March Meat Pie: Steak, Guinness, & Cheese

Today I continued my meat-pie-a-month commitment with a great pre-St. Patty’s day pie: Steak, Guinness, & Cheese. (January’s was a bacon & egg pie. February was a Beef & Onion pie.)

The recipe I used was on and attributed to Jamie Oliver.

Beef brisket (1 inch pieces)
Store bought puff pastry
3 onions sliced
Sprig of rosemary
3 cloves of garlic; minced
1 tbsp butter
2 sticks celery – finely sliced
2 carrot sticks – peeled and sliced
Field mushrooms (portabella); as many as you like; sliced
1 can Guinness
1 heaping tbsp flour
Beef stock
2 handfuls of shredded white cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten with a fork

When I went to my favorite butcher, Joseph’s Market, Danny recommended New York Sirloin rather than brisket. Apparently, they only sell brisket in 6 lb sections! (He also made me promise to try making Cornish pasties for one of my pies. He had them growing up and says they’re amazing!)

The recipe was sort of vague, so I got a couple pounds of meat. Everything was combined in a pot on the stove, one at a time. (I forgot the mushrooms, much to my family’s glee.) Oh yes, I also used Guinness Extra Stout. That’s how I roll.

Since this is a stew, I checked another cookbook and added oregano and Worcestershire Sauce. I also added garlic salt.

Then you bake the contents in the pot in an oven at 350 for a couple hours. Boy did the house smell good!

I sampled it about 90 minutes in and thought it a little bland. So I put some Lost in the Woods Hot Sauce to give it a little kick.

After the oven, you add a handful of cheese, pour the stew in a pie crust, and add another handful of cheese on top. Brush it with egg and bake it at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

It is delicious!!

February’s meat pie: Beef & Onion

After my trip to New Zealand, I decided to make a meat pie each month in 2011. Today’s meat pie was a Beef & Onion pie based in a recipe from Blokes Who Blake. And it was good.

The recipe on Blokes Who Bake is:

  • 500-650 grams Quality Mark chuck, blade or gravy beef steak
  • 1 each onion and carrot peeled and diced
  • 2 swede, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 45 gram packet beef flavoured soup mix*
  • 2 tblsp tomato paste or puree
  • 1 1/2 cups water or beef stock
  • 100 grams mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas (optional)
  • 400 gram packet frozen savoury short pastry, defrosted milk to glaze

* Any beef or tomato-flavoured soup mix can be used for this recipe to add flavour and variation.

Living in North America, I didn’t fully understand the recipe. For instance, I know many Swedes but wouldn’t put any of them in a meat pie. ๐Ÿ™‚

So here is were my substitutions:

  • 1.5 lbs of cube steak from Joseph’s Market
  • A couple parsnips instead of swedes. (I didn’t know what Swedes were but figured they were a root. It turns out they are rutabagas.)
  • I didn’t have any soup mix, so I just sorta mixed a bunch of spices: basil, oregano, “italian spice mix,” black pepper, salt, onion salt, parsley, garlic powder, and some sun-dried tomato herb oil dipping seasoning from Pampered Chef. (I might have used some other spices too…just made the mix to taste.)
  • and, in addition to the garlic powder in the seasoning mix, I doubled the minced garlic called for in the recipe

Oh, and for pie crust, I just used the pre-made stuff from the grocery store.

It took a couple hours from start to finish. Next time I will try rutabagas. And I won’t simmer the pie filling for the full 45 minutes. It got a tiny bit dry when I did that.

But there will be a next time!

Reversing 10% Growth

In an earlier post, I mentioned the shock of seeing my weight gain from January 2007 to December 2007.

I just turned 36. I’d been hoping my age would finally catch up with waistline. Alas, my waistline stayed out in front of me. *sigh*

So here are a few of the things I’m doing this year to reverse that 10% growth.

  • I’ll be increasing the protein in my diet. According to Dr. Al Sears, protein tells my body that “the hunting is good” and I don’t need to convert my food into fat. No need for my body to hoard. (He also advocates cutting out grains. I’m not willing to go there yet!)
  • I’ll be drinking less beer and wine. ๐Ÿ™ It turns out that a beer has about 150 calories. Just one beer a night adds up to over 1000 extra calories a week. Apparently, that’s around 15 additional pounds a year! Very close to my 20 pounds!

    I’ve already started this. It’s really easy to grab a cup of tea or a glass of water rather than a beer. Who’d have thunk?!

  • I’ll be cutting down desserts. I liked a couple desserts a day. But that’s a lot of sugar (which I think makes me eat more) and “empty” calories. So I’m going to limit to Wednesday and weekends. Or just Wednesdays and Sundays. We’ll see how it works!

    (I can rationalize not abstaining on the Sabbath–Friday night and Saturday–and there’s ample historic evidence that Sunday is a Christian feast day. So not eating dessert on Sunday wouldn’t make sense. Ah the joys of rationalization!) ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’ll be eating more fruits and vegetables. My awareness of these plummeted last year. But these are too important to neglect.
  • As a matter of fact, I’m committing to eating more “real” food than “low fat” or “low carb” chemical lab concoctions. Since I like food, particularly real food, this year I’ll learn to enjoy it more slowly, as opposed to shoveling it down.
  • Portion control. Ever since I did Weight Watchers years ago, I’ve been amazed at how small portion sizes really are. And how satisfying. I’m going to watch my portions–not just “watch them go into my mouth”! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Keeping them smaller will certainly help.
  • I’ll keep drinking a gallon of water a day. The health benefits of 8 glasses a day are dubious, but I know I have fewer zits when I stay well hydrated. That’s enough motivation for me!
  • Last year, I added an additional 2 months of circuit training simply by working out 12 times per month rather than 10. Thank God! I’m scared to think of how much more weight I’d have gained had I not done that!

    This year, I’ll keep up the 12 visits per month. But I’m adding aerobics and calesthenics. Probably an eliptical workout 2-3 times a week. (I’ve started this and it seems sustainable.) I’m coming to grips with how incredibly sedentary my life is: sitting in front of a computer at a desk, sitting behind the wheel, or sitting in front of a laptop on the couch. Certainly less activity than my farming forebears experienced in a typical day. So I’ll augment that with stepping up the exercise. Literally.

Overall, I think this is quite sustainable. Basically eat less, exercise more.