Before I take a "share" of our own lamb, pork and beef, I always try to eat down our freezer before taking more. We don't go out to dinner that often, and mostly eat at home for all of our meals. Therefore, we go through our freezer contents pretty quickly. I try to make well rounded meals, incorporating fish and chicken and vegetarian meals every week as well. Of course, we all get excited about the prime cuts of beef steaks and roasts, but when you order a share, whether it is a 1/4, 1/2 or whole, it is important to make recipes that include the stew meat, if you take it, rather than have it ground into burger, as well as cuts like bottom round,(I have mine run through the butcher's cuber during processing, to tenderize). The Chuck Roast cut can be one of the tough cuts of meat, so I marinade mine. Last night's dinner consisted of Chuck Roast, broccoli tots and a side salad. Of course, the frugal part of me, always saves the leftovers for our lunches that week until it's gone. In our throw away society we seem to live it, which includes food, I feel better knowing that along with saving $ by not eating out so much, I am consuming every part of the animal, without too much waste. I often "re-invent"leftovers into lunch meals, another dinner meal(s), until it's gone. I can't be the only "farmer's wife" that get's frustrated about all the little bits and pieces that get saved on the farm~but it comes in handy eventually and just like our leftovers, these leftover 2x4s, hog panels, buckets, building materials, eventually get used! Up-cycling, recycling and repurposing are nothing new to farmers~I find it's the same as when I make a meal and I have left overs! I might make Quinoa salald one day and the next day, I will put the leftovers in our stew! So on to last night's dinner:
Chuck roast: After thawing~ I cut slits in the roast and stuffed with garlic cloves.
I made up a marinade of lemon juice,balsalmic vinegar,red wine vinegar,chopped garlic,salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard. I poured it over the roast that I had placed in a plastic bag sitting on a pie pan. I twisted it tightly closed and placed it in the fridge for about 10 hours, turning it every so often when I remembered.
I took the roast out about 1 hour before I was read to cook it. I cooked mine in the oven last night, but it would be great on the grill!
I cooked it on 425 for 15-20 min., then down to 350 for about 20 min. per lb.
We like our beef med-rare, so I took it out about 120-125 and covered it after taking out of the oven. It turned out a perfect med-rare. I made a sauce of horseradish, Greek yogurt and a little lemon juice to serve with it. (That was for me, Jay would not touch that with a ten foot poll).
As the roast was resting, I made broccoli tots:
I blanched a small head of broccoli florets for one min. plunging them into a ice bath after straining to stop the cooking.
While they were cooling, I chopped about 1/4 cup white onion, put 1 whole egg in the bowl, 1/3 cup panko crumbs, 1/3 cup Italian bread crumps, chopped parsley and about 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese. I chopped up about 2 cups of the broccoli quite fine and added to the bowl. I had pre-heated the oven to 400 (left it on) and brushed a piece of parchment paper with a little olive oil. I formed a small handful of the broccoli mixture into a ball, squeezing them to hold together and then while still in my hand, forming them to look like a tater tot. I baked them for about 20-25 min., turning them over half way through! They were so good! I felt like I was eating a tater tot, but without all the carbs! Next time I am going to maybe add chopped jalepeno's and try cheddar cheese...a lot you could try!
I served our dinner with a side salad, that included the previously blanched broccoli that was leftover, I had made too much for the tots, so I threw them in the salad!
I try to take Sunday's off...sort of. There are the usual chores we can't get away from every day, but I try not to add anything extra to our plate on Sunday's. It's a good day for us to re-charge our batteries. I like to fit in some of the things I like to do, read, planning of future farm projects etc.. I like to make a nice Sunday dinner and take the time to do much of the prep before, so I'm not standing at the stove for hours on end. Last night's dinner was fun to make and turned out especially good! I always make a menu out for the week, as I have mentioned, $ saver and you aren't scrambling at the last minute trying to figure out what to make for dinner. I love having our all natural lamb, pork and 100% grass fed beef available at our finger tips. I went to the freezer in the morning and pulled out a pork shoulder. Jay's mother left a metal defrosting plate on the farm when she moved to Texas, and I love it! It's called a Miracle Thaw. I take the paper wrapping off the meat, and leave on the plastic. Periodically, I turn over whatever it is I have thawing. Whatever the reaction is to the meat, it certainly thaws out faster! I do this whenever I forget to pull something out in the morning, right away. For the dry rub, I made my own pork rub of garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and dried thyme. To that I added our wild blackberry honey, red wine vinegar and olive oil. I made a paste and after slicing an onion in half and putting it in the bottom of a slow cooker, I chopped the pork shoulder in half, placed the two pieces, one on each onion half, and poured the paste over the pork. Seven-eight hours later on slow, this is what it looked like. I have some nice pulled pork "claws" I bought a few years ago, when we bought our smoker and they did the trick! I had put together an Asian coleslaw I've been making for years, it was doing it's trick in the fridge, the cabbage absorbing the dressing I make of mayo,sour cream,sugar,lemon juice,and some sesame oil, I thinned it out with a little coconut milk. I also made cornbread, using yogurt and again the coconut milk, as I was out of regular milk. After it was baked, I took it out of the oven, poked the top with holes using a skewer, rubbed butter over the top, brushed it with some of our wild blackberry honey and put back in the oven under the broiler for just a minute. I also made corn pudding yesterday afternoon and it all came together as the perfect pork storm for a delicious farm to table Sunday night dinner!
In every 1/4, half or whole beef you order from us, you can request your portion of what our butcher labels soup bones. Unfortunately, I have inherited a blood pressure problem, and can really tell when I consume too much salt! Therefore, I LOVE making my own beef bone broth! The health benefits of just sipping on bone broth is all over the internet and I regularly see it now on cooking shows, news etc...Also, I love making the stock to put up in Mason jars for use later. I cool down the jars, and anything that I am not going to sip on, I freeze for later use. I have found that freezing them in smaller mason jars is easier for thawing. You can even freeze them in ice cube containers!
Here is what I did a few days ago:
Thawed out 2-3 lbs. of our 100% grass fed beef bones
Rinsed off the bones, (there is still beef meat attached), and dried off
Heated up about 3-4 Tbsp of olive oil (you can add more later if need to avoid from sticking)
Browned the bones in the olive oil, turning every so often (med to med-high heat) to brown evenly
While I was browning the meat...
I took a peeler to about 4 carrots and rough cut them into 1/3rds
Cleaned about 4 celery stocks, rough cut into 1/3rds
Sliced an onion into equal parts
I put some parchment paper in a shallow dish, brushed with olive oil
I poured a little more olive oil over the veggies, gave them a good mix to cover and sprinkled the veggies with some salt and peper, and some Bragg brand organic 24 herb and spice seasoning.
I baked the veggies in the oven on 400, until they browned some and got a little caramelized.
Once the meat was browned on all sides, added the browned and somewhat caramelized vegetable mix to the Dutch oven I browned the bones in. Leave all the drippings from the meat before you add the vegetables, gives it flavor.
I covered the meat and vegetables in the Dutch oven with as much water it needs to cover all. Be careful not too get too close to the top so it does not boil over. I left about 1 1/2" room.
I added a Bay Leaf
I added about 3 Tbsp. Mother's Earth Apple Cider vinegar
I added about 3 Tbsp chopped garlic ( you can just throw in whole cloves of unpeeled and unchopped garlic, I have done this too).
I let it all come to a slow boil, then transferred it to the oven on 350 for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Ultimately, I like to simmer it in the over for up to 12 hours. I don't always have that time, but you can also make your beef bone broth in the slow cooker, after the browning of the meat and vegetable part of this and cook in low and slow for up to 12 hours! That method would be a lot safer if you have to leave your home during this time.
I removed the bones/meat and the big chunks of veggies and set them aside.
I strained the liquid through a fine strainer into a large bowl to let cool.
I put a funnel over two large Mason jars, in this case, and sealed them.
You want the broth to gel up overnight in the fridge, that perfect. You will have a layer of fat on the top. You can scrape it off if you want, you don't have to, before pouring whatever portion you want to heat up. The gel like broth will turn into a beautiful liquid, perfect for sipping or using in your recipes, such as soups, stews, gravy etc...homemade beef broth adds such a depth of flavor to any recipe! Enjoy!
P.S. The frugal part of me will be using the left over meat on the bones, (I am adding some of our farm raised stew meat), and the vegetables I used to make the broth, as well as more I will bake off, and making beef-vegetable soup for tonight's dinner! I am using some Quinoa that I had made earlier in the week, to make a salad, and have some of just the Quinoa left, I will add as a thickener. I like to see how much use I can get out of my refrigerator ingredients, leftovers, etc...to avoid so much waste. I think I read the average American wastes something like 40% of the food they buy! Egads...I'm trying not to be that average American!
Tip: I do make out menus for the week, breakfast, lunch and dinner. I have been doing this for like 25-30 years. I has always helped in saving me $ at the grocer. I look to see what I have in my pantry, and plan around it. Since we are fortunate enough to be able to raise our own pork, beef and lamb, I plan meals around that, as well as adding chicken and fish to our diet, and vegetarian meals for a balance. We love leftovers, so if I make soup for dinner one night like I will be for tonight, we will eat it for lunch tomorrow. Making a grocery list for just what you need for those planned meals that week saves a ton of $, avoiding impulse buying...and don't go to the store hungry...it's a diet and budget killer!
People often ask me what I like to do in my free time. I When I have time, I like to experiment with new recipes, make up my own, cook and bake. So, while Jay was out mowing one of the lower fields this morning, I decided to bake an Apple Streusel. I had all the ingredients...it was totally worth the time and mess. It turned out awesome! My farm boy likes a little snack with his coffee...so I know he will appreciate that I did this, when he get's in from the field. Off to wash my car...I needed to have some free time, after flipping both the "haycation"homes yesterday.
Although the Pacific Northwest isn't generally known for it's hot weather, you wouldn't know it by looking back at last summer, and seeing how this one has started! I had thawed out some country pork ribs for dinner and a cold salad, at the end of a hot day, to accompany the grilled ribs I was planning to cook on the smoker...sounded good! So for those of you looking for a nice cold side dish, on a hot summer day, to go with whatever you are grilling...this one is a good one! You can't go wrong with apples and pork!
3 broccoli florets~washed, dried and cut into bite size pieces, washed and pitted 1 1/2 cups fresh bing cherries, and cut in half.Chopped one half red onion,chopped one large granny smith apple,1/2 cup sunflower seeds, tossed together in a big bowl. For the dressing~1/2 cup non-fat greek yogurt, 1/2 cup low fat sour cream,2 Tbsp vinegar,1 Tbsp sugar,salt and pepper to taste. Mix it together with the salad, and refrigerate. Next time I will add celery and bacon..just for fun, and maybe switch out the sunflower seeds for hazelnuts.
Our motto around the farm is...all chores done by cocktail hour. So, I pulled the ribs out of the fridge and smothered them with a dry pork rub, and let them sit for a bit. Just before cocktail hour, I put them on the smoker. I cut some sweet potatoes into thick discs, drizzled them with olive oil,salt and pepper, threw them in the oven to cook. Once they were soft, I smashed them a little with a potato masher, put them back in the oven to cook until a little crispy...and we were ready to eat!
Give it a try! It was super delicious and plenty left for our lunch the next day!
From my farm house kitchen to you! Enjoy!
We get a lot of interest about butcher day on the farm, so I thought I would write to explain how it happens. I set the butcher dates, usually months in advance, depending on their busy season. If it's deer/elk season, I schedule those months before, as they get so busy. I pre-sell the animals we are going to butcher. They call me the day before, to let me know what time the crew will be here. Jay usually get's up a little early, and corrals the beef we are going to take. I sometimes help with this, if he wants my opinion, or there are multiple animals. You want a one shot kind of butcher, no one that is inexperienced at this...safety and you don't want all your hard work ruined by someone that is a bad shot and you have the animal running around mad, for safety reasons and not to get all that adrenalin running through their blood and into their system! The assistant bleeds them out and Jay transports them to the butcher truck with the loader tractor. They always park at the end of our driveway, near the lamb pen. When they are done with the beef, I am the clean up girl at the barn where they were shot. I immediately get the hose out and wash down the road, as much as I can, and the concrete that leads down to the area they were in holding at. Not only does it look unsightly, but it starts to stink when as it warms up, so if it's not rainy season, I'm right on it. Same with the hogs and lambs. The hogs are taken with a bullet but the lambs, they break their neck...so it's fast and they don't suffer. They are both bled out as well...and I'm in the barn next, hosing off the concrete pads, the walls and wood, if there is anything on them. It's all the butcher's job after that. They remove the heads, stomaches, hoof portions that aren't edible. They remove the tails and cheek meat of the beef for me, as it makes for great stews! The customer is entitled to it if they want it. If they don't I take it. Jay has fond memories of his grandmother Minnie, coming to the farm every week end from Seattle and making the family oxtail stew. The carcass are hung in the sterile butcher truck to their shop, ready to be custom cut and wrapped.
I have been bound and determined to check off my list, to update our site and write blogs regularly. Since butcher our May butcher date is upon us, I thought it a good time to blog about the process. We get a lot of questions about it, so hopefully this will help. We pre-sell our animals for butcher, which is required, unless we have them processed at a USDA processing facility. There is not one in this county yet. There is one in the works, hopefully it will be up and running in the next 1-2 years, as well as a USDA mobile unit. As of now...we can sell beef by the 1/4,1/2,3/4 or whole animal, lamb and pork, by the 1/2 and whole. You choose your custom cut/wrap using our butcher's guideline sheet. There is always wiggle room...so be sure and ask. Processing time on the beef is 10-14 days, as it dry age hangs at our butcher shop before it is custom cut/wrapped, according to your request. The pork processing time is 7-10 days, to allow for the hams and bacon to be cured/smoked. The processing time on the lamb is determined by what day of the week they cut lamb next. All the meats are wrapped in plastic then paper and each individual package is marked what cut it is. The lamb burger and pork sausage are all in rolls, 1 lb.or more, it's up to you. We ask that you have your cut/wrap instructions in on or before butcher day, so that when the shop is ready to process the orders, they have your card in front of them. You provide them with your name,phone # and our name, so they know what farmer you belong to. If you are looking for 100% grass fed beef, and all natural pork and lamb, non-medicated meats, then we would love to be your source.
City born and raised, now living among the corn maze. I don't profess to be an expert at anything, but I hope you enjoy what I have learned along the way and landed right where I love...this farm!