Carne Asada Sandwiches

Carne asada means “grilled meat,” and it’s normally found in tacos and burritos. Here we’ve turned it into a sandwich with grilled peppers and avocado. So messy, but so good! Note: You can also use flank steak if you prefer.

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 pound sirloin steak

Spread:

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2-3 drops hot sauce

Sandwiches:

  • 2 thick slices red onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 1 poblano chile
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ciabatta rolls, split
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and sliced

Whisk together the olive oil, lime juice, chile powder, black pepper, and garlic in a small bowl. Place the steak in a glass dish and pour the marinade over. Refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

Mix the mayonnaise, lime zest, and hot sauce for the sandwich spread. Refrigerate. 

Heat the grill to high temperature (450°). Remove the steak from the refrigerator.

Brush the onion slices with the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then place on the grill for 4 minutes per side. While the onions are cooking, roast the red bell pepper and poblano on the grill, turning as the skin blackens and blisters. When done, place in a tightly-covered bowl and set aside. 

Remove the steak from the marinade and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill to desired doneness (about 3 minutes per side for medium rare). Remove from the grill and tent with foil to allow the steak to rest for 10 minutes. 

While the steak is resting, peel the roasted peppers, remove the seeds, and cut into 1-inch chunks.

Slice the steak thinly across the grain. Cover the inside of the rolls with the sandwich spread, then pile high with sliced steak, roasted peppers, grilled onion, and avocado slices.

Note: If you don’t have a grill, you can also cook the steak in a cast iron pan on the stove and roast the peppers under a broiler.

Spicy beef satay

Spicy Beef Satay

Serves 2-4

Satay, or grilled meat on a stick, is a common street food in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Start with a spicy marinade and finish with the traditional peanut sauce for a taste of Southeast Asia. You can adjust the seasonings to your liking by adding more (or reducing the amount of) the cayenne, and if you think it needs more salt, add a little more fish sauce. If you prefer, you can also use flank steak, skirt steak, or hanger steak instead of sirloin. It’s easiest to cut the meat into thin strips if it’s semi-frozen.

  • 1/4 cup chopped lemongrass
  • 2 large shallots, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup fish sauce
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons safflower or other neutral vegetable oil
  • Pinch of cardamom
  • 1 1/2 pounds grassfed sirloin

Make the marinade by whisking together in a medium bowl the lemongrass, shallots, garlic, cayenne pepper, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar and oil.

Slice the steak across the grain into thin strips. Place in a shallow glass baking dish and pour the marinade over. Make sure each piece of meat is covered completely. Cover and refrigerate for several hours (up to 24).

Preheat the grill to high.  While the grill is heating, soak as many wooden skewers as pieces of meat for 20-30 minutes. Drain.

Thread each piece of beef onto a skewer. Grill to desired doneness, turning once.

Drizzle with Spicy Peanut Sauce (recipe follows) and serve over steamed rice.

Spicy Peanut Sauce

This versatile sauce is good on any kind of satay, as well as on steamed vegetables or even tossed with hot noodles. And you can make it to taste. More salt? Add fish sauce. Too sweet? Add lime juice. More spice? Add cayenne.

Makes 1 cup

  • 1 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts, for garnish

Place the peanuts, water, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, cayenne pepper, and coconut milk into the jar of a blender. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary. If the sauce is too thick, add a little more coconut milk. Serve over any kind of satay, and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

Carolyn Carey’s Labeling Quest

In the far northeastern corner of California, in the high desert just outside of Alturas, Carolyn Carey and her husband Pete raise cattle and organic hay on the banks of the Pit River. They’ve spent a lifetime on the land, and they’re part of Panorama Organic’s original group of founding ranchers. “That’s what we’ve done for many, many, many, many, many years,” she says. “My husband has done nothing else his entire life except for a stint in the Army. He was one of those people who, for many, many years didn’t know his social security number because he never had to use it. Can you imagine? I mean, he’s never worked for anybody [else].”

Their place is uniquely situated on one of the largest natural flood plains left in that part of the state, which allows them to feed around 1,000 steers annually on meadows irrigated with flood water from the river. They also run about 450 cow-calf pairs.

Migratory waterfowl are a common sight on Carolyn and Pete Carey’s Northern California Ranch.

Carey is active in the cattle industry, as well as running the ranch. She’s served in leadership positions with the California Rangeland Trust, the California Cattlemen’s Association, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, among several others. 

One of her passions has been making sure consumers know which country their meat is coming from, and she developed the Born & Raised in the USATM label. Carey got the idea more than 20 years ago at an NCBA convention. “People were saying, ‘Hey, we have to pass legislation. We’ve got to be able to label our U.S. Beef.’ And I said to myself as I was walking along, knowing nothing about it, ‘why don’t we just do it?’ I popped down into the trade show, and lo and behold, there was the USDA booth. I stopped and I asked them what was involved.”

She called the appropriate people at the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS), the USDA department responsible for approving meat labels, and learned to not only negotiate the vagaries of the approval process, but to trademark her labels, as well. The Born & Raised in the USATM certification mark was the first USDA-approved label depicting the country of origin.

beef born & raised in the usa

The label, which is voluntary, is verified by affidavit and travels through the supply chain, staying with the animal until harvest, even if ownership changes, as long as it remains in the U.S. After slaughter, the meat can carry the label all the way to the end user. 

In the decades since Carey’s label appeared in the marketplace, the issue of Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) for beef has become mired in legislative and legal challenges. For a time, COOL was mandatory, but Congress eventually dropped it because Canada and Mexico sued in the court of the World Trade Organization, claiming it put beef from their countries at a competitive disadvantage in the minds of consumers. And a loophole in the Product of USA law means that meat packers can attach the label to any beef cut up and packaged in this country, no matter where the cattle were raised and the beef originated. A recent executive order from the Biden administration has resulted in the USDA opening a rulemaking process to tighten the law so that only beef products from cattle born and raised in this country can carry the Product of USA label. But in the meantime, consumers remain confused.

Carey wishes that the labeling issue could be simplified so that a package could simply read product of whichever country the meat came from, and then there would be no need for U.S. producers to label their beef. If it didn’t have a country listed, consumers would automatically know it’s from the U.S. But in the complicated global food supply chain, where many live animals and much of the meat we eat travel a circuitous international path, a simple solution is difficult to achieve. 

In the meantime, Carey encourages customers to look for Panorama Organic and  the Born & Raised in the USATM label to rest assured the beef they’re serving their families is really from the U.S.

Sunset over Rattlesnake Butte on the Carey Ranch.

The Label Says Product of USA. But Is It?

A little-known loophole in meat labeling laws has been misleading consumers for years. If you pick up a grocery store package of beef labeled “Product of USA,” you might not be getting what you think you are. It’s perfectly legal for meatpackers to import the meat from other countries like Australia, Argentina, or Mexico, and as long as it’s cut and packaged in a domestic plant, they can slap the Product of USA label on it and no one is the wiser. 

This is especially egregious when it comes to grass-fed beef. Most of the commercial grass-fed beef in this country is imported, and consumers have no way of knowing how those cattle were raised, whether the producers adhered to any kind of standards or not, or even whether the beef is truly grass-fed—or not.

President Biden recently signed an executive order that instructs the USDA to begin the rulemaking process to change the law so that beef labeled “Product of USA” is from animals born and raised in the US. But as with most things in the government, it could be a long time coming.

You might be wondering why this really matters. Under the current law, it means consumers aren’t getting the products they’re paying for, and US ranchers and farmers find themselves at a competitive disadvantage because imported beef can be less expensive for packers, although the price at retail generally isn’t. So basically, the big packing houses make money by deceiving consumers. 

beef born & raised in the usa

What can you do about it? Get to know your rancher and look for a label that says “born and raised in the USA.” That’s what you’ll find on Panorama Organic. Every package of our grass-fed and organic beef comes from family farms and ranches right here in the US—farms and ranches that have to meet our strict standards for animal husbandry and welfare as well as environmental standards to keep the soil, water, and wildlife healthy. 

We’ve never cut corners by buying cheap imported beef and we never will. Sometimes that’s challenging. When we’re in the middle of a severe drought, as we are now, it can be hard for our supply to keep up with the demand. But one of Panorama Organic’s four pillars is vitalizing rural communities, and we do that by working with our network of ranchers and their families and paying them a premium for their cattle so they make a decent living.  

Does our beef cost a little more? Yes, it does. But when you buy Panorama Organic, you’re supporting a little girl’s dream of one day being an Olympic athlete or a son who wants to finish college and come back to the ranch to be the next generation on the land. You’re also helping to sequester carbon, keep the water clean, and preserve habitat for the other species who inhabit our planet.

You can read about the people who raise our cattle in this newsletter and on our website. We know you may not get the opportunity to visit them in person, but we hope you’ll get to know them virtually. They appreciate your interest and your support as they bring healthy, delicious meat to your table.

Panorama Organic’s 360-Degree Promise®

Panorama Organic believes that each link in our food chain is inextricably linked and that, in order to provide healthful, delicious food, we must consider how each of these links impacts the overall food system. From our livestock to our ranching partners and ultimately to you as eaters, it’s important to understand how these parts work together and how our ranching practices affect the environment.

That’s why we developed the Panorama Organic 360-Degree Promise®. It’s the roadmap guiding all of our decisions at Panorama and ensures that we always take a holistic approach to producing organic, grass-fed and grass-finished beef.

Restoring the Planet

We start with the planet because it must come first. Ranching, as part of a comprehensive approach to agriculture, is in a unique position to restore native grasslands. Our ranchers employ pasture rotation and land-management practices that protect delicate rangeland ecosystems. By keeping soil covered with cover crops, minimizing soil disturbance, maximizing biodiversity of crops and integrating livestock, our ranchers are helping to rebuild organic matter and restore degraded soil. This has been proven to assist with carbon sequestration and improve the water cycle. In addition to these practices, all Panorama Organic ranches are certified organic. That means the landowners must verify that their land has not been treated with synthetic pesticides and herbicides or other chemicals for at least three years. Not only can agriculture be part of regenerative ranching practices, they are, in fact, critical to building a more livable Earth.

Caring for Animals

The land and the livestock work together in harmony. But as caretakers, ranchers have the responsibility for providing their livestock with a healthy, low-stress environment. Panorama Organic cattle graze on open pastures where they’re able to express their natural behaviors and live in contentment. Our ranches meet the Global Animal Partnership Step 4 rating, meaning cattle are never confined to feedlots, and ranchers must adhere to strict weaning and transportation protocols. A low-stress lifecycle is not only better for the livestock, it also ensures a higher quality product. 

Vitalizing Rural Communities

We have the utmost respect for our ranching partners. We understand that their livelihood is more than a profession, it’s a way of life. Founded on hard work, perseverance and a commitment to providing their communities with wholesome food, American farms and ranches are the engine driving rural economies. We make sure our rancher partners earn a fair return for the exceptional products they deliver to our customers so they can maintain sustainable businesses that contribute to and strengthen their local communities. Ranching is often a business handed down from one generation to the next. Not only do the assets pass hands, but the knowledge and experience of how to successfully raise livestock on a specific tract of land is paramount to preserving this way of life. We know that without our rancher partners, Panorama couldn’t bring you the highest quality organic, grass-fed, grass-finished beef.

Nourishing People

Our cattle are never treated with antibiotics or hormones, and they graze on organic and non-GMO pastures, consuming the diet they’ve evolved to eat. The result is nutritious and delicious protein for eaters concerned about their health. Because the diet of grass-fed cattle is different than that of conventionally raised cattle, the nutrients in grass-fed beef are different. Grass-fed beef has less total fat, more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin E. It also contains more conjugated linoleic acid, a type of fat that’s thought to reduce heart disease and cancer risks. Research suggests that lean beef that’s 10 percent fat or less is an important part of a heart-healthy diet.

When it comes to the age-old question, “What’s for dinner?” we know there are an overwhelming number of choices. But not all of those choices are created equal. Through our ranchers’ commitment to regenerating rangeland and providing the best care for their livestock, Panorama Organic consistently delivers exceptional grass-fed, grass-finished beef that you can feel confident serving to your family.

Our Panorama 360-degree Promise® considers all the links in the food chain, ensuring healthy products for you and the planet.