Slow Days: Summertime Pasta

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.

Jacques Pepin is a darned good chef. Perhaps it is the fact that he was formerly the Executive Chef of the Howard Johnson’s chain that caused him to promote simple-to-prepare food that is achievable for the ‘average’ cook. One such recipe, from his book Fast Food My Way, is called Summertime Pasta. [When he talks about Fast Food, he means the kind that is quick to prepare, not the type we eat on a FAST Day***. ] If ever there was a time when one wants to keep prep time to a minimum, Summer is it. It amazes me how easy this meal is on the cook and how fine it is to eat it. We dine on it ourselves and serve it to company. It is that good.

The mise en place for two servings of Summertime Pasta
Sv 4Sv 2 
3 c. tomatoes in ½“ dice
1 ½ c. zucchini in ½“ dice
1 c. white mushrooms, ½” dice
1 tsp salt + black pepper
1/3 c. extra-virgin olive oil  
6 oz diced tomatoes
¾ c diced zucchini
½ c diced mushrooms
½ tsp salt + black pepper
3 Tbsp EVOO
Mix everything in a microwavable glass bowl.
6 oz pasta shells, whole wheat
2 qts water
salt
3 oz shells, whole wheat
1 qt water
salt
20 minutes before serving, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add the pasta and cook about 7 minutes until al dente. Drain.
Microwave the vegetables for 2 minutes or longer until they are lukewarm.
1 c. grated Parmesan cheese ½ c ParmesanCombine the drained pasta with the warm vegetables, then stir in the cheese.
1½ c. Fresh basil leaves, shredded ¾ c. Fresh basil leavesPlate, and top with basil.
Every meal looks delicious with edible flowers as a garnish.

If you wish, you can add chunks of chicken or grilled shrimp to the dish to add more protein. Delicious.

Snow peas are also a nice addition.

***Truth be told, I do have a version of this recipe that is fine for a Fast Day. One of these days, I will share it with you.

Comparing Diets: 30 per Week

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. 

Diets should be designed to help you become healthier, usually by losing weight. And that is a good thing, but often when people diet by cutting out food groups, they become less healthy because there is not enough variety in their food. When that happens, nutrients are lost, along with fiber. But inside your intestines, where your food is digested and absorbed into the body, something else happens: the loss of microbiota. Studies have shown that the less the diversity of your microbiota, the less healthy you are in the long run. The ’30 per Week’ challenge has you aiming to eat at least 30 different plants each week — vegetables, fruits, grains, seeds, leaves — to boost microbiota populations. Think that is difficult? If you eat a slice of whole wheat bread for breakfast, that is from only one plant. If you switch to 10-grain bread, then you are one-third toward the goal! Folks who are following a Mediterranean Diet or a Plant-Based Diet or a MIND Diet will see that this way of eating will be easy to fold into their meal plans.

This plan dovetails nicely with the Fast Diet, since lots of meals can be constructed that meet the <300 calorie goal, but also have a variety of plant matter. It is true that I could eat a breakfast of a cheese omelette which contains no plants at all, but that might be one meal of 14 in a week. Dear Husband and I have found it to be an interesting and highly achievable challenge to eat 30 per Week. Try it!

Is this food allowed on this diet…30 per WeekOn Fast Days
Fatty Animal protein: beef, lamb, porkIn moderationYes
Lean Animal protein: chicken, turkeyYesYes, preferred
Eggs Yes Yes 
Beer, wine, cocktailsWine, maybeOn Slow Days
Grains, starches: whole grain versionsyesin moderation
Nuts + seedsYes in moderation
Beans, legumes: peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeasYes Yes 
Seafood protein, especially with Omega-3 fatsYesYes 
Apples, melons, pears, all other fruitsYesYes 
Berries of all kindsYes Yes 
Leafy green vegetables: spinach, chard, kale, lettuceYesYes 
Dairy: Cheese, milk, yogurt In moderationSome 
Vegetable oils: olive, canolaYes in moderation
Animal fat: butterIn moderationin moderation
Root vegetables: beets, sweet potatoes, carrotsYesYes 
Other vegetables: onions, tomatoes, peppersYesYes 
Higher fiberYes Yes
Daily Carb intakeVariety of grainsKeep it low
Whole grains Yes Yes
Simple carbs: cookies, pastries, cake, bread, processed foodsNot recommendedNot on Fast Day
Number of days per week to follow the regimin 7 of 72 of 7
Do calories matter?No Only 600 on Fast Days

The breakfast today contains 5 different plants, while the dinner provides 6 more. See how easy that was?

Flamenco ScrOmelette: 152 calories 7 g fat 2 g fiber 10 g protein 11 g carbs [10 g Complex] 51 mg Calcium  NB: Food values shown are for the ScrOmelette and fruit only, and do not include the optional beverages.  PB GF  The same flavors of a tapas meal now found in your breakfast scramble. Very good.

1½ two-oz 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 Tbsp tomato puree ¾ oz bell peppers, chopped 1½ Tbsp onions, chopped 2 pinches cayenne pepper + large pinch chopped parsley + salt to taste 1 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]

If starting the night before: Put the peppers and onions in a micro-wave safe container and nuke them for 1 minute. Stir in the tomato puree and the seasonings. Leave on counter overnight.

If starting at breakfast-time: Spritz a saute pan with non-stick spray and heat it. Put the vegetables into the hot saute pan to cook, then add the eggs and seasonings. Scramble together [or cook like an omelette] until the way you like it. Plate with the melon, pour your beverages of choice. Great flavors.

Santa Barbara Salad: 280 calories 13 g fat 6 g fiber 16 g protein 21 g carbs 106 mg Calcium  PB GF  From a Washington Post food column, this salad sings of California.  HINT: This amount serves 2 [two]. Invite a friend or save for lunch later in the week.

½ head Boston or buttercrunch lettuce 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes ½ medium apple, cored and diced ½ cup diced chicken breast ¼ cup chickpeas 1 oz soft goat cheese 1½ tsp pine nuts 1 Medjool date ½ two-oz egg, hardboiled  per serving: 1½ tsp cinnamon dressing

First prepare the dressing and refrigerate. Next, toast the pinenuts until they just begin to brown. Take off heat and set aside. Shred the lettuce and put in a bowl along with all the other ingredients. Toss with 1½ tsp dressing per serving. Play a Beach Boys song and wear your sunglasses.

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

1 two-oz egg + whole tomatoes1.5 two-oz eggs 
feta cheese + paprika + garlicroasted green chilis
orange/red bell pepper + onionapple
cumin + cayenne
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

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

6 felafel patties https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/fastingme.com/11013chicken breast meat, raw or cooked
fresh tomato + one 140-calorie pita breadbechamel sauce w/ cheese
orange/yellow bell pepper5 buckwheat galettes
red onion + lemon juiceasparagus
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Slow Days: Salmon for the 4th of July

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.

Time was, salmon ran up the rivers of New England by the thousands every year on the way to their breeding streams. They were so common that servants had clauses written into their contracts to prevent their employers from feeding them salmon every day. By early July, there is a wonderful confluence of ingredients: fresh salmon, the new green peas, and the tiny first potatoes. These became the makings of a classic meal for a traditional 4th of July in the 1800s, before anyone had ever heard of hot dogs and hamburgers and barbecue grills. If you don’t believe me, you may consult James Beard’s American Cookery [pg.119] and the Boston Globe.

The salmon may be grilled, poached, or baked. The peas are newly liberated from their shells. The potatoes are roasted with olive oil, salt, and rosemary. A traditional [and attractive, and delicious] way to celebrate our Independence Day.

Slow Days: Artistic Bread

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.

You’ve heard of ‘artisan bread,’ but have you ever seen bread that is artistic? I hadn’t, until our older son suggested it while we discussed what to serve at a small dinner party. We start with his recipe for ‘No-Knead Foccacio’ which is simplicity itself.

2 breads to serve 6-101 bread to serve 3-5
500 grams bread/strong flour
375 g water
10 g salt
6 g dry yeast
25 grams bread flour
187 g water
5 g salt
3 g dry yeast
Put all ingredients in a bowl with some mixing and rising room. Combine, using a fork, a spoon, or your hands, until it looks like a shaggy ball.
Cover the bowl and let rest 8-12 hours – overnight works well.
After rising over-night, the dough is ready to use.

Lightly brush olive oil onto two 8×15” pans or one large sheet pan. Divide the dough in half. Pat each half into an 8×12” rough oval on the pan. Let stand 1-2 hours

Each half of the dough is patted out on an oiled pan as a rough 8×12-inch canvas.

Two colors of bell peppers, red onion, black olives, cherry tomatoes, chives, and marjoram sprigs are the ‘paints’ you use to create your picture.

NB: I had drawn a design in advance to guide me in planning the vegetable placement. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with finishing salt. Cut the vegetables into the shapes you want for your design, then place them on the dough in a way that pleases your eye.

Ready to go in the oven, after a 15-minute rise.

Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, until crust begins to golden and the bottom of the bread is cooked. Serve warm or at room temperature to rave reviews. Should there be any left-over, it freezes very well.

On the table, ready for the guests.

Slow Days: Naan 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 https://thefastdiet.co.uk/forums/ 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.

Today, I thought it would be fun to make a batch of naan, a bread of India. More than 2500 years ago, ‘chapati’ was the peoples’ bread: unleavened flatbread baked on a griddle. After yeast was introduced to India from Persia or Egypt, experimentation lead to making naan. Originally it was the food of royalty, savored for its light texture. One author says how difficult it is to make, and therefore limited to palace kitchens. When I found out how simple naan is to prepare, I just had to try them. Even thought the dough is made with yeast, it is much less involved than making a loaf of bread. The recipe is by Aarti Sequeira.

1 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
3/4 c 110 F water
In a large glass, combine the yeast, sugar and water. Let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
2 c white whole wheat flour**
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp baking powder
Sift the flour, salt, sugar and baking powder into a large, deep bowl. Whisk to blend. 
3 Tbsp plain yogurt
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
Once the yeast is frothy, pour the yogurt and the olive oil into the glass, and stir to combine.
****If you would like to make this gluten-free, you can substitute in 2 1/4 cups of gluten-free all-purpose flour mix for the regular flour, plus 1 1/4 tsp xanthum gum.
Ingredients for the first three steps of the recipe await mixing.
Pour the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients and gently mix the ingredients together with a fork. When the dough is about to come together, use your hands to mix. It will feel as if there isn’t enough flour at first, but keep going until it transforms into a soft, slightly sticky, pliable dough. As soon as it comes together, stop kneading.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and let it sit in a warm, draft-free place for 2-4 hours.
Have two bowls near-by: one with flour in it, + one with water. The dough will be extremely soft and sticky — the way it should be! Divide dough into 8 or 10 or 12 equal portions and lightly roll each portion in the bowl of flour to prevent sticking to each other.
++if using gluten-free flour, pat the naans into shape with your hands and fingers.With a rolling pin++, roll out each dough ball on a lightly floured work surface into a tear-drop shape about 4-6“ in diameter and 1/4” thick. Lift up by one end and wiggle it — the dough’s own weight will make it stretch a bit. Repeat with remaining dough.
Have: Cast iron skillet
lid to fit the skillet
Warm the skillet over high heat until it’s nearly smoking. Dampen your hands in the bowl of water and pick up one of your naans. Patty-cake it from one hand to the other to dampen it slightly.
Gently lay each naan in the skillet + set timer for 1 minute. The dough should start to bubble. Flip the naan. It should be blistered + a little blackened, don’t worry – that’s typical! Cover the skillet with the lid and cook 30 seconds to 1 minmore. Repeat with remaining dough.

Here they are skillet-baked and ready to eat. You have seen the naan in some of my previous recipes, such as Indian Vegetables with Turkey and Naan. Create your own favorite way to eat this bread and imagine that you are an Indian Noble.

Slow Days: Vegetable Quiche

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.

Mention ‘quiche’ and many thoughts are conjured: Quiche Lorraine; quiche on every restaurant menu for lunch; “Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche;” thick slabs of it; thin tarts of it; hors d’oeuvres; the best of quiche and the worst of quiche. My mother and her friend took a local French Cooking course in the 1960s, and came home to bake Quiche Lorraine. I thought it was rather boring. In the 1980s, Dear Husband and I frequented Peter Christian’s Tavern where we were served a wonderful, cheese-filled quiche. That recipe became one of our family-filling meals for a meatless night.

Although quiche is a French word, the dish comes from the former independent Duchy of Lorraine, a land that became a shuttlecock in a global badminton game between France and Germany, until it became French for good after WW2. The quiche of that country was originally bread dough in a pie plate, covered with a custard of milk/cream, egg, and a bit of bacon. After some evolution, pie crust lined the plate and cheese along with vegetables were added. Quiche was first popular in England after WW2, then in the USA in the 1950s, reaching its peak in the 1970s. Now it is making a comeback, and I invite you to put it on your menu: for the family, for friends — should you ever dine with friends again.

Our Vegetable Quiche is a combo of recipes from Peter Christian’s Recipes and the Town Farm Restaurant Cookbook [Bar Harbor, Maine]. We served it recently and fell in love with it all over again.

A pie crust, some onion, broccoli, and zucchini… Dill Havarti, Cheddar, Swiss Gruyere… eggs, milk. Very elemental ingredients.

That’s a 9-inch quiche/tart/flan pan.

Prepare a pie crust and fit it into a pie plate or tart pan. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp chopped onion over the pie crust. Measure 4 cups of chopped vegetables and steam them until they are just tender. Drain the vegetables and permit them to ‘out-gas’ for a bit while you grate the cheese. Use 2 cups Gruyere, 1 cup Cheddar, and 1 cup dill Havarti. Distribute the vegetables over the onions, then top with cheese. Set the oven at 400 F. Whisk 3 eggs with one cup of milk, salt, pepper, and herbs in abundance. Carefully pour the egg-milk over the contents of the quiche pan — it will be very full. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350F and bake for 20-30 minutes longer.

Out of the oven and on to the table.

The quiche should sit for 15-20 minutes before serving.

Served with a good green salad and airy home-made rolls — can’t be beat. Serves 6 easily.

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.