Friday, October 21, 2011

Deer Season And We Are So Excited!

Notice the darker red color of ground venison.

My husband loves to hunt and has many friends who, fellow hunter themselves, bless us with deer meat in various cuts. Because I didn't grow up eating it, I had to learn to prepare it. It turns out, it's not that different from other meat when it comes to cooking it. Yesterday we were blessed with four pounds of ground deer meat, so I thawed two pounds and we made deer burgers! It was really delicious and we felt good about eating healthy. If you aren't familiar with it, venison, or deer meat, is very lean and therefore a healthier choice than beef. I'm looking forward to Hubby bagging a deer this year and then we'll get to really explore the different cuts.
Anyway, it was chilly last night, so rather than making Rich fire up the grill, I made the burgers in a skillet. The key to burgers of any kind is not to overwork the meat when forming the burgers, and also never to smash the burgers while cooking. I know, its tempting. We are almost hard-wired into thinking that flat burgers are the way to go, since so many of us were probably raised eating a lot of fast food. However, making fat, juicy burgers is far more satisfying and they are more tender. Here's my recipe:

Served on homemade buns with bbq sauce and mayo, topped with cheese and grilled onions. Yummy!

Deer Burgers

2 lb Ground Venison
1/2 Medium Onion, chopped
2-3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Pepper
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Gently work the meat and seasonings with your hands until well blended. Form your burgers gently, just molding the patties into shape, instead of rolling into balls and flattening. Heat skillet over medium-high heat. You may lower just a touch, if the burgers seem to be cooking to fast on the outside. I like to turn my patties frequently, to get even heating throughout as well as good color on the outside. In between turns, I keep a lid on to trap the heat in. You know they're finished when you can pierce the burger with a fork and the juice is clear, not bloody. Don't over cook, though. Garnish with cheese and your favorite veggies. I served mine on home made buns using the Amish White Bread recipe. I adjusted the baking time, though, since it was buns not whole loaves.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yummy and Cheap Granola!

I've been looking for an easy recipe for home made granola. We love granola; whether its in our yogurt or as a snack or cereal, my family will eat it up! However, it is rather pricey in any form. Finally I found this perfect and quick recipe on All Recipes. I made it last night and, after tasting it, made another batch. I knew it wouldn't last long around my house. We didn't have any dried fruit to add, so I just threw in some chopped almonds. The recipe says to add the fruit and almonds after cooking, but I threw the almonds while cooking in the butter and sugar mixture, just to get a good coating. I also laid the granola on some wax paper on a dinner plate to cool, then broke into small pieces after it cooled. Next time, though, I think I might press it down tight in a loaf pan and then cut it into bars. I did try it in some milk for breakfast this morning, and I'm happy to report that it stayed crunchy and was a delicious breakfast! Here's the recipe:

Stovetop Granola
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oats then cook and stir until starting to brown and crisp, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and spread out on a cookie sheet to cool.
  2. Melt the butter in the same pan over medium heat. Stir in the honey and brown sugar; cook, stirring constantly, until bubbly. Return the oats to the pan. Cook and stir for another 5 minutes or so. Pour out onto the cookie sheet and spread to cool.
  3. Once cool, transfer to an airtight container and stir in the almonds and dried cranberries. Any additional nuts and fruit can be stirred in at this time also.