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Monthly Archives: August 2013

It’s Here! Whitewing Season!

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This awesome photo was taken by a long-time friend of my Deerslayer, Juan Gavito. Thank you, Juan!

This weekend, my Deerslayer becomes a Whitewing slayer.  It’s the beginning of Whitewing season in South Texas.  Members of the Deerslayer Clan have converged on our neck-o’-the-woods from states near and far for this illustrious occasion.  Our junior deerslayer and her cousins will be the master pluckers and gutters.  Somebody’s gotta do it!  It is truly an exciting time around here.  Everyone in South Texas dons their camo.  My fellow blogger, Andy at Tremendous Whatnot, is a fellow Texan and another avid bird slayer.  His enthusiasm rivals my own Doveslayer.  Check out his great bird stories!

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Whitewing love sorghum!

Every year for as long as I can remember, it’s been unGodly hot and/or rainy and/or mosquitoey and/or humid around Labor Day.  I can really see what the Deerslayers love about this season!  But I love to see the family and, in preparation for their visit, I’ve thawed out the remnants of our frozen whitewing and cooked ’em up for the Clan after a hard day at the hunt.

I’d like to re-post Deerslayer’s favorite recipe (with better photos of the process) as well as the obligitory protocol for partaking of the feast.

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Whitewing Slayer etiquette. Provide a “bone bowl” at each setting.

Today, I need to share some crucial information about the preparation, cooking, and eating of game birds.  Since game birds are shot, and since by their very nature they have very thin, brittle, hollow bones, one must be very careful to remove as many bone fragments and bits of shot (small b-b shaped things) from the meat as possible before cooking.  Hunters generally are aware of the hazards associated with eating these birds and chew gingerly, daintily spitting out fragments as they go…. to which end I usually set out bowls around the table for this purpose.

Always inform your guests and/or family that they have been selected to share in the earth’s bounty provided by your game-bird slayer and that they need to chew carefully!

There are two main schools of thought regarding the preparation of doves.  My experience has been that most bird hunters “breast out” the birds and bring home only the breast meat; small walnut-sized morsels to wrap in bacon with a sliver of jalapeno and toss on the grill.  My dove-slayer, however, prefers ALL of the meat; breast, legs, hearts, gizzards.  So does his uncle and so did his dad.  I learned how to prepare doves from my hunter’s mother.  Preparing them this way is somewhat labor intensive but I always have the undying gratitude of my dove-slayer.

Special Occasion Whitewing Doves with gravy 

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In our enthusiasm, I forgot to photograph the plated birds until there was nothing left to photograph!

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12 (or so) doves, plucked, washed

salt, pepper, garlic powder mix*

all purpose flour for dredging

1 stick salted butter

32 oz. chicken stock.

Preheat oven to 350 degree.  Rinse birds and giblets.  Spread out, breast side up on a cookie sheet lined with foil.

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 Sprinkle liberally with salt & pepper mix.  Dredge each bird in flour.

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 In a cast iron skillet, melt butter.  Add enough cooking oil to cover bottom of skillet.

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Brown half of the birds, turning from one side of the breast to the other.  Brown remaining birds and giblets reserving the skillet with browned bits.

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Set aside all browned birds and giblets.  To the browned bits in the skillet, over medium heat, melt enough butter and about 1/4 cup of leftover flour to make a roux.

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 Slowly whisk in about half of the chicken stock, stirring constantly.

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 Season with salt, pepper, and garlic mix. Add birds and giblets back into cast iron, breast side down and turned with the meaty side toward the outside. You can make several rows toward the center.  This ensures uniform cooking.

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Because birds vary in size, add more or less stock until birds are covered.

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 Cover with lid and bake in a 350° oven for about 4 hours.  YES!  4 hours!!!!!!!!  Every hour, add chicken stock if needed to keep gravy level up.  You’ll know the birds are ready to eat when breast meat pulls easily away from the breastbone with a fork or tongs.

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Serve with white rice and LeSeuer peas. In the tradition of the Deerslayer, it must be white rice!  And it must be LeSeuer peas.  Always has been!  Always will be! Enjoy!

 

 

 
 

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Never Enough Cookies*

 Oatmeal Cookies With Dark Chocolate, Pecans

and Dried Cranberries

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Since the school year is beginning for my younger deerslayer, I find myself thinking of packed lunches, things to pack into an awesome lunch box (which is important), and of course, cookies.  Nothing says love like the smell of warm cookies after a hard day of school (or work) They’re just what the doctor ordered for a school lunch. Or an after-school snack. Or an after-work snack.  Or a hunting snack. They’re pretty much just what the doctor ordered for any time of day or night.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I’ve ever happened upon anyone who doesn’t love cookies. There are people who can never get enough! Although I question the logic, there are those who think that they could live on cookies.   All things in moderation, I say, as I find myself looking for new recipes

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While I love to be inventive with wild game recipes, I prefer to stick to the tried-and-true favorites for my deerslayers.  Of course, even the best tired-and-true recipes need to reflect the preferences of those for which they are prepared.  My deerslayers love dried cranberries, but raisins, not so much.  We prefer pecans to walnuts in just about everything.  Must be a Southern Thang!  And of course any cookie recipe is made better by adding DARK chocolate chips.  Just a personal preference.  That’s the great thing about cookies; They become your own family recipe with just a few additions. Enjoy the love that you will share and the gratitude you will receive!

*This post is dedicated to the Deerslayer’s brother who loves cookies more than anyone I’ve ever known!  He has been able to elevate his love of cookies to an art form, absolutely poetic.  I have to say that I have been inspired.

Oatmeal Cookies

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1/2 cup shortening

1/2 cup salted butter

11/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp.  baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup dark chocolate morsels

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Preheat oven to 400°.  Cream shortening, softened butter,  brown sugar, and eggs together till light and fluffy.  Stir in milk.  Sift together dry ingredients; stir into creamed mixture.  Stir in oats, dried cranberries, nuts, and dark chocolate morsels. Chill dough for about 30 minutes.

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I love my new scoopie thing. I got three of them in different sizes. They make even distribution effortless.

 Drop from tablespoon or scoop 2 inches apart on lightly greased or Silpat lined cookie sheet.

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 Bake in hot oven (400°) for 8-10 minutes.  Cool slightly, remove from pan.

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Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

 

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Mexican Rice

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There are recipes that just call for a great side dish like never-fail Mexican rice.  As a matter of fact, the next couple of recipes that I’m planning to post will most definitely be served with this rice.  I’ve used this recipe all of my married life.  I got it from a good friend of the Deerslayer who is originally from Mexico.  I’ve continued to use the recipe because it tastes great and it’s easy enough to prepare with just a few simple ingredients.  Recently, I’ve been using parboiled rice.  I’ve been pleased with how it doesn’t clump up, ever!  The Junior Deerslayers still prefer the original long grain, however.  It’s just a matter of preference. The recipe will not be altered either way.

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The only “specialty” item that is required that may not be readily available worldwide is Knorr’s Caldo de Tomate Con Sabor de Pollo (Tomato Soup with flavor of Chicken).  It’s basically chicken bouillon granules with tomato flavoring.  It really adds a depth of flavor to the dish.  I should try to substitute plain chicken bouillon with a bit of instant tomato soup to see if it works.  But the Knorr’s is really good and I’d recommend getting some if you can get ahold of some. I think it would be available in the soup aisle, or the ethnic section of most grocers.

Ingredients

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a splash of corn or canola oil

1/2 onion, chopped

1/2 poblano pepper, chopped (red bell pepper can be substituted)

1 cup rice (I used parboiled)

2 cups stock or water

2 tsp. Knorr’s Caldo de Tomate y Pollo

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In a cast iron skillet (with a lid) pour a splash of oil.  In hot skillet, saute chopped onion and pepper until soft.  Add rice and stir until rice is lightly browned.  Add water or stock and Knorr’s.  Stir one more time.  When liquid comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low, Cover skillet and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

 
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Posted by on August 13, 2013 in Recipes, Side Dishes, Uncategorized

 

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Are You Ready for Hunting Season?

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During this time of year when the temperatures have been hovering over the 100 degree mark in South Texas for as many days as I can remember, we do whatever we can to stay cool.  Sometimes, it means that we just stay inside.  It’s difficult to imagine that we will ever have an opportunity to wear the fall clothes that are now on the racks at all the stores.  Buying school clothes is difficult to say the least.  How can we justify buying sweaters and jackets.  Sadly, if we wait until the two or three days that we’ll need these items in South Texas, they’ll be sold out.

I love to have “Cook All Day” venison and pork in the freezer so that I have on hand just what I need for family favorites like carne guisada, venison and Guinness stew, pot pies and the like.  However, the thought of having the oven on all day during the summer months is hellish.deer in velvet, chicken enchiladas, picadillo, sorghum 070
Mental Note:  Prepare large quantities of “Cook All Day” venison and pork during the cooler days of winter, spring, and autumn.  Package it up in one-pound packages and freeze for future use (during the hellishly hot days of July and August).

However, as hot as it is,  I relish the opportunity to start gearing up for Hunting Season and the cooler temperatures that accompany it.

The signs are everywhere!  Hunting season is just around the corner.  It’s time to get ready.  It’s time to service the ATVs.  Buy ammo (Good luck!).  Fill feeders.  Start planning!  I love to plan!

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It was on a recent visit to San Antonio that we got our first indication that hunting season is right around the corner. My mom lives on a couple of acres in a wooded neighborhood.There have been deer in the area since the family moved there 40 years ago. The deer of many generations are like members of the family.  They sleep in the yard and no longer run away when we cross paths.

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It’s understood that these are not “eating” deer, not for harvesting.  These are decorative deer.  They are here for us to enjoy in their majesty, beauty, and sometimes playfulness.  The bucks are in velvet now.  The speckled fawns are running and jumping.  My junior deerslayers understood early on the difference between Gran and Grandpa’s deer and those with which we fill the freezers.

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 This time last year, for the first time since my married life to the Deerslayer, I had a bare freezer!  I actually purchased meat from a grocer a couple of times.  I was lost; completely out of my element.  This year, the freezers are comfortably stocked. Not full, but not empty, either.  Each year,  I set aside several large muscle cuts of venison or elk until the end of the season.  If our provisions get too low, I can use them for meals, usually Venison or Elk Parmesan or  Marsala, Pecan-Crusted Steaks, or, of course Chicken Fried Steaks.

If the meat holds out until the first harvest of the season, I use the large muscles for a Deerslayer favorite; jerky!  The large muscles lend themselves nicely to long, flavorful strips of jerky.  I haven’t found anyone yet who doesn’t think that the venison or elk jerky is some of the best they’ve ever eaten.  The instructions and recipe will be available in about a month if the meat lasts!

So, for those of you who are part of the Deerslayer brotherhood, enjoy the planning and the anticipation! The journey is part of the fun.  I’ll be back soon to share some great jerky instructions.

Don’t forget, whitewing season is also coming up!

 
 

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