Madama Butterfly

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 Rachel Alexandra who is now Following.

On February 17, 1904, Giacomo Puccini‘s opera Madama Butterfly debuted in Milan at La Scalla Opera House. It was loudly and soundly booed, possibly by a claque of the composer’s rivals, and the opera was withdrawn. This was a stunning blow to Puccini. Ever since he saw an American company perform a short play about an American sailor and his ill-fated affair with a Japanese girl, Puccini wanted to turn it into an opera. He learned Japanese songs from the ambassador’s wife; one of his librettists went to Japan to gain some authenticity. After the disastrous premiere, the team reworked the piece and re-staged it in May to great success. Now the poignant story of the selfish Lt Pinkerton and the trusting Cho-Cho-San [called “Butterfly”] is one of the most popular works in any company’s repertoire and the aria Un Bel Di makes you sad just to hear it, especially when you know the tragic ending.

While we ponder the tale of poor Butterfly, we will eat a very Japanese breakfast which is good tasting and easy to prepare. For dinner, a rather American meal of fish combined with ham and walnuts.

Japanese Onion Soup with Onsen Tamago Egg: 215 calories 5 g fat 2.2 g fiber 16 g protein 29 g carbs [9 g Complex] 48 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg soup and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF  Our Younger Son prepared this for us one morning after a lot of heavy eating and it was a revelation: light yet hearty and so delicious. “Onsen Tamago” means ‘hot spring’ and it is a very different [to me] way to cook a soft egg.  HINT: This recipe is enough for 2 servings. Very easy to save for another breakfast or lunch one or two days from now.

2 two-oz eggs cooked Onsen Tomago-style** ½ cup sweet onions 2 cups chicken broth 3 Tbsp soy sauce + 2 Tbsp mirin 1 oz Japanese noodles, such as soba @ 95 calories/ounce garnish: scallions, chopped + Sriracha, to taste 2 oz melon   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

**Onsen Tomago EggHINT: The eggs can be prepared up to 2 days in advance. 2 whole eggs in shells + 1 liter water + 1 cup cold tap water Bring 1 liter of water to a boil. Once it boils, remove it from the heat, and add 1c of cold water. Using a slotted spoon, place eggs into the hot water and cover. Let sit for 17 minutes, then remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes. Serve hot or refrigerate for up to 2 days.

Onion Soup: Cook noodles according to package, shock in cold water and put in serving bowls. Place sliced onions and stock into pan and bring to boil. When stock comes to boil, reduce heat to a strong simmer and cover. Cook until onions are soft (they should not be rigid when you pick them up with chopsticks). When onions are almost finished, add soy sauce, mirin, and sriracha and stir. If the liquid has reduced noticibly, add water.  When the onions are finished, pour the onion and broth over noodles. Carefully crack onsen tamago egg into broth. Garnish with green onion and serve the melon on the side. Eat with chopsticks and Japanese soup spoon.

Ham-Stuffed Fish 270 calories 3.5 g fat 23 g protein 16 g carbs 139 mg Calcium  PB GF – if using GF bread  Another recipe of unknown origin. Glad I saved it.

4 oz tilapia or perch 1 oz sliced ham from the deli 1/2 tsp soy sauce + ½ tsp sherry + 1 egg white ½ piece of whole-grain 70-calorie bread 1 Tbsp finely-chopped walnuts 1 oz carrots, julienned + 1 oz celery, julienned + 1 oz beets 1 scallion

Slice the fish so that it is in 2 pieces of equal length and thickness. Crumble the bread into the finest crumbs and blend thoroughly with walnuts. Whip the egg white until it is very frothy. Blend in the soy sauce and sherry. Make a ‘sandwich’ of the ham slice between the two pieces of fish. Dip in the egg mixture to coat, then dip in the bread/walnuts. Cook in a heavy non-stick pan, sprayed with non-stick spray, until fish is cooked – about 5 minutes per side. Cook the vegetables. Plate the fish and vegetables and sprinkle with sliced scallion.

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