Tuesday, January 26, 2010

January Meat CSA

January was a cold and snowy month, one that is perfect for tough cuts of meat that require long slow cooking methods to render fork tender meals! We gave our members just that for this month's CSA share.

Half Share:
1# Lamb Italian Sausage
1# Ground Veal
1.5-2# Beef Short Ribs
1-1.5# Lamb Leg Steaks

Whole Share:
1# Lamb Italian Sausage
1# Ground Veal
2# Beef Round Steak
1# Lamb Leg Steak
1# Lamb Stew Meat or Boneless Neck Filets
1# Goat Rack Chops
1.5# Veal Rack Chops (pkg. of 2 chops)
1.5# Beef Marrow/Soup Bones (2 pkg.)

One of my favorite beef cuts is short ribs. These meaty bones scream to be braised for a long time in a flavorful sauce. The meat just falls of the bone and shreds perfectly. Cook up a mushroom risotto, black beans or a cheesy polenta and you have the ultimate comfort food to warm you heart and soul.

Here is one of my favorite recipes from Smitten Kitchen:

Braised Short Ribs with Horseradish Cream

Serves 4 (generously) to 6

6 beef short ribs, about 14 to 16 ounces each
1 tablespoon thyme leaves, and 4 whole sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/3 cup diced celery
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups port
2 1/2 cups hearty red wine
6 cups beef or veal stock
4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Horseradish Cream (recipe follows)

Season the short ribs with 1 tablespoon of thyme and the cracked black pepper. Use your hands to coat the meat well. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. Take the short ribs out of the refrigerator an hour before cooking, to come to room temperature. After 30 minutes, season them generously on all sides with salt. When you take the ribs out of the refrigerator, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. When it’s time to cook the short ribs, heat a large Dutch oven over high heat for 3 minutes. Pour in 3 tablespoons olive oil, and wait a minute or two, until the pan is very hot and almost smoking. Place the short ribs in the pan, and sear until they are nicely browned on all three meaty sides. Depending on the size of your pan, you might have to sear the meat in batches. Do not crowd the meat or get lazy or rushed at this step; it will take at least 15 minutes. [I find this takes closer to 45 minutes if you're really thorough. Be thorough!] When the ribs are nicely browned, transfer them to a plate to rest. Turn the heat down to medium, and add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme springs, and bay leaves. Stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up all the crusty bits in the pan. Cook 6 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables just begin to caramelize. Add the balsamic vinegar, port, and red wine. Turn the heat up to high, and reduce the liquid by half. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Arrange ribs in the pot, lying flat, bones standing up, in one layer. Scrape any vegetables that have fallen on the ribs back into the liquid. The stock mixture should almost cover the ribs. Tuck the parsley sprigs in and around the meat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid if you have one. Braise in the oven for about 3 hours. To check the meat for doneness, remove the lid and foil, being careful of the escaping steam, and piece a short rib with a paring knife. When the meat is done, it will yield easily to a knife. Taste a piece if you are not sure. [If you would like to cook these a day ahead, this is where you can pause. The next day, you can remove the fat easily from the pot -- it will have solidified at the top -- bring these back to a simmer on the stove or in an oven, and continue.] Let the ribs rest 10 minutes in their juices, and then transfer them to a baking sheet. Turn the oven up to 400 degrees F. Place the short ribs in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to brown. Strain the broth into a saucepan, pressing down on the vegetables with a ladle to extract all the juices. Skim the fat from the sauce (if you made these the day before, you will have already skimmed them) and, if the broth seems thin, reduce it over medium-high heat to thicken slightly. Taste for seasoning. Serve with horseradish cream (recipes below) on the side.

Horseradish Cream:

3/4 cup créme fraîche
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine the créme fraîche and horseradish in a small bowl. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Taste for balance and seasoning.

And if you have never tried Marrow Bones, you have to give them a whirl. We have some that are incredibly meaty and would be perfect as an elegant Osso Bucco entree with the marrow being utilized as an appetizer.

Here is a recipe for Roasted Marrow Bones from Fergus Henderson:

8-12 center cut beef or veal marrow bones

1 c roughly chopped fresh parsley

2 shallots, thinly sliced

2 t capers

1 ½ T extra virgin olive oil

2 t fresh lemon juice

course sea salt to taste

toasted baguette slices

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put bones, cut side up, on foil-lined baking sheet or in ovenproof skillet. Cook until marrow is soft and has begun to separate from the bone, about 15 minutes. (Stop before marrow begins to drizzle out.) Meanwhile, combine parsley, shallots and capers in small bowl. Just before bones are ready, whisk together olive oil and lemon juice and drizzle dressing over parsley mixture until leaves are just coated. Put roasted bones, parsley salad, salt and toast on a large plate. To serve, scoop out marrow, spread on toast, sprinkle with salt and top with parsley salad.

Check out this video with Fergus Henderson as he prepares this unique and delicious dish:

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A New Look for Mint Creek Farm

We are proud to share with you our brand new logo. This logo was designed for us by one of our very own CSA Members, Sarah Becan. Sarah spent an afternoon with us at the farm and has been a CSA Member since we first started the program. We could not have found a better candidate to create an image as important as this one for us. She worked hard on this design and we appreciate her patience (in dealing with us changing our mind constantly) and talent. We think she created the perfect design to characterize our little haven at Mint Creek Farm. Thank you Sarah!