Whodunit? Who ate it? Chapter I

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.

Dear Husband and I love to read ‘whodunits.’ Crime literature in English harks back to Edgar Allen Poe’s Murders on Rue Morgue in 1841. As the genre took off, a sub-genre developed: culinary crime. These books are read as much for the procedural as for the vicarious thrills of the meals that are described along the way. There are many authors who tantalize our tastebuds while they challenge our little grey cells and today, I will feature foods from two favorites.

In the China Trillers by Peter May, the wonderful Mei Yuan prepares street food. Throughout the books, we learn of her difficult days during the Cultural Revolution and we marvel at her resilience in recreating herself as a seller of ‘jian bing’ aka: Chinese egg pancakes.

Jian Bing ‘Chinese Pancakes’:  154 calories  5 g fat 1.4 g fiber 9.3 g protein 19 g carbs [3 g Complex] 32.5 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages. PB This delicious treat is a popular Chinese street-food. And now it is popular in our household. Quick to cook and fun to eat. The crisp tart apple slices are a nice foil to the salty-spicy food. HINT: this recipe makes 4 pancakes, of which 2 will do for the breakfast. Save the remaining 2 to eat cold for lunch tomorrow.

1/3 cup all-purpose flour + 1.5 Tbsp white whole wheat flour 1 Tbsp semolina flour 2 two-oz eggs ½ cup water ¼ cup chopped scallions, white and green parts Kosher salt 2 tsp Sriracha sauce + 2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce per person: 1 oz apple Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Whisk together the flours, water, and one egg until lumps are gone.  Hint: this can be combined the night before. Whisk again in the morning. In a separate bowl, beat the other egg thoroughly. In a custard cup, combine the hot sauce and soy sauce. Using a good non-stick pan, add 2 brief puffs of non-stick spray, then wipe with a paper towel. [Keep the paper towel handy.] Heat the pan and add 3-4 Tbsp of batter, swirling the pan quickly to distribute the batter evenly to make a thin pancake that coats the bottom of the pan. Let cook for a minute or 2, then spoon some of the egg on top and smear it around. Sprinkle with a small pinch of salt and one tablespoon of the scallions. Cook until the egg on top is a bit set, then flip the pancake over. Brush the hot sauce mixture on top. Cook for 30 seconds, fold the pancake in 4ths with the hot sauce inside, and plate. Use the paper towel to wipe the pan and repeat the cooking process until all the batter and scallions are gone.  NB: I had whisked egg left over. If your hot beverage is brewed, your apples are sliced, and the smoothie is ready, then you are set for a real good start to a new day.

In Louise Penny’s Three Pines Mysteries, the former fitness trainer Gabri has become the cheerful, chubby chef in the bistro he runs with his partner. He is always making food — to cheer someone up or to add to a pot-luck feast. In Still Life, he contributes a Cottage Pie.

Cottage Pie:  219 calories 7 g fat 1.8 g fiber 21.7 g protein 15 g carbs 35 mg Calcium  GF Cottage Pie is the beef version of Shepherd’s Pie. The addition of mashed cauliflower is a great trick to lessen the calorie and carb count of mashed potatoes. Some people like this with mashed cauliflower only, but I enjoy the combo for a more authentic taste. HINT: serves 2. Freeze leftovers for another dinner or invite a guest.

1 cup roast beef, ground or minced 1 two-oz egg, separated ½ cup mashed potatoes + ½ cup mashed cauliflower ½ cup beef gravy, as fat free as you can make it   per serving: 2 oz peas OR 1 cup lettuce + 1 oz tomatoes ½ tsp olive oil + ½ tsp lemon juice

Add the egg yolk and gravy to the beef, along with salt and pepper to taste. Whip the egg white until stiff and fold into the mashed vegetables with salt and pepper to taste. Put the beef mixture into an oil-spritzed oven-proof dish [2-3 cup capacity] and spread it out evenly. Smooth the mashed vegetables on top and ruffle it with a fork or spoon. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 20 minutes or until the top begins to brown a bit and the inside is hot. Whisk the oil and lemon juice in a wide bowl, add the lettuce and tomatoes, and toss gently.

Ingredients for next week: Breakfast, single portion for Monday ……… single portion for Thursday:

1 two-oz eggNext week’s topic is sugar
in the diet.
milk + sugarChoose a favorite or new
favorite from Archives
flour + sweet cherries


Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

Dinner, single portion for Monday: …….. single portion for Thursday:

cabbage + onion + mace
+ pork loin + dry mustard
Find a new favorite dinner
in the Archives
rutabaga/turnip + carrot + parsnip

caraway seed + green lentils

fresh and frozen spinach

Sparkling waterSparkling water

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s