Tequila Lime Carne Asada with Spring Salsa

My husband and I tag teamed on this one. He came up with the Tequila Lime Marinade and I came up with the Spring Salsa.

Tequila Lime Marinade

Ingredients
3 green onions
2 cloves garlic
1/3 to 1/2 of a jalapeno
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup tequila (plus extra for the cook)
Juice of one lime
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper

1 pound grass-fed hanger steak (substitute flank steak or skirt steak)

Method

  • Pulse all ingredients (except steak!) in food processor until finely chopped.
  • Place steak in a non-reactive dish to marinate.
  • Slather steak with olive oil, salt and pepper generously and cover with marinade.
  • Cover and place in refrigerator for two to 12 hours.
  • Remove steak from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before cooking. It will cook more evenly if it is at room temperature.
  • Preheat oven to 375º F.
  • Heat an oven-proof frying pan to medium-high heat. A cast iron pan works great. Coat pan with thin layer of olive oil and add steak. Reserve marinade.
  • Sear both sides, about one minutes each side.
  • Add marinade to pan and place in pre-heated oven. Cook for five to 10 minutes, depending on how you like your steak done. If using a meat thermometer, see chart above.
  • Transfer the steak to a cutting board and let it rest for five to 10 minutes. Use a sharp knife and slice into thin strips.

Serve on warm corn tortillas and top with Fresh Spring Salsa.
Serves four.

Fresh Spring Salsa

I didn’t miss the tomatoes in this one bit. Experiment with any veggies you see at the farmers’ market.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 to 1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup sweet onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon jalapeno, chopped
3 medium-sized carrots, julienne (or cut to match stick size)
4 to 5 medium-sized radishes, sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • In a medium-sized bowl, add lime juice and honey. Mix until well blended.
  • Add onions, garlic and jalapenos to mixture and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Add carrots, radishes and cilantro and mix well. Salt and pepper to taste.

Serves four. Keeps refrigerated for three days.

Grass-fed Beef

Full disclosure, I no longer buy conventionally raised meat. I’m mainly talking about beef from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO). Let’s just say that it ain’t pretty … nor is it healthy for the animals, for the people who eat it or for the environment. Read The Omnivore’s Dilemma or watch Food, Inc. for full, gory details.

The biggest obstacle to overcome when switching from conventionally raised meat to grass-fed is the price. It is true that factory farmed beef is cheaper. My thinking on meat is to buy local, grass-fed beef and just eat less of it. Your overall meat costs will be close to the same and you’ll be healthier for it, especially if you use the extra room on your plate for vegetables.

In my search for local meat, I came across Jimmy Bulich of Pathfinder Farms in Catskill. He gave my husband and me a tour of his farm.

Jimmy has a small herd of Hereford and Black Baldies beef cattle. Here’s how his farm works: Jimmy uses an electric fence to section off his pasture into football field-sized quadrants, plenty of space for his 14-cow herd. The cows stay in an area for about a day and they eat the grass. Once they have given that area a nice mow, they are moved to another area.

Cows, of course, leave behind manure. This does a few things. First, it is an excellent fertilizer. Jimmy never needs to add chemicals to his fields. Second, it provides food for wildlife. Wild turkeys and birds come in and eat the bugs that are attracted to the manure. The wildlife does its part by spreading the manure when digging for the protein-rich bugs.

In the winter, Jimmy feeds the cows hay (a.k.a. dried grass) grown on a nearby farm.

I love the simplicity of the process. Grass and cows form a beautiful symbiotic relationship. Cows eat the grass and, in turn, feed the grass with what they leave behind. How can you not love that?

The cows on Jimmy’s farm look healthy and happy. We ate his delicious nitrate-free hot dogs twice last week. Normally I would feel like a hot dog dinner is skimpy in the health department, but I think ones made from grass-fed beef are down right healthy for you.

Meat from cows raised on grass has more omega-3s, more vitamin E and more CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acids) than meat from animals fed conventional diets. CLA is purported to lower risk of cancer and heart disease and improve immune systems. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and are excellent “brain” food. Vitamin E has strong antioxidant properties. All of this sounds good to me!

Grass-fed beef is leaner and requires less cooking time than conventional meat. Kinderhook Farms has great tips for cooking grass-fed beef on its Web site, http://www.kinderhookfarm.com/recipes/recipes_tipsforcooking.html.

They recommended these cooking temperatures: 120 degrees, rare; 125 degrees, medium rare; 130 degrees, medium; 135 degrees, medium well; and 140 degrees, well.

I found this list of Columbia and Greene county grass-fed farms on www.eatwild.com. If I missed your farm, please let me know.

Pathfinder Farms, 2433 Old Kings Road, Catskill, 12414. 518-943-7096. E-mail: pathfinder@mhcable.com. Web site: http://www.pathfinderfarms.com.

Kinderhook Farm, 1958 County Route 21, Ghent [mailing address: 1958 County Route 21, Valatie, 12184]. 518-929-3076. E-mail: info@kinderhookfarm.com. Web site: http://www.kinderhookfarm.com.

Gansvoort Farm, 1830 Route 9, Germantown, 12526. 518-537-4668. E-mail: gansvoort@gmail.com.

Fox Hill Farm, 887 E. Ancram Road, Ancramdale, 12503. 518-329-2405. E-mail: Lampman1@taconic.net. Web site: http://www.foxhillfarmgrassfedbeef.com/.

Grazin’ Angus Acres, Route 66 (between Hudson and Chatham) on Bartel Road in Ghent, New York. (518) 392-3620. Web site:
http://www.grazinangusacres.com/

Heather Ridge Farm, 989 Broome Center Road, Preston Hollow, 12469. 518-239-6045. E-mail: HeatherRidgeFarm@aol.com. Web site: http://www.heather-ridge-farm.com.

Herondale Farm, 90 Wiltsie Bridge Road, Ancramdale, 12503. 518-329-3769. E-mail: info@herondalefarm.com. Web site: ttp://www.herondalefarm.com