Who Dunit, Who Ate It? Chapter 5

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 Siddharth menon and LeoAbreu who are now Following.

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 different sources.

Jules Maigret is a Parisian police detective created by Georges Simenon. In the book Maigret’s First Case, he is on a stake-out, watching a suspect’s apartment. Conveniently, the cafe ‘Vieux Calvados’ is directly across the street, so Maigret and his partner can eat and sleep there while keeping watch. The landlord serves them a curious breakfast: sausages cooked in wine with garlic. Somehow, that sounds off the mark for a Fast Day, so here is a substitute. The sausage is there but the empty calories of the wine are replaced by grapes, roasted to develop their flavor.

Roasted Grapes & Sausage: 212 calories 8 g fat 2 g fiber 5.4 g protein 4 g carbs 14 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage. PB GF  Unusual flavors at breakfast. Delicious flavors at breakfast. HINT: This serves two [2].

Here is a serving for one person, before the cheese is added.
½ c onion, sliced
½ tsp oil
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Heat oven to 450 degrees. Toss everything together + spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking pan or cast iron pan . Roast mins, until onions turn translucent and thinnest pieces are pale gold at the edges.
10 oz grapes
½ tsp fennel seed
2 oz sausage, 85 calories/oz
Add grapes, fennel seed, and sliced sausage to pan with onions, and toss well. Spread in an even layer and spray with cooking spray or oil.
Roast for 10 minutes. Sausage slices will be browned on the bottom and grapes will be wrinkled but still plump.
Parsley + chives
0.05 oz Parm, shaved
Place grapes, sausage, and onions on plates. Top with chives + Parmesan.
1 tsp rice vinegarAdd vinegar to baking sheet and scrape up any browned bits. Drizzle pan juices over plated food, taste. Sprinkle more salt or vinegar on top, if desired.

Hugo Marston, former FBI profiler, is now head of security at the US Embassy in Paris. He is well-placed to be involved in solving all sorts of mysteries that author Mark Pryor can devise. Hugo enjoys Paris and the food scene, although he himself is no Foodie. In the French Widow, Marston, unable to see his way through a case, goes out to dinner with friends. Another table is served Bleu Cheese and Garlic Pizza, so Hugo orders it. He also eaves-drops on fellow diners and gets an insight into the case. Funny how much can get solved over dinner!

Bleu Cheese & Garlic Pizza:  280 calories 8.6 g fat 5 g fiber 10 g protein 29.5 g carbs 203 mg Calcium  PB When Hugo Marston ate this, I just had to try it. It is good! The is recipe loosely based on one from simplyplayfulfare.com

1 fajita shell [be sure it has no more than 150 calories] 1 Tbsp plain, fat-free yogurt 1 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed out to remove excess moisture 3 or 4 cloves roasted garlic 3 Tbsp [½ oz] bleu cheese crumbles 1 oz finely diced tomato, drained to remove excess moisture 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated

Heat the oven to 400 F and roast the garlic cloves, wrapped in foil. Put the fajita shell on an ungreased baking sheet. Smear the yogurt evenly over the fajita then sprinkle the spinach evenly on top. Break off pieces of garlic and distribute them around, then put on the bleu cheese and tomato. Dust evenly with the Parmesan. Bake for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese starts to melt.

There and back again.

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.

On March 25, Frodo Baggins, with help from the duplicitous Gollum and the faithful Samwise Gamgee, destroyed the One Ring of Power. [Or shall I say: the duplicitous Gollum, aided by a wavering Frodo and the faithful Samwise] This is the main purpose of the grand Quest, as told by J.R.R.Tolkien in his trilogy The Lord of the Rings. Since this book is our great favorite, Dear Husband and I have, for the last thirty-some years, celebrated on March 25 by eating foods named in the books. Tolkien chose that date very carefully to represent the start of a ‘New Age’ because it is the day said to be when the Virgin Mary became pregnant with Jesus: “Annunciation Day.” Tolkien wrote the story as a Christian allegory. Many people, including his friend and fellow Catholic C.S. Lewis, missed that point and see it only as a fantasy. However you see it, we think it is a gripping tale with complex characters and an engrossing plot. End of book review — for now.

Hobbits love to eat, even after escaping from dire situations. Tom Bombadil rescues them from the dangers of the Old Forest and they all sit down to breakfast the next day. Farmer Maggot shelters them as they flee Black Riders, and then sends them off to their second dinner with a hot mushroom casserole. Enjoy some Hobbit food today.

Bombadil’s Breakfast: 205 calories 5 g fat 2.5 g fiber 10.5 g protein 15 g carbs [8 g Complex] 312 mg Calcium  NB: the food values given are for the plated items only, and do not include the optional beverages. PB GF  When Tom Bombadil served his guests breakfast, it was plants, fruit and dairy of his own collection or production. The plants should be watercress [since his wife Goldberry was the River-Woman’s daughter] and the fruit shall be Golden Berries [aka Peruvian Ground Cherries], again in a nod to his wife.

2/3 oz Camembert cheese ½ cup watercress leaves or microgreens ½ cup plain yogurt 1 tsp honey, warmed 2 oz Golden Berries edible flowers [violets, chives, nastursium, or others]  Optional : blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water

Warm the honey and stir it into the yogurt. Plate the items to your taste and enjoy a magical breakfast in The Old Forest. Wear a blue jacket and yellow boots.

Marish Mushroom Casserole: 299 calories 9 g fat 6 g fiber 24 g protein 41 g carbs 165.6 mg Calcium   PB  If you are a mushroom lover, this meal will make you happy. Vaguely inspired by English recipes.  HINT: This preparation is enough to serve two [2] diners. The wife of Farmer Maggot [a man much nicer than his surname] gave Frodo a mushroom casserole, like this, before he left the Shire on his quest.

BATTER: 1 egg + ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup skimmed milk + 1 tsp baking powder
Whisk together and let the batter sit for 30+ minutes.
You will need 2/3 cup for this recipe. Remainder can be frozen.
3 slices uncured bacon @ 30 calories/slice Chop bacon and cook until almost done
8 oz mushrooms, several varieties, if possible 
1 clove garlic 
one scallion, sliced
Chop mushrooms, slice the garlic and scallion. Cook in the bacon until vegetables have softend and most of the liquid has evaporated. Take off heat.
2 T Worcestershire sauce 
2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour
1 oz egg [that’s ½ of one US Large egg]  
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
Stir Worcestershire and flour to combine. Then add the egg and cheeese, and stir again. Combine in the pan with the mushroom mixture.
2/3 cup batterPour into an oven-safe dish which has been spritzed with non-stick spray. Smooth the top of the mixture and pour the batter on top.
Bake at 425 until batter is cooked.
½ tsp prepared mustard, per person 
1½ oz green beans, per person
Serve with green beans and mustard on the side.

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

kielbasa or chicken sausage1 two-oz egg + two 8-inch cucumbers 
onion + olive oil + rice vinegarbunch of mint + piment d’esplette
red seedless grapeswhole milk + Parmesan cheese
Parmesan cheese + parsley + chivesfromage blanc or plain yogurt + cantaloup
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

150-calorie fajita shell + garlicgarlic + egg + marjoram
frozen spinach + tomatochicken or vegetable stock
plain, no-fat yogurtpotato + parsnips + butter
Parmesan cheeserye bread + Swiss cheese
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Who Dunit? Who Ate It? Chapter 4

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 NutritionIdeas2020 who is now Following.

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 widely different sources.

Hercule Poirot is one of Agatha Christie‘s most enduring detectives, although she came to dislike the character eventually. He is a former policeman from Belgium who is obsessed with order and cleanliness. Not for him searching for footprints and collecting cigar ash — too dirty. Add to that, Poirot professes to have a tender stomach. Thus he prefers food that is neat, regularly-shaped, European, and mild but never bland. An omelette made with apples and cream would appeal to him.

Omelette Normande:  174 calories 11 g fat 1 g fiber 10 g protein 9 g carbs [8.2 g Complex] 46 mg Calcium NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  Cooking in Normandy naturally involves apple and cream, even at breakfast. This is the breakfast version of a Norman dessert omelette.

1 ½ eggs HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume, into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week.  1½ oz apple, peeled and sliced thinly 1½ tsp heavy/whipping cream ½ tsp butter ¼ tsp sugar + ¼ tsp cinnamon 1 oz peach    Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories]  NO smoothie

Peel and slice the apples and cook them slowly in a saute pan with the butter, sugar, cinnamon, 2 Tbsp water, and a healthy spray of non-stick spray. Add more water if the pan gets dry – you don’t want the apples to stick or scorch. Cook until the apples are almost soft and there is no more liquid in the pan. HINT: You can do this the night before. Whisk the eggs with the cream and a little salt while the apples heat/stay warm in the saute pan. Pour in the eggs and let them cook undisturbed until done. Fold and plate with the peach or other fruit of 11 calories. Picture apple trees in bloom.

Perhaps the greatest contemporary foodie-detective is Bruno Courreges, created by Martin Walker in the Bruno, Chief of Police series. As you read, you can’t wait for the next succulent recipe to be presented — step by step, so you could almost cook from the page of the novel. In addition to the food, the plots and characters make the books worth reading. Bruno lives in southern Perigord, a region known for its local ingredients and he makes the most of them. This is a person you want to share a meal with, as long as he is cooking. Author Walker’s wife, Julia Watson, is in charge of the recipes and she does a great job.

Green Gazpacho with Shrimp:  279 calories 19 g fat 2 g fiber 13 g protein 11 g carbs 56 mg Calcium   PB GF   “Bruno,” according to the cookbook, “likes everything about Spanish Gazpacho except the color and texture.” So here is his own version. HINT: The recipe makes 3 cups of soup, to serve three [3] people.

1½ green peppers [9 oz] cut in ½” dice  3 fl oz dry white or rose winePut 1/3 of the chopped green peppers into a blender with the white wine. Pulse a bit, then add 1/3 more and pulse again. Add remaining peppers and pulse.
½ large cucumber [5 oz] cut in ½” diceAdd the chopped cucumber and pulse a few times.
75 ml / 4 Tbsp good olive oil 50 ml/ 4 tsp vinegar
tarrragon sprig 2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup onion, chopped
salt + pepper to taste
Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until the soup is still a little chunky.
Pour into another container and chill for 30 minutes or more.
Per serving: 2 oz small shrimp
Piment d’esplette
Sprinkle shrimp with piment d’esplette and cook. Pour soup into serving bowl and top with cooked shrimp.

Tolkien

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.

J.R.R. Tolkien did not set out to be a world-famous fantasy writer. Born in South Africa on January 2, 1892, he became a professor of linguistics at Oxford. There he dabbled in writing with a group called The Inklings. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis traded ideas and critiqued each other’s work. [This is why both their fantasy series feature talking trees, elves, and Christian allegory.] At heart, Tolkien was a lover of the linguistic roots of modern English and of old myths.  He wanted to create an English mythology and produced The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the Silmarillion, as well as many songs, poems, and short stories. Tolkien’s works are beloved the world over for their universal human insights set in a fantasy landscape.  The Quest and Coming of Age themes are compelling and the characters are memorable. The works may not be the history of England and its language, but they are worth reading at any age.                                                                                                                          

Since Tolkien was such a devoted chronicler of all things English, today’s meals would please him as well as making sure that no Hobbits become fatter.  The mushroom breakfast is based on the casserole given to Frodo by Farmer Maggot’s wife, and the dinner is a classic English meal from the 1700s.

FarmWife Mushroom Pudding: 127 calories 2 g fat 2 g fiber 7 g protein 33.5 g carbs 83.6 mg Calcium NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage. PB Having heard this described in The Fellowship of the Ring, I searched and searched until I found an approximation: this recipe in Theodora FitzGibbon’s A Taste of England.

½ oz [around one strip] American/streaky bacon ¾ cup assorted mushrooms, chopped 3 Tbsp chicken stock 1 tsp white whole wheat flour 1 Tsp Worcestershire Sauce salt & pepper ½ Arnold Multi-grain Sandwich Thin  ½ oz pear  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water Optional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Cook the bacon partially, blot off the fat, and cut in strips. Pour off the bacon fat but return 1 tsp to the pan. Saute the mushrooms in the fat with a pinch of salt, and remove them. Pour some of the chicken stock into the pan and sprinkle in the flour while whisking to prevent lumps as it thickens. Add the remaining stock and some pepper. Put the bacon and mushrooms into the sauce and cook over low heat. Pour into an oiled oven-proof dish and bake at 425 F for 15 minutes. Warm or lightly toast the Sandwich Thin. Place the bread on top of the mushroom pudding prior to serving.  NB: you can serve it out of the baking dish or turn it out on the bread on a plate.  Enjoy with the pear and have a hearty day, even if you are not escaping from Black Riders.

Pheasant Casserole: 250 calories   9.5 g fat   5.4 g fiber   22.5 g protein  21.6 g carbs [19 Complex]   86 mg Calcium  PB   This recipe is based on one from English Provincial Cooking by Elisabeth Ayrton and it dates back to the 18thcentury. Whole partridges were stewed with onion, carrot, and cabbage for 2.5 hours and served on thick slices of bread. Well, this is a modified version and it is delicious. Using left-over cooked pheasant meat, this recipe works well as a quick and nourishing meal.

Pheansant Casserole

2-1/2 oz cabbage, sliced 1-1.5” thick                                                                     1.5 oz baby carrots, cut in half lengthwise                                                                                                            ¼ oz onion rings [which I forgot to put on the top]                                                       2 Tbsp chicken or pheasant gravy                                                                                                                      2 oz pheasant meat, cooked and taken off the bone                                             ½ Arnold Multi-Grain Sandwich Thin

Prepare the carrots, cabbage, and onion and steam them for 25 minutes until the carrots are tender. If the cabbage is not yet done, leave it in the steamer with the lid on but off the heat until needed. Warm the pheasant in the gravy + 2 tsp of the water from the steaming liquid. Warm the Arnold Thins in the toaster oven. Plate the bread. Spoon a tablespoon of gravy on top. Place the meat atop the bread. Stir the warm vegetables into the warm gravy and plate them. Put the onion rings on top and pour any remaining gravy over the meat.

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

one 2-oz egg                           +            apple or strawberriesNext week I will provide some favorite side dishes for Fast Days
whole-grain bread, 70 calories 
blend cream/half&half 
parmesan cheeseFind a new favorite in the Archives
Whatever you need for your smoothieWhatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverageWhatever you need for your hot beverage

Dinner, single portion:

Beef chuck steak +  green pepper 
stewed tomatoes   + onion 
white whole wheat flour 
green beans   +  carrotsFind a new favorite in the Archives
Sparkling waterSparkling water