Slow Days: Chow

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 word ‘chow’ has many meanings. The Chow is a medium-sized dog with a curled-up tail. It is a slang word for food. As a verb, followed by the word ‘down’, it means ‘to eat.’ Then there is chow as a relish… In Pennsylvania Dutch areas, chow is a combination of pickled, chopped garden vegetables — cauliflower, onion, carrot — served as a sweet condiment. In the American South, cabbage takes center stage, with unripe tomatoes and red sweet and hot peppers as co-stars. It is served on hot dogs and with black-eyed peas. In Prince Edward Island, we met our favorite: Maritime Chow, aka ‘Acadian ketchup’. We were dining with friends at a small oyster house on the dock at Malpecque Bay. After a dozen oysters, we ordered fishcakes. We asked the young man who brought the food [former oyster-shucking champion] the name of the delicious relish. “Its Chow,” he replied, a bit confused. What is it made of, we asked. “Well…you know…its Chow,” he attempted, “My grandmother makes it.” So I asked my local PEI friends for a chow recipe. Lillian P. shivered and said, “Ugh. Chow. I never make it.” Cathy K. had no recipe. Nona McL. kindly wrote out her recipe for Chow, which in the Maritimes is always made with unripe tomatoes. This is Nona’s recipe.

20 cups sliced green tomatoes 5 cups sliced onions
½ cup pickling salt
DAY 1 Combine and leave overnight
6 cups sugar
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup water
2 cups white vinegar
pickling spice in a bag
DAY 2 Drain tomatoes + onions and put into a large pot. Add these ingredients to the pot. Simmer 1 hour. Take a little liquid from the pot
¼ cup cornstarch
1½ tsp turmeric
1½ tsp dry mustard
Mix these ingredients with the reserved liquid from the pot. Then add to the pot and cook together for ½ hour.
Put into sterilized 1-pint or ½-pint canning jars and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 9 pints.

Since I had some half-ripe tomatoes, I was eager to get started. By Day 2, I realized that I had neither turmeric nor dry mustard in the pantry. Time to substitute: yellow Indian curry for turmeric and Dijon mustard for the dry mustard. I was pleased with the result and served it at a luncheon, attended by all the afore-mentioned ladies. Lillian tasted it and asked what it was. “Its Chow!” I crowed, “Made with Nona’s recipe.” When Nona tried it, she exclaimed, “That’s not my Chow — you have changed my recipe!” I acknowledged that I had made substitutions… Both of those worthy matrons agreed that “it isn’t Chow, but it is good.” Now I make a batch every year. This is my recipe.

4 cups sliced tomatoes = 1 L.  chose under-ripe ones with some red areas but mostly green
1 cup sliced onions
1.5 Tbsp pickling salt
DAY 1 Combine in a medium-sized bowl and leave on the counter overnight. 
Some red on the tomatoes, but mostly green.
300 ml sugar = 1¼ cup
100 ml cider vinegar = 3.75 fl oz
50 ml water = 1.75 fl oz 
100 ml white vinegar = 3.75 fl oz
1 Tbsp pickling spice  [no mustard seed] in a bag
DAY 2 Drain tomatoes + onions and put into a large pot. Add these ingredients to the pot and simmer one hour.
15 ml cornstarch = 1 Tbsp
½ tsp Dijon mustard, en lieu of mustard seed
3/8 tsp CGE curry
Take a little liquid from the pot and add these 3 ingredients. Stir together until smooth. Add back into the pot, stir, then simmer for ½ hour.
Makes 5 half-cup jars
Process in boiling water 10 minutes

We always serve Chow with Fish Cakes. For this meal, they are made the Maritime way: using Salt Cod instead of fresh fish. I also have a recipe for fish cakes made from fresh fish, from the Legal Seafood Cookbook.

The lovely, savory-sweet, rosy-hued Chow is in the center. Pickled beets are our favorite side dish for Fish Cakes.

As the summer garden winds down and you wonder what to do with all those half-ripe tomatoes, Chow is the answer. Chow down.


How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it: a simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

If these were ‘normal times,’ this past week-end would have been a whirl-wind of activity. Our town’s Rhubarb Festival usually occurs the first Friday/Saturday of June. Some of us started it in 2013, to raise money for the library‘s building fund and to have our own ‘village fete.’ As the years went on, the Festival increased to quite an event, and this year was to be bigger and better. But these are not ‘normal times.’ Our State is slowly re-opening, more cautiously than some — and caution is good. But town and county festivals and fairs are casualties of that. Still, the rhubarb grows like crazy in our 20′ x 20′ patch. Last year, I took the prizes for the ‘longest stalk’ and ‘widest leaf’ — best rhubarb in town! Gotta use it!

Our breakfast features a genuine New Hampshire rhubarb pudding, from neighboring Greenfield. Very good! For dinner, how about some grilled or baked fish with a Rhubarb Sauce? Two are offered below. Eat rhubarb!

Rhubarb Pudding:  142 calories 3.5 g fat 1.5 g fiber 10.6 g protein 24 g carbs [4.5 g Complex] 155 mg Calcium  NB: Food values given are for the plated foods only, and do not include the optional beverage.  PB GF – if using GF flour Hayden Pearson has a wonderful dessert call “Blanche’s Super Rhubarb Pudding” in his iconic Country Flavor Cook Book. This is a scaled-down version that is fit for breakfast: slightly tangy, lightly sweet.

6 Tbsp cooked, mashed rhubarb 1 two-oz egg + 1 egg white 1-1/2 Tbsp sugar 2 Tbsp flour OR 2 Tbsp white whole wheat flour 2 Tbsp milk ½ tsp baking powder   per person: 1 slice Canadian Bacon [= ½ oz back bacon]  Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 caloriesOptional: 5 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Cut up 1 cup rhubarb and stew it in a little water. Drain thoroughly and mash. Measure the 6 Tbsp you need and save the remainder for another use. [Add to a smoothie; serve with yogurt] Whisk the egg and white, then add all the other ingredients [but not the bacon!] Spoon into a baking dish which has been sprayed with non-stick spray. HINT: I did all this the night before. A real time-saver. Bake at 350 F until the batter is firm to the touch, about 15 minutes. While the pudding bakes, cook the bacon and prepare the optional beverages. Delicious.

BRISTOLIAN SAUCE:  makes 2 cups = 16 fluid ounces Per fl oz [2 Tbsp]: 16.5 calories 0 g fat 0.5 g fiber 0.2 g protein 3.4 g carbs [0.9 g Complex] 25 mg Calcium  PB GF Britishfoodinamerica is the source for this recipe. Very simple to prepare.  TIP: Prepare the sauce hours in advance to give the mace a chance to develop its flavor. I suggest hot-water canning in small jars to preserve it, or freeze the leftover sauce.

1 lb chopped rhubarb
½ cup hard cider [alcohol]
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Tbsp brown sugar
½ teaspoon mace or nutmeg
Put everything in a heavy pot and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until the rhubarb breaks down — usually in 15 minutes or less.
Puree/mash the sauce. Serve cold or hot.

RHUBARB AGRODOLCE:  makes 2 cups  = 16 fluid ounces   per fl oz: 23 calories 0.8 g fat 0.6 g fiber 0.3 g protein 3 g carbs 27 mg Calcium  PB GF  Todd English uses this in the preparation of chicken. But we have used it for fish as well. The name mean ‘sour-sweet.’ Extra sauce can be frozen or canned in boiling water.

1.5 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced ½ cup onion, chopped
1 pound rhubarb, chopped in ½” dice
Spray a non-stick pan with cooking spray. Add the ginger, with some water, and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the rhubarb and cook for 4-5 minutes.
1 Tbsp butter
¾ cup hard cider
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
Add each item one at a time, stirring thoroughly after each addition. Bring to a low boil and cook until reduced by half – about 10-15 minutes.
1.5 tsp brown sugarAdd sugar and stir to combine.


How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Monday, eat the meals that will be posted on Sunday.  Eat sensibly [see postings named “Slow Days”] the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

Since variety is the spice of life, we like to mix it up in our household. On Fast Days and Slow Days, we try new recipes and new flavor combinations all the time. [And then we go back to the tried and true.]  Bold flavors make for good additions to the mealtime palette as many cultures have discovered. Often a cuisine based on bland main courses [the same stew served for days on end] will create an astonishing array of side dishes to vary the flavor. Try something new today.

Azorean-flavor Eggs w: pineapple

CHORIÇO PATE:   1 Tbsp = 87 calories  Use in eggs or soups or as a spread on Slow Days. 7 oz dried or bulk chorizo/choriço                                         1 tsp sweet paprika      + salt to taste                                             1 tbsp butter, softened            1 Tbsp port wine   +   2 tsp lemon juice                                                                                                                      If using sausage, slit the casing and take out the meat and cut it into small pieces. Toss the casing. If you can find bulk chorico, skip that step. Put the meat in the food processor with the other ingredients and pulse until it is a rough paste. Taste for salt and add more if it needs it. Continue to blend until it is a smooth puree.

Enchiladas w: winter medley

ENCHILADA SAUCE   1 cup = 75 calories       Great in eggs or for enchiladas, of course.  From Rick Bayless, so you can’t go wrong.                                                                                                                                          two 28-oz cans whole tomatoes                                                                                                                          2 jalapeno peppers                                                                                                                                                    3 tsp vegetable oil [canola]                                                                                                                                   1 cup chopped onion                                                                                                                                                               2 cups chicken broth                                       Roast the peppers in a dry skillet over medium heat about 5 minutes until splotchy with black areas. Put in a blender with the tomatoes and whirr until smooth. Cook onions in oil until golden, about 7 minutes. Raise heat and add tomato puree. Cook 10-15 minutes until thickened like tomato paste. Add broth, cover partially and simmer 15 minutes until slightly soupy. Season with ½ tsp salt.

Haggis Spring Rolls

HAGGIS [lamb sausage meat] makes 3.5 cups                                                                                                per Tbsp: 23 calories  1.3 g fat  0.2 g fiber  2.8 g protein  1.6 g carbs  2.6 mg Calcium   This is not the ‘original’ recipe: lamb lung, stomach, and heart are not readily available in the US.  Despite what it is not, it will do just fine.  Use in eggs or to prepare Haggis Springrolls.                                  8 oz lamb liver                                                                                                                                                                     8 oz ground lamb meat OR lamb hearts                                                                                                           1 cup onion, chopped                                                                                                                                               1 tsp or more coriander [I used whole, which I boiled with the meat]                                                       1 tsp or more black pepper +  salt                                                                                                                                        7/8 cup rolled oats                                              Put the meat, onions, and coriander in a pot and cover with water. Boil 20 minutes. Drain [saving the liquid] and mince it all in the food processor. Return the mince to the pot, adding the oats, drained water, salt and pepper. Boil 10 minutes, adding more water if needed. If the sausage filling is too loose, turn heat down and simmer longer to firm it up. I let mine cool, then sit over night to test the consistancy. Adjust the seasonings to taste. The cooled mixture should hold its shape when turned out of a spoon. Cover and refrigerate until you need it. Freeze what you don’t use.

Mexican Pickled Veg

MEXICAN PICKLED VEGETABLES:  NB: keeps in the refrigerator for several weeks. The longer it sits, the spicier it gets.  Superb as a side dish;  a nibble;  an ingredient.                      2 cups cauliflower florets                                                                                                                                        1- ¼ cup carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4” thick on the diagonal                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ½ cup zucchini, sliced into 1/3” rounds                                                                                                             3 jalapeno peppers, sliced thinly                                                                                                                      ½ cup white vinegar   1 cup cider vinegar    +  1 cup water                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               3 Tbsp sugar  +  1 Tbsp kosher salt                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1.5 tsp dried oregano, Mexican if you can get it         +  1.5 bay leaves                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ¾ tsp peppercorns    +  ½ tsp coriander seeds       +     ½ tsp dried thyme                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ½ large onion, thinly sliced       +  3 cloves garlic, halved

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the cauliflower and carrot. When the water returns to a boil, boil the vegetables for 2 minutes. Drain the vegetables and refresh under cold water. Put the cooked vegetables in a large bowl with the zucchini and jalapenos and stir to combine. Put into a heat-proof one quart glass jar [ex: a Mason jar], and set aside on a cutting board. In a sauce pan, combine the vinegars, water, and all remaining seasonings. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors. Take off the heat and immediately pour over the vegetables in the jar. [I had a little left over, which I saved to pour in later] Let cool to room temperature, then put a lid on it and refrigerate until cold.

Fish salmon Roasted w: Vegetables

ROASTED VEGETABLES    Use in eggs or as a side dish even on Slow Days                                ½ slice American/streaky bacon                                                                                                                       2 oz carrots                                                                                                                                                                2 oz Brussel sprouts                                                                                                                                                2 oz cauliflower   OR broccoli                                                                                                                                                     3 oz cherry tomatoes                                                                                                                                           Set the oven to 450 F. Cook the bacon in a wide, heavy, oven-proof pan. [Cast iron is great] Remove the bacon, drain, and chop coarsley. Cut the vegetables to the size of the cherry tomatoes, except the Brussel sprouts which will be cut in half after the tougher outer leaves are removed. Put the vegetables in the pan and toss to coat with the bacon fat. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the heat down to 400 F. Stir the vegetables, then add the bacon, salt and pepper and whatever herbs or spices you wish: curry powder, garlic powder, hot pepper flakes.

Ingredients for next week:

Breakfast, single portion

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs
brandade [St Bernard 19 August, 2018]zucchini
cottage cheese  +  granulated garlicmushrooms  + scallion
peach  +  blueberriesapples
optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

Dinner, single portion:

4 eggs  + lots of herbsvenison  +  fresh/frozen cranberries
zucchini  +  onion  + broccoliblend cream  +  chicken stock
cottage cheese + plain yogurtcauliflower   + carrot
Parmesan + tomatoes  + cucumberthyme  +  mushrooms  +  dried apple
Sparkling waterSparkling water


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.

Cooks discovered centuries ago that a good sauce makes the meal taste a lot better.  Today we will look at several sauces that can be part of a Fast meal: sometimes breakfast, sometimes dinner, sometimes either.                                                                                                                

There were people who would have said that Jesse James was a ‘saucy’ lad: despite the fact that he and his gang actually robbed banks and killed people, the pro-Conferedate newspapers sometimes portrayed him as a cheeky Robin Hood. On Dec. 7, 1869, James and his brother Frank robbed a bank in Gallatin, MO, marking the official start to their lives of crime.  In books and even movies, Jesse James has been written into American mythology as a man who wanted to right the wrongs against the common people.  His sympathies lay with the defeated Southern States and he was in fact continuing the war by targeting banks owned by Republicans, those who were pro-Lincoln.  James might not have been the fun-loving saucy populist, but we can add some sauce to our meals as we reflect tomorrow on the strange career of an American legend.

Halibut w: Chickpea Ragout

CHICKPEA RAGOUT: Pair with meat, poultry, or seafood           4 cups                                  ½ tsp olive oil                                                                                                                                                         ½ cup diced onions                                                                                                                                              ½ cup scallions, chopped                                                                                                                                      1 Tbsp garlic                                                                        2 cups diced tomatoes, fresh or canned                                         1.5 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed if canned                                                                                ½ cup chicken stock          +   ½ tsp salt    +      ½ tsp pepper                                    Heat the oil in a saute pan. Add the onion, scallion and garlic. Stir briefly over the heat then add the tomatoes, chickpeas, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat until liquids are mostly evaporated.

Seder Salad

HORSERADISH DRESSING: Great on Lamb or Beef Salad                                                              1 Tbsp mayonnaise made with olive oil                                                                                                                       1 and ½ tsp prepared horseradish   [the kind you purchase in a jar]                                                                            1 Tbsp buttermilk                                                                                                                                                       1 and ½ tsp lemon juice                                                                                                                               Whisk all ingredients together. 

Chicken Parmesan w: salad

MARINARA SAUCE:  From Gourmet magazine, this is a quick go-to sauce.       3 cups                                                                                                                                1 Tbsp olive oil                                                                                                                                     2 large cloves garlic, whole                                                                                                                        pinch crushed red pepper                                                                                                           one 28-oz can whole tomatoes                                                                                                              1.25 tsp salt                                                                                                                                          basil                                                                                Heat the oil then add the garlic and crushed pepper.  Cook on high for about 5 minutes or until the garlic starts to brown.  Remove the garlic and carefully add the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands or a spoon.  Cook over low heat for 20 minutes and then add the salt and basil. Use now or freeze.

Strawberry-Chicken Salad

POPPY SEED DRESSING:  Delightful on Strawberry-Chicken Salad                                                 2 tsp red wine vinegar                                                                                                                                            1 Tbsp olive oil                                                                                                                                                     pinch salt                                                                                                                                                               ½ tsp dried mustard                                                                                                                                                 1 tsp poppy seeds                                                                                                                                               Whisk together vigorously.

Mackerel Puttanesca

PUTTANESCA SAUCE: With fish or meat or solo, this sauce is delicious.     4 cups                                                   1 cup onion, chopped                                                                                                                            2 garlic cloves, chopped                                                                                                                   2 tsp olive oil                                                                                                                                   5 cups whole plum tomatoes                                                                                              1 cup mushrooms                                                                                                                              2 anchovies                                                                                                                                                 1 cup halved canned black olives  [If using oil-cured olives, cut the amount in half]               +            2 Tbsp capers                                                                          Cook the onions and garlic in the oil until tender but not brown.   Add everything else.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Sicilian Shepherds' Salad

SHEPHERDS’ SALAD DRESSING: Perfect for this salad and many others.                                                                   3 Tbsp olive oil                                                                        4” rosemary                                                                               6 sage leaves                                                                                                                                                                                 4 smashed cloves garlic                                               pinch  of hot pepper flakes.                                                                          ½ cup red wine vinegar                                                         Put oil and herbs in a sauce pan and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Add the garlic and peppers and stir for a few seconds. Add the vinegar and boil down the whole recipe to 1/3 cup. Strain and cool.

Ingredients for next week: breakfast, single portion

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs
 blueberries Danish Bleu cheese
 raclette cheese herring marinated in wine
 1/4 slice bread  apple
Whatever you need for your smoothieWhatever you need for your hot beverage
Whatever you need for your hot beverageWhatever you need for your smoothie

Dinner, single portion:

 Cabbage, onion, rutabaga or turnip 6 oz firm white fish +
 carrot, parsnip, dry green lentils side salad + broccoli OR peas + beans
 pork loin, frozen spinach, dry mustard Cheddar cheese
 fresh spinach, mace, dry mustard 
 Sparkling waterSparkling water