Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Grandpa's Venison Burgers

photo by Jodi Richards

“This is a new spin on my grandpa’s recipe for venison burgers. As an avid fisher and hunter, he often served these delicious burgers to my dad, aunt and uncle when they were growing up. Grandpa uses the sausage to give the lean venison some extra fat to hold the patties together on the grill. I’ve added the spices and peppers to give it a little extra heat!” – Megan Moore, dietetic intern with Seneca County Cornell Cooperative Extension.

Grandpa David’s Venison Burgers

Makes 6 burgers.

1 lb ground venison

2 Italian sausages

1 small onion

½ cup mushrooms

1 teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon dried thyme

For extra heat, 1-2 Tablespoons diced jalapeno or poblano pepper (about 1whole jalapeno or 1/3 of a whole poblano)

Hamburger buns

Peel and dice half of the onion into ¼” pieces. Wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel then dice into ¼” pieces. If using jalapeno or poblano, rinse the pepper and dice to ¼” pieces. (For less heat, remove the seeds and sauté the peppers in oil before adding into the meat. For more heat, add the seeds and uncooked peppers.)

Remove sausage from casing if necessary. Mix ground venison, sausage, onion, mushrooms, peppers if using, and spices by hand. Divide into 6 even portions, about 3 ounces each. Shape the patties into thick rounds with a slight impression in the middle of each.

Grill patties on preheated flattop griddle or two sided grill. The patties will be very lean so it is best not to cook them on a grated grill as they may fall apart. Cook until a thermometer inserted into the center of a patty reads at least 160° F.

Top with your favorite hamburger toppings (suggested: lettuce, tomato, onion and barbeque sauce) and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Venison (or goose) Jerky

Clean out the freezer of last year's venison by making some jerky to snack on during this hunting season. Jerky is really quite easy to make, yet it takes some time and reliable, science-based recipes must be followed. One reason to use last year's deer from your freezer for making jerky is because game meat should be frozen at 5 degrees Fahrenheit or below for at least 20 days to kill the Trichinella parasite that causes the disease, trichinosis. Other reasons could be proper rotation of your freezer space, defrosting your freezer before restocking it with this year's quarry, and jerky tastes great!

  • Take about 2lb of meat out of the freezer, choosing a cut that will slice well, such as steaks, chops or roasts. Place the meat in the refrigerator to defrost. Partially frozen meat is easier to slice. Do not defrost the meat at room temperature because this will allow bacteria to multiply and potentially cause an unsafe product. Trim fat from the meat and slice the meat into slices no thicker than 1/4 inch. Slice with the grain if a chewy jerky is desired and across the grain if a more brittle, tender jerky is preferred.
  • Make a jerky marinade by combining 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 T. Worcestershire sauce, dash of pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder, and 1 t. of hickory smoke flavored salt (or regular salt if you can't find this). Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a shallow glass or ceramic (not metal) pan and place meat in the pan, being sure to coat all of the pieces with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate the marinating meat for 1-2 hours or overnight (product will taste saltier the longer it is marinated).
  • Remove the pan from the refrigerator and place meat along with the marinade in a skillet or pan and place on the stove over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Boil the mixture for 5 minutes (this will kill any bacteria by reaching 160 degrees Fahrenheit). Remove the strips of meat and place to drain on clean absorbent towels.
  • Arrange the meat strips on dehydrator trays with the meat close together but not touching. If you are dehydrating in an oven, place meat on metal racks that are placed on cooking sheets to catch the drippings. Place the racks in a dehydrator or convection oven preheated to 140-145 degrees. For more information on using a dehydrator, convection or regular oven to dehydrate food see the Drying Food in NYS publication from Cornell Cooperative Extension. Begin checking the meat after about 3 hours to see if it is dry. It should crack, but not break when bent.
  • For more information see "Preparing Safer Jerky" from Cooperative Extension found here.
  • Goose breast meat can also be prepared the same way.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Duck Kabobs

Youth days for waterfowl season were last weekend October 8-9. If your junior hunter connected with any ducks over the weekend or you're just looking forward to the regular season, which opens October 22nd, try this simple recipe sure to please everyone.

Grilled Duck and Veggie Kabobs
recipe adapted and photo from

4 skinned, boned duck breasts
2 yellow squash
2 cups of broccoli
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
8 presoaked wooden or metal skewers

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
2 Tablespoons minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Cut the duck breast into 2" pieces. Mix the marinade ingredients together and coat the duck pieces in the marinade for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
Wash the vegetables and cut the squash and broccoli into 2" pieces, making sure there is room to put the skewer through. Toss in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

When the meat is done marinading, thread the meat and vegetables onto the skewer, allow 1/4 - 1/2" space between the vegetables and the meat. Grill the skewers over medium high heat until vegetables have a slight char and meat is cooked through, about 3 minutes a side. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve hot.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Teriyaki Goose Salad

Early season for Canada goose has just ended and will open again on October 22. Marinades are a good call for goose breast to help tenderize the meat and to enhance the flavor. Goose is an excellent source of iron.
photo from:©
© bev edukabc, Georgia, October 2008

Teriyaki Goose Salad

1 lb. goose breast meat
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1-2 T. rice wine vinegar or sherry
1 T. minced fresh ginger ( or 1 t. powdered)
1 T. minced garlic
1-2 T. brown sugar
cayenne pepper to taste
10 oz. mixed greens (salad lettuces)
2 T. slivered almonds
3/4 cup mandarin orange slices or sliced plums
2 T. Asian flavored salad dressing

To make the teriyaki marinade: mix olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar (or sherry), ginger, garlic, brown sugar and pinch of cayenne in a small glass or ceramic bowl (not metal), using a whisk or fork to combine ingredients well. If using a whole goose breast, pierce the meat all over with a fork and then place it in the teriyaki marinade or you can thin slice the goose and place it in the marinade. The meat can marinate for as little as an hour (turning the meat over a few times) or as long as a day or two in the refrigerator (again turn the meat a few times during the marinating process).

After desired amount of marinating time, remove the meat from the marinade. If using a whole breast, grill, pan fry or broil the goose meat for 5-8 minutes a side. The meat should be medium rare or medium, as it will get tough if cooked longer than this. After cooking, let the whole breast rest a few minutes and then cut the meat into slices. If using goose slices straight from the marinade, pan fry for a few minutes until meat is cooked to medium rare or medium.

Place the cooked goose on the greens with the fruit, nuts, and dressing and gently toss the salad to combine the ingredients.

Serves 3-4.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Brain Food

Fish, especially fatty fish such as salmon and lake trout, are a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids which helps brain function. Omega-3 has also been linked to cardiovascular health. The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish a week and offers good advice on the risk vs. benefits of eating fish. Some fish, especially older and larger predatory fish, contain high levels of mercury and/or PCBs. These contaminants can adversely effect fetal and infant development, so women and young children are advised against eating these fish, especially from certain water sources. Fortunately, many of the lakes in our region, including Seneca and Cayuga Lakes, do not have chemical contamination warnings and can be consumed weekly as part of a nutritious meal. Below is a chart from the NYS Department of Health about eating sport fish which specifically shows waters that have contamination concerns in the Finger Lakes Region. Eating a variety of species per month is also recommended.

Finger Lakes Region

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Women under 50 years and children under 15 years

Don't eat any fish from the waters listed below.

All others

Should follow the advice listed below.

Water [*] (County)SpeciesAdviceChemical(s) of Concern
Canadice Lake [10] (Ontario)Lake trout over 23"Don't eatPCBs
Brown trout and smaller lake troutEat up to one meal per monthPCBs
Chenango River [34]Walleye over 22"Eat up to one meal per monthMercury
Irondequoit Bay [9] (Monroe)CarpDon't eatPCBs, Mirex
Keuka Lake [11] (Yates & Steuben)Lake trout over 25"Eat up to one meal per monthDDT
Koppers Pond [12] (Chemung)CarpEat up to one meal per monthPCBs
Lake Ontario [8]
- Whole lake
Harvest/possession of Lake Ontario American eel is prohibited per NYS DEC Regulations.
Channel catfish, carp, lake trout over 25" and brown trout over 20"Don't eatPCBs, Mirex, Dioxin
Chinook salmon, rainbow trout, white sucker, smaller lake trout, smaller brown trout and coho salmon over 25"Eat up to one meal per monthPCBs, Mirex, Dioxin
- West of Point BreezeWhite perchDon't eatPCBs, Mirex, Dioxin
- East of Point BreezeWhite perchEat up to one meal per monthPCBs, Mirex, Dioxin
Onondaga Lake [14] (Onondaga)Largemouth bass and smallmouth bass over 15" and walleyeDon't eatMercury, PCBs
Carp, channel catfish and white perchDon't eatPCBs, Mercury, Dioxin
All fish not listedEat up to one meal per monthMercury, PCBs
Brown bullhead and pumpkinseedEat up to four meals per monthMercury, PCBs
Rushford Lake [7] (Allegany)WalleyeEat up to one meal per monthMercury
Seneca River [15]
- Downstream of Lock 24 at Baldwinsville
See Onondaga Lake
Skaneateles Creek [13]
- From dam at Skaneateles to Seneca River (Onondaga)
Brown trout over 10"Eat up to one meal per monthPCBs
Susquehanna River [35]Walleye over 22"Eat up to one meal per monthMercury
All waters not listed above in the Finger Lakes Region: All ages men, women and childrenAll fish speciesEat up to four meals per month

Note: The specific advisories for the waters listed above also apply to tributaries and connected waters if there are no barriers to stop the fish from crossing, such as dams or falls.

Here is an easy, nutritious fish recipe that kids like too!

Creamy Dijon Fish Fillets
1 lb. firm, skinless, boneless, fish fillets (such as trout, salmon, perch, etc)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (low fat)
2 T. Dijon-style mustard
3 T. grated Parmesan cheese
black pepper to taste

Preheat broiler with oven rack in proper position. Rinse the fillets, pat dry and place on a broiler pan (you may want to lightly grease the pan with some oil to prevent sticking). In a small bowl, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, cheese and pepper. Spread this mixture evenly over the fish fillets. Broil the fillets for 4-7 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of the fish, or just until the fish flakes with a fork. Do not overcook or the fish will be dry. Serves 3-4.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Season opened for Bass fishing June 18th

Bass season opened the 3rd Saturday in June with a limit of five per day and only keeping those 12 inches or longer. The Finger Lakes have some of the best large mouth black bass fishing in the state! Here is a recipe adapted from that impressively cooks the whole fish:

Black Bass with Ginger, Cilantro and Scallions

1 (3-lb) whole black bass( large or small mouth)cleaned, leaving head and tail intact
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bunch scallions, white and pale green parts cut into very thin 2-inch strips and greens reserved separately
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into very thin matchsticks

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
3 T. light soy sauce
1-2 T. white wine or sake
1/4 t. sugar

Special equipment: a large shallow baking dish (about 15 by 10 inches) to fit inside a 17- by 12- by 2 1/2-inch roasting pan; heavy-duty foil;

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Put baking dish in roasting pan.

Rinse fish and pat dry, then rub inside and out with salt. Transfer to baking dish and sprinkle with scallion strips (white and pale green) ginger and cilantro.

Stir together soy sauce, wine and sugar until sugar is dissolved, then pour over fish. Add enough boiling-hot water to roasting pan (note: not the same pan that the fish is in!) to reach halfway up side of baking dish. Oil a large sheet of heavy-duty foil, then tent foil (oiled side down) over fish and tightly seal around roasting pan. Carefully transfer roasting pan to oven and bake until fish is just cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes.

While fish bakes, cut enough scallion greens diagonally into very thin slices to measure 1/2 cup (any remainder can be saved for another use).

Just before serving, remove foil from fish very carefully. Gently transfer fish intact to a serving dish and sprinkle with scallion greens. Serves 8 family style.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

National Lake Trout Derby, Seneca Lake, NY

This weekend is the National Lake Trout Derby held every year on Seneca Lake. Cash prizes are given for the largest Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, and land-locked Salmon. More information can be found on the National Lake Trout Derby website.

Grilling is a great way to enjoy these delicious, healthy, fish species. Simply place skinless, boneless trout fillets in your favorite citrus flavored marinade for about 10 minutes while your grill is heating up. Grill the fillets either on foil or in a fish pan (so they don't fall through the grill rack) for about 5 minute per side or until cooked through and flake easily with a fork. You can brush more of the marinade on as you grill.

Happy fishing!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Italian Venison Burgers

It is time to start thinking about the outdoor adventure of grilling! Venison steaks are excellent on the grill, but they are best if the meat has time to tenderize in a marinade for a few days. If you want to grill tonight, try these Italian flavored burgers....

Italian Venison Burgers

1 pound ground venison, thawed
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/3 cup green olives, chopped
1-2 T. olive oil
1-2 t. Italian seasoning
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all of the ingredients together and form into 4 hamburger patties. Grill until desired temperature. USDA recommends to cook the meat to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. To test the temperature, insert a meat thermometer sideways into the burger.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Snow Geese

Hunting is encouraged for snow geese in New York state with the season extended until April 15, a bag limit of 25 per day, and no possession limit! According the the NYS DEC, there is an overabundance of Snow Geese on the Atlantic Flyway, increasing from about 50,000 birds in the 1960's to over a million birds in recent years. The overabundance of snow geese is detrimental to fragile habitats. Thousands of geese can be found in Seneca County fields. So, stock up the larder and help with conservation efforts!
(photo courtesy of Keith Tidball)

BBQ Goose

breast meat from 1 goose, about 2 lbs, boneless and skinless
1-2 T. of olive oil or butter
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2-4 cups apple juice or chicken stock
favorite barbecue sauce

Heat olive oil in a large skillet and brown the goose breasts for a few minutes on each side. Transfer to a slow cooker and add the onion, garlic, and enough juice or stock to cover the meat. Simmer on low heat for 6-8 hours. This can also be done in a dutch oven or braising pan placed in the oven at 300 degrees for 3+ hours (make sure the liquid does not cook off). The meat should be tender and easily shredded when done. Remove the goose meat from the pan and shred the meat. Discard the cooking liquid. Mix the goose meat with your favorite BBQ sauce and heat through. Great for sandwiches. Should serve about 8.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rabbit until February 28th....Hasenpfeffer

Rabbit closed February 28th in Seneca County, yet it is open until March 20th in the north country. Hasenpfeffer is a traditional German rabbit dish made by first marinating the rabbit and then braising it with other vegetables in a stew. Kuneytown Sportsmen club had a rabbit and squirrel derby on February 26th and served up this dish afterwards. It was enjoyed by all, including the twelve-year-old young lady who won the rabbit derby and learned how to make the stew!


2 dressed rabbits (about 2 lbs each), cut into quarters

2 cups red
1 cup water
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp Italian seasoning or Herb de Provence
10 whole peppercorns

1/2 cup flour
4-6 slices bacon
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 cup dry red wine
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream

In a large glass bowl (not metal) combine marinade ingredients (wine through peppercorns) and add the rabbit pieces. Turn to coat, cover the bowl and refrigerate for 2 to 3 days, turning the rabbit every now and then.

When it is time to cook, remove the rabbit from the marinade and flour the pieces (this can be done in a zip lock bag or on a plate). In a Dutch oven or braising pan, cook the bacon until just crisp. Add rabbit pieces and brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Add mushrooms, onions, carrot, and garlic and saute 3-5 minutes. Pour in 1 cup of red wine and gently scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon (deglaze the pan). Add the rabbit back to the stew and gently stir. Cover and simmer the stew for about 1 hour. Stir in the sour cream at the end and serve the Hasenpfeffer over noodles. Serves about 4.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Ice Fishing!

The ice is almost a foot thick at the top of Cayuga Lake and the perch are biting. There have also been reports of lake trout being caught. As always, the NYS DEC website has good information on how to ice fish, safety tips, rules, regulations, and where to find fish.
Perch are sometimes called poor man's shrimp...simply boil the fillets just a minute or 2 until the flesh is white and cooked through (do not overcook or the meat can get tough). Chill the perch fillets and serve as you would a shrimp cocktail...with some fresh lemon wedges and cocktail sauce. Yum!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Corned Goose

The second half of waterfowl season is in full swing until January 9th in Seneca County. There is a daily limit of 3 Canada Geese and 25 Snow Geese per day (hunting of this species is obviously encouraged, and you can read more about this in an earlier post, "Snow Geese Abound"). What to do with all this goose meat? You can freeze some for later use with a vacuum sealer or butcher paper, smoke some, make jerky, and you can corn it, along with many other possibilities. Corning meat is a relatively simple process, consisting of placing the meat in a brining solution, similar to preparing meat for smoking, though for a longer period of time, about 5-7 days, and then slow cooking the meat in water for 3-5 hours with or without cabbage. Here is the recipe...

Corned Goose (or venison)

4 goose breast pieces (from 2 birds) or a 3-5 lb venison roast
2 quarts water
1/2 cup canning or pickling salt
1/2 cup tender quick salt (this is a curing salt which contains nitrates and should not be substituted for food safety reasons, color and taste. A common brand is Morten Tender Quick)
5-6 whole peppercorns or 1 T. cracked black pepper
3 T. sugar
2-3 T. pickling spice
6 crushed garlic cloves
1 T. thyme (optional)
1 t. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Bring the water, salt, sugar, and spices to a boil for a few minutes (all of the ingredients except the goose!) and then remove from heat and allow to return to room temperature or colder. Place the boneless, skinless goose breasts in a glass, ceramic or plastic container that is large enough to hold the goose with a few inches of head space. Do not use a metal container. Pour the cooled brining liquid over the goose meat to cover it. Cover the container with a lid or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 5-7 days, turning the meat occasionally. Remove the goose meat from the brine and cook it in a crock pot or dutch oven by covering the meat with clean water and allowing it to simmer for 3-5 hours until tender. Cut it into thin slices for serving with mustard or sauerkraut.

Note: The same recipe can be used for a 3-5 pound venison roast.