Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stay Tuned!

Memorial Day hiking trip to Bridge to Nowhere pictures and Deer Camp Soup recipe coming very soon!

Look out belooooww....

Sunday, May 22, 2011


But there will be no recipe this weekend.  I (Jenny) have a family function to attend. So, here's a picture of Ernest Hemingway. :-)

 "Every man's life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another." - Ernest Hemingway

In a letter, Hemingway wrote the following about lion meat:

Dear Ed,

I am sorry you and Mary had words on the edibility of lion.
For your information, the tenderloin is very good eating. The meat is rather the texture of veal and I wish we were going to have it for lunch.
Everyone who tried it enjoyed it. The first time we ate lion several people were reluctant to try. But when they smelled how appetizing it was and tried the clean, white fine textured meat breaded and browned, it was as popular as any meat...

Be sure to check back next weekend for a yummy new dish!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Venison Albondigas Soup (Mexican Meatball Soup)

Download Printable Recipe (You will go to MediaFire.)

Rick here. This is a dish my mom Alicia made back when I was a child. She was born in Los Angeles in 1923. She learned to cook the old way, by watching and helping her mother cook. It was during this time that she learned how to make the flavorful Mexican dishes that we kids grew up on. I remember, as a child, watching my mom make these meals and memorizing how she did it. It is my hope to re-create them here on this page, but with a wild game slant to the recipes. Back then, this soup, or "caldo," was made with beef albondigas, or beef meatballs.

So I had an idea. How about using venison instead of beef? It would taste great with the spices in this soup. Turns out, the venison melded perfectly with the traditional Mexican flavors, giving you a hearty and satisfying meal. Something that you can also add to your hot bowl of Venison Albondigas is a nice, big spoonful of my mom's Spanish Rice . It is perfect for a cold, cloudy day. Or for that matter, any day! I hope you enjoy this. 

Servings: 6
Cooking time: About 2 hours
- 2 lbs ground venison (with 10% pork fat)
- 1/4 cup white rice (uncooked)
- 1/8 cup minced onion
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
The rest of it: 
- 1 tbs. oil
- 1 cup sliced onion
- 1 can (14 oz) Mexican stewed tomatoes
- 2 cups of beef broth
- 3 carrots, cut into equal sized pieces
- 3 celery sticks,cut into equal sized pieces
- 1 large russet potato, cut into equal sized pieces
- 3 tbs. fresh cilantro, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- warm water

1. Preheat medium-sized pot over medium heat. Drizzle the bottom with oil. 
2. When the oil is hot, cook sliced onions and stewed tomatoes for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to keep from burning.
3. After the onions and tomatoes are ready, pour warm water into the pot, about halfway. Stir in the beef broth. 
Turn up the heat to high and bring to a boil. 

4. In a large bowl, mix together the ground venison, salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, minced onion and uncooked rice. 
5. Roll the venison mixture into small meatballs. Try to get the balls as compact as you can. Unlike beef, ground venison doesn't hold as well because it's so lean. Place on wax paper. 

6. When the soup starts boiling, turn the heat to low. Carefully place the meatballs into the soup once it comes back down to a low simmer. You want to do this with a lot of care to prevent breakage. It's very important that the soup stays at a simmer.
 7. Simmer the meatballs over low heat for 45 minutes, covered. 
8. Chop carrots, celery and the potato into equal sized pieces. 
9. After the 45 minutes, add the veggies. Continue to cook uncovered for 1 hour or until the veggies are soft. 
10. When you're done, stir in fresh cilantro. Fresh herbs are best added last for maximum flavor. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Enjoy with hot corn tortillas or Spanish rice.

Please let us know what you think about this recipe by leaving comments. Just click on the red "comments" button below and it will lead you to a form. We value your feedback. Thanks!
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Friday, May 13, 2011

Venison and Ricotta Ravioli w/ Sage "Buerre Noisette"

Download Printable Recipe (You will go to MediaFire.)

I guess this is an East meets West kind of dish, only because of the wonton wrappers. The idea came from a cook book I got just before I started college, called How to Cook Without a Book. :-P. Anyway, I think using wonton wrappers is pure genius. Do you own a pasta maker? Because I don't.

Filled with ground venison, ricotta cheese, shiitake mushrooms and thyme, then topped with sage infused "hazelnut butter" or "beurre noisette," these aromatic and earthy tasting raviolis will sure raise a few eyebrows around the dinner table.

Servings: 2-3; makes about 18 raviolis  
- 1 pkg. of wonton wrappers (12-ounce)
- 1 tbs. table salt, or 1-1/2 tbs. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. vegetable oil
- grated Parmesan cheese for topping
- ground black pepper for topping

- 1 tbs. olive oil, separated into two 1/2 tablespoons
- 1/2 lb ground venison
- 1/8 cup of onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 5 shiitake mushrooms, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
- one medium egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- salt and pepper to taste

Sage Hazelnut Butter ("Buerre Noisette")
- 8 tbs. salted butter (1 stick)
- 16 sage leaves

I. The Filling
1. Clean shiitake mushrooms with a dry paper towel or brush. Remove stems. Many people make the mistake of washing mushrooms. Mushrooms are like sponges and they will absorb water. If you really need to, you can use a damp paper towel. Most store bought mushrooms are clean anyway. 

2. Chop mushrooms into small sized pieces. Keep in mind that you have to fit everything inside the ravioli.  And remember that the mushroom will shrink when you cook it. 

3. Crush 2 cloves of garlic. In a nonstick pan, heat 1/2 tbs. of olive oil over medium heat, and saute mushrooms and garlic together for about 5 minutes, or until mushroom shrinks and all liquid evaporates. Transfer to a bowl big enough to fit the rest of the filling.  

4. In the same pan, heat 1/2 tbs. olive oil and brown ground venison, chopped onion and thyme over medium heat. Use your spoon to break up the venison as much as you can. This will take about 5-10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

5. Transfer the ground venison into the bowl with the mushrooms. Mix in ricotta cheese and beaten egg. 
* If a lot of liquid cooks out of your venison, then drain it. The mixture should be moist, but not liquid-y.


II. Making Raviolis 
1. In a large, deep sautee pan, bring 2 quarts of water to a low simmer. Do not let it reach boiling point.

2. Fill a small bowl with water. On a clean, dry surface, lay 6 wonton wrappers. Drop 1 tbs. of filling onto each.

3. Dip your index finger in the water bowl and moisten the outer edges of each wrapper. Seal them with a second wrapper, pressing as much air out as you can. 

4. Set aside on a wire rack (any non-stick surface will do, really) and do the next six. These raviolis will be cooked in batches.  
 * You can fill the wrappers ahead of time and keep them loosely covered in plastic wrap for up to one hr. at room temperature, or 4 in the fridge.

5. Heat up your ravioli plates in the oven at the lowest setting, 200 degrees F. Raviolis are not good cold and must be eaten immediately. So serve them as you finish cooking each batch.  

6. Once water begins to simmer, add the vegetable oil and table/kosher salt.
7. Press the ravioli edges again, just to make sure, and carefully lay 5-6 of them in the low simmering water. It is VERY important that your water stays at a simmer. Boiling water is like the perfect storm to raviolis and wontons. Cook until wonton wrappers turn from opaque to translucent and begin to wrinkle around the filling, about 3-4 minutes. 

8. Use a solid spoon to transfer raviolis and some of the cooking liquid to heated plates. The cooking liquid helps to keep the ravioli moist and shiny.

9. Top with sage infused "hazelnut butter" (read below), crushed black pepper and grated Parmesan cheese. 

III. Sage infused "Buerre Noisette"
1. Roughly chop the sage leaves. 
2. Melt the butter over low heat in a small sauce pan. When the thinnest liquid becomes a golden brown or "hazelnut" color, take it off the heat. Be careful not to burn it.
3. Drop in sage leaves. Be careful though, because the liquid in the leaves will make the butter pop and sizzle.

*Store left-over wonton wrappers in a zip lock bag in the fridge. You can even freeze them if you don't plan on using them soon. 

Please let us know what you think about this recipe by leaving comments. Just click on the red "comments" button below and it will lead you to a form. We value your feedback. Thanks! 

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thought of the day...

Hmmm... Something just ain't quite right here...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wild Duck with Orange Sauce

Download Printable Recipe (You will go to MediaFire.)

Duck. It really beats me why venison has such a bad rap. As far as "gaminess" is concerned, wild duck packs the bigger punch (if not prepared correctly, of course). Rick usually throws it on the grill wrapped in bacon, and that's how I first had it. I was completely surprised by its texture and taste, having been used to domesticated duck widely found in Asian cuisine (i.e. Peking duck). For one, wild duck meat looks very dark. It almost has a blue-ish tinge. Two, unlike farmed-raised duck, the texture is not like chicken at all. It's more like red meat. And three, it CANNOT be overcooked. Fascinated, I searched online to learn more about this popular water fowl. 

The complaints I mostly found for cooking wild duck is that it can taste fishy and/or tough. The "fishy" taste varies from species to species, depending on the bird's diet. This is especially true for fish-eating ducks. There are a few ways to tame this taste, but one popular way is to use fruit. The acidity helps to mellow the flavor. 

Wild duck should also be cooked only to medium-rare, and not recommended anywhere beyond that. Unlike farm-raised duck and even venison, wild duck is much less forgiving if pushed too far.

So we've been scratching our heads about a duck recipe, but did not want to do the usual wrapped-in-bacon bore. It's been a challenge for us, having run into the usual obstacles described above. But I think we have a winner here. The spices go great with the duck and the orange sauce adds a kind of balance. 

Serves: 4
- 4 filleted duck breasts, skin off (we used mallard)
- 4 tbs. butter (1/2 stick)
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 tbs. poultry seasoning
- 3 tbs. fresh chives, chopped
  (or 1 tbs. dried)
- 1 tbs. parsley flakes
- 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- cracked black pepper to taste

Orange Sauce:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tbs. cornstarch
- 1 cup orange juice 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Assemble the seasonings. Chop the chives, like so. In a small bowl, mix together chives, poultry seasoning, parsley, garlic salt and cinnamon. 

3. Remove any silver skin and fat from the duck breasts.
4. Place a piece of aluminum foil big enough to envelope all four breasts on a cookie sheet. Lay the breasts on the foil. 
5. Rub the seasonings from step one into the breasts, bottom and top. Crack black pepper over the breasts, if you desire, at this time.

6. Dot pieces of butter on top of the breasts. Then place a bay leaf on each. 

7. Crimp up the sides of the aluminum foil, making a packet. Place in preheated oven for 45 minutes. 

8. Half an hour into baking, combine sugar, nutmeg, cornstarch and a little bit of the orange juice in a small sauce pan. Mix well. Then add the rest of the orange juice.

9. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Take off heat when the sauce is slightly thickened. Since there's corn starch in it, the sauce will thicken by itself. Don't try reducing it too much, or else you'll end up with jello as it cools.

10. Drizzle sauce over duck breasts. Serve immediately.

Wine suggestion:
- Pinot Noir 

- Wild Rice
- Brussels Sprouts 

Please let us know what you think about this recipe by leaving comments. Just click on the red "comments" button below and it will lead you to a form. We value your feedback. Thanks! 
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Baked Veniziti

Download Printable Recipe (You will go to MediaFire.)

Isn't it amazing how many kinds of pastas there are? What's the difference between linguine and fettuccine anyway? And do Buzz Lightyear shaped macaroni count? Beats me! All I know is this recipe tastes good!

Servings: 8
- 1 lb. of ground venison
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3-1/2 cups of your favorite meatless spaghetti sauce (we used Ragu)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tbs. chopped fresh oregano (or dried)
- 1 tbs. fresh parsley (or dried), extra for sprinkling
- 16 ounces ziti, cooked and drained
- 2 cups of shredded mozzarella, divided
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1. Chop 1/2 cups of onion. 

2. Mince 2 cloves of garlic. 

TIP: Don't fuss around trying to peel garlic the hard way. Try this! Lay the blade of a broad knife on the garlic, and smash down real hard with your fist. The skin will pop right off. 
3. Over medium-high heat, cook the venison, garlic, and onion for 6-8 minutes, or until the venison browns, breaking up chunks of meat.

4. Stir in spaghetti sauce, chicken broth, oregano, and parsley. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until thickened.

5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked ziti and sauce together.
6. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish, or several smaller baking dishes (we used several), with cooking spray. 

7. Spoon a layer of ziti into the bottom of the dish(es). Sprinkle with a layer of Parmesan, then a layer of mozzarella. Repeat until you fill up the baking dish. Think lasagna.

8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese on top gets bubbly and golden.

9. Sprinkle chopped parsley on top to add more color to your dish. 

Wine Suggestion: Enjoy with a good Italian chianti.  

Please let us know what you think about this recipe by leaving comments. Just click on the red "comments" button below and it will lead you to a form. We value your feedback. Thanks! 

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