The Pioneer Woman’s Pot Roast

On December 31, 2014, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

 

IMG_2057

Christmas Day is a perfect day for a pot roast and especially one I have had on my short list for most of 2014. I loved the simplicity of The Pioneer Woman’s Pot Roast recipe I had ran across searching Pinterest one day. I added some potatoes to it since I like a little more than just carrots and onions. I simply cook potatoes in a small saucepan for 10 minutes in boiling water and add it to the dutch oven in the last 30 minutes before the recipe is done.

IMG_2035

I followed the rest of the recipe as stated on The Pioneer Woman’s blog. You definitely want to use fresh herbs for this one, so don’t forget to pick some up at the market.

IMG_2048

The combination of red wine and beef stock makes a beautiful gravy. This is a perfect pot roast and pretty hard to screw up. Good luck and Happy New Year!

Full Recipe: [Perfect Pot Roast]

 

 

 

Tagged with:
 

My Meat Prayers have been Answered

On May 4, 2013, in Featured, Food, by Chris Baccus
0

IMG_3405

Thank you Meat God.

When we moved out of Texas last year to come back to my home state California, one thing I knew I’d miss was Burgundy Pasture Beef.  The ranch in Grandview, Texas was a gem in where I sourced my meats. We would drive to the ranch about every 6 weeks (it was a hour drive south of Dallas) and get $300-$400 of meat while enjoying some of the best burgers in my life. Life was good. I had found an amazing small ranch, grass-fed beef place I loved going to visit and support with my dollars.

Los Angeles is not Dallas. Or is it California is not Texas?

LA is not full of ranches within a hour drive and the area is known more for vegetarian, raw food which I love too, but it just isn’t a mecca for beef like Texas.  So I went around the local Farmers’ Markets and bought from a couple good grass-fed vendors.  Nothing was that impressive and at least I found some sources outside of the supermarkets or mail order.

IMG_3426

That’s when fate intervened.  We were interviewing some interns for a open position we had where I work and one of the interns mentioned she was doing social media for an organic, grass-fed butcher in Los Angeles called Lindy and Grundy. My ears perked up and I asked her to tell us more about the place, where it was and what she was learning about grass-fed meat. I noted the place and went to it that Saturday when the weekend arrived. I’ve been back since about four times.

Lindy & Grundy sells local, pastured raised, organic meats including beef, pork, chicken and a few other options. I had the pleasure this week of finally meeting one of the two owners Amelia Posada. She was great sharing how she spent some of her time growing up in Pasadena just like myself. I bought some beautiful baby back ribs, chicken, and Amelia’s family recipe pork carnitas.

IMG_3432

We had the carnitas tonight. Oh. My. God. They were delicious. The lard, oranges, garlic and spices brought out so much wonderful flavor I couldn’t stop eating. The shop was also selling fresh tortillas today from the Boyle Heights location of Guisados Tacos. Writing about this I’m now thinking of raiding the refrigerator to make another taco.

So while I love doing vegetarian/vegan meals every 3 to 4 times a week, having a great place to get high quality, sustainable, grass-fed meats is a blessing to my meat quest. Amen.

Tagged with:
 

Bacon and Beet Fettuccine

On December 28, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
0

This recipe is a bit of an adaption from a favorite Mario Batali recipe from Mario’s before The Chew Molto Mario show. Molto Mario was a great show that showcased how simple it is to make amazing Italian pasta that often featured a couple key tips:

1.) Use fresh pasta not dried

2.) Don’t over sauce

Mario’s Tagliatelle with Pancetta and Parsnips is a great recipe and one I’ve modified before. This version uses bacon and golden beets with a sage butter sauce. It also gave me an opportunity to break-in some new bowls I bought at the Ranch 99 Market last week after spending sometime in Torrance, California taking a Lexus LFA for a spin on the LA streets.

Bacon and Beet Fettuccine
Serves 2

Fresh Fettuccine past noodles
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup fresh sage, rough chop
3 slices bacon, diced
2 golden beets, diced into small cubes
fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano

Make your Fettuccine noodles using one recipe of basic pasta dough. Set aside pasta and start boiling some water with a dash of salt.

Add bacon to a medium-high heat saute pan. Cook bacon and remove from pan when done. Leave the bacon grease in pan.  Add the diced beets and cook for about 5 minutes turning often.

Cook your pasta for about 2-3 minutes and drain from water. Add the bacon back to the saute pan and the 2 tablespoons of butter and sage. Cook for 1 minute then add the cooked pasta. Toss and serve immediately adding some Parmigiano-Reggiano to finish.

Serve.

Tagged with:
 

My favorite way to cook filet mignon at home is to get a bit adventerous and light some cognac on fire, watch my wife’s head nod in disgust and listen to my kids say “daddy is burning the kitchen.”  Oh well, that’s what home insurance is for, right?  If you are going to catch your home on fire, and let’s hope I never do, doing it by cooking Steak Diane is a decadent way to do it.

Fortunately, tonight we all survived.

I downloaded the Food & Wine iPad application a few months back and as part of the download received a free issue (additional issues are $1.99 – a deal compared to newsstand prices.)  In the free issue is a recipe from Emeril Lagasse for his version of Steak Diane.  I decided to give it a try.

The recipe is fairly easy to make and takes about 15 minutes which makes it an excellent gourmet choice for a work night.  I accompanied it with some mashed red potatoes and… can yellow corn. Yes from a can… This is one of the rare moments I use canned vegetables, but I had picked up some canned corn from Trader Joe’s on a recent visit to St Louis (Dallas is supposedly getting them soon.)  The canned corn from Trader Joe’s is like no other I’ve had. It is sweet and tastes nothing like other canned vegetables.  Trust me.

Back to the Steak Diane.

This recipe was good though it lacked the richness of another version I make. It doesn’t mean this recipe is bad, in fact it’s quite good and with the addition of a veal demi glace, I used More Than Gourmet’s version at $3.99 a 1.5 oz size from Whole Foods, it made a flavorful, complex sauce.  The sauce is the star here, but using great cuts of meat and quality mushrooms matter too.

I’m just always suspicious of celebrity chef recipes in magazines or on cooking shows. I highly doubt they give their real recipe. Instead what we get is a slightly modified version that lacks the depth of the chef’s true approach to the dish.  So here is Emeril’s magazine published take on Steak Diane.  It is worth your time and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. We sure did, especially minus any kitchen fire.

Full recipe: Food & Wine Steak Diane Recipe

Food Inc.’s Impact on Our Food Buying Decisions

On December 6, 2009, in Food, by Chris Baccus
1


My wife and I watched a very interesting and, by seeing how my Sunday went, potentially life-changing film called “Food, Inc.” It’s basically a documentary that tries to cover the steps of where our food comes from. It’s not as graphic or gory as some documentaries I have watched on the subject of animal cruelty and factory farming. Sure it has a little of that and there are some tear-filled moments, but this film is less sensational and more informational.

After a long discussion with Stephanie about what changes we could make in our family’s diet we decided to do a bit of research. Fortunately, our diet is filled with a lot of home cooking with fresh meats, fruits and vegetables. Plus we buy a lot of organic products. Very little of our consumption is processed foods and we had already eliminated high-fructose corn syrup from our diets a few years ago after Stephanie watched an episode of Oprah featuring Doctor Oz.

What you learn in Food, Inc. is that “organic”, “natural”, “anti-biotic free” are labels that while good are simply scratching the surface and factory farming has bastardized many of the terms. So what do you look for?

Here is an article I highly recommend everyone to read: Avoiding Factory Farm Foods.

Read it and then come back to this article if you care to see what changes we did.

A few easy decisions involved changing our diary choices. We bought a lot of Organic but only milk from the Organic Valley brand. They are very well respected and a very easy decision when buying diary products so we are now exclusively using their products. Sure there are some other labels out there that are just as good, but Organic Valley is pretty much everywhere we shop.

We eat a lot of meat, mainly boneless, skinless chicken which is probably 70-80% of our meat choice. Stephanie doesn’t eat seafood and I eat very little of it. The other 20-30% is mainly beef and a little pork.

Our beef and pork are all bought from Costco. Well, I should say WERE bought from Costco. We’ve decided to go exclusively with a farm that we bought some meat from at last summer’s Birmingham Farmer’s Market – John Henry’s. It’s a local farm that raises pasture beef and pork. They do home delivery in our area. I used to bulk buy from Costco and individually freeze the meat with our Food Saver. Now I’ll just buy bulk from John Henry’s Farm and freeze.

Chicken can also be purchased from John Henry’s but I wanted to see if we could find it more easily since it’s a larger, more frequent part of our diet.

Organic Valley’s meat brand is Organic Prairie that sells prairie raised animals. Problem is it’s very hard to find (Whole Foods Rochester Hills and a Co-op in Ann Arbor) and the cost is exorbitant. For example, frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts run about $5 per chicken breast. Trader Joe’s frozen all-natural boneless, skinless chicken breasts I used to buy are about $2.75 per chicken breast. Of course the Trader Joe’s chicken is not free-range raised. The best route to buy free-range chicken is to buy from a local farm like my local farmer’s market meat seller, John Henry’s, which charges only $5.29 a pound (or about $3.50 per chicken breast.)

Fortunately, I went back to Trader Joe’s this evening and bought some of their individually wrapped packaged Organic Chicken. It’s about $4 per chicken breast ($7.49/lb.) The difference between the All-Natural I used to buy and the Organic is tremendous. Here is how the label reads on the Organic package:

“These certified organic birds eat organic feed their entire lives – their corn and soy based diet is free of antibiotics and animal by-products. They’re free range, raised in spacious, naturally lit houses and large, fenced outdoor pens, where they are free to roam.”

If you read the article I mentioned above, you’ll know the last sentence is very important and major difference from other suppliers. For instance, I went to Whole Foods’ website and it says nothing of the sort, only the following is mentioned:

Poultry

* No antibiotics — ever
* No animal byproducts in feed
* No beak trimming for broiler chickens and game hens
* Appropriate beak trimming for turkeys allowed when necessary*
* Appropriate litter provided for comfort and to satisfy natural foraging instincts

So there you have it, our changes after a day of research. I’m sure we’ll do some more looking into things with other products, but this at least gives us some good information to ‘vote with our dollars.’

Please share any brands, products, farms, etc. that you do to improve how and what you eat.

Tagged with: