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!

Alzheimer’s News

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 Dishita who is now Following.

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 Dishita and fittacticsguy who are now Following.

It is one thing to see testimonials for healthy-living-plans on the website of the plan. Does that make you skeptical about their veracity? As one with a science background, I want to see corroboration from an independent source. In a mailing from the Alzheimer’s Prevention Bulletin came this headline: “Research shows intermittent fasting may prevent Alzheimer’s disease” Haven’t I been saying all along that Fasting has more than just weight-loss benefits? The article cites animal studies which look very promising:

Intermittent fasting in animal studies has also been shown to reduce brain inflammation. There is strong evidence that forms of intermittent fasting can delay the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in animal models. Researchers are now exploring opportunities to study intermittent fasting in humans; particularly the effect this might have on neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease.

“In animal studies, intermittent fasting has been shown to increase longevity, improve cognitive function and reduce brain plaque as compared with animals fed a regular diet,” said Allan Anderson, MD, Director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Tucson. “One hypothesis is that intermittent fasting enables cells to remove damaged proteins. It has been shown to delay the onset and progression of disease in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.….“The animal research is stunning,” concluded Dr. Anderson.

Well, I’m psyched. With Alzheimer’s in my family, I am eager to do what it takes to prevent or forestall the condition. So I exercise, I keep my mind active, I try to learn new things, and I Fast 5:2. Since reading this article, Dear Husband have altered our meal times to fit into the 16:8 schedule for Intermittent Fasting to add a further dimension. Eating less while eating well two days each week seems like a minuscule price to pay for improved brain health. What do you think? Read the full article here. And while you visit the site, sign up for the Alzheimer’s Registry by clicking the tab “About the Registry.” The more of us who participate in research, the quicker a cure can be found.

The meals today are typical of what we eat on a Fasting Monday. As the Good Book says, “Go, thou, and do likewise.”

Fore Street Bake: 147 calories 8 g fat 1.6 g fiber 9.6 g protein 8.5 g carbs 95 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the egg bake and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.  PB GF  One of our favorite restaurants in Portland, Maine is ForeStreet. First time there, I ate a pizza from their wood-fired oven and we have loved that particular combination of flavors ever since. Here’s the marvelous mixture in baked eggs.

1 two-oz egg 1/3 oz blue cheese ¾ oz leeks ½ oz mushrooms 1 oz strawberries    Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

Slice the leeks and chop the mushrooms. Put into a Pyrex custard cup with a little water and cook in the microwave for 45 seconds. Spritz a ramekin with non-stick spray and add the cooked leeks and mushrooms. Whisk the cheese with the egg, then pour into the ramekin. Bake at 350 F. for 12-15 minutes. Portion the berries and pour the beverages and settle in for a taste of Portland

Miso Salmon:  242 calories 9 g fat 2 g fiber 29 g protein 12 g carbs 37 mg Calcium   PB GF Having heard of this over and over again, I asked our son for a recipe. So easy! So good tasting! You will have left-over sauce for flavoring a soup or another fish dish.

4 oz salmon filet, skinned + 2 Tbsp miso sauce** + 5 spears asparagus

**Miso Sauce:  makes 6 Tablespoons   33 calories/Tablespoon 2 Tbsp white or yellow miso 2 Tbsp mirin 1 Tbsp sake or sherry 1 Tbsp soy sauce 1 tsp sesame oil Stir together to combine.

Place the fish on a small plate and paint one side with some miso sauce. Turn fish over and repeat. On medium-high, heat a well-seasoned cast iron pan or a non-stick pan and add a spritz of cooking spray. Cook the fish on one side for 4 minutes while painting the up-side with more miso sauce. Turn the fish to the other side, paint with the sauce, and cook 4-5 minutes longer, depending on the thickness of the fish. Test for doneness by cutting a small slit down to the middle of the filet to see if it has changed from deep pink to opaque pink color. Cook the asparagus and plate.

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.

Comparing Plans: MIND

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.

Paleo and Keto diets are all the rage, but it seems to me that the MIND Diet should be better-known. It was developed in 2015 at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago from two widely-regarded diets: the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet. The name is a real smash-up: Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. As that implies, the diet has genuine benefits for those who wish to forestall neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Furthermore, although it is not an eating plan aimed at weight-loss/body health, it could help to lower cholesterol and weight. Since Dr Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet for Slow Days, it is remarkably easy to merge this with a Fasting Diet. Dear Husband and I tried it out, designing a month-long plan of eating, and were glad to see how easy it was to follow. According to a study of 900+ seniors, those who followed the plan religiously reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s Disease by 53%. Those were less punctilious, still reduced their risk by 35%. Those are great numbers. I’m up for that. The chart below shows how nicely the MIND and FAST play together.

Is this food allowed on this diet…MINDOn Fast Days
Fatty Animal protein: beef, lamb, porkNo Yes
Lean Animal protein: chicken, turkey8 oz/weekYes, preferred
Eggs Yes Yes 
Beer, wine, cocktails5 oz red wine dailyOnly on Slow Days
Grains: brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole cereal Yes Yes, in moderation
Nuts + seeds3 oz/week Yes, in moderation
Beans, legumes: peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas4 oz/week Yes 
Seafood protein8 oz/week or moreYes 
Tropical fruitslimitedYes 
BerriesYes, often Yes 
Leafy green vegetables: spinach, chard, kale, lettuce1 oz/day or moreYes 
Cheese No Some 
Vegetable oils: olive, canolaYes Yes, in moderation
Animal fat: butterNo Yes, on Slow Days
Root vegetables: beets, sweet potatoes, carrotsYes Yes 
Other vegetables: onions, tomatoes, peppersYes Yes 
Higher fatNo No 
Colorful vegetablesYes Yes 
Higher fiberYes Yes
Daily Carb intakeunmeteredKeep it low
Complex carbohydrates: whole grains 3oz/day Yes
Simple carbs: cookies, pastries, cakeNoNot on Fast Day
16:8 intermittant fasting recommendedYesYes 
Number of days per week to follow the regimin 7 of 72 of 7
Do calories matter?No Yes, 600 on Fast Days
source: https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/mind-diet

Our meals today draw from ingredients that hew to the guidelines of the MIND Diet: whole-grain bread and a brightly-colored vegetable for breakfast, followed by beans with leafy greens for dinner. The soup also makes for a fine lunch, which is another time to eat your healthy ingredients.

Bruschetta Toast: 210 calories 12 g fat 4 g fiber 9.5 g protein 20 g carbs [12 g Complex] 56 mg Calcium  PB  This one was a serendipidous invention and it turned out to be yummy.

1 slice whole-grain seedy bread [Dave’s Killer Bread is great] one 2-oz egg 3 Tbsp Bruschetta sauce  – strain it if too liquidy 1 oz pear  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water 

Toast the bread lightly and pan-fry or poach the egg. Spread 2 Tbsp of the bruschetta on the toast and top with the egg. Dollop the remaining bruschetta on the egg. Plate the fruit. Eat with knife and fork or with your hands. A taste sensation.

Bruschetta Sauce: makes 2 cups 1 cup= 285 calories 28.5 g fat 3 g fiber 2 g protein 10 g carbs 2 mg Ca
½ pound plum tomatoes
3-4 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic + 1 scallion
½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes + ½ tsp salt
1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp fresh maarjoram, chopped
Core and quarter the tomatoes. Peel and crush the garlic.
Slice the scallion. Put all of these ingredients into a food processor and pulse off and on to make a chunky sauce.
½ pound plum tomatoesCore and quarter the tomatoes. Add to the above and pulse a few more times.
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1½ teaspoons red wine vinegar
Pour the tomato-herb mixture into a bowl and stir in the vinegars.
This is the sauce that I mentioned in SlowDays: Bruschetta https://wordpress.com/post/fastingme.com/14162

Three-Bean Soup:  241 calories 3 g fat 29 g fiber 16 g protein 39 g carbs [32 g Complex] 134 mg Calcium  PB GF   A cold evening and a bowl of bean soup – so satisfying and delicious. HINT: This recipe produces 11 cups of soup. One serving = one cup A fine way to use up some of those beans that you hoarded when the Pandemic began.

1 cup dry navy beans** + 1 cup dry kidney beans** + 1 cup dry soldier beans** 2 Tbsp salt + water to cover beans 4 oz ham bone or ham hock, with some meat 1 cup onion, chopped 28 oz crushed tomatoes 1 tsp chili powder + 1 tsp dried basil 3 Tbsp lemon juice + salt + pepper to taste per serving: 1/2 cup baby spinach leaves cut as chiffonade **Any combination of beans will do. Add other types of beans or pulses, such as lentils, to create a 5-10 bean soup.

Rinse the beans in a collander under running water. Put them into a large bowl or cook pot and cover with 3-4” of water. The beans will double or triple in size as they absorb the water. Add salt and let the beans sit overnight. Next day, drain the water and discard. Put the beans in a large cook pot along with 1½ quarts water and the meaty bone. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cover. Let cook slowly for 2 hours. Add the onion, tomatoes, and flavorings. Fish out the ham bone and cut the meat from it. Dice the meat, add back to the pot, and simmer slowly for one hour. Serve with ½ cup fresh baby spinach leaves stirred into the hot soup in each serving bowl at the last minute.

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

1 two-oz egg + lots of fresh herbs1 two-oz egg, hard-boiled 
Crushed tomatoes + low-fat cottage cheese1 slice whole-grain dark bread @ 70 calories
anchovy + cooked chicken meatchicken dinner sausage
pear2 prunes + onion
Optional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

quail/pheasant + rabbit liver + peascabbage + onion + rutabaga/turnip
Dijon mustard + fresh cranberries + eggcarrot + parsnip + dry green lentils
rich broth + turkey + onion + wild boarpork loin + frozen spinach + fresh spinach
mace + carrot + Arnold Sandwich Thin [100 calories]mace + dry mustard + caraway seed
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Slow Days: Fastnachts

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 England, it is Shrove Tuesday. In N’Orleans, it is Mardi Gras. In Brazil, it is Carneval. In Poland, it is Pączki Day. But in Germany and “Pennsylvania Dutch Country”, it is Fastnacht Day. When I was a child, my mother [who’s distant ancestors were French/Swiss/German but who was raised in South Central Pennsylvania] often made doughnuts with us on the last Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, “To use up all the eggs and fat in the house before the start of Lent.” Of course, we still had lots of butter-sugar-Crisco-eggs in the house, so it was more a cultural food tradition. Dear Husband’s father came from a very German family: half of his grandparents were born in Bavaria, where the day is called Fasching. Dear Husband remembers that his father used to fry Fastnachts for breakfast the day before Lent began. I am delighted to have Dear Husband’s grandmother’s recipe for “Fastnacht Kuchen,” as written out by one of her daughters.

Here is Nana’s recipe, written out by her daughter Josephine.

After struggling with the recipe for years without success [compounded by the fact that I’m at lousy deep-fat frying], I developed my own method while still using the original ingredients and proportions. A major change: mine are baked, not deep fat fried. Dear Husband loves them.

ORIGINAL RECIPE
Makes 75
Original directions MY VERSION makes 10 Here’s how I do it.
1 cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 pkg dry yeast
“Mix” 3 Tbsp warm water
pinch sugar
¾ tsp yeast
Start before noon the day before you want to serve them. Combine and let stand until yeast is bubbly.
Three 2-oz eggs
2 cup sugar
rind of 2 lemons
1 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp salt
“Beat together with a beater until ___[can’t read]____” 1 oz beaten egg
1/3 c sugar
2 tsp lemon zest  
2 pinches nutmeg
½ tsp salt
Stir together these ingredients in a medium-sized bowl, then add the yeast mixture.
Combine well with a hand-held electric mixer.
¼ pound butter
2 cup milk
“Melt the butter in 2 cups warm milk.” 3 Tbsp butter
1/3 cup milk
Heat milk to scalding and melt butter in it. Let cool to lukewarm.
6 cups sifted flour“In a bowl. Add alternately until mixed well. Let stand overnight in a warm place.”  ½ c white whole wheat flour
¾ c all-purpose flour
Place the flour in a bowl and add the egg mixture and the butter mixture alternately to the flour. Stir to combine well. Let rise, covered, 6 hours in a warm place. Do the next step in the evening.
More flour for kneading
Lard for frying
“Flour waxed paper and knead 2 Tbsp at a time. Cut out doughnuts**. Let rise 2 hours. Fry in lard.” [last word underlined twice!]   More flour for kneading The dough is very sticky. Kneading alone will fix that, trying not to add much flour. Knead on a buttered or lightly-floured board until it can be handled and will hold its shape but is not stiff. Form into balls [non-traditional] or squares with a slit in the middle [traditional] and put in the refrigerator overnight. [**Not supposed to be doughnut-shaped] 
Melted lard for brushing 
Icing sugar
Heat oven to 425 F. Grease a baking sheet with melted lard. Brush the Fastnachts with melted lard and bake 10+ minutes. Shake icing sugar on top and serve warm. They freeze well.

Ready for breakfast, complete with Mardi Gras beads

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.