Mel’s Diner

Sharp Knives, Raw Meat and Fire

WE HAVE A WINNER!

The Random Integer Generator performed it’s magic tonight and we have a winner for the Free Grass Fed Beef from our fine friends at the VoteLaCense community.

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

28       

Timestamp: 2008-10-23 23:14:28 UTC

Lucky number 28 is the lovely HoneyB (Grumpy’s Honeybunch) from the beautiful Upstate New York.  She will receive a couple of burger patties and a petit sirloin to introduce Grumpy and her to the world of guilt-free beef!

Thanks to all of you who visited and to those who left a comment.  And, two VERY special thanks to my buddies Elle and Lisa for helping me out with this thing.  I encourage all of you to try some grass-fed beef.  Go to La Cense or contact a local supplier from EatWild.com.  Sure, it will cost more than you’re used to, but it’s worth at least a try.

October 23, 2008 Posted by | Grass fed | 1 Comment

FREE GRASS-FED BEEF

Over and over again, I have waxed lyrically about grass fed beef.  In fact, I have gone on so long about it, a nice company in Montana contacted me about a grass-fed beef contest for me to host.  Yes, ME!  The fine folks at La Cense, an 88,000 acre horse and cattle ranch that raises grass-fed, grass-finished beef and has a fine online community promoting the same, want this poor soul to pick a worthy reader to receive some FREE guilt-free beef! 

Now, let me tell you the whole story, because I’m nothing but truthful.  These fine folks sent me a great selection of their beef to try.  To be truthful, my first impression was under whelming.  Sure, it as better than the beef I get at the supermarket, sure it was better for me to eat then the hormone/antibiotic marinated meat from industrial ranches and FOR SURE the cows weren’t tortured in a feedlot, but it wasn’t what I remembered.  It wasn’t as “beefy” as Chet and I was concerned.  In fact, I was considering turning down my friends at La Cense.

Then, I realized exactly how stupid I was.  I have spoken at length how the taste of grass-fed beef swings all over the spectrum and that’s what makes it so special.  I RELISHED the fact that the flavor profile wasn’t consistent.  YET, here I was looking for CONSISTENCY!  There’s no way in the world I should expect cows raised 2,000 miles away, eating grass nothing like the grass in New Hampshire and assuredly not the Scottish Highland breed that Chet was to taste JUST LIKE Chet!  Seriously, how could I be so stupid? 

So, back to the beef.  It’s quite tasty.  It’s quite moral.  It’s quite the right thing to do.  And here is your chance to get some for yourself just the way I like to get things – FOR FREE!  Leave a comment on this post (with an email address) about why you would like grass-fed beef or even how stupid I am (that’s what most of this post was about) and on October 23rd (my 16th Wedding Anniversary) I will use Elle’s Random Number generator to pick which lucky reader get’s free beef!  What will you get?  You will get 2 burger patties and a petit sirloin delivered straight to your door.  Now, for the bad news (for some of you) – U.S. addresses only.

To paraphrase one of the great figures of the past twenty years – Darth Vader:

“COME TO THE GRASS SIDE!”

PS:  Many of the comments express a desire to find grass-fed beef locally.  I should have mentioned the fine website Eat Wild.  A local-food clearinghouse, it hooks people up with local, grass-fed food in their area.  Often you need to buy a bit more than you need if you’re first trying it and that’s where sites like VoteLaCense come in handy, but when you’re ready for a side of beef (like my Chet), Eat Wild can help you out. – MPM

October 13, 2008 Posted by | Grass fed | 92 Comments

GRASS-FED THOUGHTS

Anyone who is forced to be around me for more than one hour knows of my love for grass-fed, grass-finished beef.  So many have been around me during these times, I’m loosing friends at the rate of George Bush (I’m still his friend).  But how did this happen?  How did this tubby boy become so in love with Grass-fed beef?  Well, it’s all by chance.  My homepage is MSNBC.  What?  A “right-wing, Christian Conservative, war-supporting, Bush-is-too-liberal, “cut our hair, pull up your pants and get a job” Republican” with THEM as a homepage?  Yeah, I set it up years ago and it works for me.  Anyway, it was a Slate article I found on it titled “Raising the Steaks – If you feed cows grass, does the beef taste better?”.  And checked it out.  A great tasting steak, the best, was just a challenge that I couldn’t turn it down.  So, I went charging into the battle, like a moron Knight fighting the incoming tide or change of the seasons and guess what?  I WON!!!!  I found a local, grass-fed, grass-finished beef supplier and I fell in love almost as fast as I fell in love with She Who Must Be Obeyed.

One of the things in the Slate article I found to be true was that Grass-fed beef has wildly gyrating taste profiles, meaning sometimes GFB tastes like a beef explosion and sometimes it tastes like salmon.  And that is true – I never had anything that tasted like salmon, but I would have a pound of hamburger that was mild like feedlot beef and another like venison.  Mostly, it was a great tasting piece of beef and ALWAYS it felt good eating something that hadn’t been tortured.  Even salmon like, it was a great feeling to have been a “Steward of the Earth”, as the Lord entrusted us to be.

October 6, 2008 Posted by | Grass fed, Random Blather | Leave a comment

HIGH ON THE HOG

Last year at this time, I was a grass-fed, nearly organic, thumb-my-nose at factory farm lunatic.  I had half of a grass-fed cow in the freezer, a whole organic pig and 25 organic, free-range chickens in two other freezers.  I was THE MAN!

This year, after blowing the engine in my car this summer ($3,000) and deciding a pellet stove would make a lot more sense than buying just over 1,000 gallons of heating oil ($4,600 – including four tons of pellets), I had NO EXTRA MONEY for good food.  I’ve been cutting corners everywhere, including the food.  I’m not sure what’s happened to food prices, but I have been unable to spend less than $100.00 a week on food for the four of us.

Where am I going with this?  I don’t know.  All I know is I miss having a freezer (or two!) of good food I knew wasn’t from some feedlot.

October 2, 2008 Posted by | Grass fed, Random Blather | 1 Comment

GRASS FED BEEF=THE NEW “LUXURY”

Oh, yeah, baby – grass fed beef is it!  In the new Acura commercial for the TSX or something, grass-fed beef finally get’s it’s props:

You know it, “sometimes luxury needs to howl at the moon, find a rare, grass-fed steak in a red leather booth…”

And you all thought I was a crazy with my grass-fed beef…

April 30, 2008 Posted by | Grass fed, Opinion | 3 Comments

TOTAL RECALL

Anybody older than the 30 remembers this Arnold Scwhartzenoggeriggerogger movie that introduced us to a very hot Sharon Stone when she kept her clothes on, legs together and died violently.  It also has to do with the largest meat recall in American history!  143 million (with a “M”) pounds of beef was recalled over a rogue, undercover video showing mis-treated cows, those which the FDA says are potentially very sick and should not be in the “food stream” (that sounds appealing, huh), being put in that same stream.  I saw this on the ole- WWW about a two weeks ago, courtesy of Michael Ruhlman and Chris Cosentino.

You know what?  I wasn’t at all surprised, I was mad, but I had no, “Oh my God, what have I been eating?” moments.  Because, as you all know and anyone who will stand still for a second knows, I don’t eat that garbage.  I buy local, grass-fed, grass-finished beef from a farmer who raises these cows and who I look in the eye.  E-coli stained, mis-treated, nearly killed with corn cows are what other people eat.  I don’t want them to eat it, but cheap meat is what we American’s want and if that’s what they want, then that’s what they get.

Of course, this sounds like the ravings of a madman to a lot of readers (or would, if I had a lot of readers).  But anyone who has read The Omnivore’s Dillema or The Way We Eat knows exactly what I’m talking about.  People, open your eyes, see what goes into your belly!  Then, go to eatwild.com and fill it with “happy meat”.

Happy Cows

February 20, 2008 Posted by | Grass fed, Opinion | Leave a comment

COFFEE-MARINATED SHORT RIBS

Opening my freezer downstairs, looking for a roast this weekend, I found I had a pretty sizable package of short ribs.  So, what the heck-o, I decided to make Chet’s short ribs (Chet is what I named my cow when I bought a side of beef this summer)

Looking for a recipe, I found Bruce Aidell had a recipe in the February 2008 Bon Appetit.  That issue was focused on going green, using local ingredients, etc.  This recipe was originally for bison, but grass-fed beef is actually a lot like bison (or is bison like grass-fed beef?).  They are both “gamier” (i.e., actually taste like something), low in saturated fat and high in CLA’s, owing to the grass they eat.  As an aside, it’s the corn we feed our cows that makes the beef “bad for you” – so, it’s not beef that’s bad for you, it’s corn-fed beef that’s bad for you.  And now that some farm-raised salmon is being fed corn, very soon salmon will be a “bad” food, too. 

COFFEE-MARINATED SHORT RIBS (adapted from Bruce Aidell)

Marinade:
4 cups water
3 cups chilled strong brewed coffee
1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons (packed) dark brown sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoons chopped dried (I didn’t have fresh) rosemary
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups ice cubes
4 pounds beef short ribs, cut between ribs to separate

Short Ribs:
1/4 cup chopped bacon (about 1 1/2 ounces)
2 1/2 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small jalapeño chile, seeded, chopped
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 cup homemade chicken broth
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce

For marinade:
Stir 4 cups water, coffee, 1/2 cup coarse salt, and sugar in large bowl until salt and sugar dissolve. Add syrup and next 3 ingredients; stir until ice melts. Add ribs. Place plate atop ribs to keep submerged. Cover and chill 4 to 6 hours. Drain ribs; discard marinade. DO AHEAD: Drained ribs can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.

For short ribs:
Sauté bacon in pressure-cooker over medium heat until beginning to brown. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to plate. Increase heat to medium-high. Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook ribs until browned on all sides, about 7 minutes per batch. Transfer to large plate. Add onions, garlic, and jalapeño to pot. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add coffee and broth; stir, scraping up browned bits. Add ketchp and all remaining ingredients; bring to boil. Add bacon and ribs, cover, and bring up to pressure. Braise until meat is tender, about 45 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep chilled. Rewarm in 325°F oven until heated through, about 20 minutes, before continuing.

Transfer ribs to plate; tent with foil to keep warm. Spoon fat from surface of sauce. Boil sauce until reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes. Pour sauce over ribs.

Short Ribs

Cooking in the pressure cooker reduced the cooking time in a 325 degree over from 2 1/4 hours to 45 minutes!  I actually was going to cook them in the oven, but my afternoon was taken up by bringing my 9 year old girl to see Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers in 3-D! (If you have young girls, this will make sense to you).  You couldn’t really taste the coffee, but it brought such an amazing depth of flavor!  This was really good and I will make it again

February 13, 2008 Posted by | Grass fed, Main Dish, Recipe | 1 Comment

MICHAEL POLLAN

Anyone who has spent five minutes reading this blog knows of my almost inappropriate love of Michael Pollan and especially of his book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.  Here is an almost hour long video of a speech he gave about that book.  Grab a snack and link back to the YouTube page so you can view it full screen.

January 20, 2008 Posted by | Cookbooks/Books, Grass fed | Leave a comment