Friday, June 26, 2009

Recipes for Lapbanders: Steak!!

You Gotta Eat!

I was very worried when I heard that a lot of lapbanders can't eat steak. One thing that I am lucky about is that I really like meat. Yum yum! Since they ask you after banding to start your meals with protein, then good carbs (veggies) then bad carbs (bread?), its good if you are a carnivore.

You'll quickly learn that if you don't eat lots of protein you'll be hungry all the time, just like before the band! So, I've been experimenting with all sorts of meats. I started out with steak. Steak is super easy to cook, and if you buy the right cut, is not too expensive, since you'll only be eating a few ounces at a sitting. I go for thin New York Strips.This steak is also called striploin, Delmonico, shell steak,or Kansas City Steaks. Remember that the New York Strip has a strip of  fat and gristle along one edge, and you'll want to cut that off before you eat it. You can also try a filet, or tenderloin. The tenderloin is the steak with the least fat, but it is expensive, and usually cut quite thick. That's why I usually choose the strip.

My Steak Cooking Secrets!

To cook a great steak inside, its important to have the right pan. I use the Calphalon One Nonstick 11-Inch Square Grill Pan. This is a GREAT pan! It has raised places that make grill marks on the meat. And the raised lines allow your meat to sit up off of whatever fat is at the bottom of the pan. I spray the pan with Pam, and I use the kind that is made for non-stick pans. This pan is about $50, and you will use it all the time. It makes your food taste better, I swear.

The special heat conducting and surface on Calphalon creates something called "frond" on your food. Frond is the brown stuff seared meat gets on it and it tastes good, honey!! You will love steaks, chicken, pork or fish cooked in this pan.

First, let your steak reach room temperature. I use Lawry's Seasoned Salt, 16 oz * Economy Size on all broiled, grilled or roasted meats. It is the best of all the seasoned salts, and it is like magic on meat. Believe me, if you try Lawry's you'll be amazed how much better your food tastes, and when I use it on Eye of Round roasts and other roasts, people always beg for my secret. They ask, "is it marinade?, sauce? some other lengthy preparation?" Nope. It's Lawry's. On a small steak I salt lightly on one side.

If you have a gas stove you will have more control of the heat you're using. On my gas stove I crank the knob to high and really heat the pan up. This is what you want, because you want to sear the meat first. Once the pan is hot, I turn on my exhaust fan and put the meat in the pan. (This can be a steamy, smokey proposition.) I put the steak in, salt side down, and let it sear. This takes a very short time. Once the steak is seared (you can lift the steak with tongs to see if it is seared properly), I turn the steak and sear on the other side. Then I turn the stove off and let the meat sit there until it is cooked like I like it. I like medium rare to medium steak, so I only take about 4 minutes at the stove (maybe less). If you like your steak cooked more, just leave it on the unlit stove for longer and it will cook more. The more you cook the steak, the harder it is to eat, so keep this in mind.

If you have an electric stove, remember that you have a lot less control on temperature changes. I cook on electric stove a bit differently. I start with a hot pan and high heat, but I remove the pan from the burner often to control the heat. Just turning an electric burner down does not immediately reduce the heat. The element has to cool down first and that takes time. So pull you pan off the heat to cool it and you'll have more control.

Remember, Tiny Bites!

Once the steak is cooked, remove the fat strip, cut into tiny pieces (I cut before I eat so I won't get carried away and eat a big piece), and enjoy! If you want to make a thicker steak, just follow the above directions, but leave the pan on the burner longer. Once the steak is seared, you can turn the heat down and continue to cook until you get it cooked the way you like it. But with a very thin (less than one half inch) steak, you will be shocked how quickly your steak is cooked.
You'll enjoy this steak immensely. I've had no problem eating steak. I cut it small and chew a lot. I usually have white bean mash with this (good, so good) and it increases my protein for the meal. Got questions? Just ask in the comment section and I'll answer.
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