Buzzard's Beat

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

National Ag Day - Kansas Ag Day

Today is National Ag Day and, equally important, it's also Kansas Ag Day!

Agriculture is important to everyone - farmers and ranchers produce our food and fiber so today I'm posting some of my favorite photos that embody what I think about when I imagine Kansas agriculture.

National Ag Day - Kansas Ag Day
Good stockmanship on display. Calm cattle are safe cattle.

National Ag Day - Kansas Ag Day
Some mama Longhorn cows coming in from pasture to eat

National Ag Day - Kansas Ag Day
"I love you small, I love you big, I love you more than a baby pig"

National Ag Day - Kansas Ag Day
A pretty barn on a cold day in Kansas

National Ag Day - Kansas Ag Day
Hungry horses crowd around a bale of hay

National Ag Day - Kansas Ag Day
A hayfield near my house on an early summer evening
What does agriculture mean to you? When you think of farmers and ranchers - what images come to mind?
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Hunk of Meat Monday: Stuffed Burgers

I am horrible about meal-planning. Usually 'round 5:30, I start to think about what we might want for dinner and go into a panic because I want to make intricate, flavorful meals but forget that achieving that goal requires a little bit more planning.

So, out comes the hamburger. Or ground pork. Or, in last night's case, ground turkey.

I've seen lots of recipes out there for stuffed burgers - those are not a new fad. But I've never made one and I've also never had a turkey burger. Two birds, one stone.

So below are two recipes, intertwined - one for turkey burgers and one for beef burgers.

Buzzard's Stuffed Burgers
- 1 lb ground beef or hamburger (did you know they're not the same thing?)
- 1 lb ground turkey
- Worcestershire sauce
- Swiss cheese, torn into tiny pieces
- Shredded Cojack cheese
- 1/2 strip bacon per beef patty
- salt & pepper
- seasoning salt

Fry bacon while ground beef is defrosting - this is essential if you waited until the last minute to get started on dinner. Shred bacon into tiny pieces - one half piece per patty. I only made two patties so one piece of bacon was plenty.

Bacon crumbled for stuffed burgers - Buzzard's Beat
Mmmm, bacon
After beef is defrosted, place in bowl and pour in a good amount of Worcestershire sauce (~4 tbsp) and mix up with hands. Let set for ~5 minutes before dividing beef in half and forming two- half pound patties.

Adding Worcestershire sauce to burger meat
Add in Worcestershire sauce, mix and let marinade for five minutes
Make a divot in the patty and place half the bacon and some shredded cojack cheese. Smush burger around filling, while retaining patty shape.

Buzzard's Stuffed Burgers
Add in your stuffing and mush the patty around the bacon and cheese to seal
Do the same process (two patties, cheese, smushing) with the swiss cheese and ground turkey. At this point, I had four- half pound burger patties.
Swiss cheese in a turkey patty
Turkey and swiss sammich, anyone?
Season your turkey patties with salt and pepper; beef with salt, pepper and one of my fave seasonings, Red Robin french fry sprinkles.

Buzzard's STuffed Burgers
Season beef patties with salt, pepper and Red Robin's french fry seasoning
Grill patties over medium charcoal heat until internal temperature reaches 160 F. Enjoy the gooey goodness when you cut into them (we didn't have any buns so ate with forks)!
Buzzard's Stuffed Burgers
Don't they look delicious?!
Buzzard's Stuffed Burgers
Bacon and cheesy stuffed amazingness!
I plan to try again with mushroom stuffed ground pork burgers (for the Ninja, not me) later this spring. Now that it's warming up, we basically spend every minute of every evening outside working or playing around, and 5 out of 7 nights, we end up grilling. I love it - quick prep, quick eat and quick clean up. Triple threat.

The turkey burgers were good but not great. I needed to add bacon in the middle or something. They also needed more seasoning but I'm not sure what is a great turkey seasoning? I would appreciate input and advice for ground turkey seasoning!

If you try these out, let me know if you liked them and leave me tips below, please!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Hefty Dose of Humility

** This post was written on a flight to Phoenix earlier this week. At the behest of some friends, I am posting, even though it's well off the beaten path of my normal content. But it's my blog and I do what I want; I hope you like it.**

My grandpa, Ken Baker, in Normandy, France - June 1944

Writing while overwhelmed with humility, respect and complete admiration is a new trick for me. Generally, I write angry and edit calmly. That’s the mantra I live by; however, as I write this, a young man named Owen is dozing next to me in Dockers and a pressed shirt and has awakened an unfamiliar cocktail of emotions that I simply cannot ignore.
Owen, a mere 18 years old, is en route to his Marine Corps basic training. He has anted up his mind, body and time for the next eight years. I am certain that when I was 18 I was not confident, brave or visionary enough to make a decision that would regulate my daily activities, and future, for the next eight years. Hell, I am struggling to face the facts that I may have to move away from Kansas for one to two years; I can’t even begin to address an eight year decision.

In fact, the only time I have made such a momentous decision was when I said ‘yes’ to a glittering rock more than four years ago. Thus far, marriage is going well but my decision to get married was no act of valor (regardless of the picture I may paint on this blog).

Owen has replied ‘yes, ma’am’ to no less than 10 questions that I’ve asked in the same amount of time. I ask him where he’s from, why he chose the Marine Corps and if he’s nervous or excited. The entire time, I’m keenly aware that I sound like a scared little school girl. I don’t want to say anything that may convey disrespect or the fact that I am abundantly intimidated by a young man 10 years my junior.

The Frobuzz household is rich with military tradition – my Grandpa Baker was on the beach in Normandy in early June, 1944. Papaw Buzzard was in the Navy in the 50’s and recalls with merriment the day his crew mates found out he couldn’t swim. The Ninja’s grandfathers were also in the service – Lowell Frobose served in the Army and his dog tags hang proudly in the Frobose farm house in NW Ohio. On his mother’s side, Grandpa Thompson also proudly wore the Army greens overseas in Japan. Several other family members on both sides of our family have risked it all and asked for nothing in return. I’m proud of our family traditions but I won’t lie and say that I wouldn’t be opposed to the Ninja signing up. I don’t possess the caliber of strength required to be an Army/Navy/Marine/Air Force wife.

We run around in our own little sphere of daily activities thinking that we are important and that everything we do is more pressing and prestigious than anything else going on in the world. I’m proud of what I do and who I represent. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve felt pride at walking into a room of cattlemen while being the only woman wearing boots and a blazer. Stupidity. I am no one, I am not courageous and I will never have the gumption of this young man. I wish that our nation’s leaders were required to serve in the armed forces – they could all learn a thing or two from Owen about courage and moxie.

He is reading his general orders now as I spy over his shoulder, but I’m too shy and apprehensive to inquire as to their nature or meaning. He’s taking them very seriously. I have unfaltering respect for my seat mate.

Before he deplaned, I thanked him. I’m not sure if he felt awkward or if it actually meant something to him but his service means a lot to me. I doubt that I will ever forget Owen and I hope that God watches over him and his colleagues for the rest of their lives.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Buzzard's BEST Flank Steak Marinade

Last week, I splurged and bought a 1.5 lb flank steak - the Ninja had a pretty busy, hectic week so I thought a celebratory week's-end steak dinner would serve as a great way to de-stress.

Buzzard's BEST Flank Steak Marinade
Perfection on a plate
I'd never marinated or cooked a flank steak before but some advice from the BEEFMAN pointed me towards soy-sauce based marinades. After some googling, I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted to proceed and, after some piece mealing of other recipes, came up with the following recipe. I cannot accurately describe the magnitude of tastiness of this steak. Wowza - I even had some of it for breakfast before my 10K on Saturday.

Buzzard's Best Flank Steak
- 1/2 c. canola oil
- 1/3 c. soy sauce
- 1/4 c. red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard
- 1 tbsp minced garlic (more if you like garlic a lot, we do)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1.5 lb flank steak

Combine all ingredients, except for steak, in a medium mixing bowl.

Buzzard's BEST Flank Steak Marinade
Tools for the construction of delicious steak
Place meat in a shallow dish and pour marinade over the steak, turning steak to thoroughly coat. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hrs. I flipped the steak every hour or so to make sure every surface was getting adequate marination time during the day.

Buzzard's BEST Flank Steak Marinade
Look at all that garlic, yum!
For best flavor, grill on medium heat over charcoal until medium rare (145 degrees F). This should take about 5 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the cut. Let rest for 5 minutes before slicing into strips against the grain of the meat.

Buzzard's BEST Flank Steak Marinade
Don't overcook it - medium rare at 145 F
Flank steak is not a particularly tender cut of beef so cooking to well-done will make it tougher to chew. However, flank steak is one of 29 heart-healthy lean cuts of beef - one three-ounce serving (about the size of a deck of cards) has only 158 calories! 
Buzzard's BEST Flank Steak Marinade
OMG it was so good - flavorful, juicy and heart-healthy!
I hope you enjoy this as much as we did - so tasty!

What other easy, delicious beef recipes do you prepare? Please share below - I'd love to try them!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Sustainable Beef Production

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

If You Can Brown Ground Beef: Easy Lasagna Soup

This is quite possibly the easiest soup recipe I've ever made - outside of opening a can of chicken noodle soup when I'm sick. And when you're sick, who wants to cook? "Not I," said Buzzard.

Sorry for the tangent - anyway, the weather is warm and the end of soup season is near. So I thought I'd try this one before spring is in full-swing and it's too warm for soup. My coworker is a huge fan of the lasagna soup he gets from a deli in DC and inspired me to try it (thanks, Joe). Thanks to some googling, I found this recipe from Mostly Homemade Mom. But per usual Buzzard style, I have some suggested changes (in parentheses).

Simple Lasagna Soup
- 1 lb ground beef (could substitute 1/2 lb with ground pork sausage)
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes (I would suggest cutting this in half)
- 15 oz jar pasta sauce - we are a Prego family
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning (I doubled this)
- 2 1/2 cups bowtie pasta, cooked until just about done
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese (I used cojack)
Brown and drain ground beef in stock pot, and return to pot. 
If You Can Brown Ground Beef: Easy Lasagna Soup
About 1/2 way through the browning process, I thought "Dang, this would be good with sausage, too." So, you could use 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 pork sausage and I bet it would be OUT OF THIS WORLD DELICIOUS.

Add tomatoes, pasta sauce, broth, water, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. 
If You Can Brown Ground Beef: Easy Lasagna Soup
Some seriously good smells were filling up my kitchen at this point.

Stir in cooked pasta and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
If You Can Brown Ground Beef: Easy Lasagna Soup
Almost ready!

Serve with crusty bread and mozzarella cheese.
If You Can Brown Ground Beef: Easy Lasagna Soup
Your mouth will thank you for eating this soup.

 Seriously, it was so great. The Ninja is ridiculously hard to please with meals - "fine", "ok" and "good" are his general responses as to whether or not he enjoyed dinner. But every once in a while his face lights up with delight at the flavor hurricane invading his taste buds. This was one of those times. Other times include my fried chicken, beer drenched pork chops, mustard pork chops and rice (recipe soon), engagement chicken, homemade pretzel bites and my imposter Red Lobster cheese biscuits (which are BETTER than the real thing).

I'd love to get an influx of new recipes to try - please share your favorite concoctions below!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: My First Photo with Added Text!

Responsible U.S. beef producers
My first edited photo with an ag fact - now I know why people do these; so much fun creating!
Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Local or Organic Doesn't Matter - Chipotle Isn't Helping Your Diet

Disclaimer: I'm fully supportive of organic and natural producers. My in-laws produce and market natural beef and I have friends who raise organic/natural produce and/or livestock. To each their own - consumers have choices and so do producers. This post is focused on Chipotle's desire to disparage farmers instead of market their food.

Local or Organic Doesn't Matter - Chipotle Isn't Helping Your Diet
Homemade burritos - no gimmicks, just food.
Chipotle wants you to eat "Food with Integrity" - meaning their food - which comes from local, organic farmers and ranchers. Except their food isn't always organic nor is it always locally sourced, as I've shared previously. But that's for a different day.

What I'm talking about is how Chipotle brandishes their "Food with Integrity" campaign and attacks conventional producers while pushing calorie-laden burritos down consumers' throats. And when I say attack, I'm not exaggerating. One need look no further than "Scarecrow" or "Farmed & Dangerous" to see that Chipotle has a vendetta against those who don't raise or produce food that is up to their standards.

However, while Chipotle heralds "Food with Integrity" ad nauseum, they have no problem marketing serving meals with such high caloric content that even the recently crowned Queen of American Food Decisions, Michelle Obama, should raise an eyebrow. Serving up a burrito that packs the caloric-punch of 1/2 of one's daily recommended intake is not exactly on the moral up and up since they tout their burritos as a superior product. Wouldn't that be sort of like Burger King promoting their chain as healthy and good for you while serving deep-fried-everything [I love BK by the way, so no offense intended].

For example, IF I ate at Chipotle [which I don't. EVER], I would get a steak burrito with rice and cheese and maybe some black beans because I'm [mostly] anti-vegetable. However, for argument's sake, let's say I was to order a steak burrito with white rice, black beans, fajita veggies, some salsa and cheese. Sounds fairly healthy, right? Protein, veggies, whole grains and no high-fat sour cream or guac - all very healthy things to consume, in moderation. Until you visit their nutritional calculator page and input that exact same order only to find out that you've just inhaled 935 calories. Do you know how many miles I have to run to burn 935 calories? I looked it up -- 10 MILES. That's a lot of running for a freakin' burrito. I should be honest here and say that 935 calories is about 75% of my RDI so it would wreck my diet more than most peoples'; however, even for a full-grown man whose daily RDI is ~2000 calories, 935 is still a lot for one meal.

So, instead of dragging down every producer who prefers to let pigs and chickens live inside climate controlled barns and outside of a coyote's mouth, or every beef producer who takes advantage of scientifically-proven safe technology that allows him to be efficient [during a time when the beef supply is the lowest it's been in 60 years], maybe Chipotle should focus on marketing their food instead of marketing their ideals.

McDonald's, Olive Garden, Red Lobster - all restaurants that I love that aren't trying to guilt me into eating their food. Which is why I still eat chicken nuggets, spaghetti and meatballs, and lobster tail platters.

Selling burritos must be super-hard when you play on a level playing field.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

The thoughts and opinions of this blog post strictly represent that of Brandi Buzzard Frobose and are NOT representative of any other entity or organization.

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