Adventures in pastured beef

Last night I met up with my best friend (of Lisa Cookies) to do dinner. We didn’t really have anything in mind which sometimes works best. We thought about going to a restaurant, but she graciously said that she didn’t want to compromise my diet… what a friend! So we walked to a boutique grocer nearby called the Healthy Butcher and looked around to see what tickled our fancy. We ended up going with some organic, grass-fed flat-iron steak and picked up some gold chard and purple beans (locally grown). I have not had any of these things before, but both her and I are pretty good in the kitchen and figured we can generally muddle through ok after some help from google. When in doubt in the kitchen, google is your friend.We got back to my place and looked up how to cook swiss chard. I recommend doing this for a laugh. The explanations are hilariously detailed for what is one of the simplest things to cook ever. I guess if you don’t know how to prepare vegetables then it would be helpful, but we just laughed because it boiled down to:

  1. Rinse the leaves
  2. Chop into desired size pieces either with the stem or remove the stem and leave aside
  3. Steam for 2 minutes
  4. Either sautee or steam the stems if you have removed them.

You can see some of the purples, yellows and greens of the veggies.

These are the exact same instuctions as cooking broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, snap peas… you get the idea. There were a couple other standard vegetable cooking options available too, but nothing complex. So we de-stemmed and steamed the chard and then sautéed the stems with the purple beans. What was interesting with the purple beans is that they turned green when cooked! I was a little disappointed because I took away from the beautiful colour palette on the plate. But there was still a little purple left as you can see. The stems were a little tough but yummy so I would steam them next time and the chard was incredibly peppery, which took both of us by surprise.

As for the steak, we decided to pan fry it in a bit of coconut oil with Toronto steak spice dry rub which was a new discovery as well and cooked them nice and rare. They were rare even by my standards which is saying something. They were basically blue rare but oh boy were they good. This had to be the leanest, most tender cut of meat ever. If this is what grass-fed beef is then I want to be part of this party. By the way, grass-fed beef has a tonne of health benefits over grain fed beef such as:

  • Higher levels of CLA
  • Higher ratio of Omega 3’s to omega 6’s
  • Leaner than grain-fed beef (similar to a chicken breast!)
  • More vitamins like vitamin E, beta-carotene and vitamin C
  • No nasty stuff like antibiotics, hormones or chemicals
  • Fewer stress hormones in their system (cortisol and adrenaline which can increase levels in humans)

Grain is on the left, grass on the right.

 Photo Credit: Australian Angus on Grass Kenton Creek Angus

All that is awesome, but if it doesn’t taste good who cares? Well let me tell you… it tastes amazing! And it was not even cooked perfectly, on a super hot bbq this would have been superb. So I have bought a lot (seriously a lot) of naturally raised meat for delivery tomorrow morning from the lovely people at Brooker’s Meats. The sell lots of difference meats but I ordered a package with various cuts of chicken, turkey, pork and beef. I’m so excited about this! Is that weird? I don’t care, I will shortly have a freezer full of nutritionally superior meat products that were a fraction of the price they would be in a boutique grocer and they will be delivered to my door! Awesome right?!

But I digress, back to cooking. So we had steamed chard, sautéed chard stems with purple beans and sliced almonds and the most wonderful flat-iron steak cooked with coconut oil. Absolutely delicious and fully diet compatible. Grass fed beef is so lean that 6 oz only works out to about 225 calories! Add in some excellent company and it makes for a very enjoyable evening. 🙂

You should never feel deprived on a diet, and with meals like this I really don’t know anyone who would? I didn’t miss starch at all and was plenty full at the end. I love experimenting with new foods and if you are dieting, it can be a great way to make you feel more satisfied and gives your taste buds something new. Farmers markets are great for this, so have a wander around and buy some produce or meats that you haven’t tried before. You might find something wonderful.