The Man Behind the 1001 Nights

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.                                                                             Welcome to readitall who is now Following.

Tomorrow will be the birthday of Richard Francis Burton who lived the most amazing life you never heard of.  People today would say, “He was like Indiana Jones!”  But when the character of that intrepid archeologist first hit the Big Screen, people might have said, “He’s just like Richard F. Burton!!”  [When Indiana describes his friend Marcus Brody, he could be describing Burton. The description is accurate for Burton, not for Brody.]  Burton was born in 1821, and had an indifferent education. But he had a knack for languages, ending up speaking, writing, and translating in 29 different tongues. One of his most famous books was The 1001 Nights [aka: Arabian Nights]. His 16-volume translation was not the first version of the tales, but was considered so salacious and exciting that he told his wife not to read it. As an adventurer and ethnologist, he was a chameleon.  The city of Mecca was forbidden to non-Muslims, but Burton visited in disguise and later published A Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al-Madinah and Meccah. As an expert in disguise and spy craft, he served the army in India.  As a diplomat and ethnologist, he was posted to Damascus, Brazil, and Fernando da Po. In each place he studied the language and the people, and wrote extensively.                          

Our meals today mirror Burton’s life. The breakfast, so I have read, is popular in Mecca and it is delicious.  The dinner is from Fernando da Po and Burton would approve.

Shakshuka: 307 calories 8.2 g fat 5.2 g fiber 17.2 g protein 41 g carbs [38 g Complex Carbs] 305 mg Calcium PB GF Popular in Arabian restaurants, this will be a favorite at your house. So rich in flavor.  This is easily doubled.  If serving 4+, prepare it all in one large pan. 


1 two-oz egg                                                                                                                                                                      3 Tbsp sliced onion                                                                                                                                                 3 Tbsp sliced orange or red pepper                                                                                                                   ½ garlic clove, sliced                                                                                                                                            8-10 oz canned whole tomatoes with their juice                                                                                            1/3 oz feta cheese                                                                                                                                                                                2 pinches ground cumin                                                                                                                                            2 pinches sweet paprika                                                                                                                                        1 pinch cayenne

Heat a sauté pan and spritz with non-stick spray. Add a little juice from the tomatoes. Add the onion and peppers and cook until soft, 15-20 minutes. [add more tomato juices or water to prevent scorching] Put the garlic in the pan and cook 2-3 minutes. Stir in the spices and cook for 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Simmer 10 minutes until the tomatoes have thickened, then stir in the feta.  HINT: I did all this the night before.  Take off heat and scrape the mixture into an 8″ oven-proof skillet.   Carefully crack the egg over the tomatoes. Season the egg. Bake at 375° F. for 7-10 minutes. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley.


Jota:  169 calories   4.5 g fat  7.4 g fiber  11.5 g protein  25.7 g carbs [all Complex]   83.5 mg Calcium  PB GF  The flavors of West Africa greet you in this bean stew. Very satisfying. HINT: This recipe is enough for 4 [four] 1-cup servings. Gets even better if made a day or two before the meal.

Jota w: spinach 1-1-1/2 cups sauerkraut, drained                                                                                                                            1-1/2 cups canned red beans, drained and rinsed                                                                                       bay leaf                                                                                                                                                                       4 oz red potatoes, cooked and diced in 1/2″ cubes —  could be left over from a prior meal                                       1 clove garlic, crushed                                                                                                                                             2 oz smoked ham hock, cubed                                                                                                                           ½ cup+ vegetable broth or water                                                                                                            Optional: 1 clove garlic, crushed 1 tsp flour 1 tsp oil                                                                                 Optional: raw leaves of baby spinach

Spray a heavy sauce pan with non-stick spray and cook the garlic until golden brown. Add the sauerkraut to the pan with some broth, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes. In another pan, heat the beans with the bay leaf until warm. Remove half of the beans and put them in a food processor with the cooked garlic and half of the potatoes. Purée, adding water/broth to make it more liquid than paste. Add the purée, whole beans, potatoes, and meat to the pan with the sauerkraut. Taste for seasonings. Add some water/broth to bring the volume to 4 cups.                                                                                                                                    Optional: Simmer the other garlic clove in 1 tsp oil until brown. Remove garlic and whisk in 1 tsp flour, then add some stock to make a roux. Stir into the stew as a thickener.                                      Optional: When the soup is in the bowl, tear the spinach leaves into bites and poke them into the hot liquid to add some extra color, texture, vitamins.

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