Tag Archives: High Country Food Hub

Osso Bucco w/ Creamy Polenta: BFR Beef Partnership

BFR Beef graciously reached out to me offering their osso bucco beef products gratis for a full review. All opinions are my own.

You know that supporting local is very important to me. One of the local farmers I’ve been enjoying supporting is BFR Beef. I first found them on High Country Food Hub. BFR’s farm is owned by the Brown family since 1942 and is located in Boone. You can order their products from the hub or on their website as well as visit them at the King’s Street Farmer’s Market in Boone and Blowing Rock Farmer’s Market.

For me, the most convenient way I purchase their products is through the High Country Food Hub, which is basically an online farmer’s market featuring many local farmers and artisans in the High Country. It’s a great one-stop source for lots of my produce and beef, even baked goods. You can find out more by visiting their site. Or for a review by me, click here. By the way, the market is open through Monday at 11:59pm! Click here to shop from the hub.

I have seriously never been disappointed in any of BFR Beef’s products. My first product was their Beef Italian Sausage — it’s so good in spaghetti sauce! But I also love their soup bones, which make for a wonderful broth, but they have so much meat on them, you literally can make chili with them, then save the bones for later (for that broth).

Recently, BFR Beef reached out to me to see if I’d like to try my hand at beef Osso Bucco. I’ve only made Osso Bucco once EVER so I jumped at a chance to collab with these great folks. I’ve found that you treat Osso Bucco much like you would any other type of beef that needs braising with a slightly longer cook time. The size of the BFR shanks are literally like a “personal roast” for a hungry adult. My kids split one and it was plenty for them. Take a look at how I made these osso bucco for a delectable Father’s Day meal. These osso bucco shanks did not disappoint. The beef variety is not quite as tender and unctuous as veal, but it’s rich and meaty and so homey. You’ll find a bit of fat in and around the shanks but it cooks down quite nicely. And honeys, I know the photography here is not the best. Osso Bucco in the evening is very difficult to photograph on a dark, rainy evening. You get the idea.

And full disclosure regarding the polenta. I literally used a tube of it from Trader Joe’s and added milk until it got heated and creamy, then added a handful of leftover fontina and allowed it to melt through. I then folded in some fresh parmesan. You can use instant polenta from a package too. Just follow the package directions. Mashed potatoes would be an obvious excellent choice or since we’re talking Italian here, why not some pasta with browned butter or your favorite marinara?

Beef Osso Bucco w/ Creamy Polenta

Beef Osso Bucco (one shank per adult, Veal would work fine too)
2 carrots, sliced
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
1 bunch fresh thyme
1 bunch Italian parsley
2 tbs. tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2-4 cups beef or veal stock
salt/pepper to taste

Instant polenta
Milk
Butter
Salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 300-degrees.
Heat enough oil in a hot deep skillet or dutch oven to cover the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle s/p on both sides of the shanks. Sear both sides until browned. Remove from heat. To the hot pan, add any oil as necessary (you shouldn’t need any) add tomato paste and cook until deeply browned but not burnt. Add onions, carrots and saute until slightly softened. Add wine to deglaze then add garlic. Return the shanks to the pan. Add enough broth to just cover the shanks and toss in your herbs. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. Occasionally you may want to lift the lid and check that the liquid isn’t absorbing too quickly. If it is, just add a bit more broth. At the end of cook time, the beef shanks should be very tender. Serve atop polenta and fresh thyme and parsley as a garnish.

For the polenta:
Prepare according to package directions, finishing with milk or cream and a great melty cheese plus parm.

















I fed my family for a week with Farmer’s Market Goodies for $82

A High Country Food Hub/Local Farm Meal Challenge!

This is a tad lengthy, but I feel worth it, so stick with me!

Often times, one of the stumbling blocks of shopping for locally produced ingredients is the so-called expense of feeding one’s family. Granted, it can be more expensive to shop at the farmer’s market for locally-raised meat and produce. It’s not always the case, but it’s to be expected.These are big time corporations here, these are small farms with a few employees, sometimes it’s just the farmer himself/herself. I try to be intentional about my shopping. I like to shop from local farmers, because my purchase could help send their child to dance lessons or to a math tutor. I know whose hands have touched that food and I know that it’s absolutely as fresh as can be.We also budget our grocery shopping (we use the Dave Ramsey “cash method” to stay in budget). But being 30 minutes away, going to the farmer’s market isn’t easy for me on Saturday, so I love the convenience of shopping online at the High Country Food Hub. Purchasing online uses our debit card, but we adjust accordingly. If you haven’t heard of the High Country Food Hub, I invite you to check out their website. They’re a part of Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture and they provide online access to local farmers to make it easier for you and me. I just love the service and they do so much to bring the community together with local agriculture with shopping, events, etc.  By the way, this post is not sponsored…this truly was my own  idea.

The challenge: Shop for a week’s worth of local goodies and make meals for my family. with it.  Budget: $100. I did my shop and it was $82 and some change.
Of course, I used some pantry/fridge ingredients to supplement like rice, onions, garlic, sauces to help stretch that budget but that’s to be expected. I did not go to the grocery store for any components I needed for my meals, only for random items like milk, avocado, snacks that I like to have on hand every week anyway. And I did swing by a local farm stand to get peaches one day because summer. Incidentally, the food hub does sell delicious whole creamery milk, but my son, the primary drinker, prefers 2%. And I placed my order too late to get Owl Creek bread.

Here’s my order:
Mixed cherry tomatoes, A Bushel and a Peck Farm
Heirloom tomatoes (red slicers)  Against the Grain
Heirloom tomatoes (mixed) New Life Farm
Purple potatoes, Blue Ridge Naturals 
Summer squash/zucchini, A Bushel and a Peck
Arugula, Full Moon Farm
Spring salad mix, Full Moon Farm
Shishito peppers,  Full Moon Farm
Mixed red/yellow sweet peppers, New Life Farm
Cucumbers, New Life Farm
Blueberries, Moffitt-Toolan Family Farm
Boston Butt, BRG Farms
Ground beef (2 lbs), Moffitt-Toolan, BRG Farms
Beef stew meat, Chestnut Grove Farms
Garlic brats, CS Farm
Chorizo sausage, Moffitt-Toolan

Here are the meals I prepared, with the local goods in italics. A recap of the recipes is coming soon is not up! 

Meal 1: (served 6) Paella Fried Rice using chorizo, some leftover chicken, leftover rice from a previous meal, peppers, onion, cilantro.

BE723C26-C7F7-42FA-B80D-AE43C20113E0

Meal 2:  (served 8) Cincinnati Chili (This was enough for another meal of leftovers days later (without the spaghetti the second time). This counts as 2 family meals.
Beef was the only local item in this meal.

IMG_8750

Meal 3: (served 5) Pulled Pork using the Boston butt, Rainbow Veggies using the zucchini, peppers, shishitos, Purple Mashed Potatoes

 

Meal 4: (enough for 4) Mediterranean Night with garlic brats, peppers, blistered tomatoes (leftover rainbow veg) and Fried Feta w/ pita and hummus

CADA0C46-FAD6-49B5-8C15-D75FC72D8C63

Meal 5: (served 5) Southwest Bowls w/Chorizo & Chicken, peppers & pico de gallo  (using tomatoes) on local grits

IMG_8864

Meal 6: (served 4) Korean Beef Bowls w/ Instant Pot stewed beef, zucchini, mushrooms

BC4C7FB4-639F-4E8B-8B0E-9CBB8F7D8E1D.JPG

Meal 7: (served 2) Arugula & Spring Mix Caesar Salad 

IMG_8835

Meals 1-6 (including leftovers from the chili) were were enough to feed my entire family. Paella fried rice gave us leftovers for 2 people. SW Bowls gave us another leftover meal for 1 (I turned it into breakfast), then there were a number of smaller meals, like salads, BLT’s.  Take a look.

Arugula salad with peaches, blueberries, burrata (served 2)

Arugula with figs, pancetta and burrata (served 1)

Spring mix salad with tomatoes (served 2)

Everyday cucumber salad with tomatoes (served 1)

BLT (served 2) using spring mix, arugula and tomato

I used the blueberries in smoothies, as well as snacking.

The eggs were used in a couple of different breakfasts including one that used the leftover pulled pork into an omelet. We still have half dozen eggs left.

 

Foodies, that means for my $82, I was able to make 40+ plates of food with those staples and every family meal included a locally-raised meat (6 meals that fed all 4 of us, a salad for 2, plus leftovers and individual lunches).  I shocked even myself with the ability to extend my dollar. And what’s more…my husband and son both went on a trip a few days into the “challenge”, putting it on hold, and the salad, peppers, zucchini were all still fresh two weeks later. I bought the food on Aug. 7, started the meal portion of the challenge on Aug. 9, stopped family meals Aug. 11 and restarted on Aug. 16 and completed Aug. 19. While they were away, I made salads for myself and ate leftovers with my daughter. It’s probably the healthiest I’ve eaten in a long time with well-balanced, colorful local goodness.  The other takeaway is that we don’t have to be nervous about using up these ingredients. None of the produce went soft or bad and it took me almost 2 weeks to eat it all.

Guys, I’m nothing special, I made a meal plan of items I know my people like and bought ingredients from the Food Hub based on my meal plan, which is nothing different than I do if I’m typical grocery store shopping. My habits are usually Food Hub every 2 weeks, then I fill in with a grocery shop, and when I go down the mountain to Winston-Salem, I usually hit Trader Joe’s (once a month). Every now and then, I shop a local market or Earth Fare, but we have a cash budget and we stick to it as much as possible (sudden trips for ice cream or chocolate chips don’t count, do they?).

I want to make it clear that this is not a sponsored post. Items were purchased with our own money. This really was a challenge….to see how I’d do.

As for the recipes, some are tried and true and found online, some are mine and most of the salads are seriously just thrown together. Recipes coming at you Thursday!

By the way, if I’ve kept you to this point, on Friday, the Hub is having a Fill Your Freezer sale with lots of great locally raised beef. There will be presentations at the Ag building (address is on the flyer below) all day long beginning with ME at 11:30 when I demonstrate how to sear and carve a flank steak. Come see us and maybe you can get a taste of the flank steak with a delicious corn and tomato salsa that’s perfect for tailgating at App’s first home game! presentations