At its core, astrology is simply an expression of life as an annual cyclical process. The Zodiac is a rotating symbol of the seasonal expansion and contraction of the periods of darkness and light—on earth as it is in the heavens. The cycle of the year— its various states of vegetation and animal behavior—offers us what we need to know to be in harmony with the Zodiac. What is more Aries than mint, lamb, and asparagus? More Pisces than fish and chips? Seasonal ingredients make spring and summer meals lighter, fall and winter meals more substantial.
There is a rhythm in Nature. The Earth turns and the sun seems to move across the sky. Astrology is grounded in the idea that whatever comes into being at a certain moment in this cycle partakes of the spirit of that phase of it. This recipe is written from the perspective that when the sun is in a certain sign, all individuals, regardless of their dates of birth, share in the characteristics and energy matrix of that stage and season of the cycle.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 5 leeks, trimmed, cleaned, and finely chopped
- 2 ½ pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into small dice
- 8 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups chopped watercress (well-packed), plus additional for garnish
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, plus additional for garnish
- ½ cup heavy cream, optional
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté, until golden and fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the leeks and sauté, stirring attentively, until they are fully soft, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Add the potatoes to the garlic and leeks, and sauté briefly until they begin to sweat, about 3 minutes.
- Add the stock, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper. Raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, lower the heat, and simmer until the potatoes are thoroughly soft, about 20 minutes.
- Remove and discard the bay leaves. Add the watercress and parsley to the pot, and stir. If you are adding heavy cream, pour it in to taste, and stir. Remove the pot from the heat, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup.
- Return the soup to medium-low heat, and simmer for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Ladle into bowls, and garnish each with a few watercress and parsley leaves before serving.
Taurus, ruled by Venus, appreciates the finer things in life. But with the Bull, a male animal of substance and strength as its symbol, Taurus is more about earthiness, comfort, and support than it is about bling. Few dishes are earthier, more comforting, or supportive, though still luxurious, than potato-leek soup. This version, featuring barely cooked watercress and parsley, is the color and the taste of the season, when watercress grows wild in the beds of streams; the spring greens are jumping; and the chlorophyll is high. Drizzling in some heavy cream at the end, before you puree the soup, is traditional. It makes the soup richer and elevates it, though the potatoes make it substantial enough to begin with and the generous amount of butter at the start lends the soup a dairy-sweetness without the cream.
Serves 6 to 8 as a starter