Last month I was invited to a lovely dinner hosted by Jessica Moore of Philly CowShare. Jessica hired Chef Linda Geren of Highview Farm in New Jersey to cook a fantastic dinner for us. We walked into the dining room and couldn’t help but notice our menu for the evening – grass-fed beef was to be the star of dinner. I was so excited. I love beef but I am generally not the best at cooking beef because I almost always overcook it. I couldn’t wait to learn some new techniques to boost my confidence and hopefully help me turn out a better “red meat” meal. I even was given the chance to try my hand at it with a cooking challenge issued by Jessica.
It all starts with….
Grass-fed beef is definitely a favorite in our home. We have purchased grass-fed beef for a few years and it is almost impossible to run to the grocery store to pick up beef when we are so use to the grass-fed quality. When you buy your grass fed meat from a reputable supplier they will be able to tell you what farm the meat came from and the place it was processed. Plus you will know your meat came from ONE cow as they are butchered one at a time. For us, one of the beauties of grass fed beef is knowing that the meat is healthy and hasn’t been fattened up on empty filler foods (and GMOs). There is a noticeable difference both in color, taste, and the way it cooks. Philly CowShare carefully selects each farm it works with, ensuring best practice standards are met and no corners are cut so you know you are guaranteed that top quality product. They also work with a processor who values health and safety, and butchers the cow and processes the meat right away for the best in freshness, even when it’s frozen.
On to the dinner….
Chef Linda walked us through the steps as she prepared Roasted Marrow Bones paired with a bitter greens salad. Um yeah. I always wondered what the big deal was when it came to eating marrow out of a bone. A spoon of marrow on a slice of lightly toasted baguette and hint of bitter green salad was so delicious. In fact, I’m off to find my own marrow bones to make the first course for an in-home date night.
A bit about cooking grass-fed beef….
Part of my meat cooking issues starts with fear of food poisoning. Rather than risking it I literally cook it to death. Oh wait, it’s already dead? This is even bigger of a problem with grass-fed beef. Grass-fed beef has a rich flavor that you just don’t get with “factory raised” beef. The problem is when you over cook it you lose the moistness and signature flavor it carries. Because grass-fed beef is less “fatty” it cooks faster, requiring less cook time. In the back of my head I knew these facts but just never really brought it home since fear was looming over me. However, the next course was served, a pan seared flank steak served over salad. I ate it and I didn’t die. Imagine that.
How does Philly CowShare work?
If you are local or semi-local you can buy through Philly CowShare. Buy a whole cow, buy a share, or gather a few friends and split it. The more you buy, the more you save, and yes, that even means if you get 8 friends to go in one cow you save more than if you yourself just bought 1/8 share. You can walk through the Philly CowShare ordering process here. But wait, don’t go yet. I need to give you one more dish from the evening. The last beef dish was perfect comfort food. This course was Braised Flanken Beef Short Ribs with a hearty grain pilaf, served with roasted asparagus and plum tomatoes. I have to admit I absolutely loved the pilaf with several varieties of lentils and grains. My family will be served this frequently whether they like it or not.
The final touch….
What is dinner without dessert and a challenge? We finished off the evening with a light dessert and a bag of frozen Philly CowShare meat to take home but first we were each given an envelope. Inside each envelope was a list of 3 cuts of meat. We each received 1 pound ground beef, 1 pound chip steak and a special cut of grass fed beef to create a meal and share on our blogs. I received the arch nemesis of my kitchen – steak – sirloin steak. Here’s the link to my Black and Blue Sirloin Steak.
**I received a free meal and several cuts of meat in order to facilitate my review of Philly CowShare. This in no way affects my honest thoughts and opinions of Philly CowShare. These thoughts and opinions are my own.