Category Archives: Meat

Tasting the West in Italian Establishment

Sanity & taste buds required a break from hotel food.

P1050192The other day, we stopped at the Ranch Bar in San Martino di Castrozza for kicks. Yesterday, needing a break from both the Hotel Colfosco’s truly mediocre food and the constant wailing of one or another baby or toddler at this family hotel, we escaped to the Ranch Bar for dinner. Plus we were really curious about the backstory and food at this Western-theme outpost in Italy’s Dolomites.

The menu named some names.
The menu named some names. Tantalizing leads to the backstory, but not worth exploring beyond a quick initial search. After all, I’m not stalking them.
May there's a Boulder connection. Holubar was an old outdoor gear supplier in Boulder. This loo appears on the placemat.
Maybe there’s a Boulder connection. Holubar was an old outdoor gear supplier in Boulder. This logo appears on the placemat. Or maybe someone just thought that Holubar was a bar.

But what of the burgers?, you might ask. They’re huge! Three young guys at the next table each order two. Two of the trio picked them up American-style, while the third earnestly sawed away at his with a knife and fork.

When I wrote
When I wrote “huge,” I meant HUGE. Big burger from quality eat with or without cheese, on an enormous sesame seed bun.
Not just large, but juicy too. According to the menu, it comes with
Not just large, but juicy too. According to the menu, it comes with “salad.” That it fact is butter lettuce and sliced tomato.
Fries that must have been hand-cu because they are really irregular. They are less successful than the burgers because they weren't really hot when served.
Fries must have been hand-cut because they are really irregular. They are less successful than the burgers because they weren’t really hot when served.
Fries that must have been hand-cu because they are really irregular. They are less successful than the burgers because they weren't really hot when served.
Fries that must have been hand-cut because they were really irregular. They are less successful than the burgers because they weren’t really hot when served.

Denver’s Tender Belly Pork Cited for Fast Growth

Natural heritage pork is increasingly what’s for dinner.

Tenderbelly-logo Inc. magazine has announced that Denver-based Tender Belly, a nationally recognized purveyor of all natural heritage breed pork products, ranks No.  698 on the 34th annual Inc. 5000, a prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. The list represents what is said to be “the most comprehensive look at the most important segment of the economy—America’s independent entrepreneurs.”

Tender Belly was founded in 2010 by brothers Erik and Shannon Duffy with the mission to provide the highest quality of pork products on the market. The result is natural, delicious pork that foodies can eat with clear consciences. Tender Belly’s array of products including bacon, franks, ham, ribs, various cuts and whole hogs. The brand is carried by major national distributors and in specialty stores throughout Colorado,  Arizona and Texas.

Tender Belly is committed to environmentally responsible and fully traceable farming methods, as well as to animal well-being. As part of their focus on farm-to-table cuisine and local purveyors, they source from small family farms with generations of history that produce the finest quality pork.

All of the animals are fed a 100% vegetarian diet — with no rendered animal byproducts, antibiotics or hormones, and live with plenty of space to roam. This approach helps Tender Belly deliver a line-up of pork products to  distinguished restaurants across the country including those helmed by big-name chefs.  Click here for Colorado restaurants serving Tender Belly cuts of pork

New Mexico Ranch Earns Animal Welfare Certification

CertifedGrassFed-logoPeople become vegetarians for a variety of reasons, including concerns about the quality of life of animals before they are slaughtered. It comes as good news that the L6 Cattle Ranches in Corona, New Mexico, has become the first agricultural business in the country to earn Animal Welfare Approved Certified Grassfed designation. As consumers learn about the damaging impact that intensive farming has on our health, the environment and animal welfare, many are seeking truly sustainable alternatives, including grassfed meat., with demand for increasing by 25-30 percent every year over the last decade.

Not surprisingly, the US Department of Agriculture’s standards are fairly loose, and AWA therefore issues  the only certification and logo in the United States and Canada that guarantee food products come from animals that were fed a 100 percent grass and forage diet, raised outdoors on pasture or range for their entire lives, and managed according to the highest welfare and environmental standards on an independent family farm. While other grassfed labels exist, none has reportedly fully met consumer expectations when it comes to a grassfed and forage diet, environmental management and farm animal welfare.

Sharie and Bill Leibold, owners of the 4,000-acre L6 Cattle Ranch have been producing strictly grassfed and finished Angus-Jersey cross beef since 2006. Although the Leibolds were already certified by Animal Welfare Approved in 2009 for their high-welfare and environmental management practices, they were eager to gain Certified Grassfed by AWA status for their grassfed cattle herd when the new program was launched in January.  Congratulations to the Leibolds — and may other ranchers follow their lead.

Click here for purchasing and pickup-delivery information.

Cochon 555 Showcases Heritage Pigs

Annual pork-fest and competition returns to Denver.

Cochon555Cochon 555 is back in Denver on Friday to Sunday, March 6-8. This three-day feast and culinary competition celebrates family farms, heritage breed pigs and tilt the scales in favor today’s emerging chef community struggling to pay premium prices for safer, more flavorful food raised by real farmers.

Denver is again a stop on a national tour that spotlights notable chefs, super-skilled butchers, spirited bartenders, top winemakers, brewers, distillers, oysters, caviar and sweets, now in  its seventh year.It starts Friday evening with a guest chef dinner at The Nickel in the Hotel Teatro, followed by a large- format meat feast on Saturday at Colt & Gray with wines of Antinori /Antica Napa Valley and then the main event Cochon 555 on Sunday at Ritz-Carlton Denver –

On Sunday, Cochon 555’s five Denver area chefs cook five pigs in an intense but friendly competition. This year’s competing chefs are Kelly Whitaker of Basta, Matt Vawter of Mercantile Dining & Provision, John Little of Harman’s Eat & Drink, Christopher Thompson of The Nickel and Rich Byers of The Corner Office. Using heritage breeds from family farms (an  Old Spot and Large Black from Autumn’s Harvest Farm, Mulefoot from The Piggery, Red Wattle and Large Black  from Heritage Foods US, and a Mulefoot from Climbing Tree Farm), they will prepare a maximum of six dishes, Voting are a crowd of hungry gourmands and celebrated local  judges.

Tickets begin at $130 (plus service  charge). Click here to purchase.

Marczyk’s Fundraiser for Family Farmers

Family-owned, upmarket Denver grocer supports scholarship fund.

Marczyk-logoMarczyk Fine Foods and Niman Ranch are teaming up for their second annual fundraiser to support the Next Generation Scholarship Fund. All week, through Marczyk’s next Burger Night, both locations are accepting donations at the register, and also the proceeds from each burger purchased at Burger Night on Friday, August 22 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. go directly to the scholarship fund.

The Next Generation Scholarship Fund supports young people from rural communities who wish to attend college to study environmental and sustainable practices so that they can bring their knowledge back to the family farm. At a time when the average age of a US farmer is just over 58 years old, American agriculture desperately needs a new generation of young, passionate and educated farmers. 

Burger Night features Niman Ranch burgers from meat freshly ground at Marczyk’s and served on fresh brioche buns with all the fixin’s for $8.99. The evening includes a visit from the Brown Family from New Providence, Iowa. They raises happy, healthy pigs for Niman Ranch, and their son was a previous recipient of the Next Generation Scholarship

A Julia Child Recipe, Tweaked & Updated

New York food company updates Julia Child classics.

JuliaHeadshotI generally only post recipes that I made and really liked– or have developed on the fly by modifying or combining others that I have found. Today would be Julia Child’s 102nd birthday, and for the occasion, Maria Zoitas, creator of the Made by Maria Homemade line of prepared food sold exclusively at Westside Market NYC, has shared her twist on several of the renowned chef’s beloved recipes. One is roast rack of lamb (carré d’agneau), an easy-to-prepare dish that is a tribute to the late, great Julia Child. (WordPress occasionally insists on crossing out a word or phrase with a link in it. Clicking still takes you to the site. I apologize, but I’ve tried to fix it — without success.)

Gigot de Pré-Salé Rôti (translated as Roast Leg of Lamb) appears on page 332 of my ancient copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Julia never shied away from fat, so it includes pork or beef fat, or a melted butter/cooking oil mix, as well as a carrot, an onion and stock that Maria pared down.

Roasted Leg of Lamb

Roast leg of lamb, a Julia Child favorite.
Roast leg of lamb, a Julia Child favorite.

1 Semi Boneless Leg of Lamb (6-7 lbs.)
2 Tbsp. Minced Garlic
2 Tbsp. Kosher salt
2 Tsp. Ground Black Pepper
¼ Cup Olive Oil
¼ Cup Fresh Chopped Rosemary Leaves
2 Cups Water
1 Roll of Butcher Twine


Preheat oven at 400⁰F.
Open side of the meat and season with 1 tbsp. of minced garlic, 1 tbsp. of kosher salt, 1 tsp. of ground black pepper, and kindly close up the two sides of the meat and tie it with a butcher twine.
Season the outside of the meat with 1 tbsp. of minced garlic, 1 tbsp. of kosher salt, 1 tsp. of ground black pepper, the olive oil and rosemary.
Place the meat into a 16 X 11 X 4 roasting pan, add the 2 cups of water and place into a wire rack.
Roast the seasoned leg of lamb in the preheated oven for 1.5 hours or until the meat has reached an internal temperature of 140⁰F.
Yields 8 – 10 Servings



Crave Wins Denver Burger Battle

Crave took first and Acorn took second in both categories.

DenverBurgerBattle-logoThe 2014 Denver Burger Battle is history, and Crave Real Burgers swept the August 7 competition, earning both the People’s Choice and Judges’ Choice awards. The double win is a first for the celebrated annual charity event, which this year took place in Sculpture Park in downtown Denver. Crave had won the People’s Choice award in 2012 and was the runner-up in 2013.

The winning burger, Love Stinks, Crave’s signature, is made of a Colorado Proud chuck patty topped with roasted garlic cream cheese, more roasted garlic, fried onion strings, roasted red pepper, candied bacon and red pepper aioli. A Crave-branded mint was offered with each Love Stinks sample to combat the effect of the garlic. The first Crave opened Castle Rock in 2010, and it has since expanded to Highlands Ranch and Colorado Springs.

Now in its fifth year, the sold-out Denver Burger Battle was attended by roughly 1,200 people, who each had a vote in the People’s Choice category. Twelve of the best burger eateries in the Denver area were invited to compete. Four top Denver  chefs (Jeff Osaka, Paul Reilly, Justin Cucci and Theo Adley) formed the judges’ panel. Proceeds from the Denver Burger Battle are distributed to hunger and child welfare charities.

“The people and the judges were definitely on the same page this year,” Jeremy Kossler, co-founder the Denver Burger Battle with his wife, Kelly was quoted as saying. Acorn, another of the 12 restaurants invited to compete at the event, swept the  runner-up spot in both categories.