Venison Roast

A few days ago my husband’s uncle shot a deer and gave it to us. We skinned it and quartered it. Some of the meat I ground up and the rest I made into roasts. This is one of the roasts. If you have such a cut of meat or any large muscle that is roast material, take it out of the fridge and salt it liberally about an hour before you’re ready to roast it. The salt does two things, it first draws liquid up out of the meat, that liquid melts the salt and then the meat reabsorbs the salty liquid and it flavors and tenderizes the meat. The trick to this is to salt the meat and let it rest, at room temperature, for an entire hour until the salt is completely dissolved. You can read more about this technique here.

Please note that all my pictures are taken with a cell phone and it’s not a smart phone, so the resolution is a bit crappy (sorry).

This is a ham. I've separated the leg at the joint. It's been liberally sprinkled with salt and has been sitting for about 20 minutes.

Next, I sliced up a bunch of onions and some carrots and went and snipped some rosemary from the garden and put all this into my roasting pan.

Veggies in the roasting pan.

Once my roast was done resting, I put it in the roasting pan on top of the veggies and then laid some rosemary on top.

Roast in the pan with rosemary

The I covered the entire roast with bacon. Laying first one way and then the other to make sure that it stayed on during cooking.

Because venison is so lean, the bacon adds fat to keep the meat moist and imparts a nice smokey flavor.

The into the oven it went! For about 3 hours at 300*F. You want to reach an internal temperature of about 140. Once you reach that temperature, take it out, tent it with foil and just leave it alone for about an hour. The temperature will continue to rise to about 160-165 and you will end up with a medium rare cut of meat that is perfectly juicy.

Now we had already started digging in before I remembered I was supposed to take pictures of the roast when it came out of the oven.

I had already removed the bacon and cut several slices. I serve the bacon alongside the meat.

Some slices and the bacon

So that’s my roast deer! The flavor was absolutely wonderful with rosemary undertones. The meat was tender and juicy and just that perfect medium rare.

Hope one day you can get your own and try it!





Filed under Game, In the Kitchen, Using Wild Things

Granola (again)

Today is a dreary rainy day and I decided to spend it making granola (again). I’ve been playing around with different variations and I found one that we both love and I get asked to make it all the time. So I’m sharing it here today.

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large bowl mix together about 6 cups rolled oats, about 1/2 cup wheat germ (toasted or untoasted) and about a cup or so of chopped pecans. In a bowl or large measuring mix together about half a cup of pure maple syrup, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar and about 1/4 cup or so of vegetable oil. Make sure it’s all combined really well, pour it over the oats and stir it all together. Make sure all the oats and nuts are thoroughly coated. Spread this in a large shallow pan, like a jelly roll pan. Bake for about and hour and a half, stirring about every 30 minutes or so. Once it comes out of the oven, let it cool for a few minutes then add about a cup or so of dried cranberries (I use Craisins). Make sure the granola is completely cool before you put it into a container or a bag, or else steam will get trapped in there and made it soggy.

That’s it! This makes a wonderful granola with just a hint of sweet maple and has become our very favorite.


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First Harvest from the Fall Garden

Went out to the garden to check on things and the collards were getting pretty big, so I cut some of the biggest leaves, leaving the rest to grow out. There were some turnips, too, that I picked. They are a little small, but they will be nice roasted whole with other root vegetables.

The cell phone takes pretty awful pictures, so please bear with me till I can get a real camera 🙂

Baby turnips and collard greens

A friend of ours gave us a deer and I will post pics of how I process the shoulders and ham tomorrow.

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Chick Update!

The chicks are 1 month old today! They are enormous compared to the “mystery chick” who we believe is a Black Australorp (but we’re not 100%). They are rapidly outgrowing their pen. Next weekend we are moving them out to the barn where they will have tons more space and a yard where they can scratch the grass and lay in the sun 🙂

The Australorp is dwarfed by the CornishRocks - these birds are all the same age.

I did a fair amount of research before deciding to raise CornishRocks. A lot of things I read said their chicks were very lethargic and just laid around all the time and hardly ever moved. Now things may change when they’re bigger, but for now, ours are pretty active. When I lift the lid on the pen to get out their waterers and feeders a couple will fly up and perch on the edge and watch me. They run around and even play fight with each other. If you put a grasshopper in there, then you really see them run! I’m hoping since ours have space to run and play and flap their wings and even fly if they want that we might avoid the leg problems and health problems I’ve heard about. But only time will tell.

An observer who was watching me refill the feeders

Another curious bird

Unbelievable how quickly they grow!


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Chicken Noodle Soup

We love roast chicken here. Add mashed potatoes, collard greens and biscuits and it’s a dinner we look forward to all week! Once the chicken is all eaten up, the remains become an even better dinner, Soup!

Take your chicken carcass and put it in a large pot. Take 3 or 4 carrots and a couple of stalks of celery and break them into large chunks and put them in the pot, you don’t have to peel them or cut the ends off…they’re flavoring your broth, just make sure they’re clean. Cut an onion in half and toss that in there. Add a bay leaf or two, a few whole garlic cloves (smashed) a few whole peppercorns, a bit of salt and then enough water to cover the chicken by an inch or two. Bring this to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pot and just let it simmer all day or at least 3 or 4 hours. When I make soup it takes all day. I start the pot early in the day and near dinner time the pot has reduced and the broth is a lovely golden color.

When you’re done simmering and your ready to start your soup, turn off the heat and let the pot cool down for about an hour, it will still be plenty hot, you just don’t want to scald yourself. Get your biggest bowl or another pot and put a colander in it. Carefully pour your pot of broth and bones and vegetables into the colander. That lovely broth is the base for your soup! Pour your broth back into your pot and put it back on the stove and bring it up to a simmer. You can put all kinds of vegetables in your soup…I put carrots, potatoes and buttercup squash. You can put your favorite vegetables in yours, just make sure they’re all cut to about the same size for even cooking.

Pick through the stuff in the colander and get out all the meat you can and put it in a separate bowl. You’d be surprised just how much meat is left on there! I take all the vegetable chunks and give them to the chickens.

With your broth simmering and cooking your vegetables, now it’s time to make your noodles!

Beat together 2 eggs and about 2.5 cups flour along with about 1/2 cup broth. I use a stand mixer and just dump everything in there and let it mix it up for me. But by hand, you’d mix it up as best you could and then knead it until it was smooth. Aim for a fairly stiff, but moist dough. Not too sticky. You made need more or less flour depending on the humidity. But don’t add too much, you don’t want dry noodles. Take your dough and roll it out to about 1/8″ thick, sprinkle flour over it then slice it with a pizza cutter or knife into fairly thin (1/4″) strips and then cut the strips to about 2 or 3 inches long. I have a hand crank pasta machine that rolls my dough out flat and then cuts my noodles for me (great machine and not terribly expensive either! Get your own here)

Be careful with your noodles and treat them gently. Try to keep them as separate as possible. It’s easier if you flour before you cut. Make sure your pot is gently boiling, increase the temperature slightly, and drop your noodles in one at a time until they’re all in there. Let the pot come back up to a boil (if it stopped, raising the temperature usually allows uninterrupted boiling) reduce the heat back to about medium and let the noodles cook for about 5 minutes.

Add your chicken, heat through and you’re done! Awesome homemade chicken noodle soup 🙂


My Chicken Noodle Soup

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Filed under Chickens, DIY, In the Kitchen, Noodles, Waste Not


“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am – a reluctant enthusiast….a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.”

― Edward Abbey

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Persimmon Cookies

Still without a camera, but still doing stuff and making things. I found some wild persimmon trees while walking one day, so I went home got a bucket and walked back and got all I could reach (which wasn’t much). After washing and pressing through a sieve I had just under a cup of persimmon purĂ©e. I’ve never worked with persimmons before, so I didn’t really know what to do with the purĂ©e…I’ve eaten plenty of persimmon pudding in my time, but I wanted something different. So I thought about cookies. I do a lot of baking kind of on a whim and “invent” recipes…So I creamed some butter and sugar and an egg and added the purĂ©e and then added flour with some nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. The resulting dough was a very sticky, like a really thick batter. But I greased my cookie sheet and dropped the dough by sticky  teaspoonful onto it.  They pretty much kept their shaped throughout cooking and had a very airy texture. As soon as they came out of the oven I rolled them in powdered sugar and then set them on the cooling rack. I tasted one fresh and it was divine! Prominent persimmon flavor with the earthy spiciness of the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Once cool the cookies remained soft and chewy and wonderful. My husband ate at least a dozen before I took them away from him. I immediately knew I had to try to remember what I had done and write it down for future batches. So here, as best I can remember, is my recipe for Persimmon Cookies:

1 scant cup Persimmon Puree

1 1/2 cups Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Lard (Butter is perfectly fine too, I just didn’t have any at the time)

2 tablespoons Milk

1 Egg

2 cups flour (I used self-rising because that’s what I had – add 1 tsp baking powder if using regular flour)

1/2 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Nutmeg (I grate mine fresh and didn’t really measure but it looked like about 1/2 tsp)

1/4 tsp Cloves

A couple handfuls of Chopped Pecans

Powdered Sugar (for rolling)

Greasing the cookie sheet is a fairly important step…I lightly greased mine each time and didn’t have any stick so I couldn’t get them off, but because they’re so very soft when they come out of the oven, they’re easy to get up with the spatula. Roll them in the powdered sugar while they’re still hot. I baked mine at 350 degrees for 12 minutes.


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Filed under In the Kitchen, Using Wild Things