Nobody Rides For Free

Pursuant to the grueling research that attends yet another article, I’ve gotten hip to numerous first-rate local sources for the very best meat one could hope to eat. Or, in the case of people with actual hearts and souls, the only sort of meat one would agree to eat: from animals raised humanely and fed things like grass and/or kitchen scraps and which live the best possible life evolution and domestication have combined to construct for them.

In this case, it was 100% grass-fed Black Angus T-bones from Cedar Ridge Farm over on the Connecticut line. Feeling lazy, I pulled a couple out of the freezer and dunked them in tepid water to thaw (they’re vacuum-packed) while I figured out what to adorn them with. We happened to have leftover brown rice and whole wheat couscous, neither in sufficient quantity to make much of anything. Combined, though, they added up to something, so I made a pilaf of sorts by tossing them with olive oil, cider vinegar, scallion, cilantro, and a bit of kimchi brine. I let the mixture sit to harmonize while I blanched lovely big collard leaves after pretty expertly stripping off the extra stem with my very best knife.

Having at least one high-quality knife that is kept very sharp makes almost every task easier.

Once blanched, and thus a pliable and resplendent British racing green, I rolled up each leaf with a generous dollop of the pilaf and then simmered them gently for a few more minutes in some of the lusciously gelatinous pork stock from the last post. I cooked the steaks in butter, flipping them often to get a good sear–their thickness (1″) precluded a gorgeous, dark crust–and then removed them to rest on a plate, covered. While they reposed, I deglazed the pan with kimchi brine and dijon mustard, whisking it into the steaky fond to make a thick sauce.

Grass-fed meat, because it’s much healthier and less fatty (and with entirely different kinds of fat) needs a bit of care in the cooking. Fat tends to allow wiggle room to clumsier cooks, making for a wider zone of acceptable doneness and tenderness. This kind of beef wants to be rare to medium rare. It’s so beefy and wonderful that it’s a sin to cook it past 130 degrees. And with a tangy, mustardy sauce and some bright green grain wraps, life is good indeed.

8 comments to Nobody Rides For Free

  • Zoomie

    Love the green "sushi"! I'm going to try those, for sure, and I might even eschew the steak if the wraps turn out as I'm imagining! I've been trying to have one meatless meal per week and those with perhaps some bright carrot at the interior would make a nifty, hearty main course. Thanks for the good idea.

  • Heather

    Ass, grass or gas.

    You sure have a way with greens. I just stopped growing so dang many of them instead of tryna find a way to use them every day.

  • The Spiteful Chef

    The green rolls are stunning, and also nobody has ever accused me of having a heart and soul before. I'm touched.

  • peter

    Zoomie: They kind of have a grape-leaf feel, so you could put some ground meat in the filling to get all of the flavors together.

    Blanche: We eat greens every day, in one form or another. And I fucking love a good salad.

    Kristie: Aaaw. I always had you figured for the scarecrow, not the tin man. Have you had much luck finding operations like this in TX, or does all the good meat come from elsewhere? I'm curious about the viability of small farms down there.

  • Zoomie

    Yeah, but then the meatless thing would be out the window. I'm going to try making them with Swiss chard, as I have that in the garden today. Stay tuned!

  • mimicooks

    I love grass fed beef. To me it tastes more beefy than corn fed beef.

    Great idea for the side. It looks like a cross between dolmas, sushi and halupki. Yummo!

  • The Spiteful Chef

    It's available down here, but much more difficult to locate than elsewhere. Example: in Colorado there's a farm near my parents' house that is kind of like a co-op. You buy in to the co-op, then take deliveries of fresh, organic, humane meat (you can visit them anytime to see how the animals are being treated) each week. I think that's pretty cool.

  • peter

    Mimi: It is beefier. My next article is on that very subject- stay tuned.

    Kristie: Meat CSAs are getting big here, too. See aforementioned upcoming article.

Yours Truly



I'm a painter who happens to also spend a lot of time growing, making, and writing about food. I'm particularly interested in the intersection of frugal peasant cooking techniques and haute improvisation. And I have a really great personality.

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