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 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pan-seared steaks with Shallot Sauce

Pan-seared steaks with Shallot Sauce

A perfect recipe for a grass-fed steak, this is one of my old favorites from Bon Appetit. It can easily be increased for family portions. Plus, I just love this sauce, so be generous with your ingredients to have extra to spoon on.

Serves 2

2 steaks of your choice
1/2 cup beef broth
3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons chilled butter
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon

Sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper. Heat medium skillet over medium heat. Add steaks and cook about 4 minuters per side for rare. Transfer to heated plates to retain heat (I put my plates on a traditional toaster and toast the plates on the lowest setting - be sure your plates are heat safe!).  Add remaining ingredients to skillet. Boil until sauce thickens, scraping up any browned bits, about 3 minutes. Spoon sauce over steaks.

Tuscan Pot Roast

Tuscan Pot Roast

A nice tomato-based, red wine infused gravy comes along with this lovely roast recipe.

1/3 cup olive oil
1 2.5-3 lb bottom round pot roast
2 large onions, quartered
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 large carrots, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1.5 oz package dried mushrooms (optional)
1 T kosher salt
1 tsp dried oregano
1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes, drained

Heat the oil in a large skillet over med-hi heat and brown the roast on all sides. Transfer the roast to a 4-6 quart slow cooker. To the fat remaining in the skillet, add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic.  Cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and coat vegetables. Add to cooker. Add wine to skillet to deglaze, scrape up browned bits. Add to cooker. Then add mushrooms, oregano and tomatoes. Cook 8 hours on low heat or 4 hours on high heat. (See Cook's Notes below.)

To make a thicker gravy o
nce cook time is complete,  mix 1/2 cup of the liquid and 1 teaspoon flour in a small bowl. Wisk until flour is incorporated into liquid and has thickened it into somewhat of a paste.  Add it back into the liquid with the meat and stir until completely combined.   

Cook's Notes:  I like to choose a longer cook time for more tender results.  Additionally, if time allows, about 1 hour before cooking is complete, remove roast and slice into 1/2 inch slices.  Return meat slices to cooker to finish out the cook time.  Pour any juices from your cutting board back into cooker.  This also creates a more tender roast.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Pork Cutlets with Rosemary, Sage and Dijon Wine Sauce

This recipe was adapted from a delicious dish that our cousin's wife, Manuella, cooks when they visit the states.  She is Italian and is an incredible cook. This can be made with pork chops, fresh ham or shoulder steaks on a skillet using low heat.  For about a 1 inch thick cut, cook no more than 4 minutes a side.  The meat should spring back to touch and the internal temperature is around 140 degrees when finished.  Be care not to overcook.

You almost cannot go wrong with the quantities of ingredients you use for this sauce.  If you love rosemary add more.  If you are not a fan of garlic, add less.  If you like a lot of sauce, add more of everything. Don't skimp on the butter and olive oil, but instead use premium quality of these items. Our favorite butter is Kerrygold, made in Ireland using grass-fed cows milk

Olive Oil
Fresh Rosemary
Fresh Sage
White Wine
Dijon mustard
Heavy or Whipping Cream
Salt and pepper

Heat generous quantities of olive oil (1 tablespoon) & butter (2-3 tablespoons) in a large saucepan.  On a plate, sprinkle your pork with fresh chopped rosemary (2-3 branches), salt and pepper. Pan cook it, adding fresh sage (2-3 tablespoons) & minced garlic (3-5 cloves). Cook around 4 minutes. 

Turn, then deglaze with 1/2 cups white wine, scraping up any browned bits around the meat.  Add 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons heavy or whipping cream & 2 tablespons fresh lemon juice, using a small wisk to combine.  Season with plenty of salt & pepper. Continue cooking for no more than 4 minutes, being careful not to overcook.  Use internal temperature suggestions above.  

Remove pork and let sauce cook a little longer if it needs thickened.  Spoon sauce on top of pork.  Plate licks completely allowable!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bakery Square Marketplace Event

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Be sure to stop by the Bakery Square Marketplace this Sunday (8.26.2012) to see us -- North Woods Ranch -- and many other awesome local sustainable vendors. They've apparently built a sand beach and there will be live reggae music -- Ras Prophet -- as well as arts & crafts vendors. It's a cool up and coming space here in Pittsburgh and we look forward to having a great time chatting up sustainable ranching with ya!

North Woods Ranch at Bakery Square Marketplace
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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pulled Beef or Pork BBQ Recipe

This recipe works well with both beef and pork. For beef, choose a Chuck Roast, for pork, use a Pork Shoulder or Boston Butt (it's actually the top of the shoulder) for the best types of roast for this dish. 

This can be cooked in either a dutch oven (heavy duty stew pot with lid) on your stove in about 5 hours or a slow cooker in 6-10 hours. If you don’t have everything for the rub, no problem, you will find that there are plenty of other great flavors to make up for it.  

Feeds 8

Chuck Roast or Pork Shoulder/Boston Butt ~ 4-5 lbs
Garlic powder
Coarse salt
Dry Mustard
Chili powder
Brown sugar
Fresh ground pepper
Optional:  Cayenne, Chipotle Chile Pepper
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (or other cooking oil)
Your favorite BBQ sauce or Apple Cider Vinegar.

Remove your roast from the fridge to bring it close to room temperature.

Create your dry rub. Mix together 2 tablespoons each of first 8 ingredients in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper. You can get creative...for more spice, add cayenne. Add chipotle chile pepper for that smoky chipotle flavor. Add more sugar or maple syrup for sweeter bbq.

Place roast into your dutch oven or crock pot slow cooker. Sprinkle dry rub over entire roast. Rub gently into the meat, letting any extra rub fall into pot. Save any remaining rub from mixing bowl into sealed container for next time. Remove roast and place onto plate.  Heat large skillet or dutch oven with coconut oil or other favorite cooking oil. Brown roast on all sides, about 4 minutes per side on medium heat.  

If using dutch oven, lower heat to very low (go as low as you can; consider using a stove-top heat diffuser to allow an even smaller flame), cover with tight fitting lid, and cook for about 5 hours. Half way through, flip meat so that both sides have equal time cooking in the liquid that is created. If using crock pot, remove roast from skillet, place into crock pot, cover with lid. Use cooking time guidelines given on crockpot. (I would recommend longest time possible at lowest temperature.) Halfway through cooking time, flip meat so that both sides have equal time cooking in the liquid that is created.   
You will know when the cooking is complete when the meat falls from the bones and is easy to pull with two forka. Pull/shred as desired. Serve with apple cider vinegar sprinkled over each serving or top with your favorite bbq sauce. Other favorite accompaniments are chopped dill pickle, coleslaw, and cold watermelon chunks!  

Enjoy this savory and delicious dish!

Note: leftovers are typically better as the flavors have more time to marinate and stew. So, start with a larger Chuck Roast and enjoy those leftovers (they freeze wonderfully as well)!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Life & More Frequent Updates Available!

We've been busy on Ranch with all kinds of new life and somewhat negligent of this little blog (click into this post for details below).

But, we've a solution: click on one or more of the following for daily updates:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/NorthWoodsRanch (be sure to "Like" us there) 
Google+: www.google.com/profiles/115377259511479522696 
Twitter: www.twitter.com/NorthWoodsRanch

Young ranch hands bond with young piglets

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


After a thorough drenching the lands fairly burst with life. The ponds brim, the slow trickle creeks rush 'n gurgle, and the frogs send up a chorus of glee at the bounty around them. All matter of bird take to the air, the marshes, the pastures with great purpose and vigor. One can fairly see the grasses accelerating upward toward the sun peaking betwixt the rain clouds!

Waiting on paddock move in the rain; Jake the elder & Mocha a youngin

I think even when there's a slight chill in the air the herd enjoys the rain. They understand the rain's import and promise of even sweeter forage in coming days.

Heading into fresh pasture on a rainy day

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ranch Recipes for Smoked Kielbasa or Sausage

Ranch Recipes:  Cabbage/Kielbasa/Noodle Dish

This recipe comes to us from a customer, Melissa Loizes, who raved about our smoked kielbasa.  Thank you, Melissa!

1/2 of small head of cabbage (Napa is yum)
1/2 bag of egg noodles, any variety
1/2 to 1 pound of smoked kielbasa or smoked sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
1/2 of sweet onion, chopped
lots of butter or olive oil
lots of salt and pepper
bit of garlic if desired

Chop the cabbage and boil it for about 12 minutes. Remove and drain it but keep the water; reuse it to boil the noodles! While noodles boil, cook onions and garlic in oil in a big sauté pan until becoming clear, then add kielbasa and cook it, too. When noodles are just cooked, drain them, then combine all this (onion/kielbasa, noodles, drained cabbage) in a big bowl and mix well, adding salt, pepper, and butter liberally to taste. 

I highly recommend enjoying this with a big dollop of full-fat cottage cheese atop or on the side. YUM.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Video: Bellina grazing & checking out the camera

Just shot this short video after the daily pasture move a few hours ago. Bellina is grazing in some fresh pasture and graciously volunteered to demonstrate proper grazing technique on camera. In the midst of grazing she took a moment to fully sniff the camera so we also get a nice demonstration of how the cattle use their nose to see what what's. Enjoy!

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Bellina grazing

Ranch Recipes: Brisket, burgers, and steaks

Braised Brisket in Porter

Jodi’s notes: I cut a lot of corners from the original recipe (www.epicurious.com) to make it less high-maintenance, and it still turned out fabulous.  This version is the easier version, but you can cut more corners to make it work for you, without running to the grocery - substitute dry for the fresh herbs and garlic (I didn’t have the fresh garlic and actually used powdered), omit the veggies if you don’t have them (we did), and I used olive oil because I didn’t have bacon thawed.  We used a bottle of Guinness for the stout.

This is delicious right away, but if made a day or two ahead, the flavors only get better with time.  Nicely accompanied with baby red skin potatoes and fresh green salad.

Total cooking time:  4 hours
Prep time:  approximately 35 minutes
Feeds family of five with some left-overs

Special equipment: Heavy extra-large wide ovenproof pot with lid.

1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons dry mustard (such as Colman's)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1 3-pound brisket
2 tablespoons rendered bacon fat or olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
1 12-ounce bottle porter or stout (used Guinness)
½ cup raisins
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoons (packed) dark brown sugar
3 medium onions,thinly sliced onions
4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
3 medium carrots, peeled, cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch lengths
1 tablespoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon (or more) malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 300°F. Mix first 5 ingredients in small bowl. Rub herb mixture all over brisket. Heat bacon fat or olive oil in heavy extra-large wide ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add brisket to pot and cook until browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer brisket to platter or rimmed baking sheet. Add 2 cups broth to pot and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits from bottom of pot. Stir in beer, raisins, bay leaves, and brown sugar; bring to boil. Return brisket to pot; scatter onion slices over to cover meat, then add garlic. Cover pot; place in oven and braise brisket 3 hours.  

Remove brisket from oven. Increase oven temperature to 350°F. Transfer brisket to cutting board using large serving forks. Thinly slice brisket across grain. Whisk in mustard and 1 tablespoon vinegar to liquid. Add mushrooms and carrots. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place brisket slices back into roasting pan and cook 1 more hour in oven.  (This last step can be omitted, as I found the meat cooked through and very tender while cutting. But, the additional hour just made it all the better.) Serve meat with vegetables and sauce and enjoy this wonderful meal you have just prepared!

North Woods Burgers

Jodi’s Notes: We
believe our North Woods burgers stand solid on their own - meaning, no need to season your ground beef before making into patties and cooking. However, I do like some seasoning from time to time. Here are my favorite and quick add-ins. Dehydrated onion was something my dad used for quick flavor, so I always have it on hand and love the convenience, but you may prefer fresh minced onion.

Per pound of ground beef
- 1 tablespoon dehydrated onion
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce - (try Annie’s organic version)
- 2 dashes of Liquid Smoke
- 3-4 dashes of garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Burgers and steaks - to grill or skillet fry?

Growing up, my dad always grilled our burgers and steaks outside on the patio gas grill. On the rare occasion that he used the stove to prepare these favorites, it was usually because of cold weather. In my mind, stove top cooking was second best to the taste the grill gave. While I still love the flavor of grilling, I have recently started to truly enjoy skillet cooking as my first choice for a delicious hamburger or savory juicy steak. The reasons are simple. Much of the fabulous juices are lost on the grate of a grill, which can leave you with drier results. Also, the juices saved on the skillet can be used as a topping on their own, or can be lovely when combined with a simple deglazer such as red wine or vinegar, along with some herbs for a quick pan sauce (see recipe below). Lastly, you can monitor your cooking easily as the meat is right before your eyes the entire time, and not in a covered grill, a room away. This can help avoid the dreaded “over-cook” that can be a challenge for a lot of us, even when we really tried to watch it (we’ve all said that a hundred times!).

Simple Deglaze for Steak

From Epicurious:  “The juices from any roast—poultry or meat—caramelize in the pan, leaving a residue of brown glaze with intense flavor. In the process called "deglazing," we melt these brown bits in hot liquid (wine, stock, and/or water), to create a quick sauce of concentrated natural essences.”
- Dry red wine
- Butter
- Dried tarragon, or your favorite spice
- Salt and pepper
- crushed garlic, or minced shallot, or try garlic salt/powder (less fresh, but super easy)
- whipping cream (optional)

After cooking your steak on a skillet (our favorite kind is cast iron) to desired doneness, remove it and place on warmed platter to rest.  Your stove heat should be at medium.  Pour about 3 tablespoons of dry red wine directly onto skillet, being careful of the spattering.  Use your stainless steel spatula to scrape up any browned bits from pan while wine is cooking.  Add 1-2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon of tarragon, 1 garlic/shallot, salt and pepper to season.  For an even richer sauce, add about a tablespoon of whipping cream.  Cook down the pan sauce until it clings to the back of a spoon.  Spoon it over steak when serving.  (Go ahead, it’s okay to lick your plate.)  Cheers!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rainy day stand-around

Moved the herd to some good transition pasture where they will trample a lot of the forage to ground providing good habitat and food for the soil to build quickly. It's a rainy chilly day and the herd is pondering as to whether the forecasted snow will arrive or if the Nor'easter is passing more fully East. Regardless, they know this needed rain and wet will bring excellent chow shortly!

Rainy day stand-around

Bellina, Libby, Blizz, and young Silver Ear (clockwise from left).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This is Nahgem who was born Summer 2011. Yeah, she's real cute; 3 days old in these photos.


I find all kinds of great hiding spots

Me and my mom

Hello again!

Bedded down

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Couple 'o Day(s) Old Calves

Couple quick shots of the newest additions to the herd!

Ollie -- 6 days old

Nadia's calf -- 1 day old

They are settling in well and Ollie's starting to get some inside tips from some of the older calves...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Happy April Fools' Day!

Petro-Manure Breakthrough! -- Happy April Fools' Day! 

One of the principal tenants on ranch is that of soil growth. To achieve this, soil requires nutrition in many forms. One of the best is manure from our cattle and pigs (and even bees).

We also have some petro mechanical equipment to facilitate some of the ranch chores. One of these is the mighty Unimog. We've been working on a project to modify the Unimog such that it can convert it's diesel petrol exhaust to a nutrient rich product which it then deposits on our pastures.

Finally, success! Witness the Unimog Patty (in the mold of the classic cow patty):

Unimog taking a dump

Unimog patty

While we take great pride in our animals on the land and the way they build soil, slow water, and sequester CO2 we are very excited about this latest development that portends a true back end benefit from the oil industry!

We believe the key to our breakthrough lies in our utilization of the little known 4.1 protocol that was first brought to our attention by these two on one of our more traditional cow patties:

Flies mating on cow dung in woodlot

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Nadia's new calf!

Nadia gave birth to a beautiful black calf this afternoon. I was most fortunate to be there for the entire birth which was incredible.
Note: my camera decided it was tired so these photos are from my phone; please excuse the quality. 

Nadia with seconds old calf
Nadia cleaning off newborn calf
Nadia's calf's first wobbly stand
Mama Nadia, newborn calf, Daddy Bobby McGee

The calf was quick to its feet and hopefully will nurse well. Look for upcoming blog post with more details including video of the entire birthing! Way to go Nadia!

Jake in the Snow

This photo is from January when we somehow happened upon some snow during this extraordinarily mild Winter.

Jake in the snow

In general, our critters would actually prefer things to be 15°-20°F for the whole of Winter. At those temperatures the air is dry and while it is cold, it is actually the moisture in the air that's most uncomfortable.

Both our Scottish Highland cattle and Berkshire pigs are well adapted to our more normally colder clime and love being outdoors where they can roam, graze through the snowpack, and breathe fresh air (the honeybees on the other hand hunker down in their hives <g>). They are part and parcel of the environment and build both their and our habitat alongside their equally well adapted wild compatriots.