Slow Days: Bruschetta

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

“Bruschetta” … what does that word mean to you? And how do you pronounce it? The cookbook Diary of a Tuscan Chef gave us a recipe for this concoction, which we ate happily for years — a tomato relish on bread. And we called it ‘bruce-SHET-ta.’ Had we turned the cookbook page, we would have had the real story. When olives are being pressed into oil, [a late-Fall, cool-weather activity] one of the workers will toast bread over a fire, rub it with garlic, and drizzle the new oil over it so everyone can have a snack and a taste of the crop. THAT is bruschetta!

Bread, garlic, and olive oil = bruschetta

Of course, as the idea of ‘putting some food on toast’ moved around the world, something was lost in translation, including the pronunciation. When on tour in Italy, I asked the guide, a Roman, how to pronounce this culinary creation. Chuckling, he said that Americans always ask that and for the longest time he had no idea what they meant by ‘bruce-shet-ta.’ The correct way to say it? ‘bruce-KAY-ta’ The aforementioned Tuscan Chef, Cesare Casella, writes: “Americans seem to think bruschetta is chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil on toast. I don’t know why. For us that is crostini con pomodoro.” He concludes that there seems to be an “American craving for cubed tomatoes.”

On the right you see Cesare Casella’s ‘tomato relish’ on the bread.

When Older Son began baking, he sent us a recipe for his ‘no-knead focaccia’, which is great but makes more bread than Dear Husband and I can eat in a week. So Older Son prompted us to eat it as Bruschetta. I protested that there would be very little protein in that: just bread and tomato relish. Being wise, our son suggested additional toppings: herbed ricotta cheese, slices of chicken or turkey breast. Anchovies would be good. The recipe for the bread is below.

So that is the evolution of a meal that is perfect in Summer or any warm evening. Perhaps we should call it ‘Crostini’ but we don’t. We’re Americans, you see.

No-Knead Focaccia

one 10” loaf, four 6” loavesTwo 6” loaves, 6 bunsDutch oven or cast iron skillets
500 g bread flour or half bread flour, half white whole-wheat
375 g water
10 g salt
6 g yeast
250 g bread flour or half bread flour, half white whole-wheat
187 g water
5 g salt
3 g yeast
Combine ingredients until they form a shaggy ball.
Cover bowl and let rest 8-12 hours. Rising overnight works very well.
Olive oilOlive oilLeave dough whole or divide into smaller portions. Oil pans and add dough.
Let rise 1-2 hours.
Olive oil garlic, chopped
olives, chopped
Olive oil
garlic, chopped
olives, chopped
Brush dough with oil, then sprinkle with optional topping of your choice.
Bake at 450F 30-40 minutes, until golden brown. If baking smaller portions, shorten baking time.
1 of 8 servings = 64 calories

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