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100% grass fed beef. Icky! Am I crazy?

The cows might get some organic hay, but organic in no way means grass fed. I know a former dairy farmer who said a lot of organic milk comes from cows fed organic grain and hay but stand in pens that are just as muddy. The image of them grazing is not usually the case because the farmer would have to get organic certification for the entire ranging area - not easy and expensive. Instead, give them organic grain and hay. No grazing or they are back to certifying the field is organic.

As for beef, it's the same. The organic beef means they eat some hay and mostly grain. The goal is still fatten them quickly. Fortunately, the cows are not fed the farma diet of mostly gmo corn, chicken litter, and rendered beef fat (yes, they eat their cousins. Beef fat is on the approved feed list even after mad cow). The organic cows are a healthier due to the better diet of more hay. Organic beef is better than conventional, but it is not the same as grass fed. Otherwise, they would tell you right on the label and charge you more. That's business.

Cows are meant to eat grass. Many Americans have been served the bland corn-fed beef and told it's an ideal. It really isn't. That said, if you do not like the flavor of grass fed it is understandable because of what we have been fed for so long. Time to ask for real meat that isn't sick, is lower in saturated fat, high in CLA, and Omega 3s. If you don't like that meat, then yes, get a pastured chicken. But then that opens the door to those who do not like the "chicken" flavor and don't find them as tender.

It's a slow battle back to nature.

May 05, 2010
Tidbits in General Topics

Dinner with friends - should they show up empty handed?

I'm learning that it is a complex question. Reading through the thread, there are many suggestions and opinions that are often based on the reader's experience and/or manners and/or personal interpretation of my post.

I enjoy giving and I enjoy receiving. It depends upon the situation.

When we have people over for a celebration or holiday (only occasionally), then it's a party and please don't think to bring anything. I love to provide a warm atmosphere, good food and drink. Seeing you enjoy yourself is wonderful.

If you casually come over every week/few weeks, ask to come over, suggest getting together for dinner, etc. then the I consider it a group effort. Some soul searching reveals that we can't "afford" to always host our home/wine/alcohol/food/time/energy/prep/cleanup when the group wants to informally gather.

We have taken the suggestions and decided to start "fresh" by suggesting a dinner club that is a co-op of efforts with some ground rules. On occasion we will still have special dinners so I will always make a point to preface by saying it's a special night for _____ and I hope you can come. Please just bring your appetite.

Thank you for your comments. I have learned a lot.

May 04, 2010
Tidbits in Not About Food

Do you have a favorite I'm-alone-now-so-nobody-will-know favorite dish?

I like to warm corn tortillas until they get a little toasty (I do mine over a gas burner). Then spread on some butter and while the butter is melting, I roll up the tortilla and eat. Tasty.

May 03, 2010
Tidbits in General Topics

Dinner with friends - should they show up empty handed?

Thank you soupkitten. It seems gatherings of this type might be out of style...? In our fast lives with convenience foods people have forgotten about this type of informal gathering? I hope not.

I remember my parents having friends over regularly while the kids played downstairs. I also knew a lady who every Sunday afternoon opened her home to friends. We sat around Virginia's round table enjoying a soda/wine/cocktail/coffee and some munchies. She always had something to snack on and friends would bring things. One friend kept his favorite bottle of vodka in her cupboard and every Sunday he'd mix himself a martini. People would flow in and out all day. It was nice.

May 02, 2010
Tidbits in Not About Food

What are your favorite classic, forgotten, or underutilized cuts of beef?

I love ox tails too. They are right up there with beef cheeks when it comes to unctuous tastiness.

May 02, 2010
Tidbits in General Topics

What are your favorite classic, forgotten, or underutilized cuts of beef?

Spleen. Wow. I have never tasted spleen. I'm game for most things and I figure this is our chance to try everything AND know where it came from. How do you prepare spleen? lungs? It never crossed my mind to try lungs. I grew up with English parents so I've had exposure to some organ meats, mostly kidneys, liver, and heart. Oh, and my mother loved head cheese and pickled pigs feet.

I'm friends with a man who raises rabbits and he saves the organs for our dog, including the lungs. Based on the size of the rabbits', I would think a beef lung is rather weighty.

May 02, 2010
Tidbits in General Topics

Strawberries have no flavor anymore. Agree or disagree?

I know what you mean! I go to the farmers market and when I ask how the strawberries taste, I'm told, "they're super sweet!" I don't want super sweet. I can mix water and sugar in a glass. I want a strawberry flavored strawberry. The kind I remember from my childhood. Sweet is just that, I want a sweet and flavorful strawberry.

The closest I have come are the small Seascape strawberries out of the west coast. I was told they are becoming increasingly rare due to their short shelf life. It's unfortunate, people complain because their strawberries don't last an entire week in the fridge.

It's a trade off - if you want a ripe, juicy, richly flavored strawberry, it will likely not last for more than a few days. The genetically modified, watery, size of your fist, flavorless, things at the big box stores (and increasingly at the farmers market) will last for weeks...but I don't want them.

May 02, 2010
Tidbits in General Topics

What are your favorite classic, forgotten, or underutilized cuts of beef?

Great point with the flat iron. We will have to make some this-or-that decisions...and I do love a flat iron on the grill.

I have asked for the head so will have the cheeks. I'm actually going there the day of slaughter (will not be present for the actual deed) so I can make sure I get the parts that are normally not saved - this was actually recommended by the butcher. She said most people don't want these parts so it's hard to remember to save them.

We love beef cheeks and ox tails. Plan to try making sausage. Your question about Bresaola along with bagelman's suggestion of pastrami have really inspired me!

May 02, 2010
Tidbits in General Topics

What are your favorite classic, forgotten, or underutilized cuts of beef?

Wow - thank you bagelman01. We have to purchase a half so will have the front and back. I do like ground meat, I just don't want to have a wonderful cut lost to the grinder. There are so many options out there. I really like your suggestion for the neck and the plate for patrami. Thanks again!

Edit: and I have never tried a 7-bone grilled. Great suggestion.

May 02, 2010
Tidbits in General Topics

Where to Find Strawberry and Mango Extract online?

Look up The Perfect Puree. They sell on Amazon too. I believe their minimum order is three containers and with cold shipping will run about $80 dollars - spendy but the purees are pure and last quite a while. All of the purees I have tried are excellent. The lime and lemon are concentrates and last forever in the freezer. The prickly pear and passion fruit purees are my favorite.

May 02, 2010
Tidbits in General Topics

What are your favorite classic, forgotten, or underutilized cuts of beef?

From what I have read, when people purchase a cow for slaughter one of the reasons they end up with so much ground beef is because steaks and roasts that are enjoyed in other countries, or that used to be more abundant here, are being tossed into the ground beef pile.

We are taking the plunge by purchasing half a grass-finished cow. This requires that we complete a butcher order and I'm taking it seriously. We like to cook and are not afraid to be adventurous. I plan on asking for the organ meats, ox tails, and the head.

This is our chance - what cuts would be on your list?

May 02, 2010
Tidbits in General Topics

Dinner with friends - should they show up empty handed?

Thank you for your replies. These friends are in their mid-thirties. Both work, but they are not what I consider a high income couple...neither are we. We met about six months ago and I think you may be right in that they have fallen into a comfortable groove. It is a complement in many ways, but it's also becoming a bit old. My SO agrees with me and we have discussed our feelings along with reading the responses on this board.

We really loved the old group of friends in our former city. We gathered for years and it had a nice balance. Some people would ask what they could bring while others (who loved wine) would ask about the main was because they enjoyed finding a wine to pair. Others would instead offer to do some prep or set the table. I was able to try new recipes or make a dish using beautiful ingredients from the farmers market. Money or the level of contribution was not the focus because we all had different income levels. Some would sometimes host at their home while others didn't have the space (or found it overwhelming) so instead they made themselves available to help out when others hosted. It was simply a nice way to gather, have a comfortable meal, and after put our elbows on the table and talk.

We have discussed several options (based on the feedback provided here) and for now it's looking like we will start fresh by asking these friends (and others) if they would like to start a dinner club. People can host a main at their home and others bring sides/drinks or they can call pot luck. We can take this as an opportunity to lay down some ground rules and if a person/couple can't host and/or is not equipped to host, then we work out a way to help them host elsewhere (again, with some agreed upon ground rules).

Cheers!

May 02, 2010
Tidbits in Not About Food

Dinner with friends - should they show up empty handed?

I apologize if my post was not clear. When we first became friends we told them how in our former city we used to have a group of friends who gathered regularly - usually at our house. I would usually cook dinner, they would bring something to eat or drink (much like a potluck) and it was an opportunity for us to get together and enjoy a Friday. Our new friends said it sound like fun and would love to do it.

They come over quite often but seem to have forgotten the part about contributing in some manner. If they don't have much money or space, a contribution can be helping load the dishwasher, setting the table, etc.

My SO reminded me that near the beginning of this they once brought over a six pack of beer, which was great, and when they left they took the remaining two beers with them. Nice.

The more I read this thread I think I'll start a MeetUp group for a dinner club that is potluck style.

Apr 30, 2010
Tidbits in Not About Food

Dinner with friends - should they show up empty handed?

Yes - thank you PattiCakes. It's surprising that we would have to nudge 34 year olds in such a manner, but then I also do not want to be resentful or annoyed. So it's up to us to nudge, put up with it (not going to happen), or no longer let our house be the default place to gather.

Thank you again.

Apr 30, 2010
Tidbits in Not About Food

Dinner with friends - should they show up empty handed?

Thank you for your replies.

To me, formal dinners and "occasional" gatherings are what I call entertaining. In that situation we never expect a thing and really enjoy the whole experience. However, if friends come over quite often, even call on occasion to ask what's going on Friday, I think it crosses the line for us to "entertain" them in this manner. I just couldn't imagine myself regularly going to someones home and not feeling compelled to bring an app, or clear dishes, or bring something to drink, or offer to host more often. But then there are some people who think if you host (even in this context) you should expect nothing. So maybe I'm out of line and receiving your feedback has given me some interesting perspectives.

Maybe an informal gathering of friends is no longer the norm, maybe enjoying dinner with friends is a lost art, maybe after college it is suddenly a forgotten option. It's really too bad because I think it's nice to gather for dinner.

I will try the potluck route and then maybe ease back into cooking dinner on occasion. See how it goes. They do know how to cook, and one has been saying he's inspired to start cooking more, so I guess this will be their opportunity.

Apr 30, 2010
Tidbits in Not About Food

Dinner with friends - should they show up empty handed?

Thank you for the input ipsedixit. I guess my disappointment with all this is when we first met, we told them about the gatherings we had with friends back in CA and they thought it sounded fun to do it here. They said it would be refreshing to not always go out for dinner and instead have dinner in.

Months later, the type of gathering we discussed is not really happening. Maybe I should suggest potlucks instead.

Apr 29, 2010
Tidbits in Not About Food

Dinner with friends - should they show up empty handed?

My SO and I like to cook and we really look forward to having friends over for an informal dinner on Fridays. We make a pasta dish, or roast a chicken, or grill steak. Our friends would show up with a bottle to share or tasty hunk of cheese to start. It was about enjoying the start of the weekend with friends.

Since moving to a new city a few years ago, we have made new friends and tried to carry on this tradition (every two or three weeks). But this group of friends show up empty handed and do not contribute to the gathering at all. Mind you, they will go through bottles of wine, beer, or cocktails. Finish their plates. We open our house to them and we enjoy their company, but we are beginning to feel taken for granted.

I have been open about it being an informal opportunity for us all to get together, contribute to the evening, and relax. They thought it would be fun. For a more formal gathering, I do not expect a thing. But for Friday dinner, we gather regularly. They participate in all the fun but do not even bring a six pack of beer. Do not clear their plate. They rarely reciprocate the offer to meet at their house. I'm OK if they do not like hosting or don't feel like they have the experience, but if that's the case, couldn't they make more of an effort when they are at our house?

What are your thoughts? Is it OK to always show up empty handed to our informal dinner gathering? Would you be OK with drinking your friends' liquor and eating dinner at their house for months and not contribute or reciprocate at your house? Am I old fashioned? Stingy? Or are they pretending to not know any better? It's hard to believe they're in the dark about this.

Thanks for your input and perspective.

Apr 29, 2010
Tidbits in Not About Food

Rabbit in PDX?

Check Craigs List under "rabbits" I recently saw an add selling rabbit meat. I spoke with the gentleman at length and he's very honest. Invites you to come over and check it all out. His prices a great too.

Mar 17, 2010
Tidbits in Metro Portland