We'd like to wish everyone a safe and fun Halloween!! Congratulations to Angela Cavalier, the winner of our Halloween Dessert Contest! She will be receiving a Camp Chef 9 Piece Professional Knife Set. Angela made cupcakes made of body parts.
"My name is Angela Cavalier & my dessert is cupcakes with body parts. I got the idea because my boyfriend just bought a lathe to make various hunting tools & to do other projects and he said, 'Hopefully I don't dismember myself with my new toy.' He hasn't hurt himself, but it gave me inspiration for my gory dessert."
Angela's cupcakes, topped with loose teeth, fingers, an ear, nose and plenty of blood... fantastic job!
I've often though of elk as a "gateway" game meat. It's a good place to start for folks who are not hunters or who may have reservations about eating wild game. Elk has a similar texture and flavor profile to beef, though much better. And in this dish, it's prepared in a familiar format-- burgers. Also, because I'm making sliders, it's a smaller commitment to those who want to ease into game meat. For the rest of us, these are great TV game-watching snacks, tailgating, or maybe an appetizer to a larger game oriented feast. Roasted bell pepper ketchup adds an interesting sweet/spicy foil to elk. I usually grind my elk on an as-needed basis. If you have ground elk already, even easier. I add about 20% of fat to the elk for additional flavor. Most wild game is really lean to begin with. In this prep I used pancetta, an Italian-style pork bacon product which is usually unsmoked. However, you're welcome to add your favorite fat. Prep Time: 45 minutes Cook Time: 60 minutes Servings: 6 (about 16-18 sliders) Ingredients: Elk Sliders - 2 lbs. ground elk - 1/2 lb. pancetta, finely chopped - 3 tbs. of bleu or Roquefort cheese (I know some folks don't care for the aggressive flavors of these classic cheeses, but in small doses, they really complement elk.) - freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt, to taste Roasted Red Bell Pepper Ketchup - 3 or 4 red bell peppers - 2 tbs. finely diced carrot - 2 tbs. finely diced shallots - 2 tbs. brown sugar - 1 chipotle pepper, chopped - 1 tbs. minced garlic - 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar - 1 tbs. honey - 1 tsp. ground cinnamon - 1 tsp. ground nutmeg - 1 tbs. of olive oil - freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt, to taste - slider buns/rolls (If I were a better baker, I'd make these myself.) Directions: 1. In a large bowl, combine elk and pancetta. Add bleu or Roquefort cheese and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate. 2. Roast whole red bell peppers over an open flame or on the grill. High heat is important so the skins will char and blister. Place roasted peppers in a plastic bag or a bowl and cover. In a few minutes, the peppers will be easy to peel by hand. Seed and chop peppers coarsely and puree in a blender or processor. 3. Heat olive oil in a heavy pan over moderate to high heat. Add carrots, shallots, chipotle and garlic. Sauté until tender. Add the remaining ketchup ingredients and puréed red peppers, except for salt and pepper, and simmer for 30-35 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature, then purée in a blender or processor. Season with salt and pepper to taste and chill in the refrigerator. 4. Form burger patties a little larger than your slider buns. With the added fat, there will be some shrinkage while cooking. I grilled the elk burgers over pecan wood. You can use commercial charcoal or whatever. They can also be pan seared of broiled. I like them rare to medium. Wild game, even ground, will toughen with longer cooking times.
5. Serve these little morsels up with your favorite burger condiments and fixin's. The ketchup can be served on the side or dolloped on the burgers. Maybe add some classic fries and perhaps, a cold beer, for all your efforts. I'm always reminded of the hunt that created the food I'm preparing. Happy memories and eating.
About Neal Zeller
There's not a lot I can add to what others, far more eloquent than I am, have written about hunting.
I hike, backpack, cycle, run, fish and hunt. And although all of these recreational pursuits - even that term falls short - add something to my life, none of them contribute more than hunting does. No other experience engages more of my senses and amplifies my life as time spent pursuing game. Animals who have spent their lives in remarkable landscapes, eluding harm, and eluding me, deserve my respect. And they have it.
I hunt, and I also eat. It's important for me to be at least partially responsible for the deaths that sustain my own life. We all owe that, at a minimum, to our food sources.
I worked in the food and beverage industry throughout high school and college, both in the front and back of the house. Wait staff and line cook. The level of craft, skill and passion by real food professionals is astonishing. And it's really hard work. There are plenty of parallels between chefs and hunters.
So when I can combine hunting, food preparation, cooking... and eating, I'm all over it.
[Photo: Arizona, Unit 24A Javelina Bow Hunt. 2011.]
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Like us, Neal Zeller is a regular guy who loves to fish, hunt and cook. If you have a great fish or game recipe you'd like to submit, send it to email@example.com
Thank you Neal for sending in this wonderful recipe!
Compound butter is great to serve with beef steaks, but we find that it's even better with wild game. It helps to add an extra richness to lean meats like venison, elk or antelope. Our lemon-shallot compound butter takes only mere minutes to make. Spread it on your favorite game meats and prepare for an evening of praise and raves. You don't even have to tell your dinner guests how easy it was.
Serve this dish with our Irish "Champ" Mashed Potatoes and arugula salad. And don't be afraid to get creative. When it comes to compound butter, you can mix in endless combinations of favorite herbs and spices. Servings: 4 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 7-8 minutes Ingredients: - 1 1/2 pounds of venison loin (or elk, moose, antelope, etc.) - McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning, to taste - canola oil Compound Butter - 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened at room temperature - 1 shallot, minced - 1 clove of garlic, minced - 1 tbs. flat leaf parsley, minced - 1 tsp. lemon juice - salt and pepper, to taste
1. Prepare grill. Take out meat to allow it come to room temperature. Combine all compound butter ingredients.
Roll compound butter into a log with plastic wrap. Store in the fridge. Leftovers keep well in the freezer, too. When ready to use, take out of the fridge to soften.
2. Dab venison with paper towels to soak up excess moisture. Rub all sides with canola oil and Montreal Steak Seasoning, to taste. Grill over direct heat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until it's cooked to your liking. Don't overcook.
Allow tenderloin to rest for 5-10 minutes, tented in foil. Cut pads of compound butter and place on top of meat before serving. It's delicious! Please enjoy!
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Want to win this Camp Chef Professional 9-Piece Knife Set? Hurry and enter our Halloween Dessert Contest! Only 2 days left! Click here for details.
If you're looking to whip up something quick, cheap and delicious, try our Catfish Po' Boys! For those with fast fingers, it'll take you about 20 minutes to make. If you're slow, maybe 30. Typically, Rick and I don't like cole slaw. It's either too mayo-y, too sweet or just plain ol' gross. I cringe at the memory of having to eat stale cole slaw in public school cafeterias. It tasted like the lunch ladies scrounged up random bits of veggies and fruit stuck under the wheels of their food stations, and then slapped in some mayo and an ungodly amount of sugar. NASTY. But, we've been inspired to make a cole slaw we both like, based on our taste. Cole slaw should be cool, refreshing, with the right balance of sugar, acidity and richness. Here's our recipe. It's finger lickin' yummy! Just be sure to have a lot of napkins on hand. Servings: 2 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 6-8 minutes Ingredients: - 1/2 - 3/4 lb. of catfish filet(s) - 1/2 cup of your favorite fish fry breading mixture (we used Andy's Red Fish Breading) - canola oil, for frying Cole Slaw - 3 cups of shredded cabbage - 1/2 cup of shredded carrot - 1/2 cup of Best Foods Olive Oil Mayo - 1 tsp. of rice vinegar - 1 tsp. of sugar - 1 tsp. of Louisiana hot sauce, or to taste - salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste- 1 vine tomato, sliced - tartar sauce (optional) - 1 loaf of fresh French baguette
1. To make cole slaw, combine cabbage, carrot, mayo, rice vinegar, sugar, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Taste to make sure the flavors are balanced. Too dry, add more mayo. Too sweet, add more vinegar. Too tart, add more sugar. Set aside to let flavors marry.
2. Rinse catfish filet(s) in cold water. Shake off excess water. Cut and trim filets accordingly. Coat both sides well with breading mixture. In a skillet, heat 1/2 inch of canola oil. Fry catfish filets for about 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
Drain on paper towels. 3. Cut French bread into two sections for serving. Assemble Po' Boy with cole slaw at the bottom, tomato and then catfish. If you must have tartar sauce, fine. But I don't think it needs it. Enjoy!
Since Halloween is coming closer, we felt inspired to make pumpkin cupcakes. This is an easy, no-fuss recipe. Just get a box of Betty Crocker white cake mix, dump a can of pumpkin in it, eggs, oil-- the usual, and then bake! This recipe will make about 20-25 standard-sized cupcakes. Rick and I are trying to eat healthier, so we gave most of them away. Decorating is the best part though, right??
A reminder to enter our Halloween Dessert Contest! Win a Camp Chef 9-Piece Professional Knife Set. Contest ends October 30, 2012 at 11:59PM. For contest details, click here. Servings: about 20-25 cupcakes Prep Time: 5 minutes Bake Time: about 25 minutes Ingredients: - 1 (16.25 oz) box of Betty Crocker SuperMoist Cake Mix, White - 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree - 3 egg whites - 3/4 cups of water - 1/3 cup of vegetable oil - 1 tsp. ground cinnamon - 1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg - frosting (your choice) - sprinkles and decorations (optional)
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, egg whites, water, vegetable oil, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Next, add pumpkin puree and beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
Ahh... good ol' Libby's Pumpkin Puree.
2. Line cupcake pan(s) with paper baking cups. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling each about 3/4 way.
The cupcake fairy at work...
Bake on the middle rack at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Just keep an eye on it. Ovens vary greatly. Ours doesn't heat evenly. :-P
Cool baked cupcakes on a cooling rack before decorating.
The FUN part!!
I'm so Asian that I can use toothpicks as chopsticks to decorate.
Candy corn cupcake!
Flies stuck on a spiderweb.
The whole gang.
Bats... a Food for Hunters special effect...
Trust Camp Chef for all your outdoor cooking needs.
Hi Diane! This one's for you! (Diane is Rick's sister-in-law.) The weather's getting cooler, and it's starting to finally feel like the holidays. Butternut Squash Soup is the perfect soup for warming those chilly bones. Most butternut squash soup recipes are pretty basic, but ours has smoky Hungarian paprika, coriander, bacon and freshly chopped scallion. It will make a light, bright side or starter for any meal. And it only takes 30 minutes to make! Servings: 4 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 20-30 minutes Ingredients: - 2 tbs. of olive oil - 1 large onion, chopped - kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste - 2 medium carrots, chopped - half of a medium butternut squash (about 1 1/2 lb.), cut into 1/4-in. pieces - 3 cups of water - 2 cups of chicken broth - 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary - 2 tsp. of Hungarian paprika - 1/4 tsp. of coriander - crumbled bacon
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced - cheesy toasts (optional) Directions: 1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook covered for 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. 2. Add carrots and squash. Cook covered for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water, chicken broth and rosemary, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until veggies are tender, about 20 minutes. 3. Remove and discard rosemary, and take mixture off heat. Next, puree the soup using an immersion blender or a standard blender (working in small batches). If using a standard blender, return pureed soup to the pot. Add Hungarian paprika, coriander, then salt and pepper to taste. 4. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Garnish with scallion and bacon. Serve with crusty bread. For a tasty treat, broil crusty bread with cheddar cheese or mozzarella on top.
"Champ" is one of Ireland's favorite side dishes. Reading through an Irish cookbook we bought, Rick and I learned that Champ is traditionally served at Halloween, when custom says to leave a bowl under a bush for fairies. This mashed potato recipe is so wonderfully different because of the pool of warm melted butter that sits on top. Instead of mixing cold butter into your mashed potatoes beforehand, Champ showcases it at the dinner table, where it is finally whipped together by a chosen dinner guest. Normally made with milk, chives, scallion and plain melted butter, Rick and I decided to go a different route-- to make it more rich and sinfully delicious. Our Champ is made with shredded Irish sharp cheddar cheese that's been aged for 2 years. To make things even more exciting, we slowly infused butter with chopped garlic and shallots.
We served these potatoes with a grilled tenderloin of venison, with a lemon and shallot compound butter-- recipe coming soon. This recipe may not be good for your waistline, but who cares! Serve it this Halloween for something different.
Servings: 4 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes Ingredients: - 2 lbs. of russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes - 1 1/2 cups of whole milk - 6 tbs. of unsalted butter - 1/3 cup of parsley, chopped - 2 cups of shredded Irish sharp cheddar cheese - 2 shallots, finely chopped - 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped - sea salt, to taste
1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender. Remove from heat and drain. Then return potatoes to pot. Mash with potato masher. 2. Stir in parsley, shredded cheddar cheese and milk. Add sea salt, to taste.
3. In a small saucepan, add butter, shallot, garlic and a tiny half pinch of salt. Turn heat on low and let the butter melt slowly. Do not let the shallot and garlic brown. When ready to serve, pile potatoes into a warm serving bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in melted butter mixture. Serve immediately, mixing in the melted butter at the table.
We're holding our first ever contest! If you're having trouble reading the flyer above, here it is:
RULES: Create a Halloween themed dessert. Cakes, cupcakes, muffins, candy, whatever. The more gorey, the better. It does not have to be hunting related. To qualify (1) you must “Like” our Facebok page, (2) submit a photo of your dessert, (3) submit a photo of you with your dessert, (4) submit your name and brief description of your dessert. Please submit all materials to to firstname.lastname@example.org Contest ends on October 30, 2012 at 11:59 PM.
Butternut squash is in season, so we thought we'd make a stew. Couple with venison, it's the perfect fall dish. Rick and I hope that many of you are finding success on your hunts. We are rifle hunters, so deer season doesn't start until November. We will be flying into Omaha, Nebraska on November 8th, with the rifle opener starting that Saturday on the 10th. With the drought and EHD running rampant among white-tail populations in the Midwest, Rick and I would be lying if we said we weren't nervous. But I suppose that's hunting. Hah. Life is like a day out hunting... you never know what you're gonna get. We still haven't figured out what we'd do if we happen to not get any deer this season... what would become of Food for Hunters?! (Cue in dramatic music.) Anyway, we hope you get a chance to make this dish. Rick said last night, "If only it was cold outside, then this would really hit the spot." Being in Southern California, the weather can be a little bipolar. We are due to hit the 90s this week. And it was so nice last week. We thought it would finally cool down. It almost felt like fall. Servings: 4 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 2.5 hours Ingredients: - 2 tbs. olive oil - 1 onion, peeled and diced - 2 cloves of garlic, minced - 2 tsp. of dried rosemary, chopped - 1/4 tsp. dried thyme - 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg - 1/4 tsp. dried sage - 1 lb. of venison stew meat, cleaned and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes - sea salt, to taste - freshly ground black pepper, to taste - 1 1/2 tbs. of all-purpose flour - 1 cup of dry red wine - 1 large russet potato (or 2 small), peeled and diced - half of a medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1.5-inch cubes (about 1 1/2 pounds) - 2 tbs. of sun dried tomatoes, chopped - 4 cups of low-sodium beef broth - half a bunch of rainbow chard - 2 tbs. Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped - crusty bread, for serving
1. Toss cubed venison with salt and pepper, to taste. Coat evenly with 1.5 tbs of flour.
In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tbs. of olive oil over medium-high heat. Brown venison until its golden brown at the edges. Remove venison and set aside.
2. Next, lower heat to medium. Add the onion, garlic, 2 tsp. of rosemary, 1/4 tsp. of thyme and a pinch of salt. Cook until onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Stir often.
Return venison to pot. Then, add a cup of red wine. Bring to a simmer. With a wooden spoon, loosen brown bits off the bottom. Next, add 2 tbs. of chopped sun dried tomatoes.
You can use regular sun dried tomatoes or tomatoes packed in oil. We used packed in oil.
3. Remove the hard stalks that run along the leaves of rainbow chard. Cut into small pieces. Add to the pot. Then add diced potatoes and 4 cups of beef broth. Stir in 1/4 tsp. each of nutmeg and sage. Cover and simmer for 1.5 hours, or until meat becomes tender.
Reserve rainbow chard leaves for later. Chard is very perishable. They don't last long in the fridge. If your chard wilts, like ours did, perk them up in ice water for a couple of minutes. Then drain.
Pretty butternut squash. Rick has had it before, but this was my first time.
Meanwhile, cut ends off the butternut squash. Then peel. Cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds/pulp. Store the half you won't use in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap.
Cut the other half into large 1.5-inch chunks. Give the reserved rainbow chard leaves a rough chop.
4. After 1.5 hours, add the butternut squash and rainbow chard to the pot. Everything should be fairly submerged.
Cover and simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until squash is tender. If desired, uncover the pot towards the end to thicken up the stew. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in chopped parsley.
Serve with crusty bread. YUM!!
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We will be running a Halloween contest pretty soon. Keep checking back for details!! Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know about it! The winner will receive a Camp Chef 9 Piece Professional Knife Set.