I profiled Brykill Farm on Monday. Today, I’m sharing an incredible recipe I made with their grass-fed beef.

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It’s not that the meat from Brykill needs a sauce. It really doesn’t. It’s just that this vodka cream sauce is so good, I think you need to know about it. Have it in your repertoire…you know what I mean?

The sauce is adapted from Pioneer Woman’s Whiskey Cream Sauce. When I first saw that recipe in her cookbook, I figured I would try it once and then move on. But that’s not what happened. In fact, my relationship with this sauce has developed into nothing short of addiction. I make it pretty much every time I make steak.

One night when I was making the sauce, I realized I was out of whiskey. So I tried it with vodka. And you know what? It’s just as good. Jaden posted her fantastic version and says you could do it with bourbon or beer, too. And I bet brandy with be great. You just gotta love a recipe that’s adaptable like that.

A note about the cream: in my house, we drink raw milk. As in straight from the cow. I buy it in 1/2 gallon glass jars and the cream rises to the top. So to make this recipe I use raw cream spooned off the top of the milk, but you are welcome to use commercial half-and-half or cream (preferably organic).

A note about grilling meat: HCA (heterocyclic amines) and PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) are potentially carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals that are associated with grilled foods. You know how the fat from your burger (yes, even a grass-fed one) or your salmon drips down into the fire, and then there’s that little flare-up that sends smoke shooting back up? And you know how you get those portions of meat/fish that end up kind of charred? Well, that is how these compounds are created, and it’s not a good thing.

Studies show that marinating fatty cuts of meat and fish for at least 10 minutes (and as long as overnight) before you cook them helps to form a barrier and cuts down on the carcinogenic chemicals. A good choice for a marinade appears to be one that includes an acidic ingredient, such as vinegar or a citrus juice, berries, cherries, herbs and/or spices, and some oil. Using soy sauce or tamari in your marinade is also recommended. So while I kind of spaced out and did not marinate the steak this time around, you can bet I will from now on.

Rib eye steaks can really vary when it comes to thickness. For grilling, it’s best to choose those that are approximately two inches thick, and one of these will generally feed two people.

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If your steaks are thinner, you might need two rib-eyes to feed two people.

Recipe for Grilled Rib Eye Steak with Vodka Cream Sauce
adapted from the recipe for Rib Eye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce which appears in The Pioneer Woman Cooks by Ree Drummond
Serves 2

Steak:

*1 (2 inch-thick/approx. 24 oz.) rib-eye steak, preferably grass-fed (for more info about why grass-fed beef is healthier, please see this post; to order beef from Brykill Farm, download their order form here)
*olive oil
*coarse sea salt

Preparation:

Preheat gas grill to medium-high (or prepare charcoal grill for cooking over moderate direct heat).

Pat steak dry. Rub with olive oil and then season both sides with course salt.

Grill steak for approximately 4-6 minutes on each side, until thermometer registers about 120°F for rare (fyi I never check the temperature).

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Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 5-10 minutes, tented with foil, before slicing (the internal temperature will rise a few degrees while steak stands).

Slice across the grain and serve with vodka cream sauce.

Vodka Cream Sauce:

*3 tablespoons organic butter, divided
*1 small onion, peeled and chopped
*1 cup clean organic button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
*1/2 cup organic chicken stock, preferably homemade
*course sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
*1/4 cup vodka
*1/4 cup raw or organic cream

Preparation:

Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, 3-4 minutes.

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Add mushrooms and cook for another minute or two.

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Remove pan from heat and pour in the vodka.

Return pan to heat and allow flame to burn off the alcohol, if desired.

Add stock to pan. Bring to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Turn heat to low and whisk in the remaining one tablespoon of butter and the cream.

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Keep at a simmer until ready to serve, adding a little additional stock or cream to thin it out or thicken it, if necessary.

I recently had the great pleasure of spending an afternoon with camera in hand at the lovely Brykill Farm, a small, family-owned grass-fed beef ranch, in Gardiner, NY.

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I feel very lucky on two counts. First, that Brykill Farm is just minutes from my home. And second, that I can call Susan Eckhardt, the owner of the farm, my friend.

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Every time I visit, I am so impressed by how Suzy has created a place of stunning beauty, where her animals live healthy, happy lives.

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And when I say stunning, I really mean it.

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Brykill Farm is comprised of 450 acres. There are woods (where Suzie and I foraged for ramps earlier this spring), there are pond/stream habitats (home to numerous wildlife species), and there’s more than ample pasture for the cows (they are carefully rotated around the property).

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Suzy resides right on the farm, with her children and husband, Johannes Knoops. They live in this lovingly restored stone house, a dwelling that’s been standing for hundreds of years (the home is on the National Historic Register).

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Suzy and Johannes, an architect, have also renovated several guest houses on the farm (these are available for rent).

Brykill holds itself to high humane standards, treating its herd gently and advocating a late weaning schedule so that calves get to spend as much time with their mothers as possible…

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…and they spend their days happily chomping on grass and other wild foods.

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This allows the meat they produce to be high in omega-3 fatty acids (including super healthy CLA/conjugated linoleic acid). Their beef is range finished with organic grain from another local farm, something Suzy feels very strongly about.

The animals are never removed from pasture, but the additional grain they eat ensures they’ll have a higher fat content than purely grass-fed beef. A higher fat content means more CLA (this nutrient is stored in fat) and a better flavor than beef that is 100% grass-fed.

Only a small number of cows go to the slaughterhouse each year. Suzy insists on using a local company to process her beef: the cows need only travel a few miles to the slaughterhouse, so the end of their lives isn’t too stressful.

Suzy also raises chickens.

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Check out their gorgeous coop- these are lucky birds!

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For more information about Brykill and to find out how to purchase their beef, you may contact the farm here.

Many thanks to Suzy for allowing me to hang out with her and take photos of her beautiful place…in my next post, I’ll share a recipe featuring her wonderful beef!

I’ve been a big fan of the Yogi Tea company for many years and I was very happy to accept a package with four different teas from the company for review.

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I enjoyed each blend very much. Each one has its own fresh and distinctive herbal character.

The Kava Stress Relief Tea is heavy on the cinnamon and is quite naturally sweet. It’s wonderful over ice on a hot day.

I thought the Bedtime Tea was very tasty, and I do believe it helped me to unwind, as well. It has a great licorice flavor.

The DeTox Tea has a lot going on- it is at once a little bitter, but it is also a little spicy. I think it’s really nice first thing in the morning.

If I had to name a favorite, though, it would be the Green Tea Kombucha. It has a complex flavor that includes mint and lemongrass. I love it warm, or iced, and I even played around with using it in a recipe. I stir-fried tempeh and bok choi with ginger in a little organic coconut oil, tamari, rice vinegar, and mirin…then I tossed in some shelled edamame, cooked buckwheat soba noodles, and chopped basil and cilantro. I put these in a serving bowl and poured the green tea over the top…

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…then garnished it with some Asian chili-garlic sauce. It was really delicious!

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If you like the sound of these teas, you are in luck…the Yogi Tea company wants to give an identical sample pack to one of my readers! So here’s how you enter the giveaway:

1. Leave a comment telling me how you feel about tea. What’s your favorite- black? Green? Herbal? And have you ever cooked with tea? If so, how?

2. For an extra entry, follow me on twitter and then leave me a comment telling me you did so. If you already follow me on twitter, let me know that, too.

3. For a third entry, you can “like” Healthy Green Kitchen on Facebook. Again, if you are already a “liker”, just leave a comment letting me know.

So that’s it. Up to three entries for each person and I’ll choose a winner at random. The giveaway closes Sunday June 18 at midnight and I’ll pick a winner Monday morning. US readers only, please. Good luck!