Second Fiddles

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow, for a calorie total of less than 600. On another day this week, eat the meals from a different post, another day of eating 600 calories or less. Eat sensibly the other days of the week. That’s it. Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

What does it mean ‘to play or to be a second fiddle‘?  It means to be the assistant to the leader or boss, which is a good role but it means that you may not get your full share of the glory or fame from what is accomplished. Originally, it referred to seating in an orchestra: the head honcho is the Conductor, of course.  The next most important person is the First Violin [the one who plays the ‘1st Fiddle’], and below that is the Second Violin.  That’s the 2nd Fiddle: close to the fame with important work to do, but often over-looked. Tomorrow will be the birthday of an over-looked man: Roy Disney.  He was co-founder and partner in the Disney organization, playing second fiddle to his younger brother, Walt the cartoonist and media visionary. Despite the fact that Roy was a financial wizard  who brought Disney World into fulfillment and put Orlando, Florida on the map, the only human who comes to mind when you say “Disney’ is Walt.                                                                                                  Side dishes play second fiddle to the main meal. That’s too bad as they can tend to be an after-thought: boil up some peas for something green on the plate. Let’s up our game and serve some side dishes that really add some zest to the meal.

Lamb Kabobs w: corn relish

CORN-TOMATO SALSA          makes 1.5 cups 87 calories per 3/4 cup serving                                                    1 cup corn kernels                                                                                                                                                       1 cup diced tomato                                                                                                                                                  2 Tbsp minced red bell pepper                                                                                                                           2 Tbsp diced red onion                                                                                                                                         2 Tbsp cider vinegar                                                                                                                                                1/4 tsp dry mustard                                                                                                                                                 1/8 tsp tumeric                                                                                                                                                          ¼ tsp sugar                                                                                                                                                                    2 dashes ground cumin

Felafel w: Cuke Raita

CUCUMBER RAITA               use as a side dish or in wraps                                                                                             1 cup non-fat yogurt                                                                                                                                                 1 Tbsp lime juice                                                                                                                                                      1 clove garlic, pressed                                                                                                                                              1 cup cucumber, seeded and diced                                                                                                                   ½ tsp ground cumin                                                      ¼ tsp salt                                                                          ¼ tsp ground pepper                                                                                       1 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped                                Combine all ingredients and use immediately or chill up to 30 minutes.

Fish Kabobs w: fresh Polenta

FRESH POLENTA          1 serving = 1/3 cup = 80 calories                                                                                                          1.25 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen                                                                                                                      1 tsp unsalted butter                                                                                                                                         freshly-ground pepper + salt                                                                                                                                      Puree the corn in a blender until smoother in texture [it won’t be like whipped cream, but you shouldn’t see whole kernels]. Put butter in a warm pan, then add the corn, pepper and salt. Cook about 30 seconds or until it becomes thicker. From Jacques Pepin, this is excellent served with a simply prepared fish.

Haggis Spring Rolls

SIDE SALAD        Serves 1 = 36 calories, easily doubles or triples                                                                                           1 cup lettuce, slice into <1/2” strips if leaves are large                                                                                 ½ oz grated carrots                                                                                                                                                   1 oz tomato                                                                                                                                                               ½ tsp olive oil, plain or flavor-infused [ex: lime]                                                                                            ½ tsp flavorful vinegar                                                   salt and pepper to taste                                                                                                                                 optional: 1/2 oz boiled, cubed beets [adds 6 calories]  

Ingredients for next week:

Breakfast, single portion

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs
1 felafel patty [Stocking Up 4-I-2018]salami, thinly-sliced
tomato puree or crushed tomatoespear
Whatever you need for your smoothieWhatever you need for your smoothie
Whatever you need for your hot beverageWhatever you need for your hot beverage

Dinner, single portion:

6 felafel pattiespork tenderloin + honey  + garlic
lettuce  + tomatoesfresh green beans  + red bell pepper
carrot  +  beets  +  feta cheesefresh ginger  + soy sauce + canola oil
white wine vinegar + flavored olive oilcrushed red pepper +   scallion
Sparkling waterSparkling water



How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Monday, eat the meals that will be posted on Sunday.  Eat sensibly [see postings named “Slow Days”] the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

Since variety is the spice of life, we like to mix it up in our household. On Fast Days and Slow Days, we try new recipes and new flavor combinations all the time. [And then we go back to the tried and true.]  Bold flavors make for good additions to the mealtime palette as many cultures have discovered. Often a cuisine based on bland main courses [the same stew served for days on end] will create an astonishing array of side dishes to vary the flavor. Try something new today.

Azorean-flavor Eggs w: pineapple

CHORIÇO PATE:   1 Tbsp = 87 calories  Use in eggs or soups or as a spread on Slow Days. 7 oz dried or bulk chorizo/choriço                                         1 tsp sweet paprika      + salt to taste                                             1 tbsp butter, softened            1 Tbsp port wine   +   2 tsp lemon juice                                                                                                                      If using sausage, slit the casing and take out the meat and cut it into small pieces. Toss the casing. If you can find bulk chorico, skip that step. Put the meat in the food processor with the other ingredients and pulse until it is a rough paste. Taste for salt and add more if it needs it. Continue to blend until it is a smooth puree.

Enchiladas w: winter medley

ENCHILADA SAUCE   1 cup = 75 calories       Great in eggs or for enchiladas, of course.  From Rick Bayless, so you can’t go wrong.                                                                                                                                          two 28-oz cans whole tomatoes                                                                                                                          2 jalapeno peppers                                                                                                                                                    3 tsp vegetable oil [canola]                                                                                                                                   1 cup chopped onion                                                                                                                                                               2 cups chicken broth                                       Roast the peppers in a dry skillet over medium heat about 5 minutes until splotchy with black areas. Put in a blender with the tomatoes and whirr until smooth. Cook onions in oil until golden, about 7 minutes. Raise heat and add tomato puree. Cook 10-15 minutes until thickened like tomato paste. Add broth, cover partially and simmer 15 minutes until slightly soupy. Season with ½ tsp salt.

Haggis Spring Rolls

HAGGIS [lamb sausage meat] makes 3.5 cups                                                                                                per Tbsp: 23 calories  1.3 g fat  0.2 g fiber  2.8 g protein  1.6 g carbs  2.6 mg Calcium   This is not the ‘original’ recipe: lamb lung, stomach, and heart are not readily available in the US.  Despite what it is not, it will do just fine.  Use in eggs or to prepare Haggis Springrolls.                                  8 oz lamb liver                                                                                                                                                                     8 oz ground lamb meat OR lamb hearts                                                                                                           1 cup onion, chopped                                                                                                                                               1 tsp or more coriander [I used whole, which I boiled with the meat]                                                       1 tsp or more black pepper +  salt                                                                                                                                        7/8 cup rolled oats                                              Put the meat, onions, and coriander in a pot and cover with water. Boil 20 minutes. Drain [saving the liquid] and mince it all in the food processor. Return the mince to the pot, adding the oats, drained water, salt and pepper. Boil 10 minutes, adding more water if needed. If the sausage filling is too loose, turn heat down and simmer longer to firm it up. I let mine cool, then sit over night to test the consistancy. Adjust the seasonings to taste. The cooled mixture should hold its shape when turned out of a spoon. Cover and refrigerate until you need it. Freeze what you don’t use.

Mexican Pickled Veg

MEXICAN PICKLED VEGETABLES:  NB: keeps in the refrigerator for several weeks. The longer it sits, the spicier it gets.  Superb as a side dish;  a nibble;  an ingredient.                      2 cups cauliflower florets                                                                                                                                        1- ¼ cup carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4” thick on the diagonal                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ½ cup zucchini, sliced into 1/3” rounds                                                                                                             3 jalapeno peppers, sliced thinly                                                                                                                      ½ cup white vinegar   1 cup cider vinegar    +  1 cup water                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               3 Tbsp sugar  +  1 Tbsp kosher salt                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1.5 tsp dried oregano, Mexican if you can get it         +  1.5 bay leaves                                                                                                                                                                                                                               ¾ tsp peppercorns    +  ½ tsp coriander seeds       +     ½ tsp dried thyme                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ½ large onion, thinly sliced       +  3 cloves garlic, halved

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the cauliflower and carrot. When the water returns to a boil, boil the vegetables for 2 minutes. Drain the vegetables and refresh under cold water. Put the cooked vegetables in a large bowl with the zucchini and jalapenos and stir to combine. Put into a heat-proof one quart glass jar [ex: a Mason jar], and set aside on a cutting board. In a sauce pan, combine the vinegars, water, and all remaining seasonings. Bring to a boil, then simmer 5 minutes to blend flavors. Take off the heat and immediately pour over the vegetables in the jar. [I had a little left over, which I saved to pour in later] Let cool to room temperature, then put a lid on it and refrigerate until cold.

Fish salmon Roasted w: Vegetables

ROASTED VEGETABLES    Use in eggs or as a side dish even on Slow Days                                ½ slice American/streaky bacon                                                                                                                       2 oz carrots                                                                                                                                                                2 oz Brussel sprouts                                                                                                                                                2 oz cauliflower   OR broccoli                                                                                                                                                     3 oz cherry tomatoes                                                                                                                                           Set the oven to 450 F. Cook the bacon in a wide, heavy, oven-proof pan. [Cast iron is great] Remove the bacon, drain, and chop coarsley. Cut the vegetables to the size of the cherry tomatoes, except the Brussel sprouts which will be cut in half after the tougher outer leaves are removed. Put the vegetables in the pan and toss to coat with the bacon fat. Place the pan in the oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the heat down to 400 F. Stir the vegetables, then add the bacon, salt and pepper and whatever herbs or spices you wish: curry powder, garlic powder, hot pepper flakes.

Ingredients for next week:

Breakfast, single portion

1 two-oz egg1.5 two-oz eggs
brandade [St Bernard 19 August, 2018]zucchini
cottage cheese  +  granulated garlicmushrooms  + scallion
peach  +  blueberriesapples
optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

Dinner, single portion:

4 eggs  + lots of herbsvenison  +  fresh/frozen cranberries
zucchini  +  onion  + broccoliblend cream  +  chicken stock
cottage cheese + plain yogurtcauliflower   + carrot
Parmesan + tomatoes  + cucumberthyme  +  mushrooms  +  dried apple
Sparkling waterSparkling water


How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Monday, eat the meals that will be posted on Sunday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

Cooks discovered centuries ago that a good sauce makes the meal taste a lot better.  Today we will look at several sauces that can be part of a Fast meal: sometimes breakfast, sometimes dinner, sometimes either.                                                                                                                There were people who would have said that Jesse James was a ‘saucy’ lad: despite the fact that he and his gang actually robbed banks and killed people, the pro-Conferedate newspapers sometimes portrayed him as a cheeky Robin Hood. On Dec. 7, 1869, James and his brother Frank robbed a bank in Gallatin, MO, marking the official start to their lives of crime.  In books and even movies, Jesse James has been written into American mythology as a man who wanted to right the wrongs against the common people.  His sympathies lay with the defeated Southern States and he was in fact continuing the war by targeting banks owned by Republicans, those who were pro-Lincoln.  James might not have been the fun-loving saucy populist, but we can add some sauce to our meals as we reflect tomorrow on the strange career of an American legend.

CHICKPEA RAGOUT: Pair with meat, poultry, or seafood Halibut w: Chickpea Ragout                    4 cups                                  ½ tsp olive oil                                                                                                                                                         ½ cup diced onions                                                                                                                                              ½ cup scallions, chopped                                                                                                                                      1 Tbsp garlic                                                                        2 cups diced tomatoes, fresh or canned                                         1.5 cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed if canned                                                                                ½ cup chicken stock          +   ½ tsp salt    +      ½ tsp pepper                                    Heat the oil in a saute pan. Add the onion, scallion and garlic. Stir briefly over the heat then add the tomatoes, chickpeas, salt, and pepper. Cook over low heat until liquids are mostly evaporated.

HORSERADISH DRESSING: Great on Lamb or Beef Salad Seder Salad                                                             1 Tbsp mayonnaise made with olive oil                                                                                                                       1 and ½ tsp prepared horseradish   [the kind you purchase in a jar]                                                                            1 Tbsp buttermilk                                                                                                                                                       1 and ½ tsp lemon juice                                                                                                                               Whisk all ingredients together. 

MARINARA SAUCE:  From Gourmet magazine, this is a quick go-to sauce.Chicken Parmesan w: salad       3 cups                                                                                                                                1 Tbsp olive oil                                                                                                                                     2 large cloves garlic, whole                                                                                                                        pinch crushed red pepper                                                                                                           one 28-oz can whole tomatoes                                                                                                              1.25 tsp salt                                                                                                                                          basil                                                                                Heat the oil then add the garlic and crushed pepper.  Cook on high for about 5 minutes or until the garlic starts to brown.  Remove the garlic and carefully add the tomatoes, crushing them with your hands or a spoon.  Cook over low heat for 20 minutes and then add the salt and basil. Use now or freeze.

POPPY SEED DRESSING:  Delightful on Strawberry-Chicken Salad Strawberry-Chicken Salad                                                2 tsp red wine vinegar                                                                                                                                            1 Tbsp olive oil                                                                                                                                                     pinch salt                                                                                                                                                               ½ tsp dried mustard                                                                                                                                                 1 tsp poppy seeds                                                                                                                                               Whisk together vigorously.

PUTTANESCA SAUCE: With fish or meat or solo, this sauce is delicious.     4 cups Mackerel Puttanesca                                                  1 cup onion, chopped                                                                                                                            2 garlic cloves, chopped                                                                                                                   2 tsp olive oil                                                                                                                                   5 cups whole plum tomatoes                                                                                              1 cup mushrooms                                                                                                                              2 anchovies                                                                                                                                                 1 cup halved canned black olives  [If using oil-cured olives, cut the amount in half]               +            2 Tbsp capers                                                                          Cook the onions and garlic in the oil until tender but not brown.   Add everything else.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

SHEPHERDS’ SALAD DRESSING: Perfect for this salad Sicilian Shepherds' Saladand many others.                                                                   3 Tbsp olive oil                                                                        4” rosemary                                                                               6 sage leaves                                                                                                                                                                                 4 smashed cloves garlic                                               pinch  of hot pepper flakes.                                                                          ½ cup red wine vinegar                                                         Put oil and herbs in a sauce pan and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Add the garlic and peppers and stir for a few seconds. Add the vinegar and boil down the whole recipe to 1/3 cup. Strain and cool.

Ingredients for next week: breakfast, single portion

1 two-oz egg 1.5 two-oz eggs
 blueberries  Danish Bleu cheese
 raclette cheese  herring marinated in wine
 1/4 slice bread   apple
Whatever you need for your smoothie Whatever you need for your hot beverage
Whatever you need for your hot beverage Whatever you need for your smoothie

Dinner, single portion:

 Cabbage, onion, rutabaga or turnip  6 oz firm white fish +
 carrot, parsnip, dry green lentils  side salad + broccoli OR peas + beans
 pork loin, frozen spinach, dry mustard  Cheddar cheese
 fresh spinach, mace, dry mustard
 Sparkling water Sparkling water

Sidekicks I

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.  Read this for some more ideas about what to eat:

Lucy + Desi.  Tracy + Hepburn.  Romeo + Juliet. Some famous duos are linked forever in our memories. Today would have been the 79th wedding anniversary of my husband’s parents, so we will salute the foods that go with other foods: the side dishes which are great sidekicks.  Here’s to John & Helen!

Béchamel Sauce, no cheese: makes 2 cups.   The classic sauce for making a dish creamy.                                                                        ¼ cup = 63 calories  4.5 g fat   0.1 g fiber    1.6 g protein    4.4 g carbs    39 mg Calcium      1 Tbsp = 15 calories    1 g fat     o g fiber     0.4 g protein     1 g carbs         9.7 mg Calcium                                                                     1.5 cups chicken stock                                                                                                                                                 1  slice of carrot      +      1  slice of onion                                                                                                                3 Tbsp butter     +    3 Tbsp white whole wheat flour                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ½ cup skimmed milk      +     ½ cup half&half   [Blend Cream in Canada.  10% milk fat]   Cook the stock, carrot and onion for about 15 minutes until the liquid measures 1 cup. Strain stock to remove vegetables. In another saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour. Slowly add the stock and whisk at a gentle bubble for 5 minutes.  What you don’t use today, freeze in small portions.          


Béchamel Sauce with Cheese: makes 2 cups.  I use this in the Tuna Melt and in the fillings for crêpes.   Useful for Slow Day menus as well.                                                                                                                                                          1/4 cup = 90 calories   13 g fat   o g fiber  2.8 g protein   2.8 g protein   24 mg Calcium                    1 Tbsp =    22 calories    3 g fat  0 g fiber  0.7 g protein  0.7 g carbs   6 mg Calcium                                                                                                                         1.5 cups chicken stock                                                                                                                                                                                              1  slice of carrot      +      1  slice of onion                                                                                                                     3 Tbsp butter                                                                                                                                                                      3 Tbsp white whole wheat flour                                                                                                                                 ½ cup skimmed milk        +      ½ cup half&half   [Blend Cream in Canada.  10% milk fat]                                                                                                   1 wedge Laughing Cow cheese                                                                                                                                  

Cook the stock, carrot and onion for about 15 minutes until the liquid reduces to 1 cup. Strain stock to remove vegetables. In another saucepan, melt the butter and whisk in the flour.  Slowly add the stock and whisk at a gentle bubble for 5 minutes. Add the milk, half&half, and the cheese. Continue to whisk until thickened.  Freeze what you don’t use in small quantities.

Curry Bake

Curry Sauce:  makes 3 cups. Used with meat or seafood for a curry dinner or mixed with eggs for breakfast.                                                                                                                                                                                 1 cup onion, chopped                                                                                                                                                1 clove garlic, minced                                                                                                                                              1/2 cup celery, chopped                                                                                                                                            1 cup apple, peeled, and diced                                                                                                                                 1-2 Tablespoons curry powder                                                                                                                              3/4 tsp dry mustard                                                                                                                                                             1 bay leaf                                                                                                                                                                           3 cups chicken broth                                                                                                                                              1/2 cup water                                                                                                                                                      Spritz a sauce pan twice with cooking oil and add 2 Tbsp water. Saute the onion, garlic, celery, and apple until soft. Sprinkle the curry and mustard on top. Stir in the bay leaf, broth, and water. Let cook until it reduces to 3 cups. Remove the bay leaf. Cool and freeze in 1 cup portions:   3/4 cup for a dinner, 1/4 cup for breakfast use.

Ham & Cheese Crepes

Galettes/Crêpes 1 batch makes 16 crêpes, each using ¼ cup batter.  The recipe is from Susan Herrmann Loomis’ terrific book French Farmhouse CookbookUse for Fast dinners and breakfasts, too.  Use on Slow Days for inventive meals.                                                                                 each crêpe = 55 calories 0.8 g fat   0.9 fiber   2.4 g protein   10 g carbs  5.5 mg Calcium                       1 cup unbleached flour                                                                                                                                                ¾ cup buckwheat flour                                                                                                                                              1 ¾ cup water                                                                                                                                                            2 eggs                                                                                                                                                                          ½ tsp sea salt

 Stir the flours and the water until batter is smooth. Vigorously whisk in the eggs and salt.  When you lift the whisk, the batter should fall off in ‘ropes.’ Let sit for 2 hours or over night. HINT: batter could be divided into 1 cup or ½ cup portions and frozen. If using frozen batter, whisk it vigorously after it thaws. Heat a small cast-iron pan or ceramic saute pan. Lightly spritz with oil. Dip a ¼ cup measure into the batter and let the extra drain off. Grasp the handle of the cook pan with one hand as you slowly pour the batter into the center of the pan. Tilt the pan in a swirling pattern to let the batter form a circle roughly 6” in diameter. Don’t get hung up on perfectly round or perfectly flat. Watch the crepe cook and look to see when the edges start to dry and curl a bit. Using a heat-resistant but non-scratching tool [I use my fingers], lift the crêpe and turn it over. Cook the other side until done. Time will vary, depending on the heat of your pan. Lift the cooked crêpes out, put it aside, and cook the next one. HINT: if storing them for later today or tomorrow, let them cool on a tea towel, then stack and store in a plastic bag.

Hot Dog w: 4-bean salad

4-Bean Salad: One of the great American side dishes.      1 cup= 197 calories 7.6 g fat 6 g fiber 6.3 g protein 28 g carbs 59 mg Calcium                                   ¾ cup= 149 calories  5.7 g fat  4.5 g fiber  4.7 g protein  21 g carbs  45 mg Calcium                             ½ cup= 99 calories  3.8 g fat  3 g fiber  3 g protein  14 g carbs  29.5 mg Calcium                                    ¼ cup= 50 calories  2 g fat  1.5 g fiber  1.6 g protein   7 g carbs   14.7 mg Calcium                                                             2 cups green beans                                                                                                                                                  2 cups yellow[wax] beans                                                                                                                                     2 cups canned kidney beans                                                                                                                                      2 cups canned garbanzo beans                                                                                                                                    1 cup onions, chopped                                                                                                                                         1/3 cup cider vinegar                                                                                                                                                   1/2 cup sugar [could be reduced, but do not use a sugar substitute]                                                       1/4 cup olive oil [could be reduced if you wish]                                                                                        Cook the fresh beans until tender.   Drain and rinse the canned beans. Combine with the onions. Salt and pepper to taste. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar and olive oil. Toss with the vegetables and refrigerate 4+ hours. Keeps for days in the ‘fridge.