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 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.

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.

Slow Days: Making Peach Wine, 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  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.

Usually, I talk about food. At this time of year, the peaches are ripe — and do I love peaches! Sliced on cereal, chunks in yogurt, in pie, in your hand as you bite into it. Peaches rule! And, for your next Lock-Down [bite my tongue] Project, you might want to make peach wine. Full disclosure: a peach wine will not taste like peaches. It will taste like a dry white wine. The less dry you make it, the more fruity it will be. But it will not taste like a fresh peach.

On a Fast Day, you don’t want to waste calories on a non-food like wine. On Slow Days, drinking in moderation is perfectly acceptable. For many years now, I have made ‘Country Wines.’ That appellation designates a fermented beverage made from fruits that are not wine grapes. Good Friend Donna Ohlweiler, who was a Summer Neighbor of our’s, taught me the basics. We drink wine with dinner, but usually it is a splendid product of the grape, chosen by Dear Husband who is an able sommelier. [to see what I mean, check out peterspicksblog] Still, I think it is fun to turn fruits into wines and the results are nice to serve to guests as an aperitif or to use as hostess gifts.

Peach Wine was the second recipe that I ever made, in October of 2001. The recipe is from First Steps in Winemaking by C.J.J. Berry. My initial notes cover 6 pages, detailing all the steps I took and all the things I did wrong. It was a learning experience. Since peaches are ripe in New Hampshire now, I thought I would show you the steps of making what Berry calls “Peach Perfection.” Rather than giving you the entire process at once, I will show you how to make it ‘in real time’ — that is to say, each day that I do something with the wine, I’ll explain what I did, and tell you how long to wait until the next step. The entire process takes the better part of a year, but aside from 2 days at the beginning and 2 days at the end, it is like stirring together a batch of dough and letting it rise overnight, then knocking it down and letting it sit again — small, short bursts of activity for you, and a long slow fermentation for the wine.

Making Peach Wine yield: five 750 ml bottles bottles

Before you start, you will need:

A good beer/wine-making store sells these. They are available on-line too.

2.5 pounds ripe peaches 2.25 pounds sugar Grape Tannin
Camden tablets
Yeast Nutrient
White wine yeast
Acid Blend
Pectic Enzyme
Clean 1-gallon glass jug
clean 750ml glass wine bottle
2-gallon capacity enamel or plastic bucket or bowl with a lid
1 air-lock with a cork to fit the gallon jug
1 air-lock with a cork to fit the wine bottle
Hydrometer
hydrometer test jar you will need a dedicated set of pages to write down what you did and when you did it — I have two school ‘composition books’ full of notes

In a few months you will need: five 750 ml wine bottles 5 corks for the bottles a corking device to drive the corks into the bottles

You will need to prepare a Camden Solution for sterilizing all your vessels and equipment.

Put 2 cups water in a jar with a lid. Add 6 camden tablets and ½ teaspoon Acid Blend. Let it sit to allow the tablets to soften, then shake/stir until all is blended and dissolved. THIS STUFF IS TOXIC AND THE FUMES FROM IT ARE UNHEALTHY TO BREATHE. Label with a poison alert sticker and store out of reach of children.

THE NEXT POST IN THIS DIY PROJECT WILL BE IN THREE DAYS.

Slow Days: Cajun Catfish Sliders

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.

Catfish are a fresh-water fish found in many countries around the world, with 30 species in the USA. The states in the center-east of the country are where catfish are most likely to be. Because they are common and can grow quite large, catfish are popular sport and eating fish. Here in New Hampshire, the native species is Ameiurus nebulosus, known to scientists as the Brown Bullhead, and to locals a the ‘horned pout’ [pronounced ‘hornpout‘]. Lakes of easy access sport boats at night, trawling back and forth with lanterns illuminating the water. Everyone knows that means people are hornpoutin’. After seeing catfish at the supermarket a few years ago, and knowing that there was Cajun Seasoning in the pantry, I was seized by inspiration: Cajun Catfish Sandwiches!!

To serve two, we have slider buns, Cajun Seasoning, and 6-8 oz catfish, cut into 4 pieces. The catfish pieces are dredged in the seasoning on all sides, then pan-cooked with a bit of butter/ cooking spray/ or olive oil until done, 3-4 minutes per side. Here’s how to prepare your own seasoning:

Cajun Seasoning:  4 Tablespoons  A dry powder to add to soups, stews, eggs, or fish. 1 tsp salt 2 tsp garlic powder 2½ tsp paprika 1 tsp ground pepper 1 tsp onion powder 1 tsp cayenne 1¼ tsp dried savory 1¼ tsp dried thyme ½ tsp red pepper flakes

I suggest that the slider buns be toasted. For a real summer treat, serve with some form of corn, such as fresh polenta or corn-tomato salsa. Oh! Yummy! Catfish can be sustainably and environmentally raised on fish-farms, making them a good choice when you are looking for fish to buy. An excellent Summer meal.

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.

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 or 16-oz measuring cup, 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 minute more. 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!

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!