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Spa cuisine was the forerunner of low calorie, farm to table and low fat cooking in the 90’s. Nutrition became a hot topic using protein, carbohydrate and fat, within highly visually appealing plates. Over time, this cooking was incorporated into our daily eating and shopping ritual.. baby squash no problem, next to the carrots..field greens of course and grass fed beef- yes! Now this cuisine can be part of our meal program for weight loss with less fussy preparation.

Dietitians are constantly confronted with the losing weight enigma.  Dietitians  used to coach individuals with the 3500 kcal rule, or eliminating 500 kcals a day for one week will make you loose one lb a week.

Now new research s debunking the rule. One may lose that 52 lbs in a year if there is a determination and a patience factor to back it up. However there comes a set point where one does not lose that much anymore and that is where that rule becomes  ineffective. In the Physiology of Behavior, 2014, 60-65 CC Chow and Hall KD stated that taking active control of food consumption, may be required to limit the long term increase in energy intake (overeating) even if it means omitting  100 kcals a day and it takes 2 years. The body will eventually move it’s set point up to lose the weight and maintain weight. Meaning smaller amounts of calories eliminated over time makes for a more permanent weight loss. 

Incorporating protein, fat and carbohydrate in a low calorie plan may be the answer. So here is where spa cuisine comes in.

I found a recipe in the NYT April 21, 1993 for Scallop Pancakes with Spinach and Chives , a great dinner with a cup of noodles if you prefer.  I streamlined the recipe due to our more device oriented and busier lives than were in the 1990’s.

 I substituted and made optional, Shitake mushrooms for enoki mushrooms which maybe hard to obtain. Also, a quick saute of vegetables  and no blanching saved time. Scallops are a great low kcal seafood at 46 calories per scallop, with vegetables (non starchy carb) and buckwheat noodles. Enjoy.


  • 1 lb or 8-10 large scallops  

  • 2 cups of spinach

  • 3 scallions root removed and 1/2 of green tops removed

  • 1 shallot

  • 1/2  cup sugar snap peas

  • 3 tablespoons rice flour

  • 1 /2 cup  sliced Shitake or Brown Mushrooms (optional)

  •  1 tablespoon of chopped chives

  • 1 egg white


  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger or 1/4 teaspoon dried ginger

  • 1-2 teaspoons soy sauce

  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar

  • 1 tablespoon chopped coriander

  • juice of 1  lemon

  • olive oil

  • 1/2 lb dried Buckwheat Noodles  cooked

Saute sliced scallions in a  pan with oil for 5 minutes until golden and soft. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until  soft and add the spinach and snap peas.  Saute for an additional 3 minutes until spinach is totally wilted.  Set aside and keep warm Coarsely chop the fresh scallops and add the rice flour, chives, egg white and shallot. Mix together and shape into 8 patties.

Cook buckwheat noodles according to directions, drain and set aside.

Lightly saute the scallop cakes, on both sides of a non stick pan until lightly golden.

Mix soy sauce, rice vinegar, lemon juice, ginger, honey and heat in a small saucepan until warm. Divide warm vegetables among 4 plates.  Add 2 scallop fritters with some sauce, chopped coriander and cooked noodles (optional).


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