Stacy Lyn Harris Talks About Her New Cookbook
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I’m really excited that Stacy Lyn took some time to talk with me about her new cookbook “Stacy Lyn’s Harvest Cookbook” (look for a review in the next week or so!) From the release, “Alabama chef Stacy Lyn Harris, editor of GameandGarden.com, cooking show host on The Sportsman Channel, and popular wild game cookbook author.

Hunting is a way of life for Stacy Lyn’s family of nine. Her husband always kept their freezer full of wild game and as her sons came along, they’ve had to buy more freezers to keep up with the amount of venison harvested each year. And Stacy Lyn wouldn’t have it any other way – it’s contributed to the closeness of her family, she says.” ~DRR

This is your 3rd cookbook. There are lots of great cooks that never publish a cookbook. What made you decide to start writing cookbooks?

It all started the day I married my husband. The freezer was full of huge chunks of meat I had never seen or tiny little birds (dove) that seemed impossible to cook. It looked nothing like what I grew up eating. I couldn’t find any cookbooks that had photos of the recipes and since I am a visual learner it was very difficult for me to want to cook wild game. I was determined to learn how to prepare the best dishes possible from wild game, make it beautiful and share everything I learn with others to make their lives easier.

This led to a life of wanting to cook everything as fresh, pure, and tasty as possible. Since I am from the South and my grandmother cooked amazing food, I added all of my family’s favorite Southern seasonal dishes to Harvest and fresh farm raised meats such as pork, beef, and lamb. Who doesn’t love Braised Short Ribs?

I knew that most people not so long ago grew and harvested their own foods. They had kitchen gardens and a few chickens running around out back. They hunted and fished and paired their harvests with seasonal vegetables available at the time. After pouring over ancient recipes trying to find the secret to cooking great fresh food I couldn’t help but share what I had learned.

It’s not only about the food for me. I’ve seen our family relationships grow throughout the years because of our common interests in bringing food to the table. Whether it be a fishing or hunting adventure, planting the garden, harvesting the fruit and vegetables and canning them together, or cooking an amazing meal together, relationships are solidified. If I can help promote that in anyway, I am there. It’s truly one of THE BLESSINGS in this life.

What is the biggest mistake people make when cooking wild game?

People try to cook wild game the same way they prepare their grocery store counterparts. Wild game is totally different than meat raised on corn and feed on a farm. Animals that forage for their food and use their muscles looking for food have more muscle fiber and connective tissue that must be addressed during the preparation and cooking.

For instance, those meats with the most connective tissue and muscle fiber like the hindquarters roasts taste best braised low and slow or cut small and pounded out and the lean cuts like the tenderloins and loins need to be cooked no more than medium rare for best flavor and tenderness.

My mission is to help people match the correct cooking method with the cut of meat. If you do this, you will always have exceptional meals on your table.

What is your favorite wild game to cook and why?

I love cooking all wild game. It’s so good for you; Usually higher in Omega Fatty 3 Acids, zinc, vitamin B, niacin, and phosphorus and lower in cholesterol and calories. Once you get the hang of how to cook wild game, it’s all pretty simple. Quail is just amazing. It’s so light and mild in flavor and the texture is perfect making it quite versatile. Roasted Quail, Quail Pizza, and Stuffed Quail are a few of my favorites.

Turkey and Pheasant are incredibly great to work with. My Turkey Piccata is a joy to eat! Squirrel is another game meat that graces our table quite often in that I have teenage boys that have a need to extend hunting season a bit. Squirrel Pot Pie is really very good, and I’ve never been a fan of squirrel.

I cook more venison that anything because my family harvests at least 13 deer a year. They are such large game animals making them go further. The sky is the limit in preparation. The loins are great steaks, the hindquarter makes great stew and fajita meat. The neck makes fantastic burgers and chili. I, like Isaac from the Bible, think Venison is the best meat in the world. Isaac requested it for one of his last meals (Gen. 27:3)

What is your favorite recipe in the book?

It kind of depends on the season. In spring, the turkey burgers are one of my favorite along with homemade blueberry pie! In the summer, I adore the Fried Squash with Tomatoes, Pesto, and Marinara as well as the fish tacos. In the fall, Slow Cooker Pheasant Nachos are a winner and in the winter, the award winning Venison Chili will ROCK YOUR WORLD.

Oh, and I can’t forget my Homemade Sausage! Tweaking the flavors will completely change the entire dish in which it used. I show you step-by-step how to make it. It’s one of the bases to many of my favorite recipes like bolognese, spaghetti sauce, gumbos, dumplings, and soups to name a few.

“Sustainable southern dishes with a healthy twist” – classic southern food isn’t (or wasn’t) known for being healthy. How much of an adaptation is it to cook healthier?

It’s really not difficult at all. Many people still remember eating exactly as I am promoting today: clean, healthy, seasonal, straight from your harvest.

It’s the processed foods that Southerner’s have begun adding to the foods just in this last century that creates the unhealthy problem. I’ve just brought back what was already there. Adding fresh herbs, a few seasonings along with using the correct method of preparation make fresh food outstanding in flavor and healthy.

Do you like to “invent” new recipes or do you enjoy perfecting (or tweaking) recipes that are handed down?

I do a little bit of both. I love tradition and remembering my grandmother and her way of life so I keep her recipes and tweak them to perfection. Many of them were already perfect. I love perfecting a recipe by cooking it over and over in a week or month or whatever it takes to get it right.

For instance, this week my focus has been on meringues. Our chickens started laying tons of eggs and I need to use them up. What better than way with meringues and custards! I finally have it – it’s such a great feeling to make a no fail meringue or anything for that matter and then be able to write about it on my blog or books.

But I also love to create brand new recipes. My most recent was a Pumpkin Lasagna with Homemade Pumpkin Noodles. It was so creamy and delicious with a smooth silky white sauce.

Using wild game in ways you wouldn’t ordinarily can become an obsession if you let it. I suppose that’s why I love writing books. I say I am creating these recipes for the readers, but I derive so much pleasure from it, it may be mainly for me.

Who should buy this cookbook? Beginners? Experienced cooks? Folks new to wild game?

Anyone who likes great food should buy my book. Truly, I think anyone will love it. I have traditional recipes such as Fried Green Tomatoes and I added a lighter version of a Crunchy Baked Fried Green Tomato recipe. I have sweet potato fries with chipotle, but give additional tips to make it a sweet cinnamon flavored dessert.

I have over 15 “how to’s” in the book from preserving, gardening, and saving seeds to step-by-step instructions on deboning a quail or making homemade biscuits and crusts.

If you are new to wild game, this book is a must. You will save your hard earned time, and money by making the most of your harvest the first time you cook it. Even if you don’t cook wild game, the techniques I cover in the book and the vegetable recipes are well worth it. I also have a wild game substitution table in the book so you can buy the right meat for the recipe from the grocery store to use if, God forbid, you run out of wild game.

It’s so funny, my kids who are cooking age (above 3) are always asking, “Where’s Harvest?” I want to make a pie crust, or sweet potato biscuits, or stuff a loin, etc. It’s a guide, reference and friend in our home. I even find myself using it from time to time.

I’d really like to thank Stacy Lyn for taking time out of her busy schedule to share some thoughts with my readers. You can purchase the new book on Amazon where it is enjoying amazing reviews! As mentioned, look for an upcoming review. The recipes look amazing, and I can’t wait!

Review – Char Crust Rubs
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A huge shout out to Susan Eriksen (Mrs. Char Crust) for sending me some of her products to try.

Char Crust is kind of a rub, but unlike any I have reviewed before. The best way I can describe it is to call it a rub that works like a blackening seasoning. Char Crust utilizes their amazing blends along with high heat to seal in the juices.

I review quite a few great products and although the flavors are usually different, it’s always really cool to find something different. Char Crust is different, and I give the product credit for 2 of the best steaks I have ever had.

For my Char Crust review, I had decided to use some mule deer steaks I had thawed. My friend had given me some meat after a successful hunt and I had put a package in the fridge to cook for dinner some night. Now I am a good cook, a really good cook actually, but I think steaks are my nemesis. It doesn’t matter if they are on the grill or in the frying pan or some other method – they always seem to be overdone, underdone, tough or all of the above.

So, the Char Crust website conveniently provides directions. Since I wanted to fry the steak in a pan, I followed the directions for sauteing using the Roasted Garlic and Peppercorn blend. Hot pan, hot oil, steaks well-dredged in the rub.. about 3 or 4 minutes per side and they looked amazing. They were a little pink for me so I popped in the microwave (gasp!) for 30 seconds which made them just right for my taste.

These steaks were amazing. Really. The flavor was off the charts, the steaks were tender and juicy. I wasn’t surprised about the flavor but I was a bit surprised at just how well-cooked the steaks were. The flavor profiles in the rub were fresh and rich. Of course you could taste the garlic and pepper but there were lots of other notes as well.

I was so taken with my results that I got another package of steaks out of the freezer and had steak again the following night except I used the Southwest Chipotle rub. Bam! Same results regarding tenderness and juiciness, with a completely different flavor. Very complex with sweet and heat and smoky. Loved it!

I can’t wait to try these products on other meats and different cuts of meat.

From the Char Crust website:

*You can use Char Crust® dry rub on any meat or fish, even vegetables.
*The Original Char Crust® was created in 1957 at our family’s legendary Chicago steakhouse.
*We make all of our products ourselves, in small batches, with premium ingredients.
*All of our products are “clean-label”, certified kosher, and most of of them have moderate amounts of sodium (Ginger Teriyaki is actually low sodium).

Only Char Crust® Seals in the Juices®!

*Our dry rubs are so fast and easy to use, with delicious results. Simply rub any meat, fish, or vegetable, then cook. Char Crust® does the rest. We make cooking fun!

*Professional chefs have used Char Crust® dry rub seasoning in their restaurants for over 50 years. Now you can too! Enjoy delicious food, made fresh in your kitchen in minutes.

Thanks again to Susan for sending me these products to try. I can’t wait to try the rest and I will definitely keep you posted. I’m convinced that Char Crust will not only make your food taste better, it will make it turn out better! Best of all, I’m not afraid to cook steak anymore! Char Crust will be a mainstay in my pantry.

A Review – “Buck, Buck, Moose” by Hank Shaw
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I wanted to thank Kathi Johnson and Hank Shaw for getting me a copy of “Buck, Buck, Moose” to review. ~Desert Rat

From the Press Release:

Noted cookbook author and James Beard award-winning writer Hank Shaw has just released his third cookbook: Buck, Buck, Moose: Recipes and Techniques for Cooking Deer, Elk, Moose, Antelope and Other Antlered Things (H&H Books 2016).

More than a cookbook, Buck, Buck, Moose is the first and only comprehensive guide to working with and cooking all forms of venison – and it’s available just in time for hunting season and the holidays. In addition to more than 100 recipes, the book includes:

− Stories of the hunt and essays on why venison holds such a special place in society
− Instructions for butchering, aging and storing your venison and how to handle all parts of the carcass (including the odd bits)
− Extensive section on curing venison and how to make sausages, dry-cured salami and jerky
− And… venison beer and wine pairings

Shaw takes the cook/reader around the world from nose to tail, with recipes from six continents for every part of the animal. From the simple – Country Fried Venison, to the classic – Steak Diane, to the unexpected – Venison Tripe Neapolitan.

Released in September, this essential guide already has sold more than 10,000 copies and has received nearly 100 percent “5 star reviews” (179) on AMAZON.

About Hank Shaw: A former restaurant cook and journalist, Shaw is the author of three cookbooks: Hunt, Gather, Cook (Rodale 2011), Duck, Duck, Goose (Ten Speed 2013), and Buck, Buck, Moose (H&H Books 2016), as well as the James Beard Award-winning website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook (honest-food.net). He has been featured in numerous major media outlets ranging from the New York Times to NPR and Field & Stream, as well as on numerous television shows, including Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods and CNN’s Somebody’s Gotta Do It with Mike Rowe. His writings have appeared in Food & Wine, Organic Gardening, Garden & Gun, Petersen’s Hunting, The Art of Eating, among others.

So first off – to call this book a “Cook Book” is to do it a huge disservice; this is a coffee table book that happens to be full of amazing wild game recipes. It’s a manual on how to care for you game in the field. It is a primer on food safety. It’s part technical guide, part personal musings and partly a conversation with your butcher about what cuts work best for what.

The photography is amazing; the recipes are exotic and homey and comforting and zesty. At the time of the review I had an elk roast left in the freezer. I’m usually not too big on roasts, so I thought this would make for a good test case. I picked the Italian Pot Roast recipe.

As might be expected, this recipe is a “red-winey, tomatoe-y, oregano/thyme and rosemary-y” pot of goodness. The roast came out tender and nicely flavored with lots of accompanying sauce to drizzle over the meat.

The recipes in this book are amazing; literally a trip around the world. These recipes account for different cuts of meat and different types of game. From South African Bobotie to Massaman Curry to Icelandic Venison with Blueberry Sauce there is something for every taste. The book is smartly divided into sections of cuts – roasts, loins, primal cuts, stews, ribs, meatballs, etc. If you’re one that likes the “wobbly bits” as Hank calls them – heart, liver, kidneys, etc. – there is a whole section dedicated to those recipes. My favorite section is the section on sausage. I can’t wait to try all of those recipes!

My only concern with the book was that these recipes could be intimidating for the novice hunter-chef. Rest assured, these recipes are well-explained and easy to follow. Anyone with the most basic level of skill in the kitchen will now have the ability to table some amazing fare – well beyond grilled steaks or spaghetti sauce that had become the staples for many of us. Even better – if you have someone in your circle of friends or family that turns up their nose at wild game – I guarantee you’ll find a cure for that somewhere in this book. There are some amazing recipes in here and Hank does a great job coaching the cook through the why and the how as well.

If you like to hunt moose, deer, caribou or antelope – this may well be the last book you’ll ever need to buy. From the time the creature hits the ground, until it lands on your table – Hank has you covered. The book is well-organized with fantastic photography, clear instructions and lots of narrative which provides a ton of info besides the actual recipe.

I would absolutely, 100% recommend this book. Right now, you can buy it on Amazon for less than 25 bucks. It will be the best 25 bucks you’ll ever spend – especially when it comes to putting game on the table.

Holiday Libations From The Dry-Rubbed Rat
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Not that I am advocating the consumption of strong liquor, but…. I know that during the Holidays many of you like to entertain. Here are some great punch recipes, associated with my military background. These recipes were all pulled from the message board Army.ca

How about some “moose milk”?


Moose Milk – My personal favorite!

40oz Lambs Dark Rum
40oz Kahlua
40oz Vodka
4L Vanilla Ice Cream (the good creamy expensive kind)
4L eggnog

Mix all together, breaking up the ice cream a bit. Sprinkle nutmeg on top if you so desire. Stir occasionally as the ice cream starts to melt. Enjoy!


Artillery Punch

1 qt strong black tea
1 qt rye whiskey
1 bottle red wine
1 pint Jamaican dark rum
1/2 pint brandy
1 jigger benedictine herbal liqueur
1 pint orange juice
1/2 pint lemon juice

Combine all the ingredients in a large punch bowl with a block of ice. If found too dry, sugar syrup may be added. Decorate with twists of lemon peel.

and another..

Served by the Officer’s Mess of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada:
ATHEL BROSE (loosely translated “nectar of the gods”

1 lb honey 2 1/2 c steel cut oats (NOT rolled)
2 c. water
1/2 gallon scotch

Mix all ingredients( but scotch), warm gently on low heat only until blended. Remove from heat, let cool and stir in scotch. Allow mixture to soak overnight w/ secure cover. Strain oat mixture from liquid and discard (or use for bread). Place liquid in glass jar and swirl (or roll) daily for 2-4 weeks.Several months if you can stand it ! Try not to open the container as you go to keep contaminants out.
The longer you wait the smoother it gets! Strain one last time and serve to all!

Bull’s Milk???

Both the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess and the Officers’ Mess of The Lincoln and Welland Regiment serve versions of “Bull’s Milk” or Moose Milk on New Year’s Day. There are at least two recipes:–

Hot version. Heat slowly until warm:
• 80 oz Dark Rum
• 40 oz Brandy
• 40 oz Rye Whisky
• 12 qt Egg Nog

Cold version. May be kept cold by adding a block of ice after mixing:

• 120 oz White Rum
• 26 oz Brandy
• 26 oz Kahlua
• 3 or 4 gal Ice Cream (Chocolate, Vanilla or Neapolitan)
• 2 or 3 gal Milk or Egg Nog
• 1 qt Whipping Cream
• dash Vanilla Extract
• dash Nutmeg

Not so sure about this – not for the faint of heart:

“BOAT GAS”

What you need.

– 1 very big pale, or small garbage can ( clean ), or crock pot – and a ladle
– depending on the size of bucket used, buy about 4-5 frozen fruit punch mix – throw it in
– buy lemons, and limes, and strawberries etc and cut up and put in the bucket
– add about 1 bottle vodka, 1 bottle white rum, 2 bottles tequila ( basically whatever you want ) ( bottle generally 40 pounder)
– Stir up until the boat gas eats away at your ladle
– serve to a friend first and watch for negative effects. Usually let the “lab rat” sit for 5 minutes. If all checks out, go nuts. Enjoy the evening.

The fruit adds flavour, but also when all the booze is gone you can eat the alcoholic fruit, that way when your wife/girlfriend asks you if you actually ate anything healthy at the party ( or does that just happen to me? ) you can say “yes dear, i had fruit”

and finally…. “Windex”

“Windex” (later named “Prop Wash” by a rigged vote in the mess, damn those Air Force rotters … !)

– one part vodka
– one part white rum
– two parts Parfait D‘amour (a blue-coloured licquer by Marie Brizzard)
– dilute with Seven Up to suit your taste … while your taste buds are still functioning … (supposedly, 7Up is better than Sprite)
– makes a delightful, uniquely-coloured drink that will lift floor tiles (yup – I wouldn‘t make that one up) and will leave a mildly radioactive glow on your glassware (which we discovered at our wedding reception … )
– Theyd serve it to unsuspecting guests, and when they‘d ask about the blue colour we‘d explain that we‘d used Melita coffee filters and Windex … whereupon their faces would turn a shade of blue to match the drink!

Enjoy. I’m not responsible for you not drinking responsibly

Everglades Seasoning – A Review
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A friend at work recently gave me a bottle of Everglades Seasoning to try. She raved about it, and I couldn’t wait to try it.

Some recent Striper Fishing trips gave me just the right opportunity to try the seasoning.

I tried their All-Purpose Seasoning but they make some other sauces and rubs as well.

This is a great seasoning right out of the bottle with some pepper and citrus notes in there, along with some onion and garlic. Finally, there are some notes that you justttt can’t quite put you finger on. The blend is fresh and savory, and all of the flavors balance nicely.

I used the seasoning on some baked fish with lemon and dill – that dish turned out great. Where the blend really shined though was mixed in with my flour and cornmeal when I pan fried the striper filets. This was a huge hit with my family and that fish turned out great!

You can view lots of cool recipes on the Everglades website: RECIPES

You can buy their products online here: BUY Everglades products.

I didnt try this product on other meats but I know it would go great on chicken for sure. I can’t wait to keep experimenting!

I enjoy unique spices and rubs, and this one certainly falls into that category. Give it a try!