Thursday, December 3, 2009

Squirrel Fricassee

If you are looking for a diversion from deer hunting, and since the waterfowl is a bit scarce, then why not consider some squirrel? I must confess, I was a bit skeptical about squirrel consumption at first, but having tried some recipes to post here, I have to say, it is mighty tasty! It is also a perfect way to get youth excited about bringing game to the table. Here is a tried and true recipe from a local ag leader...

Mike's Squirrel Fricassee

4 squirrels
2 cups flour
1-2 Tbsp. Cajun seasoning
Olive oil for frying
2 large onions, chopped fine
8 tsp lemon juice
6 cups chicken broth or consumme
4 bay leaves

• Cut squirrel into serving pieces. (3 pieces/animal, 2 thighs and mid section)
• Rub seasoning into meat.
• Roll meat in the flour and fry until brown in hot oil in a large heavy skillet.
• Place browned meat pieces in a large glass casserole dish.
• Add onion and remaining flour to left over oil and brown.
• When onion and flour are brown, add chicken broth or cosumme to make gravy.
• Pour gravy over the meat pieces in the casserole dish, enough to just cover the meat.
• Add lemon juice and bay leaves and bake @ 300 F for 2 to 2.5 hours (until meat is tender).
• Serve over rice or whipped potatoes

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cagey T's Cherry Goose Recipe

Wow your family and friends with this elegant and delicious appetizer

2 goose breast halves (from 1 goose)
1 1/2 cups of port
1/2 cup of olive oil
2 garlic cloves or 1 T. minced
2 T. maraschino cherry juice and ~15 cherries for serving
1/4 cup dried cherries
2 T brown sugar
salt and pepper to taste
dash of chili powder or cayenne pepper
Dark chocolate sauce (such as a melted bar or Hershey's sauce)

Marinate the goose in about 1 cup of port, 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1 T. of minced garlic, and a dash of salt and pepper mixed in a glass, ceramic or plastic bowl. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 days, turning the goose occasionally.

When ready to cook, have ready a skillet, tooth picks and a serving plate. Drizzle the dark chocolate on your serving plate in a decorative pattern and set aside. Heat 1 T. olive oil over medium high heat in a heavy skillet until hot (about 300 degrees). Add the goose breasts and sear both sides, 1-2 minutes a side until brown. Remove pan from heat and remove goose from the pan and cut into bit sized chunks (when cool enough to handle). Lightly flour the goose (about 1 T. of flour sprinkled over meat). Put skillet back on medium heat and add 1/2 cup of port, 1-2 T of Maraschino cherry juice, and 1/4 cup of dried cherries. Bring this mixture to a gentle boil and scrape up any bits of browned goose from pan. Add the goose chunks back into the pan, along with 2 T. of brown sugar and cook the goose a bit more, turning it in the sauce as the sauce thickens. Stir the sauce constantly as it thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Add a dash of salt, pepper and chili powder to taste (just a sprinkle should do). Remove the pan from the heat and remove each piece of goose, swirling it in the sauce, with a tooth pick (for serving) and carefully place each piece of goose on the chocolate drizzled serving plate. You may add a maraschino cherry to each bit of goose for serving.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Venison steaks! Tomorrow is opening day for Deer (gun) in Seneca County

Here is tried and true way to make venison steaks....

Swiss-steak Style Venison
1 lb. venison steak or boneless chops
1/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
1 T. olive oil
1 small onion (about 1/2 cup), chopped
1 clove of minced garlic (1-2 tsp)
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped peppers
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 pint diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
2 tsp Italian seasoning or a mix of oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, etc.
salt and pepper to taste

Flour the venison steak and pound with a meat mallet until about 1/4-1/2" thickness. In a large braising pan or cast iron skillet(properly seasoned, of course)heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the steaks and cook about 3 minutes until well browned. Flip and brown the other side. Remove the meat and set aside on a plate. Add the onion, carrot, pepper, mushroom, garlic and 1 tsp herbs to the skillet. Saute the veggies 3-5 minutes. Push the veggies aside, put the steaks back in the pan, and arrange veggies around and on top of the meat. Mix the other 1 tsp herbs with the tomatoes and pour on top of the meat and vegetables. Cover pan and cook in a 325 degree oven for 1 1/2 hours. Serves 4. Can be served over brown rice or whole grain noodles with a side salad for a balance, nutritious meal!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Waterfowl season opened Saturday

Ducks opened Oct 24th until Dec 6th for the first season in Seneca County. Canada geese also opened Oct 24th and go until Nov 21. NYS DEC has a very informational migratory game bird pdf that includes a waterfowl hunter's code of ethics, some guidelines for waterfowl consumption, license requirements, shipping information, etc. Of particular interest to wild harvest feasting is a short section that reads as follows:

"The NYS Department of Health recommends
• You eat no mergansers.
• You remove all fat and skin from waterfowlt
before cooking.
• You discard stuffing after cooking waterfowl.
• You eat no more than two waterfowl per

Here is an easy way to prepare duck or goose breast in a way that masks any hint of gameyness...

Thai (red or green) Waterfowl Curry

1 duck (both halves)or goose (1 half)breast cut into thin slices
1 Tbsp red or green thai curry paste found in the asian section of many grocery stores (check for a curry recipe on the jar)
1 can coconut milk (low-fat if possible)
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
3 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 cup fresh veggies, such as thin sliced onion, carrot, broccoli, celery, etc

Par boil the thin sliced duck or goose breast for 1-2 minutes and drain liquid. Then proceed to make the recipe for red or green curry dish on the label of the Thai curry paste. Basically, simmer all above ingredients for 10-15 minutes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall Harvest

This year the forest mast is plentiful. The acorns, hickories, and apples are abundant and the squirrels are fat! The harvest photograph pictured above (courtesy of Keith Tidball) includes the tasty mushroom/fungus, Chicken of the Woods, which is also found this time of year.

Here is a recipe to enjoy two specimens of the Fall Harvest; squirrel and apples. Enjoy.
Squirrel Braised in Apple Cider
1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil
1 dressed squirrel, cut in pieces and very lightly floured
1 medium onion, cut in quarters and separated
2 medium carrots, diced
1-1/2 cups apple cider
1/4-1/2 t. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
2 medium cooking apples, cored and quartered

In a dutch oven or similar braising pan, melt butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add squirrel pieces and brown on all sides. Add onions and carrots and cooks for 3-5 minutes. Stir in cider and scrape up any brown bits in the pan. add thyme, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Reduce heat and cover, braising until squirrel is tender and cooked through, about 45 minutes. Add apple pieces on top, cover and cook an additional 15 minutes, until apples are tender. Remove the squirrel pieces and take the meat off the bone. Place the meat back in the pan and increase the heat, bringing the cooking liquid up to a gentle simmer. Reduce the cooking liquid to a nice thick sauce (about 5 minutes). The mixture can be served on toast as an appetizer or served over whole grain rice as a main course.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

How to season your cast iron skillet

A properly seasoned cast iron skillet is an excellent culinary tool; for cooking up a shore lunch, sauteing fresh duck breast with a side of eggs for an after hunt brunch, or making a stir fry from the previous post. If you are just purchasing a cast iron frying pan or are restoring an old one, the first thing to be done is to scrub it well with steel wool and hot water to remove any manufacturing film or rust. Once it is thoroughly clean and dry, heat the pan over medium to medium high heat until hot and then rub vegetable (olive is best) oil into the hot pan. Wipe out excess oil. This process may need to be repeated again until a smooth, slick surface is created. You now have a seasoned cast iron pan. An old-fashioned cast iron skillet should not be washed with soap and water because it will rust and not have the "seasoning" that prevents food from sticking. Rather, to clean your cast iron skillet, sprinkle some coarse salt (pretzel salt works great, but any salt will do) and a drop of olive oil in your pan and rub it with a cloth to remove any food and particulates. The salt helps with abrasion and to sanitize. Then heat your pan over medium high heat for a few minutes and wipe the pan out again with a paper towel or clean cloth. You may need to add a few drops more olive oil before heating the pan to create the nice seasoning (this is especially true if you are seasoning a new pan or had been cleaning with water and soap in the past). If you clean your cast iron skillet with salt and oil each time, you will have a natural non-stick fry pan. And yes, you do get extra iron in your diet when using a cast iron skillet!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

August is an excellent time to start cleaning out the freezer. You may have some venison packages tucked in the back, perhaps a duck breast or pheasant buried in the deep freeze. Some of this meat may even have a little freezer burn on an outer edge. But before you decide to cook them up for the pooch, here are some ways to make those lost freezer relics tasty.

First, defrost the meat safely in the refrigerator. Then look for any whitish discoloration along the edges where it may have gotten freezer burn and trim this off.

Stir Fry with Seasonal vegetables (and out of season meat)
1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium preferably)
1/4 cup sherry or chicken broth (or water if need be)
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp. ginger
1 Tbsp brown sugar or honey
pinch of red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. game meat (such as venison steak, duck breast, pheasant or quail) sliced- you may want to tenderize the meat before slicing by pounding it with a meat mallet.
2 Tbsp. flour, seasoned to taste with salt and pepper
2 cups of fresh sliced vegetables, such as carrots, zucchini, sweet peppers, brocoli, greens beans, etc (you can use frozen veggies in a pinch)

In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, sherry (or chicken broth), garlic, ginger, brown sugar or honey, and red pepper. Set aside. Heat olive oil in a heavy skillet or wok over medium high heat. Dredge the meat in the seasoned flour and put in skillet with hot oil to brown meat. Cook about 3 minutes and then add the vegetables. Cook for another minute or two stirring constantly. Add the soy sauce mix and stir until sauce thickens, 1-3 minutes (if sauce doesn't thicken enough to your liking, you may add 1 Tbsp cornstarch mixed in 1 Tbsp water or chicken broth to the pan). Serve over whole grain rice.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Smoked Lake Trout

Seneca and Cayuga lake provide delicious lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout and landlocked salmon. Seneca Lake is hot right now for lakers (with less spiny water fleas to mess up fishing lines). You may keep in combination up to 5 fish a day (to include no more than 3 lake trout and no more than 3 landlocked) with a minimum length of 15", though there is an 18" minimum for landlocked salmon on Cayuga lake. DEC has a nice, one page fishing regulation guide for the Finger Lakes region to print and have on hand. Some of the lake and brown trout caught over the weekend had a lovely orange hue, similar to salmon, due to the carotenoids in the flesh from the fish eating small crustaceans. Wild trout is very nutritious, being high in Omega-3 fatty acids and an excellent source of vitamin B12, Niacin, and protein.

To fillet the trout start with a very sharp fillet knife (a good fillet knife should have some flex to it). Place the fish on a cutting board with it's spine facing you. Cut behind the gill in a slight arc to the backbone and slide the knife in a gently see-sawing action along the backbone and ribs to the tail. Leave the fillet attached to the end of the tail and turn the fillet over so the skin side is down. Then, starting where the fillet is attached to the tail, gently slide your fillet knife along the skin, keeping the skin taught, to remove the skin from the fillet. West Virginia Extension has an excellent Trout processing resource, including pictures and videos on how to butterfly fillet trout.

Once you have filleted and rinsed your trout place it in a brine for 6-12 hours. Brine should be kept cold, such as in a refrigerator.

Brine for trout:
1/2 cup pickeling or sea salt
2 qts. cold water
2-4 Tbsp brown sugar
2 Tbsp pickling spices (you can experiment with other flavors, such as dill and lemon peel, garlic, asian flavorings of soy, ginger and lemongrass, etc)

Mix all ingredients, making sure the salt dissolves. Make sure the brine is cold when fish are placed in it. Use a glass or ceramic container, do not use a metal bowl.

After you have brined your trout fillets, place them on slightly oiled metal racks (can use the smoker racks) and let them dry for about one hour to form a slight glossy shine, a pellicle. This locks in the juices and flavors. A fan can be used to speed up the process.

Preheat the smoker and then smoke your fillets according to the directions of your smoker. Usually the fish will be smoked at 225 degrees until it reaches an internal temperature of 180 degrees (about 2 hours).

Smoked Trout fillets are excellent served with crackers and cheese as an appetizer. They also make nice sandwiches, salad (similar to a tuna salad), and a spread when mixed with cream cheese, spices and spread on crackers or crusty bread. Delicious!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You May Eat the Bass

The third Saturday in June was the opening day to keep Black Bass (largemouth/smallmouth) with a daily limit of 5 and a minimum length of 12". Penn State offers a free publication, "Proper Care and Handling of Fish From Stream to Table", which is a helpful guide to help begin your culinary bass experience. has some delicious looking bass recipes including the following:

Grilled Cajun Bass Recipe


• 2 pounds of bass fillets
• 1/4 cup melted butter
• salt and pepper to taste
• 1/2 tsp. cajun spice
• 1/4 tsp. onion salt
• 1/4 tsp. paprika
• 1/4 tsp. garlic salt

Preheat barbecue grill or prepare open fire. Lay the bass fillets flat on aluminum foil. (Do not overlap the bass fillets) Baste bass fillets with butter. Sprinkle remaining ingredients evenly over fillets. Wrap heavy-duty aluminum foil around the bass, making a sealed cooking bag. Make sure to seal tightly so no steam escapes. Place bag on grill and cook for 7-10 minutes. (Do not flip) Use caution when opening foil.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why Hunt?

California Waterfowl has put out a thought-provoking video, "Why Hunt" " promote greater understanding of hunting's place in a healthy and balanced ecosystem and to help hunters explain how hunting intimately connects us to our environment, especially through the food we eat and share with others".

Friday, May 1, 2009

Opening day for Spring Turkey...

Wild Turkey opens today in Seneca County. DEC has excellent information on Turkey hunting, including all the rules and regs. The above photo is from the National Wild Turkey Federation (Stephen Bauer), which also offers helpful information about turkeys, including conservation efforts and recipes. Wild turkey is an excellent source of lean protein. The leg meat can be quite tough, but the breast meat is tender and abundant.

Take advantage of the warm weather and try your turkey on the grill. After breasting the turkey, rinse off the breast, pierce it all over with a fork and marinate it overnight in Italian dressing. Then grill. You may want to put some horseradish mayonnaise and cheddar cheese on the top for the last few minutes of grilling (that gourmet hint is courtesy of Keith Tidball). Enjoy!

Monday, April 20, 2009


Bullhead fishing is in full swing, as are Bullhead dinners at local clubs and restaurants. The bullheads for the purchased dinners are primarily farm raised in Canada, but there is great bullhead fishing here in Seneca County. If you are fishing for local bullheads, seek out muddy flats near vegetation (the top of Cayuga lake is a good place to look), fish the bottom with worms, and go at night when they feed. DEC has a publication on fishing for panfish, including bullhead and how to clean them.

Here is a recipe to try, besides the traditional bullhead fish fry (it also works great for left-over fried bullheads)...

Bullhead Patties

2 lbs. filleted bullheads or other fish (can use previously cooked fish)
1 large raw potato
1 small onion
1 large egg
2 tbsp flour

1-2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or dill (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

3 tbsp olive oil

Coarsely grind uncooked fillets (if using cooked bullheads, simply flake the meat from the bones), grate potato and onion. This can be done in a food processor, blender, or by hand. Mix with remaining ingredients and form into ½” thick patties. You can form small patties (1” rounds) to serve with tarter sauce as an appetizer or larger patties (3”) to serve on a bun as a sandwich. Heat olive oil in a fry pan and drop patties into hot oil. For a crispier patty, you may coat the patties lightly in fish fry batter or seasoned panko breadcrumbs before frying. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Serve with tarter or cocktail sauce, or lemon wedges.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Opening Day for Trout

photo source:U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Trout and Salmon fishing seasons opened April 1st! New York State DEC issued a handy tips and reminders publication for opening day of Trout that has great information on stocking, public fishing maps, license and regulation information, and local fishing forecasts.

Here is an easy recipe for baked trout...

Creamy Parmesan Baked Trout

1 lb. trout fillet (any species)
1/4 cup sour cream, light preferably
3 Tbsp. mayonnaise, low fat preferably
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper (or to taste)
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley (optional)
paprika to sprinkle on top (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease (with butter) a 13"x9" baking dish.
In a small bowl mix sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, parmesian cheese, onion, salt and pepper. Place cleaned trout fillets in greased 13"x 9" pan and then spread the parmesan cheese mixture evenly on top of fish. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley if desired. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until fish flakes lightly with a fork (being careful to not over cook the fish).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Smoked Goose Chili

This will become a favorite!

2 smoked goose breasts, chopped into 1/2" pieces
1 T. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 T. chili powder, depending on spice preference
1/2 t. oregano flakes
2 qts. canned tomatoes
1-2 T. brown sugar
1 can kidney or black beans
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry wine (optional)

Place stock pot on medium heat and add 1 T. olive oil to pan. Add chopped onion and cook about 5 minutes being careful not to brown the onion. Add garlic, goose meat, oregano and chili powder and saute about 1-2 minutes more. Add remaining ingredients, stir, and simmer for about 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on your time frame and flavor preference. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and chili powder.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Smoked Goose breast

Snow goose season was extended until April 15th as part of a "Conservation Order" implemented by DEC. The overabundance of Snow Geese means a 15 bird daily bag limit, plenty for the smoker.

Here is a good brine to prepare your goose breasts for the smoker:

Asian flavored brine

3 cups cold water
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup sherry
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salt
1 small boiling onion, quartered (1/4 cup chopped onion)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 T. fresh ginger root, coarsely chopped
1 t. red pepper flakes
breast halves from 2 geese

Mix all ingredients in a glass or plastic container (not metal) and soak the goose breast for at least 4 hours or overnight. Make sure the meat is completely submerged in the brine and keep it in the refrigerator. Remove meat from brine and place on a lightly oiled rack and allow to air dry until the surface of the meat has a slight glaze (pellicle). This helps preserve the meat and also creates a nice appearance. Smoke the goose according to the smoker you have. I recently smoked some goose with a Bradley Smoker and it took about 4 hours set at 150-200 degrees. If you cut the breast in half, changing them from about 1" thick to 1/2" thick, the smoking time will be less. There is about 121 calories in 3.5 ounces of snow goose meat and 3.6% fat.

Smoked goose is great as an appetizer served with cheddar cheese and crackers.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Maple Syrup!

"Sugaring off" has begun, and it is time to start thinking about recipes using local maple syrup. The New York State Maple Producers Association has loads of good information about the how, what, when, where and who of maple syrup production.

Here is a recipe from to try with NY maple syrup and some duck breasts from the larder:
Broiled Duck Breasts with Orange Chipolte Sauce (use link for the recipe) This photo is from the website along with the recipe.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Squirrel Derby Pie

Sportsmen Clubs throughout Seneca county are sponsoring organized squirrel hunts. Though not everyone thinks of eating this bounty, the squirrels' diet of nuts and seeds make them tasty and healthy. Here is a good first time (or anytime) squirrel recipe.

Squirrel Derby Pie

2 1/2 cups boneless cooked squirrel meat, cubed (you may simply boil/simmer the meat until cooked through and the bones are easily removed)
2 cups of diced potatoes
1 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup peas (you can use mixed frozen veggies)
1 can (10 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove minced fresh garlic (or 1/2 tsp dried garlic powder)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 tsp ground pepper
For the crust:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup butter, melted

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. In a 12 inch skillet, combine the first 10 ingredients (all but the crust ingredients). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then remove from heat. Spoon this mixture into a greased 8 inch square baking dish. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the milk and melted butter with a fork until the dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon this batter evenly over the squirrel filling to the edges of the pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Snows are here

With the brief thaw, the snow geese have been feasting in the fields by day and roosting on the lakes at night. To learn more about this beautiful, and abundant, waterfowl check out Cornell University's Lab of Ornithology.

Snows are a bit smaller than Canada geese, but their flavor is similar. Here is a healthy recipe to try:

Marmalade Glazed Snow Goose Breast
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1 boneless, whole goose breast
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
1/2 cup apple cider
1/3 cup frozen orange juice concentrate, defrosted (or boil 1 cup of orange juice until the liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup)
1 to 2 tsp grated orange peel
2 Tbs orange marmalade

In a medium glass or ceramic mixing bowl, combine milk and vinegar. Add goose breast. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight, turning the goose a few times.

Drain the goose breast and discard milk mixture. In a medium glass or ceramic mixing bowl or baking dish, combine wine, cider, orange juice concentrate and peel. Add goose breast, turning to coat. Cover and chill 4 to 6 hours, turning once or few times.

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking dish with heavy duty aluminum foil, allowing foil to extend about 10 inches on each side of pan (enough to make a foil pouch over the goose). Drain goose, reserving 1/4 cup of the wine mixture. Place the goose on the foil and pour reserved wine mixture over it. Fold the foil over the goose breast and crimp to make a pouch. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 minutes or until meat is desired doneness. Carefully fold bake foil, so as not to get burned by the steam. Brush the marmalade over the goose breast and bake with foil open and additional 5 to 10 minutes until meat is browned and glazed. Carve the meat across the grain into thin slices and serve over rice, if desired. This would also make a nice salad, by placing goose slices on mixed greens and drizzling with a citrus salad dressing.
Serves 4.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Rabbit hunting

With the weekend thaw, hunter's are able to take their Beagles out for rabbit. Even without the dogs, the weather is nice to "take a walk", or hunt, in search of a rabbit dinner. The season goes until February 28th in Seneca County, . Rabbit has a very mild flavor and can be substituted for most chicken recipes. A nice collection of recipes can be found at, though I cannot vouch for any of them in terms of flavor, technique, source or their nutritional content, many look good. Below is one of my family's favorite rabbit recipes, which is very easy and tasty.

Rabbit in Apple Cider

1 T. butter
1 T. olive oil (or vegetable oil)
1 dressed wild rabbit (1 1/2 to 2 pounds), cut in quarters
1 medium onion, cut in large chunks
1 cup diced carrots
1 1/2 cups apple cider
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
2 apples, peeled and quartered

In dutch oven or braising pan, melt butter and oil over medium heat. Add rabbit and brown well on all sides. Remove rabbit and set aside. Add onion and carrots to the pan and cook, stirring now and then, until vegetables are tender (do not let them get too brown, adjusting heat accordingly). Stir in cider, salt, pepper, thyme, and bay leaf. Heat to boiling, scraping up the bottom of the pan. Add browned rabbit pieces back to pan, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer until rabbit pieces are tender 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add the apple pieces to the pan, re-cover and simmer just until apples are tender, maybe 10-15 minutes more. Discard bay leaf and serve. Makes 2-4 servings. Calories 237, fat 7 grams (if 4 servings).

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Ice Fishing continues...

This is an epic year for ice fishing on Cayuga lake! The ice is thick in the channel, and the perch are abundant. Here is an easy recipe to oven "fry" your perch fillets.

Oven Fried Perch Recipe
• 1 lbs. Perch Fillets
• 2 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese - grated
• 1/2 Cup Dry Bread Crumbs
• 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
• 1/4 Cup Milk
• 1/2 Tsp. Thyme
Combine bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, and thyme, plus salt and pepper to taste, in a shallow pan or plate. Dip perch fillets in milk then coat perch fillets with bread crumb mixture. Lay in single layer on greased shallow baking pan. Drizzle with melted butter. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 12 minutes per inch of thickness of the fish measured at the thickest part or until perch flakes easily with a fork. Serves 4 with only 200 calories per serving and 5 grams of fat, but 110g of cholesterol (next week' recipe will be lower in cholesterol, seeking balance and moderation in our wild harvest diet).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ice Fishing on Cayuga Lake

Ice Fishing is in full swing at the top of Cayuga Lake. Perch,Chain Pickerel, and panfish are the most common species coming through the ice, but occasionally you can fight a big Pike or lure some tasty trout. Check out the NY DEC website for ice fishing and safety tips.
Here is a recipe to try after a successful day on the ice...

Perch Chowder
6 sl Bacon; cut into 1-inch (could use 2T olive oil instead to lower fat content)
2/3 c Onion; chopped
1/2 c Celery; chopped
3 md Potatoes; peeled and cubed
2 c Water (fish or chicken stock would add more flavor, but use what you have)
1/2 c Carrots; chopped
2 tb Fresh parsley; minced
1 tb Lemon juice
1/2 ts Dill weed
1/4 ts Garlic salt
1/8 ts Pepper
1 lb Panfish fillets; perch; sunfish, or crappie, cut into 1-inch chunks
1 c Half-&-half cream (or condensed skim milk to lower fat content)
In a 3-quart saucepan, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon, and set aside; discard all but 2 tablespoons of drippings (omit this part if using olive oil and just add olive oil to pan then proceed to next step). Saute onion and celery in drippings until tender. Add the next 8 ingredients. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. Add fish and bacon; simmer for 5 minutes, or JUST until fish flakes with a fork. Add cream, and heat through.
recipe adapted from Just Seafood Recipes, located at

Perch is a very lean source of protein and an excellent source of selenium and B12, though it is a bit high in cholesterol.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Waterfowl season has just ended...

The top of Cayuga Lake is frozen, and the waterfowl hunting season for duck and Canada geese has ended in Seneca County . Hopefully you have some ducks to breast or dress whole to eat and enjoy. I have taken to the simple way of breasting a duck by making a small slit in the skin along the breast bone, pulling the skin back to expose the breast meat, and then removing the meat by carefully running my boning knife along the breast bone and ribs to create 2 perfect skinless, boneless breast fillets. The flavor of duck varies, depending on the species, age and condition of the duck. Mallards, teals, black duck, redheads, pintails and ringnecks are excellent for eating (and of course the Canvasback, but they were prohibited this year- no cheating), and of course, the younger the better. A 100 gram skinless, boneless duck breast will provide you with 123 calories, 4 grams of fat, and high quality protein.

Here is a recipe to try from your weekend larder....


4 boneless wild duck breast halves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

3/4 cup dry sherry

2 Tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves (you could try other fruit, such as cherry, currant, blueberry, etc)

2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 teaspoon fresh minced garlic (optional)

Sprinkle the duck breast evenly with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine the sherry and fruit preserves. Set aside. In a 10-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add breast halves and sear for 3 minutes, turning once. Add onions (and optional garlic) to the the pan and cook for 2 minutes longer. Pour sherry mixture over the duck breasts. Cook for 4 to 8 minutes, or until meat is desired doneness and the sauce is slighty reduced and thicker. You may remove the meat, when it is rare to medium rare, to a plate and cover loosely with foil, and then reduce the sauce to a desired consistency. To serve, slice breast meat and slightly fan out the slices over cooked noodles or rice. Pour the sauce over the meat and pasta. Garnish with some fruit and greenery.

note: duck meat is more tender when cooked rare to medium and can become tough if over cooked.

Serves 4, but some may say just 2 servings (I can think of one hunter in particular). If you would like nutritional consultation regarding serving sizes please call my office at Seneca CCE, but keep in mind a portion of meat should be 3 ounces which is about the size of a deck of cards.