Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Our Region's Business" TV Segment

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North Woods Ranch was recently featured on "Our Region's Business" TV show w/ Bill Flanagan on WPXI television (over the Thanksgiving weekend). They've now made the show available via YouTube; here's link:

This is certainly not your grocery store variety of beef and pork. North Wood Ranch's ultra-organic animal rearing practices are producing some of the healthiest and tastiest meat you can find anywhere. The Marshal Township ranch is the brainchild of Oliver Griswold, a one-time aeronautical engineer who decided to create the ranch after reading the "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan.
To further our message we're very grateful to Bill and his show for this exposure. That said, it was an experience well outside of this rancher's comfort zone <g>. But, certainly a neat experience and I'm very grateful to show producer Don Gawryla's wonderful enthusiasm and determination to visit on ranch and film our animals directly for the show. Don was extraordinarily comfortable with our big critters and that shines through in the video he shot!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes, Pears and Rosemary

Pork Roast with Sweet Potatoes, Pears and Rosemary
I finally tried my friend Amy's recipe and it is a real keeper.  It is simple, and as her husband says, "good enough for company!"  Also, I substituted with red potatoes and apples, because that is what I had on hand - but I think the sweet potatoes and pears would add even more delicious flavor.  

5 lb. bone-in, center cut loin roast
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary, plus more for serving (or 1 tsp dried)
Salt and pepper
3 lbs (about 8 medium) sweet potatoes , peeled, cut lengthwise into

4 firm/ripe Bosc pears, cut lengthwise into quarters, cored
16 oz of apple cider or hard cider, or a mixture of 1 cup apple juice and ½ cup dry

Preheat oven to 450 F. Rub pork with oil. Mix rosemary, ¾ tsp salt and ½ tsp pepper in
bowl. Rub mixture over pork.

Place pork, bone side down, fat side up, in large roasting pan. Roast 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350 F. Roast 15 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and pears to pan, stir gently to coat with
pan juices or use basting bulb. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, occasionally stirring sweet potato mixture, until thermometer inserted in center of roast reads 145 F and potatoes and pears are tender, about 1 hour. Transfer pork to carving board and let stand 10-15 minutes.
Place sweet potato mixture into ovenproof bowl and tent with aluminum foil. Keep warm in turned-off while pork rests.

Heat roasting pan over high heat. Add cider, bring to a boil, and scrape up browned bits
in pan with a wooden spoon, boil until reduced to ¾ cup, about 5 minutes. Pour into
sauce boat.

Carve pork. Transfer to serving platter and surround with sweet potato mixture, drizzle
with 3 tbsp of cider sauce and sprinkle with rosemary. Service with remaining sauce on
the side.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Hi and welcome to all folks coming from today's (Sunday 11.25) Our Region's Business TV show (this clip will be available to view online shortly).

Bellina with calf Mocha
Please browse our blog and note that I post daily to Facebook, Google+, and Twitter with photos and videos. If you'd like to have them in your stream please go ahead and "Like" us there.

To find out more about how to order our 100% grass-fed Scottish Highland beef and pastured heritage Berkshire pork please click here: NWR Beef and Pork Offerings.

Thanks and we look forward to meeting many of you down the road!

Oliver, Jodi, Beck, Meghan, and Trey Griswold...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Italian Skillet Meatballs

Italian Skillet Meatballs

I first learned to make meatballs from a dear friend's Italian mom. Hers were incredible and literally the size of a small fist. They were served on a plate by themselves with pasta and sauce served on the side. I have modified a couple of items, including removing the breadcrumbs to attempt a more Paleo-diet friendly version. Feel free to put them back in if you like the softness the breadcrumbs add. Add about a half-cup per pound of ground beef. Forgive the "handful" measurements! It allows you to play a bit with these ingredients and make it more your own recipe.

Makes approximately 40-1.5 inch meatballs

2 lbs grass-fed ground beef

6 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs
a handful fresh parsley, chopped
a small handful dried oregano 

a small handful salt
1 cup grated romano or parmigiana cheese, plus add'l for serving
a small handful fresh ground Pepper
1/4 cup cooking oil of choice (our favorite is coconut oil)

Helpful Tools
 - Meatball tongs (aka melon baller).  This keeps you from forever forming the meatballs and keeps your hands cleaner!
- Regular tongs - great for flipping meatballs.

Fried Meatballs:  Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix until combined. Form meat mixture into about 40 1.5 inch meatballs, using dampened hands or your meatball tongs.  Place each meatball onto a plate.  Heat oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until hot, but not smoking. Brown meatballs in 2 batches (without crowding), turning frequently, about 8 minutes per batch or until cooked through.  Place 1st batch into an oven safe dish and into a warm oven (300 degrees) while second batch is cooking. Add more oil if needed to keep the pan covered.  

Serve in warmed dish from oven. Top with sauce and additional cheese. Add cooked noodles if you choose.

Meatballs in Sauce:  Cooking your meatballs in sauce will make them softer. Simply reduce the cook time to 4-5 minutes, only browning the outsides of the meatballs.  Then add to your favorite pot of sauce and gently simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are cooked through.

Friday, November 2, 2012

NWR featured at Savoring Sewickley Benefit

North Woods Ranch was pleased to participate in the recent Savoring Sewickley benefit for the Sewickley Public Library. Executive Chef Martin Thomas of the Sewickley Heights Golf Club prepared our pastured heritage Berkshire pork shoulder with his Cuban Style Roast Pork Shoulder with Orange & Black Pepper Aioli recipe. 

Chef Thomas prepares NWR Pork Shoulder at Savoring Sewickley Benefit

It was outstanding and certainly one of the culinary highlights of the night. Chef Martin has been a great supporter of the ranch and featured various delicious dishes on his menu using our pork over the past several months. We are thrilled to supply a truly local establishment (a scant 6 miles away).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Braised Pork Shanks

I experimented across four recipes and landed on the recipe below, a combination of everything I learned about braising pork shanks.  I was thrilled with the results!  I opened my dutch oven after 3.5 hours of braising to a beautiful picture of succulent, fork tender pork, with a sauce that was delicious and ready to top the dish.  

This would be lovely served with a recipe for wine-braised red cabbage from www.epicurious.com.

2 tablespoons olive or coconut oil (my preference)
4 pork shanks
Salt and pepper
6 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons butter (Kerrygold is our favorite)
1 medium yellow onion
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stocks, chopped

1 thick sliced bacon, rough chopped3 cups chicken or pork stock
1 tablespoons minced rosemary
1 teaspoon minced thyme
2 bay leaves

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In large dutch oven, heat oil using medium-low heat. Season shanks with salt and pepper and place into dutch oven with whole garlic cloves to brown, about 5 minutes per side.  Remove shanks and garlic and place onto plate.  Add bacon and cook a bit to create some additional oil. Then add butter, carrot, onion and celery to dutch oven.  Saute, stirring frequently until softened and beginning to caramelize, 10 minutes.  Add wine to deglaze, scraping up any browned bits on bottom of pan.  Simmer for 2 minutes to reduce slightly.  Add stock, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves.  Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.  Nestle shanks into mixture, so that the liquid almost covers the top of the meat. Place in oven, covered.  Cook for 3 1/2 hours, or until meat is fork tender.  Serve each shank with sauce poured over top.  Season with salt and pepper.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Janine's Beef Bourguignon

A beef stew is a great crock-pot dish that can joyfully feed you for 2 or more meals, and it just gets better with time in the fridge.

This recipe was submitted by my friend, and North Woods Ranch fan. Thank you, Janine!

Serves 6

Have these kitchen tools ready:
Crock pot
Large frying pan, on med-high heat (I like cast iron)
Food processor (to avoid so much chopping)
Cutting board
Chopping knife

3 oz Prosciutto or 4 pieces bacon
Olive Oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1.5 cups chopped mushrooms (crimini or baby bella)
2 carrots, chopped
2 lbs Stew Beef
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup red wine, plus one tablespoon
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons brandy
1.5 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons fresh or dried parsley
3 oz tomato paste
1 bay leaf

In food processor, process 6 slices (about 3 ounces) of prosciutto or bacon. (I always have this in the house and seldom have bacon.  Use bacon if you have…but I like the prosciutto better.)  Sauté in 1 teaspoon of oil using large frying pan on medium heat. When beginning to crisp, add to crock pot.  In processor, rough-chop (use pulse) 1 large sweet onion.  Sauté in 1 teaspoon of oil and 1 teaspoon of butter, seasoning with salt and pepper. In processor, mince 3 cloves garlic.  Add to onions.  Let brown. In processor, rough-chop mushrooms (I like crimini or baby bella).  Scoop onions/garlic out of fry pan and dump in crock pot. Put mushrooms in fry pan with another teaspoon of oil. In processor, rough-chop two carrots. Add to crock pot.  When mushrooms begin to take on color, transfer to crock pot.  

On cutting board, season 2 lb. stew beef with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with enough flour to coat/toss (a 1/2 cup?).  Add another teaspoon of oil into pan and add half the beef and brown for a few min on all sides.  Add to crock pot.  Repeat with 2nd half of beef.  

While meat is browning, to crock add: 1/2 C chicken broth, 2 tablespoons brandy (I keep a small bottle of Christian Brother's on hand—not good enough to drink…but good enough to use in cooking—just a couple of tablespoons makes a big difference in soups, stews, and even French toast), 1.5 teaspoons dried thyme, a bit of fresh or dried parsley, 3 oz (1/2 small can) tomato paste, bay leaf.  Stir.  Add meat to crock.  

Lastly, add 1/2 C red wine to deglaze and scrape up any browned bits, pour into crockpot. Stir again. Cover and follow crockpot's time/instructions for stew. About an hour before it's done, brighten and freshen with 1 Tablespoon of red wine. Stir, re-lid, and cook till done! :)

"No…not quite as good as Julia's, but it's a nice way to have dinner mess done and cleaned up in the morning!" ~ Janine