Monday, October 31, 2011

Deer Mummies with Nacho Cheese

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Looking for a last minute spooky treat? Make deer mummies! -- A ghoulish twist on an old time favorite: pigs in a blanket. But wait! These aren't just for your little hunters. Instead of using just regular ol' deer dogs, we used jalapeno deer sticks. The tiny hint of spiciness will surely add a little trick to your treat. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Servings: makes 12 Deer Mummies
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 13-17 minutes
- 1 (8 oz.) can of Pillsbury refrigerated dinner crescent rolls
- 12 deer jalapeno sticks (you can get them from your processor when processing your deer)
- mustard

Nacho Dip
- 1 lb. Velveeta cheese, cubed
- 1 (7 oz.) can of salsa, or to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Separate the Pillsbury Crescent dough at the seams so you get 4 rectangles.

Pinch the the diagonal seams of each rectangle together.

2. With a knife or pizza cutter, cut the rectangles into long strips.

This is what the packaging looks like for the deer jalapeno sticks. Rick's cousins go to C&C Processing to process their deer, located in Diller, Nebraska.

3. Wrap the strips of dough around each deer stick, stretching and pressing together separate pieces of dough if needed.

Leave a space at the end for the mummy's face to peep through.

4. Place each deer mummy at least 1 inch apart on an un-greased cookie sheet, mummy face side up.

Bake for 13-17 minutes, or until the dough turns light golden brown.
5. With mustard, dot each mummy face with two eyes. TIP: Use a toothpick.

6. Serve with Velveeta nacho cheese as a dipping sauce. 

To make the cheese, melt the cheese cubes and salsa together for 1 minute in a microwave safe bowl. Stir, and heat longer if the cheese is not completely melted. 

One of our friends threw a party on Saturday for Halloween. So, we carved our pumpkins and bobbed our apples. :-)

Rick doodling his design before the party...

We just threw on our hunting clothes and smeared stuff on our faces for the party.

Yup! It was fun. Been a long while since either one of us has carved a pumpkin. 
Rick's deer

Jen's were-jackalope. Ha-ha! Everyone got a kick out of it. 


We were quite happy with how our pumpkins turned out.

Everyone lined up their pumpkins along the walkway. We had like ten pumpkins!

Then... we bobbed for apples. 

Of course, Rick won. All the girls kept complaining about having small mouths.

Judging by this picture, I'm glad HE won.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tyler's Trail Cam

Some photos we thought you may like. Rick's cousin Tyler in Nebraska installed some cameras on his property and surrounding neighbors. 

 "Hello? Anybody in there?"
Look to the right...
Gotta love coons!
After months of practicing in the backyard, Tyler gets his first buck of the season. 

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vietnamese "Banh Mi" with Grilled Venison

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If you live in Southern California, especially near Little Saigon, chances are that you'll know what a "banh mi" is. "Banh mi" are delicious french baguettes filled with all sorts of fresh meats and vegetables. Why french bread? Because the French landed in Vietnam in 1858 and stayed for a very long time, influencing Vietnamese culture in many ways, including food and the Latin alphabet. Although you can have it in many ways, our favorite way to have "banh mi" is with grilled pork. Since we don't have any wild pig (would be nice to get some... hint, hint), we used venison instead and it did the job. 

"Banh mi" has gotten so popular that we see recipes popping up here and there in many national magazines. We were very surprised to see a version of it in Field and Stream magazine a few months back. However, we offer you an authentic version. After all, I have been eating it for most my life.

Servings: 2
Prep Time: At least 4 hours
Cook Time: 3-7 minutes
- 1 lb. venison, cut into thin strips
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 tbs. brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 
- 2 tbs. fish sauce (Don't be afraid. It won't make your meat taste like fish.)
- 1 tbs. sherry
- 2 tbs. peanut oil 
- half a cucumber, julienned
- 4 sprigs of cilantro
- good mayonnaise
- 1 jalapeno pepper, sliced
- pickled carrots and daikon (you can buy if you live near a Vietnamese supermarket, or use this easy recipe here 
- 1 french baguette, cut in two and sliced open (or any crusty bread with a soft center. Very important that the bread is fresh)

1. Trim venison of all silver-skin and fat.

2. Cut into thin strips, like so. They don't have to be in uniform lengths. 

3. Combine with marinade ingredients (garlic, shallots, brown sugar, black pepper, fish sauce, sherry and peanut oil). Cover and refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours. 

4. Thread venison slices onto pre-soaked bamboo skewers (about 10). Cook over preheated grill, directly over coals. About 3 minutes each side. 

The jalapeno and cucumber are supposed to be cut like so. Cut around the core of the cucumber. You want the crunchy outside, not the soft, seedy inside. 
5. Lightly toast the bread in the oven, just to warm them up. Slather a good helping of mayo on the inside. Fill with grilled venison strips. 

We just used Hellmann's Light Mayo. Traditionally, full fat mayo is used for "banh mi," meaning egg yokes only. If you want to try homemade, try this recipe here. It does make a difference.

6. Then, fill with the julienned cucumber, pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeno and stuff each with 2 whole sprigs of cilantro (stem and all). 

All these elements are very important to creating that traditional Vietnamese "banh mi" taste. 
If you want more kick, serve with Sriracha sauce on the side. If you really want to indulge, slather softened butter onto the bread along with the mayo. Enjoy!

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Wild Deer and Mushroom Soup

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This recipe owes its roots to Poland, where mushroom hunting is a seasonal tradition. We can't really call this "Polish" though because of the modifications that we made. (Wasn't really sure where to find wild Polish mushrooms in California. Hmmm...) Nevertheless, we promise that this will be one of the most flavorful soups you will ever have! If you can't find the mushrooms listed below, you can always use white button mushrooms. However, darker mushrooms make for superior taste. For the meat portion, we went with deer ring bologna, which complemented the mushroom flavor in the broth perfectly. If you like mushrooms, this soup is for you!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-45 minutes
Servings: 4
- 5 cups of fresh mushrooms, sliced (we used a combination of shiitake and maitake) 
- 1 lb. deer ring bologna, cut into small pieces
- 4 cups beef broth
- 2 cups water
- 4 tbs. unsalted butter
- 1 cup onion, finely chopped
- 2 large russet potatoes, cut smaller than a dice
- white pepper, to taste
- salt, to taste
- sour cream
- fresh or dried parsley, chopped

Here is what maitake and shiitake mushrooms look like. Maitake is the bouquet looking mushrooms to the left and the shiitakes are to the right. They are widely found in Asian supermarkets. 

Maitake is known to English speakers as "Hen of the Woods," "Ram's Head" or "Sheep's Head." In Italy, they're called "Signorina." 

To prepare, wipe off with a brush or dry towel and cut off any stems. 

Cut the ring bologna into small pieces. If you don't have deer ring bologna, any similar sausage will do.

You should also cut the potatoes very small. It will cook faster and will be used 
as the thickening agent in the soup.

1. In a medium sized pot, melt butter over medium heat and cook onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir constantly. Sweat the onions, don't burn them. 

Sprinkle some salt over onions. Helps to flavor and draw out moisture.

2. Add sliced mushrooms. Cook until they shrink and lose their moisture. About 5 minutes.

REMEMBER NOT TO RINSE MUSHROOMS IN WATER. If you have to, just use a damp cloth to wipe them off. Wet mushrooms will mess up the cooking process, making them soggy and not tender. 
3. Add 4 cups of beef broth into the pot and 2 cups of water.
4. Add deer ring bologna... 
And the potatoes.

5. Cover and simmer on low for 30-45 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. 

6. Once tender, use a potato masher and gently mash potatoes against bottom of the pot so they disintegrate. (You don't have to be perfect.) Season with salt and white pepper, to taste. Add as much chopped parsley as you want. 

Sans Sour Cream

7. Ladle into individual bowls and top each with about 1 tbs. of sour cream. The sour cream is  MUST, so don't skimp out on it.


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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Balsamic Parmesan Crusted Crappie

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Here it is! Crappie recipe number two, inspired by Food for Hunters facebook fan Kirk Reimer. 

Dipped in breadcrumbs, Italian seasonings and LOTS of Parmesan cheese, then enjoyed with a fresh salad and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette,  this easy recipe is every fisherman's delight.

Servings: 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 - 7 minutes
- 12 crappie filets , skin removed
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tbs. milk
- 1 1/2 cups of Progresso Garlic and Herb bread crumbs (or Italian bread crumbs)
- 1 tbs. Italian seasoning (optional)
- 1/2 cup Kraft Grated Parmesan Cheese (the kind in the green container)
- 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
- olive oil
- salt and pepper, to taste

- 1 bag of mixed baby greens salad
- 1 tomato, seeded and diced 
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- balsamic vinaigrette (you can buy or check out Emeril's recipe here)

1. In a wide shallow container, lightly beat the eggs and milk together.

In another container, combine bread crumbs, Kraft Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning. 

Note: I know we used freshly grated Parmesan cheese in the pictures for the fish, but ignore that. We found that Kraft Parmesan Cheese gives a bigger Parmesan flavor.

2. Lightly rinse the filets in cold water, and pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle salt and pepper, to taste.

Dip each filet in the egg, and then in the bread crumb mixture. Gently press the bread crumbs onto the fish to make sure it sticks.

3. Heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan over medium-high heat. Add the smashed garlic and cook until its golden, then discard or keep for other uses. 

Depending how big your pan is, you may want to cook the fish in batches. Space out your garlic accordingly. Add more oil and garlic for each new batch of fish you cook. 
4. Cook breaded fish filets for 2-3 minutes each side, or until the bread crumbs turn golden brown and the filets are flaky. 

5. Serve with baby greens. Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette on both the salad and the fish, which will add a nice acidic note. 

Grate fresh Parmesan cheese over the top of the entire dish. Enjoy!

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Blackened Crappie with Mashed Parsley Yams

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After reading lots of great fan suggestions on our facebook page, this is what we came up with: blackened crappie on a bed of parsley mashed yams, topped off with lemon sage butter. This recipe turned out fantastic! Since crappie is such a mild flavored fish, it took to the seasonings very well. And the mashed sweet potatoes had a sweet, nutty flavor that added a nice balance to the bold blackened seasonings. Because we were trying to beat the sunset, we didn't have time to add a crunchy element to this dish. We suggest you serve some kind of crunchy green like broccoli or green beans to complement the textures of the fish and mashed yams. Thanks to Leigh Ann Gaskill for suggesting that we blacken the crappie. What a fantastic idea!

Since we defrosted more fish than we could eat, we will be doing a second recipe with crappie sometime during the week. Another facebook fan, Kirk Reimer, gave us a great idea that has to do with cheese. Cheese! Who doesn't like cheese?

Servings: 2
Cooking time: 1 hour
- 6 crappie filets
- 1/4 cup paprika 
- 2 tbs. ground thyme
- 2 tsp. onion powder
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
- 3 tbs. unsalted butter, divided (1 and 2)
- 2 large yams
- 1 tsp. chopped parsley, fresh or dried
Lemon Sage Butter Compound
- 3 tbs. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp. lemon zest, finely grated
- 1 tbs. lemon juice
- 1 tbs. shallot, minced
- 1 1/2 tbs. fresh sage, finely chopped

1. Bake the yams in a 350 degree F oven for 45 minutes, or until tender. Scrape out the insides and mix in parsley. You can do this ahead of time and reheat in the microwave, or time it so the fish and yams come out at the same time.

2. Make the Lemon Sage Butter: Combine the sage, shallot, zest and lemon juice into 3 tbs. of unsalted butter. Mix well.

3. Put the compound butter on a sheet of plastic wrap. 
4. Roll into a cylinder, and twist the ends. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to re-harden.

This stuff is great because you can use it on anything or put any kind of herbs you personally like in it. You can also freeze for later.

5. The fish: In a small sauce pan, melt 1 tbs. of butter.

Combine paprika, ground thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper in a shallow dish. 

Allow the butter to cool for a few minutes, and then dip the fish in the melted butter...
...and then coat with the seasoning mixture. 
6. Heat 2 tbs. of butter in a large pan over medium-high heat, and cook fish for about 3-4 minutes each side, or until flaky. 

Don't worry if the seasoning looks like it's burning. You're not doing anything wrong. The combination of seasonings is supposed to turn black when cooked, hence the word "blackened."

Serve with mashed sweet potatoes and your choice of greens for a crunchy contrast. Spread the lemon sage compound butter on top of the hot fish.

Enjoy! The bright orange color, greens and black just screams Halloween. :-)

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