People 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.
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Annual pork-fest and competition returns to Denver.
Cochon 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.
Marczyk 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 featuresNiman 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
New York food company updates Julia Child classics.
I 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
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 took first and Acorn took second in both categories.
The 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.
Snarky comment about Colorado weed accompanies praise.
As usual, I read yet another national “best” list in search of Colorado restaurants, this time Thrillist.com’s second annual “The 33 Best Burgers in America.” While praising the TAG Burger Bar’s TAG American Slam, writer Kevin Alexander couldn’t resist a potshot at pot:
“The man behind a slew of successful Denver-area restaurants opened up his burger-focused shop a few years ago, and it has been a Mile High favorite, while also dominating in area burger contests, ever since. While there are over-the-top builds common to new-school burger shops, like the Godzilla (crispy tempura flakes, smoked kewpi), at its core, Burger Bar excels because of their patty: a blend of chuck, short rib, and brisket specially ground for them. It can be deliciously topped with everything from Colorado-born ingredients like Pueblo green chiles to honey-infused local goat cheese. But even though it’s in CO, you can’t top the burger with weed. I mean, you could, but you’d have to put it on there yourself.”
The reference to Colorado legalized recreational marijuana is getting old. Oh, and “the man behind” the successful restaurants Alexander mentioned in this round-up is owner-chef Troy Guard. He ignored the Congress Park burgeria’s popular burger and beer pairings. Oh well.
The Roasted Toad trailer serves flavorful sandwiches & platters.
When I moved to Colorado more than 25 years ago, the low-slung building at Nederland’s roundabout where Highways 119 and 72 come together housed Bob’s Bakery and most recently a sporting goods outlet called Ben’s Emporium. The building is currently the staging area for a BBQ spot in the parking lot. I’d driven by several times since it opened last fall but only yesterday, did my husband and I stop en route home from a James Peak Wildnerness hike — and hungry.
The Roasted Toad “complex” consists of a main trailer with the serving window, an ancillary trailer containing a wood smoker and two unshaded picnic benches sit in the parking lot in front of the building. If you need a restroom, you’ll be sent next door to the KwikStop. The building is slated to become a restaurant with real indoor seating and a larger menu — currently confined to ribs, pulled pork, “pulled” chicken, chicken noodles, sides, a few soft drinks and little else. Why it is called The Roasted Toad mystifies me.
When we were getting ready to leave, I stopped to chat with the owner, who told me his dad once owned a grocery store and learned to smoke meat in Bailey, that he once worked at a BBQ stand at Mile High Stadium (or whatever it was called when he worked there) and such. “What’s your name?” I asked, “Dave,” he said “I’m Claire,” I added and left, mentally deciding that my post would be a play on such other BBQ Daves as Famous Dave’s and Smokin’ Dave’s. When I was starting to write this post and wanted to know more, I found “Roasted Toad Features Smoked Hog” from The Mountain-Ear, Nederland’s weekly newspaper. There are learned that Dave’s last name is Walter. No relation.
The Roasted Toad’s address is 229 Highway 119, Nederland; 303-258-3397.
Claire Walter's Colorado-oriented but not Colorado-exclusive blog about restaurants, food and wine events, recipes and related news.