If you haven’t worked with (or eaten) farmer’s market beef, stop reading, get up and go get yourself some. I’ll wait until you get back.

What’s the hurry? You’ve never had beef before. And is that anyway to live?

Okay, sure you’ve had steak and burgers that were plenty scrumptious but they did not come from a true cow. Or at least not a cow that felt like a cow.

To illustrate, let’s take you – a reasonably healthy individual who exercises when possible and likes good fresh food. Let’s force-feed you Cheetos, Pringles, Twinkies and some human jerky sticks until you feel very ill, until your immune system shuts down and your body begins to revolt. Now, instead of letting you go for a walk and find a salad, we fence you in, pump you full of antibiotics and make you to stand in your own shit, while your head is buried in cheese puffs.

At this point, I have to ask, do you feel like a human?

No, you’ve become a flesh manufacturer. Albeit a very sick one.

This is the life of most American cows. The resulting beef is as unnatural as trans fat slathered Styrofoam.

Real meat is raised not produced. So unless you have had grass-fed beef, you haven’t had beef. It’s more than the difference between a Twinkie and a homemade cupcake (be honest, which one feeds your soul?) but that’s part of it. The benefits of eating Real food reverberate in many directions – too many to get into here. (But I highly recommend Pollan’s books on this subject.)

Enough preaching: This site is for the more carnal senses.

Grass fed beef, first of all, looks different than fake beef. When raw, it is a dark magenta color – much darker than the rose color you find in the supermarket. And the texture between your fingers is supple, almost silky. The fat peels off easily – but do not throw this away. It is where all the yummy Omega 3s are and is my favorite way to grease a sauté pan.

(I think eating the fat of an animal is important, with the caveat that the animal must be healthy. In any properly functioning body, the balance of hormones and other nutrients is divided between muscles and fat tissue. If you only eat one or the other, you could be disrupting this balance in your own body. I am not a doctor; this is simply my own take on the most recent scientific literature…)

Two things to note when planning a recipe with Real beef:

1) The flavor is so luscious, you will savor it longer and therefore be deeply satisfied by a smaller portion.

2) There is less fat over all in the real cow (i.e. the grazing cow) than in the beef-manufacturing machine (i.e. the sick, shit-standing, fake-food-gorging cow). Reduce cooking time in standard recipes by one-third (muscle temp rises faster than fat) and keep the oven or stove temp slightly lower than you usually would.

Drunken Cow with Mushrooms
- I owe the idea to combining whisky and soy sauce to a Brooklyn-based volunteer for Arcadian Pastures (Sloansville, NY).

Serves 2

Main Ingredients

½- ¾ lb grass-fed beef, preferably sirloin but other cuts will do nicely too
½ lb shitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced in half if large
¾ cup paper-thin slices of daikon (Japanese radish)


¾ cup whiskey
¼ cup soy sauce
1 Tbs Campari (optional)
1 Tbs molasses
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
splash of juice, whatever you have in your fridge

Mix marinade ingredients and, if necessary, let beef defrost in it. Separate (but save!) fat. Cut beef into mouth-manageable strips and place back in refrigerated marinade for at least 40 minutes and up to 9 hours, the longer the better.

Twenty minutes before ready to eat, take fat out of marinade and let melt in large skillet until pan is well greased. Remove. Add mushrooms and then daikon, sautéing until soft.

Meanwhile, drain most of the marinade into small pot. Boil to reduce. You want about a quarter cup.

Add beef to mushroom mixture. Sauté until mostly brown, med-rare. Add reduced marinade. Serve.

(To use up the rest of the daikon, I diced it into long slices – with the critical help of a mandolin – and tossed with rice vinegar. A simple side dish to accompany the complexity above).

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