Rabbit Gravy over Wild Rice

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By using a pressure cooker, rabbit and gravy can be made in about one hour.

This recipe is for all the gardeners who are wondering what to do to keep rabbits from destroying their gardens. I used a pressure cooker for the rabbit which is a fairly fast way to make really tender and juicy rabbit. While the rabbit is pressure cooking, make the wild rice and you have a delicious meal in short order.

Rabbit

Ingredients
1 rabbit dressed and quartered
I teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 onion quartered
1 cup of water
and ½ cup white wine.

Gravy
1 can cream of mushroom soup
¼ to ½ cup flour
cold water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions
Sprinkle poultry seasoning and paprika on rabbit pieces. Place rabbit in pressure cooker along with water and wine and onion. Bring to pressure and cook for 15 minutes. (My cooker is calibrated for 15 psi of pressure). When the rabbit is done, depressurize the cooker and remove rabbit. Stir cream of mushroom soup, salt and pepper into liquid left in the cooker. Mix flour into cold water and add to mushroom soup mix. Stir until gravy thickens. The amount of flour used will depend on how much liquid is in the pressure cooker and how thick of gravy you prefer.
Use two forks to debone rabbit meat and return deboned meat to the gravy. Let simmer on low for a bit.

Wild Rice

Ingredients
1 carrot thinly sliced
2 stalks celery chopped
½ cup chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped ramps (can substitute 1 medium onion and one clove diced garlic)
1 cup wild rice*
2 cups water

In a cast iron skillet heat 1/3 cup oil and sauté carrot, celery, mushrooms and ramps. Add wild rice and stir in for a couple of minutes. Then add water and cover and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let steam for 5 minutes. * If using commercially harvested and processed wild rice the cooking time will be about 30 to 45 minutes and you will need 2 ½ cups of water so the rice will need to be started before the rabbit and cooked separately from the vegetables

To serve, put wild rice on plate and add gravy over the top.

Red Dragon Pie

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Red Dragon Pie is a Hearty and filling vegetarian meal.

Fortunately, one does not need to don shiny armor and a sword and head out to mystic mountains to slay a red dragon to make this vegetarian dish. The red comes from the use of the red adzuki bean and red pepper. Adzuki beans are hard to find so you can substitute any red bean. I used a mix of beans from the garden. Kidney or chili beans will work well. There is also red pepper flakes in this dish so it could be as hot as dragon flames if desired. Another possibly hard to find ingredient is soft goat cheese for the mashed taters. Cream cheese can be substituted for the soft goat cheese. If canned beans rather are used instead of dry beans many hours of cooking time will be saved.

Ingredients

1 cup of dried adzuki beans or substitute another dry bean or canned beans. If using dry beans, soak them over night. 2-8 oz cans of beans will work.

1 teaspoon thyme or 1 sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion diced
1 carrot diced
2 stalks of celery diced
dried chili flakes to taste
1 large red pepper chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon soy sauce
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
3-4 large potatoes chopped
2 tablespoon butter
1 cup of soft goat’s cheese or cream cheese

Directions

1. Simmer the soaked beans in a large pot for about an hour or until beans are tender with the bay leaf and thyme. If using caned beans-open the cans. When done simmering drain beans, but save liquid.

2. Heat oil in cast iron skillet and then saute the onion, carrot, celery and chili pepper. When this mix begins to get soft, add red peppers, and cook for about 8 more minutes.

3. Measure out 1 ¼ cups of bean liquid and add it to vegetable mix, also stir in tomato puree and soy sauce. If using canned beans, now is the time to add the bay leaf and thyme. (remove the bay leaf when done simmering) Simmer gently for half an hour. Add parsley at end of cooking time.

4. While bean veggie mix is simmering, boil the potatoes until tender. Drain. Place in bowl with goat cheese butter. Wait a few minutes for butter and cheese to begin to soften and then mash.

5. Spread potato mix on top of bean/veggie mix. If using cast iron leave bean/veggie mix in skillet. If not, transfer mix to casserole before putting on mashed potatoes. Bake at 325° in the oven for about 30 minutes. Pie should be bubbly on bottom and lightly brown on top.

California Style Ramps & Eggs

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Ramps are one of the first wild foods to emerge in the spring. To me, their flavor is a cross between onion and garlic. Ramps can be eaten raw or incorporated into many dishes.

Last December, we were fortunate enough to spend a week in California. We visited my daughter who lives in Los Angeles and ate some amazingly good food. We quickly noticed that just about every dish in LA is served with avocados. We also had some really great vegetarian meals. So I used these ideas for my starting point when I created this ramps recipe. The ramps are up, but their growth so far is stunted. They are about half the size that they normally reach. Not sure if the slow growth is being caused by the snow, cold, or lack of moisture.

CA Style Ramps & Eggs

Ingredients

1 bunch of ramps cleaned
1 green pepper
1/2 container of fresh mushrooms
2 cups diced potatoes
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
handful of cherry tomatoes

Thin slice the white bulb and purple portion of the ramps. Slice the green leaf part into 1 inch wide strips and set aside. Chop green pepper and slice mushrooms. Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet then begin to saute sliced ramps, green pepper and mushrooms. After about 5 minutes add diced potatoes. Stir frequently. While potatoes are cooking, beat eggs well and then mix in milk. When potatoes are cooked, stir in cherry tomatoes and ramp leaves. Next, stir in egg and milk mixture. Reduce heat, and cover and let cook until the egg mixture is solid.

Sour Dough Bread

Few food items conjure up images of pioneers and prospectors like sour dough bread. Hardy Alaskan prospectors who had been in country for a winter or more were accorded special status with the title “Sourdough”. The Sourdoughs in Alaska protected their starter from the cold of winter by keeping in it a bag under their clothes. Since bathing during the long cold Alaskan winter wasn’t practical, I wonder what flavors were imparted to the starter while it was kept under the prospector’s clothing. Sourdough is sort of a self rising ingredient so one can use low gluten flours like all purpose and rye flour which do not work well with active bread yeasts which needs the gluten to make the bread rise. The trade off is that sourdough breads take longer to rise than breads using active yeasts.
Sourdough Starter
The first step to making sourdough bread is to create a starter. This process can take up to two weeks. The two basic ingredients for sourdough starter are water and flour. A third basic ingredient is wild yeast which is everywhere. The water and flour is left open to the air so the yeast can fall into the flour/water mixture where it begins to ferment. Eventually the starter is formed. To speed the fermentation process up, a sugar such as honey, white sugar, brown sugar, or a fruit juice can be added to the starter. Packaged yeast can also be added to the starter. The starter I used called for
1 package of dry yeast
21/2 cups warm water
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Table spoon honey or sugar. (I used honey)

The ingredients were dumped in a bowl, a cheese cloth was put over the top and the mixture was left to ferment. The mixture had to be stirred two or three times a day. When the starter was bubbly and smelled like a frat house after a wild beer party-it was ready for baking.
Sour dough bread
1 cup sour dough starter at room temperature
1 package dry yeast dissolved in 1 ½ cups warm water
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ to 1 cup all purpose flour

Mix 2 1/2 cups flour, salt, baking soda and sugar into dissolved yeast mixture. Add starter, then mix in as much of the ½ to 1 cup of flour to mixture stirring with spoon. Kneed on a lightly greased surface adding flour until you have a moderately stiff dough. Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down, divide into two loaves and let rest for 10 minutes. Shape dough into round or oval loaves and place on a greased cookie sheet or round pan. Cut a criss-crossed pattern on top of loaves with a sharp knife. Cover loaves and let rise until doubled. This may take up to a hour and a half. Bake in a 400 degree over or in a hot Dutch oven. One tip from the cook shack: If using the oven preheat the oven to 450 and the turn down to 400 after the dough is in the oven. If using the Dutch oven preheat prior to placing the bread in the oven. Also, place the dough in a cake pan and elevate the pan from the bottom of the Dutch oven to lower the risk of burning. I use metal corner brackets to elevate the pan. The bread is one when you tap on the crust and it sounds hollow.
Sourdough bread is a culinary experience worth the time and effort it takes to make it.

Blues Burgers

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Blues Burgers is a great way to dress up a hamburger. It can be grilled or broiled.

Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Robert Johnson, Stevie Ray, Mark Cameron, and tons of other awesome musicians all play some mighty great blues. Its my favorite type of music. So when I saw a recipe call Blues Burgers I knew I had to try it. I even had the sound track to the Blues Brother 2000 movie jammin in the background while I was cooking. I added caramelized onions and dry sauteed the mushrooms rather than sauteing them in butter as in the original recipe. I used a burger press to make the burgers. I kept the burgers on one sheet of the wax paper until it was time to cook them up. This made handling easier and gave more area for sprinkling the blue cheese on the burger. Take special care to make sure the edges are sealed around the entire burger or the cheese will leak out. This is a great burger. Definitely worth the extra effort

Blues Burgers

Ingredients

½ lbs fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ lbs burger
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Cayenne pepper to taste
2 oz crumbled blue cheese
BBQ sauce
Caramelized Onion slices

Directions

Saute the mushroom in a dry pan until tender. In large bowl, mix burger and spices and form into 8 thin patties. Sprinkle half the patties with blue cheese. Place remaining patties on top of blue cheese and smoosh together especially the edges. Grill or broil for ten minutes or till desired doneness. Place on a toasted bun, and top with BBQ sauce, onions, and mushrooms,.

Maple Roasted Venison

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In between cleaning snow off the drive way and snow shoeing, I was able to toss a venison roast in the oven. As an experiment, I poured a mixture of maple syrup, and rose wine over the venison roast. I also tossed the ingredients for a loaf of fresh whole wheat bread in the bread machine. I was so hungry when supper was finally done after smelling baking bread and roasting venison all afternoon. Maybe that is why this roast was so good. The venison was also served with a wild rice side dish.

Ingredients

Venison roast
¼ cup maple syrup
1 cup red wine. (I used cheap rose)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon onion powder
Teaspoon garlic powder

Directions

Place roast in dutch oven. Combine rest of ingredients and pour over roast. Cook at 275° for 4 hours. Ladle sauce over meat about every half hour. When roast is done, remove meat from dutch oven and use left over sauce to make gravy. Pour gravy over meat before carving.

Lefse

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Lefse is one of my favorite holiday foods. But I have never been able to make it until recently when I joined my friends, the Hansens, for their annual lefse making affair. I discovered that making lefse is an intricate process. The process began the night before we rolled out the lefse, when the Hansens boiled up a bunch of russet potatoes and then riced them. Later they mixed up the ingredients listed below, and then rolled them into two ounce dough balls and chilled the dough balls. The next next afternoon, we the rolled the balls into sheets of raw lefse. We did this on a cloth covered lefse pastry board, and rollers covered with cloth socks. It was much like rolling out pie crust but much easier. Keeping the right amount of flour on the roller and the pastry sheet while rolling out the lefse sheets was critical to success during this step in the process.. Finally, the sheets were removed from the pastry cloths with a lefse stick and cooked them on electric lefse griddles.

Hansen’s Way Lefse Recipe
4 cups riced potatoes
1/3 cup half and half
6 tablespoons corn oil margarine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cup flour

Making lefse was a fun group project. We had two people rolling out the dough and two cooking and prepping the dough. Much mirth also accompanied our efforts.