Hot plate

There's a heart attack on a plate for you.

There's a heart attack on a plate for you.

A light dinner last night called for a medium-heavy breakfast this morning. I’m talking eggs scrambled with chopped green chile and minced garlic, diced spuds with green chile, red bell pepper, scallions, garlic and cilantro, shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, and a hunk of leftover grilled flatiron steak. Plus coffee, of course. A day without the velvety black goodness is a day without sunshine.

Speaking of beef, here’s a story you don’t want to read if you’re big on mystery meat. It’s straight out of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.” I forwarded it to my man Hal, a meat-eater who is intensely interested in eating well and locally, and he replied, “This is why we raise our own.”

Hal was cooking for a couple dozen folks at a neighbor’s birthday party last night and drank wine with the gent who owns the plant that processes his beef, which when still on the hoof meanders around the neighborhood eating grass at 8,800 feet. Not many of us live this close to our grub, which goes a long way toward explaining how a young girl can wind up paralyzed from the waist down by eating a shitburger.

Interestingly, Hal also claims that there are “many more cases of food-borne illness from produce than from meat, fish, chicken and eggs combined.” I don’t know whether he’s right, but I do recall the salmonella-tainted jalapeños of 2008 and E. coli-contaminated spinach of 2006, clear indications that vegetarianism does not guarantee one a clean bill of health.

11 Responses to “Hot plate”

  1. Larry T. Says:

    We went “off the grid” of factory-raised critters years ago. We’re fortunate here in SUX to have a local place called “One Stop Meat Shop” that sells only locally raised chunks of beef, pork, lamb, bison, goat, chicken, eggs etc. All raised with no hormones, antibiotics, or other adulterants. Of course we still eat bits of factory stuff during our weekly visit to the local taqueria but generally keep the dead critter meals to one or two a week in any case. We trust these folks (not the taqueria!)enough to eat their ground beef uncooked as in Italian-style “carne cruda” mixed with some olive oil, a bit of garlic and salt/pepper. Never been sick as a result but I certainly would NOT try this with supermarket ground beef! If they only could find someone who can make good Italian-style sausage they’d get our entire meat budget. Sadly the owners are trying to sell the store so we may be back in deep doodoo soon unless new owners come forward. Maybe we’ll have to tie up a goat or get some pigs and chickens out back…that would go over well with the neighbors!

  2. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    We do a lot of business with a neighborhood outfit, Ranch Foods Direct, as well as with Vitamin Cottage-Natural Grocers, which is considerably cheaper (and closer) than Whole Foods. They’ve also been a longtime supporter of the Colorado racing scene.

    We’ve been lazy about taking advantage of the farmers’ markets, though, and that’s a situation I really need to rectify. There are just two days left of the Colorado Farm and Art Market, and one of Hal’s ranching pals, Doug Wiley of Larga Vista Ranch, frequently brings up free-range pork that is out of this world.

  3. md anderson Says:

    I recently had a long discussion with a woman who sells yak meat at the farmer’s markets in Santa Fe and Los Alamos. She runs her herd of about 100 up near Taos all grass fed. I am considering giving some a try, tho it looks to be a challenge to cook with. I am thinking in a slow cooker with some local red chili lots of garlic and onions.

  4. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Yak, eh? Sounds interesting. I’ve eaten venison, elk, bison, even bear, but never yak. I rooted around on the Interwebs and found an outfit in Vermont that raises grass-fed yak — they offer up some recipes here.

  5. swell Says:

    There is a Norwegian version of raw ground beef, seasoned called Tehacas(?), some say steak tartare, but it’s a delicious seasoned ground round with onions and such, great on a “cocktail” rye or pumpernickel with slice of raw onion. Used to get it from a now defunct butcher shop near here. Have not seen it in years.

  6. md anderson Says:

    The rancher claims that by being grass-fed the yak meat is higher in benficial Omega acids. Also apparently yak gain more weight on less feed, so you can raise 3 yak on the same acreage as one cow/steer. She hands out a bunch of recipies to folks who buy her meat, and she usually has some dish to taste as a sales pitch. This is the first year she will have yak jerky, including a red chili spiced jerky.

  7. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    I remember Randy Bragg, the lead character in “Alas, Babylon,” enjoying what he called “a cannibal sandwich” — “raw ground round, smeared with horseradish and mustard and pressed between slices of rye bread. . . .” Never had the huevos to try it myself.

    Meanwhile, Hal furnishes this article on the safety benefits of grass-fed beef. He says the truly vile strains of bacteria that send folks to the ER or the graveyard “are found in cattle that have been fed corn. Cattle can’t digest the stuff, and so it does some bizarro stuff in the gut.”

  8. John Levy Says:

    Our beast or beef is raised on gramma grass and sagebrush outside of Miles City, Montana. It is a little mor expensive but I know the people that raise the steer and the company that puts it into the package. Long way from hanging beef in the early 70’s. but then we had immune systems that beat off e coli and polio as kids.

  9. James Says:

    Local vs. Factory? Kinda reminds me of the story a professor presented in college. You have a Twinkie and an apple. Which is healthier? And then he asked, “If you bit into either and found a worm, what are you going to do?”

    Most of the kids in class answered “apple” to the first, and “throw it away” to the second. Made sense. Until you realize that the apple doesn’t necessarily meet USFDA standards, is not lablled with it’s contents, and you can’t really sue anyone if you eat a worm in an apple. Hostess however is mandated to label and stand behind their packaged foods. Thus, the “healthier” option might not always be the “best” option. Food for thought…

  10. Larry T. Says:

    Hmmm, I think I’d take an apple with a worm in it over anything “baked” in a Hostess factory, FDA inspected or not. Just as I wouldn’t eat any grocery store ground beef without cooking the hell out of it, USDA inspected or not.

  11. James Says:

    Larry, I wouldn’t eat ANY meat without cooking the hell out of it, so what’s your point?

    Eating that apple, or Twinkie, may actually increase your worm intake per day, but neither one is labeled to include it are they? The point is that you can’t always trust what you believe to be true. The labeled food is healthier for you, but not necessarily better for you.

    Think of the healthiest cereal you can eat. You might be surprised to learn that it is not granola. But walk in to any health food store, or food co-op, and what will they try and sell you on as “healthy cereal”? Granola. It works if you are trying to not adhere to a low-fat diet, my compadre…otherwise you are screwed.

    As for labelling, of the food, I would only point out that unless you have a food allergy, go ahead and eat whatever you want. Otherwise, the labels can save your life.

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