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.

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.