Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Super Snacks for the Super Bowl

Monday Morning Blog

Chips, dips and beans.

Super Bowl Sunday is the day we pay homage to the snack food industry - and you thought it was just about football.

Great Bowls of Garlic

Roasting garlic takes the sharp edge off so you can use as much as you like in this thick, yummy dip. Serve with pita bread or tortilla chips.

1 (15 to 16 oz) can kidney beans (drained but not rinsed)
1/2 fresh green pepper (chopped - about 1/4 cup)
1 small fresh tomato (chopped - about 1/4 cup or use 1/4 cup canned, diced tomatoes, drained)
1 small onion (chopped - about 1/4 cup)
3 cloves roasted garlic (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

Put everything into the food processor and blend till smooth. Chill.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Grass Fed Beef

Monday Morning Blog

Blue Ridge Beef Has a Steak In Your Future

Just look around Virginia and you'll see lazy, grass grazing herds of healthy, contented cattle.

Grass fed beef is the term used to distinguish pasture raised cattle from the conventional, grain fed, feedlot kind. Its loyal customer base says grass fed beef has more flavor, is leaner and healthier than conventional beef.

Blue Ridge Beef of Upperville has been producing grass fed beef for twenty years under the watchful eyes of owners Michael Barreda and Leslie Grayson. The husband and wife team manage their herd with lots of TLC using ecologically sustainable practices.

"Customers tell us they've never tasted such flavorful beef," Barreda said.

Blue Ridge Beef follows USDA guidelines for "natural" beef which means it's minimally processed with no additives. Their beef is raised without hormones or antibiotics. No herbicides or chemical fertilizers are used on their fields and organic alternatives are used to control internal parasites. Blue Ridge Beef is never irradiated. "Healthy cattle and clean environments don't need it," Barreda said.

To explain the difference in taste between conventional grain feed beef and grass fed beef, Barreda compared each to wine.

"The beef from grain fed, feedlot cattle is like a creamy Chardonnay. The massive amounts of fat (called marbling) within the beef yield a steak that's fork tender. It's got a soft and creamy flavor. At the other end of the spectrum is grass fed beef. It's naturally leaner because the fat is around the meat rather than in it. The flavor of grass fed beef is richer and more complex - like a merlot."

"Grass fed beef is higher in beta carotene (an antioxidant) and up to four times higher in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Grass fed beef is also generally lower in fat and LDL (bad) cholesterol."

"At Blue Ridge, we combine the right kind of cattle and abundant, rich pastures to produce flavorful grass fed beef without sacrificing tenderness. Clearly, if you care about your health and the quality of the food you eat, locally raised Blue Ridge Beef is one of the best deals around."

To find out how you can get grass fed beef contact:

Blue Ridge Beef
Michael Barreda and Leslie Grayson
1716 Blue Ridge Farm Road
Upperville, VA 20184


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Naked Cabbage

Monday Morning Blog

Cabbage 101

Cabbage always gets a bad rap.
It's misunderstood - that's all.

When properly selected and properly prepared, it's a marvelous vegetable that's as sweet as sugar and ultra nutritious.

You can use cabbage in hundreds of ways - raw, lightly cooked, deep fried - you name it and it's so CHEAP!

First (and most important), always get fresh cabbage. Old cabbage tastes horrible.

The leaves should look moist and appealing. A few outer dark green leaves is a clue that the cabbage is fresh.

Next, turn the cabbage over and check the core bottom. The leaves should be tight against the core and not cut away. See the picture.

As cabbage ages, stores cut away the wilted outer green leaves and bottom leaves to extend the shelf life. Not a good buy for consumers.

Naked Cabbage
An easy way to cook cabbage.

A wonderful side with hearty fare like beef.
Yummy served over whole grains and toasted pecans as a main.


Melt a bit of butter in a skillet and stir fry finely shredded cabbage on low till limp and tender. Partially cover the pan to speed things up. Don't over cook or brown.

Cabbage should be very tender but still slightly green.