Elk Steaks with Chipotle Potato Puree

June 17, 2013

Elk steak with okra and chipotle potatoes

A few weeks ago I found a surprise on my doorstep – a cooler full of elk! A friend who has enjoyed more than a couple of dinners from the Madd Hatter’s kitchen thought I would enjoy this bounty from the Rocky Mountain states, and he was right. Surprisingly, it’s not a meat I’ve had the privilege to try before, so a little research was needed before I decided to embark upon my elk feast.

Elk is a very lean, red meat. At first glance when I opened the cooler, the coloring of the meat reminded me of bison or venison, both of which have little fat to add flavor to the meat, and the latter having a much more gamey taste. After a little reading through the information Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Company sent with the elk, I decided it must be more similar to bison meat. Thus I developed a flavorful marinade that would bring in some extra flavor where the fat was missing, but wouldn’t mask the mild, sweet flavor of the meat, which might have been needed if it were more gamey.

I recently added a new flavor to my lineup of olive oils from the Olive Bar – a chipotle olive oil that has a definite kick to it! With this as my base, I began to build on the flavors that I thought would pair nicely with a syrah, as I had decided this is what I would serve with the elk. What I ended up with was one part Southwest, one part Southern, with a sprinkling of Asian spice thrown in for good measure. And might I say, I wouldn’t change a thing about this marinade. (more…)

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Sunday Suppers: Lasange Verdi Alla Bolognese

January 20, 2013

Lasagne Bolnese

Continuing to build on the list of cool weather foods I intended to make this winter, I finally decided to tackle lasagne verdi, made with fresh spinach pasta and Bolognese and bechamel sauces. For many years I’ve drooled over the recipe in my Food of Italy cookbook, but it was an article in an issue of La Cucina Italiana magazine that propelled me to figure out the perfect recipe for this dish.

If I had a recipe, why the quest, you ask? Well, funny thing about the recipe in the Food of cookbook. While you could obviously see that the pasta was a spinach pasta, there was no recipe for spinach pasta in the book! A slight oversight. (more…)

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Sunday Suppers: Wild Boar Ragu with Pappardelle

November 18, 2012

Wild Boar Pappardelle with Brunello

A few weeks back, I decided to order some specialty meats from D’Artagnan to make a special meal for my husband. I have ordered specialty items in the past as Christmas presents for my hard-to-buy-for family members who love to cook, but it’s rare that I purchase these things for myself. So I went out on a limb and decided to try D’Artagnan, and I was really happy with their variety, shipping rates, and the overall service.

That’s how I came to have these two wild boar shanks sitting in my freezer. When ordering meats online, it seems that whatever fits into the cooler ships for (roughly) the same price. Since D’Artagnan was having a sale on their game meats, I decided to add a couple of wild boar shanks and some venison to my order, which shipped for the $20 my duck alone would have shipped for (well, okay, this is Madd Hatter math… $22 for the duck, $29 for adding wild boar and venison… all in all, we’re in the $20 range). While I’ve had wild boar often at Italian restaurants, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when cooking it. So I decided to go with a preparation similar to what I’d had in restaurants – a wild boar ragu, perfect for coating strands of pasta. (more…)

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Fabulous Friday Night Dinner: Conch Chowder

October 19, 2012

Conch Chowder with Iron Horse Chardonnay

If you’ve ever travelled to the Caribbean, hopefully you’ve taken the chance and tried one of their more unique meats – conch. I’ve had it in fritters in Key West, I’ve had it as a marinated piece of meat in St. Thomas, but until now, I had never tried conch chowder.

Now, I have no idea if canned conch is regularly stocked in stores, but quite a while back I noticed a local market had it stocked, so I picked up a can (I now know that Amazon carries it). And then it sat in my basement stores. For a while. So long, that just this past week I realized I had a few months left to eat it, otherwise, it would be headed for the trash. So peruse my cookbooks I did, and conch chowder I decided upon. (more…)

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Sunday Suppers: Venison with Blackberry Sauce

October 7, 2012

Venison with Blackberry Sauce

I’ve long wanted to make this recipe, which is in on of my favorite cookbooks, the Food of France. After my first dinner paired with La Fiorita’s Brunello di Montalcino, I decided this might be the perfect wine to accompany the dinner. After all, if I’m going to the trouble of locating venison here in the Bay area, I’m going to make this a special meal! Plus, the brunello has a somewhat fruity flavor, with more than a hint of berries that I wanted to see if I could coax out more by pairing with blackberries. (more…)

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