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Taking beef to a new level

By Staff | Aug 13, 2010

Jolene Pisel tops the beef filets in her JoKir’s Steak Oscar with cheese sauce.

By Darcy



Farm News staff writer

Gilmore City – When Kirk and Jolene Pisel looked for ways to add value to their cattle operation, they decided to open JoKir’s Wild, an on-farm retail store that promotes many of the best foods that Iowa has to offer.

Breakfast cake, which Jolene Pisel sells as a mix, offers a quick, easy dessert that's packed with flavor.

It was a logical business opportunity for Jolene Pisel, who loves cooking and collecting recipes from church cookbooks and other trusted sources.

“I feel a strong calling that I’m supposed to serve others,” said Pisel, who has operated the state-inspected and licensed business since May of 2009 from the basement of her family’s home on their Century Farm.

“Farming and owning a small business in our community keeps us more in touch with the friends and neighbors we care about.”

The Pisels, who farm approximately 600 acres and finish between 200 and 300 head of Black Angus/Angus cross cattle each year, sell their farm-raised beef by the piece, along with gift baskets, home-baked goods, noodles, jams and nearly 50 different Pantry Packet meal kits at JoKir’s Wild. The Pantry Packets are designed to help busy cooks fix home-cooked meals.

“A lot of people don’t cook much anymore, and I wanted to make people’s lives easier,” said Pisel, who also sells her beef at farmers markets in Pocahontas on Tuesdays, Rolfe on Thursdays and Gilmore City on Fridays.

Pumpkin knot rolls.

Thanks to JoKir’s Wild, Pisel has been able to generate extra income on the farm while still having time to help with the cattle operation and handle the fieldwork in the spring and the fall.

“Farming and running a business like JoKir’s Wild aren’t get-rich-quick schemes, but the support we’ve received has been humbling and overwhelming,” said Pisel, who noted that customers as far away as Hollywood, Calif., have purchased JoKir’s Wild beef.

The Pisel family, including 22-year-old daughter, Lacy, will be honored at the 2010 Iowa State Fair as one of five recipients of The Way We Live Award, which recognizes Iowa families who demonstrate a daily dedication to animal agriculture and exemplify farm values derived from hard work and a love of farming.

“There are few greater pleasures in business than to be able to personally know our customers and see that we are meeting their needs and making their lives better in some small way,” wrote Pisel in the essay she submitted for The Way We Live Award. “Farming isn’t just how we make our living; it’s how we do life. We don’t know one without the other.”

JoKir’s Steak Oscar

2 to 4 beef filet steaks, grilled

1 can Cheddar cheese soup

1 can small deveined shrimp

1 can crab meat (not imitation)

1/2 stick of butter

1 soup can of half & half

1 package of shredded Velveeta cheese

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

4 to 8 sprigs of asparagus

Grill the steaks. (This can be done ahead for ease in meal preparation; they can be reheated in a crock pot with a bit of beef broth so they are hot when you are ready to serve). In a sauce pan, melt butter. Add soup and one full can of Half & Half. Heat and stir until combined.

Drain and rinse crab and shrimp. Add to soup mixture and heat until bubbly. Add Velveeta cheese and stir until melted. Last add the seasonings and heat on low, stirring often, until ready to use. Microwave a few sprigs of asparagus.

To assemble the Oscars, remove heated steak from grill or crock pot, put desired serving on each plate and top with prepared cheese sauce. Crisscross a couple sprigs of asparagus on top of each serving.

Crockpot sweet & sour flat iron steaks

4 to 6 flat iron steaks

1 20-ounce can of pineapple tidbits

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

1 8-ounce can tomato paste

1/2 fresh green pepper, sliced

1/2 fresh Vidalia onion, sliced

1/4 cup cider vinegar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 tablespoon garlic salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Thaw flat iron steaks. Place in crock pot or slow cooker. Combine pineapple, tomato sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and seasonings.

Stir together to combine well. Add green pepper and onion, pour over steaks. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours until very tender.

(Note: There is no need to stir; resist lifting the lid during cooking time. Every time one peeks, it adds to the cooking time.)

3-bean casserole

1 pound ground beef

1 can Pork & Beans

1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 can of butter beans

4 slices of bacon

1 /2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon mustard

2 teaspoons vinegar

Brown and drain ground beef. Cut bacon into small pieces and cook. Drain and rinse kidney beans.

Combine all ingredients and bake at 350 for 45 minutes to one hour or dump all into a crock pot for several hours.

Parmesan butter horns

2 packages of yeast

1/2 cup water

9 cups of bread flour

2 cups warm milk

1 cup butter, softened

6 eggs

2 teaspoons salt


4 tablespoons melted butter

3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried minced onion

1 teaspoon sugar

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon dried basil

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add 4 cups of flour, milk, butter, sugar, eggs and salt. Beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto floured surface and knead lightly. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 2 to 3 hours) punch down; divide into 6 equal parts.

Roll into a large circle; brush with melted butter. Combine filling ingredients and sprinkle evenly over each circle. Cut each circle into pie shaped wedges; roll up each wedge from wide edge to tip. Pinch ends well to seal.

Place rolls, tips down, on baking sheets. Freeze and transfer into plastic containers, or let rise until doubled in size. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Remove from baking sheets immediately and cool on wire racks.

(Note: Make these ahead and freeze, then simply fix the number desired by removing from freezer, allow to rise until double, 2-3 hours, and bake fresh.)

Pumpkin knot rolls

1 cup warm milk

1/3 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

5 1/2 to 6 cups of bread flour


1 egg, 1 tablespoon cold water, sesame seeds

Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add butter, sugar, pumpkin, eggs, salt and 3 cups of flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greasedbowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch down, turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough in half. Shape each portion into 12 balls.

Roll each ball into a 10-inch rope and tie into a knot. Tuck ends under. Place about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Cover and let rise about 30 minutes until doubled.

Beat egg and water together. Brush over rolls and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes. Cool on wire rack.

Breakfast cake mix

8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

6 cups sugar

2 cups non-fat dry milk powder

1/4 cup baking powder

2 1/2 cups of butter

3 cups raisins

3 cups packed brown sugar

2 cups chopped pecans

2 cups milk chocolate chips

2 tablespoons of cinnamon

Additional ingredients needed for each cake: 1 egg and 1 cup water.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, powdered milk, baking powder and salt; cut in butter until crumbly.

Store in airtight containers in a cool dry place for up to 6 months. Do the same with the topping ingredients.

You’ll end up with 7 batches (21 cups of cake mix and 10 1/2 cups of topping mix).

(Note: Make ahead and keep on hand for a quick breakfast, after school snack or coffee break.)

Makes a great gift; give 3 cups of cake mix, 1 1 / 2 cups of topping mix in a disposable 9×9 baking pan.

To prepare cake: In a large bowl, combine 3 cups of cake mix, 1 egg and 1 cup water. Mix well. Pour into a greased 9×9 square pan. Sprinkle with 1 1 / 2 cups of topping mix. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes; until a toothpick near the center comes out clean. Cook on wire rack.

Contact Darcy Dougherty Maulsby by e-mail at yettergirl@yahoo.com.

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