Saturday, May 30, 2009

Grass Finished Beef & Veal to Restaurants

This time of year is quite rewarding as we finally have ample supply of fresh and frozen beef and veal finishing off of tender spring grass. Relationships established from prior years are a nice launching pad for this season's harvest. We are fortunate to have 4 repeat customer restaurants that we sold to last year. In Chestertown, Brooks Tavern. In Royal Oak and Cambridge, Bella Luna. In Olney, Ricciuti's. and in Washington DC the Poste Moderne Brasserie.
Of particular interest to me are the unique cuts of product most often desired by some of these restaurants. Veal bones for stock, flatiron steak, sweetbreads, veal cheeks, skirt steak, liver, tongue, beef cheeks, and calf heads! OK, some of these cuts you have heard of and probably know how to prepare but for me some are very new.
Beef Cheeks are rich morsels of dense, finely grained meat. Along with veal cheeks, beef cheeks are being featured on trendy restaurant menus, especially those serving French bistro cuisine. Quite inexpensive, beef cheeks can be found either by special order or in ethnic meat markets and are usually frozen. Cheeks are always braised, and they reheat beautifully. A recipe can be linked to here and an interesting article about the DC trend for beef cheeks here.
The next new one for me was Calf Head Soup. The recipe is quite simple if you have a pot big enough. Usually the head is the main ingredient for a wonderfully flavored stock but also can be served with the soup in a large tureen. Below is a recipe, just let me know when to put your order in.
When you first get the head, have it skinned, eyes taken out, and split through the middle. Wash well, and soak several hours before cooking. Take out the brains, and tie in a bag. Boil the whole until the bones fall out; then take off the meat, skin the tongue, and chop all fine. Put in half an onion and a few sprigs of parsley, add the brains, stir all together, and put into a pudding dish. Grate over the top a few bread crumbs, add a small piece of butter, and pour over a small teacupful of the liquor the head was boiled in. Salt and pepper. Put in the oven and bake from half an hour to an hour, until brown.
The next day make calf's-head soup. Take the liquor of the calf's head, add two onions cut into pieces, one small potato, some rice or macaroni, parsley, salt, and pepper

Sounds delicious!

Judy, back on The Hill

May 18 - 22, 2009

Judy Gifford shows photos of her St. Brigid's Farm near the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland during a Capitol Hill briefing organized by NSAC on Wednesday. Judy rotationally grazes dairy and beef cows and is an engaging champion of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, which awarded her a grant to develop a nutrient management plan on her farm. Special thanks to NSAC member groups that supported the Hill briefing, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and the Organic Farming Research Foundation.