Tag Archives: grassfed beef

Sirloin Tip Roast with Red Wine

So the last time I made Sirloin Tip Roast I let myself be inspired by dry-heat cooking methods, even though my heroine, Irma Rombauer of The Joy of Cooking, literally shows us in black and white that this meat cut deserves moist heat.

When Bill and I ate it, the meat did seem a bit dry, but I figured at the time that the lean-ness of grassfed meat had a lot to do with the end result.

This time I decided to stick with Irma’s suggestion. I found a recipe on Food.com that called for a dry heat method, i.e., roasted uncovered in the oven, but you also add water and wine to the pot. I loved the idea of rubbing the roast with Dijon mustard—which is really yummy on prime rib—but I decided not to add it because I was going to put a lid on my Dutch oven and that wouldn’t make the mustard nice and crispy like on prime rib. It turned out to be the right approach.

The recipe is simply called Sirloin Tip Roast. As the diagram above shows, this cut is either adjacent to the rump, the flank, or the shank of the cow. And for grassfed beef, it’s extremely lean so cooking time must be reduced.

I followed the beginning of the recipe by taking the roast out of the fridge an hour ahead of time, then sprinkling it with salt and pepper.

Then I poured olive oil in the bottom of my Dutch oven and browned the meat on all sides.

Afterwards, I cut slits in the meat and added sliced garlic cloves, then poured 1/2 a cup of water and 1/4 cup of dry red wine into the pan. Like I said, I skipped the mustard. And, I basically skipped the rest of the ingredients except for some fresh chopped rosemary.

Even when a recipe calls for a rack, I never use one because I don’t own one. Sure, it might be a good idea sometimes, but I don’t want to wreck my pans and I seemed to have done just fine so far without one.

I put the 3-lb. roast in a 325-degree oven with the lid on for just 1  1/2 hours.

I believe it was more moist than last year’s recipe. Served au jus alongside roasted root vegetables, it made a delicious autumn meal—and great leftovers during the week!


How to Eat Healthy on $5.00 a Day: Day 4

Day 4 of “How to Eat Healthy on $5.00 a Day” was somewhat labor intensive and I don’t recommend this combination of meals in a single day. I prefer to make soups, stews, and roasts on weekends—sometimes multiple dishes at the same time—and then use portions of them throughout the week. Each of today’s meals included more cooking than I would usually do and it’s only because I work at home that I could get away with it.

Here’s what we ate today:

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How to Eat Healthy on $5.00 a Day: Day 1

[Note to reader: If you haven’t read why I’m writing this five-day blog series, please refer to my first post, “How to Eat Healthy on $5.00 a Day,” which explains my intent.]

I marvel at the choices of oatmeal available to us in this country. In Bill‘s and my house alone, we have three: rolled oats, quick rolled oats, and instant oatmeal (all organic).

You can also choose from conventionally-grown oats, and instant oatmeal with a variety of flavors, such as maple and brown sugar, apple-cinnamon, etc. So it was interesting to see how the prices vary on just the three types we have in our house.

Of course, instant is most expensive because you’re paying for the convenience. But couldn’t you also say you’re saving energy since you don’t have to wash a pot? That’s my favorite part about instant oatmeal. Today I opted for quick rolled oats, cooked in a pot for about two minutes, which actually seemed faster than heating water for instant oatmeal and then waiting for it to set. Oh, the choices we have!

Check out the menus and the tallies for today’s experiment at trying to eat healthy on five bucks.

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One Family’s Road to Simplicity

Photo via TakePart.com

Here’s a really cool story from TakePart.com, about a family that saw the movie, “Food, Inc.,” and it literally moved them–to a former commercial dairy farm on 30 acres just outside Raleigh, NC.

Prior to watching the movie, Rosie Bolin and her husband, Lee, had already decided to simplify their lives. They were interested in moving out of the suburbs, but it was “Food, Inc.” that became the catalyst for the move.

Seeing the cruelty occurring on factory farms in our nation’s industrialized food system made an impression on the couple. So did GMOs.

So they did their research, joined a local homesteading meet-up group, and moved their family of four to the farm, getting much of their materials for free from Craigslist.

Bolin says, “We started very slowly, adding just one type of farm animal at a time. Our first was a bull calf. Because Holsteins are primarily dairy cows, we found that buying young bulls is very inexpensive. Ours was only $75. Grass feeding is pretty much free, so that has been an amazing return on investment.”

Next came the goats, which were also fairly inexpensive or free on Craigslist. After goats came chickens, which are kept in fully-enclosed tractors and moved every two weeks so they are both protected from predators and have constant access to fresh grass.

As for gardens, Bolin says, “We were way too ambitious and planted two acres of everything. We didn’t have irrigation (other than me with a hose), so I ended up watering, by hand, for two hours every night during one of the hottest, driest summers in North Carolina history.” She says their big lesson was to shift to a lower-impact, higher-yield method, so they’re moving most of the crops to aquaponics.

This year they plan to start selling eggs. They’re also creating educational trails so people can view and learn about the various animals. Because they’ve been inspired by the changes that their family has made, they are anxious to share their experience with others.

To follow their journey, visit them on the Road to Simplicity on Facebook.

GMO Alfalfa: A Lose-Lose Situation

A hot topic in the news you may have heard about recently is the deregulation of Monsanto’s Round-Up Ready alfalfa, which shows the Obama Administration’s lack of support for small farmers and food system reform.

What this means is that genetically modified organism (GMO) alfalfa has the ability to contaminate both conventional and organic alfalfa fields. For conventional growers, contamination prevents them from exporting because many markets outside the U.S. won’t accept GMO crops. For organic farmers–especially dairy and beef–contamination of alfalfa can make it difficult to find GMO-free feed, which is a requirement under organic rules.

While USDA Secretary Vilsack had suggested a “co-existence plan” requiring geographic buffers between fields planted with GMO alfalfa and conventional or organic fields, the compromise was reportedly overruled by the White House.

I subscribe to emails from Michael Pollan, which is where I first heard the news about the GMO alfalfa. Pollan claims, “In my view, Round-Up Ready alfalfa is a bad solution to a non-existent problem. Alfalfa is a perennial grass that doesn’t suffer from serious weed problems. In fact, ninety-three percent of alfalfa fields receive no herbicide at all. Which I suppose is fortunate for any farmers who plant GMO alfalfa, since Round-Up itself is well on its way to obsolescence, as weeds resistant to the herbicide proliferate around the country; I’m told that farmers in Iowa are already having to resort to hand-weeding to control weeds that no longer respond. So why is the Administration willing to risk damage to both organic and conventional agriculture to promote such an unnecessary product? Ask President Obama.”

Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety (CFS), said, “We’re disappointed with the USDA’s decision and we will be back in court representing the interest of farmers, preservation of the environment, and consumer choice. The USDA has become a rogue agency in its regulation of biotech crops and its decision to appease the few companies who seek to benefit from this technology comes despite increasing evidence that GE alfalfa will threaten the rights of farmers and consumers, as well as damage the environment.”

The CFS sent an open letter to Secretary Vilsack, calling on the USDA to base its decision on sound science and the interests of farmers, and to avoid rushing the process to meet the marketing timelines or sales targets of Monsanto, Forage Genetics, or other entities.

Nothing to Sneeze At: Main Dishes for People with Allergies

There’s a little project I’ve been working on during the past six months with a few good and talented friends. And because many of my blog readers suffer from food allergies–or live with people who suffer from them–I thought I’d share the fruits of our labor: I just published my first cookbook and it’s called Nothing to Sneeze At: Main Dishes for People with Allergies.

In the last several years that I’ve lived with Bill, who is allergic to wheat, cow dairy, and corn, I learned how many unnecessary ingredients are in processed food. I also learned how to make substitutions for the foods he can’t eat: bread, milk, butter, tortillas, most cereals, waffles, cookies, crackers, yoghurt, ice cream, cheeses from cows, breadcrumbs, semolina pasta–and even regular ketchup–just to name a few.

Adapting and creating recipes–many of which are posted on this blog–simply became a fun challenge as I cooked in the kitchen. So I thought: Why not share the recipes with people who suffer from food allergies? Then others can see how easy it is to make delicious meals without sacrificing flavor or nutrition.

If you’re interesting in buying your own copy of Nothing to Sneeze At, please visit Lulu.com. I hope it offers hope and inspiration for those who suffer from allergies at the table!

Prime Rib for the Holidays

When you get a mixed quarter of a cow from Lubbers Farm, the butcher asks how you want the ribs—ribeye or prime rib? Bill and I opted for prime rib. Just once a year, I love making roast beef. It’s usually around the holidays…either Christmas Eve or New Year’s. This year, I made it for Christmas Eve.

I followed this recipe from Bon Appetit: Rib Roast with Thyme-Mustard Jus. One reason I picked this recipe is because it’s so easy. I’ve been pretty busy lately and needed some simplicity in my life.

Since we don’t have honey-Dijon mustard, I made my own by combining Grey Poupon Dijon mustard with one teaspoon of unfiltered honey, purchased locally from J & J Bee Service in Gobles, Michigan. (I picked this up earlier in the summer at the Holland Farmers Market.)

You just mix the mustard and honey together with fresh thyme, which I found in my local grocery store. It’s from a farm called Michigan Fine Herbs in Shelby, Michigan, which produces organic herbs.

Then you rub the mustard-honey-thyme marinade on the beef.

Roast the meat for about an hour and 15 minutes. Then let it rest on a platter, covered with foil.

Meanwhile, pour some dry white wine in the roasting pan and deglaze the pan to make the jus. There’s not much grease from this cut of meat because grass-fed beef is much leaner than feedlot meat.

We enjoyed our roast beef with potatoes, carrots, and parsnips, tossed in olive oil with salt and pepper and roasted in the oven along with the meat.

Happy Christmas!