I've veered from meat for a few different reasons:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 small apple, grated
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 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.