29 November 2012

Venison Steaks with Mushrooms

Another successful hunt and another traditional venison tenderloin dinner.  This is probably the one time a year I actually cook steaks.  In fact, I didn't even save more than the 6 slices of tenderloin for this dinner because last year I ended up chunking all of it to cook in stews or curries anyway.  

But I really liked how this recipe turned out, so I might save a few more steaks if my man gets a doe too.  

As I remember it:

Venison Steaks with Mushroom Sauce
3-4 servings, depending on how hungry you are!

6 venison tenderloin steaks
garlic, salt, and pepper for rubbing

2 TBSP butter

1/2 onion, sliced
1-2 cups sliced mushrooms (I had baby bellas)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup broth (I just had vegetarian bullion on hand)
1 TBSP worcestershire sauce
1 TBSP balsamic vinegar (this would be better with wine or sherry)
1 TBSP flour mixed smooth with a few tablespoons water
salt, pepper, ground rosemary to taste

Instructions:  Pound out your venison steaks to about 1/2-inch thick.  Rub on one side with minced garlic, salt and pepper.  Rub on other side with salt and pepper.  Set aside to marinate until ready to continue with the recipe.

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat and sear the steaks 1-2 minutes on each side until browned.  Remove from skillet and set aside.  In the same skillet sautee onions for a few minutes until beginning to turn translucent.  Add more butter if necessary.  Add mushrooms and garlic and continue to sautee over medium heat until the mushrooms are "wilted" (do you know what I mean?).  Add remaining ingredients to skillet and simmer until thickened.  Put steaks back in to the sauce and simmer, covered, a few minutes on each side until done to your liking.  Serve over potatoes or rice!

Cook's Word: when I first made the sauce, I didn't think to add flour for thickening, which is why it got added in later with water.  However, I think it would be just as well to sprinkle flour over the mushroom/onion saute and cook a minute or so before adding the other liquids.  I also simmered the steaks in the sauce longer than I would another time (about 1/2 hour) but they were nice and tender, so no harm done.  I did need to keep flipping them because the top would dry out.  I suppose I could have kept the pan covered and eliminated that problem.  Yeah, there are always improvements for next time.  We all liked the flavor very well, though.  This served four adults with medium appetites, so you might want to consider doing at least two steaks per person if you have BIG appetites!


A simple and delicious dish for any meal of the day, especially if you want quiche but don't feel like fooling with a crust (or the baking element in your oven just went out, which is what happened to me right before Thanksgiving!). Like quiche, you can fill your frittata with any combination of ingredients that suits your fancy: bacon and cheese; asparagus and ham; spinach; onions; potatoes. And so on. Once you have your fillings prepared (sauteed, cooked, wilted, fried, etc.) you pour your egg/cheese mixture over them in an oven-proof skillet and cook on the stove until the eggs are mostly set but still wet on top. Then transfer to the oven and broil until the top is lightly browned. That's it! 

For this frittata, I used sauteed spinach and onions and boiled potato slices. I mixed in some needing-to-be-used cream cheese with the eggs and then sprinkled feta on the top just before it went under the broiler. YUM! I was trying to conserve cookware, so I sauteed the spinach and onions right in the cast iron skillet that I cooked the frittata in. However, I think I would do them in a separate pan next time so that I could layer the frittata with the potatoes on the bottom of the pan, then spinach, then eggs poured over all. That way the potatoes could get crispy on the bottom instead of the spinach. Make sure there is some butter or oil under all that too, by the way! 

For this frittata, I used 6 eggs and a dash of milk, salt and pepper. It took longer to cook on the stove than I thought it should, but that may have been because I was using a cast iron skillet instead of a non-stick making it hard to lift the edges and let the eggs on top run down underneath to cook faster. 

Whatever your method, this is simpler and faster than quiche and just as tasty. As a main course, this fed two adults and a toddler with two slices left over. Enjoy experimenting!

06 November 2012

Apple Pie: Two Ways

About a month ago I got all these apples at an Amish farm about 1/2 hour from where we live. Some of them were delicious and we made applesauce with them. Then others were just plain . . . plain (this is not an Amish joke).  They were bland. And I've been thinking of ways to use them (I think there are actually about a dozen still left). One of my ideas was to use them for jazzed-up pies. 

The first pie (pictured on the right) was traditional, the way my husband makes them: sliced apples piled high, then dumped out and tossed with lemon juice, sugar, and cinnamon and dumped back in. Or something like that. He usually finishes his apple pies off with a crumb topping, but I had plenty of pastry dough so I double-crusted mine.  Spoiler: this turned out to be the better of the two pies.  If it ain't broke, right?

The second way was an experiment for peanut-butter apple pie. My idea was to simply make crumbs as for a peanut butter pudding pie (peanut butter mixed with powdered sugar) and layer that with the apple slices. Sounds good, right? It turned out okay. Which is to say the crumbs kinda just got wet, and the apples didn't seem to cook through as well as they did in the traditional pie. Was it too many vents (cute hearts though they be?) that let the steam out instead of trapping it to cook the apples? Who knows. But I think if I tried this another time, I would make some sort of creamy peanut butter sauce and just put it under the apples because--as my apple-pie-expert husband points out--when you eat apples with peanut butter it's normally just a smear of peanut butter on one side of the apple. At least that's how we do it around here. 

 Any other suggestions?