So, I canned my first vegetables back in July and it took me until February to eat any of them. This is not because I haven’t been cooking. It’s because of my life-long, engrained fear of botulism. I’m not kidding. I had these jars of gorgeous tomatoes in my pantry for months, and I just couldn’t eat them. Finally I decided I had to take the risk. So I read up on botulism and discovered it isn’t necessarily fatal (as long as you get medical care pretty quickly). That made me feel better and gave me the confidence to open some tomatoes.
Happy New Year! Hard to believe the holidays are already over and it’s 2013. I think this is going to be a fantastic year. It’s already off to a great start. I’m working in a job that I enjoy with great people, I’m cooking great foods, and I’m getting my health squared away. As far as the cooking great foods goes, I made these venison, pumpkin, and blue cheese mushroom caps for the New Year’s Eve party I attended this year.
I eat a lot of venison, as you know if you read this blog. I’m always trying to find new things to do with it. As with many of my recipes, this one was the result of leftovers in the fridge; specifically organic pumpkin. I’ve been on a pumpkin/blue cheese kick, so I figured if I added some venison to the mix, it’d be a winner.
I actually made two versions because I couldn’t find as many mushrooms as I’d like—this time of year, I can find locally grown mushrooms at the Maple Avenue Market. But I think there had been a run on them so I only got a dozen. Fortunately, I had some wonton wrappers in the freezer (alas, not local, not organic), so I was able to use all the stuffing by making little wonton pockets.
Finally, the blue cheese is also local, and raw. I was never a blue cheese fan until I started buying high-quality, local blue cheese. It is heaven on this Earth. I can not get enough of it. Mostly I’ve been crumbling it and eating it over greens with fermented onions and walnuts. But it was worth the sacrifice to add it to this recipe…the tang of the blue cheese pairs well with the pumpkin and the venison.
I actually think these would be great without the meat. I wouldn’t puree the pumpkin in that case. Rather, I’d roast it and then chop it finely, but still chunky. Try it, let me know!
Recipe: Venison, Pumpkin, and Blue Cheese Mushroom Caps
Summary: A tasty appetizer for a cold winter night.
- 1/2 lb ground venison
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 cup aged or raw blue cheese
- 24 medium Crimini (Baby Bella) or white mushrooms
- Preheat oven to 375°.
- Brown the ground venison and set aside.
- Mix the venison, pumpkin, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Crumble the blue cheese and mix it into the meat mixture. Set aside.
- Wash the mushrooms and pat dry with towel. Remove the mushroom stems by gently twisting and pulling. Place the mushroom caps in a baking dish and spoon the meat mixture into the caps. Put enough meat in each cap so that the meat peeks over the top.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender, but still solid enough to hold the stuffing.
- Serve immediately.
Instead of mushrooms, you can use wanton wrappers. Place one won ton wrapper in each muffin cup of a mini muffin pan (oil first if you’re not using a non-stick pan), making a little nest. Fill each cup with about 1 tsp of the meat mixture.
Preparation time: 10 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12
Copyright © Susan Rose
One of the things I love about traveling is finding restaurants that serve local food. That’s not always easy in a place like Playa del Carmen that is a tourist mecca. But you know when the maitre d at a restaurant refers another restaurant to you as the place to go for local, regional food that it’s going to be good.
The restaurant in question is El Faisan y El Venado, which specializes in the foods of the Yucatan. I ordered a very traditional Mexican meal, the Barbacoa venado (venison). I’ve been wanting to make it for a while and I thought eating it in Mexico would give me a good idea of what it should be. What was served looks nothing like all the pictures from recipe sites, so I don’t know what that’s about. It was also served with a bowl that appeared to be a broth soup. I had no idea if I was supposed to pour it over the meat or eat it like soup. Alas, nobody spoke enough English (and I don’t speak enough Spanish) for me to ask. So I did a little of both.
It was delicious!
Rick ordered the quail, which was actually even better. I’ve never had quail before. I want to go back to Mexico just for that meal.