“And I saw lightning across the sacred mountains and the dance of the turtle doves.” -Ian Tyson

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Isn’t it magical how in one bite, food has a way of transporting you to somewhere rugged and untamed; or, if the mood is right, back to a favorite childhood memory? I grew up in a family where the men and women loved to fish and hunt, and as a result I’m not unfamiliar with wild game being served at the kitchen table.

Fall is the time for warming, life infusing foods. It is the time of apples, leeks, hardy greens, squashes, and cozying up to the fire place with a good book in hand. If you are a game fan, it is the time of venison, pheasant and chukkar, and from the sea, wild coho salmon. In the face of blustery days, dark knights, and bitter rain, it is the time to eat some wonderfully good food, carefully prepared.

I am obsessed with getting outdoors and harvesting my own food – both can often be taken for granted. I like treading through the high desert terrain of Eastern Washington with my 20 gage Beretta shotgun in hand and warm breezes of sage brush encircling me. This recipe was inspired by the weekends pheasant hunt and is the perfect cure-all for anyone resisting the changing seasons and has the feeling of warmth and comfort that comes from the lingering taste of a fresh IPA.

Seared Pheasant with Wild Mushroom, Leek, & Pancetta Farro // serves 2

For the Farro:
1 cup cooked Farro, prepared according to directions
1 leek, halved and sliced thinly
2 cups wild mushrooms, stems removed, and sliced
1 ounce pancetta
2 teaspoons avocado oil or olive oil

In a large saute pan, add 2 teaspoons oil, leek and mushrooms, season with salt. Over medium heat, sauté for 6 minutes or until leeks are translucent in color. Add pancetta and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat, combine with cooked farro and set aside.

For the Pheasant:
1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
1 whole Pheasant (2 breasts, legs and thighs) skin removed and patted dry
1 teaspoon sage, minced
1 teaspoon thyme, minced
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
1 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 cup IPA – I recommend Deschutes Brewery Fresh Squeezed

In a shallow pan combine the sage, thyme, salt, pepper, and orange zest. Generously coat the pheasant pieces in the seasoning mixture.

Using the same large sauté pan from the mushroom, leek, and pancetta mixture bring to high heat, add 1 tablespoon oil, scraping up the browned pieces that remain, and add pheasant searing about 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium-high and cook 2 minutes. Turn the pheasant pieces over and add the IPA, cooking about 3 more minutes more or until juices run clear when cut with a knife. Remove from heat and allow the to rest 3 minutes before serving.

For the Brussels Sprouts:
2 cups Brussels Sprouts, quartered
drizzle of avocado oil or olive oil
sea salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450*F

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, spread brussels sprouts evenly. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sea salt, and bake for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, making sure not to overcook. Remove from oven and set aside.

To Serve:
Plate the seared pheasant over wild mushroom, leek, and farro mixture and serve with roasted brussels sprouts. Save the leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate up to 4 days. Enjoy!

“We have always been dreamers in Montana.” ~Brian Schweitzer

Even with the arrival of fall, I’m still dreaming of summer days…

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Paradise Valley, Montana

Light has turned to darkness and the northwest rains cover our landscape in a million shades of grey. Before I give in to the wrapped comforts of fall, I’m treating myself to the end of summers sweet offerings — holding on just a bit longer to all of the life and adventure summer poured into my heart.

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Inspired by 2nd Street Bistro in Livingston, Montana, this salad is anything but ordinary. I have the fondest memories of eating a salad similar to this one, sipping one pinot grigio after another all the while speaking broken french to locals at the bar and laughing an evening away with no regards to time. I could tell that I was living “la joie de vivre” a feeling that left me both happy and content at the same time.

Blueberries are still growing strong in my garden and these vibrant bulls blood beets are in abundance at the local farmers market. The balsamic-honey dressing is one you’ll want to keep extra of on hand – it’s versatility performs well on most garden variety salads.

Bistro Salad with Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette// serves 4

8 cups organic spring salad mix
1 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries
1 cup red beets, cooked, peeled, and diced
1/2 cup red onion, sliced thinly
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup raw walnut halves
8 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons honey
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse
Fresh ground pepper

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Store extra in the refrigerator up to one week.

In a large bowl, add all of the salad ingredients together except the goat cheese. Toss gently with the dressing and divide the salad equally among 4 plates. Garnish with the fresh goat cheese and fresh ground pepper. Enjoy!

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” ~Henry David Thoreau

I’ll be fishing this weekend…

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and the one after that, and so forth.

It was Tofino, BC that really did me in. On a whim, my girlfriend and I escaped for a weekend of fly fishing for Coho Salmon and time away. What we came home with was so much more than either of us expected. Each morning was greeted by a thick rolling fog and steely gray waters, wrapping me in a blanket of chill that I couldn’t seem to shake. Once on the boat, we would spend the next 8 hours in search of fish. Every quiet minute waiting on a hook up inexplicably filled my soul, making the moments our lines went tight exciting and frenzied.

Adrenaline and solitude filled our days, whereas the evenings belonged to one craft cocktail after the next and great food from local establishments. At Shelter Restaurant the bartenders serve up a mean whiskey sour, so be sure to stop in and follow the first with a second and the second with a third, remembering to tip generously.

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Whiskey and bourbon are always a favorite around here. Especially when combined together. Bourbon soaked tart cherries and Sun Liquor orange bitters compliment a simple combination of fresh squeezed lemon and lime juices, sugar, and good whiskey. I take my whiskey sours with an egg white which seems to add depth and a subtle frothiness. A nice rye whiskey such as Rendezvous Rye produced by High West Distillery out of Park City, Utah lends an un-compromised flavor you’d expect from an authentic rye whiskey.

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Shelter Whiskey Sour//serves 1
2 ounces whiskey
1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce fresh-squeed lemon juice
1 teaspoon cane sugar
1 farm fresh egg white
ice
1 dried montmorency cherry soaked in good quality bourbon
orange wedge
bitters

Combine the juices and sugar and stir to dissolve. Add all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a bourbon soaked cherry, orange wedge, and bitters. Enjoy!

xo,