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: 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!

Slow Days: Aunt Ethel’s Hot Cross Buns  

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.

When I was a child, the religious season of Lent meant that there would be Hot Cross Buns for breakfast. Maybe on Sunday, maybe on Friday. My Mother bought them at the A&P supermarket, Jane Parker brand. We loved them. When Dear Husband and I set up housekeeping, I wanted to make Hot Cross Buns for Lent. Many recipes were tried, but I wasn’t satisfied. When Good Friend Joe mentioned that his Aunt Ethel made great hot cross buns, I asked for the recipe. Ever since, I have made these prior to the start of Lent. Of course, I changed the recipe with the addition of candied citron [part of the Jane Parker recipe] and white whole wheat flour [to make it more healthy]. One ingredient that did not change was the use of potato water — water that is drained off from boiled potatoes — a key to success. Some people want their HCBs on Sundays during Lent, some on Fridays. Some eat them on Ash Wednesday and some on Good Friday. Some eat them only on Easter. Whatever. We like them on the 1st Friday of Lent, then every other week until Good Friday. And every year I sent a half dozen to Good Friend Joe and his Dear Wife, to eat whenever they like. Here’s how I prepare them:

Mise en place for 18 Hot Cross Buns.
¾ cup milkScald milk, pour into bowl
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
¼ cup butter
Stir in sugar, salt and butter. Cool to lukewarm while the butter melts.
½ cup warm potato water
2 pkgs dry yeast = 4.5 tsp
Measure warm water into medium bowl. Add yeast and let sit while yeast dissolves and starts to bubble. Blend into lukewarm milk mixture.
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup each raisins + citron + candied peel 1 tsp nutmeg
1½ tsp cinnamon 3 cups flour + more for kneading
Toss the fruit with a bit of flour in a bowl. Stir together egg, fruit, spices, and flour. Knead well, adding flour to prevent sticking.
Put dough in a buttered/oiled bowl, turn to coat the top of the dough. Cover with a clean towel. Let rise for 45 mins.

Punch down, divide in half, cut each half into 9 equal balls.  **freeze at this point: put dough balls on a cookie sheet and freeze them until solid. Portion into zipper bags for Lenten breakfasts.

The night before serving, take frozen dough balls from the freezer and put on a buttered baking dish. Cover with a tea towel and let rise overnight in a cool place. 
Before breakfast, bake at 350F 15-18 mins.
Confectioner’s sugar milk or orange juiceMix icing until just a little runny. Spoon icing in the shape of a cross onto the top of each bun and serve warm.

And what a fine Lenten breakfast this is, with fruit yogurt and Canadian Bacon. Thanks, Aunt Ethel!

Slow Days: Cornmeal 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.

Dear Husband’s father was the breakfast-maker in the family. Sunday was the day for something special: waffles and an array of pancakes would appear in rotation. Interestingly, Dear Husband and his brothers all assumed the mantle of breakfast-maker, much to the delight of their wives. The first time Dear Husband ever invited me over for a meal, it was for a dinner of pancakes: thin pancakes made from yellow cornmeal. Since my mother’s Sunday breakfasts were often based on Bisquick, griddle cakes of cornmeal — made from scratch — were a revelation. Over the years, Dear Husband has refined the ancestral recipe, moving from the family’s hand-written copy to one by Marion Cunningham in Breakfast Cookbook. This is his adapted recipe for Cornmeal Pancakes.

This recipe yields 12-14 pancakes.
½ c yellow cornmeal ½ c boiling waterPut cornmeal into a 1-Qt measuring cup and pour the water over it. Stir briskly until blended.
1 egg, beaten ½ c milkIn a small bowl, beat the egg and add the milk. Stir/whisk to combine.
¼ c/ 4 Tbsp butterMelt the butter and add to the cornmeal-water along with the egg-milk. Whisk thoroughly until blended and smooth. 
½ c white flour
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar 1 Tbsp baking powder
Whisk or sift these together to blend.
Add to the wet ingredients and beat until smooth.
Let sit while the griddle heats.
Heat griddle to medium-high. Spray it with non-stick spray or smear the griddle with a bit of butter.
Optional: 1 Tbsp blueberries, fresh or frozen [unthawed] per pancake, Use 3-4 Tbsp batter per pancake. Cook until bubbles form on the top surface of the pancake and break. Then cook on other side. Optional: sprinkle blueberries on the pancake while the bottom cooks.***
Serve hot with maple syrup and sausage or bacon.

***Some recipes say to stir the blueberries into the batter and then cook them. The problem with this is that the blueberries break and turn the pancake batter to an unfortunate shade of grey. Then, too, the pancakes can be individualized for those who don’t like blueberries.

Slow Days: Favorite Birthday Cake  

INTRO: 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.

When I was a child, the birthday cake that my mother always made for us was an angel food cake: white and towering, sweet, and fluffy, decorated with Royal Frosting. It was my ‘gold standard’ for birthday cake, even if it was made from a boxed mix. When Dear Husband took over the job of providing birthday cakes, he wanted to cook his dream cake: yellow layers with chocolate icing. For years the Darling Sons and Dear Husband made a series of layer cakes. Dear Husband had never made a sponge cake and was a bit spooked by the prospect. At last, I said, “I’d like this cake for my birthday — a hot water sponge cake from Fannie Farmer’s Cookbook.” He said, “OK, but with a chocolate ganache icing.” So we set to work to make it happen.

The mise en place, for a one-half version of the recipe

Hot Water Sponge Cake for a 9” springform pan. From Fannie Farmer Cookbook.

Heat oven to 350F. Have an ungreased 9” springform pan.
1 cup pastry/cake flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
few grains salt
Sift together and set aside.
2 egg whitesBeat into soft peaks
¼ c sugarBeat gradually into the egg whites and set aside.
2 egg yolks
¼ c hot water
½ tsp vanilla
Whisk the yolks. Add the water and vanilla, and beat until thick. The heat will cook the yolks a bit.
½ c sugarBeat into the eggs.

Now you have three bowls containing different components of the cake.

Pour the yolks over the whites and fold until blended.
Fold in the flour until blended.
Gently scrape batter into the unbuttered pan. Bake 20-30 mins. Cool cake in pan.

For whatever reason, the first time we prepared it, the cake turned out with a sunken center. Time to turn lemons into lemonade — or in this case, lemon curd. Determined to fill in that divot, I spooned some lemon curd [from a jar] into the center, pretending that it was part of the original plan.

Baked, cooled cake Remove the wrap-around part of the pan from the cake, but leave the cake on the metal plate that is underneath it. Place on a rack over a larger plate.
Lemon curdIf there is a low spot in the center of the cake, spoon in enough curd to fill it completely. If there is no low spot, top the cake with a thin, even layer of curd.

Then we made a Chocolate-Cream Ganache Glaze from the Cake Bible by Rose Levy Biranbaum.

3 oz bittersweet chocolate Break or chop or process into very small pieces. Put into a heat-proof bowl.
1 c. heavy creamPut into a saucepan and heat until starting to boil.
Pour ¾ c of cream over the chocolate, cover, and let sit 5 mins. Chocolate should melt. If it doesn’t or ganache is too thick, add more hot cream, tablespoon by tablespoon, and stir.

Pour the glaze over the center of the cake, guiding it a bit so that it covers the top and runs down the sides. Smooth any rough spots with a knife and place on a serving plate.

Here is a full recipe of the cake: on the cake stand, ready to be served to friends with Champagne at my birthday party.
You can see the lemon curd under the ganache. A marvelous contrast of flavors and textures.

After he sampled it, Dear Husband said, “I want this for my birthday too!” So we repeated it a month later. It is now our traditional favorite birthday cake. I hope you will like it too.

Slow Days: Pistachio-Cherry-Chocolate Biscotti  

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.

‘Biscotto’ means ‘twice baked.’ Twice-baking is an old way of preserving baked goods. The 2nd baking dries them out, so they can be stored for future use. Examples include the dried bread called rusk or zwieback or sukhariki. Their origin seems to be as marching food for the Roman army. Army forts always had granaries and bake-houses, producing vast quantities of fresh and twice-baked bread. In the Renaissance, the twice-baked bread was reborn, made delicious with almonds. A baker in Tuscany is given credit for the introduction of ‘cantucci,’ perfect for dunking in the local Vin Santo as a dessert. It is a delicious combination, as sampled in Firenze. As fresh baked goods became readily available, not many people bothered with preserving bread. And then biscotti were reintroduced, taking America by storm in 1990s coffee houses. At first, many customers were put off by the ‘stale cookies’ but dunking became popular again, and so did the twice-baked cookies. If you think that biscotti are born in a package, wrapped in plastic, then you must try baking them at home.

This particular version is adapted from Chocolate by Nick Magliere. The biscotti are lovely as a Christmas gift or for enjoying at home with a leisurely cup of coffee during the holidays. I like the green nuts and the red cherries, seen together in a slice. A real treat from your very own kitchen.

Set rack in middle of oven. Preheat to 350 F.
Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
1¾ c flour
2/3 c sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Combine these, mixing well
8 Tbsp/1 stick butter Cut in 8 pieces and toss with flour mixture. Rub or cut butter into the flour.
¾ c dried cherries or cranberries
¾ c chocolate chips
¾ c/4 oz unsalted pistchios
Stir into the flour-butter.
2 two-oz eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Whisk together, then stir into above mixture with a fork until dough comes together. 
Cherries, chocolate chips, and pistachios all mixed together with the flour-butter.
2 two-oz eggs
2 tsp vanilla
Whisk together, then stir into above mixture with a fork until dough comes together. 
Divide dough into 2 portions, then roll each half into a log 12” long. Place the 2 logs on the prepared pans with 2” between them.

Bake 25-30 mins, until dough is browned and firm to the touch. Remove to cutting board to cool.
When cool, cut each log with a serrated knife into ½” slices, straight across or on diagonal. Put slices back on parchment paper on the cookie sheet.
Bake at 325F 15-20 mins, until light brown in color.
Cool, then store in an air-tight tin.

Slow Days: Lussekatter

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.

For the December 13th Feast of Saint Lucy, the Swedes have a special bread for breakfast. The bread is called Lussekatter and the giving of bread, especially yeasted breakfast bread, is an important part of the entire celebration of the day. Lussekatter can be baked in many different shapes. In 2014, it was featured in a Master Class of the Great British Bake Off. The recipe is simple and easy to prepare, even if you’ve never worked with yeast before. We enjoy it every year on Lucy Day, and you can too. You could use Paul Hollywood’s recipe if you wish, but our’s comes from the Var Så God cookbook by the American Swedish Institute

OOPS! That 1 cup of flour in the right-hand position should be 2 [two] cups instead of only one.
1 pkg active dry yeast  ¼ c water, warmDissolve yeast in warm water and set aside for ~15 minutes to wake up the yeast. 
¾ c milk ½ c butter = 1 stick
¼ tsp saffron, powdered or in threads
Warm the milk, add butter to melt. Add saffron to infuse for 5 minutes. Then cool to lukewarm and add the yeast water.
2 eggs
2 cups white whole wheat flour ½ c sugar
Put these in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Pour all the liquids through a sieve into the bowl. Mix for 3 minutes with a stand mixer.
2 cups all-purpose flour ¼ tsp salt Add flour and salt, and beat with wooden spoon. Fold and push the dough on a board, adding a little flour for easy handling. When smooth and shiny, put in a bowl and let rise to double in bulk.
After kneading, the satiny dough is ready to rise.
2 oz dough per bun OR
Divide dough in 2 for cakes
Turn out on floured board. Curl buns for a Sicilian ‘S’ or other Lussekatter shape. Let rise on greased cookie sheet or in pans. OR put the pan of shaped rolls, wrapped, in the freezer.
1 egg 
2 T water Raisins or dried black currants
If freezing the shaped buns, take out the night before to rise overnight in a cool place. Brush with egg and water mixture before baking. Put a raisin in each curl of the buns.  Bake at 450F. for 10 minutes.

After baking, the Lussekatter becomes the star of the breakfast on Saint Lucy Day.

A Lucy Day breakfast of Lussekatter, Canadian bacon, and clementines, presided over by a tiny Saint Lucy herself, complete with a wreath of candles in her hair.

Since there are but two of us, not a village, I make only enough buns for one breakfast. To the remaining dough, I add dried fruit and candied peel, and knead it in. The dough is nudged into a Christmas-tree-shaped pan which is then wrapped and frozen for a breakfast closer to Christmas. Yippee! I love preparing in advance!

Slow Days: Turkey Leg Confit

INTRO: 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.

Last Thanksgiving, since neither of our sons could/would travel due to Covid, we were faced with a sad culinary conundrum: what form of turkey to serve to only two people??? A whole turkey was out since the smallest ones were in high demand. We could make our usual Turkey Roulade, but even that served three generously for more than one meal. Happily, I heard of doing confit treatment to turkey and I found this recipe by André Baranowski on Saveur.com. Since we were accustomed to preparing a duck confit, this seemed like a great idea. As I always do, I cross-referenced to see if there were any other hints or refinements to include. Here is my synthesis. HINT: If preparing for Thanksgiving, start 5-7 days ahead. This takes a short amount of working time during two days at the start, then a wait of 5-7 days before eating.

2 legs from a 15# TurkeyDAY 1  Pat dry the turkey legs. Transfer turkey to a 9”x5”x4” loaf pan
½ tsp. rubbed sage
½ tsp. dried thyme
1 dried bay leaf
1 Tbsp Kosher salt  generous grind of black pepper
DAY 1 SEASON AND COOL In a spice grinder, grind the herbs to powder. Rub turkey with herb/salt and chill overnight, loosely covered.
2-3 quarts rendered duck fat OR lard I used 1 quart duck fat DAY 2  BAKE AND CURE Heat oven to 275°. Pour out any liquid from the pan of turkey. Microwave fat in a jar on low power or warm in a pot over low heat until the fat liquifies. Pour fat over turkey to cover the meat. Cover pan with foil; bake until very tender, ~ 2 hours. Let turkey cool in the fat and put the pan in the ‘fridge for 3-7 days.

When first I heard of confit for meat, I was horrified: all that salt and FAT? Ugh. But the salt and fat work to kill bacteria and also to make the meat very tender. The fat does not go into the meal, keeping the turkey low in fat.

DAY 5 or 7 HEAT AND EAT  Heat the pan until fat is just liquefied. Pour fat into a jar to freeze/store. Take legs from pan and let the extra fat drain off. Place legs in a cast iron pan and cook until browned and crisp, ~15 minutes
Plate with your favorite sides for a succulent meal.
What a grand Thanksgiving meal! A dish of stuffing was baked separately, since there was no bird to stuff.

Slow Days: Pumpkin Ginger 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 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.

Genevieve Ko, writing in the New York Times, published this article last year. It looked promising, so I tried it. Finding the dough a bit too dry, I added applesauce and that turned out to be just right. And look! The recipe calls for ‘pumpkin spice’!!! So trendy this time of year. Try these and see what you think. The recipe makes 6-8 scones, depending on how you cut them.

50g/6.5 Tbsp whole wheat flour 
95g/¾ c all-purpose flour
1/3 c/25 g rolled oats 
¼ c./50 g sugar 
2 tsp baking powder  + ½ tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice**
In a bowl, whisk these ingredients together.



**¼ tsp cinn, ¼ tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp mace, 1/8 tsp clove, ¼ tsp allspice
¼ c/57 g cold butter, sliced thinly 1/3 c/45 g crystallized ginger OR ½ tsp ginger powderAdd butter + toss to coat. With fingers or a pastry cutter, knead/cut in butter until coarse crumbs form but peanut-size pieces remain. Chop ginger finely, and mix in.
1/3 c/85 g pumpkin puree 
1 Tbsp applesauce
1 two-oz egg
Whisk pumpkin and applesauce with egg until smooth. Add to dry ingredients. Mix with a fork until no dry bits remain and mixture comes together in a mass.
Place dough on baking pan and press it into ¾”-thick round that is 6” diameter. Refrigerate or freeze until stiff.
Heat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray a glass pie plate with cooking spray.
Rolled oats for sprinklingCut dough into 6-8 wedges with a sharp knife. Nudge wedges apart. Sprinkle tops with oats.
Bake until golden brown and firm when gently pressed, 20 minsTo test for doneness, insert a toothpick in center to see if there is wet dough. If so, return pan to oven for a few mins.
Cool pan on a rack 5 mins. Serve warm or room temp.

Served with ham and yogurt with applesauce and berries, these scones are a lovely treat.

Slow Days: Spiced Cauliflower 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 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.

As Summer turns to Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, our taste buds seem to want the warmth of spices in our food. “Pumpkin Spice,” anyone? [Which is not derived from an actual pumpkin. It refers to the spices used in pumpkin pie. But I digress.] This pasta dish is excellent. The curious addition of spices tells us that its origin was in Medieval Times. Nobles returning from the Crusades [this is the one good thing to result from the lamentable Crusades] brought with them ‘exotic’ spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves. European cuisine embraced them, often producing daring parings of spices with meat [as in Tourtiere] and vegetables. Of course the tomatoes in this recipe did not show up in Europe until the early 1500s, and they are a good addition. Sicily was a port of call for Crusaders and Lynne Rossetto Kasper is the source of this Sicilian recipe found in her The Italian Country Table.

The mise en place for 2 servings.
Serves 4 — original recipeServes 2 — how I do it
Large head cauliflower florets370 g cauliflower floretsBlanch in boiling water 1 minute. Keep water on the heat.
EVOO
1 cup onion, chopped
salt & pepper
EVOO
½ c onion, chopped
salt & pepper
Film bottom of a non-stick saute pan with oil and heat to medium-high. Stir-fry cauliflower 2 minutes, then add onion and seasoning and stirfry until golden.
Large pinch red pepper flakes
ditto for ground cloves
ditto ground cinnamon
¼ c basil + Italian parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oil-packed anchovies
3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
Pinch red pepper flakes
ditto ground cloves
ditto ground cinnamon
2 Tb basil + Italian parsley
1 cloves garlic, minced
2 oil-packed anchovies
1½ Tbsp red wine vinegar
Chop the basil and parsley before packing in the measuring cup. Rinse the anchovies. Add these to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
4 oz zitti/penne per person2 oz zitti/penne per personCook pasta in salted water until al dente.
2/3 cup pasta water
14 oz canned whole tomatoes
1/3 cup pasta water
7 fl oz canned whole tomatoes
Drain and chop tomatoes. Add pasta water to saute pan and scrape up the brown bits. Add tomatoes, and boil until cauliflower is tender-crisp, ~3 minutes.
Reduce heat and add cooked pasta. Stir to blend. Season to taste
¼ pound ricotta salata OR Parmesan
1/3 c pine nuts
2 oz ricotta salata OR Parmesan
3 Tbsp pine nuts
Shave cheese into curls and add to serve hot, topped with pine nuts.
Plated with a nice piece of sourdough bread. You are correct: the pasta is neither zitti nor penne. You don’t have to stay inside the lines all the time.