to report that we have a new podcast up on Web Talk Radio which is dedicated to my favorite planet Pluto and features a interview with the always-interesting MCV Egan. She talks about her fascinating book, “Bridge of Deaths” and how she is resolving this 70 year old mystery utilizing past life regressions among other modalities!
Listen to MCV and find out why I love Pluto at
Remember you can get downloads on your RSS feed by going to
If you love History then you jump over to MCV’s blog “Is History the Agreed Upon Lie” and see my 7 part series on The Forgotten Women of History.” – Remember there are 7 entries – check out all 7 women.
Happy Holidays – remember there is still time to order a copy of “Signs of the Tines: The Ultimate Astrological Cookbook” for a unique gift! www.signsofthetines.com
PS! The recipe I talk about this week is my Sausage and Sage Stuffing (or Dressing) but below is a great egg and breadcrumb recipe my Mom always made.
Jean Garofalo Porte’s Egg and Bread Stuffing
Note: Mom had a bin full of stale bread and when full she would toast the bread and then grate it into breadcrumbs on the hand-grater that I still have. I sort of do the same although I don’t eat the amount of bread that we did back then. However, I grind up the toasted bread in the food processor – sorry Mom, time moves on as does technology!
1-tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium stalks celery, diced
½ cup Italian flat-leaf parsley, minced
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
½ cup – to 1-cup chicken stock.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small sauté pan. Add the onion, celery, and sauté about 5 minutes until they are getting soft. (IF you are making turkey and want to dice up the giblets and add now – do so – they add great flavor.) Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl then add the breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, and thyme. Combine well. Add the onion, celery mixture and enough chicken stock so it is moist but not falling apart. You want this to be almost cake like – not crumbly like other stuffing.
NOTE: If you have drippings from a chicken or turkey or are smart enough to save them from past meals add about 1 tablespoon of drippings now.
Turn the mixture into a greased 2 quart baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is lightly browned.
Mom would stuff this into a veal shoulder and serve with a brown gravy but it will work for any stuffing need.