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Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category

So, misfits, one of my cool and interesting friends recently ordered a quarter of a grass-fed cow and had it custom-butchered for her.  There’ll be a post coming up on how you can do this yourself, but what’s important for you to know now is that we’ve been talking a lot about beef.

I mean, like, a lot.  When you’re emailing at 2 AM about the kidney that fell out of your friend’s lump of beef fat, you know shit just got real.

So a slab of chuck steak from a frolicsome grass-fed cow is a thing of wonder and magic and unicorn tails and glitter rainbows a la My Little Fucking Pony and stuff, right?  I mean, seriously, a Care Bear would probably shiv another Care Bear to get his hands on one.

And not just Grumpy, either, ‘kay?  Even one of the nauseatingly happy-go-lucky always-on-ecstasy Care Bears would shiv another Care Bear for one.  And speaking of Grumpy, I feel that he was largely misunderstood, don’t you?

But I digress.

Okay, but sometimes you want a hamburger, right?  And you’re all, oh, the sad packages of grass-fed ground beef are always so leeeeeeaaaaann.  Why are they always so leeeeeaaaaannnn?  Can’t they make it less leeaaaaannnn?  And when will they find a way to fix the speech impediment that causes me to say “leeeeaaaaaannnn” like that?

Well, I can’t help you with the second problem, misfits.  Some problems are just too big for your Bad Mama Genny to solve on her own.

List A: Problems That Are Too Big for Your Bad Mama Genny to Solve on Her Own:
1-World hunger
2-Unequal distribution of wealth
3-Automatic flush toilets
4-Speech impediments that make you say “leeeeaaaaaannnn”

List B: Problems That Are NOT Too Big for Your Bad Mama Genny to Solve on Her Own:
1-Dry, flavorless grass-fed hamburgers
2-All problems not mentioned in List A

Well, it’s true, grass-fed beef IS lean.  Leaner than most of us are accustomed to.  The burger seems dry.  Not fall-apart tender enough.  Not flavorful enough.  But you know what?

The man wants you to eat flavorless hamburgers.

That’s right.  While you thought you were sticking it to the man when you purchased grass-fed hamburger meat, you didn’t realize that the man is a crafty bugger who dipped his dirty paws into the organic movement and figured out that he could still exercise power over you by grinding the same old cuts of beef into hamburger and selling it to you AT A CONSIDERABLE MARKUP WHAT WHAT.

My point being, of course, that you have to stay one step ahead of the man at all times.  You have to find new and better ways to stick it to him.

Finding new and better ways to stick it to people.  Pretty much the meaning of life.

Screw that flavorless beef!  Go grind your own!

What we’re going to do is macerate chunks of lean beef and animal fat together to create well-marbled hamburger mix that will be so good it will make you and everyone you love die.

Roll out the motherfucking mass graves, misfits!  It’s time for us all to eat hamburgers and die!

Gather:
1 lb. of lean grass-fed beef (round roast is an incredibly flavorful but very lean cut–it’s perfect for this)
1/4 cup solid at room-temp animal fat (lard and beef tallow are both great for this, but even bacon fat and butter would work–this time I’m using butter)

Do:
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Cut the meat into 2-inch chunks.  Cut the fat into half-inch chunks.  Line up your chunks (heh heh…your chunks) on the cookie sheet and pop it all into the freezer.  Chill it until the outsides of the meat chunks are very firm, but not frozen through–45 minutes should be good.

Now you’ll want a food processor, ‘kay?  Pile in alternating chunks of meat and fat, only filling the food processor one-third to one-half of the way to capacity.  If your processor is small, you’ll wanna do this in batches to give the meat plenty of room to move around and macerate evenly.  Overpacking the processor will result in a bottom level of beefy goo and a top level of unground beef.

Eww…bottom levels of beefy goo.

Put the top on and pulse the food processor several times.  Don’t let it go too far–you don’t need a ground mixture that’s as fine as what they sell in the store and you certainly don’t want it any finer.  Go too far and it loses its steak-yness.

And I am a serious proponent of steaky-ness.

At this point, take it out of the food processor, transfer it to a bowl, and add any seasonings.

I keep things simple.  A little salt and pepper, some finely minced garlic, a dash or three of Worcestershire sauce.  But the important thing to remember is this: mix it gently, with your hands.  Don’t pack the meat together.  Just kinda…toss it together.  Then form patties–again, handle her gently.  Your meat mass needs to be treated like a lady.

Your meat mass needs to be treated like a lady.  Yes, I just said that.

4 patties per pound is pretty customary–3 patties per pound if you’re feeling like a fucking benefactress.  I’ll be honest here:

I usually feel like a fucking benefactress.  We don’t eat meat often enough or in large enough quantities for me to be a miser when we’re making hamburgers.

Now toss ’em onto an oh-shit-that’s-hot grill or griddle, and sear away.  I think 3 to 4 minutes per side is plenty, but I still like ’em to be a little bloody in the middle.  DON’T press your burgers down with the spatula–this takes the fatty juices out of the burger, where you want them, and redistributes them to a sad, sad land outside of your burger.

For the sake of today’s post, let’s assume that any place that isn’t inside your burger is a sad, sad land.

If you’re planning to cheese, cheese early, like a minute and a half before the second side is done cooking.  Then choose a righteous burger bun.  Preferably something crusty on the outside with plenty of character.  Even a sea salt ciabatta would be nice.  Now do it up the way your Bad Mama Genny Does It Up.  Take the burger out and let it rest for three minutes.  Warm the bun, spread the bottom half with mayo (sorry, mayo haters…actually, I’m sorry I’m NOT sorry), and apply burger.  The better the burger, the less dressing up you’ll need, perhaps even just a slice of onion, a disc of tomato, and a bit more mayo on the top bun.

Top buns and bottom buns, misfits.  A delicate distinction.

So go wild if you like.  I’ve been known to toss some mushrooms, onions, and a bit of red wine into the burger pan and go to town making a WAY DELICIOSO topping.  Then again, I’ve been known to do a lot of things.

Bug I digress.

What dresses your burgers, misfits?  Build me your ideal hamburger from bottom bun to top bun, and don’t leave out a single detail!

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Seriously, though, guys. The Boy told a large assemblage of people at a dinner out recently that he can’t order meatloaf out anymore. Because my meatloaf has ruined him for all other meatloaves. Yeah. I mean, your Bad Mama Genny blushed. ‘Cause how do you accept praise like that gracefully? I did my best. No promises, though. In the immortal (and somewhat paraphrased) words of Bart Simpson, “I can’t promise I tried. But I tried to try.”

Back to business: meatloaf, folks. Meatloaf. The stuff that used to make the guys cringe, ’cause, you know, they can’t understand why you would do anything to meat beyond beheading it and giving it a brief pass over an open flame.

So any meatloaf recipe that has men REQUESTING it by name? Well, that’s kind of a big deal. And when you make this, you’ll be kind of a big deal. You were already a big deal and all. But now you’ll be a BIGGER deal. No, I’m not saying you’re fat.

“Honey, does this meatloaf recipe make me look fat?”

This recipe is actually loosely based on the “Vitality Meat Loaf” recipe in the American Girl Molly Cookbook (do they still make those cookbooks?). When I was a kid, I wanted an American Girl doll SO BADLY. It was kind of strange, actually. I was pretty unimpressed with dolls in general, preferring stuffed animals and things. (Actually, when pressed about it, I would tell people that the reason I liked stuffed animals better than dolls was that animals were easier to forgive than people, but I can laugh about it now and all and THAT IS A WHOLE OTHER THERAPY SESSION).

Anyway. I always wanted this doll. Desperately. But my mother, being practical and hardworking and sane and NO FAIR AT ALL, went, “Sixty dollars?! For a doll?!?! Hahahahahhahahahhah hahahahahahahahha!”

And I went, “So, does that mean yes?”

And she was all, go play with your brother.

And I was all, he is NOT as cool as an American Girl doll!

But you know what, Johnny? You are as cool as an American Girl doll. In fact, you are way cooler. But I digress.

Make this meatloaf! Men will fall at your feet! Or at least be brought to your yard. Which, I suppose, could become problematic. Which is where a good hose comes in handy. Or you could call that milkshake girl and then all the boys will leave to go to her yard.

The Only Meatloaf Recipe You Will Ever Need

Go Get:
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon dried parsley (you can be all fancy and use 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley instead, if you feel like showing me up. Don’t feel bad, I like to show myself up sometimes, too.)
1/2 lb. ground pork (or, pork sausage, casings removed)
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup wheat germ (Note: I often replace both the oatmeal and the wheat germ with 1 sleeve of crushed saltines. Don’t give me that look. My mom used to do it, and if it’s good enough for the BMG’S MOM, well you can just take that Miss THANG attitude and find some other meatloaf recipe! But you won’t. ‘Cause, oh, baby. This is THE meatloaf recipe. I told YOU, all right.)
1 egg
1 cup milk (I use almond milk or occasionally, whole milk yogurt)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tsp. ground sage
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 cup ketchup

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Mix everything thoroughly with your hands until it’s a smooth, evenly mixed mass. Form it into a vaguely convincing loaf shape. Put it in the oven and bake for an hour (or until your meat thermometer registers 165). And that’s it! Who knew pleasing your men would be so easy? Let this thing rest for 5 minutes or so before cutting it into slices. Serve. Sit back and wait for people to show up in your yard.

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God, the Swedish Chef can be the biggest pain  sometimes.  For example, the other day I was riding the subway and he happened to get on next to me, and he would NOT stop nagging me to make meatballs!  In Swedish!

If I don’t want the litigious ghost of Jim Henson getting all spooky on my as, I’d best explain.  The Boy was the Swedish Chef for Halloween.  And we rode the New York City subway together.  In costume.

We have fun, The Boy and I.

Needless to say, it’s been a while since Halloween.  You can imagine, then, what it must have been like for Bad Mama Genny to have a Swedish Meatball craving since then!  Truly excruciating.   Anyhow, the Swedish Chef just wouldn’t give in–

“Spernda…schweedish meatbalshe…spernda spunda…bork bork BORK!”

–so I finally relented and Holy Meatballs, The Boy, what a great idea!  You can bork bork BORK me anytime!

Yeah, I said it.

Ultimate Swedish Meatballs with Sour Cream and Mushroom Sauce

Makes about 6 servings

Go Get:
1 lb. ground beef (Grass-fed, but of course!  Why not grind your own for the most flavorful blend?)
2 thick slices sourdough bread
3 1/2 cups unflavored almond milk, divided
8 oz. plain whole milk yogurt (if you can tolerate it) or soy sour cream like Tofutti (if you can’t)
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
4 Tablespoons, divided, of butter (if you can tolerate it) or Earth Balance (if you can’t)
2 small onions, finely chopped, divided
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice
3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
3 Tablespoons flour
12 ounces fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 Tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
1 lb. egg noodles

Go Do:
Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Set the bread in a shallow bowl and pour 1/2 cup of the almond milk over it. Allow it to sit and saturate for 5 minutes or so. In a food processor, combine the meat, bread and milk mixture, half the chopped onions, the egg, nutmeg, allspice, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Allow the mixture to process for two minutes. When this is done, you should have a thick, pate-like paste. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and dip your hands in cold water. Form small balls with the meat mixture, about an inch in diameter, re-dipping your hands in the cold water as necessary to keep the meat from sticking. Bake the meatballs for approximately 25 minutes, or just until done (do not let the bottoms get dark).

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While the meatballs are cooking, heat 1 Tablespoon of the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the mushrooms and the other half of the onions.  Allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms render most of their liquid and the onions are tender. Add the remaining 3 Tablespoons of butter and heat until melted. Stir in the flour, being sure to break up any lumps. Stir constantly, allowing the flour-y mixture to cook for about 3 minutes (do not let it get dark). When this is done, slowly add the remaining 3 cups of almond milk, stirring while you add so as to avoid lumps.

Stir constantly until the mixture has thickened some, and then add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and the dried parsley.  Stir in the yogurt or soy sour cream.  Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. When the sauce is almost as thick as you like it, gently drop the meatballs in, pushing them under the surface of the sauce.  At this point, cook the egg noodles according to package directions.  Allow the sauce mixture to simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are heated through and the thickness is where you like it.  Sometimes non-dairy milk can be a bitch to thicken–if this is the case for you, and heating the sauce uncovered doesn’t seem to be getting the mixture thick enough, whisk 1 Tablespoon cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons COLD water.  Then add it to the sauce while stirring.  Cook it for a few minutes longer–it should do the trick.

Serve on top of pasta.  Bork bork bork!

 

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It all started with three dollars.

‘Twas the night before payday,
and all through the place,
not a crumb of food lurked,
no way to stuff my misfit face.

So after taking inventory of the kitchen (organic cocoa, Kashi cereal, spices, 8-10 edamame pods…seriously?), Bad Mama Genny and The Boy set off in search of dinner with nothing but hope and three dollars.

That’s right, misfits, we were, how you say, “living on a prayer.”

After considering the familiar options (one and a half tacos from the taco truck, or perhaps a bottle of malt liquor and a package of expired fried plantains from the “grocery/deli” that actually offers zero deli meat), we decided to venture into the unknown, to take a risk and hang our hopes upon a star!

A red star, to be exact.  Chinatown, bitches.

No, no, not the ridiculous, touristy Chinatown in Manhattan, where frightening old Asian ladies lurk around every corner, ready to offer you an imitation Coach bag at half the price of a real one.  I’m talking Flushing–the more authentic, cheaper, and arguably better Chinatown.  There is a bus that will take you back and forth between Chinatowns–I imagine you could ride it all day if you wanted, enjoying loop after endless loop of Chino-trippy overstimulation…but I don’t want, so I won’t, but you misfits should tell me if you ever do it yourselves!

But I digress.

Dinner was found that night, my fellow underpaid, underfed, city lurking misfits…with CHANGE TO MOTHERFUCKING SPARE WHAT WHAT!!

A steamed bun, as big as two fists, stuffed with pork and vegetables, endowed with glutenous joy that is at once both fluffy and chewy, and ONLY SIXTY CENTS!  For those of you who might wish to recreate this experience, try the dumpling shop under the LIRR tracks, on 41st Ave, at the corner of Main St., across from Starbucks.  The Boy and I hurriedly collected several buns from the bun-lady, ran back to the car, and savored every last cent-worth of our dinner in the warm car as we watched screaming feral cats and passerby scurry about in the freezing air.   Then we joined them.

The passerby, not the cats.  Next time.

The hours that followed took us on a journey down Main St., bopping in and out of bakeries, observing, though not purchasing, other items for sale ($0.95 for a chocolate nut pastry?  Who do they think we are, like, people who just got paid?  Chya!), and checking out the booths set up by anti-Communist groups hoping to find converts to their cause.

As we walked by each booth, I took care to wear the face of one who was interested in and approving of the message, but who had coincidentally already been converted by the last guy.

When The Boy and I were finally ready to end our adventure and scurry home (edamame cocoa, anyone?), we were chilled to the bone, rosy-cheeked, and busting with the sense of having discovered some secret place–sort of like The Secret Garden, but with concrete instead of a garden, and you visit a bun-lady instead of a sickly handicapped boy, and to get into the garden–I mean bun shop–you need sixty cents instead of a special key…also, there are  Communists instead of British people.  So not at all like The Secret Garden.  Whatever, clearly, my point is that I was inspired me to make wonton soup.  Clearly.

Wonton Soup
Makes a metric shit-ton

Go Get:
1 lb. ground beef (or pork or chicken or whatnot)
approximately 60 wonton wrappers
1 gallon flavorful stock (I had some homemade lamb stock in the freezer)
4 large carrots
4 stalks celery
6 scallions (green onions)
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cups shredded cabbage (or bok choy, or brussels sprouts…get crafty)
1 egg
salt and pepper
tamari or soy sauce, to taste

Go Do:
Finely chop 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 3 scallions, and the garlic, and mix it with the beef, egg, and some salt and pepper. Combine the mixture thoroughly (your hands work well for this).

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Lay out a wonton wrapper and place a scant tablespoon of filling in the center (be careful not to overfill, or the wontons will explode in the broth). Use your finger to moisten all four sides with water and place another wonton on top, squeezing the edges shut to seal them, and working any air bubbles out, if you can.  Repeat with remaining meat mixture until you run out.

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Set the stock over medium heat and cover it.  Slice the remaining carrots, celery, and green onions.  When the stock has begun to boil, add the carrots, celery, and shredded brussels sprouts to the stock and turn the heat down to a simmer.  Then, using a slotted spoon, gently lower the wonton one or two at a time into the broth.

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Let the wontons simmer in the broth over low heat, covered, stirring occasionally (gently) to keep them from sticking together while they cook.  After about 15 minutes, or when the meat mixture appears dark through the wonton, take one out and cut it open.  When done, the meat will have no traces of pink and the vegetables will be crisp-tender.  At this point, turn off the heat and stir in the sliced green onions.  Serve with a splash of tamari or soy sauce stirred into each bowl.  Enjoy!

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