Slow Day: Eastern Mediterranean Sampler

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

The meal at Troy

When we visit Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada, we enjoy dining at Troy. We usually order the Sampler Platter, along with local beer and cidre. Since dining there is not an option during these Covid Times, I decided to try my hand at preparing such a meal. Happily, the elements were at hand — in the freezer or in the ‘fridge or made from fresh ingredients.

From the left, going clockwise around the platter: Lamb Gozleme; turkey breast; beet hummus**; oil-cured olives; tomatoes; feta + green olives; red pepper spread; dried figs. The flat bread in the middle is the same as in the Gozleme, but un-stuffed and griddle fried. A delightful meal for two, served with memories of visits to the orchards and vineyards of the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia.

**HUMMUS: 1 Tbsp = 27 calories 1.3 g fat 0.6 g fiber 0.7 g protein 3 g carbs 0.7 mg Calcium   PB GF  makes 2 cups Recipe from Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen . 1 can chickpeas, drained + rinsed 4 cloves garlic 1-½ tsp salt 4 tsp lemon juice 5 T tahini pepper + cayenne ¼ c chopped scallions

Put everything in the food processor and whizz until smooth. Taste for seasonings. Freezes well. Variation: Add a few slices of cooked beet to obtain an amazing pink color.

Slow Days: Summer Desserts

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 to how we eat, some examples follow.

In the Summer, we want our desserts to be light and cooling. Hot pie is out, ice cream is in. I remember when fruited Jello was acceptable. And then chiffon pie was in vogue. Ugh. Both highly processed. A waste of calories, in my opinion. Fruit is always the answer: fresh, real, delicious, versatile, good for you. I don’t usually give nutritional information on a Slow Day Post, because with the Fast Diet you need ‘diet’ only 2 days each week. But these desserts are SO good that the calorie counts prove that one can eat well without going hog wild on calories. Hope you like these!

‘Blue Strawberries’: In Portsmouth, NH, in the 70s/80s, James Haller and friends ran the Blue Strawbery Restaurant. They served a prix-fixe menu with only one dessert: their signature strawberries. Awfully simple to prepare and a delight to eat.

This plate will serve two diners.

5 oz medium-sized strawberries 2 Tbsp low fat French Vanilla yogurt 2 Tbsp brown sugar

On individual serving plate, place the strawberries, spoon out the yogurt in a separate spot, and place the sugar in its own space. Grasp a strawberry by the stem, dip into the yogurt, dip into the sugar. Eat. Repeat

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries: each: 34 calories 2 g fat 1 g fiber 0.5 g protein 3.6 g carbs 13 mg Calcium PB GF These are so easy to make that I can’t imagine buying a kit at the supermarket. Is this ‘gilding the lily’? Yes! And they are SO good. 

6 fresh strawberries [½-3/4 oz each] with leaves and stems attached 3 oz dark [60-70%] or bitter-sweet chocolate [chocolate chips/bar chocolate/melting wafers] — you will end up using less than 1 oz and will have some left over

Put the chocolate in a wide-mouthed jar or glass bowl and place it in a small pan. Add water to the pan to about half-way up the vessel with the chololate. Gently heat the water so that the chocolate melts. Do not let the heating water bubble, lest water drops end up in the chocolate. Stir the chocolate to make sure it is all melted. Put the berries on a piece of waxed paper [or a silicon mat] on a small tray that will fit in the ‘fridge. The berries must be perfectly dry – no water drops, lest the chocolate ‘seize up.’ Pick up a berry by the leaves/stem and dip into the chocolate until it is coated about 2/3 of the way up. You may have to roll it a bit to coat it. As you remove it from dipping, wipe it gently against the side of the vessel, as you would wipe excess paint from a paintbrush. Lay the coated berry on the waxed paper and continue with the other berries. Put the berries in the ‘fridge to harden and cool. Cool any excess chololate and keep in the ‘fridge for any future use.

S’More: 145 calories 4.7 g fat 0.5 g fiber 2 g protein 24.5 g carbs 22.5 mg Calcium The Girl Scouts of America tell their members that this campfire treat was invented by them. No summer is complete without the gooey-chocolatey goodness of the s’more. The name is a contraction of “I want some more.” I must say I was surprised at the low calorie count.

These are the fixings for THREE s’mores.

1 graham cracker, broken in half cross-wise along the perforations 1 marshmallow – regular size, neither mini nor monstrous 3 sections of one standard Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar

On one of the halves of the cracker, place the chocolate. Cook the marshmallow the way you like it. Put the marshmallow on the chocolate, top with the other piece of cracker. Push down on the top to squish the marshmallow so it oozes out the sides a little. Eat immediately.

Watermelon Sherbet:  54 calories 2 g fat 1 g fiber 1 g protein 9 g carbs 42 mg Calcium   PG GF   Such a delight for a hot Summer night! Goes together very quickly at dessert time. Serve with a simple cookie, such as chocolate biscotti. HINT: One serving = 3/4 of a cup. This is really good!

3 cups watermelon1-½ cup melon Freeze the watermelon cubes in a single layer on a piece parchment paper or foil for at least 3-4 hours.
¾ cup frz melon ½ cup plain yogurt OR lite canned coconut milk/ sweetened condensed milk/ Vanilla yogurt1/3 cup frz melon ¼ cup plain yogurtWhen ready to make, add half the watermelon to the food processor and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides and add the yogurt/ coconut milk/ condensed milk. 
¾ cup frz melon 3 Tbsp mini choc chips1/3 cup frz melon 1.5 Tbsp mini chipsAdd the remaining watermelon and the mini chips. Blend until smooth and creamy.
Eat immediately or freeze for 2-3 hours for a firmer texture. If frozen longer, leave it out for 30 minutes before eating so it can soften up and become creamy.

Slow Days: Lammas Bread

People who are new to Fasting often pose the questions: “Can I really eat ‘anything I want’ on a Slow Day?” and “What should I eat on Slow Days?” To answer those questions, I have decided to add some blog posts to show some of the foods we eat on what the world calls NFDs [non-fast days] but which, in our house, we call ‘Slow Days.’ This feature will appear sporadically. 

Now for the answers. Can you really eat ANYTHING you want on a Slow Day? Not really. If you eat too many calories every Slow Day, you will not lose weight. There are many questions asked on the FastDiet Forum which attest to that. Once in a while you can splurge, as long as it isn’t everyday. For what to eat on Slow Days, Dr. Mosley recommends a Mediterranean Diet. As for how we eat, an example follows.

One of the most popular topics on which I have blogged is that of Lammas. Maybe it is a love of all things Celtic. Maybe it is a yearning for simpler times. Maybe it is a renewal of interest in growing and producing one’s own food. The festival was called Lughnasagh in Ireland; Lunastain, in Scotland; and became Lammas [Loaf Mass] after the missionaries Christianized it. As a harvest festival, it was observed on the mid-Summer cross-quarter day around August 2 — usually August 1, 2,3. At that time the cereal crops* [wheat, rye, barley, oats] were being harvested. Flour was quickly ground from the grain, baked into loaves to be savored by the entire farm family while giving thanks for a successful harvest and offering prayers for future crops. Bread, therefore, is the recipe of the day. *Note: in the UK, cereal crops are all called ‘corn.’ This is confusing to Americans, to whom ‘corn’ is Zea mays for eating on the cob or for popping. When you follow the links, keep that in mind.

Here is a non-yeasted recipe, making something like a biscuit. This is probably the “real” bread for Lammas, since it is prepared quickly. Buttermilk Bread Charm for Lammas goddessandgreenman.co.uk

3 mugs strong white flour 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp bicarbonate of sodaPlace the flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Sieve in the blended salt and soda
500 ml of Buttermilk Pour in the buttermilk. Mix well with a wooden spoon or your hand until the dough feels springy.
Sprouted seeds – these represent regenerationMix in the sprouted seeds. If it feels too sloppy, just add a little more flour.
Turn it onto a board and cover with a fine dusting of flour. Pat it with your hands until you have a round shape. Take a sharp knife and score lightly into eight sections, one for each festival. Take time to focus on the bread you have created. Turn the loaf three times saying “From the fields and through the stones, into fire, Lammas Bread, as the Wheel turns may all be fed. Goddess Bless.”
Place on a greased baking tray and pop it into a moderate oven for 20-25 minutes. Keep an eye on it. When the bread is ready, it will change colour and will sound hollow when you tap the bottom.
Cool completely on a wire rack. When it is cool, tie it with Lammas ribbon in your choice of colour – gold, orange, yellow

Sour Dough Fruited Summer Bread: The one I’ll make this year is based on a sourdough, in keeping with all of those who are attempting that during the current lock-down. This bread is easy to make. [Original recipe from Paul Hollywood] With the addition of Summer fruits and whole wheat, it seems fit for a festival.

All the ingredients, ready to mix.
64 g bread flour 64 g white whole wheat flour 125 g active sourdough starter 3.8 g salt 65-88 ml H20 + 2 tsp honeyCombine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the honey to the water. Pour it in a little bit at a time and mix with your hands to make a soft dough. You may not need all the water. If you have extra water, add it to the next step.
½ cup chopped dried apricots ½ cup dried cherriesPut the fruits in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes, then drain, reserving the water. Add to the dough.
Coat work surface w/ olive oil + knead the fruit into the dough on the oiled surface for 10-15 mins or until the dough is smooth + elastic and the fruit is well-incorporated.
Put in lightly-oiled bowl + cover w/ film. Rise in warm place 5 hr or overnight in a cool place
Knead dough until smooth, knocking the air out. Shape into an oval. Let rise on a well-floured towel [a couche], up-side down, in a loaf pan for 4-8 hrs or overnight in a cool place.
Bread is rising on a floured towel in a small loaf pan to help it to keep its shape.
Reserved soaking water 2 tsp honeyPut in a small pan and simmer while adding the honey. Cook down until it is syrup-y, not runny.
Put a tray of water on the bottom of the oven. Preheat to 425F Gently tip the risen dough onto parchment paper on a baking tray. With a lame or sharp knife, score the top of the bread: down the center, then 3 on each side at an angle – sort of like a fern or the veins on a leaf. When you open the oven, add more water to the tray at the bottom of the oven to produce steam. Bake 30 mins at 425. Brush loaf with fruit syrup, then reduce oven to 400 F and bake 15 mins more.
The very dark syrup made the crust a rich mahogany color. Serve with comb honey.

Slow Days: Hake with Green Sauce

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.

In April, disappointed that our trip to France was canceled, we decided that if we couldn’t be in Gascony, we could eat as if we were in Gascony. After scouring our cookbooks, we chose recipes for dinner, and sometime breakfast, that would be typical of where we would have been on a particular date. Thus we “dined out” in the restaurants of our imaginations. One of the earliest meals was named Hake in Green Sauce. There is no sauce. “Green Sauce” is a centuries-old term for vegetables served on or with the protein of the meal. In Spanish, the term is ‘salsa verde,’ which we today think of as a mild-hot condiment in a jar. The recipe, called “Merluza, Salsa Verde,” is found in Anne Willan’s French Regional Cooking.

The ingredients you see pictured are enough for two people.

Hake, new potatoes [our’s were multi-colored], garlic, oil, crushed red pepper, peas and asparagus comprise the ingredients. The potatoes are simmered in boiling water for 15 minutes, then drained. The peas are cooked until just tender, then shocked in cold water and drained. Same for the asparagus. The hake is seasoned, then dredged lightly in flour. Brown the hake in an oil-coated pan until lightly brown on both sides, but not cooked through. Arrange the dish in an oven-safe dish [I used the tart pan you see in the above photo] and sprinkle with the hot pepper flakes and chopped garlic. Put the potatoes around the edges of the fish, then put the vegetables on top. Sprinkle with parsley, salt, and pepper. Pour 1/4 cup water into the dish, cover it, and bake at 375F/190C for 15-20 minutes, when the fish will be tender.

This is really good — I ate the whole thing!

Slow Days: Sourdough 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 your 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.

It is almost a joke now that during the Pandemic Lock-Down, people vowed that they would use the time to perfect the art of baking: specifically sourdough bread. It seemed to be the culinary equivalent of reading War and Peace — something to get around to when you had time. Early on, bread flour and yeast were GONE from supermarket shelves. New England’s flour-of-choice, King Arthur brand from Vermont, was not even available on-line. For those who have sourdough starter [don’t be a wimp — start your own starter!], be aware that there are many things to do with it, besides making bread. Recently, we made Sourdough Pancakes [click link for recipe] for Sunday Breakfast. A real treat and easy to do.

HINT: For two people, I cut the recipe in half. The night before, I combine the flours with the sugar, oil, buttermilk [substitute = soured milk], salt, and starter. This is left on the counter overnight to ripen.

The next morning, the batter is stirred. An egg and the baking soda are added in. The mixture needs to sit a few minutes while you heat the griddle, set the table, and make the coffee. By now the batter is foaming in the bowl.

This recipe resulted in 14 pancakes: enough for today’s breakfast, another meal later, and 2 for a snack with peanut butter and jelly.

Lightly butter the griddle and use a 1/4 cup measure to pour 3-4 Tablespoons of batter on the hot surface. Continue until there is no more space on the pan. When the top of each pancake starts to develop ‘eyes’ [little holes], it is time to flip them to the other side.

Served with maple syrup [our own, I’m happy to say] and sausages — what a treat! The breakfast is completed by the berry-yogurt smoothie and mocha cafe au lait which we enjoy every morning. Great start to a great day. A lot easier than making bread.

Slow Days: Bruschetta

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 your 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.

“Bruschetta” … what does that word mean to you? And how do you pronounce it? The cookbook Diary of a Tuscan Chef gave us a recipe for this concoction, which we ate happily for years — a tomato relish on bread. And we called it ‘bruce-SHET-ta.’ Had we turned the cookbook page, we would have had the real story. When olives are being pressed into oil, [a late-Fall, cool-weather activity] one of the workers will toast bread over a fire, rub it with garlic, and drizzle the new oil over it so everyone can have a snack and a taste of the crop. THAT is bruschetta!

Bread, garlic, and olive oil = bruschetta

Of course, as the idea of ‘putting some food on toast’ moved around the world, something was lost in translation, including the pronunciation. When on tour in Italy, I asked the guide, a Roman, how to pronounce this culinary creation. Chuckling, he said that Americans always ask that and for the longest time he had no idea what they meant by ‘bruce-shet-ta.’ The correct way to say it? ‘bruce-KAY-ta’ The aforementioned Tuscan Chef Cesare Casella writes: “Americans seem to think bruschetta is chopped tomatoes, garlic, basil, and olive oil on toast. I don’t know why. For us that is crostini con pomodoro.” He concludes that there seems to be an “American craving for cubed tomatoes.”

On the right you see Cesare Casella’s ‘tomato relish’ on the bread.

When Older Son began baking, he sent us a recipe for his ‘no-knead focaccia’, which is great but makes more bread than Dear Husband and I can eat in a week. So Older Son prompted us to eat it as Bruschetta. I protested that there would be very little protein in that: just bread and tomato relish. Being wise, our son suggested additional toppings: herbed ricotta cheese, slices of chicken or turkey breast. Anchovies would be good.

So here is the evolution of a meal that is perfect in Summer or any warm evening. Perhaps we should call it ‘Crostini’ but we don’t. We’re Americans, you see.

Slow Days: Lobster Rolls

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.

If times were normal, we might be at our vacation cottage right about now. Not to stay for a long time, but to see the place in late Spring, before the tourists descend. We used to go there during my school’s April Break: to open the cottage, move up some furniture, visit with local friends, and see what the Winter storms did to the beach. If we stayed into early May, then the ocean would be dotted with colorful buoys and small fishing boats — in other words: Lobster Season. Prince Edward Island has two very limited seasons, one for each of two different parts of the island. In full Summer, when we usually arrive, lobsters are still available. When Summer guests appear at out cottage, we treat them to a lobster feast. Afterward, the cephalo-thoraces [the front-middle part that everyone else throws away] are picked clean of the meat located in the ‘shoulder joints’: enough to make lobster rolls!! [Four thoraces produce enough meat for this meal of three rolls.]

1-1/2 cups of lobster meat, chopped celery and red onion, chiffonade of lettuce or spinach, mayonnaise, and celery seed make the filling. The rolls are ‘New England’ style hot-dog buns. That means they are sliced across the top, not along the side. Being New Englanders, we prefer those.

The buns are lightly toasted with butter on a griddle and served with fresh tomatoes or a light salad. If you want to know about the wine — we always serve ‘The Hermit Crab’ or a Viognier with lobster rolls — go to Dear Husband’s blog peterspicksblog.com.

Whodunit? Who Ate It? Chapter 2

Dear Husband and I love to read ‘whodunits.’ Crime literature in English harks back to Edgar Allen Poe’s Murders on Rue Morgue in 1841. As the genre took off, a sub-genre developed: culinary crime. These books are read as much for the procedural as for the vicarious thrills of the meals that are described along the way. There are many authors who tantalize our tastebuds while they challenge our little grey cells and today, I will feature foods from two favorites.

MISS JANE MARPLE, the elderly amateur sleuth, was the creation of Agatha Christie. Throughout 19 books, she solved murders in her town of St Mary Mead [and other locales] using her intuition and her knowledge of human nature, all the while knitting up a storm and convincing others that she is a frail, harmless old lady. In the novel At Bertram’s Hotel, Jane Marple was delighted to have been served perfectly poached eggs on toast. She preferred them to be poached in boiling water rather than cooked in little cups.

Poached Egg on Toast:  156 calories 5.6 g fat 2.4 g fiber 10.5 g protein 14.6 g carbs [10 g Complex] 52.6 mg Calcium   NB: The food values given above are for the egg bake and fruit only, not the optional beverages.  PB GF — if using GF bread  I never used to like poached eggs, but on a Fast Day, they taste good. Miss Marple would not be pleased with these.

one slice of 70-cal bread one 2-oz egg 1 oz of apple or 1.5 oz melon Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie [88 calories]

If using an egg poacher, lightly spray the egg cup and heat the water to a simmer. Toast the bread. Poach the egg for 3-4 minutes, according to your taste. Slide the egg onto the toast; season to taste; enjoy with your hot beverage, and the fruit smoothie. 

JULES MAIGRET, a police detective in Paris, was the creation of Georges Simenon. Maigret and his wife Louise loved good food, whether at home or at restaurants. In the 1952 Maigret’s Revolver, the detective is dining at the grill of London’s Savoy Hotel and he orders Lobster a l’Americaine. Note the spelling: it is a topic of debate among those who study recipes. See alternative below.

Lobster a l’Armoricaine: 282 calories 3 g fat 2.5 g fiber 21.5 g protein 12.2 g carbs 142 mg Calcium  PB GF No, it isn’t a typo. This lobster dish is from the Armor coast of Brittany, therefore: Armoricain, “from the Armor.” The recipe is from Brittany Gastronomique by Kate Whiteman. Elegant yet simple.

3 oz lobster, cooked or uncooked 2 Tbsp shallot, minced + ½ clove garlic 1 oz cognac or other brandy 2 oz dry white wine [not cooking wine] ½ cup tomato, diced + 1 tsp tomato puree [not paste] 1 Tbsp half & half [10% milk fat, called ‘blend cream’ in Canada] 1 Tbsp Gruyere cheese, grated 1 oz broccoli florets + 1 oz carrots, in coins or batons

Remove lobster meat from shell and cut into 1” pieces. Put the shallot and garlic in a pan spritzed with oil. Saute over low heat until soft. Add the lobster meat, and cognac. Tip the pan to distribute the brandy, then flame the contents off the heat until the flames die. Put into a heat-proof dish and keep barely warm. Add the wine, tomatoes, and puree to the pan and cook until syrupy. Add the cream and heat slowly to reduce in volume a bit. Do not let if boil lest the sauce separate. Meanwhile, cook the vegetables. Pour the sauce over the lobster and top with grated cheese. Heat under the broiler or in an oven until bubbly. Plate with the vegetables.

Ingredients for next week: Breakfast, single portion for Monday ……… single portion for Thursday:

Next week, I will discuss ‘curry’1.5 two-oz eggs 
hummus
Choose a new favorite fromstrawberries
the Archives Mediterranean Vegetables
Optional smoothieoptional smoothie
optional hot beverageoptional hot beverage

Dinner, single portion for Monday: …….. single portion for Thursday:

Next week, I will discuss ‘curry’olive oil + onion + garlic + celery
bell pepper + spinach + egg
Find a new favoriteeggplant + tomato + cumin
in the Archivepaprika + oregano + feta cheese
Sparkling waterSparkling water

Albrecht Durer

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. Welcome to MJ who is now Following.

Albrecht Durer was one of the foremost artists of the Northern Renaissance school of art. The Germans were late to the game in terms of the Renaissance, but they gave it a spin all their own. Durer painted in great detail, using a light that seems to show everything, yet with shadows to produce contrast. Durer was an artist, not just a craftsman. He had the humanist’s idea that each person is important and that he had something to contribute. As a painter, he was sought after by kings. As a print-maker, his art was distributed to the masses. Some of his work is well-known, such as Praying Hands and the Four Horsemen, but so widely recognized that we have forgotten the artist’s name. One work of his that made an impression on me in art class was a sketch of a middle-aged female nude — probably of his wife Agnes. She struck me as plump and lumpy, and I promised myself I would never have that body, not even in middle age. This is one reason that I am a Faster. Thanks, Durer.

A frequent theme in Durer’s art was the depiction of Adam and Eve, usually with an apple. So we will enjoy apples in our egg for breakfast. One of the most charming of Durer’s works is The Young Hare. We will stretch taxonomy a little and feature rabbit for dinner.

Apple-Bacon Bake: 131 calories 6.2 g fat 1.6 g fiber 9 g protein 8 g carbs [7.3 g Complex] 72.8 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the egg bake and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.  PB GF  Apples and bacon go so well together it is a wonder they aren’t paired more often.

1 two-oz egg ¾ oz apple, peeled, cored, sliced thinly 1/8 oz bacon, diced ½ Tbsp ricotta cheese, drained if too liquid 1 tsp Parmesan cheese ¼ tsp prepared mustard sage ½ oz pear   Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Spritz a ramekin with cooking spray. Set the toaster oven at 350 degrees F. In a saute pan, cook the bacon until done. Drain away the fat and blot in paper towel. In the same pan, saute the apple until softened. Put apple and bacon in the ramekin. Whisk the egg, ricotta, Parmesan, mustard, and sage together and pour into the ramekin. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Prepare the beverages and the pear. How pleasant.

Rabbit Pie: 275 calories 6.6 g fat 4.6 g fiber 25.6 g protein 27.5 g carbs [15 g Complex] 77 mg Calcium   PB  Rabbit is a common meat in recipes the world over. It is high in protein and low in fat. And yes, it does taste like chicken. You could substitute.

2 oz mushrooms, chopped 4 fluid oz chicken stock 2 tsp potato starch 0.55 oz [1 slice] ham from the deli, chopped 3 oz rabbit meat cut in bite-sized pieces ¼ cup onions, chopped big pinch dried thyme + big pinch savory + salt + pepper ½ Arnold Multi-Grain Sandwich Thin OR a 4” circle cut from whole-grain bread 1.5 oz carrots

If the rabbit is uncooked: Cut it into bite-sized pieces and quickly cook in a saute pan which has been spritzed with non-stick spray. Add a few tablespoons of water to the pan, too. Remove the meat. Pour off and reserve any remaining cooking liquid. Chop the mushrooms and cook in non-stick spray, but do not evaporate all of the liquid they give off. Remove the mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Add the onions and the stock to the pan along with the mushroom juices and ¼ cup water plus water from the rabbit. Simmer to cook the onions. Whisk in the potato starch and the seasonings. Continue to whisk over heat until the potato starch is dissolved. Cook at a simmer until the liquid measures ¼ cup and is thickened. Add the rabbit meat, ham, and the mushrooms. Simmer for a few minutes and taste for seasonings. Pour and scrape into an oven-proof dish. Top with the Sandwich Thin. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes. Cook the carrots separately. Plate the meal by first putting the Sandwich Thin on the plate, then covering it with the rabbit-mushroom mixture. Pour any extra liquid so that it is soaked up by the bread. Plate the carrots to complete the meal.

Slow Days: Breadcrumb 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 your 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 years we searched for the right foods to eat during Lent. We wanted foods that were connected to the meaning of the season; foods that were good to eat yet not so fancy that we seemed to be ‘living it up’; foods that had a nod to the traditional austerity typical of the 6-week period of religious contemplation. One of the thorny decisions concerned Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, which is a solemn day after the giddiness of Carnival before it. At last we decided: a breadcrumb pasta from the Puglia Region of Italy. The idea of dressing your noodles with a sauce of breadcrumbs struck just the right note of culinary penance. No meat, no butter: this is the perfect choice to begin Lent.

The ingredients are very simple: 3 oz pasta, 1/3 cup crumbs from day-old bread [we use whole grain for flavor and fiber], 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp sliced garlic, oregano, salt, 6 olives, 1 oz spinach leaves, grated pecorino cheese.

These ingredients are enough for two servings.

You will need a mise-en-place, this cools so quickly! Once you have prepared your mise-en-place, start cooking the pasta. Cook the pasta for about 4 minutes, then turn off the heat with the pasta still in the water. Stack the spinach leaves and cut them cross-wise [chiffonade]. Pit the olives and cut each into four pieces. Heat a cast iron skillet at medium heat and pour in the oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and briefly cook it until pale yet fragrant. Add the crumbs and stir into the oil. Add the oregano and take off the heat. Stir. Turn down the heat, then put the pan back on it. Cook, stirring until the crumbs are crispy. Take off heat again and stir in the olives. By now the pasta is ready. Using a slotted spoon, remove it from the water and put it in the pan with the crumbs. The trick is to incorporate a little of the noodle-water into the dish. Stir to mix. Add two pinches of salt and the sliced spinach. Toss it all together, then add the grated cheese. Plate. This took such a short amount of time that I barely called out a pre-dinner alert, than it was time to plate up.

Such an unusual combination of flavors and textures!

This is not a meal for a low-carb menu. But then, this is a Slow Day, so we don’t need to count calories. We eat this one time each year and we enjoy it.