“She said you’ve got me figured out but I’m not what I seem
And for a dance I’ll tell you ’bout these tight fittin’ jeans.” ~Conway Twitty

IMG_5021-2

There’s nothing more satisfying than eating what you kill. A bold statement, I know. We celebrate when the first green sprouts of baby lettuce break through spring earth and get tossed into a beautiful salad or happily gorge at the first few bites of juicy ripe stone fruit from blossoming plum trees. But, eating our kill does strange things to people. If it doesn’t come from a styrofoam container wrapped in shiny plastic we reason, it must be bad. Perhaps, the opposite is true.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to hunt wild turkey in Eastern Washington, an experience I was looking forward to for the better part of 9 months. Clouded in mist, the morning started quiet, with no sounds of turkey anywhere. It wouldn’t take long before an opportunity would present itself to harvest a beautiful Merriam in full strut with my Beretta double barrel over under.

Happy to come home with fresh wild turkey I couldn’t stop thinking about the multitude of ways to prepare the meat. After cleaning the remaining feathers and separating the tenderloins from the breast I got to work creating recipes. The first in a series, and one that rightfully deserves its name, this pizza gets its kick from the crushed red pepper and lots of full bodied flavor from caramelized onions, thick cut bacon, two cheeses, roasted butternut squash, and of course, from fresh wild turkey.

Bang Bang Turkey Pizza // serves a crowd

1 pound fresh wild turkey breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
1 pizza crust prepared
1 small butternut squash, seeded, cubed, roasted, and pureed
1 red onion sliced into 1/8″ thickness
1/2 pound thick slab bacon
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cub blue cheese
2 Tablespoons fresh Sage

Preheat the oven to 400*F.

Trim ends from the butternut squash, halve lengthwise, discarding the seeds. Transfer the squash, cut-side up, to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Cover the squash with foil. Roast until softened, 45 to 60 minutes. Uncover and set aside until cool enough to handle. Working in batches, scoop the softened squash from the skin into a food processor. Puree the squash mixture until smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl. Repeat with the remaining squash and set aside.

Season cubed turkey breast with salt and pepper. In a large saucepan over medium heat add oil and then the turkey breast. Cook each side about 3 minutes until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside being sure not to over cook the meat.

Bring the pan back to medium heat, add the bacon, and cook on each side until desired crispness. Remove from heat, cool, and slice into large pieces.

Bring the pan back to medium low heat, add sliced onions, and cook 35-40 minutes or until browned and caramelized. Avoid overcrowding the pan to prevent steaming the onions.

Increase the oven heat to 425*F. Place pizza crust on baking pan. Spread a thin layer of butternut squash puree evenly over the entire surface of the crust, leaving a half in border. Add caramelized onions, bacon, turkey, both cheeses, and sage. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to rest 5 minutes, serve hot with crushed red pepper and freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain

IMG_4550

Everything is blooming most recklessly in the Puget Sound; if it weren’t for the harsh cold nights we might mistake the blinding sunny and seventy degree weather for summer. After a weekend trip to the coast to fish for wild winter steelhead, I came to think of only preparing dressed down versions of traditional meals – something less flashy and doesn’t try to hard – in a good way.

IMG_4556

I can’t imagine a more perfect combination to come together in one dish. It goes down easy under a hot sun and just keeps getting better the more you eat. I like to serve it right from the pan; skip the utensils here.

Tequila Lime Prawns // serves 4

1 pound wild jumbo prawns (16-20 count, peeled and deveined with tails on)
1 jalepeno thinly sliced
4 stalks green onions, thinly sliced, white parts only
2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup tequila
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
1 tablespoon avocado oil
Coarse sea salt

Preheat large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Pat dry prawns and season with coarse sea salt.

In a large bowl combine the prawns through red pepper flakes and stir to coat. Add oil to the pan along with the seasoned shrimp and sauté about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully add in the tequila. Immediately place back on the heat, add the lime juice and cook for 2 more minutes until the alcohol has burned off and the shrimp have turned pink. Add in cilantro leaves and garnish with extra green onions, jalepeno and lime wedges.

“The ghostly winter silence had given way to the great spring murmur of awakening life.”
― Jack London, The Call of the Wild

IMG_4541

Last fall I received the most generous gift from my father Jeff in Oregon. A box filled with fresh whitetail venison, perfectly wrapped in white butcher’s paper, which was harvested from our Eastern Oregon hunting grounds. A lover of wild game varieties of both big and small, I’m happy to use the best of what’s around to make something beautiful, worth sharing.

With Spring’s archery Turkey hunt less than a month away and an abundance of Pacific Northwest Salmon soon to be fished from our waters, my days visualizing recipes to come feel like a dream.

Mango Venison Fajitas // serves 4

Juice of 3 limes
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 jalepeno, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons oil
1 tablespoon tamari or low-sodium soy sauce
1 pound venison or elk, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch strips
Cooking spray
3 julienne-cut bell peppers (assorted colors)
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
Corn tortillas
1 medium sized mango, sliced
1 medium avocado, sliced
Green onions, chopped for garnish
Cantina style salsa

Combine lime juice, cumin, salt, cilantro, jalepeno, oil, and tamari/soy sauce in a medium bowl, tossing well to coat. Refrigerate and let marinate up to 3 hours.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Discard marinate mixture, add meat to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until done. Remove from pan.

Recoat pan with cooking spray. Add peppers and onion; cook 6 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and meat; cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Warm the tortillas according to package instructions. Serve venison mixture with tortillas, mango, avocado, green onions, and cantina style salsa.