Procopio Cuto

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: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

You might not know the name of Francesco Procopio Cuto, but if you have ever been in a “cafe,” you know his legacy. “Cafe” means “coffee.” The Spanish brought cocoa to Europe in 1528. The Dutch brought tea to Europe in 1610. The Venetians brought coffee to Europe in 1615. Procopio Cuto brought the coffee-house to Paris in 1686. Cuto was born in Sicily on 9 February 1651, into a family of chefs. His grandfather had a machine that would make an Arabian delight called “gelato.” Procopio decided to take the gelato machine and go to France to make his fortune. Stopping off in Venice on the way, he was introduced to the idea of a coffee-house. In Paris, Cuto obtained a license to sell ‘lemonade’ and other fruit beverages in a dark, tiny shop on Rue des Fossés-Saint-Germain-des-Prés, in the 6th Arondissement. Once he remodeled, with chandeliers and marble-topped tables, business picked up. When he added the exotic drink coffee, business was even better. Then the Comedie Francaise Theatre opened across the street in 1689, and all of the beau-monde came to the cafe, before and after the plays. Writers, statesmen, men of letters, actors, nobility — everyone sat down at Cafe Procope — to see, to be seen, and to drink the coffee. Thus, Procopio introduced the coffee-house to Paris. He also started making gelato, although with a slightly changed recipe. And it was a hit! He was the official gelato maker to the court of Louis XVI. Ladies, who had been absent at first, came to eat gelato or drink hot chocolate. Cafe Procope was the place to be! The cafe continued after Coto died in 1727. Even the Revolutionaries of 1789 met at Procope, to plot the overthrow of the monarchy. Benjamin Franklin was a customer, as were Thomas Jefferson [who introduced ice cream to the Americas], Napoleon, Victor Hugo and anyone you can think of. Obviously, the concept was much copied, as there were 30,000 cafes in Paris in 1900, indicating the democratization of the cafe scene. No longer for the elites only, everyone went to the cafe and it became a way of life. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When in Paris, whether you order a citron presse or a cafe espresso, go to a cafe, and relax, and watch the parade of life walk by, just as Parisiens have been doing since Procopio Cuto showed them how.

The foods I chose for today are both light little meals which might be enjoyed at a cafe, along with a cup of coffee. Or at breakfast at home, along with a cup of coffee. The second meal can be a breakfast or, if doubled along with an added slice of bread, could be a lovely dinner.

Strawberry Crepe: 193 calories 7.5 g fat 2 g fiber 9.5 g protein 23 g carbs 211 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB  Isn’t it a treat to enjoy ‘Strawberries & Cream’ once in a while? If you haven’t made the crepes already, this is a good reason to try them. Mine were ready in the freezer.

1 sweet crepe*** 2 Tbsp ricotta cheese 3 Tbsp vanilla low-fat yogurt 3 oz strawberries, sliced and put in a sieve over a bowl, especially if frozen 1 slice uncured bacon or 1 slice ‘Canadian’ bacon  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Stir the ricotta and yogurt together. Add most of the berries, saving some for garnish. If there is a lot of juice, cook it down slowly to make a little syrup. Cook the bacon. Place the crepe on the plate and spoon the cream filling onto it. Fold over the crepe and top with the extra berries and syrup. Plate with the bacon and prepare your hot beverage of choice.

***CREPES, SWEETmakes 16 eight-inch crepes  each = 53 calories 0.8 g fat 1 g fiber 6 g protein 8.5 g carbs 38 mg Calcium

100 g white whole wheat flour 54 g all-purpose flour 14 fl oz skimmed milk [416 g] 2 tsp vanilla sugar 2 two-oz eggs

Whisk the flour and sugar together. Add the milk and whisk until combined. Add the eggs one at a time. Whisk vigorously until the batter runs off the whisk in ropes. [If batter is too stiff, add water 1 Tbsp. at a time to thin it.] The batter can rest for up to an hour. Heat a small cast-iron pan or ceramic saute pan.  Lightly spritz with oil, then wipe out the pan. Dip a ¼ cup measure into the batter and let the extra drain off. Grasp the handle of the cook pan with one hand as you slowly pour the batter into the center of the pan. Tilt the pan in a swirling pattern to let the batter form a circle roughly 6” in diameter. Don’t get hung up on perfectly round or perfectly flat. Watch the crepe cook and look to see when the edges start to dry and curl a bit. Using a heat-resistant but non-scratching tool [I use my fingers], lift the crepe and turn it over. Cook the other side until done. Time will vary, depending on the heat of your pan. Lift out the cooked crepe, put it aside, and cook the next one. HINT: if storing them for later today or tomorrow, let them cool on a tea towel, then stack and store in a plastic bag. 

Prosciutto & Melon Plate:  125 calories 7 g fat 1 g fiber 17 g protein 13.4 g carbs 135 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beveragePB GF  Once again the Inn at Saint Peter’s inspires a breakfast! Nothing beats the salty-sweet flavor combination of this meal.  HINT: For a quick breakfast, I plated everything the night before and stored the plates in zipper bags in the refrigerator. NB: If you wish to serve this for a dinner, then double all the ingredients and proceed as directed, except for the beverages. Add 3/4 oz whole-grain sourdough bread for a total = 309 calories.

4 oz canteloupe melon [Charentais melon would be fabulous!] 1 oz thinly-sliced prosciutto ¼ cup red onion pickle 0.1 oz shavings of Parmesan cheese fresh basil or mint leaves OR crumbled dried basil drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction, optional  Optional:  5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 caloriesOptional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Cut the melon into bite-sized cubes [8 pieces look well on the plate]. Cut the prosciutto into 8 long strips [mine were 1”x4”]. Arrange the melon and ham in a circle on the plate with the red onion in the center. Shave off curls of Parmesan and place them on top. If using fresh herb leaves, tuck them in here and there. If using dried herbs, rub the leaves in your palms to crumble over the plate. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar if you wish. Serve with your chosen beverages. Wonderful flavors, however you combine them on your fork.

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

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs  + whitewrole wheat flour
Ras el Hanout spice blend zucchini + feta cheese
melon + tomato sauceself-rising flour + watermelon or other melon
black olive + dogleg door date plain, fat-free yogurt
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

semolina + white whole wheat flours falafel patties 
onion + tomato + green chilisfresh tomato + red onion
catsup + cumin + carrotorange/yellow bell pepper
clementine/melon/grapes + olive oil
Sparkling waterSparkling water

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