Thursday, April 20, 2017

Pheasant and Soba Noodle soup

Anytime I get to throw some wild game in a dish I jump at the opportunity. When a friend of mine sent me this recipe and said she really liked it but would like to see what kind of wild spin I would put on it I was intrigued. The original recipe was very straight forward and called for smoked trout. With the exception of a good Chowder I am usually not a big fan of using fish in soup. I went to the freezer to see what I had available and the first thing that jumped out at me were three pheasants I had been given by my buddy Eric.

I figured I could really fortify the soup base if I roasted some pheasant carcasses and add them to the stock. Along with the pheasants I  threw in a handful of dried lobster mushrooms I had from last year and some store bought shittakes. I also had some dried ramp leaves from last year so I added them as well. What I ended up with is a hearty stock that is packed with Umami flavors. The soba noodles and the pheasant made this one of my new favorite soups. 

 Pheasant and Soba Noodle Soup

6 ounces Japanese soba, cooked and tossed with 2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 broccoli crowns, cut or broken into small florets
1 pound of pheasant meat cut into one inch cubes
3 pheasant carcasses, roasted
5-6 dried ramps
2 teaspoons black sesame seeds for garnish
6 dried shittake mushrooms
1 cup dried lobster mushrooms
1 bunch scallions, sliced
1 4- to 6-inch stick of kombu
8 cups water
2 inch knob of ginger, skinned and sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
3 tablespoons Soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine (mirin)
Salt and sugar to taste

Start by making the stock, put the roasted pheasant carcasses in a stock pot then cover with 8 cups of water. Add the mushrooms, dried ramps, soy sauce, rice wine and the ginger. Cook the stock for about 45 minutes, covered. then add the pheasant pieces to the stock and cook for 10 minutes more.
Pour the stock through a strainer lined with cheese cloth and reserve the mushrooms and the pheasant pieces. Put the strained stock back on the stove over medium heat and add the mushroom and pheasant back in. Add in the Broccoli and cook for 5 minutes more taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Place a portion of the soba noodles in a bowl and pour soup over noodles. garnish with black sesame seeds and thinly sliced scallions. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Grilled Venison steaks with Gochujang marinade

Its always a lot of fun for me to come across a new ingredient that I like. It usually open up a whole new world of food and I end up cooking almost exclusively with it for a while. So when the folks at Chung Jung One sent me a sample of their new Gochujang Korean Chili paste I was super excited to give it a try. I wasn't familiar with it at all so it was a new flavor for me. I was ridiculously impressed with how good it was. I started researching recipes and found a dozen or so new things to try. The trick of course was trying to incorporate wild game into the mix.

As it turns out it wasn't that tricky to find ways to use the gochujang with game. This first thing I made was a Bibimbap with a gochujang and date hot sauce. After that I wanted to try it as a marinade and came across this recipe. I marinated the venison steaks in a gochujang marinade then painted them with the gochujang date hot sauce. The marinade is packed with sweet and savory flavors and even though it is a chili sauce it isn't overwhelmingly hot. There is just a small amount of spice to the sauce.

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of spring so I can get out and gather some ramps and try a ramp Kim Chi and maybe some kind of trout recipe as well.

Venison Steak with Gochujang Marinade

8 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed
1 2” piece ginger, peeled, sliced
½ cup dry sake
½ cup gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
½ cup mirin (sweet Japanese rice wine)
¼ cup vegetable oil, plus more for grilling
1½ pound venison roast cut into 1/4 inch slices for quick grilling

Purée garlic, ginger, sake, gochujang, mirin, and ¼ cup oil in a blender. Set ¼ cup marinade aside; chill. Transfer remaining marinade to a large dish. Add venison and marinade for at least 2 hours.
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Remove venison from marinade and grill, basting with reserved marinade, turning occasionally, this will cook pretty quickly about 2-3 minutes each side.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Karaage Pheasant

Every now and then I get lazy, I feel uninspired and it gets really difficult to for me to come up with new posts. It might just be fatigue or it might be that I am just  a slug and need to get off my dead lazy and do something. I worry sometimes that I will run out of ideas and new things to try. I don't want to start repeating myself and putting out the same recipes. So far between what I write here and what I have written for others I have almost 400 different posts. I have kind of been in a rut as of late and even though I keep a journal of ideas that still has 30-40 ideas that I haven't tried yet I found myself uninspired and not able to think of something new.

A few weeks back I finally got around to making potstickers something I had wanted to do for a long time but never did. While I was making those it reminded me of all the great food that I ate and tried when I lived in Japan and in less then 30 minutes I had ten new things to try. All the different noodle dishes that I ate as well as the seafood and of course the Karaage Chicken. I used to frequent a little bar in Sasebo, Japan that we all used to call Mama's. I'm not sure if that was the real name of the bar or not but that's what we all called the lady who ran the joint. Mama's was never our first stop of the evening but it was always the last place we would go and usually never leave. We would sing Karaoke drink massive amount of bourbon and without fail by the end of the night eat a plate of Karaage.

Karaage is Japanese fried chicken and is some of the best fried chicken I have ever eaten. Mama would always serve it up with a little ketchup which sounds strange but at the end of a good night of drinking was heaven on a plate. Karaage is a very lightly breaded fried chicken that uses potato starch as the breading. All of the flavor comes from the marinade that you soak the chicken. The marinade is loaded with garlic and ginger then you add sake, mirin, and soy sauce. It is left to marinate for about 30 minutes then dredged in the potato starch and dropped into the hot oil. It is insanely easy to make and honestly I have no Idea why it took me 20 years to make it myself. Mama used to make hers with chicken thighs but I wanted to make it a little bit wild so I used pheasant breasts. Mine wasn't as good as Mama's but it was pretty awesome. Perhaps if I drink a lot of bourbon and sing some karaoke it will be better.

Karaage, (Japanese Fried pheasant)

1 pound of pheasant cut into large 2 inch chunks
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 inch knob of ginger grated
1/4 cup of sake
1/4 cup of good quality soy sauce
2 tablespoons Mirin
1 cup potato starch
Oil for frying

Mix together the Garlic, ginger, mirin, sake, and soy sauce and add the pheasant. Let marinade for 30 minutes. Heat your oil to 350 degrees then dredge the pheasant pieces in the potato starch and fry for 3-5 minutes or until golden brown on the outside and the meat inside is fully cooked. Season with salt and serve with a lemon wedge or some ketchup, depending on much you have had to drink.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Butter Poached Salmon

You know that old Beatles song, I get by with a little help from friends? Well I am a result of all of my friends. I don't just get by with a little help, most of what I do is the direct result of the people around me. It was my friend Rick Edwards who encouraged me to start this blog. My buddy Eric Passe has taught me most of what I know about duck and goose hunting. All of my friends have at sometime brought be some kind of wild game or fish or have save me specific parts so I could try something new. Most recently I had asked my group of facebook friends if anyone had a goose breast that I could get. Eric didn't have one but he checked with the rest of his family and found some goose breasts. My buddy Jeremy Vanlandingham called me and said why don't you come on down and we can butcher one of geese. Jeremy raises geese and was willing to let me kill one just so I could cook a recipe. I don't just get by with help from my friends I thrive because of the help from my friends.

This post is a prime example of those friends helping out. This salmon was caught in Alaska by my buddy Mike Keller and his wife Christine. Mike and Christine gave me a few packs of salmon and a bunch of Halibut and I have been making posts about all of it. My soul brother Shawn Bergeth who has been my biggest fan bought me the Sous Vide machine for my birthday this year. This whole post is the direct result of my friends. I have tried very hard to be appreciative and try to give back to all of them but I will never be able to give them all what they truly deserve, so let me just thank you to all of them for their support and generosity. I would love to list them all here but inevitably I would forget someone and that would make me feel stupid.  

This is a new thing for me, the sous vide precision cooker that Shawn bought me has been something I have wanted for a long time. For those unfamiliar the sous vide is a device that cooks meat, fish, eggs or vegetables by vacuum sealing them and then submerging it in a water bath that is set to a precise temperature. It is without a doubt the most accurate way to cook something and can be a time saver. I you wanted to cook a piece of venison to an exact 140 degrees you just set the temperature and place the meat in the water and leave it for a set amount of time. That's it, after it is cooked all you have to do is remove it form the bag and sear it in a pan for about 45 seconds on each side and it is done. Perfectly cooked and ready to go. 

For this salmon I wanted to cook it in butter and herbs so I sealed the butter and the salt, pepper, and thyme in the bag with the salmon. It was submerged in a water bath at 130 degrees for about 2 hours. after the 2 hours I removed it from the bag and seared it in a pan with some of the butter from the bag. I seared it for about 30 seconds on high heat and served it with a horseradish dill sauce. It was perfectly cooked and beyond tender. Thank you Shawn for the fancy new cooking tool and thank you to Mike and Christine for the delicious salmon.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Poor Man's Lobster Part 3 (Eelpout)

Last year I started a post about Poor man's lobster. I had heard so many different versions and stories I thought it would make an interesting series of posts. I tried a pike recipe that involved soaking pike in vinegar and then boiling it and ended up with a mushy pile of pike. I kind of forgot I was going to try to do as many different kinds of poor man's lobster as I could find and then a Friend from work asked if I wanted any eelpout. Her husband Cliff Yandle  was heading up to the International Eelpout festival in Walker, MN. The festival takes place every February and is an incredible display of what can happen in the middle of a long winter when people get bored. Upwards of 10,000 people migrate north to celebrate an ugly but very tasty fish. 

I have only ever eaten eelpout fried but have heard several hundred times that if you boil them in 7UP and serve them with butter they taste just like lobster. So according to the rules of my Poor Man's lobster test I cooked it in the 7UP and tried it with the drawn butter then used the rest to make a Poor Man's lobster roll.

I was very pleased with the taste of the eelpout after boiling it in the7UP. It was sweet and had a nice texture although it was considerably softer than real lobster. I am not sure that cooking it in the 7UP actually helped or of it hindered the texture. If I get another eelpout I would like to try this again but instead of 7UP I want to try boiling it in salt water. The fish worked really well in the poor Man's lobster roll and after chilling the meat after cooking the texture was a little firmer.

For the most part I will say that eelpout is a very tasty fish and doesn't deserve any of the hatred it has had. What it isn't is lobster, even after poaching it in 7UP it was no where near as sweet as lobster and the texture was soft. I will try it again as I said cooking the fish in salt water to see if that helps with the soft texture. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

White-Tail Carne Asada

Back in the early 90's I was stationed at Camp Pendleton in California. Outside the back gate was a small Mexican joint called Eriberto's. It was kind of  a dive but they made some damn good food and I would find myself there on a regular basis. Men and my friend Kenny Hohimer would head out there after a night of drinking and order the Carne Asada burrito. It was a massive burrito and had to weigh close to two pounds. The meat was a little chewy and it was drenched in guacamole. The damn thing was so big that you would never make it through the whole thing which was great because it only cost about 5 bucks and you would easily get two meals out of it.

I have thought about that burrito often and have even tried a number of carne asada burritos since then. None of them have compared to the deliciousness Eriberto's would serve up. I finally decided it is time that I try my hand at making a carne asada. Carne Asada translates to "roasted meat" and is usually made with beef. I made mine with a white-tail deer roast that I was given. I cut the roast into 1/2 inch thick steaks and seasoned it liberally with salt and pepper before dropping it in the marinade. 

After sitting for two hours in the marinade I was getting a little hungry so I started the grill and got it up to a scorching 500 degrees. I didn't want to cook this for to long so I just gave about 4 minutes per side. 

4 minutes per side was about the right time and the meat was done to a decent medium rare. There was a good char on the corners and the marinade penetrated the meat fairly well but when I do it again I will probably let the meat sit in the marinade over night.

I sliced the meat about a 1/4 inch thick and gave it a squeeze of lime  before mounding it on to a tortilla with a good portion of guacamole. What I ended up with was about as close to the Eriberto's Carne Asada that I have found.

Venison Carne Asada

1 pound of venison steaks
8 ounces of lager beer
1/4 cup corn oil
1 charred jalapeno chopped
2 cloves of garlic
5 bay leaves crushed
3 tablespoons of fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Lay the steak out and salt and pepper them and let sit out for 15 minutes. mix together the marinade then add the steak and let marinade for at least 2 hours preferably overnight. Remove the steaks from the marinade and grill over high heat for about 4 minutes per side or until desired doneness. Chop the meat into bite sized pieces and use in a burrito or a quesadilla or any way you see fit.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Campfire Cuisine

Last week I hosted a campfire cooking class for the St. Paul community Education. This is a class I have done in the past and I really enjoy doing it. The class doesn't just focus on backcountry camping but that is a part of it. Basically I break camping down into three groups. Cooking over a campfire, cooking with a small camp stove and cooking at a campground or park with all the amenities. There are tones of different choices depending on what you are doing and where you are.

When you are at a park or campground and were able to drive your car right to the camp site you have the luxury of bringing all of your cooking gear with you. In situations like that you really aren't limited at all. You can grill, fry, roast, hell you can even bake if you want to. If you are going to hike 12 miles into the Boundary Waters you are somewhat limited in the amount of gear you can bring. It is my feeling though that you shouldn't be limited in the kinds of foods you bring.

We have all eaten freeze dried meals and plenty of ramen noodles but sometimes that just isn't good enough. I recently wrote and article about Good To-go gourmet dehydrated meals. They are unlike any dehydrated meal I have ever eaten and are legitimately delicious. You could very easily survive a week in the mountains eating very well with them. But sometimes I like variety and certain foods aren't always available. Luckily with companies like Camp Chef they offer the gear to help you with that variety. Their mountain series cook set and stryker 100 are indispensable and travel with me everywhere I go. Whether its into the wilderness or just out ice fishing there is almost no limit to what I can pull off with them. If I wanted spaghetti and meatballs from scratch I could pull it off. If I want to make a vortex egg for breakfast or a pasta carbonara for lunch or chicken and dumplings for dinner I can do it.

Camp cooking isn't hard it just takes some planning. I like to make Orange chicken when I go camping or venison quesadillas. If you do just a little planning ahead it is all very possible. If you have kids like mine they will only eat so many hotdogs before they revolt. I have included a few of my favorite camp meals at the end here give them a try and get outdoors.

Vortex Egg
¼ cup salt
2 eggs
Olive oil
Fresh Herbs

Beat the eggs completely. Boil the water in your stock pot and add the salt. When the water is boiling take a spoon and swirl it until a vortex forms. Drop the eggs in the middle and let is cook for about a minute. With a slotted spoon remove the eggs and drain. Top with one teaspoon of olive oil and fresh herbs.

Chicken and Dumplings
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 shallot, diced
1 carrot, diced
16 oz chicken stock
1 pouch of chicken
Salt and pepper  to taste
For the Dumplings
½ cup bisquik
¼ cup powdered milk
½ cavendars greek seasoning
¼ cup water

Pre make the dumpling mix minus the water and store in a ziplock bag.  When you are out and ready to eat smash the garlic and dice the shallot and carrot. Heat the oil in your pot and add the veggies and cook for one minute. Add the stock and ring it to a boil. Mix the water with the dumpling mix and cut one corner of the bag open.  Squeeze the dumpling mix into the boiling stock and cook the dumplings for 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken and cook for one more minute. Season with salt and pepper.

Spam Musabi
½ cup sushi rice
1 cup water
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon Aji-mirin (seasoned rice wine vinegar)
1 tablespoon sugar
½ tsp salt.
1 single serving of spam
1 sheet of Nori paper cut in half.

Bring the water to a boil on the jet boil and then add the rice. Cook for a few minutes then set aside with the cover on for 10-15 minutes. Mix together the wine, mirin, salt and sugar. Fold this into the rice and let sit for five minutes. Sear the spam in your frying pan and then set aside. Place  aquarter of the rice in the middle of the nori and top with the spam and then more rice. Fold the nori over the rice and spam and let sit for a couple of minutes.

Venison quesadilla
1 lbs ground meat
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp garlic powder
1  7oz. can green chilis

Season the meat with the seasonings and then brown the meat ahead of time, when the meat is cooked add the green chilis and store in a freezer bag until ready to use. When you are ready to assemble the quesadillas place cheese in the middle of a tortilla and top with some  of the meat mixture. Top with another tortilla and cook on a griddle with some butter until the tortilla is golden brown and the cheese is melted.

Orange Chicken
For the marinade
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cooking rice wine
1 tsp minced ginger
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup corn starch
1 pound chicken cut into one inch pieces

Combine the soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, garlic, yolk and starch and whisk together. Once the marinade is combined add the chicken once that is done you can put it in your cooler until you are ready to make it.

In small batches take the pieces out of the marinade and fry the chicken in oil and make sure the pieces don’t stick together. Fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes until cooked through. Set the fried pieces of chicken aside and pour the oil out of the pan.

For the sauce
Zest one orange
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
½ tsp sesame oil
1 tablespoon sriracha or similar chili sauce
1 tablespoon corn starch

Combine all the ingredients for the sauce and whisk them together once they are mixed put them in a sealed Tupperware container and save for when you are ready. Heat the pan over medium high heat and add the sauce to the pan. Add all the chicken pieces back into the sauce and heat until the sauce thickens. Toss to coat all the pieces and serve with rice.

Maple toasts with soft cheese
1 piece of sour dough bread
1 ½ tablespoon of unsalted butter
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
Cheese of your choice

Melt the butter in a skillet and add the syrup. When the syrup is sticky and bubbling add the bread. The bread will absorb the butter and syrup mixture quickly so after it hits one side flip it over so the other side gets coated as well. Cook the toasts until lightly golden on both sides and serve with soft cheese. I like a stilton or camembert.