Monday, December 20, 2010

Tomorrow is the last day for Deer in Seneca County

photo courtesy of Keith G. Tidball

Tomorrow (December 21) is the last day to take a deer with a muzzle loader or bow in Seneca County.

The snowy, winter weather is perfect for enjoying venison stew which can also be made in a crock pot. Hopefully you have had a productive and memorable big game season this year.

Venison Stew

1.5 lb cubed venison meat (can cube a steak or roast if you do not have stew meat packaged)
6 medium potatoes washed and cut in half or quartered
1 medium onion, diced
1 c. diced carrot (large chunks or can use "baby" carrots)
1 c. diced celery
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 T. olive oil
1/4 cup flour (optional to season the flour with salt and pepper)
1 T. Italian season
salt and pepper to taste
1 t. Worcestershire sauce (optional)
1 T. balsamic vinegar (optional)
1.5 cups dry red wine or 12oz. of dark beer
1 can (about 14.5 oz) canned tomatoes (diced or whole)
4 T. fresh chopped parsley (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees or turn on your crock pot. In a suitable braising pan (i.e. a deep pan with an oven-proof lid, such as a dutch oven) heat the 3 T. of olive oil over medium heat. Meanwhile lightly flour the venison cubes. Brown the floured venison cubes in the oil until nicely browned on all sides about 3-5 minutes. Remove venison from the pan and set aside on a plate. Add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and seasonings to the pan and gently brown your veggies for about 3 minutes. Add the wine, Worcestershire and vinegar to the pan and gently scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Turn off burner. Add potatoes and tomatoes and add venison meat back into the pan. Gently stir all ingredients to combine and season with salt and pepper (about 1tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper) and parsley (optional). Cover the braising dish and place in oven for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours until the meat is tender.

If using a crock pot: flour and brown the meat in the olive oil as explained above. Place browned meat in a crock pot. Add the wine or beer to the pan that the meat was browned in and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add this to the crock pot along with the remaining ingredients and leave it to cook all day (4 -5 hours on high setting or 8+ hours on low).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pheasants until December 31

The hunting season is in full swing in Seneca County. If you have already tagged a big buck and/or have venison for the freezer, it could be fun to go out for pheasant. NYS DEC has some great information on the history of pheasant hunting, along with the regulations. Wild populations of pheasant can be hard to find, yet there are a few game preserves in the area that offer pheasant hunts, such as Whispering Pines.

Earlier in the season, a group of youth hunters went on a pheasant hunt and were then taught how to clean their birds and prepare "Pheasant Fingers". To read more about this hunt and see photos from the day's event go to Kuneytown Sportsmens Club website.

Here is the recipe for

Pheasant Fingers

2 T. flour
1-2 t. Cajun seasoning
1 lb. boneless, skinless pheasant breast cut into 3/4" strips
1 1/2 cups corn flake cereal
2 eggs

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease baking sheet. Place flour and Cajun seasoning in resealable plastic bag. Place pheasant (3 to 4 strips at a time) in bag. Seal and shake to coat pheasant. Remove pheasant and lay on a plate. Place corn flakes in plastic bag and gently crush the cereal until you have finely crushed corn flakes. For "hot" fingers add 1/2 T. of Cajun seasoning. Lightly beat 2 eggs and place in shallow pan. Dip floured pheasant strips in egg and then place in corn flake bag and shake to coat pheasant evenly with corn flakes. Place pheasant on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until baked through and crispy on outside. Enjoy with your favorite barbecue sauce for dipping.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wild Turkey

The fall season for wild turkey is only two weeks long in Seneca County and ended November 5th. However, it is still open in neighboring counties to the east (i.e. Cayuga) and to the south of Seneca (i.e. Tompkins). Check out NYS DEC's website for a map of turkey hunting seasons. The NYS DEC website also has tips for successful and safe turkey hunting.

Wild turkey is an awesome part of our Thanksgiving feast. However, it cannot be treated the same way as a domestic bird. I learned this the hard way, when the first year I simply roasted it like a typical Thanksgiving turkey and everyone pretended to like it while they chewed each tough bite for a long time! Here are some tenderizing tips for wild turkey:

1. Hang the bird to age and tenderize the meat-Start by field dressing your turkey (remove organs, entrails, and crop then rinse and pat dry these cavities). Hang the turkey by it's neck for 3-7 days in a cold location (35-45 degrees) in it's feathers.

2. Soak the turkey meat overnight in lightly salted, cold water- Once the turkey has aged, pluck the feathers and prepare it for a whole roasting turkey, or breast it. Place either the whole turkey or the breast meat in cold water that is lightly salted for about 8 hours or overnight. If you are just using the breast meat, soak it in the water in the refrigerator. If using the whole bird, a clean cooler with ice water works well. This has a similar effect to brining, though less salt is used (only 1-2 T per quart of water). Rinse the meat and wrap it tightly in butcher paper to freeze or cook it from here.

3. Cook properly- A roasting bag can help keep the turkey moist, along with basting or braising techniques. Do not overcook the turkey, but make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees. USDA has a helpful fact sheet for safe turkey preparation.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Venison was highlighted at the Finger Lakes Cork and Fork local food event a duck recipe...

Over the weekend of October 22/23, Seneca County's Chamber of Commerce put on a great local food event, Finger Lakes Cork and Fork, featuring local food and wine, plus chef pairings to over 1,000 guests. The Wild Harvest Table was invited to participate with a display table and as one of seven chef demonstrations, making Venison "Veal" Cutlets paired with Standing Stone winery's 2007 Pinnacle wine. About 60 people were at the venison demonstration, ranging from wild game enthusiasts to "not sure if they like game". Many of the "not sure they liked wild game" people tried the venison cutlets and really liked the flavor. The chef from the DiVine Restaurant at the Hotel Clarence, which was recently awarded a four star rating, tried the venison (three times) and said it was "excellent!". Archery season for deer is in full swing now along with the rut, so hopefully you can serve this local food delicacy on your table soon!

A well-known local chef, Sam Izzo of Simply Red Bistro at Sheldrake Point, made a delicious braised duck at the Cork and Fork event with farm raised duck, yet it would work well with wild mallard or black duck. Duck season opened Oct 23 and runs through December 6th and reopens December 26th to January 9th in Seneca County. Check with NYS DEC for the season dates in other parts of NY. Below is Chef Izzo's duck recipe. Enjoy!

Chef Samantha Izzo of Simply Red Bistro at Sheldrake Point

Braised Duck with Sweet & Sour Cabbage

Wine: Pinot Noir from Sheldrake Point Winery

Feature Food: Duck

Serves 4

The Duck


1 4-5 pound duck, cleaned and left whole with skin on

1 cup prunes

1 tart apple

¼ cup oil

sprinkle of salt and pepper


Preheat oven 450 degrees. Place duck on rack in a roasting pan. Fill the cavity with the apples and prunes. Sprinkle with oil and salt and pepper. Roast Duck for 25 minutes. Reduce oven temp to 350 degrees. Continue to roast about 1hour and 15 minutes. Allow duck to cool and remove the skin, pull off all the duck meat . You can pull off the cavity and keep to one side.

The Braised Cabbage


2 tbsps oil

1 small chef onion sliced

1 tart apple sliced

8 cups of red cabbage sliced really thin

2 cups cider vinegar

½ cup cane sugar

1 tsp celery seed

1 cup thick slab bacon sliced

1 tsp salt

2 cups fennel sliced


Place all ingredients in a pot and simmer for an hour on medium heat. Add the duck meat to the braised cabbage and reheat slightly. Served topped with sour cream and chives.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ruffed Grouse opens Oct 1!

Ruffed grouse season opens October 1st in Seneca County, and is already open in northern New York (i.e. Tug Hill and ADK's). According to NY DEC information on grouse hunting, "Each fall in New York about 75,000 hunters take to the field in pursuit of ruffed grouse making them the second most popular game bird behind wild turkeys. Despite declines in their numbers over the past 40 years, ruffed grouse are still common, particularly in younger forests, and provide excellent hunting opportunities." Grouse hunters are encouraged to participate in a Cooperator Ruffed Grouse Hunting Log and Ruffed Grouse Drumming Survey, both conducted through DEC, to help monitor grouse populations in the state. The Ruffed Grouse Society also has a wealth of information on the species.

Ruffed grouse have been called "Wild Chicken of the Adirondacks" or "road chicken" and indeed you can substitute wild caught grouse in most chicken recipes. Grouse roasts nicely and can also be sauteed (think Grouse Marsala). Keep in mind that grouse has less fat than domesticated chicken and is smaller, so cooking time may vary from a chicken recipe. Chicken recipes that cook with liquid (braising or sauces) are often a good way to cook grouse to insure moistness. The following recipe brings out all of the delicious flavor of grouse...

Braised Grouse with Bacon and Sage
4 boneless, skinless grouse breast halves
8 slices bacon
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup white wine
1/2 cup chopped shallot (or 1/4 cup red onion)
4 cloves chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon chopped sage
ground black or white pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large, oven-proof skillet (i.e cast iron fry pan) fry the bacon until almost crisp but not overly browned, over medium-high heat. Remove bacon and set aside. Leave 1-2 Tablespoons of the bacon drippings in the pan and discard the rest. Place the grouse breasts in the pan and brown them quickly, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the grouse from the skillet and wrap each grouse breast with 2 pieces of bacon, securing them with a toothpick if necessary. Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and scrape up any bits off the bottom of the skillet with a wooden utensil. Remove from heat and add the grouse back to the pan. Place the oven-proof skillet in the preheated oven and roast uncovered for 45 minutes. When done, remove the grouse from the pan and keep warm on a separate plate loosely covered with aluminum foil. Put the skillet on a burner over medium heat and whisk the flour into the pan juices, stirring constantly until thickened. Serve the pan gravy over the grouse breasts. This dish tastes excellent over wild rice. Serves 4.

If you have favorite grouse recipes of your own, please share them by posting a comment!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Venison "Veal" Cutlets

It is that time of year to clean out the freezer and look ahead to (hopefully) filling it back up with the bounty of the fall hunting season. Venison steaks and chops are excellent when marinated and grilled (stick to medium or medium rare for tenderness sake), but for a change of pace, you could also make venison "veal" cutlets. These tender morsels can be eaten simply or interchanged with any veal recipe, such as venison veal parmesan, venison veal marsala, venison veal piccata, etc)


1 pound venison steak or chops
1/2 c. onion, sliced
1/2 c. fresh herbs such as parsley, rosemary, thyme or 2 T. dried Italian seasoning
1 qt water
2-4 T. salt
1 egg, stirred
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs
1-2 T. olive oil

Starting in the morning, cut the venison into pieces about the size of a deck of cards (chop size). Then pound the venison until they are about 1/4 inch thick, using a meat mallet (tenderizer). In a glass baking dish mix 2 cups of cold water with 1 T. of salt, a shake of black pepper, the onion and herbs. Place the pounded venison cutlets in the water and place in the refrigerator. Drain and change the salted water at least every hour (every half hour for the first 2 hours is even better). The venison will start to lose it's red color and become pale and tender like veal. It is best to have all day for this process, but it can be achieved in 3-4 hours. Once the venison has transformed into veal-like qualities, you can cook it cutlet milk in one bowl, the mixed egg in another, and the seasoned bread crumbs in a third bowl or plate (no need for more salt because of the salted water brine). Heat 1-2 T. of olive oil in a fry pan. Place each cutlet first in the milk, then egg, and then coat with bread crumbs. Fry in the olive oil 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown. These are delicious hot out of the pan with just a squirt of lemon and parsley or you can proceed from here to make venison parmesan, etc. Venison meat tends to have far fewer calories and fat than veal. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Smoked Lake Trout Spread

Lake trout are still being caught in Seneca and Cayuga Lakes, though spiny water fleas are interfering with down rigger lines. Jigging maybe the best way to fish them right now. Here is a delicious recipe utilizing smoked lake trout...

Smoked Lake Trout Spread

3/4 lb. smoked trout fillets (any species)
1/2 cup sour cream, light preferably

8 oz. cream cheese, low fat preferably, room temperature
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tsp. grated lemon zest/rind
1 Tbsp. horseradish mustard

1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion or shallot
1/4 tsp pepper (or to taste)
2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley and/or dill

Flake the smoked trout and add it along with all remaining ingredients to a food processor or blender. Blend until almost smooth. Serve on cracker or bread as an appetizer with perhaps a sprig of parsley or dill for garnish. Will keep for up to 5 days if covered and kept refrigerated.

If you are out of crackers on a Sunday afternoon, here is an easy cracker recipe...

Sesame Thyme Crackers

1 1/4 cup whole grain white flour (all purpose will work)

2 T. olive oil

1/2 t. salt

4 T. cold water

3 T. sesame seeds

1 T. fresh or dried thyme (or other herbs)

Mix all ingredients in a food processor until dough forms a ball (dough can also be mixed by hand). Roll the dough out on parchment paper placed on a cookie sheet (or just directly on a cookie sheet) to 1/8" thickness and cut into squares. Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Red, White, and Blue 4th of July Venison Burgers!

In celebration of the 4th of July, try this "Red, White, and Blue" burger...sure to be a crowd pleaser. The "red" is from sun dried tomatoes, the "blue" is blue cheese and the "white" is white tailed deer. Hopefully you have some ground venison in your freezer, but if not, you can get some from a local butcher or substitute with grass-fed beef.

Recipe was
developed by Cagey T.

Red, White, and Blue Venison Burger

1.5 lbs. ground venison meat
1/2 cup diced sweet onion, such as vidalia, red, or shallot
1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 egg or just egg white
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (or 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp oregano, 1 tsp parsley flakes)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients and form into 6 hamburger patties. Grill patties until cooked through. You can top patties with additional blue cheese and chives. It is important to not over cook venison or it will dry out due to it's lack of fat, which also makes it a healthy choice of meat! Serves 6.

Monday, June 7, 2010

National Trout Derby on Seneca Lake

Seneca Lake is renown as a trout fishery. Every year over Memorial Day weekend the National Lake Trout Derby is held with the largest Brown, Landlocked Salmon or Lake Trout taking home a $5,000 Grand Prize. Trout is delicious on the grill, smoked, or in almost any Salmon recipe. Below are some photos of filleting to compliment this previous post description of the technique,
"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."

Friday, April 30, 2010

Let's hear it for the Red, White, and Blue: Spring Turkey opens May 1st!

New York State is one of the top turkey hunting states in the East. The spring seasons lasts from May 1 until May 31st with hunting in the mornings (1/2 hour before sunrise until noon) and a 2 tom limit for the season (as in, a bearded turkey...a jake will do, but no hens). To get more information about Wild Turkey hunting, including harvesting information and safety, look at the NY State DEC website.

Wild turkeys were nearly extinct in New York State a hundred years ago due to habitat loss and over hunting, but with proper management, they have made an incredible recovery. More can be read about this interesting history in NYS DEC's "Wild Turkey Management Plan". The plan outlines the history of wild turkeys in the state and their re-establishment. The Wild Turkey Management Plan also states, "Now that the wild turkey has been restored to New York State, our goal is to ensure that a vigorous, self-sustaining population is maintained in all suitable habitats of the State. Furthermore, turkeys will be managed to best meet the needs and desires of the people of the State of New York, using the steps outlined in this plan." In managing New York’s wild turkey resource, DEC focuses on four primary areas; Monitoring and Protecting the Wild Turkey Population; Public Use and Enjoyment of the Wild Turkey; Turkey Nuisance and Damage Management; Information and Outreach. Thanks to proper management wild turkey can be on the dinner table in Seneca County!

I have found the easiest way to prepare a turkey is by breasting it. Lay the turkey on its back, and cut a small incision along the top of the breast bone just long enough to be able to grab the skin to pull it back. The skin with the feathers should easily pull away from the breast meat. Once the breast meat is exposed, carefully run your knife (a fillet or boning knife works well) along the breast bone and ribs until the breast is cut free. Be careful not to cut the crop which is located at the top of the breast bones (inside the v shape) and can be a bit stinky. There are a few useful videos of turkey breasting posted on You Tube (use your discretion, I am not endorsing this particular video or any of them). There will be a lot of meat with each breast which can be used in any turkey breast recipe, and the flavor will be more intense and delicious. If you wrap the meat in butcher paper it will keep in the freezer for a good six months (until Thanksgiving). Often there are some scraps of meat still on the bird after the breasts are removed, including some thigh and leg meat which can be tough if traditionally cooked as whole pieces. I remove any remaining white pieces of meat and choice pieces of leg meat to use for the following recipe....

Wild Turkey with Sherry and Broccoli
1 lb turkey,wild caught (cooked pieces)
1 bunch broccoli, washed and chopped
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1.5 cup skim milk
.5 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup sherry wine
2 t. worcestershire sauce
2 T. grated parmesan cheese

If starting with raw turkey pieces, saute turkey pieces in a greased (either with cooking spray or a little olive oil) fry pan over medium heat until just cooked through (about 5 minutes). Cook broccoli either in microwave or steamer until barely tender (about 3-4 minutes). Arrange the broccoli on the bottom of a greased casserole (or 9x11 inch) dish and then layer the cooked turkey meat on top of the broccoli. Meanwhile heat butter in sauce pan over medium heat and add the flour. Stir and cook about 2 minutes to form a roux (a paste). Gradually stir in milk and chicken broth and cook until sauce thickens. This may take 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste, then add sherry wine. Cook 1 minute longer. Pour the sauce over the turkey and broccoli. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (and some parsley flakes, if you have them). Bake in a 400 degree oven for 2o minutes. Serves 4. This recipe is very tasty served over wild rice. Wild turkey has less fat and more protein than traditional birds bought from the grocer and typically has more polyunsaturated (good) fat and less saturated fat. The attached nutrition label is based on farm turkey, so the fat and protein content will be slightly different using wild turkey (a healthier difference).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Trout Season Open

(Photo from NYS DEC website)

Trout fishing opened on April 1st. To get up to date information on the fishing, check out the DEC Central NY Fishing Hotline.

The weather has been gorgeous and perfect for outdoor grilling. Here is a simple grilled trout recipe...
Grilled Trout
4-five to six ounce trout fillets
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. olive or canola oil
1T. fresh dill, chopped (or 1 t. dried dill)
1T. fresh parsley, chopped (or 1 t. dried parsley)
salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 t. each)

Mix lemon juice, oil, herbs and seasoning in a shallow baking dish or pie plate. Add the trout fillets to this mixture, being sure to coat both sides of the fish. Meanwhile light the grill. Oil the grill or grill pan before cooking the fish. Cook the fish about 2 minutes per side over moderate heat, or until opaque. Serve with fresh lemon wedges. Serves 4.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Snow Geese Abound!

The Snow Geese have arrived, and there are thousands of them in the county! New York State DEC has once again implemented a special snow goose season from March 11-April 15, 2010 with a daily bag limit of 15 Snows. This is a conservation effort to control the number of Snow Geese which have grown significantly over the past 50 years and are damaging the arctic tundra where they breed. You can read more about this at NYS DEC and get information on the hunting regulations. Also, the Artic Goose Joint Venture (AGJV) is a multi-agency partnership between the federal governments of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, along with some States, Provinces and Ducks Unlimited, that was established to further understand and manage North America's geese. AGJV has a great website, including a snow goose cookbook!

Here is a simple crock pot recipe for BBQ Snow Goose;

Pulled BBQ Goose

boneless, skinless breast from 1 snow goose
cold water
2 Tbsp, plus 2Tbsp salt
bottle of favorite BBQ sauce

Dissolve 2 Tbsp of salt in 2 quarts of cold water in a glass, plastic or ceramic bowl (not metal). Place the snow goose breasts in the water and gently knead the meat to remove blood, feathers, shot, etc. Rinse the meat and set aside. Add 2 quarts fresh, cold water to the bowl along with another 2 Tbsp of salt. Add the meat and put in the refrigerator to brine the meat for about 4 hours or overnight (this step is optional). Rinse the goose and cut into thin strips. Put goose meat in a crock pot and add enough BBQ sauce to coat and/or cover the meat. Stir to combine and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours. You can serve the goose meat on whole wheat rolls as a sandwich or over noodles or rice. Serves 4-6. Each serving of meat has about 180 calories and 3.5 g of fat (no saturated!).

(note: source of snow goose photo was the National Fish and Wildlife Service, National Digital Library)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ice Fishing- Perch

Ice fishing is on in Seneca County! Watch an ice fishing clip, get some basic know-how tips, and find ice fishing regulations from NYS DEC. There are many informal reports of nice size perch coming out of the frozen north end of Cayuga Lake. There is a daily limit of 50 yellow perch and no size regulations, though it is tough to get a boneless fillet off the small perch. The sweet flesh makes up for the time consuming filleting!

Here is a healthy version of "fried" perch...

Parmesan Perch Fries

1 lb of boneless perch fillets (could be 6+ fish)
1/4 cup skim milk
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 tsp parsley flakes
dash of salt to taste or Old Bay seasoning
1 T. olive oil

Rinse perch fillets. Put milk in a small bowl or dish. Mix cheese and seasonings (except oil) on a plate or in a shallow bowl. Heat olive oil over medium to medium high heat. Place perch fillets in milk and then coat them individually with the cheese "breading". Place parmesan crusted fillets in hot oil and brown about 3 minutes per side. Serve with lemon wedges if desired. Serves 2-4 people.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Waterfowl brunch

Canada geese and ducks close this weekend on January 10th. If you harvest a few ducks in the morning you may want to consider a waterfowl brunch.

Duck for Brunch
1 duck breast (both halves)
1 clove minced garlic
1 T. fresh parsley, if available
1 T. olive oil

Thinly slice fresh duck breast. Heat olive oil in a saute pan or iron skillet over medium heat. Add duck, garlic, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute the duck for a few minutes until cooked. Best served rare or medium rare for tenderness but cook according to your preference. Serve with eggs and brunch fixings in lieu of traditional bacon or sausage.