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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Wapiti Chili

Wapiti, an old Indian word meaning "White Rump," in reference to the rear end of an Elk. Bet you didn't know that?! Well, at least that's what my dad as always told me!
We weren't lucky enough to "harvest" (I'll be pc) an Elk this year, but we were lucky enough to know someone who did! Elk meat is very low in fat and cholesterol, and when you take them from the wild you know they're not pumped full of growth hormones or chemicals. 

Even if you aren't a hunter, there are Elk farms that raise them just like beef cattle, and many are organic so you can come close to getting the "real deal." I am just going to go ahead and tell you, I think Elk is better than beef! I grew up on wild game and I would chose elk, deer, moose, antelope, caribou, you name it over beef any day! But, that's just me...

Wapiti Chili

2 lbs. ground Elk 
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 whole white onion, chopped
3 cups of "chili" beans, like Great Northern, Pinto, Black Beans, etc...Just use at least 2 varieties.
2 cups diced tomatoes
Handful of diced green chilles
1 cup whole corn
2 cloves garlic
2 tsp pepper ( or else if you don't like it so "peppy")
1 tsp salt
1 tsp oregano

 In a cast iron skillet, brown the Elk with the garlic and onions in olive oil. 
Add to a large cook pot-  beans, tomatoes, green chilles, corn and cook on medium heat while meat browns.
Once the meat is done, add to the cook pot and simmer on low.
Add the spices and stir until well combined. 
Let the pot simmer for at least 15 minutes before serving. 

I hope you enjoy! It's nothin' fancy, but I hope I at least got you thinking about trying Elk meat! 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Paul Bunyan Sugar Cookies

Paul Bunyan? Yes, the mythological, giant-sized logger with his bright blue Ox named Babe. These cookies are fit for any giant or logger because they are cut out from the opening of a coffee can! I am not sure how long this recipe has been around in our family, but I know I have been scarfing them down since I was old enough to slobber.

This is another recipe that was used at my wedding, and I sure hope you take the time to try them! Just don't go draggin' any axes around - We don't need another Grand Canyon!

Paul Bunyan Sugar Cookies
(Valentine's themed)

Cream together:
1 1/2 cups margarine (try it with butter, or half butter/half marg.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 T vanilla
2 T milk

Sift and add:
4 cups of flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. of salt

Chill for at least one hour. This is crucial. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Watch them as you bake and try them soft and crunchy. My family's favorite way is browned around the edges for a crunchy cookie.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Porky Bacon Dip

How did this dip get such a name? Well, I'll tell ya...You'll feel like a porkin' out pig after you taste this dip, cause ya just can't stop! My mom has been making this bacon dip for family get-togethers, holidays and basically any excuse to get a bunch of friends together and crowd around the bowl of crackers and dip!

Porky Pig Dip

2- 8 oz. packages of cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise (Best Foods brand is BEST)
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup green onion, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons parsley (for color)
Oh ya...
12 oz. cooked and crumbled BACON!
Don't go skimpy on the bacon.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and set in fridge for about an hour before serving. Take out when ready, place in to a cute bowl with plenty of room for dippin' and serve lots of crackers to go with. We usually have Wheat Thins, Triscuits, Chicken in a Biscuit or some sort of grainy cracker. Honestly, the cracker is just the vessel to get the dip in to your mouth! So, don't sweat the crackers too much. Just make sure you have enough dip on hand!!

Left-Over Cornbread Casserole

I am always looking for new ways to "dress up" the left over cornbread. Usually we eat it warmed up with milk and honey in a bowl, Mmmm mmm. I took some inspiration from a cornbread stuffing recipe that I tore out of some magazine at one time, and here is what I came up with:

Cut up the following in to bite size chunks:
Celery,Green Onion, Sweet Potato and White onion - Toss all into a large bowl

About 1 cup of raisins
About 1 cup chopped walnuts, or pecans
About 3 cups of crumbled cornbread (it's ok even if it's dried out)
1 1/2 cups chicken broth

Mix this all up and place in  a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees until heated through. 

This could be an excellent side or even the main course! The nuts and raisins really topped it off for us. I will definitely be making this again with our left over cornbread.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Cast Iron Cornbread

I love this cornbread so much, I had it served at our wedding! I am not sure which people remembered more, the wedding or the cornbread?

Cast Iron Cornbread
Bake @ 350 degrees

Mix together in a large bowl:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add to dry:
1 1/4 cups milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil

Fold in:
1 can corn or ( 1 heapin' cup frozen corn)
3/4 cup sour cream

Pour batter into a buttered, No. 8 cast iron pan and bake until golden around edges and knife inserted comes out clean!

*or you can substitute the above for 1 can of cream corn

Mustang Chocolate Cake

" Like the mustangs that roam the West, no one really knows where this cake came from. And, like those hardy horses, this recipe is a mixture of odd things that all add up to something wonderful." - The Cowgirl's Cookbook

What could be better than chocolate and wild horses? This cake. I don't even like chocolate cake, and I absolutely loved this cake. It's not too rich, not too dense, but just rich enough, and just full enough of flavor that it leaves your mouth watering for more! Ok, enough droolin, here's the recipe in my own rendition...
1 1/2 cups of flour
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cooking oil 
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup cold coffee, strong! (This, along with the vinegar, is the key..I think :)
1/2 cup cold water 
Preheat to 350 degress.
Sift the flour, cocoa , baking soda, sugar and salt into a 9x9 cake pan.
Then, using your finger, make 3 wells in the dry mixture about the size of a golf ball. Pour in to one the oil, the other the vanilla and the last one, the vinegar. Then, pour the cold coffee and water over the whole thing and whisk it all together with a fork. That's it!
Bake for about 30 minutes...