The End of Week Thirty-Seven

We are ounces away from a fifty-pound weight loss! Un-Flippin’-Believable! Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself 50 pounds lighter. Okay – not entirely true. Only in my wildest dreams did I see it. I never really thought it would – or could – be a reality.

And it’s within reach!

It has not been easy – yet, it’s getting easier – even as the workouts get more difficult. It’s all still learning.

More than anything, I need to really work on my breathing. We were walking back and forth across the gym doing lunges while simultaneously lifting dumbbells straight out – think of a kneeling bird stretching its wings and lowering them over-and-over – and I just could not catch my breath. It was pure torture. Our trainer kept telling me to breathe and I kept thinking I’m going to die and my suits are all to big for me. I suppose I could be buried in a tshirt and jeans – I don’t even have shorts that fit, right now…

One does need to plan these things…

And… one needs to commit. None of this would have happened if we hadn’t committed to doing it – and actually doing the long-term work instead of trying for a quick fix. It is a lifestyle change, and as much as I miss those nightly ooey-gooey desserts, I’m loving fresh fruit – and really can’t wait for stone-fruits to come into season!

It is a trade-off – and one that we’re happily making.

It’s time for a celebratory steak!

Once upon a time, I’d be grilling two of these huge ol’ things. Today, it’s one – split between us. Still more than enough food – and I often marvel at how much we have cut back while still eating a lot.

The concept for the steak came from the NY Times. It’s a grilled strip steak stuffed with a medium-hot chunky pepper sauce. I didn’t have the peppers in the recipe, but I did have a couple of bell peppers and some of our smokin’ hot roasted peppers from our garden.

Pepper-Stuffed Steak

  • 2 bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and chopped
  • 2 roasted hot peppers, chopped (more or less, to taste)
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 pinch oregano
  • 2 (10-ounce) top sirloin or New York strip steaks, 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, with excess fat cut away
  • garlic powder, salt, and pepper, for steak

In small saucepan, add oil and flour to make a roux. Add the beef stock, garlic, and oregano and cook until thickened. Stir in the chopped peppers. Set aside to cool.

Cut a pocket in the steak making sure not to cut through. Rub with a bit of oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Spoon about half of pepper mixture into steaks and secure with toothpick. Reserve remaining for topping.

Grill to desired doneness.

Heat reserved pepper sauce and spoon over steaks.

The potatoes were a concoction I got from the BBC food section. It’s a fun site – and anyone can access! I peruse a lot of the BBC/British food sites and am getting quite adept at metric conversions and British terminology. Like delving into La Cucina Italiana – in Italian – it’s a great way to connect with different cultures. And if you think our politics are screwed up, try following Brexit in the British papers!

Mary’s recipe calls for parmesan. I used a great Piave. It was perfection! I also made like a third of this recipe but still used a lot of cheese.

Mary Berry’s Fennel and Potato Gratin

Ingredients

  • 50g/1¾oz butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 3 large bulbs fennel
  • 3 onions
  • 600g/1lb 6oz large potatoes, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50g/1¾oz parmesan cheese, grated (or vegetarian equivalent)

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/ (180 fan). Butter the serving dish.

Trim the tops from the fennel and cut each bulb in half through the root, then cut each half lengthways into three wedges. Cut the onions into six wedges too in a similar way.

Cut the potatoes into wedges the same size as the fennel wedges.

Boil the fennel and onions in a large pan of salted water for about five minutes, then add the potatoes and boil for a further five minutes, or until the potatoes and fennel are just tender. Drain well.

Put the 50g/1¾oz butter and the garlic in the same large pan set over a low heat until just melted. Return the potatoes and fennel to the butter, toss until coated then tip into the ovenproof dish. Sprinkle with the parmesan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until piping hot.

On to week thirty-eight!