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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Am I a Bad Mother?

We have a pretty normal, laid back household. I homeschool my 13 year old daughter. My adult daughter lives at home and is a published writer. Maybe not so normal, but pleasant and productive. So does it mean that I’m a bad mother because we hustled through our lessons so that my daughters could dress as the undead and scamper off to the “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein” double feature at our local theater? I mean, really, who could possibly pass up an opportunity to see the best of horror in black and white? The lighting! The camera angles! The artistry of leaving just a little bit to the imagination! There is truly nothing to compare with the vintage films.
I’m looking forward to the discussions we’ll have. I’ve always insisted on my kids seeing films that I feel have impacted society. Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, The Sound of Music, anything with Gene Kelly (Okay, that’s a personal preference), To Kill a Mockingbird. The list goes on and on. Nothing can change the fact that we are greatly affected by the silver screen. The sad thing is that, from what I’ve seen, the artistry is just not there anymore. Certainly, it can be argued that there are a few good movies still being made, but not necessarily ones that are appropriate for my family! There isn’t a film star out there who can compare with Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester, Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, John Wayne, Bela Lugosi, Spencer Tracy either in talent or class.
So am I a bad mother because I took pictures of my girls in their black lipstick and Frankenstein fan club attire? Hopefully not. I’m just grateful that they weren’t in their Britney Spears or Linsey Lohan outfits!
What does this have to do with being a Deerslayer’s wife? Perhaps my undead junior deerslayers will be in the mood for totally dead venison meatloaf or some VERY rare seared tenderloin. (See recipes) I think that a family that loves old movies together and hunts together is just pretty damned great.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Seared Venison Tenderloin with Balsamic Glaze and Asparagus

My new favorite recipe is for venison tenderloin (or similar cut*). I sear the tenderloin in a hot skillet with a little olive oil after liberally seasoning the meat on all sides first. Then place the tenderloin in an oven-proof pan and cook at 350 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes tops. Backstrap can also be used in this recipe. It will take a little longer to take on the gorgeous deep brown sear that you need to hold in the juices during baking. It’ll also take the full 15 minutes in the oven. You’ll want it rare to medium rare. While it’s resting for the required 10 minutes, toss some asparagus with olive oil and salt & pepper mix and put it on a cookie sheet under the broiler for those 10 minutes. While the asparagus is in the oven, pour some balsamic vinegar into the skillet in which you browned the meat. Use a whisk to scrape up the crusty yumminess that was left behind. If you’re using a balsamic glaze, you’re ready to go with an elegant sauce for your meat. If you’re using balsamic vinegar, heat the sauce until it reduces and thickens. After you slice the meat, add the remaining meat juices to the sauce. Sometimes, I prepare a side of quinoa, also. Very elegant, kid-friendly, and super fast. Hunter-friendly and fabulous, too!

Serves about 2 people unless you use backstrap, then about 3 or 4
1 venison tenderloin or backstrap *
salt & pepper mix
olive oil
Balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze
1 bunch asparagus
* any muscle of a similar thickness and length can be doctored up to create a cut of meat that will substitute nicely. Just make sure that you carefully remove all sinewy bits and silvery skin from the muscle. I use a fish-fileting knife. It slides easily under the stuff that will make the meat tough and chewy.  Within the next couple weeks, I will be providing photo tutorial on meat preparation.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2012 in Hunting, Recipes, Side Dishes, Venison

 

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Come And Take It

Being a homeschooling mom and being at a point in my curriculum where my junior deerslayer is studying Texas History, it was hugely important that last weekend was the anniversary of the date during which the Texian citizens of Gonzales decided to hold on to the cannon that had been given to them by the Mexican government as protection against hostile Indians, and refuse to give it back to the aggressive army of Santa Ana. “Come and Take It” was their reply along with enough gunfire to push back the Mexican army.
Our trip to Gonzales, Texas was the obvious choice for an extension of this lesson. Three generations of women (my mom, my two daughters, and myself) loaded into my SUV supplied only with a cooler of Diet Cokes and headed toward the unknown. We got to town just in time for the parade. Small town parades are different than city parades. Every kid in town is given an opportunity to be a star for a day. Football players, cheerleaders, 4-H members, band members, dance team, and all the queens, princesses, and junior princesses of the various courts of the region including the watermelon queen, strawberry queen, turkey queen, etc. I chuckled over it until I realized that there were so many opportunities for all small town kids to shine. When the color guard marched by, people stood up. My mom clapped enthusiastically and called out her thanks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. There was a lesson to be learned here; another lesson for my homeschooler that I hadn’t intended; the pride for our state, our country, and the people who defended them, both in those early days and still today.
Our three generations drove from one venue to the next, sometimes making wrong turns, sometimes getting distracted and detouring off to the gourmet kitchen shop (The Hearty Gourmet! Awesome!) or the beautiful historic homes but always keeping our sense of humor and remaining positive about the day. Traveling with women is different.
“Anybody want to look at these gorgeous old homes?”
“Sure!!!”
“Anybody want to stop and get a soda?”
“Sure!!!”
“Anybody want to walk around this beautiful old park?”
“Sure!!!”
“Anybody need to go to the bathroom?”
You get the idea. Traveling with guys doesn’t always run so smoothly. While we had a vague idea of what we wanted to do when we got to Gonzales, we did everything on our list and more. The museum and original cannon that the citizens of this town, so many years ago were willing to fight for were inspiring. The reinactment of the battle that set the stage for Texas independence from Mexico was better than any textbook or worksheets could ever be. Today was a day that my family was very proud to be Texans.
I was struck by the daily lives of these Texian people. The women of those days were amazing ladies. They were able to get by with what they had brought with them from their previous lives. There was no UPS man to deliver a new Silpat or rolling pin. They fed their families with what they grew themselves, what they were able to can and with what their deer/pig/bird/coonslayers brought home. By comparison, I am pretty damned wimpy. I have always fantasized about being able to churn butter, bake bread, make cheese. But in these dream sequences, I don’t participate in these noble endeavors without the use of air conditioning or pest control. While I could never stack up to my early Texas ancestors, I’ve tried to instill in my daughters an understanding of where our food comes from, an appreciation for God’s bounty, the importance of being able to get by during difficult times. We roast and freeze pumpkin, can veggies, make jerky, bake bread and eat exclusively wild game. I’ve taught them how to prepare cuts of venison that most people discard, that there are many other muscles that, when processed correctly, will cook up like a backstrap or tenderloin.
My entire family knows the good feeling that comes from a pantry full of healthy foods and a couple of freezers full of healthy, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat.

WHAT TO DO WITH FORE QUARTERS, NECK MEAT, AND OTHER SCRAPS

Cook-All-Day Venison and/or Wild Pork

It has always been important to me that we use as much meat as possible from an animal that my deerslayer has brought home. That’s what it’s all about after all!  This simple method, while requiring a lot of time, will provide you with five pounds or more of tender meat that can be used in any number of recipes like stews, soups, enchiladas, shredded bar-be-que sandwiches, carne quisada, etc

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Ingredients

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Approximately 5-8 pounds of forequarters, neck, and scraps of venison. All sinewy bits can stay. They break down completely during the cooking process. Just about any cut can be used for this process but I can find other uses for hind quarters, backstrap, and tenderloins.
1/2 pound of Crisco or Lard
Beef stock or water as needed
Any seasoning salt you choose
A large turkey-roasting pan with a lid

Set oven to 350 degrees. Arrange meat to cover the bottom of the roaster. I’ve used bone-in fore quarters before. By the time the cooking process is over, the meat falls from the bone. Season meat liberally with the seasoning salt of your choice. I usually use Tommy’s Secret Salt and Pepper Mix (See recipes). I’ve also used special blends from the market that feature chili powder, cumin, and/or onion powder. Dab shortening or lard over meat. Add about an inch of stock to pan. This is not intended to cover the meat. Cover with lid and place roaster in 350 degree oven.
After the first hour, turn meat with tongs so that exposed sides will now be submerged in stock and meat juices. You may add additional seasoning at this point. Cover and return to oven for another hour. Repeat this process (omitting the seasoning) each hour, checking to see that there is enough liquid in the pan. Add extra stock or water as needed each hour to maintain at least an inch depth. After four hours, see if meat is pulling apart easily. If a fore quarter is used, it should have completely fallen off the bone. If meat is not yet tender enough, repeat the process and add another 1/2 hour or so. Keep in mind that ovens and temperatures vary so it’s important to keep that in mind.
The house will smell wonderful. Since this method provides enough meat for several recipes, be prepared. Your family will want to eat it right out of the pan. You can throw in some potatoes, carrots, and onions during the last hour of cooking for an easy meal. Be sure to save all the stock and meat juices for other recipes and/or gravy. This meat can also be frozen for future use. Enjoy knowing that you are now a deerslayer’s wife and have at your disposal an arsenal of wonderfully tender meat which can be used in countless delectable recipes from otherwise unusable bits. Your deerslayer will love you for it.

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Venison Carne Guisada

When I decided that I was willing to consider embracing the lifestyle of “Deerslayer’s Wife”, I received a recipe for Venison Carne Guisada from my dearest friend in the world, Lisa. I truly believe that her input at this juncture in my life was an integral part of my destiny. If I had not received her recipe and if it had not been so popular among my many family members, I may not have chosen this path. Thank you, Lisa.  For years, I have taken batches of this recipe on our yearly camping trip.  It freezes and reheats beautifully.  Do everyone a favor and purchase the flour tortillas that you cook yourself. These, too, can be frozen and thawed for later use. They are available in the dairy section of many grocers, near the English muffins and biscuits.  Once you’ve had fresh, hot flour tortillas, there’s no going back!

Venison Carne Guisada

2 lbs. venison stew meat, cut up (sinewy cuts are okay for this recipe)
2-3 Tbsp. bacon grease (Most venison recipes require the addition of some extra grease or fat since the meat is       so lean.)
3 Tbsp. flour
1 green or red bell pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. cumin
1 tsp. black pepper
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 10 oz. can tomatoes (with or w/o chilies to taste)
2 tsp. garlic salt
½ cup water

Brown meat in bacon grease in heavy cast iron skillet w/ deep sides. Add flour and brown. Add remaining ingredients and simmer 1 to 2 hours until tender and cooked down to thick gravy. Stir periodically to prevent sticking to pan. Serve with flour tortillas, salsa, grated cheddar, sliced tomatoes and avocado. Enjoy

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Hunting, Recipes, Venison

 

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