Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Pan Seared Walleye with Balsamic Glazed Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Out of all the fish I've had in Nebraska, I think walleye is my favorite. It's just a pleasant, light and clean tasting fish that's easy to cook and enjoy. And the most awesome thing is that I even caught this myself! It was my first time going walleye fishing, and I had an absolute blast. So far, most of the fish on our blog has been given to us. But now that I live in Nebraska where fishing is cheap and more accessible, I'm excited to be able to catch more of what I eat. It's a rewarding and satisfying feeling. 
On that day, a friend from work and I went out to Calamus Reservoir on a cloudy, misty afternoon. After only a few minutes of trolling on the water, our lines started zipping left and right. It was insane! We didn't even have to employ the fish call... ha-ha. We weren't out there for long, but my arm was getting plenty sore from all that reeling.
We threw back more than we kept. At the end of the day, I came back with a nice stringer of walleye and white bass, more than enough for one person to eat. Now that I have all this fish in my freezer, along with all the fish Rick's cousins like to give me when I go to visit them, it's often a challenge to think of new ways to cook it. I don't know why, but I'm not as creative with fish as I am with red meat.
Deep frying fish is very popular in Nebraska. In fact, it's the only way I've ever seen people cook it here... And it's no wonder, because it's super good and you can't go wrong with it. But living on my own, I don't want to go through the hassle of using all that oil for just a small serving of fish. I do like to coat it with Louisiana Fish fry and pan fry it with just a little oil, but that can get old. 

So here is a quick, but different way to cook walleye. The roasted cherry tomatoes add a sweet and refreshing element to the dish, while pan searing the fish in butter gives it a beautiful golden color. I hope you give this a try. Enjoy! 

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes
- 4 walleye fillets
- salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
- 2-3 tbs. of butter 
- 1 package of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbs. of olive oil
- splash of balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbs. of brown sugar, packed
- pinch of dried thyme (fresh is better if you have it... same goes for basil)
- pinch of dried basil 
- red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
- lemon wedges, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

In a baking dish or rimmed cookie sheet, combine tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, thyme, basil, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until tomatoes start to caramelize.
2. Check walleye fillets for bones. Rinse under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Set aside.
3. Over medium-high heat, heat a skillet until it sizzles when you sprinkle water in it. Then add butter and wait until it's melted and just turning a golden, hazelnut color. Add fish and sear on both sides for 1-2 minutes or until fully cooked and flaky. 

Do not overcrowd pan.

Serve fish with your favorite side dishes and garnish with lemon wedges. Spoon roasted tomatoes and its juices over the fish. Serve immediately. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Goose Breast with Rosemary Mushroom Cream Sauce

Goose... I can love it, or I can hate it. Cooked just right and it is the former.  Cook incorrectly, it is the latter. I have had it both ways. When it is done right, oh boy, it can be heaven! Tender and juicy, it is the filet mignon of the sky!

While Jen and I were in Nebraska last November hunting deer, my cousin Keith was doing real good on the canadas. 
Rick with a couple geese.
Knowing that we did not have enough time to join him on the marsh, he graciously gave us some of his geese. And these biggies had been spending a lot of time loading up on grain as they were huge and had a wonderful layer of fat on them. I had one breast left in the freezer, and I really wanted to do something good with it.

I love rosemary because it gives, to me, an earthy taste that I like with wild game. And a creamy mushroom sauce is a favorite of mine, as I like a good, thick sauce to accompany my dish. Together, this was sweet heaven to my taste buds! Honestly, this was the best goose I've ever had. Got some goose left in the freezer? You should do yourself a favor and try this recipe. You'll be glad you did. Enjoy!

Prep Time (including marinade): 1 hr. and 20 min.
Cooking Time: 40 min.
Servings: 2
- 2 tbs. olive oil, divided
- 1/8 cup of red wine vinegar
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large or 2 small goose breasts
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 1/4 cup of chopped onion
- 1/4 cup of chopped carrots
- 1/2 cup of sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 tbs. of all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. of dried rosemary
- 1 cup of uncooked white rice
- salt and pepper, to taste

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic.  Remove from heat and stir in the red wine vinegar.  

Clean goose breast and place in a shallow non-reactive dish.  Pour vinegar mixture over goose breast.  Make sure all of the breast gets coated with this mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk, onion and carrot.  Gradually increase the heat until it just comes to a boil, stirring frequently.  As it comes to boil, remove from heat.  Season with freshly ground pepper to taste.  Cover and set aside.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

4. Next, use olive oil to lightly oil a grill frying pan, preferably cast iron. Heat on a stove top over medium-high heat.  Remove breast from the marinade and place in the pan, skin-side down.  Sear the breast for about 5 minutes on the skin-side and turn over and sear on the meat side for another 5 minutes.

5. Place seared breast in a very slightly oiled baking dish, skin-side up, and place in a 350 degree F oven.  Roast for 30 minutes.

6.  Cook the white rice per package directions.  

Then, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small sauce pan over medium low heat.  Add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the flour, making sure to constantly stir to make sure it does not become lumpy.  Do this for 2 minutes.  Next, gradually add the milk mixture from step 2, whisking all ingredients together.  Season with rosemary, then salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes.  If this sauce becomes too thick, slowly add more milk and stir, or if it is too thin, slowly add more flour and stir.

7. Remove breast from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes.  After, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices and place on a bed of cooked rice.

Pour the rosemary-mushroom sauce over the breast.
Enjoy! ...


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Foods to Eat While Hunting

A Guest Post by Blake Anderson, founder of HunterTreeStands.com

When you are sitting in your hunting tree stand all day, there is no doubt that you are going to eventually get hungry.  Keeping your energy and sugar level up will prevent you, the hunter, from the possibility of passing out or getting the shakes. So what can you eat in a tree stand that won't spook your trophy deer away?

Water is first and foremost. Drink plenty of water and bring along a Gatorade or two.  Water keeps you hydrated and even though you are not sweating due to cooler weather, your body needs to be replenished.  Not to mention that an empty water bottle can also be used to urinate in so the deer do not smell your scent.  

Snickers bars are a great way to fill up your stomach.  The wrappers are quiet to open and the peanuts and chocolate will provide you with energy.  Granola bars work the same way.  The trick is not to be loud with a wrapper or overwhelming with smells that may spook your deer.  Deer have a great sense of smell and even if you are sitting 20 feet in the air in your tree stand, the likelihood of a deer smelling your food is great.

Apples are a great snack to eat while perched in your tree stand. Deer love apples and once you are down to the apple core throw it onto the ground.  If a deer doesn’t come along and eat it, something else will.  

Bananas are full of potassium and are quiet to open.  While you are in your tree stand, eating a banana is filling, quiet and again, the odor will not travel.  Once you are finished with your banana, toss it into the woods to feed birds or other critters that may be lurking about.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are another great snack to eat while sitting in your tree stand. The jelly will provide you with the sugar you need and the peanut butter will fill you up.  Your sandwich will also be in a baggie so when you open it, there won't be a lot of noise and the odor of your sandwich will not travel as far through the air.

Jerky is another good energy food to take along with you while you are hunting.  Jerky is eaten slowly and does not produce a strong odor that can waft through the air.  Even better, eat some deer jerky, it might just bring you luck to bag that trophy deer that is walking your way.  

The less movement you make while in your tree stand the better, as deer have great eyesight. While eating, make slow, deliberate movements, just in case there is a deer close by that you cannot see yet.  

What you choose to eat while sitting in your tree stand hunting is up to you.  However, make sure it is quiet and does not permeate the air with a strong food odor.  Eating simple finger foods that are easy to carry in your backpack and are quiet to open is a good rule of thumb.  

Remember, if you pack it in you must pack it out.  Happy hunting!

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