~ JUNE 2009 ~

Summer mornings are perfect for leisurely breakfasts and brunches! Ranch Foods Direct has farm fresh eggs, hand-made chicken and pork sausages, heritage ham and bacon, plus rich cream, butter and fresh-from-the-farm artisan cheeses.

The Recipe Box

Centerpiece salads. CLICK HERE for suggestions from Ranch Foods Direct’s Leona Espinoza.

Ah, summer! Shop Ranch Foods Direct for healthy burgers and hot dogs for cookouts and picnics. Come by for the bread class on June 6. And for more great summer salad ideas, CLICK HERE.


Gourmet jerky — Quality beef made portable

For a high-protein snack while hiking, biking, or rafting, think beef jerky. But here’s a tip: there’s jerky, and then there’s high quality gourmet jerky. “It actually eats more like a meal — like a mini- meal,” says Robyn Raile (pronounced Riley), who is one of the partners making the Callicrate Beef jerky sold at Ranch Foods Direct.

Jerky isn’t necessarily a healthy snack — but it can be if it’s done right.

“It tends to be a reconstituted product made up of blended meats and extruded, and it generally has a lot of preservatives in it and things that if you read the label are probably not considered terribly healthy,” Robyn says. “But our approach is entirely different. It’s a whole muscle product and obviously we’re using the highest quality beef you can use, the highest quality cuts you can use. It’s preservative free. We’re not adding anything. The meat comes hormone and antibiotic free and it’s also traceable. It’s not only nutritious, but we are making a quality product.”

In summary, she says of jerky: “It makes quality beef portable.”

CLICK HERE for more.

Artisan bread demystified

Shawn Saunders of Shawn’s Bakery will present a European bread making class on Saturday, June 6, at 11 a.m. Meet at Ranch Foods Direct, 2901 N. El Paso. Reservations are not required and there is no cost to attend.

Shawn plans to demonstrate a classic European style bread that he promises anybody can learn to do. We had originally hoped to feature him with Dave Brackett, owner of Pizzeria Rustica in Old Colorado City but Dave's appearance with his wood-fired oven has been postponed to a future date.

Shawn supplies many of the fine breads and pastries sold at Ranch Foods Direct. Come by on Saturday and learn about his process and his carefully chosen ingredients. His bakery is located near the Ranch Foods Direct store at 3320 N El Paso Place.

Food for thought
Go ahead, chew the fat

What makes Jennifer McLagan’s big luscious coffee table food book so mouthwatering is its provocative choice of topic. Last month, McLagan’s Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes, won the James Beard Award for cookbook of the year. (Her similarly styled 2005 cookbook Bones is also a James Beard winner.)

Why an ode to fat? McLagan, who lives in Toronto, reminds eaters everywhere that humans can’t live without it. She argues that by having drastically reduced our intake of animal fats over the past 30 years, people have not only become deprived of fat's delicious flavor, but also many of its health benefits. "It gives us energy. It boosts the immune system," she says. "Some fats have antimicrobial properties. Others can lower bad cholesterol. There are vitamins that are only fat-soluble. Your brain is mainly made of fat and cholesterol, as are the membranes of your cells. It helps you digest protein, which is why you should eat chicken with crispy skin or well-marbled steak."

(Those quotes are taken from an article about McLagan published by CBC News in September 2008, CLICK HERE. Another interview appeared at Salon.com, CLICK HERE. Find these and all of her book reviews and interviews at her blog, CLICK HERE.)

McLagan further explains that vegetable oils and margarine are polyunsaturated fats that have been hydrogenated to increase their stability and lengthen their shelf life. The hydrogenation process, however, produces trans fats.

"These trans fats are difficult for our body to process," McLagan writes in her book, "so instead it stores them as fat. They adversely affect our cholesterol levels ... and they interfere with insulin production, promoting diabetes and obesity.”

While women tend to choose rich creamy foods like ice cream as their favorite comforts, men are more apt to gorge on plates of juicy barbecued meat. Jennifer McLagan’s book, along with a couple of nice steaks, sausages or other carefully chosen meat items, could make a nice gift basket for Father’s Day. And making a recipe or two out of the book could also be an unusual way to celebrate the carnivore in the men you love.

Her recipes include the unusual, such as bacon mayonnaise, bone marrow tacos and traditional Christmas pudding (with suet). But you’ll also find a recipe for made-from-scratch puff pastry (the pre-made variation at the store almost never contains pure butter) and buttered eggs,” which calls for baking them in individual ramekins with herbs, butter and a touch of bacon. Along with fascinating bits of culinary history, she offers some great practical tips for the kitchen. For example, save those butter wrappers. They are perfect for greasing a baking dish or pan.

Don’t forget, Ranch Foods Direct is the ideal source for hard-to-find organ meats, bones, suet and tallow made from cattle raised on a totally natural, chemical free diet and processed in a slow deliberate manner. These are residue- free nutrient-dense ingredients that can really boost your health!

Did you know?... Margarine was invented in the nineteenth century by the French navy to serve as a substitute for butter on long sea voyages. It was designed to be a cheap fat, high in calories, that would not turn rancid. The original version was made from “chopped sheep’s stomach, suet, cow’s udders, potassium carbonate, water and some milk for flavor,” according to Fat, An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, With Recipes. It was slow to catch on, but once manufacturers added artificial coloring and more aggressive marketing, it eventually took off. From the mid-1960s to the early 1990s, North Americans ate three times more margarine than butter. Meanwhile, Crisco’s origins were in the candle and soap making business. The solidified cottonseed oil intended for soaps and candles turned out to be eerily similar to lard. The new vegetable shortening was named after its main ingredient, crystallized cottonseed oil.

What causes insatiable eating?

Former FDA commissioner takes on “Big Food”

A new book by an iconic health authority questions the notion that overeating is mostly due to a lack of willpower. In a 24-7 culture, highly processed convenience foods are literally everywhere and companies grow fat by making their products quick, easy and largely irresistible to the public. They start with sugar, add fat, then add color, flavor, texture and gorgeous glossy marketing campaigns, and suddenly the consumer is tortured by a stacked deck of temptations. That’s according to David Kessler, a former FDA commissioner under two presidents, who has caught himself reaching blindly for another chocolate chip cookie and wanted to better understand what made him do it. The result is his science heavy nutrition and health book, The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite. Kessler is doing some groundbreaking research into the uniquely modern challenges we are up against when it comes to healthy eating.

To read his interview in Gourmet Magazine, CLICK HERE.

Best of the Springs restaurants named

Congratulations to Pizzeria Rustica for being named best new restaurant in the Springs by the Gazette. The Gazette raved, “No other restaurant in Colorado Springs makes a passion for local artisan ingredients so accessible. This Old Colorado City pizza place specializes in plate-size Neapolitan pizzas made from the finest ingredients. Nothing — including the always-changing antipasto, the Italian-wine list and the simple desserts — is short of superb.”

Many perennial favorites around town made the list, including Laughing Lab as best local beer. Not surprisingly, that parallels a favorite at the Ranch Foods Direct store: the laughing lab beer brats, one of the store’s most popular items and a great summer standout for cookouts and picnics.

Other notable winners of Best of the Springs Awards include: El Taco Rey for best green chili; Margarita at Pine Creek for best al fresco dining and executive chef Eric Viedt as the city’s top chef; Front Range BBQ for best barbecue; Drifters for best burger; Mountain Shadows for best breakfast value; Jake & Telly’s for best Greek; La Petite Maison, best French; Mona Lisa, most romantic; and Saigon Café, best Vietnamese.

To peruse Best of the Springs results, on-line, with contact info, maps and websites, CLICK HERE.

Did you know? … A French fry cooked in beef tallow absorbs
half as much fat as one fried in vegetable oil

Check out the Peak to Plains Alliance website for summer events
celebrating local food and farming. CLICK HERE.


“Find tongues in trees,
Books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones and good in everything.”

— Shakespeare


... Your local source of natural beef, poultry, buffalo,
pork, lamb, eggs, wild seafood, deli meats
and cheeses, meals and more!

Member, Peak to Plains Alliance (www.peaktoplains.com)

Store and Meat Plant
2901 N. El Paso, Colorado Springs 80907
Retail Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Sunday
(719) 473-2306 or 1-866-866-6328

Mike Callicrate, Owner

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