Interest continues to grow in the correlation between fat intake and good health. As consumers modify their diets to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer from excessive fat in their systems, meat finds itself among the first items to be eliminated.
Red meat, in general, and beef and pork, in particular, have developed rather ominous reputations during the past few years. They have been viewed negatively by consumers for the fat they contribute to the diet. When included as part of a sensible diet regimen, however, beef (and pork) can contribute the needed amount of fat required for healthy body functions without the negative aspects so often associated with these meats. The key word here is sensible.
Exactly how much fat do red meat products contain? The amounts vary, according to the National Live Stock and Meat Board, depending on how the animal was raised, the location of each meat cut, the amount of trimming and the quality grade (amount of marbling) for each cut. But serving sizes and means of preparation are also factors.
In line with this thought, the California Beef Council recently announced the results of its National Consumer Retail Beef Study, designed to help the industry learn more about consumer attitudes regarding the product, at a San Francisco meeting which focused on leaner beef in the marketplace.
Phase two of the study, concluded last year, examined how quality grade, price and fat trim level of retail beef cuts influence initial and repeat purchases of beef, thus reflecting consumer attitudes toward the product and willingness to buy.
One of the principal conclusions drawn from the results of the second phase of the study is that consumers are unwilling to purchase beef with more than 0.3 inches of fat trim and are willing to pay slightly more per pound for closely trimmed cuts. This means that we probably will see better-trimmed cuts of beef in the supermarket as beef industry representatives seek to meet the consumer demand for healthful alternatives to fat-laden products. This, coupled with leaner uses for beef--whether served as part of light luncheon salads or lightweight vegetable stir-frys--could mean a return to favor for beef.
Here are a few ideas for light uses of beef.
FLANK STEAK ORIENTAL-STYLE
2 pounds beef flank steak
1 inch piece ginger root, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup dry Sherry
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Trim excess fat from steak and wrap in wax paper. Place in freezer 1 hour. Slice steak diagonally across grain into thin strips. Place in glass baking dish. Peel oranges, being careful to eliminate the white pith, and place peels in food processor or blender. Add ginger and garlic and process until finely chopped. Squeeze juice from oranges and mix juice with Sherry, soy sauce and sesame oil. Pour over beef mixture, cover and refrigerate, turning occasionally, at least 3 hours but no longer than 48 hours.
Thread beef strips on each of 8 (10-inch) skewers. Cook on grill 4 inches from medium-hot coals, 4 minutes per side or to desired doneness. Baste with marinade during cooking.
Serve on bed of hot cooked rice, garnished with green onion fans and orange slices, if desired. (Nutrient data does not include rice or garnishes.) Makes 8 servings.
PER SERVING: 213 calories; 25 gm protein; 6 gm carbohydrate; 8 gm fat; 416 mg sodium; 487 mg potassium.
Protein 39% Vitamin A 02% Vitamin C 27% Thiamine 09% Riboflavin 14% Niacin 30% Calcium 03% Iron 22%
BEEF AND CORN FAJITAS
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 cup lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 pound thinly sliced cooked roast beef, cut into strips
1 (10-ounce) package frozen corn in butter sauce
8 (8-inch) flour tortillas
3 tablespoons chopped green onions
1 (16-ounce) can refried beans
Combine oregano, onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, lime juice and garlic. Pour over meat and let stand 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare unopened corn pouch as directed on package.
Wrap tortillas in foil and heat in oven at 350 degrees 10 minutes or until softened. Combine corn, green onions and 1/8 teaspoon cumin. Cover and keep warm.
Heat refried beans in small saucepan. Drain marinade from meat, then warm meat in medium skillet. To assemble, place 1/4 cup warm beans, 1/4 cup meat and 2 tablespoons warm corn mixture in center of each softened tortilla. Fold up bottom and fold in sides to enclose. Serve each fajita with 1 tablespoon each sour cream and salsa, if desired. Makes 8 servings.
Note: Nutrient data does not include sour cream and salsa.
PER SERVING: 330 calories; 17 gm protein; 32 gm carbohydrate; 16 gm fat; 570 mg sodium; 430 mg potassium.
Protein 25% Vitamin A 04% Vitamin C 10% Thiamine 10% Riboflavin 10% Niacin 20% Calcium 06% Iron 15%
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 package dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 (28-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 bunch basil leaves, torn
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons olive oil