One of the most challenging aspects of ranching is our continual battle with nature. It is beautiful and daunting at the same time. We have no control over the hand we are dealt so we must constantly adapt to whatever God and nature has in store for us. We have to be resilient in order to survive and we have to switch gears at a moments notice to react to any given opportunity or disaster. Starting the day with a plan is great, sticking to it can be challenging at times, but the constant unpredictability is what I love the most.
We had a seven hundred round bale winter. In ranch-speak that means tough and challenging. We fed almost double what we normally feed because the weather threw one curve ball after the next. When you have a large herd of cows with nursing calves, the only thing that matters is keeping them full, warm and in good body condition. During a difficult winter this is easier said then done, it requires daily work to feed and monitor the health of your animals. Our entire livelihood counts on our ability to get the herd through the winter months in good shape. Harsh weather adds stress to the whole process so when spring comes so does a sigh of relief.
With our first cutting of hay put up I can now turn my attention to the garden and the local farmer's market. Fresh produce is the ultimate gift when preparing summer meals. Cooking with what is is season makes even a novice cook look like a pro.
The bounty of spring greens makes salad time a flavor explosion. Freshly made dressings are not only healthy, they are easy and let your creativity shine through.
Basic Vinaigrette dressing:
2 Tbsp vinegar (Red wine, white wine, balsamic, apple cider or sherry vinegar)
1 tsp grainy mustard of your choice like Dijon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, grapeseed or safflower oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Place all ingredients in a glass jar with tight fitting lid and shake to blend.
Store in refrigerator for up to four days, bring to room temperature before using.
Note: Be creative add fresh herbs, garlic or shallots.
Basic Creamy Dressing:
1/2 cup plain yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream
2 Tbsp mayo
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro, mint, basil, parsley, or tarragon.
2 tsp apple cider vinegar, fresh lemon juice or orange juice
1 minced garlic clove, or 1 Tbsp minced shallot
sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a glass jar with tight fitting lid, shake to blend. Store in refrigerator up to two days.
Shake well be
Food has been at the core of my life for thirty years. My travels have taken me all over the world creating a rich tapestry of experiences that have shaped my philosophies on cooking. My life now as a cattle rancher combines that experience with the knowledge of what it actually takes to get food from the ranch to the table.
Cowboys's aren't just boys!