Monday, March 23, 2009

Venison Jerky

We have learned it is quite simple to make our own jerky. Abe got quite into it this fall and he made a lot. I don't just love cutting meat so he obliges me by doing that part. Actually all I usually end up doing is the "jerking" ! :) We found it works well to throw the meat in the freezer and then make it at our leisure, as we want more. Meat also slices easier when it's a bit frozen. We have a seasoning recipe from my uncle, but you can change and experiment as much as you like.
Here goes:
Uncle David's Jerky
For 32 lbs. meat:
3/4 cup soy sauce
4 Tablespoons Worchestershire sauce
3/4 - 4/5 cup liquid smoke
4 Tablespoons black pepper
3 Tablespoons onion salt
3 Tablespoons garlic salt
10 Tablespoons salt
Mix this all together to dissolve the salts. Use this to marinade the meat, at least overnight or for days. We cut this recipe down to do about 4 lbs. at a time. It will not seem like a lot of liquid, but remember whatever you add, it has to be dried back down. We liked adding fresh jalapeno peppers to this. We tried minced fine for a hot bite now and then, or pureed for an over-all warmth. We also added cayenne pepper for heat. Abe also likes to add Montreal Steak seasoning. (It's his favorite for steak, why not on the jerky?)

I have cooling racks that fit on my baking sheets. You can put the strips of meat right on the pan, but I think it speeds it up to allow air to circulate under. We put it in the oven at 190 degrees. Put a wooden spoon in the door to keep it cracked open just a bit to allow moisture to escape. Depending on how thick you cut the meat, the drying time varies. Usually 3-4 hours. We do it in the evening. It always dries a bit further as it cools, and we don't like it crackling dry, so you can turn it off just a bit before you think it's done and leave it in the oven as it cools down. Two pans like this don't last us very long! I think 4-5 lbs. of meat make about 4 pans. If you make a large quantity, keep it in the freezer to avoid spoiling, just in case it's not dried enough.

If you lived near us and passed Abe on the road, he'd probably stop and talk a while and share a handful. Our neighbors and friends all like it by now! Thanks, Uncle David!

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Feather Light Pancakes

At our house, pancakes are a well received breakfast. We like this recipe:
Feather Light Pancakes
2 cups flour - I use fresh ground fine whole wheat
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons sugar
2 beaten eggs 1 & 3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup vinegar 1/4 cup oil or melted butter
Mix well. Add to dry ingredients, stir until smooth. Bake on hot griddle. Yield - 20
Now for variations:
I recently learned from my brother-in-law (who would have thought!) that if you like added nutrition and are a flax seed fan, you can exchange 1/2 cup of the flour for 1/2 cup ground flax seeds. They turn out really good! My kids never noticed the difference.
If you like blueberry pancakes, just sprinkle a few fresh or frozen ones on each pancake while the first side is baking. This fall my brother went home to Idaho for a visit and came back with some huckleberries. He was sweet enough to share and using them on pancakes makes a little go a long way! Talk about bring back memories! Straight from God's garden!
On a birthday last fall we tried the teddy bear shape here. That was a real hit and just takes a bit more time. We all have lots of that, don't we?! :)
The girls used chocolate chips for eyes and buttons, which soon went to nose, smiles, paws... Anything to get a bit more chocolate on there! We found if you put them on right away, then they get all melty and you can spread chocolate out all over! Big hit!!! (We have other non-traditional ways of using chocolate chips if you need any tips! :))
Now for syrup... My Mom always used this recipe. I have no idea where it came from!
Pancake Syrup
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
4 Tablespoons flour
2 cups water
1 cube butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
Mix sugars and flour, add water and cook till thickened. Add butter and vanilla and stir till melted. Serve warm. This syrup is good on waffles or anything else you use pancake syrup on.
Now, I usually like to cut back on the sugar in anything, as much as possible without sacrificing too much taste. This syrup can take it! I go way skimpy on the sugar and way heavy on the flour. Then I keep adding water as it thickens till it's the right consistency. I also like to add a bit of maple flavoring. Note: You only need half of this recipe for the pancake recipe above. Leftover does keep in the fridge, but not indefinitely!
When you ask Abi if something is good, if it is, she nods and gives a thumbs up! The more she likes it, the more emphatically she does it. You can see how she rates these!
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