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Category: Recipes

A lot of having a life in the wild revolves around food. Growing, raising, wild harvest, foraging – it’s all about food. I love to share my recipes. They’re simple recipes that don’t need fussy ingredients.

Squash Soup – Turning Leftovers to a Main Course

Squash Soup – Turning Leftovers to a Main Course

Squash Soup

Squash soup is another favorite way to use Thanksgiving leftovers. Did you see the recipe for Potato Pancakes? Squash soup and a potato pancake with a little sour cream on both would be really good right now!

For vegetarian and vegan recipe, skip this step. To add a little heat and hardiness to this soup I like to slice a quarter-pound of Linguica or Chorizo sausage into 1/4″ thick pieces. Saute the sausage in a small pan to release some of the oil. Remove the sausage and set aside. Pour 1/2 cup hot chicken stock into the pan, turn off the heat, and let it sit. Chop a few pieces of sausage into crumbles to use as a garnish.

To one quart of leftover winter squash (Butternut is my favorite; any dry squash works well) I add one to two cups of vegetable or chicken stock. Heat the squash and stock to simmering, and then add the sausage. Using an immersion blender, blend the squash and sausage until the sausage is in small pieces. By hand, stir in a teaspoon or two of cinnamon or nutmeg. I find allspice to be too strong for squash soup but if you decide to try it, start with a quarter teaspoon and add. You can’t take it out once it’s blended so taste the squash soup as you add.

I like to serve squash soup with a slice of warm homemade bread with a little butter. Dip your bread into the soup. Go ahead… Eat with your fingers a little! A dollop of sour cream or a little shredded cheese with the sausage crumbles on top is also nice. Pumpkin seeds and croutons add a little crunch. What else could we do? I love hearing suggestions.

Leftovers are convenient. When used as the main ingredient in an entirely separate dish they’re no longer leftovers but a main course. Enjoy!

Potato Pancakes Recipe – Thanksgiving Leftovers

Potato Pancakes Recipe – Thanksgiving Leftovers

Potato Pancakes

I’ve adjusted the ingredient measurements for these Thanksgiving leftovers recipes. They’re a little more solid than the recipes I gave in this week’s On The Fire on air – but there’s still a lot of wiggle room. The moisture content in your mashed potatoes will determine whether or not you need to use an extra egg or add all-purpose flour in your potato pancakes mix.

You’ll find another Thanksgiving leftovers recipe in Squash Soup.

Thanksgiving leftovers are one of the best parts of Thanksgiving. We spend hours roasting, washing, peeling, slicing, stirring, mashing, smashing and serving the meal. Thirty minutes after we say Grace everyone’s pants are unbuttoned and dinner’s over. After Dad and his hunting buddies and their sons, nephews and grandsons left for hunting dinner Mum, Melissa (my sister), Aunt Betty and I got the leftovers from the fridge and ate again. I stood in front of the stove frying potato pancakes for half an hour. Waddle we did when we were done and it was worth every single bite and calorie.

I like to serve potato pancakes with a dollop of sour cream and maybe some fresh chives. Topping them with shredded cheese as they come out of the pan is always a winner. Or top them with a fried egg and Hollandaise sauce.

Mincemeat Cookies – Mincemeat and Cookie Recipes

Mincemeat Cookies – Mincemeat and Cookie Recipes

Mincemeat Cookies

Mincemeat cookies? Really? ohh…no, thanks. I don’t really like mincemeat. “You’ll like these,” Erin Merrill said as she nudged the plate across the table a few inches. I resisted for a while. Erin looked from me to the cookies and back again several times, nudging them now and then. “They’re gooood.” Erin’s convincing, and as mom to my favorite little guy, she’s kind of hard to resist.
mincemeat cookies, mincemeat cookie recipe, mincemeat recipe, filled cookie, venison mincemeatShe was right. These cookies are fantastic. There isn’t a lot of mincemeat in this filled cookie so it’s a great recipe for someone who thinks they don’t like mincemeat cookies, or isn’t crazy about mincemeat but doesn’t hate it, to enjoy the cookies. The cookie recipe is Erin’s. The mincemeat recipe is my Mum’s.mincemeat recipe, mincemeat cookie recipe, venison mincemeat, mincemeat cookies

Mincemeat

Mincemeat was made back in the day when refrigeration wasn’t as easy as opening a door on an appliance. Spices were used as a preservative. Mum used basic measurements. The main ingredients are in pounds, the spices in tablespoons. If you want to use a bowl for the measuring container use the same bowl, and adjust the spices to suit the amount of main ingredients.

I store these cookies in the refrigerator because they’re filling so the batch lasts a while. I like to either warm them in the microwave for 10 seconds or leave them on the counter until the reach room temperature.

strong cup of coffee, erin merrilland a strong cup of coffee

Erin writes a blog called …and a strong cup of coffee. What’s it like to hunt from a woman’s point of view? She shares her experiences from learning with her dad to now hunting with Dad and her husband. Erin recommended me for the spot as co-host of On The Fire, and she’s a great friend, outdoorswoman, and financial supporter of this blog. And seriously, she makes excellent mincemeat cookies.

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Salted Caramel Apple Pie Recipe

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Recipe

Salted Caramel Apple Pie Recipe

Salted caramel apple pie is my new go-to pie for potluck suppers, Thanksgiving dinner, having guests over, and girlfriends’ lunch when it’s my turn to host here on the homestead. Steve takes it to office luncheons.  This pie is rich, sweet and immensely satisfying so you might consider a smaller-than-usual slice. Hahaha…no. Eat the pie. Enjou the pie.

salted caramel apple pie, apple pie, salted caramel, salted caramel sauce recipe, caramel sauce recipe

I am all for kids in the kitchen. Mine started cooking when they were three or four years old. This caramel sauce is not for safe for kids to make. The cold heavy cream hitting the hot syrup will spit and sputter. Adults need long sleeves and oven mitts. Kids need to be away from the stove. They can stir the sauce into the apples when it all cools down and drizzle is over the pie when plating slices. If you want to skip making the caramel sauce you can keep it simple. Go to the store and buy two 12 oz jars of caramel sauce. Warm the sauce and stir in the sea salt. Salted caramel apple pie without salted caramel really isn’t quite right. You will miss the salt in the caramel when you drizzle it over the top crust at serving time.

Apples

I like to use at least two varieties of apples for pie – Honey Crisp and a Winesap. Use what you like best for pies. This recipe is different. You’re going to cook the apples before they go into the crust. You do this so you can mix in the caramel sauce without it flooding the bottom crust. You’ll have no empty air pocket (a result of using apple varieties that aren’t great for baking in traditional apple pie recipes) between the top crust and filling no matter what varieties you use.

salted caramel apple pie, recipe, crust

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Pumpkin Whoopie Pies – Sweet Seasonal Treat

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies – Sweet Seasonal Treat

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

I use the recipe for soft pumpkin cookies for Pumpkin Whoopie Pies, and then use a cream cheese frosting recipe to make the filling for the pies. This filling recipe is very, very sweet. You might want to use almond extract instead of vanilla (did you know that lessens sweet taste?) and eight cups of powered sugar instead of nine. It’s not a huge difference but it does help.

pumpkin whoopie pies, recipe, cream cheese frosting recipe, cream cheese fillingGundy has a great suggestion. Make these for Halloween and double the batch. Freeze leftover whoopie pies for Thanksgiving, and eat frozen. I’m doing it!

And another suggestion – replace the milk in the filling with Bailey’s Irish Cream and make sure the kids don’t get into the adult batch of whoopie pies.

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Apple Cider Pulled Pork

Apple Cider Pulled Pork

Apple Cider Pulled Pork

Pigs love cleaning up the ground in an apple orchard. It seems fitting to simmer and serve pork and apple cider together. This is one of my favorite autumn meals, and it carries easily into winter. Busy with a day of hunting, stacking firewood, raking leaves, ice fishing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or shoveling the driveway after a storm? Whatever it is that’s keeping you busy on these chilly days, Apple Cider Pulled Pork is the answer to “What’s for dinner?” It takes about 30 minutes total to prepare and then takes care of itself the rest of the day.

Vinegar in pulled pork doesn’t sound quite right but don’t skip this ingredient. It will help break down the pork so that it shreds well.

You can change up the recipe by adding shredded carrots, chives or green onions, or chunks of apple in the last hour of simmering.

A toasted sourdough roll is a great way to serve this pulled pork. The sauce isn’t as thick as a barbecue sauce so it needs a sturdy bread, or you’ll probably want to drain some of the cider before serving. Or, keep the cider sauce and eat this sandwich with a fork.

Sauerkraut, baked beans or coleslaw are great sides with apple cider pulled pork. Gundy, my co-host at On The Fire, didn’t have a slice of bread in the house. He cooked a fast-cooking rice in the unthicked sauce and serve the apple cider pulled pork over the rice. I can’t wait to try this!

Pumpkin Pie – Untraditional Recipe, Traditionally Delicious

Pumpkin Pie – Untraditional Recipe, Traditionally Delicious

Pumpkin Pie

This isn’t your mom or nana’s pumpkin pie. Oh sure, they make great pie, no doubt. This pumpkin pie is different. It’s untraditional. What’s an untraditional pumpkin pie, you ask? Yogurt, extra spice, half the traditional amount of sugar, and if you have them, duck eggs. Want to shake up the universe? Okay, not the universe but your pie? Use squash. I’ll pause here while the cheering and head scratching subside. Did you know a lot of commercial canned pumpkin is winter squash? If you don’t tell anyone they probably won’t know the difference.

If you’ve grown or purchased pie pumpkins now’s the time to bake them, remove the flesh from the peel, and use it in this pie! When using commercially canned (I do as soon as our stored pumpkins are gone) you’ll need one can. If it isn’t exactly 16 ounces but it’s close, use it. It’s close enough.

How to Cook Fresh Pumpkin and Squash

You can use any pumpkin but pie varieties are so because they aren’t stringy and tend to be drier. You cook fresh pumpkin by cutting it into quarters or thirds, whatever fits in your pan. If the pumpkin is rock solid you can break it by dragging a kitchen chair out to the road, climbing on the chair and dropping your pumpkin to the pavement. Please have someone take photos and then send them to me to share here. You may send your pie pics as well. I’m not kidding. 🙂

Scrape out the seeds, place in a baking dish with an inch of water, and cover with foil. You can also use the slow cooker. Roast the pumpkin or squash in the oven at 350° for 45 to 60 minutes. A knife slides through easily when the pumpkin is cooked. Scrape flesh from the peel. Simmer the flesh until excess moisture is removed.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

Gluten is a protein found in cereal grains including wheat, the traditional grain used for flour. If you’d like a gluten free option you can simply bake the filling as you would a custard.

Five on Friday!

Chicken Brown Rice (Grouse) and Vegetables

Chicken Brown Rice (Grouse) and Vegetables

Chicken Brown Rice (or Grouse)

Working full time, running a homestead that produces most of our food, hunting season and home renovations make for exhausting days. Having a simple one-pot meal like Chicken Brown Rice that requires very little preparation time is a life saver some days.

This recipe works well with chicken, grouse, turkey, woodcock and other upland game birds. I used to make this with duck but have decided I like duck prepared in other ways much better. If you use duck be sure to add it at the very end of the cooking time so that it doesn’t over cook. Duck should be rare or at the most, medium-rare.

Start with a 12″ pan that’s 3″ tall and oven safe. You’ll begin cooking on the stove top and then transfer the pan to the oven. Chicken Brown Rice starts simmer and ends with baking.
Carrots are my favorite vegetable to use in Chicken Brown Rice but others work just as well. Turnip or rutabaga are great root veggies you can use but I suggest avoiding beets because the discoloration of the rice is unappealing. If you choose a softer vegetable such as winter squash you need to cut them into large pieces so they don’t over cook. Brussels sprouts work well but broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are too soft even in large pieces.
Garden Fresh Salsa – Garden to Plate in an Hour

Garden Fresh Salsa – Garden to Plate in an Hour

Garden Fresh Salsa

I’m in the kitchen with Taylor this week while we use the seemingly endless supply of tomatoes and hot peppers. We’re using a variety of tomatoes – a plum-shaped volunteer, Luci (round, 6 oz), Juliet, Cherokee Purple and Bobcat, to make garden fresh salsa. The Bell peppers are a big, thick-walled variety called King of the North from Fedco.

German Extra Hardy garlic did very well this year but I had to water it often to keep it growing during the dry summer. This is a fairly mild garlic. If you’re cooking with a stronger variety you might want to change the number of cloves you use to suit your tastes. I’d have a hard time finding a dish with too much garlic for my liking.

garden fresh salsa, salsa, recipe

Serving Suggestions

Want to try something new? Add a pint jar of salsa to your chili in place of diced tomatoes. Drain the excess liquid and add a dollop to your burger. Steve likes salsa in Mexican omelets, and I love to mix garden fresh salsa with mayo as a dipping sauce.

salsa, garden fresh salsa

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Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup

Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup

Creamy Wild Mushroom Soup

Creamy wild mushroom soup is one of my comfort foods. You don’t have to have to pick wild mushrooms to make this recipe. You can find mushrooms in the produce section of most groceries and sometimes at Farmers Market.

mushroom soup, creamy wild mushroom soup, how to cook mushrooms

I like to add a variety of mushrooms to one batch. Portobello, Lobster, Porcini, Coral, Shiitake, Cremini, and Oyster are varieties I think work very well. Lobster is a dense, dry mushroom, the only variety I was because it doesn’t absorb water. Skip Chanterelles in this recipe, its milder flavor will be lost in the mix, and it’s a little too special as far as wild mushrooms go to lose.

What looked to be a poor wild mushroom year took a turn in late August when we finally got rain. Chanterelles made a brief reappearance. Gray Oyster is growing on old logs in the wood yard. Scaber Stalk, Porcini (King) and other boletes are going crazy. I’ve never seen so many boletes, some nearly the size of a soccer ball. I’ve dehydrated and frozen enough to last us a year and they’re not done yet. It’s almost time for Matsutake to pop up, a mushroom I’ve not yet picked.

Pick what you know to be safe. Take a class or three. Learn from someone who knows mushrooms well. Until then, check out the produce department and farmers market to stay on the safe side.

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