Delight Your Valentine with these Perfect Pairings

Posted on February 09, 2016 by Don Roden | 0 comments

You and your Valentine make an outstanding couple. Likewise, the ingredients in the following recipes can certainly stand alone, but when brought together make for one stellar dish. 

This is a marriage made in heaven between the richness of the fois gras and the savoriness of a perfectly cooked steak. You will not be disappointed. Try Hangar for a variation on the usual filet.

Tournedos Rossini from NYT Cooking

Sometimes the obvious choice is right under your nose. This pairing has been around forever, but is so simple we usually dismiss it. The sweetness of the scallops and the smokiness of the bacon were made for each other.

Bacon Wrapped Scallops from Primal Palate

We know what you are thinking, "chicken for a special occasion?!" But you need to trust the French. The French know love. Slow braising a succulent, free-range chicken in a good red wine and brandy transforms this dish into something seriously seductive.

Coq au Vin from the Barefoot Contessa

This pairing is a classic, like red lipstick and a crisp white dress shirt. This is by far our most popular order every Valentine's Day. Any why not? It's straightforward and luxurious, plus a breeze to prepare. Both the filet and lobster tail can be tossed on the grill and done in a jiffy. This is low-maintenance perfection.

To take this pairing to the next level, top both with a rich herbed butter.
Herbed Butter Recipe from the Kitchn

The Organic Butcher has everything you need to create the perfect Valentine dinner. We are happy to suggest wine pairings and have a wide selection of cheeses and chocolates.

Posted in aphrodisiac, Beef, Dinner, Filet, Free Range, Grass-Fed, Grilling, Holiday Items, langoustine, lobster, New York Strip Steak, Pasture-Raised, Recipes, scallops, Valentine's Day, Wagyu

Surf & Turf: The Most Iconic of All Valentine's Day Meals

Posted on February 12, 2015 by Don Roden | 0 comments

If you are looking for an impressive (but simple to prepare) Valentine meal that never fails, the Surf & Turf is the dish for you. It's essence is in its simplicity — an amazing cut of meat, a rich and succulent offering from the sea. That's it. It's almost no-frills, yet it's ALL frills.

The Organic Butcher carries only the highest-quality beef. We offer dry-aged, pasture raised and 100% grass-fed filets. Our Maine lobster tails are trap caught in the wild, then immediately frozen to lock in freshness. We have 7-8 oz and 10-12 oz options available.

As an added Valentine bonus, lobster has a reputation for being an aphrodisiac. You can read more about that here.

The filet mignon comes from the beef tenderloin, the most tender part of the cow. Don't spend a lot of time worrying about seasoning this cut, it's delicious with just coarse salt and freshly cracked pepper. Be sure to bring the meat to room temperature before cooking. Melt some butter and olive oil in a heavy, oven-safe skillet, then pan-sear and finish in the oven to your desired done-ness. We recommend medium rare.  

Optional: Deglaze the pan with some red wine and reduce for a simple sauce.

Broiling lobster brings out the incredible sweetness of the meat. Be careful not to over-cook. Once the meat turns an opaque white, remove from the oven. 

Broiled Lobster Tails with Garlic-Chili Butter
2-4  8 ounces fresh or frozen lobster tails
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup butter
Clarified Butter (optional)

Thaw lobster tails, if frozen. Preheat broiler. Butterfly the lobster tails or cut in half length-wise. Place lobster tails, meat side up, on the unheated rack of a broiler pan.

In a small skillet cook garlic, orange peel, and chili powder in butter over medium heat about 30 seconds or until garlic is tender. Brush mixture over lobster meat.

Broil 4 inches from heat for 8-12 minutes (depending on size) or until lobster meat is opaque. If desired, serve with Clarified Butter.

Serve your filet and lobster with a simple salad topped with Crane Crest Real French Dressing. This dressing from Massachusetts has gained a cult following even though it has no website. 

Crane Crest uses a secret recipe passed down from Gordon Crane, a World War II soldier who developed it while stationed in Paris. It is mostly oil, with secret spices that settle at the bottom. Believe us when we say it's life-changing. It might even score you some extra points this Valentine's Day!

Posted in Beef, Filet, Lobster, Organic, Recipes, Seafood, Valentine's Day

Scintillating Shellfish for St. Valentine's Day

Posted on February 10, 2015 by Don Roden | 2 comments

Set the mood this weekend with aphrodisiac foods, such as shellfish, that are packed with vitamins and minerals that improve one's mood, increase desire and heighten potency. 

Aside from chocolate, the most well-known aphrodisiac is oysters. Oysters are high in zinc which can regulate certain hormones and increase testosterone. Just as legend has it, these slurpable bivalves really will "make you strong!"

The Organic Butcher carries a few different varieties including Kumamotos. These popular oysters are mild with a sweet after-taste. If you've never had an oyster before, this is a good one to try since they are not overtly briny in flavor.  

Serve oysters on the half-shell with lemons, hot sauce (also an aphrodisiac) and a vinegar mignonette such as the one below.

Hog Island Oyster Company Hog Wash 
Makes enough for 3 dozen oysters

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 large shallot, peeled, minced
1 large jalapeño pepper (optional), seeded, minced
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime

Combine ingredients in a medium bowl. When serving, stir the Hogwash beforehand to include all the ingredients in the bowl. Place a teaspoon or so over freshly shucked oysters. Use the Hogwash the same day it's made.

For other recipe ideas check out this list from Saveur Magazine

Scallops have been considered an aphrodisiac since ancient times when it was believed Aphrodite (Venus) was sent from heaven to earth on a half-shell. Modern science has now backed this claim. Like oysters, the zinc in scallops increases blood flow and promotes the release of hormones.

Science aside, scallops are luscious, sweet, plump little creatures that are a delight to eat. They are also surprisingly rich, making them an obvious choice for a decadent meal.

Typically scallops are seared — which is delicious — but prepared as sashimi or in a ceviche, they are transcendent. Below is a recipe for a bright and spicy ceviche that will really get your heart pumping. 

Scallop Crudo (Bon Appetit)

1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce, preferably organic
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sunflower oil
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 red Thai chile, thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon Sherry vinegar
1/2 pound large sea scallops, side muscle removed, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, torn if large
2 tablespoons thinly sliced chives
Sea salt

Whisk orange juice, lemon juice, soy sauce, oil, ginger, chile, and vinegar in a small bowl. Pour dressing onto 4 large rimmed plates. Arrange scallops over. Garnish with mint and chives. Season lightly with salt.

Lobster falls into the aphrodisiac category because of its reputation as a luxury item. The deep red shell is the color most associated with passion and the act of eating lobster with your hands is considered highly sensual. 

Both lobster and the related langoustine have a sweet, succulent and delicate flavor. The biggest difference between the two is size. While one lobster can make a whole meal, langoustines are perfect as an appetizer.

Langoustines are extremely easy to prepare. Simply cut them lengthwise and sauté in a pan with olive oil or herbed butter.

Lobster is usually steamed or grilled during the summer, but during colder months pan-roasting is just as good, if not better. The recipe below is sure to impress.

Jasper White's Pan-Roasted Lobster (NY Times Cooking)

2 live 1 1/2-to-2-pound lobsters
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, minced
¼ cup bourbon
2 to 3 tablespoons dry white wine
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
1 tablespoon chervil, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. For each lobster, place it on a cutting board, facing you. Place the front tip of a heavy knife in the center of the lobster, near where the carapace meets the tail. In one forceful, swift motion, split the front half of the lobster lengthwise, which will kill it instantly. Turn it around and repeat this motion, splitting the tail and the lobster in half.

Pull the head sac out of both halves. Use fingers or surgical tweezers to remove the intestines. Place the tomalley and roe, if there is any, in a small bowl and use a fork to break it into tiny pieces; cover and refrigerate. With a knife, remove the claws and knuckles by cutting the thin sections where the knuckles meet the body. With the back side of the knife, tap the claws until the shells crack. In another swift, forceful motion, cut the tail from the body on both sides.

Place a heavy 12-inch saute pan over the highest heat possible and heat for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the oil and heat until it forms a film over the bottom of the pan. Slide the lobster sections, shells down, into the hot oil. Using tongs, move the pieces and flatten them to sear all the shells evenly. The claws need to be seared on only one side.

Add the tomalley and roe and stir; place in the oven for 3 minutes. Remove, return to high heat on the stove top, add the shallots and stir. Remove the pan from the heat and add the bourbon; return to the heat, where the bourbon will probably ignite. Cook until the flames die down, add the wine and cook until the pan is almost dry. Reduce the heat to low.

Quickly remove the lobster and place shell-side down on warm plates. Return the pan to low heat, add the butter, chervil and chives and stir until the mixture resembles a creamy sauce, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, spoon the sauce over the lobster and serve.

If cutting and cleaning lobsters is not your thing, we also sell lobster tails.

Served hot or cold, shellfish is sure to heat things up!

Call us anytime to place your order for your Valentine meal 

Posted in aphrodisiac, Cooking Instructions, langoustine, lobster, Organic, oysters, Raw, scallops, Seafood, Valentine's Day

Woo With Wine & Cheese This Valentine's Day

Posted on February 05, 2015 by Don Roden | 0 comments

There's no better way to start a special meal than with a wine and cheese course. Red wine is well known as an aphrodisiac and cheese, well, cheese is just delicious and decadent. Along with meats and seafood, The Organic Butcher also carries a wide selection of wines and some carefully chosen cheeses. Below are some of our favorites.

We are always happy to help you pull together an amazing menu, stop by and see us!

One of our newest and most impressive local wines is the 2012 Chardonnay from Michael Shaps. Located in Charlottesville, Michael Shaps specializes in small production wines that have won several competitions and have been recognized by industry publications such as Saveur MagazineWine Spectator and Wine AdvocateThe Michael Shaps Chardonnay is aged for 11 months in 100% French oak barrels and is made from grapes grown in a cooler part of Loudon County that retain their high acid content.

Barboursville Vineyards produces some of the finest wines in Virginia. Their signature 2010 Octagon is a blend of  estate-grown Bordeaux varietals, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. It is medium- to full-bodied and has notes of dark plum, cassis, and mocha. It's a fantastic choice for a special occasion like Valentine's Day.

The Barboursville 2012 Cabernet Franc Reserve is an award-winning and food-friendly red that is served at some of the best restaurants in Virginia, such as The Inn at Little Washington.

One of our best selling wines is the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from Elizabeth Spencer. Made from grapes grown in Mendicino, CA, this wine is pale in color and bursting with flavors of white peach and apricot, yellow grapefruit, and lemon blossoms. It is very citrusy and has a crisp finish on the palate.

The Elizabeth Spencer Sauvignon Blanc is also certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers, which guarantees that the grapes were grown to the standards set by the National Organic Program.

We also carry selections from Boxwood Estate Winery in Middleburg. Boxwood produces red wine in the Bordeaux tradition from estate-grown Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec grapes. Their 2011 Trellis is predominantly Merlot blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It is medium- to full-bodied, brick-red in color, with notes of strawberry, pepper, tobacco and molasses. 

We are very excited to have procured the last two cases of the excellent French Pinot Rosé by Michel Sarrazin. The Sarrazin Estate dates back to the 17th century but the wines gained in popularity in the 1970s and 80s. This Crémants de Bourgogne is a fabulous alternative to pricey Champagne. It's made by the same painstaking techniques as champagne, unlike lesser quality sparkling wines that add a shot of CO2 for bubbles. This sparkling rosé from Burgundy was made from Pinot Noir and fermented in the bottle. 

A delicate pink, this dry rosé has tiny bubbles and a frothy, creamy mouth-feel. It has wild strawberry and lemon zest aromas, and is tangy and fruity on the palate with a crisp finish.

At The Organic Butcher, we carefully select cheeses from producers who are passionate about creating the best cheese from the best organic ingredients.

One such producer is Cowgirl Creamery located in Petaluma, CA. Their award-winning Mt Tam is an insanely rich triple-cream with flavors of cultured butter and hints of white mushroom. The longer this cheese sits at room temperature, the better. 

Cowgirl Creamery's winter seasonal cheese, Devil's Gulch, has a rich, bloomy rind that is dusted with a mixture of sweet and spicy ground heirloom peppers. It's bright, sweet, spicy and creamy. This one won't be around for long, so get it while you can!

Cypress Grove in Humboldt County, CA is best known for their ashy, tangy goat cheese Humboldt Fog. Few people know of their sheep milk Lamb Chopper, which is made and then aged in Holland for at least three months before being shipped to the States. Lamb Chopper is soft, buttery, and sweet like salted caramel and fresh vanilla beans. This is a major crowd-pleasing cheese!

Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, PA is one of the few places that produces 100% raw milk cheeses. This Sharp Cheddar is from grass-fed, free-range cows and is aged just enough to bring out the tangier flavors but is still creamy and well balanced.


To accompany our cheeses, we carry an assortment of crackers and baguettes for you to choose from. 


Posted in Cheese, Local, Organic, Raw, Valentine's Day, Wine

Duck Breast 101

Posted on February 03, 2015 by Don Roden | 0 comments

Nothing impresses a loved one more than cooking a gourmet dinner for two on Valentine's Day. This year, go all out with perfectly seared and succulent duck breast. Don't let that layer of delicious fat intimidate you, it's not as complicated to cook as you might think. 

We carry two varieties of duck at The Organic Butcher, the larger Moulard (pictured) that is aged for seven days on the bone and the smaller Muscovy that is thin-skinned and lower in fat.

Half the battle of duck breast is to stop thinking about it as poultry and to start thinking about it like red meat. You'll want to cook duck breast like you would a filet —seared in a pan and then finished in the oven. Score the fat with a sharp knife, salt the breast, and then let it rest at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before cooking.  

Both Muscovy and Moulard should be cooked fat side down first over medium heat. For the larger Moulard, no added fat is needed in the pan. If cooking Muscovy, you'll want to add butter or olive oil before searing. The key to cooking duck breast successfully is making sure to cook the fat layer long enough. Let it sizzle slowly until the fat is golden brown. Plan on anywhere from 6-10 minutes depending on the size off the breast.

Once golden and crispy, flip the breasts over. For the smaller varieties, you may only need to cook through to desired done-ness (we recommend medium-rare to medium). For the larger Moulard, move the pan to the oven and finish on 375.

As with steak, let the breasts rest for about 5 minutes before slicing to allow the juices to reincorporate.

Serve the duck as is or with the following Cherry Port Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallot (about 1 large)
  • 1/2 cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 8 halved pitted sweet red cherries, fresh or frozen, thawed
  • 2 tablespoons tawny Port
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom honey
  • 1 tablespoon butter

After searing the duck breasts, pour off all but 2 tablespoons drippings from skillet. Add shallot to skillet and stir over medium heat 30 seconds. Add broth, cherries, Port, and honey. Increase heat to high and boil until sauce is reduced to glaze, stirring often, about 3 minutes. Whisk in 1 tablespoon cold butter. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve the duck alongside a salad and wild rice. That's it, a no-fuss but highly impressive meal!

Posted in Cooking Instructions, Duck, Holiday Items, Organic, Recipes, Valentine's Day