Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pheasant and Pesto Sandwich

Pesto and shrimp pasta is one of our favorite dinners, but sometimes, we make more pesto than we can eat. While it is great on pasta and pizza, pesto is also fantastic in sandwiches. With the leftover pesto from the night before, I decided to pan sear some flattened chicken breasts to make sandwiches one night. Also filled with with mozzarella cheese, fresh tomatoes and arugula, the sandwiches turned out great. It kind of reminded me of the pesto sandwiches I used to eat at the Corner Bakery Cafe, which I sorely miss. They made the best soups and sandwiches, and unfortunately, there isn't one in Nebraska. (Panera sucks.) 

Here's our pheasant version of that sandwich, and it was equally as delicious. Although not necessary with chicken, we brined the pheasant breasts to make them more flavorful, juicy and tender. Spend the extra bucks on some good ciabatta bread and fresh mozzarella cheese. It'll be worth it. 

The recipe below will make more pesto than you need-- but you won't be sorry. Toss the extra pesto with some freshly cooked linguini, and it will be grand. 

P.S. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Hope you all get to spend quality time with your family and friends. 

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
- breasts from 2 pheasants (4 breasts), lightly flattened with a mallet
- freshly cracked pepper, to taste
- sliced tomatoes
- arugula or spinach
- fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- balsamic vinaigrette
- ciabatta bread
- 4 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- 4 cups of water
- 1/4 cup of kosher salt
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon of whole peppercorns 
- 2 teaspoons of juniper berries, crushed
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- a few sage leaves, chopped (dried leaves are fine, too)
- 1 cup of fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 cup of fresh kale leaves, ribs removed and ripped into smaller pieces, packed
- 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup of walnuts
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1/2 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- salt and pepper, to taste

1. Combine brine ingredients in a sauce pan and heat until sugar and salt dissolve. Allow brine to cool, then pour into a container. Place pheasant breasts into the brine and refrigerate for 1 hour. Afterwards, take pheasant breasts out of the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Next, lay pheasant breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap, and lightly pound with a mallet to slightly flatten and to get pieces uniform in thickness. This will help the breasts cook more evenly. 

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle cracked pepper on both sides of breasts and then brown until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes each side. Do not overcook. Cook in batches. 

3. Clean out skillet, then heat another tablespoon of butter. Toast bread on both sides until slightly browned. Add more butter, as needed. 
4. To make pesto, combine basil, kale and walnuts in a food processor. Pulse, then add garlic and parmesan cheese. Scrape down ingredients on the sides, and pulse some more. With the food processor running, add olive oil in a steady stream. Or, add olive oil in batches if your food professor doesn't have an opening. Blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
5. Spread pesto onto both sides of toasted bread. Stack the bottom bread slice with arugula, mozzarella cheese slices, tomato slices and a splash of balsamic vinaigrette. 
Finally, top with cooked pheasant breast. Finish with a sprinkle of salt and finally place the top bread. 
Serve immediately while still warm. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Trout with Clementine, Scallion and Ginger

Our last trout recipe included wrapping trout in bacon, but nothing beats the taste of slightly charred fish that's cooked directly on the grill. Stuffed with clementine wedges, the juices from the orange adds a sweet citrus element to the dish. And the scallion ginger soy sauce gives it a tangy, spicy Asian flair. Put away the smoker and the bacon, and try cooking your trout differently. You'll love this recipe. We promise. 

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 5-7 minutes
- 2 whole pan size trout, scaled and gutted
- kosher salt, to taste
- 2 green onions, 1 chopped and 1 sliced in half lengthwise
- oil for brushing
- 1 clementine orange (or tangerine), peeled and segmented
Ginger Scallion Sauce
- 2 tablespoons of peanut oil
- 3 green onions, white and light green parts minced
- 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger, minced
- ¼ cup of low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ teaspoon of sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of white sugar
- 1 Thai (bird’s eye) chili, thinly sliced

1. Prepare grill to high heat. 

In a small saucepan, combine peanut oil, minced green onions and minced ginger. Warm up mixture for a couple minutes, but do not brown. Pour green onion mixture into a small mason jar, along with other sauce ingredients. Set aside and shake well before use. 
2. Rinse trout under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Brush the skin and cavity with oil, and then sprinkle lightly with salt. Stuff cavities with clementine wedges, sliced green onion and a drizzle of ginger scallion sauce. 

Hint: Pull clementine wedges normally before stuffing, or you can slice out the wedges with a sharp knife to get rid of the skin. This will allow the wedges to release more juices during grilling. 
3. Clean grill grates and brush oil over grates before cooking to avoid sticking. Lay down stuffed trout and cook for 3-5 minutes on each side until cooked through and slightly charred. Cooking time will vary.
4. Drizzle ginger scallion sauce over fish and garnish with chopped green onion before serving. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Thai-Style Turtle and Potato Curry

Turtle can stand up to bold flavors, and Thai curry is one of them. For those with sensitive palates, this dish will hide any wild aromas that snapping turtles may still have. What's left is a savory, spicy soup with tender, pork-like meat and buttery potatoes to be served with crusty bread or jasmine riceYou and your guests will be amazed that you're eating reptile. What's more, turtle bones can make great stock. The bones are high in collagen, leaving you with a rich, gelatinous stock that requires no thickener when making soup, curry or stew. 

On a different note, there have been some concerned readers over our turtle photos on Facebook. Some of you may have heard that eating turtle meat is frowned upon because they are endangered. You may have learned this on TV, in movies or read this information in books. True, the consumption of sea turtles is discouraged and illegal, but snapping turtles are not. Unlike its saltwater relatives, the common snapping turtle is a freshwater species that is found all over the U.S. Generally, they are not threatened. In states that do have them and allow a season, limits are set to make sure that they can be harvested sustainably, no different than any other species that is legal to hunt or catch. So when you hear of people eating turtle today, it is most likely snapping turtle and not to be confused with sea turtles. Please don't be so quick to judge. 

If turtle hunting/catching is something you would like to try, check out our upcoming book Hunting for Food: Guide to Harvesting, Field Dressing and Cooking Wild Game to learn how, to be released July 15, 2015. Yes, we finally have a title that both our publisher and we can agree on. Yay! 

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 2 1/2 hours
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 15 Baby Dutch Yellow potatoes, halved (or 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and diced)
- half an onion, chopped
- 1 (14 ounce) can of unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons of yellow Thai curry
- 2 bay leaves
- fish sauce, to taste
- 1 pinch of sugar
- zest of one lime or lemon
- chopped cilantro for garnish
- cooked jasmine rice or bread for serving
Turtle Stock
- 1 1/2 pounds of turtle meat (on the bone)
- 4 ribs of celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 yellow or white onion, quartered
- 6 cups of water
- 4 tablespoons of minced lemongrass (or 1 whole stalk of lemon grass if you have it)

1. Combine turtle, celery, carrot, quartered onion, water and lemongrass in a stock pot. Bring to a simmer (but never let it boil), cover and cook for 1.5 hours, or until turtle meat is tender and can be pulled away from the bone. Best to check after 1 hour-- you don't want your meat to overcook and get mushy. 

(We keep minced lemongrass handy in the freezer.)
2. Once tender, remove turtle pieces from the pot, and then remove the meat from the bones. Set meat aside and discard bones. 

Turtle bones are pretty weird...

3. Run stock through a fine strainer, or a strainer with cheesecloth. Discard spent vegetables. Set stock aside

4. Next, add potatoes into a pot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Parboil potatoes until just tender, but not cooked all the way. Drain and set aside. 
5. In a wok, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
6. Lower the heat to medium, then scoop out the top thicker and creamy layer of coconut milk from the can and add it to the wok. 

It will look solid white, almost like lard, while the bottom layer is a more coconut juice-like liquid. 
Allow the coconut to liquify and bubble for a couple minutes, then add the yellow curry. Stir well to combine. 

We used these two brands for coconut milk and curry paste. We got the coconut milk from Walmart and the curry past from a Vietnamese market for under 2 bucks. Mae Ploy is a fairly popular brand-- you should be able to find it at your local Asian grocery store. It's also available on Amazon. 
7. Next, add the rest of the coconut milk, turtle meat, potatoes, bay leaves and enough turtle stock to cover all the ingredients. Stir well and bring to a boil. Then simmer for 30 minutes until desired consistency-- add more stock if needed. 

Keep the extra stock on hand in case if you need to loosen up the curry again when reheating leftovers. 
8. Add zest, fish sauce and sugar, to taste.

Remove bay leaves before serving. Ladle soup into individual bowls, sprinkle cilantro on top and serve with  jasmine rice or crusty bread. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Crawfish Burrito with Salsa Verde

If you like seafood, you know that lobster can be expensive and in some parts, hard to get. However, if you live near water where crawfish roam, lobster's little cousin, then you are in luck! Crayfish can live in all sorts of freshwater habitats, and over 300 species live in the United State alone. Your best bet is to talk to locals and even fishermen who may have come by these "mudbugs."

Like lobsters, we battered and deep fried crawfish tails to a crisp and added them to Mexican beans, rice and fresh herbs wrapped in a warm tortilla. This is a simple dish that brings back memories of warm sunkissed afternoons sitting under a palapa on the white beaches of La Paz, Baja California, Mexico. With a burrito in one hand and ice cold beer in the other, the imagery is something Kenny Chesney would sing about!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 10 minutes
- about 24 crawfish tails, cooked and peeled
- vegetable oil for frying
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1 Serrano pepper, sliced
- salsa verde for serving (store bought or homemade)
- Mexican rice (recipe here)
- Mexican re-fried beans (canned or homemade)
- 1/4 cup of cilantro, chopped
- 4 large flour tortillas 
Crawfish Batter
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 1 small egg
- 1/2 cup of Mexican beer
- cayenne pepper, to taste

1. Heat oil to 375ºF. Add the chopped Serrano and 1 chopped scallion to the oil. Once the chile and scallion turn fragrant and begin to brown, scoop them out and discard. 
2. To make the batter while waiting for oil to heat up, combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper in a medium size bowl. Then whisk together beer and egg in a small bowl, and pour it into the dry ingredients. Mix until incorporated.

Once ready to fry, drop in the crawfish tails and coat. 
3. Fry crawfish tails on both sides until golden and crispy. Cook in batches to avoid overcrowding and for more even frying. 
Drain on paper towels...

4. Heat up refried beans, Mexican rice and flour tortillas. Flour tortillas can be quickly warmed in the microwave. 
For our Mexican rice recipe, click here:
Buy canned Mexican re-fried beans or make your own here:

Find our salsa verde recipe towards the end of this post:
5. Working quickly while ingredients are still hot, spread on some beans, rice, salsa verde and fried crawfish pieces onto the tortillas. Sprinkle in some chopped cilantro and green onions. 
Fold the sides over and then roll up the burrito. Do not overstuff because burrito may not roll correctly.
6. Serve immediately to keep crawfish from getting soggy. Allow each person more salsa verde on the side. Serve with leftover beans and rice. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Win a FoodSaver® GameSaver® Titanium Vacuum Sealer!


Hello Food for Hunter-ers! We are giving away a FoodSaver® GameSaver® Titanium Vacuum Sealer package at the end of this month!* If you have been following us on Facebook, you are probably already aware of this giveaway, but here's another reminder! The winner will receive 1-GameSaver Titanium G800, 1-11x10 heat seal roll, 1-15x10 roll, 3-Gallon Dam Bags, 1 pack of Heavy Duty 11x12 (2 rolls), 1 pack of 15x20 (2 rolls), 1 pack of 11x18 (2 rolls), 2-11x16 rolls, 1-square marinator and 1 Better Venison Cookbook by Scott Leysath. This prize package is worth $450! For product specs, please visit

To enter, you must have our Food for Hunters Facebook page "Liked." Then simply "Like" the post regarding this giveaway pinned at the top of our Timeline and then Share it. All entries must be received by November 1, 2014 at 12:00 A.M. One (1) winner will be chosen randomly. If the winner cannot be contacted, we will choose an alternate winner. 

Our Facebook page address is:

If you don't have a vacuum sealer or have been wanting to get one, this is your chance! We have used FoodSaver since the beginning, and we cannot live without it. If you're a big game hunter, a vacuum sealer is a necessity. There is no way that you can keep your meat as fresh as the day you butchered it a year, 2 years or even 3 years later in the freezer without having it properly vacuum packaged. We probably wouldn't hunt as much as we do without one of these babies-- there is no bigger disappointment than freezer burned wild game and fish. We use our vacuum sealer for everything, deer, turkey, rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, quail, dove, waterfowl, fish, wild pig, crawfish-- everything. It works great and is one of our favorite tools in the kitchen.  

We've had several models over the years, our latest was the Silver. The Titanium is the best one yet, and is a whole step above compared to other models. Other vacuum sealers did a great job, but they could not handle high-volume packaging. It was annoying to have to stop every few packages to allow the sealer to cool down. You can imagine how impatient we get trying to package a whole deer and it's getting late at night. The GameSaver Titanium, the model that we will be giving away here, is designed with the big game hunter in mind. We love that it allows for 100 continuous seals and that it can do double seals. We double seal all our wild game for extra assurance, especially when we know we won't get to it soon. With two seal strips, this saves us the extra step of having to seal the package again.  

This is a great product. It is heavy duty and will give you many years of service. Hope you all get the chance to enter and good luck!

* This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. By participating, you hereby release and hold harmless Facebook from any and all liability associated with this promotion.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Crawfish Bisque

Who knew, but Nebraska does have crawfish in little pockets of the state. When the canals are drained in the fall, those looking to catch them can walk into the lowered water to scoop them out with nets. We went for the first time a few days ago and was able to bring home half a cooler of these "mudbugs." If you've never eaten crawfish before, they are like little morsels of lobster. They are tasty and fun to eat, perfect for a traditional Louisiana-style crawfish boil, to make bisque or whatever you want. We've only ever had crawfish out of the Gulf states in restaurants. To our delight, Nebraska crawfish are every bit as good! 

Depending on where you live, your method of catching crawfish will be different. The most well-known way to catch crawfish is by using traps. But make sure you check your traps every day, especially if they are fully submerged in the water. Dead crawfish are no good for eating. To keep them alive on the way home, we poured a little bit of water into the cooler and kept the lid open to allow the crawfish to breathe. Do not fully submerge crayfish in water-- they will drown. 

When you bring them home, simply rinse them in water to get any dirt, mud and sand off of them. We do not "purge" the crawfish in salted water. Studies show that this does not make a difference, and you will have to go back to devein the crawfish anyway. Not only that, the salt will kill the crawfish-- this is especially important if you do not plan to cook them right away. Because it was getting late, we only cooked about half of the crawfish by putting them in boiling water for 7 minutes (in batches). We peeled the tails and kept the shells to make stock for later recipes, like this one. We left the other half alive and divided them between two coolers to give them more room and to reduce their stress. There was a little bit of water in the coolers to keep them from drying out. We kept the lids open and left them outside on our patio-- the weather was in the 40s to 50s during the night. We woke up the next morning and every single one of them stayed alive! Whew. We were worried.

Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes
- 1 pound of cooked crawfish tail meat, peeled and deveined 
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
- 1 cup of carrot, chopped
- 1 cup of celery, chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 5 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 5 tablespoons of flour
- 6 cups of crawfish stock or seafood stock (see recipe below)
- 1/2 cup of cream sherry
- 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- cayenne pepper, to taste
- kosher salt, to taste
- 3/4 cup of heavy cream
- chopped parsley or chives for garnish
- cracked pepper
Crawfish Stock
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 4 ribs of celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- half an onion, quartered
- 1 quart of crawfish shells (tails and claws)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 quarts of water
- 1 teaspoon of crushed juniper berries (or whole peppercorns)
- 4 fronds of fennel

1. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, a pinch of salt and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onions are cooked and translucent. Add tomato paste and sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes, being careful not to burn the paste.Then sprinkle the mixture with flour, stir and sauté for 1 minute.
2. Add the crawfish stock, cream sherry, paprika, thyme and cayenne. Cook for 30 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to keep the bottom from burning. 

3. After 30 minutes, or until veggies have softened, discard the thyme. Then transfer mixture into a blender and pulse until smooth. Do this in batches to avoid splatter.

Return blended soup into the pot and season with salt to taste. 

If you find that the soup is too thick, add more stock to thin out the soup. If you have no more crawfish stock, chicken stock is okay. 
4. Next, stir in heavy cream. Use our measurements or stir in as much as you would like. 

Check seasonings again.
5. Keep the crawfish tails whole or give them a rough chop. Ladle soup into bowls, then sprinkle the top with crawfish, parsley and cracked pepper.  

If desired, sauté the crawfish in melted butter to warm them up. 

How to Make Crawfish Stock

1. To make crawfish stock, heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a stock pot. Add celery, carrot, onion, a pinch of salt and sauté for 5 minutes, or until onion turns translucent. Then add crawfish shells and sauté for another 2 minutes. 
2. Add water into the pot, as well as fennel, bay leaves and juniper berries. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Then take it off the heat and allow broth to steep for 10 minutes.

Finally, strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer. Cool and refrigerate stock if you don't plan to use it right away.

This recipe was made with:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Product Review: Mr. Grill Cleaning Brush

Mr. Grill, a company that sells high-quality grill accessories, sent us their 18" Grill Cleaning Brush to review. According to the product website, the brush features: 

- 18" long solid oak handle to clean all corners of the grill while hot without burning your hands
- High quality, long lasting brass bristles that will not scratch your grill over time
- Unique T-brush design allows you to get in all nooks and crannies 

After using the Mr. Grill brush, we have concluded that we really like it! You can get one on Amazon for just $8 bucks right now, and it is worth every penny. The cleaning brush is solidly built, and follows through on its promises. The handle is sturdy and was long enough to keep the hair on Rick's knuckles from burning off over the fire. The brass bristles did not mark our grill at all, and did a good job at scrubbing the areas between the grates. It quickly and easily removed all the leftover bits of food that got cooked onto our grill. Just pass the brushes over the grates a few times and call it good. The whole thing is easy to handle.

To find it online, click here:

The brush cleaned our grill nicely, which we later made dove poppers on. Mmmmm ... Dove poppers. You can find the recipe here, the same recipe we used for these duck poppers-- no brining required for doves.

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