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Monthly Archives: September 2015

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.

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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.

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

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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
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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.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Chilaquiles

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

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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

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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.

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Nicely browned and crispy.

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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.

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Arrange whitewing breasts and poached egg atop the pile.

Add cilantro and avocado for fun.

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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.

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

 

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