Thanksgiving and Tradition


The week of Thanksgiving in the Deerslayer household brings forth favorite recipes, some on yellowed splattered paper from years of use. Another is scrawled on the back of a discount coupon from the year that SeaWorld opened in San Antonio.  A couple are from old newspapers.  I enjoy seeing the articles and headlines from way back when.

Of course, we’re having a turkey.   I plan to use Ree Drummond’s recipe for whiskey maple brine for the first time. I’ll take a vote before I commit, however. I’m almost as excited about the stock that I will make after the holidays, though!

stock 003

We’ll also have Cornbread Dressing with Pecans and Apricots.  It will allow me to use some of my Maple Wild Pork Breakfast Sausage.

dressing 003

Cauliflower with cheese sauce and Junior Deerslayer’s broccoli/rice casserole will also be on the menu.  She will add some garlic mashed potatoes, too.

christmas 2013, apricot cake, pan-fried heart 085

The Garlic Mashed Potatoes will be made using my great-grandmother’s potato masher.  A little more tradition.

The whole family agreed that there will be chicken hearts thrown into the turkey pan.  Some will be chopped and added to the turkey gravy.  The rest will be nibbled while the turkey cools.

The meal will conclude with Deerslayer’s favorite Cranberry Dessert and  I’m hoping to try Ree Drummond’s  Gingersnap and Pumpkin Cheesecake with caramel sauce. I’ll let you know how it turns out.


It will be a wonderful day of foods that remind of our many blessings:

Family, freedoms, full freezers, friends



Posted by on November 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


Spicy Marinara Venison Burgers


The other day, a wine-induced conversation ensued in the Deerslayer household regarding the best of all culinary goodness . Is pasta better than pizza?  Is seared venison tenderloin superior to chicken-fried venison steak? In our family, I have to admit that pasta, cheese, bread, and garlic topped the list since junior deerslayers were voting as well (only one is old enough to partake in the wine, however). Of course, because we are a deerslayer household, wild game made it into the top 10.

One of the daughters makes a killer spicy marinara that is a favorite addition to pasta and wild game alike. With that in mind, a little brainstorming resulted in the following recipe. Beautifully seasoned venison, sliced mozzarella, fabulously flavorful marinara, crusty ciabatta, and peppery arugula came together to create the perfect combination of flavors, the consummate burger.

Spicy Marinara Venison Burgers

(1 lb. of ground meat makes about 3 burgers)

The Sauce

Balsamic glaze is a good way to add intense flavor without adding too much liquid. Balsamic vinegar can be used but you might need to simmer for a few extra minutes.

2-3 tbsp. olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. white pepper

1 tsp. dried oregano

1  28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

¼ red wine

a blop of balsamic glaze (about a tbsp) (I used balsamic glaze because that’s what I had.  Balsamic vinegar will be fine, too)

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

In a high-sided cast iron skillet, saute′ finely chopped onion in olive oil for a couple of minutes.  Add cayenne, white pepper, and oregano.  Stir around to let the olive oil work its magic on the spices.  Add garlic and continue to stir for about a minute.  Don’t let the garlic brown.

Add tomatoes, wine, balsamic glaze or vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.  Simmer while you assemble the burgers.

The Burger


1 lb. ground venison (or elk, nilgai, or wild pork)

2 tbsp. chopped garlic

1 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. fresh ground pepper

1 egg

1 tsp.dried oregano, crushed in your palms

fresh mozzarella, sliced, brought to room temperature


Combine all ingredients expect mozzarella in a bowl.

Each burger will require two very thin patties of the same size. Place mozzarella on one patty. Leave room around the edge to seal shut.

Making the meat patties on plastic wrap allows me to shape and move them around easily.

Place one meat patty atop the other.

Press around the edges to seal the mozzarella inside.

The cooking method you use to prepare the meat is up to you. The burgers can be grilled or cooked in a hot skillet or griddle.  Because the meat is so lean, be sure to use a little oil to prevent the patties from sticking to the cooking surface.  I used a hot cast iron skillet, being sure to allow meat to sear, then lowering the heat enough to make sure that they heat through and melt the cheese.

Assembling the Burgers

Ciabatta Rolls

Olive oil

Cooked Meat Patties

Spicy Marinara


Thinly sliced red onion (optional)

Drizzle olive oil on split ciabatta rolls. Toast under the broiler or on the grill for a few minutes.

Assemble burgers on a bed of arugula placed atop the toasted ciabatta. Liberally spread spicy marinara over the meat. top with thinly sliced onion, if desired.


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A Modest “Thank You”

Dear Veterans,

I see you at the store, at the gas station, all around town.  I should tell you every time I see you.  But I don’t.

Thank you for protecting my family, my freedom to worship as I choose and speak freely and bear arms.  Thank you for making this the best country on earth.

Most sincerely,

The Deerslayer’s WifeUsflag clip art

1 Comment

Posted by on November 11, 2015 in Uncategorized


Venison (or Wild Pork, Nilgai, or Elk) Stroganoff


It occurs to me as I examine this photo that a sprinkling of chopped parsley might have enhanced the appearance somewhat.

Yesterday was the first day of deer season, and yet, here in South Texas, we’re still having days with temperatures that reach into the 90’s,  It’s comforting to know that I can open the freezer, grab some cooked venison, and go from there to prepare any number of tasty dishes for my family with little effort and not much strain on the a/c.  This is another great recipe that uses “Cook-All-Day” meat.  In this particular case, I used a combination of wild pork and venison which was conveniently packaged up in a 1½ lb, carefully labeled and dated freezer bag, cooked and ready to reheat.

During cooler weather, I planned ahead by cooking up 10-15 pounds of sinewy bits of neck meat, shanks and rib meat in my turkey roaster.  With a little bit of added stock, liberal amounts of salt, pepper, and garlic, and some added fat (pork in this case) I cooked it up for several hours in a 300° oven. The result was delicious, fall-apart bits of meat that would otherwise have been discarded by deerslayers who don’t know any better.

Venison (or Wild Pork, Nilgai, or Elk) Stroganoff


2-3 tbsp. butter

½ medium onion, chopped

24 oz. sliced crimini mushrooms

2 large cloves of garlic

a little red wine (plus extra for drinking)

a liberal splash of Worcestershire sauce

½ cup full fat plain Greek yogurt

1 ½ lbs. cooked venison (or pork, elk, or nilgai)

salt, to taste

a few gratings of fresh nutmeg

In a cast iron skillet, melt butter and saute onions.


Add mushrooms.  Allow to render out liquid. Pour in a glug of wine. (Maybe ¼ cup) and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.


In a small bowl, combine yogurt with a little stock or cooking juices.  Whisk together. DSC_0231

fold into mushroom mixture. This will allow the yogurt to blend more easily into the onion and mushroom mixture. Stir gently until combined.

Add chopped meat.


Heat through.  Serve over noodles. Serve with green beans w/ sauteed onions and bacon and a splash of balsamic vinegar.


A decent meal.


Posted by on November 8, 2015 in Uncategorized


Pheasant (or Duck or Chicken) Enchiladas with Tomatillo Sauce

DSC_0212It’s right before deer season and, for many hunters, it’s the time when we start running out of our coveted wild game. It’s a scary feeling when we have to head to the grocer for meat.  Luckily, in this household, we’re not to that point this year. Wild pigs, venison, and nilgai were plentiful.  However, Deerslayer has an all-time favorite dish that I often prepare with pheasant.  None to be found in the freezer this year, though. Luckily, chicken or duck can very easily be substituted for the pheasant in this versatile dish that’s perfect for leftover fowl, either baked, boiled, or roasted.
This is a recipe that I have continued to tweak over the years.  Deerslayer has always enjoyed “enchiladas verdes” (enchiladas with green sauce} so I’ve worked on this recipe until it was just right. The variations are many.  While different salsas can be used, some with a chile base, this one was made with a base of tomatillos, a type of green husk tomato from the nightshade family, originally from Mexico.  The fruit has a tart flavor that makes a nice accompaniment to the mild taste of the pheasant/duck/chicken. I hope you enjoy it as much as Deerslayer does.

Pheasant (Duck or Chicken) Enchiladas Verdes



About 8 cooked, chopped chicken thighs, boneless, skinless (It has to be dark meat.  It just tastes better. You can cook it with the skin on and eat the skin, if you like. You won’t need the skin for the recipe.)

Liberal amount of Tommy’s Salt & Pepper mix

One onion, thinly sliced

cooking oil, a splash

½ a bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped

2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided

about a dozen corn tortillas (Stale ones work better than fresh.  They don’t fall apart in the hot oil)

enough corn oil to fill the bottom of a deep cast iron skillet by about ¼ inch

Herdez (or comparable) Tomatillo or green chile sauce

The chilaquiles that we had in San Miguel were made with a green salsa, tomatillo, to be exact. The dish can also be made with salsa roja (red sauce).


Preheat oven to 350°.


Saute′ onion in a skillet. When it becomes browned, add chopped pheasant (or duck or chicken) to the skillet. Add salt & pepper mix to taste.

Allow to cool slightly.  Stir in ½ the cheese and the cilantro

Allow to cool slightly. Stir in ½ the cheese and the cilantro….

...until it looks like this.

…until it looks like this.

Meanwhile, heat about 1/4 inch of oil in a small skillet until the oil begins to shimmer. Carefully place a tortilla in the oil with some tongs for just a few seconds until the tortilla becomes limp and begs to be removed.


I usually heat all of my tortillas at once. This gives them a chance to cool enough to be handled.


Add a decent amount of the meat mixture along the center of a softened tortilla.


Roll the mixture up in the tortilla and place the enchilada, seam side down, in an oven-safe baking dish.



Cover enchiladas with tomatillo sauce and remaining shredded cheese. Try to completely cover the tortillas so that they don't become too crispy in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes until the sauce bubbles and cheese melts.

Cover enchiladas with tomatillo sauce and remaining shredded cheese. Try to completely cover the tortillas so that they don’t become too crispy in the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes until the sauce bubbles and cheese melts.



Garnish with sour cream or Greek yogurt and some cilantro. Serve with cilantro lime rice and guacamole.


Posted by on October 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


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Whitewing Season and Chocolate Cake

DSC_0134You may be wondering what whitewing season has to do with chocolate cake.  If you bear with me for a few minutes, not only will the connection become clear, but you’ll end up with a fabulous chocolate cake recipe as well.

Preparations had begun for the first big whitewing dove hunt of the season. Members of the Deerslayer (hopefully whitewing slayer) Clan would soon be converging on the southernmost part of Texas where the hunt would take place. All the accouterments necessary for the big weekend began to pile up in the front hallway; Yeti coolers, folding chairs, shotguns, gun cases, boxes of shells, shooting vests, all varieties of khaki and camo attire, boots and muck boots, plenty of thirst-quenching beverages, shears.  The pile grew and grew.  I could no longer get to the laundry room.

As the pile began to encroach on the surrounding environs, the Deerslayer’s wife developed an ever-so-slight twitch. The twitch was accompanied by a bout of crankiness. Don’t get me wrong, my mantra is “Go with the flow, embrace the moment.”  However, I also like a tidy house.  I’m guessing that the extensive paraphernalia that is part and parcel with the hunting way of life might be one aspect that makes a deerslayer’s wife wince. However, it’s important to remember that the planning and preparation are part of the thrill of it all. It was time for me to step back, take a deep breath, regroup…. and bake a nice chocolate cake for the hunters to take with them. A small, thoughtful gesture like that can bring a tear of gratitude to any hunter’s eye.  And it provided me with a creative outlet on which to refocus my energies.


I discovered a great recipe on the King Arthur Flour website a few weeks ago when I was scouring the internet for a chocolate birthday cake for one of the Junior Deerslayers. Cake Pan Cake was just what I was looking for.  While I love to cook all sorts of wild game, baking has never been my forte.  This recipe is just what I needed; rich, moist, chocolaty, and EASY!  This fabulous cake was well received  It even has a backstory; hearkening back to WWII and the days of rationing.  The original recipe has no dairy or eggs and is supposed to be mixed together in the baking pan. Check out the website for the original recipe and its history.

I adapted the original recipe a bit and the results were delicious.


My dry ingredients. Black cocoa powder and espresso powder were ordered from King Arthur website.


My liquid ingredients. I used half & half in place of water. The bottle on the far right is vanilla and not beer!

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar, cider or white
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup cold half & half

Everything is better with a layer of raspberry jam. The prepared frosting worked perfectly well. And almonds (or pecans or whatever)…..

  • 1 jar of raspberry jam (between the layers)
  • dark chocolate prepared frosting
  • sliced toasted almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I used two 9″ round pans and sprayed them with baking spray with flour.


Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir around with a fork until mixed.


In a two cup measure, combine all liquid ingredients. Pour into dry ingredients and stir until well mixed.


Divide mixture equally into two round pans. It will barely cover the bottom of the pans.


Bake for approximately 20 minutes (less than the time listed on the original recipe since I divided the batter into two pans).


Check for doneness around 20 minutes.  All ovens differ.  Remove pans from oven and cool on a rack.When cool, smear as much raspberry jam as your heart desires atop one of the layers. Place the top layer where it goes (on top). Frost the cake, lick the spatula. Sprinkle with slivered almonds. Eat some. Sneak some more frosting. Enjoy.


This post is dedicated to my favorite chocoholic fiends: Junior Deerslayer and Kelly!


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Chilaquiles with Whitewing Breast

DSC_0118Deerslayer and I had the opportunity to travel to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico in June.The son of our dear friends was getting married and we headed down to attend the wedding   The small town was beautiful. Cobblestone streets, breathtaking cathedrals, wonderful traditions, fabulous food, great shopping.  We spent five days and would like to go back again.

There were many terrific restaurants, some with traditional foods, some with cutting edge cuisine.  While I loved both, one of the traditional breakfast dishes really stood out in my mind…so much so that we went to the same restaurant twice and ordered it both times.  Deerslayer and I had chilaquiles, originally a breakfast for the working classes, a way to use day-old corn tortillas, softened with salsa, flavored with leftovers, usually chicken, some cheese, some crema fresca.  A poached egg was added atop the recipe we had.

The great thing about this recipe is that, to the basic corn tortillas and red or green salsa, the extra additions are as limitless as your imagination.  Cheeses, onions, cilantro, varieties of meats, eggs (fried, poached, scrambled) and avocado are just a few examples. To bring a wild game aspect to the recipe, I substituted some leftover whitewing breasts,for the chicken, to create a special occasion breakfast.




Don’t freak out! You do, in fact, see venison tenderloIn rather than whitewing breast, in this photo. I actually prepared the whole thing twice, once with venison (recipe soon) and once with whitewing, since it’s almost whitewing season in this neck o’the woods.The second time I whipped up the recipe, I used leftover whitewing breast, already cooked up from a meal the previous evening.


2 corn tortillas per person

corn oil, enough to cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet by about ½ an inch

a little olive oil

1 ½ jars (24 oz.) of green salsa of choice, from a jar (We like tomatillo but hatch chile or other variety would work fine.)

Leftover, cooked whitewing breasts, three or four per person


1 egg per person, poached with a little white vinegar for flavor and to set the egg whites

crumblled, white Mexican panela cheese to sprinkle


crema fresca to drizzle

cilantro and avocado for garnish

In a cast iron skillet, add about a half inch of corn oil and bring to medium high heat. Add quartered corn tortillas, one at a time, and fry until just brown around the edges and slightly crispy.


Nicely browned and crispy.


Drain chips.

The chilaquiles that we had in San Miguel were made with a green salsa, tomatillo, to be exact. The dish can also be made with salsa roja (red sauce).

The chilaquiles that we had in San Miguel were made with a green salsa, tomatillo, to be exact. The dish can also be made with salsa roja (red sauce).

Hatch chiles also would work beautifully.

Hatch chiles also would work beautifully.

Heat enough salsa to cover your tortillas. For four servings, I used about a jar and a half or 24 oz

Poach your eggs.  Set aside on a plate once they are cooked the way you like them.  You don’t want them overcooked.

Arrange a pile of chips on each plate.

Pour salsa over the chips.

Crumble cheese and drizzle crema over chips and salsa.


Arrange whitewing breasts and poached egg atop the pile.

Add cilantro and avocado for fun.


The assembly of the dish was rather complicated since I was making four servings.  The second time I prepared it, after frying the chips and poaching the eggs, I set out the chips, heated salsa, crumbled panela cheese, whitewing breasts, poached eggs, crema fresca, avocado, and cilantro. Everyone built their his/her own plate, adding as much or as little of the ingredients as they desired. This method was much easier for serving several people.

If you are serving this fabulous dish to first-timers (people who have never had chilaquiles before) just take the bull by the horns and show everyone how it’s done.  They’ll get the hang of it.

1 Comment

Posted by on September 5, 2015 in Game Birds, Hunting, Recipes, whitewing doves


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