25 January 2007

The Right Tools/Roast Beef

I used to walk every day. When I lived in San Rafael, I'd get up at 6:30 in the morning and go for a 45-minute neighborhood walk. When I lived in Albany/Berkeley, I'd walk the little side streets, admiring people's gardens. Or I'd go on hikes in the East Bay hills with a friend or the Sierra Club. A fellow teacher (Anne) and I would hike into the back-country campgrounds at Pt. Reyes for the weekend. And, during my teen years in Camp Meeker, I'd take off along the old logging roads for long walks in the redwoods.

Somehow I lost the habit of walking when I moved to Elk River. Partly it was because there's nowhere enjoyable to walk without getting in a car to get there, which isn't what you'd expect when you live on a lovely country road. But this lovely country road has way too much traffic, including logging trucks (and loggers speeding past in their big white -- always white -- pickups). And I've written before about how aggravated the litter leaves me.

Also, I haven't had walking shoes. Well, I had a pair of New Balance shoes (which weren't cheap), but the damned things always gave me a blister, so I never wanted to wear them. And with no good walking shoes, I found it even harder to get my butt out the door and moving.

But Marianne, my neighbor with whom I pressed apples into cider last October (and I'm telling you, that cider is delicious!) asked me to be her walking buddy. So we've been walking. (Even though I have a broken toe.) At first we just did half-hour walks up and back along the street. But then we went exploring the forest along a logging road across the street from my house. Unfortunately, it's private property and owned by a grouch, so we probably shouldn't be walking up there. However, there's another path that I went exploring today that heads into the forests behind my house, and there's no signage saying we can't go there. I'm excited because there's miles and miles of trails to explore.

And I finally have a pair of walking shoes that fit! Of all things, I found that a men's (well, boy's) pair of Hushpuppies fit my feet perfectly.


On another note, I was talking with my dear friend Scott the other night. He's very excited because of a new "tool" that he's using. Specifically, he's working with a holistic veterinarian out of Santa Cruz, implementing an alternative treatment for the cattle. Seems that a virus was spreading through the herd. Where, in the past, he would have been "quick with the needle" -- i.e., administered the standard treatment of antibiotic injections (which may or may not have worked on the virus), this vet suggested a pill (a concoction of colostrum, probiotics, and other stuff) designed to strengthen the animal's immune system.

Scott's very excited because the concoction worked, and worked well. It cost less, was easier on the cattle, and was more effective than using antibiotics. His hope is that this alternative will catch on. If the cattle industry -- at least the segment of it that is focused on raising healthy, grass-fed beef -- can reduce its costs at the same time that it avoids putting antibiotics into the beef, then "maybe poor folks can afford healthy beef, too." This is why I love Scott: he cares for the underdog and is committed to doing the right thing. He is the most conscientious, honorable man I know.

And he has a voice you want to -- as the author Sark said when she heard it -- take a bath in. (Scott, Sark, and I were on a radio interview together. An odd combination -- a singing Jewish Cowboy, Sark, and me -- but it turned out to be a good show (July 13, 2005, on KSVY 91.3 FM "Conversations with Katy.")

Scott's music CDs are available at www.cdbaby.com/scottgerber.


Seems like forever since I've posted a recipe. So, in honor of Scott's dream of healthy meat for the masses, here's my technique for a yummy roast beef. Local, grass-fed, and antibiotic free -- of course.

Peel and slice two garlic cloves into 1/4-inch wide slivers.
Using a knife to create a series of slits, insert the garlic slivers into the flesh of a one-and-a-half pound roast (sirloin or rump).
Pour over the roast, then marinate it in:
Red wine (1/3 to 1/2 cup)
Olive oil (1/4 cup)
Worcestershire sauce (2 to 4 tablespoons)
Thyme (1 teaspoon, dried)
Black pepper to taste.

When you're ready to cook the roast:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Put in the roast (and some russet potatoes for baking).
Immediately turn the temperature down to 325 degrees.
Roast for approximately one hour (for medium rare).
Remove from oven and allow to settle for 10 to 20 minutes.
Slice and serve. (I like it with horseradish.)

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