Bubbyswhollycow’s Weblog


What’s Left to Cook?
May 31, 2008, 9:52 pm
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With the end in sight for steer number 1, here is what remains in the freezer:
8lbs of short ribs, 10 or so lbs of kabob meat (which is going into some spicy Bart’s Chili tomorrow,) 30lbs of soup bones, the tail, the tongue, the liver. That’s about it. We went to make marrow bones and some diligent porter had thrown them out. These ofal parts are small. The tail is going into oxtail soup, so I will use the bones for beef stock. Usually I would make veal stock, but I guess my veal days are over. The tongue is going to be brined and smoked next week (I keep saying that, by the way.)

This first steer has been an incredible cooking experience. Going forward, I feel confident that the whole steer is a great way to cook beef. A certain regard for the entire thing is an amazing chefual experience.

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Ken Jaffe’s Cows!
May 31, 2008, 4:42 pm
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Ken Jaffe Sent us photos of his beautiful cows… Check them out!



Grass Fed Lasagna Bolgnese
May 31, 2008, 3:25 pm
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We made Lasagna last night with the shank bolognese. Holy Cow was it good! So beefy, almost like a stew, with the richness of the ricotta and crispy mozzarella on top, and the season’s early (yumm) basil, it was better than actually being in Bologna! (Minus some architectural wonders!) Will post a recipe, but wanted to report that the recipe for bolognese sauce, after it sits for a day, is the absolute best meat sauce ever!!! (not to be an arrogant weasel, but it is really good!)



Hurray for Burger!
May 31, 2008, 1:30 pm
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It has been a very sad thing, having to serve regular old burger for the whole week. Today we received farmer Ron’s PA-raised grass-fed beef. This couple hundred pounds of burger will get us through til next week when we get Ken Jaffe’s steer in again. It may be superstitious, or just new-relationship giddiness, but I prefer dealing with Jaffe, mostly because we are going to be dealing with him (it seems) for a long time. He’s like Bubby’s cowboy girlfriend. No offense to Jaffe. Besides immature boyish feelings about our new-found steerman, Jaffe’s beef is really amazing. His animals are happy, and having laid eyes on them in their happy field, they really gleam with good health. Not that the PA beef is going to be less good, but the Jaffe, NY beef comes with less attitude, and more of a relationship.

As Pollan would say: Shake the hand that feeds you. Some hands shake better than others.



The Jewel of the Steer: Barbeque Brisket (Gerry Loses His Mind)
May 30, 2008, 1:00 pm
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Sad to report, there was a lot of arguing, debate, discussion, and good old jumping up and down about what to do with the two little briskets from our first steer. The cuts are dwindling: the rib eyes will be gone by this weekend, the strip loin: gone, same with the tenderloins. The briskets were, as reported here, a hot topic.

One factor is chef ego. I did not feel like discussing the preparation of the briskets that much. Gerry was fretting and frothing at the mouth for grass fed barbecue brisket, so as to see how it behaves: “I say babecue both of them so we can really see how they behave.” “I know how they’ll behave,” I lied. “We can do one barbecue and one as pot roast,” I demurred. Maybe you wouldn’t call it that.

So, of course that’s what we did. A pot roast on Wednesday, and barbecued brisket last night.

They were both excellent, according to all reports. I did not get a chance to try either first hand, but Gerry did, and I will relay what he said as best I can: The pot roast was good, but too juicy to tell the difference between grass-fed and regular meat. The barbecue was out of this world, he said.

One big difference in the grass-fed brisket is the fat content, especially in the deckle. thats the very fatty and odd piece of meat attached to the much leaner and more substantial part of the brisket. The deckle was about an inch thick, as opposed to the usual 3-4″ thick on a regular commercial brisket. There was hardly any fat in it, but the structure was wide grained and juicy. The lean was very lean, with no visible grain, and it tasted like something (and I quote Gerry here) “other-worldly”. Ok Gerry. Come on back to earth, dude, there’s barbecue sauce on the corner of your mouth.



New Burger Saturday
May 29, 2008, 7:05 pm
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On Saturday, Farmer Ron from PA will deliver us 200lbs of chopmeat. He is a typical farmer in that, from our city point of view, he is a pain in the ass. He deserves, no doubt, to cast himself as an expert in the field of grass fed beef. He has, as he points out, been in the beef business since he was five, when he got his first cow. He’s finished n grain, he’s finished on corn, he’s finished on grass. I suggested that he may know how to grow beef, but he does not know how to cook so well, and that I would be happy to talk to him. His advice for cooking was to cook on a very low temperature. It is true that one does not want to overcook this meat; it tastes very dry hen you do. But starting meat in a pan that is not practically smoking is a sin, as there is no way to get a good crust on the meat in a cool pan. Farmer Ron seemed somewhat open to the discussion, but, as he said, he has thrown out a lot of meat learning to cook it. We have thrown out zero meat here. That sounds arrogant, and it probably is, but once again, it is the object of this blog to be helpful. No one wants to eat a steamed burger or steak.

As far as the farmer attitude goes, it is understandable. For nearly a decade, farmers have been marginalized, overly regulated, and pushed aside. This country used to be 83% agrarian. Now it is 2% agrarian. This seems like a dangerous state of affairs. These small farmers are the unthanked angels who have protected our farms and husbandry as best they could. Until ten years ago, they had to sell for less than they probably had into their goods, or at least at a meager subsistence. Now, it is understandable that the farmers would want to gloat a little: see, you needed us after all. And they are right. But there are those out there who would rather have used those little farmers all along, but they were impossible to find, and when one found them, they were too small to deal with for a restaurant, and too paranoid when the conversation started to roll. Goodwill is what is required for the relationship between small farm and end user to thrive.

So, farmer Ron and his pedantic burger will be here Saturday. Whew. It feels really crappy serving regular, prime, grade A meat. It just does.



Thanks Grub!
May 29, 2008, 2:17 pm
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Grub Street had this to say today:

http://nymag.com/daily/food/2008/05/bubbys_makes_a_major_cow_commi.html

Thanks Grub. Later today we will talk about the f*&^ing ground beef fiasco that has been a-brewing today. Let’s resolve it first. But, the good news is, the back-up plan worked out with the farmer from Union Square. (Even though he has the farmer’s pedantic tendency to tell people how to cook his meat, and it’s pretty bad advice.) More to follow…