Slow Days: Lavender Scones

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 Forumwhich attest to that. Once in a while your 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.

Breakfasts at our house are a treat. True, cereal [hot or cold] is on the menu twice a week, but the other days see a succession of delightful baked goods or savory egg dishes. I like to bake and Dear Husband likes to get up early to prepare breakfast — our’s is a marriage made in heaven. Often, the night before, I will prepare something to be baked and then leave it on the counter to be finished and presented the next morning. This works for most yeasted recipes and definitely for ‘quick breads’ which are raised with ‘double acting’ baking powder. One such recipe is Lavender Scones.

You’ll have to find your own recipe for scones — I’m sworn to secrecy about mine. The key is adding fresh lavender buds: 1-2 tsp of buds which have been picked off the stems.

That’s buttermilk, by the way, not plain milk. It makes the leavening act differently.

Since there are only 2 of us, all I need to bake are 4-5 scones for a breakfast. This requires 1 cup of the dry ingredients, even though the whole batch has been prepared. The remaining dry ingredients are stored in a jar for another day.

I’ll use 1 cup of the scone mix to serve 2 people with 2 scones each. The storage jar is labeled ‘buttermilk’ to remind me to use that. If you don’t have lavender, you could add dried black currants or zante currants or other dried fruit to the mixture.

Here the table is set with the full meal: fruit yogurt [we add our own fruit to low-fat yogurt], Canadian bacon [back bacon to many of you], cafe au lait, rhubarb juice, and of course the Lavender Scones. A delightful Summer meal.

Slow Days: Siracusa 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 your 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.

This recipe is from Lynne Rosetto Kasper’s book The Italian Country Table. She describes visiting the market in Siracusa, Sicily: the people she chats with and the ingredients that inspired this recipe. From them she makes a wondrous pasta dish. The following ingredients make enough for TWO [2] servings.

You will really need a mise en place for this preparation, so set it up now.

Garlic [3 cloves], 1/4 cup red onion, zest of orange/lemon, oregano, 1/2 cup basil + 8 oil-cured olives, 1 cup quartered cherry tomatoes, 3 oz mozzarella, 3 oz ditalini pasta. The garlic is sautéed until pale gold and removed. Over medium-high heat, the onion is sautéed the same way before the zest is added for 30 seconds. The oregano is added and cooked for 30 seconds. Take off heat while you cook the pasta for 5-6 minutes until it is still firm to the tooth. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Add the pasta water to the sauce pan and cook, along with the garlic, for 30 seconds. Add the pasta, basil, and olives, tossing everything to coat it with the flavors. Put the tomatoes in the pan and taste for seasoning. Plate with the cheese. I added basil leaves and clementine sections for even more color and bright flavor.

Gosh it is good.

Slow Days: Florentine Sandwich

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.

Our FirstBorn and his wife love to travel.  On a trip to Firenze, Italy, in addition to the art and history, they discovered a panini shop and this sandwich.  They prepared it for us when we visited them and gifted us with the ingredients at Christmas.  How splendid to have generous, creative offspring!  The bread is a ‘no knead’ Focaccia, recipe perfected by FirstBorn, which is really easy to bake — although it needs an 8-12 hour rising time, which takes some planning ahead.  Surely you could buy some bread locally.  My batch produced 4 round loaves, 8″ in diameter, each weighing 6-7 oz.

The ingredients to serving two are simple: 1 loaf focaccia bread, 2 Tbsp creamy white cheese [Stracchino or crème fraiche or whipped cream cheese or Philadelphia brand 1/3 fat Cream Cheese [‘Neufchatel’], 2 Tbsp truffle cream [combination of mushrooms, oil, truffles], 1 oz uncured capicola ham, and 1.5 cups arugula or ‘spring mix’ greens. Florentine Sandwiches, mise                                       To assemble, cut the loaf around the equator into two equal rounds.  Spread the soft cheese on the bottom round, then spread on the truffle cream.  Arrange the ham evenly on top, then heap on the greens.  Sprinkle with a good finishing salt and top with the other piece of the loaf.Florentine Sandwiches, plated   This serves two very nicely, or three if you had more sides than the cherry tomatoes.

 

Slow Days: Apulia Pizza

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 Forumwhich attest to that. Once in a while your 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.

Every Saturday night, we eat pizza for dinner. These are home-made, personal-size [8″ diameter] pizzas.  The toppings can be simple or extravagant; elegantly crafted or clear-out-the-‘fridge. But on the night before Easter Sunday, somehow the idea of kicking back with a fun and fabulous pizza seems a little out of line.  Some research turned up a pizza made with a cheese from Apulia [aka Puglia]. Far from the glittering lights of the big cities and the tourist haunts, Apulia has had its share of hard times.  This pizza is austere and yet delicious.Puglia Pizza w: wine, salad

The ingredients are few: one 8″ pizza crust per person, olive oil to brush on the crust, Italian herb blend to scatter on the oil, 1/2 cup of grated scamorza [smoked mozzarella] for each pie, and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese for each pie. Here is a new twist for sharing bread and wine with loved ones or friends.  Optional: 11 halved cherry/grape tomatoes per pie.  Served with a salad and a glass of wine, it is suitable to the day.  In another context, it would make a great appetizer.

Slow Days: French Herb Roast Chicken

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 your 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.

Chicken for dinner every Sunday is the American Standard. The politician’s promise of a “Chicken in every pot!” goes back to King Henri IV of France.  He was from the Gascony region and he understood that the peasantry often lacked food. In 1598, he stated his wish that in his realm no working man would be so poor that he couldn’t have a chicken in the pot every Sunday.  Today’s meal is roasted instead of being stewed, and it is called French Herb Roast Chicken. We eat this about once a month. Lots of meat left over to use for Fast meals!

French Roast Chicken, mise

The chicken cavity is sprinkled with dried tarragon, then stuffed with carrot, celery, and onion.  The skin of the bird is showered with more tarragon and paprika.  Set the oven at 425°F.  Before roasting, the bird is draped with 4 half-slices of bacon. Roast the bird for 30 minutes, then baste with beef stock.  Return to oven at 350°F, basting occasionally for another 30 minutes or until the bird is done.  Boil and mash some potatoes and cook the vegetable of your choice.French Roast Chicken, platedGravy is made from the pan drippings with some mushrooms added for even more flavor.  I always get the wings!  The wine is a Pinot Noir.  The meal was delicious.

 

Slow Days: Crab 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 your 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 are very fond of crab meat. Not the fancy, high-priced Dungeness or Blue crab, but our New England Coast local Rock and Jonah Crabs.  This commodity appears cooked, picked-over, and packaged in fish markets and grocery stores. A half-pound package is perfect for crab cakes or Crab Pasta. Our recipe comes from the Legal Sea Foods Cookbook, based on menus from the Boston restaurant of the same name. The ingredients seem a bit extravagant, but you are serving 2 people and you don’t eat like this every day.  In our house, pasta appears on the menu once each week.   2 oz/person.Crab Pasta recipe

You will notice that the ingredient amounts for TWO PEOPLE are written in on the left.  See also that the amount of pasta allotted per person is TWO Ounces, although the recipe specifies 4 oz/person.  Note also that we described this meal as ‘Exceptional!’

Create a mise en place with your ingredients.  Follow the above instructions. Our pasta of choice for this dish is ‘gemelli.’  Prepare the salad or vegetable of your choice. Plate and enjoy.Crab Pasta, plated

Slow Days: Pissaladiere

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.

Pissaladière is a classic Provinçal food that looks like a pizza [hence its alias: Pizza Niçoise].  More accurately, it could be described as a flatbread topped with fish-accented caramelized onions.  Perhaps in the cafes of the Midi it has become a cliché, but it was new to us when we tried it at home. And we loved it. I used Joanne Harris’ recipe from her My French Kitchen cookbook.

The ingredients are simple: pizza dough [8″ rounds, one per person], tinned anchovies, black olives, Herbes de Province, and caramelized onions. One late summer day, I had a surfeit of onions, so I caramelized and then froze them. [NB: it takes about an hour to cook 3.5 pounds of onions to the point where they are ‘soft and slightly caramelized but not brown’ as Joanne Harris says.] Out they came for this meal, making the preparation very easy.

pissaladiere, mise

The pizza dough is shaped and brushed with olive oil. Distribute the onions on top then arrange the anchovies in a lattice pattern. Sprinkle with the Herbes de Province.  Garnish the pattern further by placing olives in the squares created by the anchovy lattice. pissaladiere, plated with brandol      To complete the picture, a simple salad was topped with a lattice of Parmesan curls.  Perfect served with a Bandol wine. The portion shown here is for Dear Husband.  I usually make a meal of 3 slices of pizza + side salad and a glass of wine.  Summer in southern France or Winter in New England, this is a fine meal.

Slow Days: Sister’s Pasta Sauce

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 show that is true.  But once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t every day.  For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet.  As for how we eat,  an example follows.

When our parents were alive and still hosting Christmas at their house, my sister would prepare her special pasta for Christmas Eve.  It is the tradition in many cultures to eat a meatless dinner on December 24, and this recipe from Bon Appétit magazine fills the bill.  It is a lot easier if you start several days before to prepare the sauce. I like to make it much earlier in December and freeze it.Sukey Pasta, mise 1

The sauce involves sautéing 1.5 cups onion and 1 clove garlic in 2 Tbsp olive oil for 5 minutes, then adding basil, red pepper flakes, and 3 cans [28-oz cans] of whole or crushed tomatoes in their juice.  Cook uncovered on low for 2 hours, then add 2 cups chicken stock. Continue to simmer for another 2 hours until the amount of sauce is reduced to 6-8 cups. The resultant rich, flavorful sauce is mostly used in the Christmas Pasta, but it will grace a more humble dish as well.

To complete the pasta dish for four people, cook 12 oz of penne pasta until it is just under-done. [NB: Ordinarily I use 2 oz pasta per serving so this should serve 6 people.  The remainders from this meal can be served as lunch.]  Gently heat 20 fl oz Sister’s Pasta Sauce, adding 1/3 cup of quartered wrinkly black olives or Kalamata olives and 2 cups grated Havarti cheese. Combine with the drained pasta and put in a lightly-oiled casserole dish.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and bake at 350° F for 20-30 minutes or until the sauce is bubbly and the cheese begins to brown slightly. Sprinkle with fresh basil and serve with Italian Green Beans or Green Salad and a crusty loafSister's Pasta, plated.

I’m always sure to save out enough sauce to prepare the pasta again before Easter, to give a culinary link to the two holidays.

Slow Days: Apple-Chicken Crepes

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 tell the tale.  But once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t every day.  For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet.  As for how we eat,  an example follows.

Remember those crêpes we made last month?  [November 10, 2018]  Here’s a delicious way to use some of them. The recipe is from Brittany Gastronomique by Kate Whiteman.Apple-Chicken Crepe recipe

Having had on hand some chicken meat, some apples, and some crêpes — we couldn’t resist having a go at this recipe.  It was our 2nd time of cooking it.Apple-Chicken Crepes, miseAs you can see, the chicken was already cooked, so this was extra easy to prepare.  The chicken/apple/cream/honey/cidre were combined as per the recipe.  The crêpes, previously prepared and thawed, were gently heated before using.  Fill the crêpes and serve!Apple-Chicken Crepes, platedêServed with a simple salad, the meal is excellent.  Add a honeyed cidre called Chouchenn from the Iles de la Madelaine and it is ambrosial.

Slow Days: Turkey Roulade

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 tell that tale.  But once in a while your can splurge, as long as it isn’t every day.  For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet.  As for how we eat, an example follows.

American Thanksgiving is coming up so of course we will eat turkey.  But an entire turkey is too much for two people with smaller appetites, so we have a work-around.  We order a 15-pound turkey from our butcher at Roy’s Market and have it cut in two pieces lengthwise. The two halves are then brined.  One half goes in the freezer for later while the remaining breast [skin still intact] and thigh are boned [skin to stock pot].Turkey Roulade, meat

The leg is put into the stock pot along with the bones, the wing tip, and the giblets. [The resulting stock of course forms the basis of gravy and turkey soup]. The breast is butterflied.Turkey Roulade, butterflied

Stuffing is prepared according to my mother’s recipe. Some is baked in a small dish and 2-3 cups are saved out for the turkey.  Arrange the dark meat overlapping on the white meat so it forms a fairly uniform rectangle. Strew with salt. Distribute the stuffing over the meat, keeping it 1-2″ from the long edges. Turkey Roulade, ready to roll Roll up the meat with the stuffing inside and place the wing [For wing lovers like me!] across one end. [weight = 4.5 pounds]  Tie ‘like a Genoa sail,’ says my Dear Husband.  Extra hands may be needed for this. This is done the evening before Thanksgiving and refrigerated.  The next day, the roulade is baked at 425° F for 30 minutes, then at 325° for up to 45 minutes.Turkey Roulade, roastedSlice 1″ thick and serve with all your favorite sides. So easy to serve. The perfect way to feed two people [three if a son comes home] for one feast, and 2 meals of left-overs.Turkey Roulade, slicedTurkey Rouldad, plated

Happy Thanksgiving!  We have much for which to be thankful.  We need to remember that every day and help those around us who are less fortunate.