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Recoil Rob

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  1. I've read a couple of people hear say they're too tough, to many tendons and either grind them up or toss them.

    Myself, I love them and keep any that fellow hunters don't want. I braise them, any kind of braise will do, red wine, stock (preferably venison stock), Middle Eastern spices, whatever you like. They fit great in the Le Creuset oval ovens. You do have to braise them a long time, but the tendons get soft and are delicious.

    I have thought about trying Osso Deero but they are too small in diameter for that, best to braise them whole.


  2. I find it easier to hang head down. You can skin down to the Atlas joint and then cut through it and the head comes off with the skin. It seems to me the animal stretches out better. Once skinned you can take off the shoulders, the rib and loins and then split the hindquarters.

    It's how I learned and seems natural to me. I've never hung it by the head and skinned.

    FWIW the local processore, who does close to 1000 deer a season, skins head down. Takes him about 4-5 minutes to skin a deer.

  3. Me and a buddy tried the golf ball method once. It worked but wasn't worth the trouble. I agree, hanging it by the hind legs and using a knif is the way to go.

    That curry sounds great but I'm having striped bass for dinner. We got out on Friday before the weather hit and had a field day with 30+ bluefish and about 12-15 stripers. Only the one striper was legal so we kept it and one bluefish which is curing as we speak into Blox (bluefish lox)!

    Maybe hunting tomorrow.

  4. I have a Foodsaver and I like it though the bags are expensive. To be honest, I used to just triple wrap in food saver film (read "plastic wrap") and then wrap in freezer paper. More work but just as good as Foodsaver bags. You do have to handle the Foodsaver bags carefully though. If you bump them around too much in the freezer you will cause a leak that won't be noticed until you pull a package out and notice the crystals inside. You can write on the bags, they even have a white strip for that.

    Ever hear of the "golf ball method" of skinning a deer?


    Nice buck Hardwater. Where to you hunt, in NH?

    I find that if you skin the deer when it's still warm it's much easier, I hardly ever even need a knife, just to start the cuts. I have a pair of welders clamp Vise Grips and I clamp that on and just pull, most of it come right off.

    One other thing is deer fat will go rancid quicker than other fats so don't put a lot in that bird feeder, no more than a few days supply.

    I was supposed to be hunting this morning, it's the NY opener but it's been pouring all day and too warm. I try Monday, less guys in the woods.


    I do believe that Hardwater is hunting more in my neck of the woods than yours! And, yes, skinning is easier when it is warmer.

    Vise Grips are a good things are is just flat standing on the hide that's on the ground and some brute force. Hanging the deer from the rafters with a block and tackle is a very good thing. One can raise and lower The Beast with ease.

    But, as to freezing the pieces. Assume that Food Saver is better than butcher paper? I don't have one of those food saver things, but my backdoor neighbor does, and I think just borrowing the machine and buying the bag roll thingee is a good thing, no? Can you write on the food saver bags with a sharpee?

  5. Nice buck Hardwater. Where to you hunt, in NH?

    I find that if you skin the deer when it's still warm it's much easier, I hardly ever even need a knife, just to start the cuts. I have a pair of welders clamp Vise Grips and I clamp that on and just pull, most of it come right off.

    One other thing is deer fat will go rancid quicker than other fats so don't put a lot in that bird feeder, no more than a few days supply.

    I was supposed to be hunting this morning, it's the NY opener but it's been pouring all day and too warm. I try Monday, less guys in the woods.


  6. Leave the skin on, I doubt it will make that difference in the amount of fat rendered and you need to crisp it before serving!

    To bad about no Vietnamese in Westchester. We went to a place outside of Danbuy, CT a few years back, never went back. I thought I had read on one of the local blogs that a new one had opened....

  7. Thanks Rob and Joan. Great suggestions, both.

    I may be in trouble now. My duck has been curing for almost 24 hours and I don't think I have enough duck fat.

    Maybe I should brush the salt off, put back in the fridge and start calling around. After all this work, I don't want to use olive oil.

    Last batch I made I used a modified recipe from CHARCUTERIE but the amount of salt they called for. If they have been salted for 24-48 hours you can go ahead and rinse them and pat dry.

    If you call HVFG tomorrow morning you'll have your fat Tuesday and proceed from there.

    BTW, do we have any good Vietnamese restaurants in Westchester yet? Connecticut?


  8. Just an update on the Breville Blenders. We bought on about 14 months ago primarily for smoothies, it gets used 2-3 times weekly and performs well, we like it.

    It gets wiped down when needed but that's it.

    As it turns out that attractive Breville "stainless steel" base is actually a diecast pot metal base that is painted with a silver paint. For no apparent treason except it's over a year old that finish has been peeling off and the base underneath is corroding. So far attempts to contact Breville have received no reply. In a few more months it's going to look like hell on the countertop.

    Caveat emptor...




  9. Of late one of my favorite sandwich fixin's is Hellman's Mayonnaise mixed with an Indian Pickle.

    I'm speaking of the Indian condiment, usually lime or mango pickle. You know, the stuff that smells like Kiwi Shoe Polish, you either love it or hate it. It's always too chunky to spread on a sandwich so I often take a jar and puree it a bit for convenience.

    Mixed with the Hellman's it has quickly become a favorite on sandwiches made with turkey, chicken, pheasant, any kind of white meat and sometimes even leftover hanger steak.

    Anyone care to offer up their favorite "bastard condiment"?

    • Thanks 1
  10. I had the livers from 6 pheasants last Sunday, I sauteed them in some olive oil, sage leaves, salt & pepper, and then coarsely chopped them. We did a risotto using some pheasant stock (chicken stock would do as well) and at the last minute stirred in the livers and some fresh sage chiffonade.

    It made a great primo piatti, it was followed by pheasant roasted with garlic & red wine vinegar and accompanied by broccoli rabe.

  11. And to swallow them whole... A bit passé. A bit of a waste, surely?

    Of course you are correct, a poor choice of words on my part. We certainly do chew them to savor the flavor. I should have said "too large for a comfortable mouthful".

  12. Thanks Kate, I'll give it a try next time.

    Please elaborate o the "sparkling water "technique, I haven't heard of that.

    FYI, if I'm ever short of rock salt to hold oysters or clams I take a sheet of aluminum foil that's about 2-3 times as long as my baking sheet and fold it into a 1' accordion fold. I then stretch it open enough to cover the sheet so it has peaks and valleys. You can then push the shells down onto the foil and it will mold the foil to hold the shells.


    I have a wealth of oysters from LI Sound and would like some new ways on cooking them. I see many recipes from France but few from Italy. I would love to hear of some Italian preparations for oysters.

    I don't know if this qualifies as "Italian" but Italian is my ethnic origin on my father's side and the preparation has garlic, fried fresh breadcrumbs, Italian (flatleaf) parsley and lemon juice. For my mother's 80th birthday party my sister sent us 6 dozen oysters (3 dozen Kumamoto and 3 dozen of a different and larger but equally mild variety whose name escapes me at the moment) from Seattle. We only had one proper Oyster knife between the three of us who actually knew how to shuck oysters. These babies were fresh and seemingly welded shut. After shucking 2 1/2 dozen we gave up and served them with a mignonette sauce, a cocktail-horseradish sauce and fresh lemons. Two of my siblings present for the feast cannot consume raw oysters even though they'd dearly love to so I promised to bake or grill the remainder the next day (secretly hoping the oysters would be less tenacious of life to yield more readily).

    The still defiant oysters required a short bath in sparkling water to "drunken" them up enough to open easily (I was amazed how well this trick worked!). This simple but absolutely delicious concoction is what I came up with from the ingredients left-over from our gargantuan food extravaganza of the day before.

    For 3 dozen oysters:

    4 cloves garlic minced

    1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs

    6 tbl butter (unsalted)

    lots of fresh lemon juice

    minced Italian parsley (to taste)

    Sea salt to taste

    Turn oven onto low broil. Saute garlic over medium to medium-low heat in the butter until soft. Add bread crumbs to the mixture and fry for a few minutes. To this I added a few tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and some of the nectar from the oysters and cooked for a few more minutes. (There was no rock salt in the larder and the oysters would have spilled too much of the nectar onto the sheet pan unsupported by salt so I just poured off a small quantity from each oyster into the saute pan). Off the heat add the minced parsley and salt and stir. Depending on the size of the oysters spread a teaspoon size dollop (for the kumamoto) or more for the larger. Place under the broiler and watch carefully to insure that the bread crumbs don't burn, until the edgs of the oysters start to wrinkle (about 5 minutes maximum). Serve immediately with fresh lemon wedges.

    Now I'm hungry for oysters :shock:


  13. Thank you Susan, that's a good starting place.

    Here in NY I belong to two hunting clubs that stock birds from a preserve on farmland we lease. They are organically fed birds let out into the wild. Some, though not a high percentage, manage to over winter so there is a small population of wild birds (if they avoid predators and make it through the winter we consider them wary enough to be called wild).

    NY has native grouse and the woodcock come through but pheasants don't have as strong a foothold as the do in the midwest.

    Whose recipe do you prefer to work off of for cassoulet?

    Rob, I'd start with the Cassoulet Cook-Off. And, don't forget, you simply can't go wrong with any cassoulet recipe of Paula Wolfert's.

    Question, however. Your pheasants. Farmed or wild? Purchased or hunted (by you)?

  14. I have been fortunate enough to find a great spot to harvest my own oysters here on LI Sound. These are of the Blue Point type, I'm allowed one half bushel per day. I usually end up with 60 or so of a size perfect for eating on the half shell and another 50 larger ones, really too big to eat raw in one swallow.


    We have perfected the cornmeal crusted, deep fried oyster, leftovers used in Po' Boys. I'd love to hear some recommendations for other cooked preparations. We've done the stuffed in the shell preparations (Oysters Rockefeller and the myriad of variations) and would like to try something different.

    I've done the cream sauce over rice thing but does anyone know of a recipe that uses oysters with pasta or some other kind of noodle? What about baked in a casserole type dish? No recipe is too involved, I like a good challenge.

    So tell me about an oyster dish you had in restaurant, read about or one that's an old favorite.

    How hard are the little guys to smoke?

  15. Cassoulet, cassoulet, yes, know I see....

    Alrighty then, as soon as the temps drop a few degrees here in SE NY it's Cassoulet!

    Whose recipe do you prefer to work off of for cassoulet?

    Thanks, Rob

    The stuff is gold. Use it for anything that you can benefit from a robust, salty gelling agent: soups, stews, cassoulet, beans, terrines. I've also used it to top jars of duck rillettes or confit instead of duck fat to similar effect.

  16. On Sunday I make enough for the whole week, pour it into a large Tupperware, let it congeal and cut it into portions. In the am I put a portion in a bowl , cover with plastic wrap and pop in the microwave for 2 minutes, stir and eat.

    I'll grant you it's not as creamy as fresh made but I save that treat for the Sunday I make it.

  17. The last few years I've been making pheasant confit, using the legs and thighs of pheasants. I'm using the basic recipe from "Charcuterie".

    In that recipe, after the meat has simmered in the fat, one removes the pieces to a container and covers them with the fat for aging. Left is the pot is the pinkish liquid which, if left with meat can sour it. It is recommended to strain this liquid and cool it which, because of all the natural gelatin it contains quickly comes together into a sort of aspic.

    In the book the authors recommend using it in a vinaigrette for salads, but no much else. I've tried that and it did nothing for me. I've reduced and clarified the amount I had, sort of like a demi-glace, does anyone have any other ideas for it's usage?

    Thanks, Rob

  18. There can be much confusion between the names of several fish caught in NY waters, bonito, bonita, false albacore and little tunny.

    True bonito and false albacore are very similar looking fish with completely different table qualities, bonito being excellent and false albacore usually released to fight again.

    Here's a link to telling them apart.

    Bonito are excellent on the grill with a soy base flavoring, and as the referenced link explains, can be substituted for mahi mahi or bluefish in many recipes.

  19. I've seen live eel in a tank in Chinese stores in my area, but the notion of skinning the darn thing was intimidating.  Is there any system besides the hanging by its head on a hail, etc.?  That's what's always put me off.

    If you're buying them in a store they'll skin them for you.

  20. American eels grow up to 4-5 ft, (at least I've seen them that big while scuba diving) but the more common size is 2ft. The are delicious if properly prepared.

    I made eel for one of the 9 Xmas Eve fish dishes last year, I used eel instead of flounder for a Sicilian sweet sour dish.

    The eel needs to be skinned, usually accomplished by putting the head on a hook or nail, cutting the skin around the neck area and peeling the skin back inside out towards the tail, like taking off a sock or condom.

    They have "Y" shaped bones so the meat is filleted off each side and cut into pieces 2-3"long, floured, egg dipped, breaded and deep fried. They are arranged on a plate and covered with a sauce of white vinegar, sugar, raisins, pignoli, capers and bay leafs, left to marinate at room temperature for a few hours before serving. The vinegar sauce nicely cuts the fatness of the eel.

    I adapted the recipe from Bugliali's FOODS OF ITALY.

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