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  • Jane Sloan


Summer Market Salad with Saffron Aioli

In Toronto, the Sun made its ingress into the sign of Leo on July 22nd, 2018 at 5:01pm. Five hours later, a 29 year old man took a shotgun to a family-centric, fun loving neighbourhood, killing 2 young girls and injuring many. His tormented mind played out some kind of hero on the stage of life. He cast himself as a god, with the authority to decide who was not worthy, and who could die. His drama was seen and he was acknowledged for his theatre of horror. Every sign has its dark and light, its best and worst manifestations. The story above is not the first thing you think of when you envision Leo acting out. We want to think of the generous King who lavishes the land with his riches. He laughs and plays with the children of the kingdom. He helps his people find their own beauty and gifts. Everyone is merry and prosperous! The Leo we like to think of is boisterous, charismatic and gorgeous! This Leo is kind and affectionate, courageous and very proud. Leo out of balance can have this tremendous power turned downward, and can produce impulsiveness and fury. Instead of light and potential, the mind can dip to gloom, and stubborn pride holds onto a singular vision of righteousness. Of course these are the extremes, as are these two stories. This Leo season has been tainted for me, for the neighbourhood which was the stage of the first story has been my neighbourhood and my community for the past 22 years. It happened just days before a lunar eclipse, emphasising the contrast of innocence and potential of the 2 young girls who lost their lives and the darkness of a man possessed in his own destructive story. I am not attempting to cast judgement on this man or to assume I know his motivations, but merely to illustrate a side of Leo energy misguided. The summer season peaks in Leo. Leo’s taste for drama has been seen and felt as fires rage across the Northern Hemisphere. In Toronto the heat has been relentless, constant and strong as is the fixed Leo sensibility. Leo is a powerful sign, full of passion and magnetism. A person with Leo on their ascendant is hard to miss...perhaps it is their sparkling and dancing eyes, their great mane of hair or they are just so darn handsome, they can’t help but turn heads as they enter a room. The Sun rules Leo, and it is said that the placement of the Sun and the house that Leo rules in our charts, is where we seek to express our unique individuality. The Sun’s placement by sign, house and aspect gives keys to our vitality and how well one is likely able to bounce back from ill-health or tension. Leo’s rulership in the body is of the spine and the heart. Imbalances of Leo tend to include the heart, circulation, quality of blood and strain on the body and mind due to over exertion. If there is excess fire in the individual, the conditions can be impatience and anger, hypertension, heart problems, ulcers and inflammation. A general redness to the face and skin are seen. Here we want to look to antipathetic remedies like cooling, moist foods and herbs such as cucumber, watermelon, mint and yogurt. Lack of fire will affect the body’s ability to fight off infections, bacteria and viruses, and digestion will be sluggish. Here we call on sympathetic remedies that will increase heat in the body, like garlic, cayenne, mustard, cinnamon and bitter greens. For my Leo meal I need to cool down. My Sun and Mars reside in Aries, so I naturally generate enough heat! The excessive temperatures this summer have made it hard for me to be as active as I like to be, so I am a wee bit irritable. Saffron ‘the sunshine spice’ is my inspiration for this meal. Saffron has a cooling effect on the body, it supports the heart and circulation, and can help temper mood as it has a balancing effect on dopamine, norepinephine and serotonin. Its colour is hues of yellow, orange and red just like the sun and it is touted as the most expensive spice which suits Leo’s extravagance and showiness. I wanted to put together a meal that could be eaten cold, and this is what happened.

Summer Market Salad with Saffron Aioli, Scallops and Shrimp (serves 2) Saffron Aioli 2 tablespoons lemon juice a large pinch (about ¼ teaspoon) saffon 2 egg yolks ¼ teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 large clove garlic minced 1/3 cup each avocado oil 1/3 cup olive oil a pinch each of sea salt and freshly ground pepper Combine lemon juice and saffron in a small bowl and let sit for 15-20 minutes. In a food processor add lemon juice and saffron, egg yolks, Dijon mustard, garlic, salt and pepper and process until well combined. Slowly drizzle in avocado oil and olive oil while the food processor is running until the mixture is emulsified. Transfer Saffron Aioli into two small serving bowls and put in the fridge until ready to serve. Summer Market Salad 1 large handful of mixed yellow and green string beans trimmed 12 baby potatoes 2 large radishes or 4-6 small in chunky slices 12 small heirloom tomatoes cut in half 4 large scallops 8 tiger shrimp peeled (leave the tail on) and deveined Boil potatoes for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside to let cool. Cut potatoes in half. Steam beans for about 3-5 minutes. Just enough time that the colours brighten and they remain crispy. Dump beans into cold water after steaming. When cool, drain and set aside. Heat BBQ to medium temperature. The shrimps and scallops take about 2-3 minutes per side. Alternately, the shrimp can be poached in the steaming water from the beans for about 3 minutes. The scallops would be best seared in a pan 2-3 minutes per side. To serve, arrange veggies and seafood on 2 large plates with a small bowl of aioli on each plate. Strawberry, Plum and Saffron Puree and Yogurt 1 cup of strawberries, washed and hulled 6 small plums peeled and pits removed (yes, I peeled the and popped those peels right into my mouth) a generous pinch of saffron a drizzle of honey 2 cups of plain or vanilla yogurt (or ice cream) Puree strawberries and plums in food processor and pour into a small pot with the saffron. Heat gently on low heat for about 20 minutes to infuse the saffron. Let cool and add a drizzle of honey and stir to combine. You can do this without the honey, but I found it merged the earthiness of the saffron to the fresh sweetness of the fruit. Divide yogurt or ice cream in 2 bowls and top with Puree.

Yogurt with Strawberry, Plum and Saffron Puree

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