Category Archives: To-Go-Withs

FAVORITE SIDE DISHES FOR FISH AND GAME

Vegetables: The Most Authoritative Guide To Buying, Preparing, and Cooking with More Than 300 Recipes by James Peterson.

Vegetables: The Most Authoritative Guide To Buying, Preparing, and Cooking…by James Peterson.

The follow-up to his James Beard award-winning Fish & Shellfish, James Peterson’s newest book,Vegetables, will be the most authoritative book on the topic. In addition to the more than 300 wonderful recipes, Peterson includes an encyclopedic introduction covering topics such as vegetable varieties, uses, buying, preparation, storage, and more — basically everything you’ll ever need to know.

The recipes span the globe — everything from American mashed potatoes to stir-fried bok choy. Although there are plenty of vegetarian recipes — many without dairy products — James Peterson isn’t afraid to add smoked ham or meat stock to his vegetable recipes, if that’s how they’re best enjoyed. Just like his previous award-winning cookbooks, Vegetables will be required reading (and cooking) for beginners, culinary professionals, and all levels of cooks in between.

Of Babe Ruth and Wild Rice – Recipes For The Sportsman

 

Babe Ruth Retires in Front of Adoring Crowd
Babe Ruth – Athlete and Sportsman

 

The world of sports offers a long list of heroes and icons, but few names grow even larger over time. The Name Babe Ruth is one of those, and for good reason. He may have been the most dominating baseball player of his time, and all time, and he is considered to be one of the greatest sports heroes in American culture. He was a living legend and his fame and persona completely transcended the game. I wish I had met him, or at least been able to watch him swing.

What is not as well-known is that “the Babe” loved to hunt and fish. It appears that baseball was indeed the perfect sport for a man of his appetites. For when his hands were empty of bats and gloves, they most often held a fishing rod, or his favorite shotgun. Babe loved his duck blinds, and the pursuit of feathered game. He liked to eat too, and he liked to cook what he acquired in the field. His favorite recipe could be a main camp meal, or a side dish to accompany his hunter’s reward. He called it “Wild Rice for Game“.

Or so notes, “Famous Sportsmen’s Recipes For Fish, Game, Fowl and Fixin’s“, compiled by Jessie Marie Deboth. It’s a lovely and unpretentious little volume, a copy of which I have had in my personal collection for some years.

 

Sportsmen's Recipes, Compiled By Jessie Marie DeBoth. Cookbook. From the Collection of Michael Patrick McCarty

 

“The sportsmen of America have written this book, by contributing their favorite recipes for game, for fish, for birds. The recipes reflect the quality of mind and spirit that makes the true sportsman”.

Miss DeBoth goes on to dedicate the work “to the sportsmen and true conservationists of america, the conservationists of our natural resources of wild life, and the true protectors of the rightful heritage of future generations of americans, admiringly I dedicate this book of their favorite recipes, as cooked by them in their favorite outdoors”. I am certain that Mr. Ruth would agree.

His selection calls for 2 cups of wild rice, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 3 cups of water. “Put this into a double boiler after washing thoroughly, making sure that the water covers the top of the rice. Do not at any time stir the rice – always shake it. Allow to boil for twenty minutes, then drain off the water and continue to cook over a low flame for fifteen minutes, then add: 3 finely chopped onions, 1 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon sage, 1 teaspoon thyme. This recipe will make enough to serve six people”.

Ray Holland loved his waterfowl too, and our recipe book lists his hobby simply as “Duck Shooting”.  He grew up on waters teeming with waterfowl, and he shot his first duck with a muzzleloader shotgun in 1893 at the age of nine. For those in the know this is the equivalent of saying that Michael Jordan used to enjoy shooting a few flat-footed free throws in a pick up basketball game, and we all know how that turned out.

Mr. Holland was editor of Field and Stream magazine during its heyday in the 1920’s and 30’s, and an author of sporting classics like “Shotgunning in the Lowlands”. An ardent conservationist, his tireless efforts to protect this precious migratory resource is one of the reasons we still have ducks to hunt today.

His recipe for “Roast Wild Duck” is as follows: “Cut up together celery root, turnip, onion, parsley, carrot. Fry with a few slices of bacon in roasting pan until whole begins to brown. Upon this place the duck, thoroughly washed and salted, either larded with or covered by a strip of bacon. Baste, while roasting, with red wine. When done, pour cream over whole and allow it to become brown. Remove duck, mix in flour, allow to brown. Strain and serve sauce over sliced duck and dumplings”.

Zane Grey is mentioned here, as Zane Grey, author. His angling exploits are now regarded as somewhere beyond legendary, and really not possible today. He wasn’t a bad writer either.

His contribution is “Broiled Oregon Steelhead“. He says, “It is rather difficult to choose my favorite recipe, but in thinking it over, I know of nothing more delectable than a fresh caught steelhead from a swift running Oregon river. This must be cut in pieces to fit an iron broiler, thoroughly salted and peppered and rubbed lightly with bacon fat and then broiled over a bed of hot coals protected on three sides by some built-up rocks on which the broiler can rest. I cannot give a definite time as this would depend upon the thickness of the fish. Anyway, cook until done”!

 

A gorgeous steelhead succumbs to a spinning rod and light tackle.
A Spinning Rod of Blue Steel

 

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. liked to roll his duck in clay and built a fire on top. “The time necessary, of course, depends on the size and heat of the fire, but in general, don’t be too eager and give the bird sufficient time”. Excellent words of advice I would say, but I wonder where he found the time, being the son of a rough-rider and a President and all, as well as a world adventurer in his own right.

The recipe list continues. We have “Javanese Rijstaffel (Rice Table) from Frank Buck, Explorer and Wild Animal Collector. And, “Swiss Steak“, with elk, moose, or caribou (elk preferred) from Elmer Keith, Hunter, Writer, and Firearms expert. Jack O’Connor, perhaps the most famous gun and outdoor writer of all time, talks of baked quail and bread crumb dressing. Or perhaps you would like to try a recipe for “Dry Panned Steak“, by Eugene V. Connett, publisher of the finest sporting titles of all at his cherished Derrydale Press.

And I simply must one day try “Slumgullion” by C. Blackburn Miller, “Shoepack Pie” by Robert H. Rayburn, or “Horton’s Mulligan Stew“, by the Honorable Karl Mundt, Congressman and former Vice-President of the Izaak Walton League.

When I have tried all of these, I shall make “Skunk Meat For the Camper“, by Paul A. Meyers.  He muses, “Contrary to ordinary belief, skunk meat is very palatable and tasty. Skin and clean the skunk, but be sure to remove the odoriferous glands. Parboil meat in a strong solution of salt water for 15 minutes. Drain this water and add fresh, season to taste, and allow to steam gently for one hour”. Can’t wait!

On the other hand, I think I will roast up a duck first, maybe laid under some coals of a camp fire beneath a starry night. Wild Rice will bubble in a nearby pot. I’ll finish my dinner with some of the raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries of Ozark Ripley’s “Outdoor Pudding”, and maybe add a finger or two of fine scotch in a metal cup to wash it all down. I will sip the scotch slowly, and ponder what it may have been like to play baseball with Babe Ruth. We could have shared a hunting story or two, and perhaps a plate of food.

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All excerpts from “Famous Sportsmen’s Recipes For Fish, Game, Fowl and Fixin’s“. Compiled by Jesse Marie DeBoth. Privately Published, 1940, 96 pages.

—Jesse Marie DeBoth was herself a celebrity cook. Called “Home Economist #1”, and “The woman with seven million friends”, she was a syndicated newspaper columnist and noted cookbook author. She conducted incredibly popular traveling cooking schools in the 1920’s through the 1950’s.

—-This work is out of print and fairly scarce. We generally have a copy or two for sale. Quote available upon request.

 

Famous Sportsmen’s Recipes For Fish, Game, Fowl and Fixin’s, Compiled by Jessie Marie Deboth. Cookbook, From the collection of Michael Patrick McCarty

 

By Michael Patrick McCarty

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Wild Rice Cooking: History, Natural History, Harvesting, and Lore (Paperback)

A complete guide to harvesting and cooking wild rice–with eighty recipes and a fascinating history of the plant. Winner of the Minnesota Book Award.

New From:$25.70 USD In Stock
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Grilled Elk Loin With Sun-Dried Cherry Sauce

First, and most importantly, one must find an elk, which of course is more often than not, easier said than done.

May we all be so lucky, though I can assure you that you will hunt much harder after enjoying this recipe!

 

A Young Bull Elk Walks Past A Game Gamera on an Early Summer Morning in Western Colorado. Photograph by Michael Patrick McCarty
Elk Loin On The Hoof

 

ELK LOIN

  • 3 pounds elk loin
  • 3 tablespoons each, chopped fresh parsley and thyme

Cut elk loin into 12 pieces, about 4 ounces each. Lightly pound to 3/4 inch thickness. Coat elk with parsley and thyme mixture and refrigerate overnight. Grill, and serve medium-rare.

 

SUN-DRIED CHERRY SAUCE

 

Cherry Sauce Recipe For Wild Game, Elk, and Venison
A Perfect Match For Elk

 

  • 1 cup sun-dried cherries
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 shallot, peeled and sliced
  • 1 glove garlic
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole glove
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme

Combine cherries and juices in a saucepan. Wrap remaining ingredients in cheesecloth and tie to close. Add to cherry mixture, simmer 15 minutes, then remove and discard bag. Puree mixture in blender of food processor and strain. Sauce should measure approximately 2 cups. If it greatly exceeds 2 cups, return to saucepan and reduce.

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*This recipe calls for a bed of Potato, Cabbage, and Mushrooms Compote and a side of Sweet Potato Croquettes, with a Salad of Mixed Greens and a Champagne Vinagrette dressing.

I generally will make this recipe with full sides at least once a year. To be honest, though, rarely do I have the patience to prepare the whole meal.

It’s all about the elk, for me, but then again, please don’t hog the cherry sauce!

Enjoy!

**Adapted from a recipe by Chef George Mahaffey at the Restaurant at The Little Nell. It can be found in Cooking With Colorado’s Greatest Chefs by Marilynn A. Booth. Give us a shout if you would like the full recipe, or, make a visit to the Little Nell in Aspen, and give it a try for yourself.

***This sauce is equally fantastic on Pronghorn Antelope, Venison, and many other types of wild game. I particularly enjoy it topped upon squab and pigeon.

Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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COLORADO’S BEST

 

Featuring 300 recipes from Colorado’s best-known restaurants, this new cookbook contains the 100 favorite dishes of the state’s top-rated chefs. First in the Signature Restaurant Series of cookbooks, this debut Colorado edition features the nature photography of John Fielder.

 

Cowboy Medicine – A Hunter’s Brew For You

Camping 8 Cup Blue Enamel Percolator Coffee Pot. RV Fire Pit Outdoor Maker Set (Misc.)

Brand New. Camping 8 Cup Blue Enamel Percolator with 4 Mugs Set 8 cup percolator and four 12 oz. mugs Kiln-hardened blue enamel finish to prevent chips and scratches Ideal for camping, recreational vehicles or home use Brilliant stainless steel rims Dimensions: 11 x 5.5 x 11 inches

New From:$30.06 USD In Stock
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A Steaming Pot of Coffee on an Outdoor campfire on a Ridge Overlooking Elk Country During a Colorado Elk Hunt
Set On Down and Stay Awhile. Photograph by Frank Donofrio

COFFEE UP – BOYS, AND GIRLS!

 

I am often struck by the power of photographs, and the way they can transport us in time and space, sometimes backwards to a place of fond memories, sometimes forward in anticipation of future adventures. I found such a picture tacked to the bulletin board of our local feed store, and I thought I would share it with you.

Exactly why it caught my attention so dramatically I do not know, but it stopped me in my tracks as I reached for the exit door. I stepped closer, and as I did it drew me deeper and deeper into that perfect recorded moment of experience. Perhaps it reminded me of a past hunt, with the excited chatter of friends or family nearby. Maybe you, like me, can imagine elk in the background and  just out of view, hanging on the edge of the timber on their way to cover or feed.  I can feel the crispness of the air there, and smell the smoke in the swirling winds. I can smell and taste the coffee too!

This wonderful image was captured by Frank Donofrio of Glenwood Springs, Colorado. He calls it “Cowboy Medicine”, and he has been kind enough to let us reproduce it here. It is an unexpected comfort, and a gift for the eye of the restless soul.

Frank tells me that he snapped it a few years back, on a mid November elk hunt in the spectacular high country near Aspen. He says it was a cold, blustery day, and that in his hunter’s wanderings he happened to meet up with a woman in her later years and her middle-aged son. They told him that they had grown up nearby and were quite intimate with the country, having hunted it all of their lives. They were happy to share some of their hard won backcountry knowledge, and more.

The son offered to build a pot of coffee to help stave off the numbing chill, right there and right then. Frank gladly accepted. After all, the company was fine, and the view was pretty good too.

Apparently, the man liked coffee of the cowboy kind, brewed simple, black, and strong. The recipe is not complicated, but ask anyone in the know and they will tell you that it’s proper preparation is still a fine art, freely given, yet earned on a life of many trails.

Start with a healthy slug of water, freshly drawn from a sparkling mountain stream. Bring to a roaring boil over a fire of spruce and pine, and throw in a handful or three of coffee grounds as you back the hissing pot from the hottest part of the flames. Let it simmer down a bit, and then throw in a splash of water or two or maybe a fist-full of snow to cool it down. Take it from the fire and set it on the ground awhile to let the grounds settle, but not for too long.

It’s always best served piping hot, and there is something to be said for a dose of grounds in the mix. The old cowboys used to say that you could tell when it was right when you could stand up a spoon in it. It’s about texture too, and if you look real hard you can see them there, squinting past weathered brows while chewing on their coffee behind big handlebar mustaches. Or at least I would like to think so.

Now kick back and wrap your hands around a steaming mug of mountain medicine for warmth and moral support. Enjoy the ride. Savor the moment. It’s the doing of it that counts and where you are that matters.

That place be elk country, and there is no finer location on terra firma to drink a’ cup a’ Joe.

I wish to be somewhere just like this next fall, god willing, squatting behind a cowboy fire on a rugged ridge of the Rocky Mountains. There may even be some horses close by, nickering and pawing in the soft white powder.

We’ll keep an extra tin cup in the outfit, just for you. Hope to see you there!

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*I have always heard references to the fact that the old-time ranch cooks would not think of forgetting to add a raw egg or some egg shells to a pot of their boiling brew. It turns out that this is true, as the egg or eggshell attracts sediment like a magnet and makes for a cleaner presentation.

Well, I have tried adding the eggshell, and it does work. For now I’ll withhold judgement as to whether this makes a difference in the taste, but it might. I haven’t tried the raw egg yet, but in the camps I generally inhabit a raw egg is a much too precious commodity to mix in my morning caffeine. But I don’t mind being wrong, and I shall try it sometime soon.

Of course if I do that will mean that I have shared another elk camp, and that would be more than fine.

I’ll be sure to let you know how it all works out.

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By Michael Patrick McCarty, Lover of Coffee and Elk Hunting.

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A Young Up and Coming Cowboy Discovers The Finer Things in Life - A Cup of Strong Black Coffee
Real Men Love Cowboy Coffee

Wild Rice: The Gourmet Grain

From The Song of Hiawatha

 

Unmolested worked the women,

Made their sugar from the maple

Gathered wild rice in the meadows…

Then Nokomis the old woman

Spoke and said to Minnehaha:

‘Tis the moon when leaves are falling

All the wild rice has been gathered…

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

BASIC COOKING DIRECTIONS

Cooking up a perfect pot of rice seems easy enough, but it is in fact a fine and gentle culinary art. Wild Rice can be particularly challenging, and our best efforts are not always fully rewarded. With that being said, wild rice perfection is possible if you use some simple and basic techniques.

The goal, of course, is a light, palatable dish of distinct grains that is neither mushy nor chewy. A small attention to plan and detail will provide a completely satisfying “gourmet grain”.

Bon Appetit!

RINSE

Drop one cup of wild rice into a large pan, and scrub under cold running water for two or three minutes. Transfer the washed rice to a sieve and rinse well with tap water. Shake vigorously to remove excess liquid and let drain for about 10 minutes.

HEAT AND RINSE

Bring to boil two cups of salted water in a saucepan and stir in the drained rice. Simmer for five minutes, remove from heat, and pour into sieve. Wash in cold water for two or three minutes, shake, and let dry for ten minutes.

HEAT

Bring to boil 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and add rice. Bring again to boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes.

REST

Remove from heat and rest for a few minutes to let the moisture redistribute evenly throughout the dish.

A close-up of a bowl of cooked wild rice
A Gourmet Grass

 

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Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty

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