Gado Gado Salad with Braised Pheasant

Gado gado is an Indonesian salad of mixed cooked and uncooked vegetables served with a peanut sauce dressing. Gado gado means “mix mix”; a fitting name for a salad with as many ways of making and mixing it as there are families in Indonesia. Although this salad is most often made with tempeh, tofu, long beans, chayote, bitter gourd, shrimp crackers, and other hard to find ingredients, I made mine with what I had available on hand. I also replaced the soy products with pheasant, braised in a rich sauce, which adds so much amazing flavour to this dish.

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Fried Oyster Mushroom Tacos

I’m a mushroom lover and foraging for them is a new favorite past time. I recently packed up my wife and daughter and traveled from Fargo, North Dakota to Olympic National Park in Washington for 10 days of tent camping, hiking, and foraging.

Oyster mushrooms were easy to find and easy to identify, growing on trees and logs right along many of the hiking trails. The most abundant spot was in the Hoh Rain Forest near Forks, Washington. Within minutes, we had filled a quart-size bag to take home.

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Jalapeño Wild Turkey Piccata

Turkey season has come upon us! Not many things can rival the sound of calling and hearing those big old toms gobble back at you. We had the pleasure this season of being able to hunt not far from the coast of Morrow Bay in California and were able to bag a few gobblers to bring home to the fam. This recipe is a play on the good old chicken piccata recipe that’s super quick, easy, and doesn’t disappoint. If you’ve never had piccata, well, you’re in for a treat because when you pour the sauce over the top everyone will think you’re a five-star chef. I spiced this one up with some jalapeños and wild turkey but feel free to use any pepper or bourbon; you can also omit the peppers and just use white wine if you’d like to go the classic route. Any way you slice it, you’re bound to love this dish.

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Elk Braciole

I introduced elk into it to bring new life to some elk I had in the freezer. This was some sirloin cut that I had used. I kept it partially frozen when I sliced it to make it easier to slice, pro tip! I then pounded it out to about 1/4” thin to be more tender and to be able to roll it. I cut it into about 6” long pieces. Doing so will allow the meat to braise correctly when it’s rolled up and not take too long.

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Coffee Crusted Elk Backstrap

Want to have a date night on the town, but without the town? This coffee crusted wild game back strap with fried onion shoestrings makes for the perfect date night without having to leave the house. It presents beautifully, with the golden fried onion shoestrings piled high on a perfectly cooked steak and drizzled with a rustic, indulgent stout sauce. The only aspect better than the presentation is the taste!
Coffee grounds not only add a wonderful acidic element to a steak rub, they also act as a meat tenderizer. The coffee and mushroom rub creates a beautiful crust on the wild game back strap steaks and also helps seal in moisture, resulting in a delicate, juicy steak. The subtle grilled flavor from the coffee grinds also compliment the rich, savory flavor of the molasses stout sauce.
So, set the table because it’s date night!

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Blackened Alligator Tacos with Maque Choux Salsa and Remoulade Sauce

Finally getting the opportunity to work with alligator, I wanted to do a Louisiana mash-up that only a kid from Ontario would dare. Blackened gator, maque choux, and remoulade sauce all seemed like good bedfellows, but I decided to go further and jam them all into corn tortillas for Bayou-style tacos. These totally untraditional tacos are a bit wacky, but they taste great and are a wonderful way to enjoy the very unique alligator meat!Note: some blackening spice blends can be very salty, so taste it before you coat your gator in it.

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