Thursday, January 28, 2010

Potato Salad

Lately we have been working on a deconstructed potato salad. Yet, every-time we do the dish it ends up going down a different path. Depending on a million different things, the dish becomes unique.

You never step in the same river twice, a dish is never duplicated.

Front: Potato Leafs, Pickled Red Onion and Celery

Back: Potato Balls, Tomato Preserve, Mustard and Parsley Cream

Monday, January 18, 2010

When it's time to grow; it's time to grow...

When sub-zero temperatures arrive in central Illinois it's near impossible to protect any crops still in the ground. We gained a huge advantage through green housing and low lying polytunnels which extended our growing season for months. However, we are approaching the end of our winter harvest. Not to fear because we have full germination of all our crops in a full growing station with another in construction. This will carry us through the next cold winter months with fresh product ready in succession. It's understood that we can't change mother nature.. We can only try our best to adapt with what we have. Function over form.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A Potato Salad...

Potato of Pont Neuf, Black Eyed Peas and Micro Kohlrabi.
Marinated in a 50 year aged sherry vinaigrette.

Pont Neuf meaning "New Bridge" refers to the cut of Potato, it represents the bridge that was finished in 1607. It spans over the Seine River and is actually the oldest bridge that crosses this river today.

The Tartar is Back!

A look at the marbling of our grass fed beef,
Filet Center Cut

This is what it ended up being the other night.

Beef Tartar, Giardiniera, Onion Cracker and Whole Grain Mustard

The Giardiniera is a mixture of pickled summer vegetables from the garden. The literal translation means, "female gardener". Since the literal translation doesn't properly describe our situation, I looked deeper.

The true Italian version, is called "sotto aceti",which include onions, celery, zucchini, carrots and cauliflower, pickled vegetables in red- or white-wine vinegar.

Chef Stu worked on this project when he first arrived. With the amount that he made I had no doubt that it would be enough to get us through the winter. Yet, I forgot about the possibility of it being absolutely amazing. Therefor, it was gone after a month of it being ready.

The Onion Cracker was developed by Chef Mustard a few years back at Company American Bistro, Las Vegas. We used to put it on a Beef Tartar dish that Adam Sobal had created. Since then I had forgotten about it.

Mustard brought back some good memories with this cracker and I was really happy with the way the dish turned out. Simple and Satisfying

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Living in Corn Country and Raising Grass Fed Beef?

Living in corn country and raising 100% Grass Feed Beef is defiantly not the norm. Since, we started the grass fed beef program we have heard criticism from almost everyone around us, especially other cattle raisers in the area.

The argument is that corn fed taste better, the cattle grow faster and feeding corn is the cheapest way to get them to a slaughter weight.

When we started raising cattle we had a decision to make.
"Would we like to serve corn fed or grass fed beef to our customers in the future restaurant?"

Next question, "What has nature intended cattle to eat?"

Cattle are herbivores, they are built to eat grass, herbs and legumes. Not grain and certainly not animal fat mixed with the grain to make it taste better and keep the dust down.

"Does corn fed taste better?"

We would have all agreed before tasting our first batch of grass fed beef that the corn fed would have more fat and probably more flavor. Yet, we were way wrong! We had never tasted real beef until we had our grass fed, the difference in unbelievable. It is far leaner, much tastier and even healthier for you.

I came across a study from Clemson University and they outlined the 10 reasons why grass fed is healthier for you. Here they are:

1. Lower in total fat.
2. Higher in beta-carotene.
3. Higher in Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol).
4. Higher in B vitamins and riboflavin.
5. Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
6. Higher in total Omega-3s.
7. Healthier ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fats.
8. Higher in CLA (potent cancer fighting qualities).
9. Higher in Vaccenic Acid (which is converted by the body to CLA).
10. Lower in saturate fats linked with heart disease

Source: S. K. Duckett, J. P. S. Neel, J. P. Fontenot, and W. M. Clapham; Effects of winter stocker growth rate and finishing system on: III. Tissue proximate, fatty acid, vitamin, and cholesterol content; Journal of Animal Science; 2009 87: 2961-2970.

With all the health benefits of grass fed you would wonder why we ever started feeding cattle corn to begin with. I guess the answer is that feeding corn is cheaper, easier and faster.
Three words that we want nothing to do with, here at Epiphany Farms.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Lessons in Permaculture

Perhaps you like fresh herbs in nearly every meal. Where should you plant your herbs? The cofounder of permaculture, Bill Mollison, offers some guidance.

"When you get up in the morning and the dew is on the ground," he says, "put on your woolly bathrobe and your fuzzy slippers. Then walk outside to cut some chives and the other herbs for your omelet. When you get back inside, if your slippers are wet, your herbs are too far away."

Gaia's Garden, by Toby Hemenway