Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category
Very interesting article in Wired Science by Jennifer Couzin-Frankel:
Our guts are awash in bacteria, and now a new study fingers them as culprits in heart disease. A complicated dance between the microbes and a component of red meat could help explain how the food might cause atherosclerosis. The work also has implications for certain energy drinks and energy supplements, which contain the same nutrient that these bacteria like chasing after.
Red meat is considered bad news when it comes to heart health, although studies aren’t consistent about how much can hurt and whether it always does. Furthermore, it’s not clear which components of meat are doing harm. Various studies have considered saturated fat or sodium but the results are inconsistent and sometimes depend on whether meat has been processed or not. Stanley Hazen, the section head of preventive cardiology and a biochemist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, wondered whether another ingredient might be harmful: L-carnitine, a nutrient that helps transport fatty acids into the cell’s energy powerhouses, the mitochondria. L-carnitine is a popular additive to energy drinks and supplements that claim to boost energy levels. In food, the highest levels of L-carnitine are in red meat.
Hazen’s focus on L-carnitine was something of a wild guess based on earlier work he’d done. Two years ago, he and his colleagues published a paper in Nature identifying a compound in the blood called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO). It seemed to correlate with future heart disease risk and cause heart disease when fed to mice. TMAO is created when intestinal bacteria break down certain compounds in foods. Hazen wondered if the bugs might also convert L-carnitine to TMAO, which, in turn, could put the heart at risk.
To find out, Hazen, his Ph.D. student Robert Koeth, and their colleagues bought a George Foreman grill and started cooking steaks. “People lined up for the study,” Hazen says, and participants “tended to be young, hungry students.” Blood tests administered afterward revealed . . .
Continue reading. It seems that we are finding more and more instances in which the microbes that inhabit our bodies are vital for our health and proper functioning. No person can go it alone: a good lesson for libertarians to learn. Cooperation is vital.
Last night’s GOPM was sort of interesting. It does require some work and refinement, but it is promising. Wipe out the 2.25-qt Staub round cocotte with olive oil, leaving some on the bottom. Then the layers:
Russian Banana fingerling potatoes, cut in halves or thirds if bigger than very small
1/2 large Spanish onion, chopped
several cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium carrot, cut into large dice or small chunks
1 boneless rib-eye steak (8-10 oz), cut into bite-size pieces
sprinkling of Penzeys Old World Seasoning
6 or so Brussels sprouts, sliced
1/2 head cabbage, chopped small
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
The pour-over was:
4 Tbsp beef stock (from the corned beef)
2 Tbsp Ponzu sauce
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Sherry vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
Then cover and cook in 450ºF oven for 45 minutes.
It was tasty, but there was a fair amount of liquid in the bottom: sort of a stew. Potatoes don’t absorb the liquid the way (say) rice or quinoa do. I could add some quinoa to the bottom layer and/or use less liquid. Perhaps:
2 Tbsp beef stock
1 Tbsp Ponzu sauce
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp horseradish
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
The above version also reflects The Wife’s request to drop the vinegar and to add horseradish.
I got the rib-eye steak thinking of prime rib (same meat, only thicker). However, it did seem somewhat dry, though tender. I think I might try a different cut—perhaps a tri-tip.
UPDATE: I found the measurements of some of the ingredients and have updated the recipe.
I made it and will be eating it soon. Recipe is just to give you the idea:
I got three good-sized pieces of beef shank (just under 2.5 lbs total), browned them in my large skillet, which they filled. Then I removed them from the skillet so I could sauté a little chopped onion, a few chopped mushrooms, some garlic, one Roma tomato I diced, added just a splash of red wine, a good teaspoon of horseradish. I returned the shanks to the skillet and pushed the veg around so the meat rested on the skillet bottom. I squeezed a lemon over all (a little more acid in addition to the tomato), covered it, and put it in a 200øF oven overnight. I think I probably cooked it a little too long: 6 to 8 hours would be better, but it was fine.
This morning I promptly ate the marrow (cook’s prerogative) and got out my 4-qt pot, looked at it and at the amount of beef, put it back, and got out the 7 qt pot.
I put 2 Tbsp of olive oil in that pot (organic EVOO from California, producer bottled), added 1.5 large Spanish onions, chopped, sprinkled them with a large pinch of salt and a pinch of thyme, and let them cook over medium-high heat while I chopped stuff. I would guess that they cooked for 15 minutes or so. I continued cooking until they were well on their way to caramelizing.
While they were cooking I prepared:
8-10 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 lb domestic white mushrooms, cut in largish pieces
2/3 lb Shiitake mushrooms, ditto
2/3 lb crimini mushrooms, ditto, with the small ones left whole
(I wanted oyster and Chanterelle mushrooms as well, but they were unavailable)
3/4 of one of those giant carrots, diced relatively small
2 stalks organic celery, chopped small
Once the onions were browned—and I did that prep while they cooked—I added the garlic and sautéed that for a moment, then added the mushrooms and continued cooking, stirring occasionally. The heat is still fairly high.
Once the mushrooms started giving up their liquid, I added the carrots and celery and the bowl of cooked beef and veg, after breaking the beef up with a spoon. I added water (I should have bought some beef stock) to almost fill the pot (about 2″ below the lip) and turned the heat up. I added:
1 cup pearled barley
zest and juice of 3 Meyer lemons
When the pot began to boil, I reduced it to a simmer, covered it, and simmered for 45 minutes. I will now add 1/2 cup Amontillado sherry and have a bowl of it.
UPDATE: I’ve corrected the seasoning: more salt and more pepper as well.
Very interesting and carefully done test. Bottom line: It doesn’t work.
We rarely eat beef—expensive, for one thing—but we’ve hit a beef patch, as it were.
Beef short ribs: When I went to Safeway to pick up some prescriptions, they were not ready, so during the 20-minute wait I wandered around the store with a shopping cart. The first thing I checked was the sale shelf in the meat department, and there I found two packages of beef short ribs at 50% off. Okay, that’s worth thinking about, particularly in winter weather. I do have a good recipe for boneless beef short ribs that I have used several times. But I wanted to use what I had on hand, so:
Salt the bottom of the 4-qt sauté pan, then heat it well over medium-high heat.
Brown the short ribs well on most sides. (I skipped the bone side.)
Deglaze pan with 1/4 c red wine, then add:
2 of the big stubby carrots cut into chunks
1.5 Spanish onions cut into chunks
3-4 stalks celery cut into chunks
1 package thick-sliced crimini mushrooms
a small handful of garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp horseradish
2 Tbsp brown rice vinegar (I would have used lemon juice if I’d had it)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2-3 tsp dried thyme
good grinding of black pepper
I covered it and left it in a 200F oven overnight. Very nice looking this morning. I’ll use the fat-skimmer to get the fat off the liquid and serve it with black rice and steamed broccoli.
Then for New Year’s, we’re going to splurge on a prime rib roast, following this interesting guide—for example, from the link:
Does it really matter when I salt my meat?
Absolutely. Take a look at the picture above, which shows the same piece of salted meat with photos taken about 13 minutes apart. In the top row, the salt is still in large crystals, just beginning to dissolve. Because of a phenomenon known as osmosis, the salt will initially draw liquid out of the meat and onto the surface. By the 25 minute mark (bottom left corner), those juices form distinct droplets on the meat’s surface. Meat cooked at this stage will lose moisture fast, giving you a leathery crust.
Eventually, as we hit the 40-minute mark, the salty meat juices have begun to react with the muscle fibers themselves, dissolving some of their proteins, and causing the structure of the meat to open up, like a sponge. The extracted meat juices soon get reabsorbed, and the salt goes along for the ride. The result is better, more deeply-seasoned beef.
Given a few days, unlike a marinade, salt can actually slowly work its way deeper into the meat. I like to heavily salt my prime rib at least four days before roasting before covering it with plastic wrap and placing it in the fridge.
And don’t forget to put salt on the table as well—after you slice that beef, there’s a huge expanse of pink meat in the center that needs to be seasoned too!
UPDATE: This looks like an excellent horseradish sauce for the rib roast.
Full disclosure: Although I haven’t said “No” to eating beef, I don’t eat it very often at all: I go for months with no beef. No big decision, I just drifted away, in part because of repeated reports of grave illness people had from eating contaminated beef and also finding how much I enjoy a diet with fish, soy (tofu and tempeh), chicken, and pork as protein sources.
Marc Gunther has a very interesting report in Yale Environment 360 on a beef industry makeover/PR campaign to try to bring people back to beef.
Like plastic bags, coal, and SUVs, beef has few friends in the environmental community. Most environmentalists would point to beef — in particular, beef cattle that spend their final days in confined feedlots — as being responsible for an array of ills — the greenhouse gas emissions that the cattle generate; the groundwater pollution from their manure; the use of antibiotics in animal feed; the vast quantities of monoculture corn grown to feed the cattle; and the enormous amount of chemical fertilizers and water needed to grow the corn. As advocacy group Food and Water Watch put it in a 2010 report, “The significant growth in industrial-scale, factory-farmed livestock has contributed to a host of environmental, public health, food safety and animal welfare problems.”
Jason Clay believes those problems can be fixed. Clay, 61, who grew up on a Missouri farm, is senior vice president for market transformation at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), and an expert on the environmental impacts of farming. He has now set out to “green” the hamburger — along with the steak, the prime rib, and the rest of the steer.
To that end, WWF this year helped launch the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, an association of businesses and environmental groups that has begun to “facilitate a global dialogue on beef production that is environmentally sound, socially responsible, and economically viable.” The roundtable plans to identify the best practices for raising beef, and spread them widely using the leverage of retailers like Wal-Mart and brands like McDonald’s to do so. Someday your burger may come with fries, a Coke, and a “green” seal of approval.
This is a controversial undertaking for a bunch of reasons, and not just with vegetarians. First, cattle are by nature inefficient converters of plants into protein, so beef has a far bigger environmental footprint than foods like fish or even poultry. Second, given the strong involvement of the beef industry, the roundtable is likely to challenge a green orthodoxy that says cattle should be allowed to run free on pasture and eat grass. (All cattle are grass-fed when young, but conventionally raised cows spend most of their lives in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, where they are fed corn.)
Third, WWF has chosen to . . .
Interesting article on cooking a great burger.
UPDATE: Tested tonight in a cast-iron skillet. Works like a charm. VERY tasty.
This recipe from 2006 I really like, and the comments seem to indicate that those who made it really like it, but the post is rated “poor” by two people. Seems odd. But in re-reading the recipe, I really want to make the recipe again soon.
Not to worry: it was a dairy cow, and the disease cannot be contracted from milk. And I think you can be sure that no cases will be discovered in the cattle from which we get beef because they don’t test those and—this is cute—went to court to prevent one beef company from voluntarily testing all the cows it slaughtered. Couldn’t have that, no siree. The USDA went right along because the beef industry as a whole is opposed to testing in an obvious case of needle-bending: not wanting to get the facts because they would show bad things, and determined to keep anyone else from getting the facts—the company that wanted to do the 100% testing (and it’s not that expensive) were trying to sell into the Japanese market, and this was a requirement to enter that market; they lost their case and the American public can be sure that no mad cow disease will be discovered in beef cattle in the US. Because we don’t look for it.
I’m enjoying a dram of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 20-year-old Kentucky Bourbon Whisky, a gift from The Wife from some years back, and I have to say that it is by far the smoothest bourbon I’ve enjoyed: rich, smooth, and wonderful, the effect no doubt enhanced by my using a special glass designed for single-malt Scotch whiskey, a gift from my brother-in-law and his wife.
We had a good Pilates session together today—still a long ways to go, but have definitely come a long way—and I’m happily contemplating tomorrow’s steak, which I believe I’ll season with Penzey’s Chicago Steak Seasoning:
Robust and smoky, loaded with flavorful chunks of Tellicherry black pepper. Chicago Steak Seasoning gives great grilled flavor to steaks, burgers, ribs, chicken and turkey. Great for broiling, and also nice to give extra flavor to grilled food. Shake on heavily, 1-2 tsp. per pound. For great BBQ sauce, mix 1 TB. in 1 Cup tomato sauce. Hand mixed from: salt, hickory smoke, Tellicherry black pepper, sugar, onion, garlic, lemon zest and citric acid.
Take a look at this primer (and workarounds) for trying out sous-vide cooking. Sounds like it’s worth a while.
This recipe is for some meal-sized meatballs, not the cocktail-party meatballs made for toothpick delivery. Ingredients of just the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground beef (at least 16 percent fat)
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2/3 cup milk (whole or 2 percent)
- 3 slices of white bread, crusts removed (about 3 ounces)
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
- 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
- About 1 cup of flour for dusting
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups (24 ounces) of tomato sauce
I just spotted two recipes on Mark Bittman’s blog that look good:
Obviously I will make changes. The writer of the first recipe suggests serving it on rice or grain… Yes, I do like rice with my potatoes, and perhaps some pasta and bread as well. </irony>
I limit my intake of starch, and for me the sweet potato is more than enough—indeed, I would cut back the proportion of potato somewhat. I also will reduce somewhat the proportion of oil—indeed, I probably will brown the beef (if I use beef) without oil.
Same thing with the coleslaw: I’ll cut the oil in half.
But both recipes look quite tasty with these relatively minor modifications.
I ballooned up to 185 lbs after spraining my ankle and entertaining visitors with nice meals. But now I know what to do, so it’s not a big deal. This morning I’m under 180, heading to 170.
I was at 173 before, but the speed with which I zoomed to 185 was unnerving. My thought is to take it back to 170 and treat 175 as the panic point.
No magic: just following the lessons I learned along the way. I do note that this week I’m very fond of spinach as my green, but I think I’ll go back to kale for a while—though if they have good-looking dandelion greens when I go to the store today, I’ll get some of those: not so much nutritional value as kale—by a fair amount, as I recall—but a lovely bitter taste that I like. And: greens.
I continue to use an egg for breakfast protein (along with chia seed and hulled hemp seed) and tofu or tempeh for lunch and dinner. However, last night I dreamed up a short-ribs dish for the slow-cooker that I plan to make when I reach 170:
Brown short ribs in skillet, then deglaze pan with dry vermouth. (I want a good beef taste, so I’m not using red wine.)
Put all that into slow cooker on top of a mirepoix of carrots, celery, and onions, along with:
A few crush cloves of garlic
Salt & pepper
1 Tbsp horseradish
1 Tbsp Worcestershire
The horseradish in that amount adds a nice flavor—noticeable but elusive. I’ll serve that over buttered and peppered egg noodles.
Something to look forward to.
I made it again, but with minor revisions:
1/4 c. bourbon
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp chopped pecans
2 Tbsp walnut oil
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp maple vinegar
dash liquid smoke
I smashed the pecans in my heavy stone mortar until they were just powder, then I mixed all of the above (in this case, I used Tennessee sour-mash whisky rather than bourbon: much of a muchness, it seems to me.
The steak will marinate until dinner. I didn’t need to tenderize this one (a T-bone with a large filet section—very like a Porterhouse), but I did use the Jaccard to ensure good marination, just not so much as I did on the hanger steak.
After reading this column by Mark Bittman (along with this note and this other note), I bought a skirt steak: inexpensive and (in Monterey) common. It’s used in a variety of Mexican dishes, so the supermarkets all carry it. I have my eye out for a hanger steak as well.
I also am going to order a Jaccard Supertendermatic, based on this Cool Tools review:
The Jaccard SuperTendermatic 48-blade meat tenderizer is simply the best tool I have ever found for turning tough but flavorful cuts, like flank steak and skirt steak, from chewy and hard to eat into tender and easy to bite and chew. To use the tenderizer you simply place it over the piece of meat on a cutting board and push down like an ink stamp forcing the blades through the meat. I am a professional chef and serious foodie from Texas, and I simply cannot imagine making either a chicken fried steak or a good fajita steak without it.
I spent years perfecting a marinade for beef fajitas, fine-tuning my seasonings, timing, cooking, and carving. I wasn’t satisfied with the finished product until I found the Jaccard tenderizer. I now a have a beef fajita that is tender, delicious and moist. When you take a bite it separates instead of pulling the whole piece of meat from your fajita. Likewise, my chicken fried steak was a real challenge. Traditionally a steak is run through a cuber which “tenderizes” the steak using a pair of rollers with interlocking grids to mechanically crush the steak. In my opinion this method smashes and “mushes” (highly technical term there) the meat without tenderizing. Yes, it does result in a “softer” mouthfeel, but it does absolutely nothing to create a steak that is easier to bite through and chew. The Jaccard, by cutting through the muscle fibers and connective tissue, actually creates a steak that is easily bitten off and chewed without the smashed / mushy mouthfeel.
To be fair, we do use a hammer-style tenderizer to flatten and shape our chicken fried steaks, but without the Jaccard you can pound a flank steak until it falls apart without making it any easier to bite or chew. However, if you smash it flat and use the Jaccard the same piece of meat will fall apart in your mouth. This tool is so superior to the traditional hammer-style tenderizer that I use it on almost every beef, poultry, or pork cut I cook, and I cannot stress enough how awesome it is.
Jaccard Supertendermatic 48 Blade Tenderizer