Tag Archives: beef

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff

After making the Mushroom Stroganoff I wanted to make the real thing. Especially considering that I haven’t had beef stroganoff in at least ten years. Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either when I started thinking about it. I actually don’t remember the last time I had it. And after I made the mushroom stroganoff, I started searching for recipes. But as you know, I have a hard time following a recipe. So, I decided to combine a few and the ones I liked were the Paula Dean version and a Cooking Light version.  Here is what I came up with:

Ingredients:
1 lb of beef (I used the already-cut-up beef that you can find at your local grocery store)
3 TB of flour (this depends on your beef; you could use more or less)
24 oz. of mushrooms, sliced thinly (less mushrooms if you like less)
1 cup of low-fat sour cream
1 large onion, diced
Spices to taste (salt, black pepper, paprika, chipotle pepper)

Steps:
Cook noodles according to package directions.
1. In a zip bag, season and flour the meat. Shake it to make sure the flour, salt, and pepper cover the meat.
2. In a large skillet, saute the onions and then the meat.
3. Add the mushrooms once the meat is done.
4. Once the mushrooms reduce, add sour cream and cook over low heat till you have a nice sauce and no lumps and the meat is cooked through.
Add seasonings as you go along to deepen the depth of flavor.

Serve over noodles.

Onions and meat

Onions and meat

Mushrooms added

Mushrooms added

Sauce for stroganoff

With Sour Cream

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Jeff-Leen Farm

Ok, I know I have neglected this blog for a loooong time.  My apologies.  But you know how it goes; work, work, more work, family, friends, hobbies, school, etc.  Actually, I have quite a backlog of material for blogging, but let me start with this.

Jeff-Leen Farm

Jeff-Leen Farm

For the past several years I have been purchasing meet during the summer at farmers markets.  I have settled on ground beef and chickens from Jeff-Leen.  You see, Jeff has a different breed of cattle, it’s not Holsteins, it’s Piedmontese.  The breed originated in the Piedmont region of France and is naturally very lean.  Actually, Jeff has a brochure that compares various meets with this partucular type of cow.  Since I am not willing to give up beef for a healthier lifestyle, I figured I should try this since it’s so low in all the “bad” stuff.

I also purchase their summer sausage with garlic almost weekly.  It’s a great snack and doesn’t spoil eaisily.  I’m sure I’ve tried their eggs too.  Delicious.

But about the chickens.  So worth every penny.  They’re fresh, tender, and succulent.  It’s orders of magnitude better than a fresh Sendik’s chicken, and I know I’ve made my best roast chicken with a fresh Jeff-Leen chicken.  But, they go quickly, so if you want one, it’s a good idea to get to the market early or even call ahead.

So Cute!

So Cute!

Chicken Coup

Chicken Coup

Knowing that farmer market season is nearly over, I asked Jeff what’s the best way to get his products during winter.  He said that they can drive it down and meet at a park-n-ride or other such location so you wouldn’t have to drive all the way to Random Lake. But I would recommend the drive. It’s not that far and it’s an absolutely gorgeous area.

Band for Customer Appreciation Day

Band for Customer Appreciation Day

Jeff-Leen also has an annual Customer Appreciation day at his farm.  This year it was in early September (I told you I have a backlog) and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  There was a band, great food (duh!), a hay ride (I’m lucky I’m not allergic to hay); got to see the chickens and the cows.  It turns out that the real Piedmontese cows have black circles around their eyes.  And the chickens get moved around at least once a day to a new piece of pasture so they get fresh grass and bugs to pick through.  But they are confined in their coups and there are about 100 chickens or so per each coup.  It was great to visit the farm, try out some other foods (I didn’t even know that they have hot dogs until I tried them at this event and they were really great), and just generally spend the day relaxing in a beautiful setting.  There were also lots and lots of prizes, but unfortuntaly, I didn’t win anything.  😦  Oh well.

The cows roam around and looked very calm and peaceful.  I was surprised at how it didn’t smell of the typical “Wisconsin Dairy Air”.  Walking round the farm I noticed how clean it is.  As a customer, it makes me feel better knowing that the products I buy are from animals that are well taken care of and that they’re in a clean environment.  Jeff and his family are really friendly and are ready to answer any question.

Cows in the field

Cows in the field

Piedmontese Cows

Piedmontese Cows

See the black around the eye?

See the black around the eye?

Meat “Sauce”

Initially, I wanted to make pasta sauce, but when I started to cook, I changed my mind. Instead, I decided not to add tomatoes or pasta and to leave the grain as a decision for a different day. I got this ground beef at Grassway Organic Farm and was excited about the possible meal I’d make with it. So when I started cooking, I decided not to add the tomatoes so as not to hide the taste, and added veggies and some spices instead. Basically, you can use any veggies you like or have on hand.  The spices definitely added the warmth I was seeking without making the dish spicy.

Spices

Spices

Ingredients:
1 large onion, diced
1 lb of ground beef
Spices (salt, freshly ground black pepper, turmeric, sweet curry, ground chipotle, adobo, garlic powder, ground cumin; all spices and mixes are from Penzey’s but you can use what you like)
1 medium zucchini, diced
1 medium summer squash, diced
2 bell peppers (I used orange and red), diced
Olive oil

Steps:
1. In a large pan, heat olive oil and saute the onion.
2. Add the meat when the onion is soft and translucent.
3. Add spices, to taste. Cook till the meat is just about done.
4. Add the veggies.
5. When the veggies are just getting soft, reduce heat to low and let cook for a bit, until the veggies are done to your desired tenderness.

Beef, onions, and spices

Beef, onions, and spices

Added the Zucchini and Summer Squash

Added the Zucchini and Summer Squash

Added the Bell Peppers

Added the Bell Peppers

Done!

Done!

Grassway Organics Farm

Kay and Wayne Craig

Kay and Wayne Craig

Living in the city, we often forget where food comes from.  Yes, it comes from the store, but where does it come from before the store?  We all know that milk comes from cows and eggs come from chickens, but when was the last time you actually saw that chicken lay an egg?  Put on your comfy shoes and head to a farm to help you remember and to see the farm animals many of us see only on TV or in pictures. So on a recent weekend, I (and some friends) made the trip to Grassway Organics in New Holstein, WI.

Calf looks like a deer to me

Calf looks like a deer to me

There we were met by Kay and Wayne Craig who were the most gracious hosts.  Kay told us some pretty interesting information about the farm and how they got into farming and Wayne showed us around.  So with cameras in hand, we set off to take the tour of the farm.
We walked to see the calves that are absolutely adorable and look a little bit like deer.  Then Wayne showed us the calves that were already weaned.

Chickens and Eggs

Chickens and Eggs

After that, we walked across the road to the field where the chickens were.  Boy were they loud!  Lots of clucking and noise-making by the roosters and chickens.  The chickens run around to their heart’s content, plucking away at the grass and the feed that they’re fed a few times a day. Wayne lifted the side of the cart where the chickens hang out and the chickens that were inside laying eggs protested the intrusion quite loudly.  But we got to see the eggs right there. Of course, I couldn’t pass up eggs from free-range chickens so I picked up a dozen at their store. My family and I found the eggs to be quite tasty, even my dad commented on how much he liked them.

Cows at Grassway Organics

Cows at Grassway Organics

Then, Wayne took us to see the cows that were grazing in a different part of the farm. He said that the cows are milked twice a day (6 AM and 4:30 PM, if I remember correctly). The cows are also moved to different pasture land every 12 hours or so, ensuring plenty of grass for them.

We also so the place where the cows are milked. It looks so clean, like it’s never been used. Gives me reassurance, since Grassway Organics contributes milk to Organic Valley (a brand of milk I often purchase).

Chicks

So cute! Chicks

In addition to all that, Wayne showed us the cutest goslings and chicks ever. They’re so cute. Definitely brings back memories of growing up with chicks and chickens, even though I’ve always lived in the city. Hmmm…. I wish I could raise chickens where I live now, but I think the condo association would have something to say about it…

Check out a different review and more pictures from Yulinka Cooks.

Steak and Potatoes

I love steak.  And potatoes.  But I’m trying to take a healthier approach to these foods and I know that cooking this at home would not only be healthier, but also much more cost effective.  Even in these economic times a steak and potatoes dinner is affordable, if you make it yourself.  And honestly, why pay $30 per meal and spend hours in a restaurant where you don’t know what you’ll get if this costs about $7 or $8, takes no time at all to prepare,  is really easy to prepare, and you know exactly what you’re eating.  So, without further ado, here is what I did.

Ingredients:
Steak
Sweet potatoes (I used 2)
Worcestershire sauce
Tamari or Soy sauce
Olive oil
Salt, pepper

Marinating steak

Marinating steak

Grilling Steak

Grilling Steak

Steps:
For the steak:
1. Marinate the steak in olive oil, tamari/soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, and some freshly ground pepper, in a ziplock baggie. Let the steak marinate for at least an hour.
2. Grill the steak. I don’t have that option, so I used a grill pan. Oil the pan slightly and place the steak. You can flip it for grill marks on both sides. Grill until it reaches the desired level of “done”.
3. After the steak is done, transfer it to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Let stand for about 5-10 minutes so the juices redistribute back and don’t leak out when you cut into it.

Sweet Potato in Oven

Sweet Potato in Oven

Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato

For the potatoes:
1. Clean thoroughly with a brush, or peel the skin.
2. Cut into wedges.
3. Place the potatoes into a baggie and pour oil. This helps keep clean-up to a minimum.
4. Spread the potatoes on a baking sheet. Salt, pepper.
5. Place into a preheated oven (375 degrees) and bake for about 25 minutes or until done.

Steak and Potatoes

Steak and Potatoes

Beef Stew

When it’s as cold as it is now, I always want something hearty, like a chili or a stew.  Since I made chili on Friday, today was the day to make the stew.

I was looking for an easy and quick stew recipe, but seems like those don’t exist.  But I like a lot of Ina Garten’s recipes, and wanted to try her stew. Here’s the recipe to the original: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/parkers-beef-stew-recipe/index.html

It turns out I can’t really follow directions.  That, and my dutch oven isn’t as big as hers, so I had to make alterations to the original recipe in terms of quantities and herbs (I really dislike rosemary – to me, it makes everything taste like mold).

So here is my version, inspired by Ina Garten’s recipe:

Ingredients:
2 lb of beef
2 whole garlic cloves, smashed
3 bay leaves
2 cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Good olive oil
2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut diagonally in 1 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 pound white mushrooms, stems discarded and cut in 1/2
1 pound small potatoes, halved or quartered
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 cups or 1 (14 1/2-ounce can) chicken stock or broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
tomatoes (I used 1 14 oz. can, but if you have fresh ones, that’ll be great too)
Red wine (I used a half bottle of what I had already opened)

Steps:
Place the beef in a bowl with red wine, garlic, and bay leaves. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight. A few hours would be fine too, or even a few days, but not more than 2.

The next day, or in a few days (yes, I was too tired on Friday to cook this in addition to the chili I already had going) preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Cut up all the veggies, drain the meat in a colander but save the liquid. Dredge the beef in flour and brown the meat.
In the dutch oven, saute the onions and carrots. Then add mushrooms and potatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes or so until the onions are softened.

Add the browned meat to the veggies. Add the stock and canned tomatoes (I used these ’cause I don’t have any sun-dried ones).

Reduce the wine and sieve it into the dutch oven.

Bring everything to a boil. Once everything is boiling, put the lid on and place into the oven for about 2 hours, or until everything is fork-tender.
Note: I added my own spices: coriander, paprika, bay leaves, and several spice blends (Balti, Chili con Carne, and Southwest) from Penzey’s spices.