Archive for December, 2012

Ok, easy to make, but somewhat boring.  I mean, VERY boring.   I have a long-standing interest in making recipes simple to use if possible.  In this case, that meant I bought pre-made pie crusts (Pilsbury), precut and half-cooked potatoes and onions, and some other quick-to-use items as a way to make this a quick process.
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I used one small ‘rutabaga,’ or turnip, and minced it fairly small, my wife doesn’t like turnips very much.  I also used my grater to make quick work of the carrot, it saves time, it’s safer than chopping the carrot up with one of my knives when I’m running on 10 hours sleep over three days, and the cooked results are impossible for the wife to pick out of her food.

After combining the potatoes, carrots, turnip and ground beef, I added some sea salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Using the pre-made pie crusts like this works very well for a lot of recipes, I don’t like the pre-made, pre-formed pie crusts, the ones in the disposable pie tins, because they’re usually a lot drier and often broken.  The Pilsbury ones are very nice, sealed, and just need brought up to room temperature to be perfectly workable.

One of the things I learned is to pay more attention to the meat and vegetable ratio in mixing the filling.  I was VERY tired this morning when I got off of work, and since I was trying to modify the recipes I’d read over the weekend, I didn’t even think about measuring and balancing the stuffing mix.  I ended up adding too little meat, not by a large margin, but I could have had about a quarter pound more meat. The grocery store didn’t have any ground pork this morning, and with my lack of sleep I didn’t feel like buying pork and grinding it (though usually I like doing that) so the filling was just a little lacking in flavor.

As a final note on the filling, by failing to measure the ingredients, I ended up with a bit more than I could use for four pasties, which lead to me overstuffing the last two pasties a bit, and still having a handful left over to pan fry for an eggs-and-hash breakfast while the pasties were cooking.

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Stuffing the pasties is straightforward – lay out your 9″ dough, put your filler on one half, leaving plenty of room to crimp the edges, fold, brush the edge with water and crimp. Afterwards, I cut three vent holes in the top of each pasty and baked at 350′ for an hour.  One thing I should mention that I forgot at this point: most of the recipes called for adding a tablespoon of butter to the filling before folding and crimping, and I forgot to add the butter. Luckily, halfway through baking, I remember this, and the vent holes I cut were large enough for me to put a cut piece of margarine in the top of each without much trouble.

I should point out that my long-term intention here is to make this recipe MINE. I want to be able to say “Ok, I’ve got odds and ends in the fridge… how about a chicken and broccoli Pasty with cheese sauce?”  or “Time to make some venison sausage pasties to take to hunting camp.” The base recipe I’m using is just to get myself used to the process and iron out any issues I could have later, and it worked perfectly to accomplish those points.
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The end results were decent – two of the tops split, probably because I tried to overstuff the last two so I wouldn’t have any stuffing left over. I think these needed cheese, a bit more meat or a mix of meats, and possibly some more onion.

When I make pot roast, I always have a lot of left overs, quite on purpose I should add.  I make  a lovely pot roast hash with eggs and sourdough toast the next day, or simply reheat the leftovers.  In this case, I’ve found a nearly perfect use for leftover pot roast.  Use some of the broth to make a savory gravy and use chopped potatoes, celery, carrots and roast with just enough gravy to bind it together in pasties.

I could do the same with turkey, chicken, venison, etc. etc.  These show promise.  I know this isn’t rocket science, or some rare meat in aspic with truffles, but the entire point is to have PRACTICAL recipes to both make food and life more interesting, and to use left overs more efficiently, since unless it’s my lasagna, my wife shuns leftovers. (She’d fight the Avengers for my lasagna. She’d probably win, too.)

I’ll close up by saying this: the end result of my experiment was edible, but boring. When I woke up this afternoon, I reheated one of the pasties after pouring part of a jar of ‘Savory Beef Gravy’ over it, with a bit of Chipotle Tabasco on top, and that was fantastic.  So, adding a bit of gravy saved the day.

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I’m going to try to make pasties tomorrow – based on the result, I will feel more comfortable trying to modify the recipe using venison.

The basic recipe (I’ve looked at about a dozen so far) involves making a simple, lard, flour, salt, and water dough, then making an onion, pork, beef and potato filling, sometimes with rutabagas sometimes without, and making large self-contained meat pies from them.

These look interesting, however I think I’m going to use a large muffin pan and make the pasties more like pot pies, simply for containment and a more pleasing shape.

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The recipe I’m probably going to use is from Allrecipes.com, it seems straightforward, easy to remember, and easy to repeat.  We’ll see what Meat & Potatoes (the Wife) says about these.

 

From Deer & Deer Hunting.com

Be sure to check out Happy Healthy Family for more great venison and wild game dishes, sides, and desserts! Click here to order

Venison Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Venison-Cabbage-RollsIngredients:

  • 12 cabbage leaves
  • Olive oil, for sautéing and drizzling

Filling:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 1/2 pound ground venison
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup milk

Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 quarts crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons flour mixed with 1/4 cup water

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  For the sauce,  heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan.  Sauté garlic for about 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, sugar, lemon juice and flour mixture to the pan and mix  well.  Heat until the mixture thickens and turn off the heat.

Read the rest HERE

Posted: 12/30/2012 in Hunting

There are a couple of sheds I’ll be looking for come Feb. this year.

From Bowhunting.com

By: Bowhunting.com Staff | 1/3/2009
Most die hard bowhunters have shot an occasional 3D course, however we often hear questions about what it takes to get better than the average Joe. 3D archery can be shot for many reasons by different people, from preparing for the woods all the way to the extreme of attempting to compete successfully at the state, regional, and national level. What if you want to take 3D archery to the next step, where it really becomes a different pursuit than simply preparing you for the field? The article is intended to be a road map to help those interested in becoming more competitive in 3D archery.

Classes and Rules

To start, you will need to determine what class you intend to compete in, and what rules will be enforced in the events you plan to attend. Typically, you will see local events split into two separate classes; Bowhunter and Open.

Bowhunter classes are typically shooting from distances of 35-40 yards and closer. They will usually be restricted to some sort of pin sight that is not movable without the use of tools. Sometimes there will be rules on the number of pins allowed on the sight, most commonly restricting you to four of fewer pins, and you will normally not be allowed to use magnifying lenses on the sight. Bowhunter class shooters will normally be restricted to stabilizers twelve inches or less, and will need to use arrows with screw in field points, and 4” or longer vanes or feathers on their arrows.

(NOTE: I have never, ever seen a requirement that bowhunter class, in any league, use screw in field points or 4″ or longer vanes or feathers. – Niko)
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Equipment

So what kind of equipment does it take to be successful in 3D archery? The first thing to consider is that a lot of the features that are an advantage when in a treestand, may not necessarily give you an advantage on the 3D course. Once you know what class you want to compete in, you can then begin to build a list of the equipment that fits your needs and will give you the most competitive advantage within those rules.

For Bowhunter class 3D, speed really becomes much less critical than Open classes that shoot out past 40 yards. When you look at the scores at the state, regional, and national level in Bowhunter classes, you will see that the best shooters will rarely shoot any 8’s on a course at all, usually hitting all 10’s and roughly half of the X rings available. Mistakes and dropped points in this class usually occur due to poor shot execution, not because of distance judging errors. At 40 yards and less, your margin for error on most targets will be +/- three to four yards. Knowing this, set your Bowhunter class rig up for consistency and forgiveness. Top shooters in this class will typically shoot longer axle to axle bows in the 37” to 40” range, with forgiving brace heights of 7.5”+, and arrows going 280-290fps. Because the top several places in most Bowhunter classes will only be separated by the number of X’s shot, give yourself an advantage and shoot the widest shaft that you can get to fly well and at an acceptable speed out of your bow. Those wide shafts won’t be affected by the wind at the closer distances you will see in this class. They will also help you grab some of those X ring lines that you normally would be just out on with a skinny hunting shaft.

Read more at Bowhunter.com
(Note: This seems to be written from an IBO point of view, since in the ASA there is a definite speed limit, and it’s MORE important for bowhunter classes to be at that limit than, say, Known 45 or Known 50 class, where using a rangefinder is the standard. – Niko)

WALB – It didn’t take long in the 2012 deer hunting season for Fletcher Culpepper of Worth County, Georgia to bag a monster buck

Click the image to go to the WALB video clip

Click the image to go to the KSDK video clip

I’ve been interested in juicing for quite some time.  For one thing, I like fruit and vegetable juices, for another, I keep hearing about the ‘massive benefits’ of juicing.  One… enthusiast (being polite here, gimme a break) was ranting on the television the other day about how cooking destroys the good enzymes and juicing is the only way to get them.  I thought about that as I was nibbling on a raw carrot.  You know, juicing it. With my teeth.

The wife gave me a juicer for Christmas, and I’ve already been ribbed a few times about how I got her a Kimber Custom II and she got me a juicer, but I’ve been wanting one for quiet some time, so I’m happy. (Besides, I get to shoot and clean the Kimber, so it’s all good.)

juicer

I’ve started looking at recipes for the juicer, and quite a few of the ones I’ve read are fine and dandy EXCEPT for one ingredient.  Like ‘Apples, Mangoes, Oranges, Lemons, and spinach!’   Ok.  I like all of those. Except the thought of SPINACH juice combined with LEMONS AND MANGOES makes me want to nail my tongue to the back of garbage truck, because I think that would taste better.

As a quick test run this afternoon, I juiced one orange and one apple, and made several important discoveries.

  • No matter how splattered and opaque the top becomes, pulling the feeder tool out and looking down the feed chute to see if you need to add more fruit is both funny and rough on the glasses. *SPLAT*
  • It takes a whole orange, and a whole apple, to make enough juice for four or five gulps.  Which isn’t much in my book.
  • Orange seeds sound like the Mayan Apocalypse until they make their way to the waste chute.
  • Even my wife (not a vegetable or fruit fan) likes the apple/orange juice combo, though she says ‘it needs Vodka.’
  • Oranges are a pain in the ass, unless I’m missing something and I’m supposed to juice the peel too.
  • Black & Decker didn’t feel they should spend the $.30 to add even a single recipe or piece of advice in the juicer, just basic instructions.
  • I picked up apples, kale, celery, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes at the store today, juicing might just be more expensive than liposuction.

Wish me luck, or at least massively humorous failure, since I’ll be sure to share either one here.

 

 

Posted: 12/27/2012 in Hunting

This applies to supplies for your hunting camp, or even a GOOD first-aid kit to keep in your vehicle as well. I take a lot of flak from my friends because I carry QUICK-CLOT in my first aid kit, but then again, I’ve seen what a broadhead does to a human hand (not mine), and I’d rather take the flak and have something I never use, than need it and not have it. (Make sure you check dates on medication, quick-clot, etc. It’s somewhat hard to find on some packages, so take a Sharpee and write in BIG figures on the front of the package “EXP [DATE]” to take the guess-work out.)

homesteaddad

My new favorite store is Dollar Tree.  We have one only a few minutes from our house, and I have begun to frequent it often.  They are one of the dollar stores where everything is actually a dollar or less.  The cool thing is they get in different products all the time.  With dollar stores, many of the items are made in China, that is just the way it is.  But there are a surprising amount of items that are made in the U.S. or Canada, and if you look you can find them.  I try to buy those items when I can, and the Chinese made items when I must.  Here is a list of things that I find worthwhile to purchase at my dollar store.

  • Office supplies – If you don’t need a $10 pen, you can get all the pens and pencils you need, and paper, staplers…

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Don’t forget – the best soup stock in the world can be made from the rest of the turkey after deboning.   I just put a nice freezer bag full of connective tissue, bones, and odd bits of roasted turkey skin in the freezer.  There are  a lot of recipe sites that have more precise recipes for stock, but this is what I do:

One rough chopped white onion

Two cut up carrots

Three stalks of celery, rough chopped

Dried savory and/or marjoram

Two tablespoons of salt (this is important START LIGHT ON THE SALT! You can adjust it later, but reducing the stock towards the end will INCREASE the salty flavor, so DON’T GO OVERBOARD)

One tablespoon of black pepper

One half cup of fresh cut parsley (Optional – you can add fresh parsley to the soup, but I like doing both.)

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I put the bones and above ingredients in the largest stockpot I have filled two-thirds full of cold water and bring it to a boil.  I let it boil for 8-10 minutes, then reduce to a light simmer for 2-3 HOURS, uncovered.  Taste the broth to see how salty it is at this point, but don’t add any salt yet.

I then strain the broth to get the bones and whatnot out, this isn’t a precision strain, just a regular wire-mesh strainer to catch all the big bits, there should still be some cloudy bits in the soup from fine particles of turkey meat etc.  I like those.

After straining, I return the broth to a MEDIUM simmer, trying to reduce by one quarter to one third to concentrate the flavors.  Once you think you’re ready to cut the heat (another 2-3 hours the last time I did this) then taste the broth again, and add salt if desired. Only add a small amount, like half a tablespoon, at a time, stir it well, then taste it again, it’s not really difficult to cut the sodium flavor, but why have to work to get something out of the soup when you can just prevent adding too much to begin with.

At this point, I put a tiny, tiny PINCH (like, probably ten grains) of SUGAR in the broth.

After that, it’s just a matter of using the broth, storing the broth, or both.

Enjoy!

I should have taken photographs!  I’ve made at least thirty turkey dinners in the last twenty years, maybe more, and I’ve used all kinds of recipes.  Cover the top of the turkey with bacon and ice-water soaked cheesecloth for two thirds of the cooking time, brine the turkey, use a baking bag, aromatic herbs, etc. etc.

Yesterday, all I did was take a twelve pound turkey, well thawed, rinsed it well and patted it dry, rubbed it with canola oil, sprinkled salt and pepper inside and out, LOOSELY stuffed it, and the bird came out of the oven looking so good I should have had THEME MUSIC playing in the background.

The stuffing was simply Stove Top brand Turkey stuffing.  Normally, I shun this boxed stuffing, there isn’t anything wrong with it, I just know how to make GREAT stuffing without resorting to a box of crumbs.   When I do use a pre-mix, I usually saute minced celery and onions in a tablespoon of butter with some fresh cracked pepper, sea salt, and minced chicken or turkey liver, then add that to the stuffing mix with the liquid.  In this case, due to my own oversight, we didn’t have any celery or onions (the wife likes neither, one of the reasons I mince it so fine you can’t FIND it in the stuffing,) but I did have a nice turkey liver from the thawed bird, so I just added that.

The bird itself went into a 350′ oven with the main body cavity loosely stuffed with the pre-made stuffing, including half a cup of stuffing in the neck cavity, covered with the loose skin.  I put two cups of water in the bottom of the pan, keeping the bird out of the water using a lift-out rack that fit my pan.  I put the lid on, put it in the oven for 3.5 hours, then cranked the heat to 400′ for the last twenty minutes or so for the green bean casserole.

About that casserole – I love green bean casserole, but I didn’t have any onions to make the fried onions, I didn’t have any cream of mushroom soup (again, the wife hates mushrooms, so we never have it on hand) but I did have some Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup and some Parmesan Panko bread crumbs, so that’s what I used.  It came out just fine, though my daughter said it tasted a bit peppery.

Other than those dishes, I made some mashed potatoes and gravy along with some King’s Hawaiian bread, and the three of us had a great Christmas dinner!

I hope everyone else had a wonderful dinner as well!