How to Cook Wild Game Meat

 

Remove silverskin with a fillet knife. Cut into one end of the meat to the silverskin. Turn blade parallel to silverskin. Hold silverskin firmly with fingertips, and push knife away from them as though skinning a fish fillet. Very little meat is removed with the silverskin this way.

Wild game is richer in flavor and lower in fat and calories than domestic meat, but cooking it successfully can be a challenge. With the step-by-step instructions in Dressing & Cooking Wild Game (Voyageur Press, 2014), by Teresa Marrone, you can ensure great-tasting dishes after every hunting expedition, from properly field dressing your game to choosing a preparation that suits it. The following excerpt is from “Big Game Recipes.”

Big-game meat, if cooked properly, is even tastier than choice beef. And because it’s leaner than beef, it also has fewer calories. But the lean meat can become tough and dry if cooked incorrectly.

To make sure big-game meat doesn’t dry out, cook it with moist heat or keep it on the rare side. One exception is bear meat. Always cook it thoroughly, like pork, because bears may carry trichinosis.

The external fat of big game is strong-tasting and tallow, so remove it before cooking. To tenderize tough cuts, marinate them in a mixture of oil and wine, or in a packaged beef marinade.

Most recipes for deer work equally well for antelope, elk, and moose. Generally, antelope and elk meat is finer-grained than deer and moose. Of the antlered animals, elk probably tastes most like beef; antelope, least like it. Bear meat is stronger, darker, and coarser than other big game, and is usually prepared with more seasoning.

How good the meat tastes, however, depends less on the species of the animal than on its sex and age, the time of year it was killed, and the care you take with it after the kill. A buck taken during the rut, for instance, is usually stronger-tasting and tougher than one taken earlier in the season.

The animal’s diet also affects the flavor. A corn-fed deer is much tastier than one forced to eat low-nutrition foods like red cedar. If you store meat from several animals in your freezer and notice that meat from one tastes particularly strong, mark all the other packages from that animal. Then you can prepare it in a way that minimizes the flavor.

Roasting Big Game

There are two basic ways to roast big game: with dry heat and moist heat. Dry-heat roasting includes high- and low-temperature methods. The most common method of moist-heat roasting is braising, which includes pot roasting.

Only prime roasts are candidates for dry-heat, high-temperature cooking. These include the top round, sirloin tip, backstrap, and rump roasts. The tenderloin of a moose, elk, or large deer may also be used. These prime cuts are naturally tender, and do not need long, slow cooking for tenderizing.

For high-temperature cooking, select a roast between 2 and 5 inches thick, or a thinner piece you can roll and tie. First, brown the meat in hot fat, then roast in a hot (400 and 450 degree) oven. With these high temperatures, roasts should be cooked only rare to medium. If cooked well-done, they dry out and shrink.

Low-temperature roasting is another option for these same prime cuts. And it’s necessary for such medium-tender cuts as the bottom round and eye of round, which needs longer cooking to ensure tenderness. Cover the meat with bacon or a sheet of beef or pork fat (available from your butcher), or baste it frequently. Cook it in a slow (300 to 325 degree) oven. With low heat, roasts may be cooked rare, medium, or well-done.

When roasting with dry heat, use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. The chart below gives temperatures for various stages of doneness. Remove the meat from the oven with it reads 5 degrees below the ideal temperature; it will continue to heat on the platter. It will slice better if you wait 10 to 15 minutes before carving.

Moist heat tenderizes shoulder roasts and other tough cuts, and also works well with the bottom round and eye of round. Brown the roast in hot fat, then add liquid and flavoring and cover the pan tightly. Cook the meat until tender, on the stove top or in a moderate (325 to 350 degree) oven. When pot-roasting, add vegetables during the last hour or so of cooking. Braised meat is always served well-done.

How to Make Silk Tie Easter Eggs

One-of-a-kind dyed Easter eggs start with an old silk tie.

Materials Needed:

  • Raw eggs
  • Silk neckties
  • All-purpose thread
  • Scissors

Directions:

  1. Check the tie label to make sure it’s silk. Remove the lining, cut it into strips and set aside.
  2. Cut a piece of colored silk tie fabric large enough to fit around the entire egg.
  3. Wet the silk with cold water and wrap tightly around the egg, with the right side of the fabric facing the egg. Twist the ends tightly so the fabric is touching the entire surface of the egg. Wrap thread around each end and knot to hold the fabric in place.
  4. Wrap the lining strips around the entire egg. Hold them in place by wrapping and tying thread around the egg.
  5. After wrapping several eggs, place them in a single layer in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover by 1 inch. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 15 minutes. Place in ice water until completely cooled.
  6. Remove lining and silk fabric.

More Egg Tips:

  • A tie usually yields enough fabric to dye four or five eggs.
  • Find ties at resale shops or garage sales.
  • Don’t reuse the silk fabric.
  • Combine scraps from different ties to vary colors and patterns.
  • Don’t plan to eat the eggs? Cook them longer for deeper colors.
  • Apply a thin coat of vegetable oil to make eggs shine.

How to Poach Eggs

by Betty Crocker

Want to make poached eggs but don’t know where to start? Learn how to poach eggs with these easy tips and step-by-step instructions!

By Karen Berner, Taste of Home Food Editor


Add 2 to 3 inches of water to a large saucepan or deep skillet and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to the point where water barely bubbles.

Break eggs, one at a time, into small coffee cups. Holding a cup close to the surface, slide egg into the water.

Cook the eggs until whites are completely set and yolks are still soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Take care not to stir.

With a slotted spoon, gently lift the eggs from the water and let drain.

When making poached eggs to top toasted bread, lift the eggs from the water with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain.

 

How to Cut a Mango

by Taste of Home

Using these easy steps, learn how to cut a mango

Step 1

Wash fruit. Lay fruit on the counter, then turn so the top and bottom are now the sides. Using a sharp knife, make a lengthwise cut as close to the long, flat seed as possible to remove each side of the fruit. Trim fruit away from the seed.
Step 2

Score each side of the fruit lengthwise and widthwise, without cutting through the skin.
Step 3

Using your hand, push the skin up, turning the fruit out. Cut fruit off at the skin with a knife.

 

Fast Fact About Mangoes

 

  • Available most of the year.
  • Choose plump fruit with a sweet, fruity fragrance.
  • Avoid very soft or bruised fruit.
  • Ripe mangoes have green-yellow skin with a tinge of red; ripe mangoes give slightly when pressed.
  • Store ripe mangoes in the refrigerator away from other fruits/vegetables with strong aromas.
  • Store unripe mangoes at room temperature out of direct sunlight.

Tips for Roast Beef

 

1. Choosing the Beef

The best joints for roast beef are either a Rib of Beef, a Sirloin or a Fillet. Rib works well as usually it will be cooked on the bone as keeping the bone in makes for a tastier piece of beef when cooked but both Sirloin and Fillet are also very good.

The beef should be:

  • Dark in colour – meaning it has been hung well and is mature.
  • A thick covering of fat which adds flavor and prevents the joint from drying out during cooking. This layer can be removed before serving so no need to worry too much about excess fat.
  • Marbling: Marbling is small slivers of fat running through the flesh which again adds flavor and prevents drying out during cooking.

2. How Much to Buy

  • 5½ lb/2.5kg bone in will feed 6
  • 3 lb/1.5kg boned will feed 6

Don’t worry about buying too much as cold roast beef makes great sandwiches or it can be added to a plate of cold cuts.

3. Cooking Temperature

There are varying opinions about what the perfect temperature to cook a roast beef but in my experience starting the beef in a very hot oven 425F/220C/Gas 7 for the first 30 mins then lower the temperature to 375F/190C/Gas5 for the remaining cooking time then …. how long to cook beef depends on your preference for how ‘pink’ or not you like to eat beef.
Calculate

  • Rare – 11 mins per lb/450g
  • Medium – 14 mins per lb/450g
  • Well done – 16 mins per lb/450g
  • These times are based on a normal convection oven, you may want to adjust for a fan oven according to the manufacturers instructions.

Another way to work out the cooking time is to use a meat thermometer pushed into the thickest part of the beef.

  • 60°C/140° F – rare
  • 70°C/160F – medium
  • 80°C/175°F – well done

4. How to Cook

The beef should be at room temperature. Stand the beef joint in a roasting tin then cook to the temperature and time as above.

5. Rest, Rest, Rest

An important part of cooking any meat is once it is removed from the oven the meat must rest. Wrap the meat loosely in aluminum foil and put to one side. The fibers in meat tighten up during cooking and resting allows the fibers to relax, release some of the meat juices (great for the gravy) and results in a soft tender piece of meat. 20 minutes should be long enough but up to an hour won’t do any harm. The joint is then ready to carve.

Sushi

Wonderfully addictive, cultural, and artistic — sushi remains a mystery to the uninitiated. Why would anyone want to pay so much for a few tidbits of raw fish? Unlike the supermarket sushi slopped out by chains in the West, a true sushi experience is unforgettable. Masters in Japan make each bite a ride of color, texture, taste, and presentation.

These 16 interesting facts about sushi will make you even more excited about your next experience!

Sushi originated outside of japan

Although the Japanese get full credit for what we call sushi today, the inspiration for sushi is thought to have started in Southeast Asia. Nare-zushi, fermented fish wrapped in sour rice, originated somewhere around the Mekong River before spreading into China and ultimately Japan.

The concept of modern-day sushi was invented in Japan by Hanaya Yohei sometime around the end of the Edo period.

Sushi began as cheap fast food

Sushi caught on originally as a cheap, quick snack to eat with the hands while enjoying a theater performance.

Your wasabi is probably not real wasabi

Real wasabi comes from the root of the wasabia japonica plant, not horseradish. The powerful burn of wasabi comes from naturally antimicrobial chemicals in the plant, the perfect compliment for consuming raw seafood which may contain parasites.

Authentic wasabi is pricey. The stuff typically provided in sushi restaurants is made from horseradish and mustard powder, then dyed green with artificial dyes to resemble real wasabi.

Originally, sushi rice was never eaten

Sour, fermenting rice was wrapped around fermenting fish only to aid in the process of creating umami — a unique, sour taste. Once the fermentation process was complete, the rice was discarded and only the fish consumed.

Nori has some scummy origins

Nori — the seaweed used to wrap sushi — was once scraped off of wooden pier legs and even boats, then pressed into sheets and dried in the sun. Today, nori is cultivated and farmed. Western brands toast nori for safety reasons while many Japanese brands do not.

Sushi becomes zushi when the type is specified

If the type of sushi precedes the word, sushi mutates to zushi. For instance, maki is maki-zushi; nigiri is nigiri-zushi.

Puffer fish is the most dangerous sashimi

Fugu, or pufferfish, contain lethal amounts of poison in glands and organs. If a chef inadvertently scrapes one with a knife while preparing sashimi, he could potential kill his own customer. To be certified to work with fugu sashimi, chefs in Japan must undergo a rigorous training and certification process — then eat their own finished product! And yes, there have been deaths during the final exams.

For centuries, the only law pertaining to the Emperor of Japan is that he can never eat fugu because of the risk involved.

Maki rolls are a work of art

Forget the standard ‘Californian roll’ found at any cheap sushi outlet in the West. The ingredients for maki-zushi — sushi rolls — are chosen by masters so that taste, texture, and even colors complement each other. Rolls are served already sliced into disks so that customers can see the artistic work inside.

Maki-zushi gets its name from the mat

The bamboo mat that gives sushi rolls their cylindrical shape is called a makisu in Japanese. While sushi rolls are the most popular form of sushi in the West, the Japanese typically prefer nigiri — a piece of fish pressed on top of a strip of rice by hand.

Maki-zushi isn’t always rolled in seaweed

Although we are most familiar with sushi wrapped in black nori (seaweed), in Japan sometimes maki-zushi is wrapped in soy paper, cucumber, or egg.

Sushi is supposed to be eaten with the hands

True to its origins, the correct way to eat sushi is with your fingers. Chopsticks are typically only used to eat sashimi — raw slices of fish.

Even fresh sushi is frozen first

Food safety regulations in the US and Europe require that raw fish be frozen for a certain amount of time to kill parasites. In Europe, raw fish must have been frozen at -20 degrees Celsius for at least 24 hours. Even the freshest raw fish served in Western sushi restaurants has been frozen, which damages the original taste and texture.

Japanese sushi masters are trained to recognize potential problems such as flukes and parasites in fish and avoid serving them.

Wasting soy sauce is bad form

Leaving behind a small pond of soy sauce with floating rice and remnants of your meal is extremely bad form. Wasting valuable soy sauce has always been frowned upon. To enjoy sushi the Japanese way, pour the smallest amount of soy sauce possible into the sushi cup and refill it as necessary.

You shouldn’t dip sushi rice

If you do need to dip nigiri into your soy sauce, you should turn it over and lightly dip only the fish. Great pride and effort is put into creating sushi rice with the correct texture. Saturating the rice until it falls apart in your cup is considered very amateurish.

Sushi prepared with toppings such as roe or sweet and spicy sauces — such as that put on unagi (eel) — should never be dipped in soy sauce. To fully appreciate an authentic sushi experience, avoid drowning every piece with soy sauce. You can, however, brush additional wasabi onto each piece if you prefer them to be spicier than provided.

Nigiri is to be eaten upside down

Sushi connoisseurs recommend that nigiri, a slice of fish squeezed atop a strip of rice, is best enjoyed by turning it upside down and placing the fish side on your tongue. Nigiri is typically eaten with the fingers rather than chopsticks so that you can keep it together and rotate it easier.

You can buy the chef a drink

At the end of an authentic sushi experience, you can offer to buy the chef a shot of saki in gratitude. If he accepts, you should have one with him. Aside from the shot, avoid distracting the chef with small talk or questions about the food — he needs to focus on his art and the sharp knife!

Beans and other legumes: Cooking tips

Beans and other legumes: Cooking tips

This guide describes common types of beans and legumes, tips for preparing them, and ways to add more legumes to your meals and snacks.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Legumes — a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils — are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. Legumes are typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium. They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fiber. A good source of protein, legumes can be a healthy substitute for meat, which has more fat and cholesterol.

If you want to add more beans and other legumes to your diet, but you aren’t clear about what’s available and how to prepare them, this guide can help.

Types of legumes

Many supermarkets and food stores stock a wide variety of legumes — both dried and canned.

Below are several of the more common types and their typical uses.
Type of legume Common uses
Adzuki beans, also known as field peas or red beans Soups, sweet bean paste, and Japanese and Chinese dishes
Anasazi beans Soups and Southwestern dishes; can be used in recipes that call for pinto beans
Black beans, also known as turtle beans Soups, stews, rice dishes and Latin American cuisines
Black-eyed peas, also known as cowpeas Salads, casseroles, fritters and Southern dishes
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo or ceci beans Casseroles, hummus, minestrone soup, and Spanish and Indian dishes
Edamame, also known as green soybeans Snacks, salads, casseroles and rice dishes
Fava beans, also known as broad beans Stews and side dishes
Lentils Soups, stews, salads, side dishes and Indian dishes
Lima beans, also known as butter or Madagascar beans Succotash, casseroles, soups and salads
Red kidney beans Stews, salads, chili and rice dishes
Soy nuts, also known as roasted soybeans or soya beans Snack or garnish for salads

Preparing legumes

Dried beans and legumes, with the exceptions of black-eyed peas and lentils, require soaking in room-temperature water, a step that rehydrates them for more even cooking. Before soaking, pick through the beans, discarding any discolored or shriveled ones or any foreign matter. Depending on how much time you have, choose one of the following soaking methods:

  • Slow soak. In a stockpot, cover 1 pound dried beans with 10 cups water. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Quick soak. In a stockpot, bring 1 pound of dried beans and 10 cups of water to a boil. Cover and set aside and let beans soak for 1 to 4 hours at room temperature.

Cooking tips

After soaking, rinse beans and add to a stockpot. Cover the beans with three times their volume of water. Add herbs or spices as desired. Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until tender. The cooking time depends on the type of bean, but start checking after 45 minutes. Add more water if the beans become uncovered. Other tips:

  • Add salt or acidic ingredients, such as vinegar, tomatoes or juice, near the end of the cooking time, when the beans are just tender. If these ingredients are added too early, they can make the beans tough and slow the cooking process.
  • Beans are done when they can be easily mashed between two fingers or with a fork.
  • To freeze cooked beans for later use, immerse them in cold water until cool, then drain well and freeze.
  • One pound of dried beans yields about 5 or 6 cups cooked beans. A 15.5-ounce can of beans equals about 1 2/3 cups beans, drained and cooked.

 

 No time to spare?

Lentils, split peas and black-eyed peas don’t need to be soaked. In addition, some legumes are “quick-cooking” — meaning they have already been pre-soaked and redried and don’t need extra soaking. Finally, canned legumes make quick additions to dishes that don’t require long simmering. Just be sure to rinse prepared and canned legumes to remove some of the sodium added during processing.

Adding more legumes to your diet

Consider these ways to incorporate more legumes into your meals and snacks:

  • Prepare soups, stews and casseroles that feature legumes.
  • Use pureed beans as the basis for dips and spreads.
  • Add chickpeas or black beans to salads. If you typically buy a salad at work and no beans are available, bring your own from home in a small container.
  • Snack on a handful of soy nuts rather than on chips or crackers.

If you can’t find a particular type of legume in the store, you can easily substitute one type of legume for another. For example, pinto and black beans are good substitutes for red kidney beans. And cannellini, lima beans and navy beans are easily interchangeable. Experiment with what types of legumes you like best in your recipes to make your meals and snacks both nutritious and interesting.

Reducing the gas factor

Beans and other legumes can lead to the formation of intestinal gas. Here are several ways to reduce the flatulence-inducing quality of legumes:

  • Change the water several times during soaking. Don’t use the soaking water to cook the beans. The water will have absorbed some of the gas-producing indigestible sugars.
  • Try using canned beans — the canning process eliminates some of the gas-producing sugars.
  • Simmer beans slowly until they are tender. This makes them easier to digest.
  • Try digestive aids, such as Beano, when eating legume dishes to help reduce the amount of gas they produce.

As you add more beans and legumes to your diet, be sure to drink enough water and exercise regularly to help your gastrointestinal system handle the increase in dietary fiber.