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On Being a Fan Girl…. Meeting Hank Shaw

Rarely do I come across someone who shares my passion for cooking wild game.  There are those who love a chicken-fried venison steak or dove breast with a slice of jalapeno wrapped in bacon.  But when the conversation turns to processing your own animal or using every possible bit of meat, the followers really seem to fall away.

In my neverending quest for knowledge of all things gamey, I came across Hank Shaw and his wonderful website, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook.  It contains a wealth of information on hunting, fishing, foraging, and recipes, recipes, recipes.  If you want information on wild mushrooms, venison “wobbly bits”, or charcuterie of any kind, Hank has probably written about it.

Hank Shaw has recently released his latest cookbook, Buck Buck Moose, which he put out himself with the help of Kickstarter.  I was so excited to hear that he had come out with a volume dedicated specifically to “antlered things” that I pre-ordered five autographed copies, four to give as gifts and one to keep for myself.  I actually thought about keeping two for myself just in case something happened to one like there was a fire or someone broke into my house or there was a zombie apocalypse or something.wp-image-982332204jpg.jpg

I was not disappointed.  The book is a feast for the eyes and the intellect. The photos are gorgeous. The quality of the hardcover volume is top notch.  And then there’s the meat of the book (heh, heh)…. it should have a place of honor on the shelf of every deer slayer, moose slayer,  elk slayer, and slayers of all antlered things.  Hank goes through the entire experience, from describing in-depth how to field dress a deer to processing and packaging the meat and finally providing an array of recipes from around the world.

When I found out Hank Shaw was coming to San Antonio, TX  for a book-signing event at the Hotel Emma (which used to be the Pearl Brewery), saying that I was excited would be an understatement.  I’m embarrassed to say that I felt a little like a fan girl.

I made a reservation to attend the dinner and stay at the hotel, drove the 4 hours from the Rio Grande Valley with cookbook in hand, and arrived in time to look around the exquisitely appointed hotel and have my complimentary margarita.

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The evening began with with drinks and wild game appetizers with Mr. Shaw.

He was very easy to talk to, so genuine and appreciative of his fans even though he’d already followed a grueling schedule on his book-signing tour.

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“To Mrs. Deerslayer, 100,000 thank-yous for supporting this  book on KickStarter.  Without you, this would never have happened. Keep doing what you do and I’ll do the same!”       Hank Shaw

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It was wonderful to rub elbows with someone who not only shares my interests but has taken them to the next level. He has made it a passion and a way of life.  He’s like a superhero….. and I’m like a fangirl.

Thank you, Deerslayer, for encouraging me to take this trip just for the fun of it. I loved every minute.  I love you, too. Happy Anniversary!

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Rubbish Muffins

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Well, friends, that lull that occurs between dove season and deer season down here in South Texas has come and gone.  Before things got too hectic, before my house was once again piled with coolers and camo, while I  still had some control over my household,  I thought it was only appropriate that I should make muffins.

Muffins are soothing. They make the house smell yummy.  And, as some of you who have been following my ramblings for a while are already aware,  muffins allow me to use up my stash of cereal crumbs that I collect. These crumbs are just rubbish to most people, the stuff that is left over and thrown away.  For some reason, there seems to be a pretty high percentage of crumbs in every box of cereal.  In my mind, while I’m not willing to make my family pour up a bowl of crumbs and choke them down with milk,  it seems just plain wasteful to throw away perfectly usable breakfast stuff.  So I came up with a couple of recipes like Cranberry Rubbish Muffins and Apricot Brandy Rubbish Muffins that incorporated the crumbs.

I was in the mood for a really chocolatey version of my dear rubbish muffins.  Since one of the Junior Deerslayers is a real Chocolate connoisseur, I had in my larder some black cocoa from King Arthur Flour’s online store.  It adds a very intense unsweetened dark chocolate flavor and color and can be added sparingly to substitute for a small amount of regular Dutch processed cocoa powder in recipes. Black Cocoa - 12 oz.

I went a step further to send these muffins over the top with deep dark chocolatey notes by adding a tablespoon of espresso powder (also from King Arthur Flour’s website).  It really deepens the intensity of the almost bitter dark chocolate flavor in recipes.

The family was pleased with the results and I used up my cereal crumbs.

Make these muffins, send them with your hunters and express your love in the best possible way… before the house is full of coolers and camo!

Espresso Powder - 3...

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Rubbish Muffins

Makes one dozen

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder*
  • 1 tbs. dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs. espresso powder*
  • 1 cup grated zucchini
  • 3/4 cup AP flour
  • 3/4 cup cereal crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or 1/2 tsp. each;  ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom)

* or use 1/3 cup cocoa powder instead of combination of  1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1 tbs. dark cocoa powder, and 1 tbs. espresso powder

Preheat oven to 350°.     Lightly grease 12 cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light in color.  Whisk in brown sugar and oil.  Add the cocoa powders, espresso powder,  and vanilla. Stir in cereal crumbs.

In a second smaller bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spices.

Add dry ingredients to egg mixture a little at a time. Fold in zucchini.

Pour batter into prepared muffin tins, 2/3 full.  Bake at 350° for 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove to a wire rack.

For a extra burst of chocolate, drizzle each muffin with prepared chocolate frosting, microwaved for a few seconds until pourable.

 

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2016 in Recipes, Sweet Things, Uncategorized

 

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Oops!

Please disregard (temporarily) the much anticipated muffin recipe that I inadvertantly posted prematurely. It is suspected that the Russians and Wikileaks have leaked the information. Sorry for that.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Dove Breast Crostini

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I take pride in having more whitewing recipes than the average Doveslayer’s wife.  Every dove hunter loves dove breast with a slice of jalapeño and wrapped in bacon and tossed on the grill.  It’s the pretty much the gold standard.  Everybody loves it. When I talk to people about dove recipes, many of them will look around sneakily and almost whisper,”Have you ever tried slipping a jalapeno in the breast, wrapping it with bacon, and grilling it?”

“Yep, I’ve tried it. Yes, it’s a great way to eat doves.  But there just have to be more ways to enjoy these tasty morsels,”I would say to myself.  That’s why I started experimenting with whitewing recipes.

We end up with lots of doves in our freezer every year.  When Deerslayer/Doveslayer goes out for a hunt, he usually comes home with doves that other hunters have given him, probably because most people only have one “go-to” recipe.  I needed more recipes.  So I started with Special Occasion Whitewing Doves with Gravy, which I received from the matriarch of the Deerslayer Clan,  Roasted Corn and Poblano Chowder with Whitewing Breast,and  Chilaquiles Verdes with Dove Breast, both are variations of recipes we’ve enjoyed from favorite restaurants, and  Dove Ravioli in Browned Butter, a concoction of my own design.

As I worked on the ravioli recipe, my daughters were my taste-testers… to the point that I almost ran out of filling for the ravioli!  It was suggested that the ravioli filling would make a fantastic appetizer on crackers or toast… so I tried it.  Huge hit! Try it and let me know how you like it.  There are few recipes out there for dove appetizers.  I think you’ll like this one.

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  • a big splash of olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves,coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper (optional)
  •  dove breasts (from 10 doves)
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • ¼ to ½ cup dry white wine ( a glug)
  • ½ cup parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
  • small toasts or crackers
  • chopped parsley for sprinkling

In a hot skillet, sauté onion in olive oil until almost caramelized. Reduce heat.

poblano soup, tomato cream sauce, bruni 008

Add in garlic,  dove breasts, chopped red bell pepper (or not), dried thyme, red pepper flakes, and a ¼ cup of white wine. You may need to add some more  wine during the food processing to get a good, spreadable consistency.

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20 breast fillets from 10 doves

 

Toss about until combined and dove breasts are cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.

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The dove breasts are not quite done yet.

You can cut into the dove breast to test for doneness. Remove from heat.

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The breasts are done!

Allow the ingredients to cool before you add the parmesan or it will melt and create a large glob.  You don’t want that.

Transfer mixture to your food processor, in batches if you have a food processorette like I do, and process until everything is finely chopped and holds together. This is when you can add more white wine if the mixture is too dry to be spreadable.

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Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  Serve at room temperature with small toasts.

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Dove Ravioli in Browned Butter

dsc_0230Well, friends, I’ve really dropped the ball this time.  The opening of whitewing season has come and gone in South Texas and I didn’t post any acknowledgement whatsoever. Not a recipe, a “let’s get ready”, or a “good luck hunters”. Sometimes things get kinda hectic and life just gets ahead of you.  Sometimes it turns around and laughs while you try to catch up.

I can only hope that you checked out some of my previous posts; A Thing or Two About Game Birds, It’s Here! Whitewing Season!, Roasted Corn and Poblano Soup with Whitewing Dove Breast, and Chilaquiles with Whitewing Breast.

The funny thing is that  Deerslayer went on a dove-hunting trip in Argentina a while ago and brought back a recipe that he was served one evening after the hunt.  He liked it enough to ask the chef for the recipe so that I could prepare it for him at home.  Here it is.

Dove Ravioli

makes about 25 ravioli

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    • a big splash of olive oil
    • ½ medium onion, coarsely chopped
    • 4 garlic cloves,coarsely chopped
    • ¼ cup chopped red bell pepper (optional)
    •  dove breasts (from 10 doves)
    • 1 tsp. dried thyme
    • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
    • ¼ to ½ cup dry white wine ( a glug)
    • ½ cup parmesan, plus more for sprinkling
    • a package wonton wrappers, usually found in the produce section
    • 1 egg, beaten
    •  some pine nuts
    • Italian parsley, chopped

In a hot skillet, sauté onion in olive oil until almost caramelized. Reduce heat.

poblano soup, tomato cream sauce, bruni 008

Add in garlic, red bell pepper (optional), dove breasts, dried thyme, red pepper flakes, and a ¼ cup of white wine. You may need to add some more  wine during the food processing to get the correct consistency.

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20 breast filets from 10 doves

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Toss about until combined and dove breasts are cooked through, about 7-10 minutes.

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The dove breasts are not quite done yet.

You can cut into the dove breast to test for doneness. Remove from heat.

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The breasts are done!

Allow the ingredients to cool before you add the parmesan or it will melt and create a large glob.  You don’t want that.

Transfer mixture to your food processor, in batches if you have a food processorette like I do, and process until everything is finely chopped and holds together. This is when you can add more white wine if the mixture is too dry to hold together.

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Next, separate and lay out the wonton wrappers.

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Wonton wrappers are pre-rolled, pre-cut sheets of pasta used for, you guessed it, wontons.  All the work has been done for you.  They make this recipe so much more feasible for the busy hunter and family. Wonton wrappers are readily available in most grocers in the produce section.

Place about 2 tsp. of the dove mixture into the center of each pasta square.

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Paint a scant amount of the beaten egg around each ravioli to “glue” the two pasta squares together.  Carefully press the squares together, being careful to press as much air as possible out of the center.

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Bring about a gallon of water to a rapid boil in a large pot.  Add some salt and a glug of olive oil.

Add the ravioli, a few at a time to the pot.  They will sink at first, then will rise to the top. This will only take a minute or two.

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You may remove them to a plate with a slotted spoon or a spider, like the one pictured.

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In a separate pan over medium heat place the butter until it just starts to brown.

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Toss in a few ravioli until coated and slightly browned around the edges. Remove to a plate. Drizzle browned butter over the plate of ravioli.  Sprinkle with chopped Italian parsley, remaining parmesan, and pine nuts.

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Flan, Heaven on a Plate!

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This is one of my favorite desserts of all time.  It is the perfect ending to a delicious meal of Venison/Nilgai/Wild Pork Enchiladas with Creamy Poblano Sauce.  And Pheasant Enchiladas with tomatillo sauce. And Faux Venison Barbacoa.  You get the idea.  Flan is perfect.  Texture, creamy. Simple in preparation and perfectly simple in flavor.

The point I’m trying to make is that Flan is perfect….. and simple.

I got this recipe from a dear family friend, Tony. I wrote it on the back of a Sea World coupon shortly after Sea World opened in San Antonio.  See I was teaching back in those days.  I had stuff like that in my purse all the time; hall passes, detention slips, notes from parents, confiscated rubber bands, water guns, gum.          DSC_0218

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Notice the expiration date; Oct. 1, 1990.

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The best-loved recipes are usually the ones that have been through many years of wear and tear.  Every time I pull out this splattered and worn scrap of paper, I remember the  very evening that Deerslayer and I visited with our new baby in tow. (She’s 27 now and teaching at the university!)   We enjoyed a delicious meal of chicken enchiladas with tomatillo salsa, Mexican rice and the best flan I’d ever eaten.  Tony graciously shared all the recipes and allowed me to watch him prepare them.  Looking back, I think that these were some of the very first GOOD dishes that I ever cooked.  Thank you, Tony!

Ingredients

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1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 can evaporated milk

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup sugar (I usually use a bit more cuz I love the caramelized sugar)

That’s right!  There are only 5 ingredients.

You will also need a 9″ Pyrex pie plate, a trivet or folded kitchen towel and a larger oven-proof pan that will hold the pie plate and some hot water.

Preheat oven to 350°.   Combine all ingredients (except sugar) in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside.DSC_0223DSC_0234

For the next part, set out what you will need.  Time will be of the essence as you prepare the caramelized sugar and pour it into a Pyrex pie plate.  Have it sitting on a trivet, or folded kitchen towel, ready for the molten sugar.

You will need to work quickly once the sugar is ready to

Pour sugar into a small sauce pan.  Over high heat, gently stir until sugar begins to melt. I like to use a wooden spoon.

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Continue stirring as sugar starts to caramelize.

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It will begin to look clumpy.  Don’t worry.  Keep stirring.

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Be sure that the sugar does not boil over or burn.  Simply lift the pan off the heat if begins to boil over.

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After most of the sugar clumps have dissolved, you may pour it into the Pyrex pie plate that has been set on something to protect the surface of the counter.  It also serves to prevent the Pyrex from being too cold  when you pour the hot caramelized sugar.

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Tilt the pan to allow the sugar to coat the bottom.  You must work quickly because the sugar will harden almost instantly. Don’t worry, though.  The caramelized sugar will create a luscious syrup in the oven. (Notice the trivet that I got as a birthday gift during my first year teaching in 1983.)

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One last whisk of the egg mixture before you pour it over the sugar.

Prepare a water bath for the pan.  I set my pie plate in a larger cast iron skillet.  Place the pie plate into a larger pan on the middle rack of the oven. Add some hot water to the outer pan until the water is half way up the side of the pie plate.

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Bake for 50 minutes.  Flan will jiggle joyfully.  Don’t fret.

Allow to cool for about 20 minutes.  Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours.  Run a knife around the edge of the pie plate.  Invert onto A SERVING PLATE THAT HAS A LIP AROUND THE EDGE!  The liquified sugar mixture will spill out onto the plate.  You’ll have to restrain yourself from lapping it up.

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Please let me know if you agree that this is the simplest, most elegant, most perfect dessert you have ever prepared and eaten.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2016 in Sweet Things, Uncategorized

 

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Cool and Spicy Coleslaw

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Recently, during our annual camping trip to Wyoming, I offered to make a side dish for one of the dinners for the 44 campers in our group.  I brought all the ingredients to make a coleslaw recipe that’s pretty popular in the Deerslayer household.  The feedback from the camping crew was positive.  All the coleslaw was gobbled up and I was asked if the recipe was on my blog.  So I was happy to oblige.

There are soooo many varieties of coleslaw.  Some are quite sweet and others lean heavily on a mayo base.  Still others have an almost sauerkraut vibe.  My recipe is creamy, without relying on too much mayo.  There are layers of flavor that come from rice vinegar, greek yogurt, a tiny bit of sugar and some cayenne pepper.

This has become my go-to side dish for BBQ sandwiches and pulled pork, too.  It’s actually pretty good plopped right on the sandwiches  I always have to prepare more than I think I’ll need because it really disappears.  The cool, creamy sauce plays well with the main course. The rice vinegar adds a pleasing tartness and the cayenne brings a subtle, yet surprising, heat.

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½ cup Greek Yogurt

2 tbs. Ranch or Caesar dressing

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 tbsp. milk

1 tbs. sugar

3/4 tsp. ground  black pepper

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

16 oz. shredded cabbage (Add carrot, slivered fresh jalepeño, radish, jicama, or something else crunchy and delicious if you like.)

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Combine all ingredients (except cabbage) in a bowl.

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Whisk ingredients together.

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Notice the delicious spices!  That’s what makes this coleslaw special.

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Add cabbage and toss together. Set in the fridge or in a cooler (if you’re camping) to allow the flavors to combine.

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Done! Enjoy!

Feel free to add fresh, sliced jalapeño, jicama, or radish to change things up.  Make it your own.

The dressing could be prepared in advance, poured into a jar, and taken on a camping trip.  I wouldn’t advise tossing the coleslaw up ahead of time, though, unless it’s gonna be eaten within a few hours.  You  want the cabbage to stay nice and crisp.  Camp on!

 

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