The Skinny on Alternative Beef

Written by Barbara Twitchell

COST

It takes nearly twice as long to raise beef without hormones and the bulking properties of grain. That adds to the rancher’s expense. Be prepared to pay more.

CONVENIENCE

Although the market continues to grow as demand increases, it’s still not readily available in most stores.

Read more: CATTLE RANCHING

SHAW FAMILY FARM

Feast in the Field

Written by Amanda Burden • Photos by Jaci Goodman

Guests gathered at the Shaw Family Farm in Truckee on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010 for a Feast in the Field.

Before dinner, participants walked around the 40-acre property to enjoy the Shaws’ bountiful outdoor gardens and beautiful greenhouse stocked with leafy greens. A large enclosure housed roaming chickens and a coop brimming with fresh eggs. Another enclosure housed two fat pigs, Mr. and Mrs. Bacon, who will be slaughtered this fall. Guests gathered around a large outdoor oven and counter for Northern Sierra wines and freshly baked pizza piled with Barbara Shaw’s basil pesto, Super Sweet 100 tomatoes, and shaved American, Parmesan, Asiago, and Romano cheeses, as well as a pizza of Brie and prosciutto with Nevada’s Hearts of Gold melon and Shaw arugula salad.

Read more: DINNER IN THE FIELD

RATATOUILLE from 4th Street Bistro in Reno

Read more: 4th STREET BISTRO

making cheese

Recipes for Adventures in Cheesemaking

Written by Mike Colpo

COMPLETELY-FROM-SCRATCH PIZZA

Few things are more empowering than creating a full meal from the simplest ingredients. Cheese making vastly expands the dining opportunities for anyone who wishes to do this. And pizza is one of easiest –– and tastiest –– ways to get started.

Ingredients

1 batch homemade mozzarella (recipe below)
½ batch homemade pizza dough (recipe below)
Fresh basil
Fresh tomatoes
Olive oil
Sauce (optional)

Dough

1 pound (3½ cups) unbleached bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar or honey
1½ teaspoons table salt (or 2½ teaspoons kosher salt)
1¼ teaspoons instant yeast
1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Semolina flour or cornmeal (optional, for dusting pizza peel)

Combine the flour, sugar, or honey, salt, yeast, and olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Add 11 fluid ounces (1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons) cool water (60 to 65ºF). With a large spoon, mix until the dough comes together in a coarse ball, 2 to 3 minutes. Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

Knead the dough: Knead dough for 2 to 3 minutes. Add more flour as needed. The dough should be tacky, but not sticky. When poked with a clean finger, it should peel off like a Post-It® note. Take care with the dough –– the kneading should be gentle to avoid tough crust –– no pounding, punching, or hard squishing.

Chill the dough: Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and roll it around to coat all of it with a thin sheen of oil. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least eight hours or up to three days.

When ready to make pizza, remove the dough from the fridge and let warm up for about 1½ to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 450ºF

Roll or hand-toss the dough into a pizza shape. Add toppings (recommended: When you’re making your first pizza with homemade cheese, you’ll get the best flavor and sense of what your cheese is like if you make it with the simplest of ingredients. A classic margarita-style pizza will show off your cheese nicely.)

Apply a thin layer of sauce to the dough. Then slice or tear your mozzarella into equally sized pieces and spread evenly. Tear fresh basil leaves and scatter over the cheese. If you have homegrown tomatoes, slice and add these as well. Finish with a generous drizzling of olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and a light sprinkling of sea salt.

HOMEMADE MOZZARELLA

Ingredients

1 gallon whole milk (anything except ultra-pasteurized)
1¼ cup cool, chlorine-free water (divided)
1½ teaspoons citric acid
¼ teaspoon liquid rennet (or ¼ of a rennet tablet)
1 teaspoon cheese or kosher salt

Equipment

Large pot (min. 6-quart capacity)
Slotted spoon
Thermometer
Latex or nitrile gloves
Long, narrow spatula (sometimes called an icing spatula) or dull knife
Large bowl (min. 4-quart capacity)
Colander
2 small bowls and/or measuring cups

Directions

Pour milk into large pot. Allow it to rest and slowly warm while you prepare other ingredients.

Dissolve rennet (either form) in ¼ cup of the unchlorinated water. Set aside.

Dissolve citric acid in remaining 1 cup of unchlorinated water and pour into milk. (*The citric acid solution must be added to the milk BEFORE you start to warm it, otherwise, the curds will not form properly.)

Heat the milk to 90 degrees while stirring gently and constantly.

Once the milk reaches 90 degrees, remove from heat and add rennet solution, stirring with a vertical motion for 30 seconds.

Cover and let set for 5 minutes.

Check curd formation. The curd should form a relatively solid white mass that is distinctly different from the surrounding whey, which will be a more-or-less clear liquid. Push down lightly with the backs of your fingers or the tip of your spatula to check that the curd and the whey are separated.

Cut the curd in a grid pattern of about ½-inch squares.

Place the curds back on the burner and stir while heating to 110 degrees (HINT: This is one step where you can step away from the stirring for a moment, such as when you need to perform the following step).

Prepare a large bowl of hot water (minimum 170 degrees).

Once the curds reach 110, turn off the heat and continue stirring for 2 to 3 more minutes.

Ladle or pour curds into colander (HINT: Place colander over a second large pot so you can trap and save your whey. It’s a great substitute for water in bread and pizza crust recipes).

Fold the curds gently together and drain off as much whey as possible.

Immerse colander of curds in large bowl of hot water and gently stir/fold until the curds begin to stretch and take on a noticeable sheen.

Periodically remove curds from the water, grab and stretch as far as possible without breaking them. You should be able to stretch your curds slowly to arm’s length. The curds will not stretch well below 135 degrees. If they don’t feel stretchy, immerse them in hot water and let soak a bit longer to warm them up.

While hand-stretching the curds, gradually add the cheese salt to taste (you don’t need to use the full 1 teaspoon). Don’t expect it to “mix in.” You’ll be sprinkling the salt on the surface of the cheese. Stretching and re-folding the cheese slowly works the salt into it.

Once you’ve added all the salt, heat the cheese for its final stretching/shaping. You can braid it, shape it into multiple balls, or simply save it as one large mass. Immediately submerge it in ice water to help it hold its shape. Remove from the water before storing.

The cheese will store in the fridge for up to two weeks. But be advised that it will take on the shape of your storage container. Do not store in liquid unless you are familiar with the process of brining. Too little salt in the storage liquid will turn your cheese into unpleasant goo; too much will create a hard and excessively salty cheese.

Dutch Oven

By Dennis Golden

Golden is a cowboy poet, PBS TV subject,
Reno resident, and master Dutch-oven chef. 

Read more: DUTCH OVEN RECIPES FROM DENNIS GOLDEN

Dutch Oven

By Dennis Golden

Golden is a cowboy poet, PBS TV subject,
Reno resident, and master Dutch-oven chef. 

Read more: DUTCH OVEN RECIPES FROM DENNIS GOLDEN

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Buttery Mashed Potatoes

(Serves 6)

1 bunch of leeks

1 white onion

3 carrots

½ bunch of celery

6 short ribs

1 bay leaf

1 bulb of garlic, skin removed, cloves separated

1 bunch of thyme

½ teaspoon black peppercorns

6 cups red wine

3 Tablespoons butter, divided

Salt and Pepper

Grapeseed Oil

4 cups veal stock

 

For the Salad

¼ bunch Italian parsley, leaves picked and washed

½ bunch chives, cut into ½-inch lengths

1 head frisee, blanched yellow part picked and washed

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Salt to taste

 

Set aside 1 leek, ¼ onion, 1 carrot and 1 stalk of celery.  Cut the remaining vegetables into large mirepoix, which are ½ inch pieces.  Place the short ribs into a deep baking dish and cover with the mirepoix, bay leaf, garlic, thyme and peppercorns. Cover with the red wine and place in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours.

Cut the reserved leek, onion, carrot and celery into 1/8-inch cubes. Place 1 tablespoon of butter into a sauté pan. Over medium heat, sweat the vegetables for 5 minutes, or until soft. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 250º-300º F. Remove the short ribs from the red wine and pat them dry with a paper towel. Pour the wine through a strainer and reserve the vegetables. Place the wine into a pan and reduce by half.

Season the short ribs generously with salt and pepper. Place a skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the grapeseed oil and sear the short ribs on all sides. Be very careful not to burn the ribs because the color it is difficult to distinguish because of the red wine.

Place the seared ribs into a roasting pan and cover with the vegetables reserved from the marinade. Then pour the reduced red wine on top of the ribs. Cover with the veal stock and place the roasting pan in the oven. Cook for 3 hours at no more than a simmer. If the ribs are allowed to boil, they will be tough, no matter how long they are cooked! At this point the ribs may be cooled and stored in their liquid for up to 3 days, then gently re-heated when ready to serve.

Salad Method:

Combine parsley, chives, and frisee.  Whisk together red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and season with salt to taste.

To serve the ribs:

When ready to serve, make the accompanying recipe for the mashed potatoes. Re-heat the ribs and remove them from the cooking liquid, discard the vegetables. Place the cooking liquid into a pan and reduce slightly. Add the 1/8-inch cut vegetables. Place a generous spoonful of the mashed potatoes down in a bowl and place a rib on top. Cover with the vegetables and sauce mixture and garnish with the dressed salad.

 

Buttery Mashed Potatoes

1.5 pounds yellow finn potatoes, washed

½ pound unsalted butter

¼ cup milk

Salt and white pepper

Place the potatoes in a pot of slightly salted water and cook until tender , but not mushy, approximately 15 minutes.  Strain the water out and peel the potatoes while still very warm.  Pass the potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer or use a potato masher.  Place the milled potatoes into a heavy -bottomed pot and begin to stir with a wooden paddle. Add the butter a little at time, stirring vigorously until the butter is completely incorporated. Add the milk and mix until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

The Silver State’s local food movement
is experiencing a mixture of joy and despair.

It’s a bittersweet time for the local food movement in Nevada.

THE BITTER

As if we aren’t all hit hard enough with bad news (having some of the highest foreclosure and unemployment rates and low marks in education and health), the state budget crisis has taken a toll on many people and programs. And agriculture is one area that is particularly hard hit.

Read more: BUDGET CUTS VS. GROWTH SPURTS

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