Julias’ Boeuf Bourguignon

Recently made my way thru the film “Julia & Julia”, sort of a parallel story of Julia Child’s , “JC”,(Meryl Streep) cooking experiences culminating in her TV show and cookbook and Julia Powell’s , “JP”(Amy Adams) retracing JC’s recipes in the book “My Year of Cooking Dangerously”. Recalled attempting to watch it before but was turned off by something annoying: maybe Amy Adams wide-eyed, naive approach but more likely husband’s (Chris Messina) aggressive enveloping of her recreations with Blue Planet marine invertebrate extensile lips – along with much non-verbal noise. Meryl – as always – amazing.

The revelation of JC’s greatness is made to JP in her recreation of “Boeuf Bourguignon” Much is made of this in the film and I was intrigued enough to find the recipe and try it out. I was sure of having made it before, prob’ly from Joy of Cooking , but didn’t recall any greatness.

Pretty much followed the recipe using 45 oz of deboned Hay Creek chuck roast, subbing chunked white onions for pearl, and skipping the sauce sieving.

The resulting beef stew component itself is excellent but the truly extraordinary thing is its’ chewy savoriness in combination with the sweet, tender-crisp texture of onions and mushrooms prepared and served in this manner. Meets JC’s criteria of “each vegetable retaining it’s unique flavor and texture”. Also great with garlic/rosemary fried potatoes as a side. Well worth trying out yourself.


 

Availability and Delivery

Currently posted “Specials”, Ground Beef, Ground Chuck and Ground Round available for  spring 2019 farm pick-up or August Minneapolis/St Paul  home delivery. Check the freezer and see if you need to replenish. Transitioning from comfort food weather: chili, tater tot hotdish, pan-fried burgers w/homemade fries to outdoor grilling season. Oven roasting and braising aromas still appealing. See Osso Buco

Get the grill tuned and in position for good weather.

Next St Cloud, Minneapolis & Saint Paul home delivery August 18, 2019

Fargo/Moorhead home deliveries resume September 2019

Boxes and Quarters first available August 2019. Halves in September. Make a deposit now to reserve OR request a Wait List position.

Jump on the Wait List anytime for Fall 2019 delivery or farm pick-up. Simply send an email with your preferred month (August thru December) and fractional order size (box, quarter or half). Priority given to “box” sizes and folks who have ordered before so turn yerself into one of them by ordering something available now.


 

Convertible Deck Enclosure for Year-Round Grilling

Late Fall and every time I pass the tarped Kamado grill outside the garage I realize how unlikely I am to use it in the upcoming winter months; encased in a mound of blown snow and whipped by sharp NW winds. Already missing the radiated heat and fragrance of real wood charcoal smoke; appealing elements to capture for the cold , dark months ahead. Triggered a concept for both moving it up to the roofed, 2-side enclosed deck AND further enclosing the deck with a combo of west -facing solid panels and south-facing light panels for solar gain.

  • Groundrules:
  • Completely convertible for summer use w/independently mounted panels minimally fastened to house
  • Lightweight, narrow panels of standard-length building materials

Aware of the dual-wall polycarbonate panels used in greenhouse construction but discovered these single-wall corrugated panels that are inexpensive, lightweight and ideally suited.

Really sweet to hang out while grill going. Just spent a sunny Sunday smoke-roasting a rump for sandwich cold-cuts in the morning then idled the grill down for pizzas in the afternoon. Smoke and radiant heat create a comfy rustic atmosphere. Maintains a temperature 40 to 50 deg F above outdoor temperature throughout the middle 4 hours of a sunny early January day.

Sirloin Tip Roast Sous Vide

Finally caved to my curiosity on extended time Sous Vide  cooking after a heads-up from long time customer Joe L. during a recent beef delivery.  He extolled the results of 48 cook time on a grass fed Hay Creek sirloin tip roast from my farm. I’d discounted the effect of these long  (over 6 hour) cook times in the erroneous mindset of thinking the internal meat temperature would surely stabilize within that time and why cook longer? The reality is counter- intuitive and miraculous changes take place with extended time at relatively low temperatures: solving the ages-old  problem of creating a moist but tender roast from a relatively lean cut of meat.

I did some quick searching and discovered 2 sources recommending between 17 hours @ 137 deg F and 46 hours @ 134 deg F.  I wanted to test both  “pot roast” and a “leftover” cold cut serving scenarios so applied an herb rub to the roast before bagging ( 1 gallon freezer ziplock) and inserting a half-dozen garlic cloves around the perimeter. Trick for eliminating excess air from bag (prevents floating) is to suck it out with a small-diameter tube like that used for aquarium aeration. Pinch the tube near the corner of the bag while sucking the air out and progressively sealing the zipper.

Some important Sous Vide considerations: Basic Sous Vide is well covered in this video.  Curious to note that cooking in the 134 to 137 degree F  range for hours violates the crude rule-of-thumb advocated by every Dept of Public Health: to minimize food residence time in the 40 deg F to 140 deg F temperature window for avoidance of food safety (microbiological) issues.  This excellent source on the science of sous vide protein cooking indicates “These temperatures are not quite right: it is well known that food pathogens can only multiply between −1.3 °C/29.7 °F and 52.3 °C/126.1 °F…..”   Consider testing the calibration of your Sous Vide device if you hope to achieve comparable results to others and avoid food poisoning.. Despite their tenth degree F resolution, they can easily be inaccurate by 2 whole degree F.  Test by immersing in  boiling water on the stove top and recording  the device’s temp reading.  Boiling point temp must corrected for your local altitude. This is then the “real” temperature which you can then use to offset your device setpoint to compensate for any inaccuracy. The long cook time also pumps a lot of heat and moisture into your house so wrap your vessel with a towel and cover the water surface.

Removed entire bag to refrigerator after 46 hours @134 deg F and cooled 7 hours before draining fluid surrounding roast to a saucepan for finishing as a gravy. Seared exterior of roast in smoking hot frying pan with a couple T-spoons lard to minimize internal temperature increase. Cut and rewarmed slice from the seared exterior and served on boiled potatoes w/ gravy. Amazingly tender, moist and mild flavored. The fluid “juice” in the bag surrounding the cooked roast is loaded with proteins (foams readily on boiling) and quite intensely flavored so does not benefit from much reduction prior to adding thickening agent (flour or starch).

Cold cut slices best served on mild white bread like burger buns accompanied by Dijon mustard. So incredibly tender it isn’t crucial to slice thinly. So delicate in flavor that it gets lost with horseradish and sourdough rye.

Next try will be with roughly half the cook time to regain a little ‘”chew” texture.


 

Organ Meats, Suet, Soup Bones, and Oxtail

Recipients of “Quarter”  size beef orders can elect to get 2 packages (meaty) Soup Bones (1-2 pounds each), one package suet (1-2 pounds each) and 2 packages Liver ( around 1 pound each) with each order for an additional 38 cents per pound Farm Pickup or 50 cents a pound Home Delivery.

“Half” size orders are eligible for double the above quantities in addition to one (1) package oxtail (1-2 pounds) and either a single package of heart (3-4 pounds) or tongue (2-3 pounds).

“Box” size orders can request one package each of soup bones, suet and liver.

You must explicitly request which you would like added to your order at least 3 days ahead of delivery date. They are not routinely included. The up-charges are only applied to the weight of the extra items you choose.


 

“What the Health” a Mockumentary

Piled -on by real scientists for it’s dubious use of the word “science” the producers have rightly post-labeled this film a mock-umentary. “We was just taken away on a lark”

Dr. (of psychiatry it turns out, NOT medicine, NOT nutrition, NOT genetics, NOT endocrinology, NOTHING which makes him ANY authority) Neal D. Barnard offhandedly negates decades of nutritional advances in this prankster-ish film with the outrageous statement: “Diabetes is not and never was caused by eating a high carbohydrate diet, and it is not caused by eating sugar.” Huh?  What about all the folks on low-carb and keto diets who have lost mountains of weight and “cured” their diabetes?  Sugar is to the  early 21st century as tobacco was to the Mad Men era except we’ve already heard the “It’s Toasted!” line.

Yeah, it would be nice if we could free all the farmed livestock but what would become of them? Sadly, like the “Rabbits: Pets or Meat” segment of Michael Moore’s documentary” Roger and Me” animals/people that have no economic significance to humans/corporations (shut-out Flint, MI workers to G.M.) soon cease to exist. The best way to love cattle is to do your best to support those that provide them a quality life experience and keep eating them to ensure their continuity.


 

Freezer Performance: Seals, Sensors and Alarms

Freezers quietly chug along in a basement or utility area and are easy take for granted – until they unexpectedly fail. This post is about getting a “heads-up” before a major loss.

Most freezes are NOT equipped with an actual internal temperature readout device or alarm. If yours has none then by all means at LEAST get one like this that has a wired sensor run thru the door seal and an external battery powered readout and audio alarm. You can use it both to adjust the freezer temp setting to the zero to 10 below F range best for beef storage and get an alarm should the freezer or power circuit fail.

Freezer “door seals” are a major performance concern. Accordion pleats and magnetic attraction allow the seal to compress and extend to close gaps of varying size. They are by no means a perfect “hermetic” seal and only slow down the leakage of internal cold/heavy/dry air OUT to be replaced by warm/light/wet room air leaking IN. This is why frost forms on the internal walls and coils. Frost represents the condensation and freezing of room air humidity (water vapor) on these cold surfaces. The more leakage the quicker it forms. Make sure your door seals are undamaged without excess crud in the pleats (particularly along the bottom seal of an upright style freezer) and are not age-hardened. Dirt and crud accumulation in the pleats restrict seal compression, slowly making that portion of the seal less compliant.

More recently available wireless sensor/alarms may be a better option since they don’t  promote seal leakage at a wire pass-thru point. This unit is capable of displaying and alarming (-40 to +140 F) from 2 remote sensors in addition to the station location.

Chest freezers are less vulnerable to air leakage because the seal is all at a single elevation with a uniform internal air pressure behind it. Their seal pleats are oriented horizontally and don’t collect crud. Upright freezer seals are faced with a pressure differential between top and bottom due to the tall column of warmer-top and colder-bottom air they are holding in. The bottom seal tends to collect crud from inside the freezer box. Uprights are prone to leak OUT at bottom and pull IN at top.


 

Lisbon-Style Vinegar BBQ Sauce for Pork

If you’ve got a quality, slow-BBQ’d  cut with a delicate smoke for making pulled- pork this sauce is the way to go. Forget the gloppy, sugary, branded trash entirely. Doubles as a dressing for slaw! Add sparingly (1/2 to 1 Tablespoon per pound) to shredded pork and also serve on the side  as a dip for the sandwich.


 

Altered Reality of Fasting

I’ve completed two 72 hour fast episodes now- separated by 90 days- due to prompting from my 30 sumthin’ daughter Amanda. The idea was daunting for someone accustomed to regular meals but it turns out the normal , healthy human body is remarkably adept at managing energy intake and usage. For me the most difficult part was skipping that first mealtime. After that,  hunger was really no issue and increased mental acuity and an accelerated sense of the passage of time were remarkable. I spend considerable time cooking so had expected the time normally spent preparing and consuming meals to drag by while fasting. Not so at all!

I used a low-carb electrolyte replacement powder in water and went on with my everyday farm activities with seemingly more than normal intensity.  Sleeping thru the night was improved. Skipping the first meal was easier if another activity was planned to displace it.

Top researcher in fasting’s differential effect on cancer cells and fast-mimicking diet’s reversal of diabetes is Valter D.Longo of USC Leonard Davis. His short vid’s on fast mimicking and cancer protection are instructive.

Relevant links:    lifestyle.engineeering               healthline


 

Osso Buco Milanese

Late winter annual sauna party weekend coming up (w/kids & crew) and this trusty recipe comes to mind.  All ingredient except the shanks (use 2″ thick shank sections from your Hay Creek fractional beef orders) and saffron can be found at the Walmart but the results are world-class. Other than skipping saffron the only modification I use -to accommodate beef rather than veal shanks-is to double braising time to 3 hours in a covered pan in the oven at 325 F. Enlist aroma-motivated guests/family to stir the broth into the Arborio rice -the hardest part of the whole prep.