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Cooking Grassfed Beef: Healthy Recipes from Nose to Tail (Free Range Farm Girl) (Volume 1) Paperback – July 2, 2014
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About the Author
A third-generation livestock farmer, Shannon Hayes holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University and works with her family raising, butchering, and cooking grassfed and pastured meats on Sap Bush Hollow Farm in Upstate New York. Her research into the nuances of grassfed and pastured meat cookery has spanned the last 15 years. Hayes’s work has been featured in The New York Times, in numerous culinary magazines, on the Katie Couric show, as well as on National Public Radio. She is the author of several books, including three meat cookbooks, The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook, The Farmer and the Grill, and Long Way on a Little. Her blog posts about farming, family,and food can be found at .
Top customer reviews
For the cook who is new to the world of grassfed beef, this cookbook is a wonderful introduction. As a "greatest hits" of Shannon Hayes' other cookbooks, it provides everything you really need to get started, and turn those responsibly-raised steaks, roasts, ground beef, and organ meats into delicious and flavorful dinners.
The focus of the book is on techniques and principles: the general kinds of cooking methods (pan-frying, roasting, braising, grilling, etc.), and the different cuts of beef: how to use each technique, which cuts it will work best with, and---importantly for those who really want to learn---explanations of WHY these are the best methods. Of special note is Shannon's "super slow roasting" method for tough cuts; just this, by itself, is worth the price of the book! These are the cheaper cuts, but also, when prepared correctly, some of the most flavorful.
Everything is clearly written, and the recipes are both simple and tasty. For the most part, the focus is not on overly-fancy elaborate productions; rather, this book teaches you how to cook everyday meals.
Now for the other audiences. If you already own Shannon's other cookbooks (The Grassfed Gourmet, The Farmer and the Grill, and Long Way on a Little), then you can probably pass on this one. This is primarily a compendium of material from those earlier books, so there is hardly any new content here.
If you have dietary restrictions related to wheat, dairy, or legumes, then the best place to start is not with this book, but with Shannon's previous cookbook, Long Way on a Little. The appendix to that book has everything you need to find recipes (indeed, about 80% of the book) which satisfy those concerns, in various combinations.
Central to the cookbook is the discussion of how the difference in diet and environment for the animals – grain fed vs grass fed - affects the physical properties of the meat itself and thus how it should be prepared. Also included is information on decoding the labeling of meats and what free-range, pastured, grass-finished and grass fed all really mean.
If you have heard or found grassfed beef to be tough, which is a disappointment after you have probably paid a bit more for it than the offerings at the supermarket, it has nothing to do with the meat itself and everything to do with what cut you bought and how you cooked it. Hayes’s eloquent introduction, as well as the beginning of each recipe, guides you through choosing appropriate cuts of meat and corresponding temperatures for the type of recipe you are cooking. From braising to BBQ, all the ways in which you might cook your beef are covered with tips on seasoning – or lack of – included as well.
Hayes, who is the author of four cookbooks, a third generation livestock farmer, and who holds a Ph.D in Sustainable Agriculture, works with her family raising, butchering and cooking grass fed and pastured meats on Sap Bush Hollow Farm in Upstate New York. She lets you know early in the introduction that “if you are hoping for a book that politely separates the pretty cattle in the pasture from the food on your plate, you’d probably better find some glossy armchair cookbook to read.” Being part of the process from beginning to end with her livestock allows Hayes to contribute not just her scientific knowledge but practical advice to her book. Along with recipes for glorious food like Garlic-Rubbed Chuck Eye Roast with Horseradish Cream and Short Ribs Slow-Cooked with Bacon and Tomatoes, the book also contains instructions for rendering beef suet for cooking and projects such as tallow-based salves, soaps and candles. There are also directions for utilizing beef bones, organs and bits for nutritious broths and soup bases. These additional tips are a welcome addition for utilizing all parts of the animal should you invest in a side of grassfed beef. Hayes is passionate about the connection between the land stewardship required to produce grassfed meats and how this long-term investment benefits us all with livestock and thus food not heavily dependent on antibiotics nor mass agriculture (to feed the livestock), and unhealthy slaughtering practices that dictate how meat is processed.
What you find in Cooking with Grassfed Beef is everything our pioneer ancestors knew about raising and utilizing beef merged with our present day understanding of how best to cook these meats in cuisine from all over the world. Delightful illustrations, lively and informed instruction and a low price (11.95 for softcover, 4.99 for ebook) make this a real gem of a cookbook. Bring home that grassfed beef from the farmers maket and cook it with confidence to delicious results with Shannon Hayes’s gentle and humorous guidance.