For the new year, I have started cooking my way through a new cookbook called, “Eating Well After Weight Loss Surgery” (Levine, Patt, and Michele Bontempo-Saray. New York: Marlowe, 2004.) I have had this book for at least 6 years, but haven’t done much with it other than scan through the recipes. It’s a paperback, and the spine had never been cracked until I started cooking dinner tonight, LOL.
The recipes in the book are designed for folks who have had weight loss surgery, such as Lap Band placement, gastric bypass, and the like. Each recipe has serving information for Lap Band, Bypass, and one other type of surgery I never heard of, and are designed to be tasty whether they’re pureed for weeks 1-3 post surgery, or eaten whole later on in the process.
The recipes are all designed to be low-fat and sugar free, but if you know me at all, you know I don’t DO fake food. Artificial sweeteners, egg substitutes, any form of artificial fat (margarine), reduced-fat or fat-free stuff like sour cream or skim milk – they’re all represented in this cookbook, and I refuse to use them for several reasons: (1) Artificial sweeteners are gross. I have yet to find one of any kind, even the so-called “natural” ones, like Stevia and Splenda, that doesn’t have a disgusting aftertaste. (2) IMO, they’re not good for your health. Here’s just one of many articles about that. (3) When “they” take something out of a food (think reduced fat sour cream), they replace it with something else, which can add carbs and other crap you don’t need. (Carboxymethylcellulose, anyone?) Bleh. (4) Fat free cheese does not melt. So just know, where a recipe calls for something fake, I used the real thing.
For my ‘maiden voyage’, so to speak, I decided on a beef main, “Soy Mustard Glazed Beef”, and “Cauliflower, Mushroom, and Cheddar Casserole” for the side dish. Since the casserole had to cook longest, I started it first.
Ok, this recipe is so easy my cat could make it, if she had thumbs. Steam the cauliflower, mix it in a bowl with the cheese, mushrooms, and two cloves of mashed roasted garlic (the recipe called for FIVE. Just, no. Rather than heat the oven to roast a couple cloves, I put them in the steamer with the cauliflower.) Spray a casserole dish with olive oil, pour the mixture in, then top with two tablespoons of the seeds and a spritz of olive oil. Throw it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, and boom!, it comes out looking like this:
Note: The original recipe calls for crushed soy nuts as a topping. I used the watermelon and pumpkin seed combo because (a) that’s what I had, and (b) soy products have phytoestrogens, which I try to avoid. When I make this again, I’ll either leave out the seeds, or switch to something else, because the watermelon seeds are more chewy than crunchy in a cooked application.
When the casserole came out, it was time for the beef to go in. The original recipe called for top round steak, which is a low-fat cut of beef. Unfortunately, I think if one used round steak for this, one would have a chunk of shoe leather after the broiling was done, so I opted for a Denver cut, which has a LITTLE more marbling. It turned out not to be super tender, either, but it had good flavor.
Ok, so all the stuff in this picture goes in the mini-food processor to get whizzed into what the authors call a “glaze”. Where you see a “*”, I deviated from the recipe, as follows: Subbed for Dijon mustard, FIVE cloves of garlic, and what appears in the picture is fresh rosemary and thyme – the recipe calls for dried.
Take 2T of the glaze and mix it in a bowl with 1/2c low-fat sour cream, 2t of something called “concentrated beef broth” (I used chicken stock), and 1/4t sesame oil. This is the sauce for topping the steak when it comes out of the oven.
OK, here’s where I tell you I’m a cheater. The recipe calls for the steaks to be put in the pan and the glaze to be spooned over. I decided that since I got the glaze done before the casserole came out, I would marinate the steaks in the glaze while we waited.
Ok, so here’s the steaks, marinating in the glaze. I put them in the pan under the broiler for 4 minutes each side, while simultaneously steaming a few asparagus, et voila!
These are WLS-appropriate portions, as recommended in the recipe: 3-4oz. steak with 2T sauce, 1/2c cauliflower casserole, and just a few asparagus (which weren’t part of the recipe, but I wanted a green veg, so…), all served on a 7.25″ plate thrown by a Greensboro-area potter whose name I can’t remember. (Other pottery pieces in this post thrown by me.)
My wife and I both liked the steak and the casserole. You may notice that neither recipe has added salt (not counting what is in the soy sauce and mustard in the steak, and in the cheese in the cauliflower casserole.) IMO, the casserole needed some added salt, which I did add at the table. Otherwise, no other seasoning was added. Ginny had seconds on the casserole. Both these recipes are winners, and I’ll be making them again (only with a filet next time!)