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Savoring the Seasons

Savoring the Seasons: Grass-fed beef delights


Not everyone gets to bring friends to work, but this past weekend I combined my work, friends, and great food. Before locally grown food was the focus of my life, sea kayaking was. From 1984 to 2000, it was my passion. For years, I wrote articles for “Sea Kayaker” magazine (I was in a lot better physical condition when I wrote about sea kayaking than I am now that I write about food!). Occasionally, Chris, the editor at “Sea Kayaker” still asks me to write an article.

Last week, Chris asked for a review of a new DVD — “This is the Sea 5” which includes eight films by outrageously skilled and funny British paddler, Justine Curgenven. I invited myself and Sue Bridge to dinner, video viewing, and food-growing conversation with my long-time paddling buddies, Karen Warren and Sue Tippett. Friday, Karen prepared a feast of shiitake mushrooms, White Russian kale, and spinach grown by Sue T. and stir-fried with chicken, Sue B.’s broiled first-of-the-season asparagus, and a salad of Sue T.’s greens and dandelions. Later, we enjoyed Bart’s ice cream and exciting kayaking videos.

I already had Saturday dinner plans with Grace Edwards to play with her new Deni meat tenderizer. When Grace first described its 49 sharp thin blades slicing skinny holes in meat, allowing marinades to soak in better, it sounded like contraptions that aerate lawns (see www.deni.com). Since Grace is a great cook and we both appreciate locally raised, grass-fed meat, we agreed to try out Grace’s new gadget on less-than-tender cuts of steak.

Grace brought chuck shoulder steak and eye round steak. We tenderized the meat, created a simple teriyaki marinade, and poured marinade over the meat and refrigerated it. While the meat marinated, we watched one of Justine’s films about circumnavigating the island of Sardinia in Italy.

We enjoyed the steak with steamed asparagus and brown rice. The chuck was more tender and flavorful than the eye round. We agreed it would taste even better if marinated longer or if we heated some marinade and poured it over the meat.

While enjoying Bart’s Local Maple Cream ice cream and watching Justine’s film about kayaking in the Aeolian Islands off Sicily, I asked Grace about other ways to season grass-fed steak. Next time, we’ll try cooking the meat without marinating it. We’ll serve it with pan gravy made by deglazing the pan with wine, shallots, butter, and tarragon.

Several area farms raise grass-fed beef and it is available at the farms and at Green Fields, McCusker’s, and Hager’s Farm Markets. You can visit Wheel-View Farm in Shelburne during their open house this coming weekend.

What are your favorite ways to enjoy grass-fed beef?

Wheel-View Farm Open House/Customer Appreciation Days , Saturday and Sunday, May 18 & 19, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., 212 Reynolds Road, Shelburne. Grass-fed beef, maple syrup, maple cream, & cider jelly will be available. Bring a picnic, spend the day, hike to the top of the hill to see the four-state view. See, pat, and feed cows, calves, and chickens. Follow directions on website, do NOT use GPS or Google! For information, call (413) 625-2900 or visit www.wheelviewfarm.com.

This Week We’re Eating. . .

Chuck Shoulder Steak with Teriyaki Steak Marinade

By Mary McClintock, Conway, and Grace Edwards, Sunderland (marinade recipe from www.cooks.com)

¼ C. soy sauce

3 T. honey

3 T. wine vinegar (we used balsamic vinegar)

¾ C. vegetable oil

1 T. grated fresh ginger

1 T. minced fresh garlic

Tenderize meat. Mix marinade ingredients. Pour marinade over meat, refrigerate at least 30 minutes (all day or overnight would have been better). Scrape garlic and ginger bits off meat. Heat some vegetable oil in cast iron frying pan on relatively high heat (or cook on grill). Cook meat until meat thermometer reads 120 degrees. Let sit for a few minutes before serving to allow juices to be reabsorbed.

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