Tuesday, November 27, 2007


We bought a quarter of a cow from a local farmer this year. I haven't eaten or cooked much red meat in my adult years, but I am interested in getting more familiar with it. While many people assume that I am a vegetarian, I do eat meat (but not much).

I've veered from meat for a few different reasons:
  1. Corporate meat freaks me out. The massive feedlots, questionable slaughterhouses, sick animals, distance traveled, etc. It just doesn't sit right. Read Fast Food Nation. If that doesn't change your eating habits, I don't know what will.
  2. I don't know how to cook it. Because I've always avoided it, I don't really know what to do with it other than toss some ground beef into a chili recipe (or things along that line).
  3. Oh, and when you don't know where your meat is coming from, you don't know where it has been, how it has lived, or what diseases it has encountered. Like Mad Cow. That really makes me uncomfortable; especially with some of the stuff I've read, like the poor monitoring systems for Mad Cow in the US. But within this reason also lies: antibiotics, questionable eating habits, E. coli, sorry living conditions, etc. Let's get back to locally produced foods!!

After reading Nourishing Traditions and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle this fall, I decided I wanted to incorporate more meat into our diet, with an important clause: it has to be local. I don't like eating and feeling uneasy at the same time. We bought the quarter from a small diversified family farm in our area (and split it with Squeeze's parents). They raise cows, pigs, and chickens. We buy eggs from them as well.

Here's how it went down:

They brought the cow to a local meat locker, where it was butchered and hung (or is that hung and butchered?): we contacted the locker and specified the cuts of meat we wanted as well as the weight for our quarter. A couple of weeks later, they called us to come and get it. Everything was neatly wrapped in butcher paper or air-tight plastic (but mostly paper, which I like).

Now I have to figure out what to do with all this meat.

Ha! So far, I've made 2 juicy burgers [on the cast iron skillet, with kosher salt sprinkled across the griddle - they were amazing] and then, last night, I made the most astounding meal that we've had in a long time. I'm serious: it was unbelievable. Flavorful, robust, and alluring - we were oooing and ahhhhing the whole night through, all because I had a hankering for meatballs with pasta.

I found the recipe in a book my mom got me, called First Meals by Annabel Karmel. Thanks, Mom!! The meatballs where in the Fun Foods section, the pasta sauce, in Family Meals. [Meal: what a weird word.] These recipes have been tinkered with, just a little. Also, I didn't have the pesto for the tomato sauce, but it was delightful even without it.

Meat balls

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small apple, grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Parsley
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Mix it all together, then coat in flour and fry in a cast-iron skillet.

Special Tomato Sauce

  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large can of whole peeled tomatoes
  • 4 TBSP pesto
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Shredded fresh basil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the garlic. Saute a bit, then add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the basil and cheese. Simmer gently for 15 minutes or so. Add the basil and Parmesan, cook just until the cheese has melted.

Serve with pasta of your choice. Delicious with red wine.

Now...onwards and forwards I go into battle, learning to cook red meat. My next venture: pot roast.


Ashley said...

Yay! A recipe! You know what I'm going to be cooking... after I go shopping for the ingredients! It sounds delicious though.

a. borealis said...

LOL - that is another thing about cooking. It takes awhile to build a kitchen!

Dani said...

That tomato sauce recipe looks soooo good - that's been my quest lately...I don't have a good basic tomato sauce that I like so I'll have to give yours a try! Thanks so much!


Sandstone said...

This is a super easy "dump it all in" meal that I grew up with ... great for winter. Great over polenta!
2 lb stew meat
1 C celery
1 C carrots
1 C onion
3 sliced zuchini
1/2 green pepper diced
1 large can tomatoes (fresh, even better!)
3 T tapioca
1 T brown sugar
1 T salt
3 T sherry
Mix in large oven safe pan like a dutch oven.
Bake in oven at 300 degrees for 5 hours.

Easy Yummy Polenta:
2 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 C polenta or cornmeal
6 C veggie or chicken broth
1 C fresh or frozen corn kernels
seasoning salt to taste
1/4 C freshly grated Parm Cheese

In oven proof sauce pan, heat oil over med heat. Saute onion for 5 minutes. Add polenta and stir to coat with the oil, about 1 minute. Add broth, increase to high heat bringing polenta to rolling boil. Add corn and seasoning salt. Put pan in 350 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes. stir once 1/2 way through. top w/ parm cheese - stir to combine. Yummy if served under beef stew.
Enjoy! Yum-Yum!

I've just picked up two books about the "Slow Food Nation" movement one called "Slow Food Nation why our food should be good clean and fair" and "Slow Food the case for taste" by Carlo Petrini -- forward by Alice Waters. Don't know if you've read these, but you may enjoy them.

a. borealis said...

Oooooh! This DOES look yummy. I even have a paper-wrapped package labeled, "Stew Meat". Thanks!

Sandstone said...

Good grief, I'm just getting the hang of this whole blog thing, I just left a response on my blogspot! Anyway, you are welcome for the recipe -- hope you love it.