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

Archive for September, 2013

Family Adventures:Dove and Pulled Pork

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

In my circle of friends and family, it is a known fact that I love to eat dove. My birthday was this week and my middle child decided to surprise me with grilled dove for lunch. He began hunting off and on during his free time. As the date drew closer for my birthday, he became more and more determined to bring home dove. So he called my brother for help.

My brother’s family readily agreed to come out to the ranch in order to help. As we made our way to the new ranch, we received a phone call that the hog trap was full. My father, his wife, and their friends had already eliminated the problem animals, but now the hogs had to be removed.

My three sons from twelve to five years of age, my husband, my brother, and my four-year old nephew began the removal process, which is dragging the bodies out of the trap. The job was made more difficult by the uneven ground where the hogs had plowed up the soil in the trap and by the size of the hogs.

Regardless of the difficulty even the youngest member of the hog removal team pulled his weight, quite literally. The smallest hog weighed as much as him. He struggled, he worked, he fell, he got up, he persevered. We were all praising him for completing the task. With a smile he looked up at me and said, “That’s my first time to pull a hog.” It puts a new spin on the term, “pulled pork.”

After our feral hog adventure, we returned to the purpose of our outing. We set our sights on the sky. We saw many dove, but they were all flying just out of range. My brother did bring down one that dared to get a little closer. I don’t blame the birds for avoiding us. We were hardly incognito.

We had the whole crew. Children outnumbered the adults and the former could not sit still or be quiet to save their lives. My seven year old son discontent with sitting in a chair began standing near the trunk of the tree. We thought this was better since he was more hidden. That is until I heard my sister-in-law say, “I think we have a monkey in the tree.” I turned around to see half of the tree swaying back and forth with my son at the root of the problem.

Well, we all learned a lesson or two. My nephew jumped in with the men and pulled his own weight. My son was able to not only bring home some dove, but he also marinated it and grilled it for lunch. Even though dove hunting is considered a social event by most, we learned the kids are still too young.

I was reminded once again the importance of family. Working as a team, we make quick work of a hard task. Including our children in work and fun allows us enjoy each other and pass down knowledge to the next generation. Cross Creek Cattle Company is a family-owned and operated ranch with roots deeply planted in Texas for seven generations now. It is fun to see adventures, stories, memories, knowledge, and skills being written on our children’s hearts as they too grow to love the land, each other, and God, who has blessed us abundantly.

Grilled Grass Fed Beef Cutlets

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Technical difficulties kept me from writing last week. Hopefully, all the kinks have been worked out. I don’t understand why people send spam comments to blogs. I don’t understand why someone would hack into my email account and send a senseless link to everyone in my address book. I don’t understand why people create viruses to infect other people’s computers. It is not fun to be on the receiving end, that is for sure.

I may not understand these things in the technological world, but what I do understand is the comfort and joy associated with good food. Of course, not in an addictive way, but in a healthy manner. Food brings people together. Food is the hook on which most of my childhood memories hang. I think because food is at the center of great conversations and pivotal events in life.

If you are like me, you want people to enjoy themselves at your table. You want to provide healthy and delicious meals. Grass fed beef is by far the healthiest beef one can provide for their family, but can you make it delicious? Cooking incorrectly can lead to not so great meals.

Today I want to give you a recipe for grass fed beef cutlets. It is a cut with which some customers are not that familiar. Cutlets are about the size of an adult’s palm, thinly cut, and tenderized. Four cutlets come in one package from us. The following recipe is for two packages or eight cutlets. I was also using a gas grill.

Grilled Grass Fed Beef Cutlets

The rub:
2 Tbsp chipotle chile powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cayenne
2 Tbsp kosher salt

Combine the seasonings in a small bowl. Then use the rub to cover generously both sides of the cutlets. Let the meat rest and come to room temperature before grilling.
Turn your grill on high with the lid closed for about 10 minutes. Place each cutlet over the fire, turn down the heat to medium, and cook for 4 minutes with the lid closed. Turn them and cook for 4 more minutes. Turn off your grill and remove the cutlets onto aluminum foil. Seal the foil creating a pocket and allow your beef to rest for 5 minutes.
When you are ready to serve, slice with a sharp knife on an angle, which will create thin strips.

I served with sauteed onions and grated cheese, but these cutlets would have been great with charro beans and/or tortillas. The tender and flavorful cutlet slices would have been wonderful on top of crisp lettuce in a salad. The possibilities are limited only by your culinary imagination. The recipe is a good one for grass fed beef cutlets. Please enjoy from Cross Creek Cattle Company!

A Smoking Hot Roast

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

The quintessential Sunday meal following the morning worship service at the local church has to be pot roast, potatoes, carrots, and rolls. The addition of any other vegetable or salad depends on how far one needs the meal to stretch or how many people are feasting with you. My grandmother, who I affectionately called Mama, was an excellent cook with a tremendous gift for hospitality.

I cannot tell you how many Sunday afternoons our extended family gathered around my grandmother’s two long tables to feast on her cooking and good conversation. As a child, these meals became a staple in my life. They attached and held my heart to hers. Even though my Mama is no longer with me on this earth, my mouth still waters when I smell roast cooking and see yeast rolls rising in well-greased pans.

Most people cook roast in a Crock pot or in covered pan in the oven. They employ the wet cooking method, which means simply that the beef is left to cook in its own juices slowly or in another liquid. Braising is another name for this cooking method. Regardless which name you use to describe how you cook your roast, the roast beef cooks at a lower temperature for a longer time to ensure tenderness and juiciness.

In my house, I’m not the only one who cooks. My husband also does his share, and he mainly relies on more manly methods of cooking, like an outdoor grill. He also has an electric smoker, which I call the man’s answer to the Crock pot. He sets the temperature, adds water and some wood chips to the pan, and can almost forget it until the food is ready.

Yesterday he was smoking pork ribs and surprised me by also adding a grass fed beef chuck roast. He sprinkled some Cajun-style seasoning on it as his only preparation. Then he placed it on a rack in his electric smoker at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for about 4 hours, or until the internal temperature hit 160 degrees. I sliced it up thinly and served it with cold pea salad. It was delicious!

Although nothing like my Mama’s roast from my childhood, smoking the roast delivered a new texture and new flavor to the beef. As tasty as her roast was, it was difficult to slice. Using a fork, her roast fell in chunks of moist threads of beef. The smoked roast sliced perfectly in thick ribbons. These ribbons of beef were slightly more dry in comparison to the wet cooking method, but not dry at all and the slices were no less tender. The smoke from the wood chips imparted a good flavor and the seasoning gave the beef a bit of heat. All in all, smoking the chuck roast was a great idea.

I have so much sentimentality attached to my Mama’s roast that I would choose it over smoked roast if presented with the two options, but honestly that is the only reason. Smoking a grass fed roast resulted in a delicious dinner, easy preparation, and easy cleanup. It is definitely a viable option for the home cook. My children loved it and who knows? They might think back fondly on Daddy’s smoked roast on Sunday afternoons. If you try it, please let me know what you think.

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