define(WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE, true); add_filter( auto_update_plugin, __return_true ); add_filter( auto_update_theme, __return_true ); July 2013 – Welcome to the Ranch!

Archive for July, 2013

Livers, Kidneys, and Hearts, Oh My!

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

With half and whole orders, customers get to decide if they want to save or discard the organ meat. Our quarter order customers, get to divide the organs between who is interested in them. Our customers seem divided evenly. 50% gleefully pack the bag of carefully wrapped organ meat in their cooler. The other 50% tell me with a crinkled nose to please keep them for someone else or myself.

Over the years, people have discarded organ meats, but I bet that most of our grandparents or great-grandparents ate liver or tongue among other organs. I’m not sure exactly how eating organs has fallen from our diets, but I can tell you that I am particularly wary of eating organs from unknown sources. Most of the organs act as a filter of sorts like the liver and kidneys. You don’t want to partake of an organ full of antibiotics, hormones, or chemicals.

I would not hesitate to eat organs from a naturally raised animal like our grass fed beef. I could eat them with confidence. I find it interesting that wild carnivores will usually eat the organ meat first before eating the remaining meat of the carcass. This discovery led to changes in zoos for the diets of lions, which has allowed these captive animals to reproduce efficiently (Nourishing Traditions 300). Therefore one can conclude that organ meats have something to offer in terms of nutrition, vitamins, minerals, etc.

Our grass fed customers are offered heart, liver, kidneys, ox-tail, and tongue. At this point in time, I think that most people do not know how to prepare the organs for dinner. If that is the case, let me recommend a great read, Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.

This book has an entire chapter devoted to the preparation of organ meats as well as nutritional, historical, and scientific information about the organ meats. You can find instructions on organ preparation. There are recipes like heart kebobs, breaded liver, and kidney-rice casserole.

Hopefully this has not grossed all of you out. In fact I hope that you are intrigued in learning more. “A return to traditional foods is a way of taking power away from the multinationals and giving it back to the artisan…Technology propels us headlong into the future, but there will be no future unless that technology is tamed to the service of wise ancestral foodways” (Nourishing Traditions 316).

Cross Creek Cattle Company is a family-owned and operated ranch, which specializes in grass fed beef. Therefore, we are artisans in this context. We turned back the clock and raise our cattle the way God-intended and how our ancestors did. Consequently, grass fed beef has many health benefits. Some of the most nutrient rich cuts that we offer are overlooked or avoided by our customers-the organ meats, which our ancestors wisely ate. Check out Sally Fallon’s book if you want to educate yourself on the advantages of adding organ meat to your diet.

Healthy Vegetable Side Dishes

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Many of our customers are interested in healthy living and eating. Some for health reasons and some because of the Paleo diet, which is really popular right now. Regardless at to why you are eating grass fed beef, anyone can agree that adding more vegetables into your diet is a great thing, but sometimes you can get burned out on the same old side dish. Therefore, I am listing my family’s top three, which all pare well with grass fed beef.

For one of the most popular ways to cook grass fed beef is to grill hamburger patties. If you are trying to avoid the starch of potatoes, a good substitute for potato salad is pea salad. It is one of my favorites.

Pea Salad
2 lbs frozen peas
3 eggs, hard-boiled
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1/2-3/4 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Thaw out the frozen peas in water while your are peeling and slicing your eggs. Drain the peas and place in a large bowl. Add the sliced eggs and cheese. Stir in the mayonnaise. You want the peas coated but not swimming in condiment. Season to your personal taste. Refrigerate and serve cold.

With our summer gardens producing prolifically, we are eating fresh vegetables daily. Everyone loves vegetables like okra fried, but as the head cook of our house, who wants to fry food? It makes a mess not to mention it is not the healthiest way to eat. So, I roast many of my vegetables, but one that you might not consider roasting is one of the best: okra. If you like fried okra, you will love roasted okra and so will the kitchen clean-up crew.

Roasted Okra
Fresh okra (I usually cook 3-4 lbs for my family.)
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash and cut off the top of the okra. Then cut it up in 1/4″ slices. Pour about 2 Tbsp of olive oil and coat the bottom of a cookie sheet. Place the okra slices on the sheet. Pour about 2 more Tbsp of olive oil on top of the okra. Then season with salt and pepper to your taste. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring once.

I love to stir-fry using grass fed round steak, but we try to avoid grains. Who doesn’t like fried rice? So I substitute the rice for cauliflower. Don’t wrinkle your nose; it is delicious.

Cauliflower Fried Rice
1 head of cauliflower
2 Tbsp + 1 Tbsp butter
2 eggs
Tamari sauce or soy sauce
1 cup frozen peas or carrots, thawed (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and cut up the cauliflower in chunks. Using a grater or the grating attachment on your food processor, grate the cauliflower. It now looks similar to long-grain rice. In a wok or large pan, melt the 2 Tbsp of butter. Once it is melted, place the cauliflower rice into the pan. Stir occasionally for 8-10 minutes on medium heat. It will be tender, but still firm like rice. Push the “rice” to the sides of the pan, and now melt the 1 Tbsp of butter left. As it melts, beat two eggs in a small bowl and then pour into the middle of your pan. Salt and pepper the eggs. As they are frying, flavor your rice on the sides with some tamari or soy sauce. I would guesstimate about 1 1/2 Tbsp-2 Tbsp. If you really love the sauce, use more. Turn the eggs to finish cooking. At this point, add the extra vegetables if desired. Once the eggs are cooked, chop them up and stir in with your rice. Cover, turn off the heat, and keep warm until ready to serve.

These three vegetable side dishes go well with different cuts of grass fed beef. It feels great to see your family eating and enjoying such healthy fare. Try them and let me know what you think.

Life is Good

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

We hope that you had a great Fourth of July. I took the holiday and did not post anything last week. We spent the day as one should with family, friends, and fireworks. My dad graciously grilled grass fed hamburger patties. We had vegetables and dip, pea salad, watermelon, and a festive cake decorated in fruit like the American flag. It was a fun to get together on the ranch mid-week.

Today I just wanted to catch you up on the ranch happenings. You already know that we put away hundreds of square bales. Now we have baled another hay pasture on the new ranch in round bales. We have those stored away for winter. We hope that the rains will continue falling on our land and keep us in green grass through the fall. We always like to get through Thanksgiving before beginning to feed hay.

Our Devon cattle have begun having their babies. They are solid reddish brown and very cute. I can see why the Devon breed was a triple threat in the olden days, meaning they were good for beef, milk, and work. These cows provide a lot of milk for their babies.

On our own private farm, we have had a series of births, too. Two of our three dairy goats have given birth. One had twins; the other had a single kid. Needless to say, we are swimming in good, fresh milk.

In addition, our ducks were getting broody, which simply means they wanted to set on their eggs. We had several ducks that had been setting for weeks. If they got up to feed themselves or rinse off in a trough, then their nest was left unattended. We had a few chickens that would run to the empty nest in order to lay their own eggs. After many weeks, five eggs have hatched, but they are all chicks.

The ducks don’t seem to notice. They have adopted the chicks as their own. The mama duck takes the chicks out into the yard to teach them to forage for bugs and seeds. She quacks low and the little chicks come running, chirping in high pitch tones.

Last night as my family sat eating our dinner, movement caught our eye outside. The duck was running around the yard, flapping her wings like crazy. We started laughing. We think she was trying to teach them to fly, but they don’t even have all of their feathers yet. I hope that the duck doesn’t take the chicks down to the lake with the intention of teaching them to swim.

It is a sight to watch this odd family of fowls in action. It truly is a joy. We have bets whether or not the chicks will grow up to strut like a chicken or waddle like a duck.

Other than these exciting births, things are pretty normal on the ranch. We would really appreciate some rain. Between our family and friends, plenty of hay in the barn, and sweet babies, life is good at Cross Creek Cattle Company.

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