Slow Days: Penne with Tuna and Tomatoes

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 you 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.

On Wednesday, which is a Slow Day in our house, we invariably dine on a pasta meal. There are so many fine ways to top a plate of pasta that it can be a while until a particular meal is repeated. What follows is a recipe from Diary of a Tuscan Chef by Cesar Casella & Eileen Daspin. The chef calls it “Garganelli con Tonno Fresco,” but we call it Penne with Tuna & Tomatoes. This is so special and so easy to prepare that we schedule it when we want a lot of impact even when there is little time.

My job is to prepare the mise en place and to cook the pasta.

Here we see fresh tuna cut into 1/2 inch cubes, along with garlic chopped with fresh oregano, and 2 cups of halved cherry tomatoes. Cook the pasta of choice in salted water. Meanwhile, saute the garlic and oregano in olive oil until the garlic begins to color. Add the tuna and a pinch of crushed red pepper, and cook, stirring, for 3-4 minutes until the fish is done to your liking. Remove the tuna from the pan to a plate or bowl. Drain the pasta, saving some cooking water. Deglaze the saute pan with about 1/3 cup white wine, and let it cook down while you scrape brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the pasta water and the tomatoes to the pan and cook for 2 minutes. Toss in the pasta, some chopped parsley, the cooked tuna, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. That took less than 15 minutes.

Dear Husband cooks the meal and chooses the wine.

Plate with crusty bread and a crisp salad of many different greens. Easy and delicious — especially when Dear Husband does all the cooking.

Tomorrow marks the 8th anniversary of our Fasting Lifestyle. Our weight is still down where we want it to be, our health is good. And we continue to eat pasta on Wednesdays — what a life!

Slow Days: Hot Cross Bun Pancakes

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 you 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.

The pre-Easter season of Lent calls for Hot Cross Buns. I love to make them and to eat them, but that is for a posting next year. If you want a real treat for a Lenten Sunday morning, try these pancakes. The recipe comes from the website Joy The Baker, where I have found many fine kitchen projects. Below, you will see the mixtures that will be combined for the batter: milk-egg-butter + flour-spices + fruit-zests.

2 T no-salt butter, melted/ cooled
1 cup buttermilk/soured milk
1 two-oz egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
In a small bowl whisk together butter, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla extract. Set aside.
1 cup white-whole-wheat flour
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda + ½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine. It is ok if the mixture is a bit lumpy.
¼ cup dried currants
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
Add the currants and fruit zest and stir to combine. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes while the griddle heats.
Preheat oven to 150 F. Place an oven-proof plate in the oven. This is where the pancakes will stay warm while the entire batch is cooked.
1 tsp butter for cooking 
splash oil for cooking
pure maple syrup for serving
Heat griddle (or nonstick skillet) over medium. Heat fat until hot, then wipe with paper towel. Save the towel. Spoon 2 Tbsp batter** onto the griddle for each ‘cake. Fry until golden, flipping once. Place cooked pancakes on warm plate in oven and cover with a clean towel. Wipe with the buttery towel and spray griddle with non-stick spray for each batch.
**Dear Husband just free-formed them, yielding 10 pancakes. If one used 2 Tbsp of batter, as described in the recipe, one would probably produce more pancakes. Suit yourself.

Joy The Baker says to top your stack of pancakes with a piped icing cross. Look, when the pancakes are hot off the griddle, we don’t mess around — they go straight to the table for eating. We used a cross of good New Hampshire maple syrup instead of icing. Delicious pancakes!

Slow Days: Pastitsio

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 you 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.

My friend Nick, a pure Greek-American from the Greek neighborhoods of Manchester, NH, called pastitsio ‘Greek macaroni and cheese.’ If your mac&cheese is in a rut, try this variation — it is really good. And don’t even think of telling Nick’s mom that pastitsio originated in Italy!

Ground lamb meat, onion, tomatoes, cinnamon, Greek oregano, butter [not the entire stick], elbow macaroni — here is the basis of Pastitsio. The oregano and cinnamon tell you how Greek it is. Nick always wondered how the early Greeks got tomatoes, but he was willing to give that a pass….

Pastitsio Sauce + Casserole
1 cup chopped onion
½ pound ground lamb
Saute onion and meat in a heavy saucepan while stirring sometimes until the meat is brown and the onions are golden.
1 cup crushed or whole tomatoes
1½ tsp salt freshly ground pepper
1 tsp Greek oregano
1½ tsp cinnamon
Stir in these ingredients and simmer 5 mins.
½ cup Gruyere cheese, gratedStir in the cheese and taste for seasonings.
3 oz elbow macaroniCook the elbows. Stir them into the tomato sauce and turn the mixture into an oil-sprayed 1-Qt casserole.
Salsa BesamelTop with salsa besamel and bake at 350F for 30 minutes.

The meat sauce is combined with cooked pasta and then you prepare a besamel…..

The salsa besamel goes on top. Milk thickened with a butter-flour mixture, grated cheese and egg all combine in a sauce that is poured on top of the pasta and sauce prior to baking.

Salsa Besamel
2 Tbsp butter Melt butter in a saucepan. Take off heat.
1 Tbsp flour
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
1 cup milk
Stir in flour, salt, and pepper, then add the milk gradually and stirring all the time. Put on low heat and stir for 5 minutes.
1 egg yolk
¼ c grated Parmesan cheese
Beat together in a small bowl, then slowly add the warm white sauce and stir constantly.
Baked to a golden turn.

Serve with Winter Vegetables, as seen here, or with a Greek Salad, Pastitsio makes for a hearty mid-Winter meal. Delicious.

Slow Days: Chicken Chasseur

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 you 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.

We enjoy eating the chickens that we raised ourselves — it is good to know that we have them in the freezer. Besides that, chicken is good for you: recommended in the Mediterranean Diet and the MIND Diet. When we schedule chicken for two Sundays each month, the cook must have many, varied ways to prepare it. Roast Chicken is wonderful, producing meals and soup stock. And then there is Chicken Chasseur. The name ‘chasseur’ refers to hunters, as does its Italian equivalent ‘cacciatore.’ This marks it as a meal of Autumn, when the hunting parties would be in the woods finding game AND wild mushrooms. Mushrooms are the hallmark of any proper chasseur recipe. We seek wild mushrooms all year ’round, but this meal is specifically for cool weather.

mise en place for Chicken Chasseur Recipe is from Salute to Healthy Cooking by the French Culinary Institute.

To serve two, I’m using two leg-thigh pieces which have been browned in a little oil. Even though the meat will be braised/stewed, it is a good idea to brown it first since that enhances the flavor. Here is the full recipe:

24 oz bone-in chicken parts
salt & pepper
1 tsp oil
Season chicken and sear, skin-side down, for 3 mins in a Dutch oven or heavy cast-iron pan with a lid. Bake 20 mins @ 350F. Remove chicken from the pan, then skin and bone it.
½ cup sliced onion
1 carrot, chopped
2 c. brown stock or Veal stock
Put the veggies in the pan you used to roast the chicken. Cook 3 mins until caramelized. Add stock and simmer until reduced to 1 cup. Strain through a sieve and skim fat.
1 tsp oil
2 c. [5 oz] sliced mixed mushrooms
2 shallots, minced
Good mushrooms can be found in most supermarkets if you are not able to hunt for them. Saute shallots with mushrooms 5 mins or until mushrooms are golden. Add a sprinkle of salt and remove from heat.
2 Tbsp cognacAdd cognac to hot mushrooms and flame the mixture.
1/3 cup dry white wineAdd to pan and return to heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 mins. Add sieved, defatted stock and simmer 5 mins, until sauce coats the back of a spoon.
Fresh tarragon leaves
boned chicken meat
Add to sauce and warm while the noodles and carrots [see below] are cooking.
3 oz broad egg noodles
¾ cup carrot coins
½ tsp sugar
Cook noodles as the package describes. Cook the carrots in as little water as possible, along with the sugar. You want the water to boil away at the point when the carrots cook, which leaves them with a slight sugary glaze.

This is really quite easy to prepare and worth all the little steps. It makes a fine meal for Autumn into Winter.

For the perfect wine to pair with it, go to https://wordpress.com/post/peterspicksblog.com/7063

Slow Days: DIY Sauerkraut

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 you 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.

I like sauerkraut. My mother served it, redolent with caraway seeds and topped with pork. Dear Husband used to dislike it — but he has since come around. How delighted I was to find out how easy it is to prepare one’s own pickled cabbage: from huge batches to one jar at a time. The method is from James Beard‘s American Cookery, page 500. For each quart jar, you need enough sliced cabbage to fill it and 1 Tablespoon of kosher salt.

Lightly pack the cabbage into the jar, add the salt, and pour in lukewarm water up to within a 1/2 inch of the top of the jar. You want to keep the cabbage submerged in the water so it doesn’t turn brown. I floated a small, upturned lid on the jar contents and then weighted it with one of those tiny jam jars. That worked. Then you put the jar in a not-too-cold place — mine was in the coolest corner of the kitchen, but the unheated basement would have been OK too. Check the jar every day or so — you are looking for bubbles to form amid the cabbage. It could be that you don’t see them until you jiggle the jar and then they emerge and race to the top. Depending on the temperature, this can take 5-10 days.

In the jar, with water and salt, weighted down.
After several days, it has fermented.

If using it within a week, put a lid on it and keep it in the refrigerator. If you are a canner, you may process it in a hot-water bath in the same jar in which it fermented. Process for 20 minutes in boiling water to cover. When cool, store on the shelf to use for all sorts of good meals. Once the jar is opened, left-over ‘kraut can be kept in the refrigerator for weeks.

Our’s is braised in stock [the Alsacians will add white wine, the Germans will add beer] with sliced onions and caraway seed, then baked with chunks of sausage. Served with mashed potatoes, as my mother did, along with some rye bread. A feast! For a Fast Day, you could use the sauerkraut to prepare dinners such as: Sauerkraut & Sausage, or Baltic Bake. Or at breakfast in Reuben Matzo Egg.

Slow Days: Tourtiere

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 you 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.

In French Canada, Christmas is marked by a series of events. Beginning on December 24, there is a meatless meal for dinner — often including oysters. Then midnight mass and then the Revillion: dining with family into the wee hours to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus. And what do they eat on this special night? Tourtiere. The recipe for this pork pie goes back to medieval times: you can tell by the combination of ‘exotic’ spices with meat. The preparation of the pie begins in November [St Martin’s Day perhaps?], when the pig would be slaughtered. Bits of meat left over from other cuts would be ground or minced, combined with spices, and wrapped in a lard pastry. It could be shaped as a boule or in a pie plate. As many of these pies as possible would be put into the cold shed off the kitchen, where they would freeze for the rest of the winter, ready to be taken out and baked for a meal — the original convenience food.

Our recipes, for the tourtière and its crust, are from Craig Claiborne’s NYT International Cook Book. We enjoy tourtiere for dinner on some evening in December [not Christmas Eve, for then we dine on Dear Husband’s Seafood Chowder]. Since it can be prepared in November or even October, tourtière makes a perfect ‘prepared meal’ to whisk from the freezer for dinner on a busy day.

Ground pork, spices, savory [of course!], onions, garlic, stock — simple ingredients for an old-fashioned meal.

Since I don’t know how many you will be serving, I’ve written the recipe for 6 or 3 or 2 persons. We will be serving only two this year.

Sv 6Sv 3Sv 2
1 cup
1 clove
2 Tbsp
½ cup
½ clove
1 Tbsp
1/3 cup chopped onion
½ clove minced garlic
2 tsp butter
Chop the onion and garlic an cook in the butter until wilted.
1 ½ #¾ #½ # /8 oz ground pork Add to the pan and cook, breaking up lumps.
¾ tsp
¾ tsp
¾ tsp
1 leaf
¾ cup
ad lib
3/8 tsp
3/8 tsp
3/8 tsp
½ leaf
1/3 cup
ad lib
2 Large pinch cloves
2 large pinch cinnamon
2large pinch savory
1/3 leaf bay
¼ cup pork stock
salt & pepper to taste
Add the seasonings and stock to the pan and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring sometimes.Cool the mixture and run it through a food processor to chop the filling more thoroughly.
Scrape into a bowl and chill thoroughly.

**This lard pastry is traditional and is perfect for a savory pie.

1 cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
Cut together with a pastry blender or 2 table knives until ingredients are uniformly crumbly.
3+ Tbsp cold waterUsing a 2-pronged fork, stir the water into the pastry crumbs, adding more if needed, until it all comes together in a ball.

Roll out the pastry and fit into an appropriate pie plate or into a bowl large enough to contain the filling. If baking as a pie or tart, cover filling with a top crust. If baking as a boule, line the bowl with pastry, with a generous overhang. Put the filling in the bowl and trim the pastry to enclose, without too much bunching or overlap. Seal edges. 

If cooking as a boule, turn out the boule onto a glass pie plate so that the round side is up and the gathered side is on the bottom. This year, I used some extra dough to make some decorations. Been watching too much Great British Baking Show, I guess.

Freeze the pie – overnight or for weeks.
The day before baking: Thaw the pie in the refrigerator. To bake, set oven at 425F. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn down temperature to 350F and bake for 30-40 minutes [check it at 25 minutes]. Crust should be cooked and beginning to turn golden.

The tourtière is best served with gravy, winter vegetables, and ‘chow’, a green tomato relish beloved in Quebec and the Maritime Provinces of Canada. What a fine meal for a winter night.

Slow Days: Pot Roast

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 you 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.

I have fond memories of my mother’s pot roast during my Connecticut childhood. No idea what cut or size of beef she used…I do remember long chunks of carrot and large chunks of potato infused with the braising liquid. Probably cooked in a pressure cooker, and following the recipe in Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook. Delicious way to fill up a family. Dear Husband suggested recently that we do a Sunday pot roast. It seemed appropriate as the Autumn advances during a deepening season of Covid cases. We looked at Jacques Pepin Celebrates, and there was his ‘Connecticut Pot Roast.’

4.5 pounds of beef bottom round were browned in butter in a large Dutch Oven. Then braised in 1-1/2 cups water with salt for 3 hours in the oven at 275 F. Next, add 1-3/4 pound small red potatoes, one pound of carrots, 1 pound onions the size of large radishes, and 2 oz dried shiitake mushrooms are added, along with 1-1/2 cups water and a bit of salt. The covered pot returns to the oven for 2 more hours. At that point everything should be tender. Remove the meat and vegetables and boil the liquids down to 3 cups. Thicken the broth with 2 teaspoons of potato starch dissolved in 2 Tbsp of red wine.

Here is all the meat, with most of the vegetables — wow – that’s a lot of food!

Plated, it looks like this, served with a California Cabernet Sauvignon.

Napped with the thickened stock, this is a wonderful meal.

Since we started with 4.5# of meat, we ended up with lots of meat and vegetables left over. In the next few weeks, you will see how different ways this meal can be used for a Fast Day: repeated as is; as a cold plate supper; as cottage pie. So this might be a great thing to prepare during the holidays, since it provides many subsequent meals.

St Clement

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 apetitegirlsguideto2964 who is now Following.

” “Oranges and lemons,’ say the bells of St. Clements” according to the nursery rhyme. There is dispute as to whether that was St Clement Danes or St Clement Eastcheap, but that doesn’t matter since the poem is more about word play than churches. First printed in 1744, the poem could be discussing various trades working in London at the time. The real Saint Clement was the 2nd or 3rd pope in Rome, Italy. In the 1st century, his Christian faith drew the ire of the Romans and he was arrested. Exiled to a forced labor camp [in modern-day Ukraine], he ministered to and converted his fellow prisoners. For that, he was drowned in the Black Sea, tied to an anchor. In Rome, is the Church of San Clemente. To visit it is to take a trip through time. The church has been excavated to reveal 3 sub-levels: a 2nd-century Roman house; a 3rd-century temple of the Cult of Mithras; a 4th-century church dedicated to St Clement. And on the street level, the current basilica, finished in 1108 in fine Romanesque style. When in Rome, it is worth a visit.

November 23 is the Feast of Saint Clement. Legend has it that the fruit called ‘clementines’ are named for a Moroccan orphanage. Not true, but we will enjoy clementines in our breakfast. Since St Clement was sent ‘to swim with the fishes,’ our dinner will be a seafood take on an Italian classic.

Mango-Citrus Parfait: 284 calories 7 g fat 2.6 g fiber 24.5 g protein 29 g carbs [21 g Complex] 336 mg Calcium  PB GF Fast Food Restaurants decided years ago to offer ‘healthy options’ in the form of yogurt parfaits. Full-fat yogurt, fruit, and lots of high-fat granola. Poor choice. Here is a more acceptable breakfast option, full of protein yet low in fat and enough calories to keep you going for hours.  NB: This could be a healthy Slow Day lunch option.

½ cup reduced-fat cottage cheese ½ cup plain fat-free yogurt 1 oz mango, diced ½ clementine [skin it and use half the segments] 2 Tbsp granola  Optional: coffee with ¼ c skimmed milk and ½ tsp sugar [30 calories] or blackish tea  NO SMOOTHIE

Stir the cottage cheese and yogurt to combine thoroughly. Divide the fruit into two portions. Spoon half of the dairy mixture into a wide-mouthed wine glass and top with half the fruit. Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of granola. Repeat with the remaining ingredients in the same order, topping with granola. Prepare the coffee and enjoy that dairy-fruit goodness.

Fish Parmesan:  238 calories 2.6 g fat 4.7 g fiber 31 g protein 11 g carbs 242.5 mg Calcium   PG GF – if using GF breadcrumbs  A new version of the restaurant classic, made suitable for Fasters. And it is delicious. 

4 oz fish, firm-fleshed variety — tilapia works nicely 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated 1 tsp dried oregano + 1/2 tsp thyme ¼ oz whole-grain breadcrumbs, fresh not dried 1 Tbsp milk ¼ cup marinara sauce, homemade or jarred ¾ oz mozzerella, grated 2 Tbsp low-fat cottage cheese 2 oz green beans

Heat the toaster oven to 350F. Spritz an oven-proof pan with non-stick spray or olive oil. Pour the milk onto a small plate. On another plate combine the Parmesan, herbs, and bread crumbs with salt and pepper. Cream the other two cheeses together until well-combined. Dip the fish in the milk on both sides. Dredge the fish in the crumb/cheese mixture to coat it completely. Place on the oven-proof pan and spray with olive oil. Bake the fish about 10 minutes, until golden. Top the fish with the marinara sauce, then mound the cheese over it. Broil for 5 minutes until the cheese is melty and starting to brown. Prepare the green beans and plate with the fish. Light the candle stuck in the wine bottle for atmosphere.

oranges and lemons, say the bells of st Clemens: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Clement%27s,_Eastcheap#%22Oranges_and_Lemons%22

Slow Days: Pasta DIY

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 you 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.

The dough has been mixed

Once a week, we have a meal involving pasta. And, yes, for those of you in the US who are from New England, the day we eat pasta is Wednesday. Many years ago, we bought a pasta machine. We were quite self-sufficient in those days, so making our own noodles seemed just right. It was fun, but then I returned to work and the machine sat in the drawer. Nowadays, it is back to DIY, and with lots of our own eggs, fresh pasta is on the menu again. There are two basic recipes: all-purpose flour + eggs OR semolina flour with water. I decided to combine them: 1 cup semolina flour, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 two-ounce egg [US Large], and some water. These are combined in a food processor or by hand, adding enough water to make a rough ball of slightly moist dough, like Sugar Cookie Dough.

Kneading and rolling it out is the job of the pasta machine. First the dough goes through the rollers at “1,” which is the widest setting. It is folded in half, and rolled again. Every time the dough goes through, it holds together better and becomes smoother. Then you gradually set the rollers at higher and higher numbers: 1 to 2, 2 to 3. Each time, the dough becomes thinner, longer, and more supple. Cut the dough in pieces cross-wise so that it is easier to handle. Eventually you reach the setting 6. You could stop there or make it really thin at 7. 6 is good for noodles, 7 is better for filled pasta such as ravioli or tortellini.

Now it is time to cut the dough into noodles. You could do it by hand, or by machine. Our machine has two choices: thin like spaghetti, or wider like fettuccini. Working with the smaller dough rectangles, one passes the dough through the cutters. Catch it coming out the other side and hang it up to dry. You can use it fresh, and it is delicious. Cook only 1-2 minutes and bear in mind that 2 oz dry pasta [one serving], is the equivalent of 5 oz fresh pasta. While the water is boiling and the sauce is heating, the pasta is drying slightly, which makes it easier to handle. What I don’t use for today’s meal is dried thoroughly and stored, air-tight, for use another time.

Would I make pasta every week? No, but it is great for special meals. Does pasta make a meal ‘Mediterranean’? Not automatically. How healthy a pasta dish is depends on what is on top of the pasta. Is Pasta a no-no for Fast Day meals? Yes and no. Chicken Tetrazzini, Tortellini with Black Kale, these are some of the Fast meals I’ve posted using pasta as an ingredient. Just remember that a ‘serving’ of dried pasta, of any shape, is 2 ounces. On a Slow Day, knock that down to 1-1 1/2 ounces and you can hedge your bet.

Foods in Wrappers, III

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.

I am fascinated by similarities among diverse cuisines from around the world. In geology, a layer of sedimentary rock can stretch for hundreds of miles. The source material was the same, but as it was deposited, small variations creep in so that in some cases the further you follow that stratum, the more it looks like a completely different rock. Around the world there are meals made of food in wrappers. All with different fillings, all with different seasonings, all with different wrappings: yet all those creative cooks had a similar inspiration: let’s take this and wrap it in an edible envelope! Today, we will look at four far-flung examples: from France, India, Mexico, and Italy.

Egg-Mushroom Galette/Crepe:  153 calories  6 g fat 2 g fiber 9 g protein 16.8 g carbs [11.3 g Complex] 39 mg Calcium  NB: The food values given above are for the egg crepe and fruit only, not the optional beveragesPB This is yummy. The eggs are creamy, the mushrooms are earthy, and the crepe is nutty. See “Jean Baptiste” for recipe details.

Momos with Chicken: 222 calories 1.5 g fat 2 g fiber 15.4 g protein 30 g carbs [6.5 g Complex Carbs] 58 mg Calcium  PB  Steamed momos are one of the most popular street foods of Northern India, due to the influence of neighboring Nepal and the fact that they are delicious. Try them and you will agree. Looks long and complex, but it is do-able. See “Deli & Delhi” for preparation details.

Quesadillas : 295 cal 9 g fat 2.7 g fiber 19 g protein 31.4 g carb 211.5 mg Calcium  GF These are great. We return to this recipe often for a quick, enjoyable meal. And you can prepare and cook them ahead! Wrap in foil, and reheat them later. Thanks to Suzy M. for that tip. See For Gunn & Grommet for recipe details.

Tortellini with Black Kale:  209 calories 9 g fat 3.5 g fiber 10 g protein 24 g carbs [7.4 g Complex] 231 mg Calcium  PB  Packaged, dried tortellini is a handy item to have in the pantry. It makes for a fine Tuscan meal when pared with Black Kale. ‘Black Kale’ is also called ‘Dinosaur Kale’ or ‘Tuscan Kale.’ The recipe is from ‘thekitchn.’  Another very simple meal with a lot of appeal. An ounce of bread could be added while keeping the calories in line. See S.A.D. for recipe details.

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

1 two-oz egg + apricot1 two-oz eggs  + blueberries
prepared horseradishricotta cheese + onion
romano cheese + chivesmozzarella cheese
WisPride or Kraft Olde English CheddarJarlsberg cheese + herbs
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

left over roast or boiled beefbeef or pork or chicken meat
mustard + cornicionechickpea ragout
beets, fresh or pickled
Sparkling waterSparkling water