Sunday, April 21, 2013

Mari's Mar Ceviche

Here's something totally different from Food for Hunters. It comes from our lesser known sibling-- Food for Fish-peoples!

My nephew Jim's wife is from La Paz, Mexico. It is the capital of one of two states that make up the Baja California peninsula-- Baja California Sur. La Paz is located just north of the Tropic of Cancer and is in between the Pacific Ocean and the famed Sea of Cortez, often called the "Fish-trap of the Seas." To say the least, seafood is an important part of the people's diet. 

Mari and her daughter.
Ceviche is a tasty dish where seafood, in this case fish, is cooked not via the usual source of heat but by a chemical reaction from the lime juice that is used in this dish. When it is too hot to turn on the oven or stove to cook, people make this spicy and refreshing concoction for a snack or even whole meals.  

This is a recipe for a large gathering, so bring together family and friends for some South of the Border goodness. Don't have a big group? Cut the recipe in half! When you are feeling a little "international," give this recipe a try. Enjoy! -Rick 

Prep Time: 45 minutes
"Cooking" Time: 2 hours
Servings: many
- 4 lbs. of white-fleshed fish filets (ex: crappie, walleye, bass, rockfish, Dorado), diced
- one and a half large brown onions, chopped
- 3 jalapeños, chopped
- 2 Serrano chiles, chopped
- 6 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
- 3 to 5 limes (enough to cover fish as stated below)
- 1 tbs. salt
- 1 tbs. pepper
- tortillas or tostada shells for serving (optional)

1. Rinse filets with cold water and pat dry. Remove dark strip (bloodline) from each filet and dice into small chunks. Place in a non-reactive bowl, plastic or glass.
2. Slice limes in half and squeeze enough juice that it barely covers all the fish. The acid in the limes will chemically "cook" the fish. Depending on the size of the diced fish, this will take roughly two hours. Stir occasionally. The fish will look opaque when done. 

3. While the fish is "cooking," chop onions and set aside in a separate bowl. Then chop the jalapeños, Serranos and tomatoes. Next, roughly chop the cilantro.
4. Midway through the cooking time, add chopped onion to the fish. 

When fish is about done, add the jalapenos, Serranos, cilantro and tomato. Mix well. Add salt and pepper. Allow ingredients to sit for 15 minutes before serving. 
5) As a cocktail, serve in cocktail glasses with either crackers or make your own tortilla chips according to our "Nachos Cazadores" recipe. Eat as is or with a dollop of catsup on top. Or as a main dish, serve on tostadas shells. Either way, enjoy it with your favorite cerveza! 
Here's Jim lazing around in the afternoon sun. What a life!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Pulled Berry-Chipotle Snow Goose Sandwiches

I went snow goose hunting for the first time a few weeks ago. My good friend Scott from work, who is a private lands biologist and an avid waterfowl hunter, was kind to take me with him. Scott and I didn't expect to shoot anything when we went out that afternoon. For those who aren't familiar with snow geese, they are surprisingly cunning, so much that they will eat themselves out of house and home if we hunters don't shoot enough of them.
The challenge is that they catch on to just about every trick in the book so darn quickly. 

So Scott and I waited, and the afternoon began to grow cold. I sat in my layout blind and listened for Scott's voice from the other blind next to me. He had me looking in all sorts of directions through the crack in the flaps that concealed my head. I saw a lot of birds fly over, but none came close enough to shoot. We called and we called, me with an iPod shuffle attached to speakers and Scott with his traditional goose call. Then, like it was a godsend, a fat, white snow goose descended from its flock. It stretched out its wings and legs to let the wind catch it from underneath, allowing its body to hover, almost freeze in midair right in front of me-- the perfect opportunity for a shot. "Take it!" Scott shouted. I flipped open the covers to my blind, took aim and shot twice. The goose dropped to the ground and I whooped and threw up my hands in victory. It was such a great rush. There's something about shooting a bird in the air that's so exciting and different compared to deer hunting. I can't wait to go duck hunting next season!

This recipe is sort of Scott's idea. He mentioned sticking his goose in grape jelly once, so I looked into it. I found a pulled pork recipe using pomegranate jelly online and built upon it. It was actually pretty good. I'm not much of a goose eater, but the crockpot cooking process got rid of the gamey taste so familiar to many waterfowl species. Similar to BBQ sauce, this recipe follows the same sweet and tangy flavor profile using strawberry-blackberry preserves and many savory spices. I strongly recommend that you make this a day ahead. This allows the flavors to fully develop. 

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 5 hours (prepare one day ahead before serving)
- legs, thighs and breasts of 1 snow goose
- 3 tbs. of light brown sugar
- 2 tsp. of Hungarian paprika
- 1 tsp. mustard powder
- 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 slice of bacon
- 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar
- 3 tbs. of tomato paste
- 1/8 cup of fruit jelly or preserves (I used strawberry-blackberry preserves)
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped (more if you're adventurous)
- potato buns or rolls
- 3 cups of shredded cabbage
- 1/2 cup of shredded carrot
- 1/2 cup of Best Foods Olive Oil Mayo
- 1 tsp. of rice vinegar
- 1 tsp. of sugar
- 1 tsp. of Louisiana Hot Sauce, or to taste
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

If you like, you can brine or simply soak the goose in cold water overnight to leech out blood. 

1. Remove visible silver skin from breasts. Pat all pieces dry with paper towels. Don't stress over getting all of the silver skin. It will melt in the crock pot anyway. 
2. In a small bowl, combine 1 tbs. of brown sugar, the paprika, mustard powder and cumin. Combine well. 
Sprinkle ground black pepper and salt all over all legs, thighs and breasts. Then rub the spice mixture over all the pieces. 
3. Cook the slice of bacon in a cast iron pan. Remove the bacon. Sear the goose in the bacon grease over medium-high heat until browned on both sides. Do not overcrowd the pan. Do not cook the meat through. All you want is a nice sear on the outside.
Transfer goose to a plate and set aside. 
4. Combine 2 cups of water, vinegar, tomato paste and the remaining 2 tbs. of brown sugar in a crock pot. Add the cooked bacon, goose and all its juices. 
Make sure the goose is submerged. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, or until meat is tender. 
5. Meanwhile, combine all coleslaw ingredients in a medium bowl. Adjust seasonings, as necessary. If it's too dry, add more mayo. If it's too tart, add more sugar. Too sweet, and more vinegar. 

Cover and refrigerate to let flavors marry.
6. Once the goose is tender, remove the pieces from the crock pot and shred the meat with forks. Discard bones. Set aside. 

7. Pour the cooking liquids from the crockpot into a saucepan. Add the jelly/preserves and chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce by half, or until thickened into a sauce. Add salt and pepper, to taste. 

Pour the sauce into another container for serving, but leave about 1 cup. 

Add the shredded meat to the remaining sauce. Add more sauce if it's too dry. 

For best results, refrigerate the meat, covered, one day prior to serving. This helps the flavors develop. It's totally worth the wait!
Serve pulled snow goose on potato buns with coleslaw and extra sauce on the side. 
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