Thursday, December 1, 2011


While the week after Thanksgiving is usually devoted to austerity, our Colorado meal only continued the holiday binge!

We opted to recognize some of Colorado's major agricultural products: beef, beets and potatoes. I can't say that we support the current system of meat production, in Colorado or anywhere really. It's an unhealthy system that promotes quantity over quality. Cattle are fed subsidized grains that are grown only with high inputs of fossil fuels and synthetic nitrogen. At the grocery store, we pay remarkably low prices for our meat, largely because the real environmental and social costs are externalized--water quality is degraded, soil is eroded, and animal health suffers. There are alternatives, however. We could all probably stand to decrease our meat consumption, to the benefit of our health and the environment. In our home, when we eat meat, we primarily consume products that are local and sustainably produced. Hopefully, by supporting an alternative system, we make it more viable and broadly affordable in the long run.

This meal aims to celebrate Colorado's cowboy past and the early systems of grass-fed meat in the west.

We grilled steaks, two ribeyes for the grown-ups and a New York strip, split between the younger two. On the side, we served roasted yellow beets and purple potatoes--a colorful way to start the month of December! All of these products came from our favorite local farm.

I diced all the vegetables and roasted them separately. The beets went into a 425 degree oven for about 30 minutes. The potatoes were done in a cast iron pan on the stove, then finished in the oven. In both cases, the goal is to get a nice crust on the outside, and maintain a tender interior.

Colorado also boasts several excellent breweries! We especially like New Belgium, but also recommend Left Hand, Tommyknocker and Avery. (note, I did not include Coors!). We've recently been enjoying New Belgium's Ranger.

Everyone was pretty happy with this meal, though the girls avoided the beets. Lucy likes her steak with a little Heinz 57 sauce, but Maia saws into it plain. We had a long conversation about the "right" way to eat your steak. You could choose "rare" (juicy and edible) or the strangely named "well done" (dry like shoe leather). You can see which our household prefers!

Next stop: Nebraska

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