WARNING: Do not read this if you are hungry or if it’s around LUNCH or DINNER!
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the most adept person in the kitchen. I’m working on it! It’s actually been one of my resolutions for 2013 – to taking cooking more seriously – especially when it comes to incorporating wild edibles, home-grown vegetables and wild caught/hunted game into my meals. It all comes back to my fervent belief in the importance of understanding and knowing exactly where the food I put into my body comes from. In the age of processed food, chemical preservatives and genetically modified produce, infusing these elements into one’s ‘lifestyle’ has never been more important. I highlight the word lifestyle because it really is a change in the way we look at food and where we get our food.
Making a long story short…
For many years I’ve incorporated wild edibles and wild game into my meals but quite frankly I’ve never been good at it. I’m not a good cook to begin with and using recipes that call for other types of meats like beef when I’m actually using duck or rabbit or venison makes it even more difficult. ALL MEATS ARE NOT THE SAME! It’s pretty frustrating if I’m being honest.
Finally, I’ve decided to turn to the expert. The expert in transforming wild edibles, home-grown produce and wild meats into absolutely delicious 5-star meals that will blow the socks off anything you’ll find in even the finest restaurant is Stacy Harris. Many of you have already heard of her. She is the author of several books, including Happy Healthy Family: Tracking the Outdoors In and most recently, Recipes & Tips for Sustainable Living. Stacy also runs her own blog at http://gameandgarden.com/.
I’ve seen, browsed, bought and read several other wild game cookbooks over the years but no one has come close to presenting wild game recipes in such an easy to understand, common sense, simple and yet fantastically delicious way as Stacy Harris does. Maybe it’s because she’s from the south. Who doesn’t love southern cooking (or southern women for that matter)? Or maybe it’s because I love how she incorporates her family into her writing. These aren’t just boring recipe books. They describe a lifestyle that is so unbelievably contagious you’ll consider quitting your job and moving to a small farm in Alabama after reading them. Her love for naturally fresh food from the garden, woods and water is so evident that you might even try eating the pages. I’m ashamed to report that they are not flavored so don’t try it. I’m also ashamed to admit that the pages of her cookbooks actually taste better than some of the wild game I’ve cooked over the years. But, this is CHANGING!
I really hope you’re not reading this around lunch or dinner. If you are, I warned you because whatever you’re about ready to eat is probably going to be disappointing after you read the next few paragraphs.
What makes Stacy’s cook books & recipes so special?
She lives this stuff. This isn’t a side project for her. She fixes these meals for her husband and 7 children. (Sorry guys, she’s taken.) Her family consists of avid hunters, gardeners, back-yard farmers and foragers. You get to know her family while she shares with you the recipes she uses to keep them all fed. These recipes are proven winners from someone on the front lines of what defines farm to table, or also in this case, wild to table cooking. If you’re ready to take your wild game cooking to the next level, her wild game recipes WILL NOT DISAPPOINT!
Creek, why are you torturing me?
Sorry, it’s going to get worse. Now for some of my favorite recipes! I wish I could type these with the same southern draw in which Stacy says them but you’ll just have to imagine it:
- Dandelion Greens, Arugala, and Crispy Fried Goat Cheese
- Wild Blueberry Pie (I literally licked the book page.)
- Stuffed Venison Loin
- Western Venison Open-Faced Sandwich with Fried Egg (I’m officially selling my house and moving South – screw it)
- Venison Sausage Patties (My stomach just ate itself)
- Venison Korean Wraps (Actually, I’m just abandoning my house. Selling takes too long. Bye.)
- Skewered Wild Turkey with Chili Ginger Dipping Sauce (I tried to eat another page again – still no favor!!!) Stacy if you ever read this can you please make books with flavored pages at least!
- Wild Duck Meatballs (This is ridiculous and completely out of control.)
- Rustic Quail Pizza (CANNOT wait to try this one.)
It’s not just recipes folks!
In her new book, Recipes & Tips for Sustainable Living, I enjoyed her tips and tricks just as much as the recipes. The book is filled with great tips from an experienced veteran of wild game cuisine! For example, these excerpts:“Cooking preparation is essential to the tenderness of the duck. Many people tend to overcook wild duck. Serving duck rare is by far my favorite application, but duck can also be braised in oil. Removing the fat from wild duck and replacing it with olive oil mixed with butter gives the duck an earthy favor, and removes the gaminess that can be distasteful.” and “Our farm, in Central Alabama is full of purslane. It is a leafy vegetable of which stems, leaves and flower buds are edible. Purslane has the highest Omega-3 fatty acids of any vegetable. We use purslane in salads as well as saute them for a bed underneath fish in that their tangy flavor enhances in much the same way as lemon or lime.”
Stacy’s discussion of foraging and inclusion of wild edible plants makes her cooking philosophy even more appealing to me. I am really looking forward to using wild edibles in a completely new and different way on the table – NOT just for survival applications, which I am so wired to do. Why pigeon hole such amazing wild resources!
If you’re like me and wanting to up your “Wild Game” game in the kitchen, Stacy’s books are worth a serious look. And, Father’s Day is just around the corner too. If your Dad likes hunting, fishing AND cooking then this would be a perfect gift. You can’t have MY COPY – so don’t ask. I have an autographed one and I’m keeping it!
Oh, and just in case you’re wondering what John 6:35 says. I looked it up for you.
“And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”
Pretty freakin’ cool. Don’t worry, you too can get a signed copy at: http://gameandgarden.com/shop/recipes-and-tips-for-sustainable-living/
When it all falls apart – at least we can still eat like kings. I’d better start practicing!
Remember, it’s not IF but WHEN,