Slow Days: Summer Vegetable 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 Fast Diet 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.

Since Dear Husband and I enjoy pizza for dinner every Saturday night, I am often on the lookout for a new way to top the pie. Thus, I was delighted to find a recipe at thekitchn.com for a pizza from the famous Berkeley Cheeseboard Collective. The corn and fresh vegetables remind me of a pizza which I enjoyed in Rome. This is a delicious way to use Summer’s bounty. Of course, I use a dough prepared with mostly white whole wheat flour, instead of all-purpose flour. It gives the pie a hearty, rustic flavour which we enjoy.

Mise en Place with all those luscious vegetables.
Sv 2
5½ -6 oz white whole wheat pizza dough/personIf dough is cold, let sit at room temp 2+ hours. The dough is ready when it does not bounce back when stretched.
1 c mozzarella 1/3 c feta cheeseGrate mozzarella cheese on the large holes of a box grater. Crumble feta cheese.
1½ tsp basil 1 clove garlic 2½ Tbsp olive oil
pinch salt
¼ tsp pepper flakes
GARLIC OIL: Chop basil finely. Chop the garlic.
Place everything in a small bowl and stir to combine.
NB: can be done hours before
¼ packed c. red onion
½ c grape or larger tomatoes
½ c kernels fresh corn ½ c summer squash ribbons 
Thinly slice onion. Cut grape tomatoes in halves or fourths. [If using whole tomato, cut in 1/2″ dice.] Cut ribbons of squash with a vegetable peeler. 
Prepare the vegetables and combine in a bowl. If any liquid accumulates in the bowl, pour it off.
1½ tsp garlic oil l¼ tsp kosher saltAdd garlic oil to the vegetables, season with the salt, and toss to combine. If preparing two pizzas, divide the vegetables equally into two bowls.
2 tsp Garlic Oil per crust prepared cheesesRoll out dough balls, and brush garlic oil onto each crust, all the way to the edges. Sprinkle evenly with mozzarella. Arrange vegetables on top in an even layer, without any liquid. Sprinkle with feta.
Bake at 500F until bubbly. Take from oven.
garlic oil
8 fresh basil leaves
Drizzle with garlic oil, then tear basil into bite-sized pieces and scatter over top. Serve right away.
Can be cooked on a gas grill. Pre-grill the untopped crusts for 2-3 mins, until grill marks form. Bake covered.
The salad greens were added after the pies came from the oven to provide Pizza with Salad without any plates or forks. Truly a treat for a late Summer meal.

Slow Days: Granola

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 Fast Diet 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.

Granola is a cereal made of whole grains, nuts, and dried fruit. It differs from muesli in that granola is sweetened and baked. Good Friend Ann wanted to make some granola. She had a recipe from the box of Quaker Oats, then sent out a call to her circle of friends to solicit recipes, receiving two responses. Reading the three recipes got me curious about the history and nutrition values of granola.

In 1847, James Caleb Jackson set up a sanatarium in Dansville, New York. Like Maximilian Bircher in Switzerland [see Dr Bircher, August 21], Jackson thought that eating a better diet would improve physical health. One of the key ingredients was whole grains. Toward that end, he developed a dry cereal which he called ‘granula’ which was made of granules of dried Graham flour paste. John Kellogg, who had a health spa in Battle Creek, Michigan, ‘appropriated’ the recipe and marketed it for his own profit. A law suit caused Kellogg to change the name to ‘granola.’ In the 1970s, granola was rediscovered by the counterculture. Then it was commercialized and turned into a sweet, fatty product that neither Jackson nor Kellogg would neither recognize nor serve.

As you can see from this chart, granola packs a wallop when it comes to calories and fat per cup. But if you read the ‘suggested serving guide,’ one serving is usually 1/2 to 3/4 cup. Very few people think that 3/4 cup of cereal is sufficient, since they eat with their eyes rather than their brain, so sitting down to a big [read: 2 cups] bowl of granola for breakfast will give one lots of fiber and some protein, but a TON of calories, fat, carbs, and sugar. Then they add full-fat yogurt and chocolate chips and think how healthy it is. Good Grief.

Per batch# cupsCaloriesFat g Fiber gProtein gCarbs gCalcium mgSugar gr
MFE’s recipe7 cups3206106.75458543.5166240
Per cup45815.27.78.277.623.734.3
AHM’s recipe6 cups3152196.53449.5343.6193132.5
Per cup525325.68.2573222
DCP’s recipe~11 cups8074415.6140178.5944327.5377
Per cup73437.712.71685.829.734

Our family enjoys a recipe from the Peter Rabbit Cookbook, which our son was given as a toddler. This is easy to prepare and delicious. I find a 1/2 cup serving with milk to be quite satisfying.

Johnny Town-Mouse Granola from the Peter Rabbit Cookbook by Arnold Dobrin.

Makes 7 cupsPreheat oven to 250F.
4 Tbsp canola oil
½ c honey
Stir oil and honey together and warm in the microwave until they are liquid.
4-5 cups rolled oatsPut oats in a 9×13” pan and pour in the warm honey-oil. Stir until oats are all coated with the honey-oil. Bake 30 mins.
1½ cups total of any of the following: 
chopped nuts
chopped dried apples
chopped dried apricots
Take pan from oven and stir in these add-ins.
Distribute the granola evenly over the surface of the pan. Return to oven and bake 15 minutes.
½ cup raisins +/or dried cranberriesRemove pan from oven, stir in raisins/cranberries.
Let cool in the pan, then store in glass jars.

Slow Days: Gateau aux Fruits Frais

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 Fast Diet 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 Summer, there is an abundance of fresh fruit. Heaven! And there are many ways to eat it, besides eating it fresh, of course. For a few years, I worked in a restaurant owned and run by a Frenchman. [He would have insisted that he was a Breton, but we will let that go.] Although I did not work in the kitchen, I was happy to glean as many tips as I could about cooking. Chef did not give out his recipes. However, I managed to get enough clues to produce a reasonable version of Gateau aux Fruits Frais — a simple cake made special by a topping of fresh fruits.

The base of the Gateau is a simple yellow cake — you could use sponge cake or pound cake as well. It was baked in a 4×8″ loaf pan, then cut lengthwise into two slabs, each about 1-inch thick. If you are serving a large gathering, put the cake slabs end to end on the serving board to create one 16″ long gateau. I freeze the other half for a dessert in the future. Next, the top of the cake is slathered with pureed rhubarb or thick applesauce. The sauce should be lightly sweetened, but not too sweet at all.

Then you need a cream mixture, the sort that could be the filling of a cake or the piping at the edge. It could be an Italian meringue, or a butter cream icing, or whipped cream. I stirred together vanilla yogurt, almond meal from unpeeled almonds and let it sit for a bit to thicken. Spoon or pipe the ‘vanilla cream’ around the edge, on top of the pureed fruit. Rake the cream with a fork to pattern it or get creative with your piping bag.

Arrange any sort of fresh fruit over the cake: whole strawberries, kiwi slices, raspberries. Since we had blueberries and red currants ripe in the garden, I arranged them in stripes. For the final touch, melted jelly was brushed over the top of the fruit to give it a gloss. Voila! Gateau aux Fruits Frais.

Slow Days: Porcini 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 Fast Diet 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.

3 bicolors, 1 cep

Neither Dear Husband nor I grew up eating mushrooms, but we have come to relish them. Foraging is one of my favorite pastimes and when it yields a bounty of wild mushrooms, it makes my day. Imagine our surprise when we found mushrooms coming up in the moss under a Red Oak tree on our lawn. NB: One must approach wild mushrooms with caution: many species look slightly alike and correctly identifying the fungus is very important. In this case, the identification was unmistakable: dome-like cap the color of a well-baked bun; no gills under the cap, but a mosaic of tiny pores; bulbous stem, unlike any other species. These were Boletus edilus, the prized cep/cepe/porchini mushroom! Then, another edible Bolete showed up: the Bicolor, Boletus bicolor. We were in hog heaven!!

A search for mushroom recipes yielded this excellent dish from skinnyspatula.com and we are eternally grateful to her for it. The original calls for fresh shiitake and dried porcini, but we had lots of fresh ‘shrooms, so I changed the recipe a bit. Because the sauce is cream-based, we know that the recipe is from Northern Italy. To stay true to the region of origin, fresh pasta is preferred to dry pasta for the meal. I have found that my recipe for pasta made of white whole wheat and semolina flours works very well. For the record: this is NOT a recipe for weight loss!

Serves 2
105 g FRESH pasta nb: pasta made with white whole wheat flour is good here.Boil pasta in salted water until almost al dente – 1 minute. Reserve ¾ c water (~ 120 ml) before draining. Rinse pasta.
8 g/ 0.28 oz butter or more
80 g/ 2.82 oz Bicolor Boletes, sliced  90 g/ 3 oz King Boletes, sliced 170 g total = 3.8 oz fresh
Slice the mushrooms.
In a cast iron skillet, melt butter + add mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 mins until tender and lightly browned.
Take skillet off heat. Very IMPORTANT
20 ml double [or heavy] creamAdd cream + continue to stir, about 2 mins, until it evaporates. Scrape the bits on the bottom often.
60 g mascarpone
40 ml pasta water
40 ml pasta water
Add mascarpone and 1/3 of the pasta water. Cook until sauce is creamy. Add more water if needed, but keep it creamy, not watery.
Salt as neededAdd drained pasta + toss over moderate heat, until it’s cooked through (~ 2-3 minutes). Add more pasta water if needed.

Serve with zucchini or a green salad, and a Tuscan red wine of your choice*. Oh! So good!

from peterspicksblog.com Wines That Pair Well with Pasta and Wild Mushrooms:  Barbera d’Asti (Italy), Pinot Noir (Oregon), Pomerol (Bordeaux, France), Barolo (Italy), Rioja (Spain)

Slow Days: New England 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 Fast Diet 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.

Hot dogs. Hamburgers. Potato Salad. Macaroni Salad. Rich desserts that are Red, White, & Blue. These are typical 4th of July fare all across the country, so it must be all-American, right? No, actually. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and potato salad came to us from German immigrants in the 1800s. Macaroni salad is a combination of Italian and German culinary traditions. Where do you go for an ‘authentic American’ meal for Independence Day? New England, of course. Salmon was very common in New England during the 1600s and 1700s, before the Industrial Revolution dammed the rivers. If you wanted inexpensive protein, salmon was the thing. In early Summer, salmon would return to the rivers, swimming far up-stream to spawn. At the same time, the first peas were available in the gardens. By coincidence, the first new potatoes could be found in the fields. [Potatoes originated in South America, were taken to Spain by Columbus, then to Ireland by Walter Raleigh, then to New Hampshire by Scottish settlers.] Thus, by early July, a fine dinner was available to all and sundry: cooked salmon served with peas and new potatoes.

Coat the salmon fillets with olive oil on a plate, then strew with salt and pepper. Put the shelled peas into cold water, ready to cook. In a bowl, put small new potatoes — preferably with flesh of different colors — salt, pepper, and olive oil to coat. Stir well to cover the potatoes all over with oil. Put the potatoes on a glass pie plate into a 400F. oven and set the timer for 25 minutes. By now the grill is hot. Cook the salmon, undisturbed, for 5 minutes on each side. Turn on the heat under the peas and simmer them uncovered. The peas will be done first, so keep and eye on them. Drain and salt them, cover the pan and let them wait.

And there you have it: a fine meal for early Summer. For a delightful wine paring go to peterspicks.com.

Slow Days: Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie

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 Fast Diet 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.

Pie is wonderful. In the British Isles, ‘pie’ is a savory concoction, encased in a pastry crust. In the USA, ‘pie’ means a sweetened mixture baked in a pastry shell, topped with a pastry layer or a crumb top or a lattice or with no top at all. Apple pie, cherry pie, peach pie, pecan pie, mince pie, shoo-fly pie, lemon meringue pie — all have their season. May means rhubarb pie and June brings strawberry-rhubarb pie. This combination is so fabulous that it is worth the wait for the two ‘fruits’ to come to ripeness at the same time of year. Last June, Son #2, after a few bites of Sb-R Pie, proclaimed, “This is the best pie you ever made!” I’m happy to share the recipe with you.

First you need a crust. You could buy one or make one of your favorite recipe. Don’t have a good pie recipe? Here you go. A combination of butter and lard makes a good pie crust. Please do not use vegetable shortening. I often use a crumble top or cut out shapes from the following dough to decorate the top.

2 single pie crust or 1 double pie crust
2 cups flour: 1 c. white + 1 c. white whole wheat 1 tsp saltWhisk together in a bowl.
2/3 cup lard or butterCut lard/butter into the flour with a pastry blender or 2 knives until butter is ‘the size of small peas’
5-7 Tbsp ice waterAdd water bit by bit, stirring with a fork after each addition, until dough just holds together.
Gather gently into a ball, wrap, and chill 30 mins.
Divide in two pieces. Roll each out 1/8” thick and ease the round of dough into a 9” pie plate. Trim excess around the rim, crimp edge, and fill the pie.

People used to think that you needed tons of sugar to make a rhubarb pie. Those pies would set your teeth on edge, they were that sweet. I have learned to cut down on the sugar, especially if using a crumble top, which adds sugar. Recently, at a rhubarb pie-baking contest, the judges commented often on how a pie was too sweet, which detracted from the rhubarb taste. When you add sweet strawberries, you can reduce the sugar a little more. Make sure that the strawberries are fully ripe — no white or green areas and deep red all the way to the center. This is a pie to be served warm or cool. Ice cream would be gilding the lily, wouldn’t it?

One 9” pie, serves 8Pie plate lined with pastry dough. Preheat oven to 400F.
2½ c rhubarb, sliced ½” thick
2 c. strawberries, sliced or quartered
Slice the fruit and put into a large bowl. 
7/8 c sugar
3 Tbsp flour [use 5 Tbsp if fruit was frozen] one 2-oz egg
Stir together until combined. Pour over fruit in the bowl. Stir gently to mix the thickeners with the fruit evenly. Pour into the pie plate.
Cover fruit with crumb top or top crust. Leave a gap in crust at middle of pie. Bake in center of a hot oven for 15 mins.
Turn heat down to 350F and bake until the filling bubbles in the center, about 30 mins. Cool on a rack.

Since there are only two of us at the table these days, I often make a smaller pie, 6″ in diameter. That feeds us nicely for two meals, without having to eat the same pie all week long. Happy pie making!

Slow Days: Rhubarb Crumb Cake

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 Fast Diet 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 love rhubarb. We’d better — our rhubarb patch has 16 clumps, each with multiple crowns, each crown producing five stalks at a time. We share crowns with friends and neighbors. For the town’s Rhubarb Festival, much is harvested for pies to sell. The town’s Library sells crowns from our patch. And still there is more! Pies and coffee cakes go into the freezer, to last into the winter. This is one of our favorite coffee cakes, adapted from a recipe in the New York Times. Dear Husband is a big help: he prepares the crumb, and we both assemble it for baking.

A perfect Sunday breakfast with fruited yogurt and chicken sausages.
12-16 slicesPreheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9” springform pan.
FRUIT16 oz [1#] pound rhubarb 
¼ cup sugar 2 tsp cornstarch ¾ tsp ground ginger
Slice rhubarb ½-inch thick and toss with other ingredients.Set aside THE FRUIT.
CRUMB1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt ½ cup/1 stick butter, melted
¾ cup all-purpose 1 cup White whole wheat flour 
In a large bowl, whisk sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon. It will look and feel like a solid dough. Leave it pressed together in the bottom of the bowl and set aside THE CRUMB.
WET1/3 cup plain yogurt /sour cream  1 large/2 oz egg
1 large egg yolk OR 3 oz egg total 2 tsp vanilla extract
In a small bowl, stir these ingredients together to form the ‘Wet Mixture.’ Set aside THE WET MIXTURE



B
A
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup white whole wheat flour 
1/3 cup sugar  ½ tsp baking soda ½ tsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt
Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix these ingredients together.. 
T
T
6 Tbsp softened butter 1 Tbsp of above Wet MixtureCut butter into 12 pieces. Add these to above. Mix on medium speed ’til flour is moistened. Increase speed, beat 30 seconds
E
R
½ of Wet Mixture = 3 oz other ½ of Wet Mixture = 3 ozAdd Wet Mixture in 2 batches, beating 20 secs after each addition, scraping down sides of bowl. Pour batter into pan.
Spoon rhubarb over batter. 
With your fingers, break/squeeze crumb mixture into big crumbs, ~½” -¾” in size. Sprinkle over rhubarb and cake. 
Bake 45-55 min until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (it might be moist from rhubarb). Cool ~10 mins,then remove collar of pan. Cool completely before serving.

Slow Days: Carbonara 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 Fast Diet 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.

There is an idea that this dish was created in Rome during the 1940s with ingredients from American GIs, since ‘bacon n eggs’ are so American. Not so, says Lynne Rossetto Kasper. Rather, it is traditional food of country men who go into the woods for days on end to burn charcoal in the hills outside of Rome. Since that activity involves flat-out work during days of living rough, there was a need for a meal that was quick to prepare from portable ingredients: dried ham, pasta, Romano cheese. Thus this is the pasta of il carbonaio, the charcoal maker. I’ve tried recipes with more ingredients that claimed to be authentic, but this is the dish that I will prepare again and again.

Grated cheese, egg, pasta, pancetta, flat green beans. These ingredients serve two [2] people.
Sv 8Sv 2
2 Tsp EVOO
6 thin slices pancetta
½ tsp EVOO 1½ slices pancettaCut meat into ¼“ strips. Heat oil and pancetta over medium, and cook until meat is crisp but not burnt. Take off heat, cover, set aside.
4 two-oz eggs
2 tsp grated Romano salt + pepper
1 two-oz egg
1 tsp grated Romano cheese salt + pepper
Grate the cheese to produce 4 oz [for 8 servings] or 1 oz [for 2 people]. Remove a bit for now and save the rest. Beat cheese into eggs, and add seasonings.
Boiling salted water
1# spaghetti
Boiling salted water 4oz wh-wh spaghettiCook pasta until tender but undercooked. Drain into a bowl and measure ¼ cup of pasta water.
¼ c pasta water cooked pancetta3 Tbsp pasta water cooked pancettaAdd pasta water to the pancetta in its pan and reheat, scraping up the brown glaze from the bottom.
Cooked pastaCooked pastaAdd cooked pasta to pan and stir to combine.
Beaten eggs
ground black pepper
Beaten eggs ground black pepperStir eggs into the pan until eggs are cooked and clinging to the pasta. Season with lots of pepper.
Scant 4 oz. RomanoScant 1 oz RomanoSprinkle with cheese and stir to combine. Plate, serve.
Delicious when served with flat green beans of the variety called Roma or Romano. Some crusty whole-grain bread completes the meal.

Slow Days: Oatmeal Cookies

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.

Cookies and Milk — what a heavenly combination! My mother was an enthusiastic baker of cookies. Prior to their marriage, she had promised my father that ‘the cookie jar would always be full.’ A very sweet vow indeed. Dad’s favorite cookies usually involved molasses, so my mother baked an oatmeal cookie recipe with molasses in it. Dear Husband was given an oatmeal cookie recipe by his Good Sister Barbara with no molasses, which I thought was heresy, but I would bake them on and off. Recently, I decided to alter that recipe, and here is the result. Dear Husband requests it often. What are the ‘improvements’ that I made? More egg for texture; white whole wheat flour for more whole grain and fiber; less sugar; added chocolate chips and dried cranberries for fun.

4 dozen cookiesPreheat oven to 350F. Put silicon mats or parchment paper on cookie sheets.
¾ c. butter 1 cup brown sugar, unpacked
1/3 c white sugar
Cream together by hand or with an electric mixer.
2.5 oz egg [1.5 eggs]Stir in thoroughly.
2/3 c white whole wheat flour 1/3 c all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda 2 c. rolled oats
Stir into the mixture until well combined.
½ c chocolate chips ½ c walnuts
½ c dried cranberries
Stir in to form a stiff dough. Portion with a 1.5 tsp scoop or use a spoon to form 48 balls of dough on prepared sheets. Flatten each dough ball by pressing gently with your fingers.
Bake for around 7 minutes, until dough is no longer soft in center.
Cool on the baking sheets. Super warm. Good keeping cookie.

Is this a ‘diet cookie’, one that tastes like a pale imitation at best and like sawdust at worst? No, this is a really good cookie, suitable for spouses, children, and a mid-afternoon treat for yourself with a glass of milk.

Here is the recipe provided by Good Sister Barbara:

4 dozen cookiesPreheat oven to 350F. Put silicon mats or parchment paper on 2 cookie sheets.
¾ c. butter
1 c brown sugar
½ c white sugar
1 small egg
¼ c water
1 tsp vanilla
Cream/mix these all together.
1 c. flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
Sift together.
Add to the butter-egg mixture.
3 c rolled oatsMix oats with existing batter and combine thoroughly.
Use a 1.5 tsp scoop or a spoon to form 48 balls of dough on baking sheets. 
Bake 9-12 minutes.
Cool on racks.

Slow Days: Lord of the Rings Festival

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. 

Early in our courtship, Dear Husband revealed that he was a fan of Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings books. So was I – big time!! After we read the books aloud to our sons — one was 5, the other 3 — they were hooked as well. We began to celebrate March 25, the date of the Destruction of the One Ring, with special meals. For a book about Hobbits, those famous trencher-folk, there are surprisingly few actual foods mentioned in the four books [the Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King]. After combing through the pages, I came up with two breakfasts and two dinners. Of course the most memorable dinner is the ‘coney stew’ that Samwise cooks for Frodo in Ithilien, so we that was the first one we prepared. Now there are several meals from which to choose, and you can sample them too.

Bombadil’s Breakfast: When Tom Bombadil served his guests breakfast in FotR, it was plants, fruit and dairy of his own collection or production. The plants should be watercress [since his wife Goldberry was the River-Man’s daughter] and the fruit shall be Golden Berries [aka Peruvian Ground Cherries], again in a nod to his wife.

2/3 oz Camembert cheese ½ cup watercress leaves or microgreens ½ cup plain yogurt + 1 tsp honey 2 oz Golden Berries edible flowers [violets, chives, nastursium, or others] 

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

Hobbiton Breakfast: In the Peter Jackson movies, characters mostly eat apples and cheese [that’s because the actor can still say lines clearly while chewing them]. Seedy Scones are in Bilbo’s larder in Hobbit, so they are on our breakfast plate. 

Seedy Scones*** apple slices Camembert cheese  

***Seedy SconesThis makes 2 cups of ‘Mix’. 1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup white whole wheat flour 3 Tbsp sugar 1 tsp baking soda 1.5 tsp cream of tartar 2 Tbsp unsalted butter buttermilk or soured milk, as needed mixed seeds + a pinch of salt Combine the dry ingredients [except seeds] in a bowl. Cut in the butter until well incorporated. 

Prepare the Scone Mix. Stir in just enough buttermilk/soured milk to cause the dough to come together in a rough ball. TIP: store the remaining mix in the refrigerator in a glass jar with a lid. Ready to use when you wish. Knead briefly on a lightly floured surface. Shape into scones. Brush the surface with milk and scatter the seeds on top. Place in a buttered dish to bake  HINT: I did this the night before and left it on the counter to bake in the morning. Slice the apple and cheese. Bake the scone[s] at 400 F. for 7-10 minutes. Plate to please the eye.

Marish Mushroom Casserole: Farmer Maggot and his wife shelter the Hobbits at their farm in the Marish region as Frodo and friends try to escape the Black Riders and the Shire. Knowing how much Frodo loves mushrooms, Mrs. Maggot bakes a casserole for him. If you are a mushroom lover, like Frodo, this meal will make you happy.  HINT: This recipe is enough to serve two [2] diners.

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

Samwise’s Rabbit Stew: A foraged meal [wild carrots and herbs would have been abundant], originally cooked over a campfire in Ithilien, can be easily prepared in your kitchen. Purists will note that the dried fruit, a gift from Faramir, was given to the Hobbits later, but it adds a nice flavor note to the meal. The potatoes were not part of Samwise’s stew, but he wished that they could be. This stew is the center-piece of our celebration.

In the center of the photo, dried fruits and Mallorn-wrapped lembas. In the rear, dishes of Marish Mushroom Casserole.

4 oz boneless rabbit meat, cut into bite-sized pieces 2 oz carrots, sliced or cubed 2 oz po-ta-toes, cubed bay leaf + thyme + sage + lavender buds dried apricots + dried pear dried apple + dried cherry

Put the meat, vegetables, and herbs in a sauce pan and cover with water. Cover and simmer until all is cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the dried fruit on the side. Long live Frodo!

Lembas: The ‘way bread of the Elves’ is described as being made of honey and nuts so that it will keep well as food for traveling. To me, that sounds like the German cookie “Lebkuchen” which I prepare every Christmas. Undecorated and wrapped in ‘Mallorn Leaves,’ Lembas is always on the LotR table. I will leave you to find your own recipe.

March 25 is a week away, which gives you LotR fans plenty of time to plan your own celebration. Have fun!