My favorite butcher in Los Angeles is Marconda’s Meats in the original Farmers Market. Marconda’s specializes in high-quality, natural meats and Niman Ranch is proudly featured in their cases. What began in 1941 as a traditional butcher continues on today in the same style. On any given day, you can find two or three generations of butchers behind the counter. I love that my boys are growing up with the same tradition that I had when I was their age.
There’s no better holiday dinner than a Prime Rib Roast. It’s the perfect way to celebrate tradition!
Chef Michael Schwartz, chef/owner of Michaels Genuine, Harry’s Pizza and The Genuine Kitchen, uses Niman Ranch meat on the menus of his restaurants in Miami and the Cayman Islands. In 2011 he honored our farmers by cooking at the Niman Ranch 14th Annual Hog Farmer Appreciation dinner.
He recently published Michael’s Genuine Food Down-To-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat, in which he shares recipes for dishes you know and love from Caramelized Onion Dip with Thick Cut Potato Chips to Crispy Sweet & Spicy Pork Belly with Kimchi and crushed peanuts. Find a delicious recipe for leg of lamb perfect for your holiday or summer grilling celebrations.
The holidays are my favorite time of year. It’s a time for family, fun, and a respite from crazy schedules. For me it means spending less time in the kitchen and more time in the living room watching football with my boys. Glazing a Niman Ranch ham fits perfectly into this holiday plan because it’s short on preparation and long on leftovers.
The honey glaze will seep into the nooks and crannies as the ham bakes. Plan ahead though and put the ham in early so you can let it bake at a low and slow temperature until it’s steamy hot in the center.
During the month of November we often take time to reflect on the things we are thankful for, which is why this is the perfect time for Part III of my reflections on the Niman Ranch Farmer Appreciation Dinner. This event is our opportunity to show appreciation for the farmers’ hard work and integrity.
As we prepare to gather with our families around the dinner table, consider adding to your dinner menu a new cornbread dressing recipe made with sausage from hogs raised with care by family farmers across the Midwest. Without dressing, even the best Thanksgiving dinner would be somewhat bare.
This version uses a bold combination of Italian sausage and a cured ham balanced by the sweetness of the cornbread and slight sourness of the sourdough bread. Bake the dressing separately because the turkey and dressing cook at different rates, making it difficult to gauge doneness and safe temperatures. If you’re looking for a little added turkey flavor, baste the dressing with some of the pan juices.
The Niman Ranch Farmer Appreciation Dinner provides an opportunity for our featured chefs and special guests to gain a deeper understanding of what traditional, sustainable and humane family farming looks like by visiting us here at Willis Farms in Thornton, Iowa.
Every year we provide a farm tour and this year it was more special for me than ever before as I worked side-by-side with my daughter, Sophia, many good friends and family members including some extra help from a crew of friends from out-of -town. Pete Marczyk and his entourage from Marczyk Fine Foods who had traveled all the way from Denver, Colorado, to help us prepare the outdoor dinner.
We’ve recently discovered a picturesque town east of LA in the San Bernardino foothills called Oak Glen where apple orchards and red barns line the curving mountain roads. Nestled next to cider presses and piles of fallen autumn leaves are patches with pumpkins still attached to their vines. Some gourds are striped green while others are white and the rest are Halloween orange. Allowing my two young boys to actually pick their favorite pumpkin from the vine is a good lesson in respecting crops and being certain about their choices.
I picked a few extra pumpkins for the soup I’ve been craving since the heat of this summer got the best of me. And since Halloween is the gateway to winter, I’m taking my first chance to make a velvety soup with Niman’s delicious smoky bacon. If roasting and pureeing your own pumpkins seems too daunting, don’t skip a beat, and substitute the canned version.
There are many reasons why Niman Ranch meat is better than the rest- how we raise our animals is one of them. How our animals are raised directly impacts the quality and taste of Niman Ranch meat.
The chefs that serve Niman Ranch meats often like to see where and how the animal is raised. Bringing chefs to the farms and ranches to meet the farmers in person gives them the opportunity to see first hand how humane animal care and sustainable farming practices impact the meat that ends up their menus. Several times a year, we are able to make that happen.
A few weeks ago a small group visited the Willis Ranch in Laketown Utah, to see how Niman Ranch lamb is raised. We began the tour at the Willis’ fall grazing ground located in the small corner between Utah’s Bear Lake and the Idaho and Wyoming borders. Here we learned about the work Clark Willis spearheaded on rangeland restoration. His work opened up the grazing land, which positively impacted the endangered Sage Grouse by providing an optimum habitat for breeding.
This year’s 14th annual Niman Ranch Farmer Appreciation Dinner was a unique farm-to-table event which celebrated the hard work and independent spirit of the farmers who supply humanely and sustainably raised pork for Niman Ranch.
Paul Willis, Niman Ranch Pork Company founder and manager, was honored at the 2012 Chefs Collaborate Summit with the Pathfinder Sustainability Award. The award recognizes a visionary working in the greater food community who has been a catalyst for positive change within the food system through efforts that go beyond the kitchen.