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13 Weeks: Week 2, In Which We Eat


Okay, most nights dinner is rotisserie chicken from the store -- the King Soopers "family size" garlic and herb is my favorite but you'd have a hard time making a roast chicken I didn't like. Fairly often I'll cook microwave-in-the-bag broccoli and toss it with from-the-jar chili con queso. This is a high-protein high-fat diet, which opens up a lot of choices. Some nights I'll cook, and in fact last night as I came home from the gym I suddenly decided what I wanted for dinner was the 10 year old's nightmare: liver with bacon and onions, and roasted brussels sprouts.

Here are the recipes:

brussels sprouts

    • 1 cup fresh sprouts, cut in half.
    • 1 Tsp olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced fine

preheat oven to 425. While it preheats, toss the sprouts with the oil and garlic, and add a good teaspoon of salt. (I like sea salt. What can I say, I live in Boulder.) The way I do this: I have a saute pan that goes comfortably in the oven, so I basically put everything in the pan, toss it as if I were sautéing them until everything is nicely coated, and into the oven it goes.

They should roast for about a half-hour; around 15 minutes, take out the pan and toss them thoroughly, put it back in.

liver and bacon and onions

    • 2 slices (about 8 oz uncooked) liver
    • 4 strips bacon
    • about 1 half medium onion, sliced into very thin slices
    • 1/4 tsp mexican oregano
    • salt and black paper to taste.

In a large frying or saute pan, start with the bacon. I did it as strips this time, next I might cut the bacon into lardons instead. (Isn't that a great word? "Lardon". Sounds so sinful.) Cook the bacon until it's done enough for you and take it out of the pan. Turn the heat up on the pan to medium-high and add the onions, spreading them out to make more or less a single layer. Now walk away for about 5 minutes. The onions will cook in the bacon fat; when you come back, they will have started to caramelize (get brown) and will be pretty transparent. Turn them over and stir them up so the unbrowned side is down and let them cook a little more.

Now for the liver. If you know where to find fresh beef liver in the Denver area, I'd love to know, but I end up buying it frozen at King Soopers. The package has 1 lb of liver in four individually packed, frozen slices. Take two slices out and put them on the counter when you start the sprouts and they'll have defrosted sufficiently by the time you get to this point. (If you do find it fresh, you need to slice it and devein it. I'll presume you're enough of a foodie then to know what to do. The frozen stuff is already prepped.)

Push the onions aside in the pan and turn the heat up to near high. Put the two pieces of liver in the pan and wait for about a minute -- the liver will be getting gray around the veins and there'll be a good bit of steam. The side against the pan will be getting nicely browned and a little crusty; turn the slices over and grab a plate RIGHT NOW. If you wait more than about another 30 seconds, the liver will get overdone, with the result that you have something that looks like a shoe sole but doesn't taste as good.

Liver on plate. Nicely browned onions on top, and then the bacon. Salt and pepper now -- I don't like to season this stuff first because the salt impedes browning the onions, and I think the pepper tastes a little burned because of the high heat. Take the sprouts out of the oven and add them -- they should have some nice golden brown edges on them.

As you can see, I'm not exactly being deprived here -- I'm having plenty to eat, and it's good food.  As a "diet", this one is a winner.