@LMR (the ranch blog)
Posted By Sheamus Feeley
I love beets. I really love beets. I grew up eating them and I love their earthy smell and flavor. I have some roasting in my oven right now.
They say that a lot of wines character is a direct reflection of the soil in which it was grown. But to me, terroir is defined by the beet. How many vegetables actually taste of the very earth that they come from?
I fry them, shave them raw, pickle them and juice them, but I like them the best roasted in their own skins. Delicious!
Roasted Beets with Sauce Verde and Ricotta
For the Beets:
2 dozen Chioggia, Bull’s Blood and Golden beets, no larger than a golf ball
Napa Valley Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the Sauce Verde:
¼ cup Italian parsley, rough chopped
5-6 medium basil leaves
1 clove garlic, freshly peeled.
Kosher, or coarse sea salt to taste
1 tablespoon Long Meadow Ranch Red Wine Vinegar
¼ cup Prato Lungo Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Preparing the Beets: Wash beets and separate by color. Place in foil, or a roasting pan with a lid and sprinkle with salt and a little olive oil. Roast covered at 375° F for 1 to 1.5 hours. Keep in mind that the different beet varieties may cook at different times. Once the beets are cooked through, allow to cool uncovered for 15 -20 minutes.
To peel: Use a dark colored kitchen towel and apply pressure with the thumb to peel the skin from the beets. I normally start with the lighter colors and work my way towards red. (This helps me use only one towel in this preparation and does not stain the other beets) Cut beets in ½ or ¼ depending on size. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Preparing the Sauce Verde: Place garlic and a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle. Grind until a smooth paste has been made. Add parsley and basil and grind to a paste as well. Add vinegar and add more salt if needed. Stir in olive oil.
To serve: Place beets on a service platter and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the sauce over the beets and top with Ricotta, or a slightly aged goats milk cheese.
Posted by Sheamus Feeley
Posted by Ted Hall
Believe it or not, Thursdays are LMR Grass-fed Beef Burger Days in all of the local public schools, including the high school. We are very proud.
This past Thursday Laddie and I were invited to help cook the burgers for the students at Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School in St. Helena. I had a blast. I put on my white LMR chef's coat and took my place at the grill in the school courtyard.
For the past year or so we have been talking with Allan Gordon, the Superintendent of St. Helena School District, about how to bring fresh, local food into the regular menu planning cycle for the school breakfast and lunch programs.
Enter Kay Wilson, the Health and Safety Officer, who took the intiative to start the process of changing the lunch program. Lydia Damian from our team worked with Kay to coach the program's administrators about the importance of planning menus in tune with the seasons.
Starting with produce availability - as opposed to designing a menu and then placing an order - was (and remains) a very new concept. For longstanding food service providers, it is kind of like turning around the telescope and looking through the other end.
We also helped educate about the very significant difference in quality of grass-fed beef from a specialty producer as opposed to commodity ground beef bought primarily on the basis of price.
So, burgers were an easy place to start because the beef is frozen and the quality is apparent as soon as you do a side-by-side comparison.
Burger Day is made even more special for the elementary and middle school kids because the schools do not have a full kitchen. Meals are usually prepared elsewhere and then delivered to the schools. So, setting up a grill in the courtyard and freshly cooking the burgers is a special treat.
It was very clear that Burger Day is a very big hit with students (and parents). Laddie and I loved the kids' enthusiasm. Watching them line up to get their meal and then load up with condiments was a wonderful sight to us.
I felt a special pride because I knew first hand the steps that were involved - from cow to calf to pasture finishing to slaughter to packaging to, now, cooking. Wow!
We are just beginning to see what can really happen.
We look forward to developing a produce production planning calendar and working next school year with Kay and the team as they introduce other fresh, locally produced foods into the menus.
Posted by Ted Hall
Posted by Sheamus Feeley
This dish is inspired by the backyard family “get-togethers” of some of my middle-eastern friends.
It is a dish best served at room temperature, or slightly warm, but I do know people who like it cold from the refrigerator the next day.
It can be served on its own, or along with braised, or roasted meat.
1 qt. cooked Basmati rice (boiled like pasta in salted water, rinsed and cooled to room temperature)
1 cup Spring peas, blanched
1/2 cup golden raisins, “plumped” in grape or apple juice
1 pound of LMR grass-fed ground beef
1 yellow onion, minced
1/2 cup Napa Valley Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup Italian parsley, rough chopped
1/4 cup dill, rough chopped
1 tbsp Ras al Hanout
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Sea salt to taste
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a sauté pan over medium heat.
Add onions and cook for a few minutes, but do not brown.
Add ground beef and all of the dry spices, with a quarter cup of water. Use a wooden spoon to separate meat into tiny individual pieces. You do not want lumps.
Cook until water has been absorbed.
Cool for 10 -15 minutes, then mix beef in a large mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients.
Transfer to a platter and garnish with more olive oil, if you like.
Posted by Sheamus Feeley
When a bad wine is served, you reject it, right?
If it's corked, oxidized, or has some other overpowering fault, you tell the waiter to take it away. Then, how is extra virgin olive oil different really? It's a luxury product like wine. It's highly prized and can affect your whole dining experience.
The question is. . . would you tell the waiter to take it away? Would you tell the chef that his oil is rancid or adulterated and shouldn't be served? I say yes! It's time to start making restaurants and olive oil producers realize that their old or manipulated olive oil is unfit for public consumption.
Last night, I went out to dine in Mendoza. I found this beautiful Italian restaurant that looked to be from the 30's.
If you've ever been to a Harry's Bar, then you can envision what I mean. Older men in white suits, standing to the side, ready and waiting for the slightest nod or glance from a patron. Overall, they provided impeccable service in an old-fashioned atmosphere. However, this was no Harry's Bar.
I ordered two dishes off the menu. The first, rabas, which was lightly battered and fried calamari served with slices of lemon. . . delicious! The second was gnocchi al pesto.
I had also been eating some bread and dipping it in some extra virgin olive oil off the table. The olive oil was great. . . herbaceous and still young.
Then, the gnocchi came out, with the pesto on the side. Wow! This looked amazing! As soon as he put the pesto on the table, I could already see. . . or smell . . . the problem. I glanced at the pesto in a worried and horrific manner. "No, it's not possible!" The oil on the table was so good. I dipped a spoon in and skimmed a layer of clean oil off. Immediately upon tasting, I cringed. This olive oil was most certainly rancid.
One glance at the waiter and he appeared immediately, as if he teleported over. I told him the oil was "rancio". I asked him if the pesto oil was the same oil as in the bottle. He replied yes and kept saying there shouldn't be a problem. "It's the same oil!", he declared.
He assured me three more times, without batting an eye. The look on my face remained more or less the same, so he proposed I order something else.
Turning wine away is easy because another bottle can be brought back and opened in front of you. Fearing that the cook might adulterate my food in another way, I bit the bullet and drowned my gnocchi in the good oil on the table. At least it tasted better. . . somewhat.
Three posibilities came to me on how this rancid oil came to be. . .
1. It was the good oil on the table, but was heated over time in the kitchen. . . probably next to the stove.
2. It was the good oil on the table, but old. . . about a year or two.
3. It was a different olive oil.
I'll never really know what the chef was thinking. Did he know, did he care, or does he just not know when oil is rancid? This will always be a mystery.
The next question is. . . what's an adulterated oil? This will be answered in a future blog posting.
Posted by Jason Moulton
Last night we hosted a dinner at the residence at Long Meadow Ranch for a few of Chris' friends in anticipation of his birthday next week. Sheamus Feeley has been spending his time working on menu ideas for our new Farmstead Restaurant. So, we took advantage of the occasion to explore some of Sheamus' latest menu ideas. And, since Farmstead will utilize a wood-burning oven, we put our own Mugnaini wood-burning oven to good use.
Chris chose the wines, which he had gathered during his recent European travels. The intriguing selections were wines produced by family-owned artisanal producers from Slovenia, Portugal, and Spain - wines that we hope to also share at Farmstead.
Take a look at the wonderful results.
Watch for Sheamus to share some of these recipes on @LMR in the coming days.
Farmstead "Developmental" Menu
by Sheamus Feeley
"Deviled Eggs" with Spicy Boar Sausage and Chive Blossoms
LMR Grass-fed Beef London Broil cooked in the wood oven
"My" Wild Boar Sausages with Fennel and Smoked Paprika
Braised Russian Kale with Chile Pequin, Garlic and Lemon
Pickled beets with eggs still win my heart.
Some of my fondest food memories are enjoying pickled beets with hard-boiled eggs at family picnics and celebrations - especially the 4th of July - back on the farm in western Pennsylvania. My mother and aunts all had their own approach, but I loved them all. Even now, when I am visiting (sadly, usually for a funeral) I gravitate to these traditional, farm-table dishes.
So, when Sheamus and Laddie were recently talking about using some of our smaller eggs from the new hens in Laddie's flock (technically called pullets), they settled on this recipe for the LMR Corral Club shindig. I was thrilled.
And, it turns out that the Pennsylvania tradition (namely, from the Mennonite and Amish) runs deep.
Here is what Sheamus said:
"When I was a teenager, my father gave me a book called: Cooking from Quilt Country. It was a collection of Mennonite and Amish farmhouse recipes that had inspired him and he thought I would enjoy it as well. Inside the book, I found numerous methods of preserving foods, but one stood out form the rest. It was 'Pickled Beets with Eggs.' These were inspired by that recipe."
Pickled Beets with Eggs
3 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
1/2 teaspoon mace
2 dozen Long Meadow Ranch pullet eggs, cooked medium rare and peeled
2 pounds beets, roasted and peeled. Cut into 1” pieces
Combine first 8 ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and stir with a whisk until salt and sugar have dissolved.
Divide eggs and beets into mason-type jars and cover with pickling liquid.
Let sit for at least two days and a maximum of two weeks.
"A nice way to make a flavorful 'sauce,' is to take the roasting liquids from meat or poultry and swirl them in a pan with a few splashes of vinegar and a knob of butter.
Additionally, you can combine our vinegar with a little sugar or honey and use it to macerate fresh berries or cherries.
For a simple salad dressing, you can combine shallots, black pepper, thyme, salt and garlic together in a bowl for thirty minutes, then strain the vinegar. Combine the flavored vinegar with twice the amount of extra virgin olive oil and a bit of honey in a mason jar. Place a lid on the jar and shake it before use."
Share your own favorite vinegar recipe in the comments section below. Don't be shy.