Venison Sausages

Will got a new (used) crossbow and on his first hunting trip with this bow, with his first arrow, he managed to get a Texada Island black tail deer. These Texada deer are very small, but big enough for him to cube 15 pounds of meat for sausage making.
The next cool thing that happened was that our friend Patches sold us one of his young heritage pigs for roasting, but instead, we cut it up to make two hind quarter roasts, ribs and then cut the front shoulders into 15 pounds of sausage meat as well.
Yesterday I ground and mixed these meats, and made three fabulous kinds of sausages!

Be sure to keep everything very cold while working.
With a medium plate on your grinder, grind the meats together.
Mix the seasonings and spices with the liquid. Pour over the ground meat and mix thoroughly.
Refrigerate 4 hours to set the seasonings.
Remix and either stuff into casings or divide into one pound packages.
Label and freeze.

Smoked Breakfast Sausages
7 1/2 lbs venison
7 1/2 lbs fatty pork
250 ml jar smoked pickled peppers, minced (including the juice)
2 Tbsp pickling salt
2 Tbsp poultry seasoning
2 Tbsp ground pepper

Drunken Deer Sausages
2 1/2 lbs venison
2 1/2 lbs fatty pork
1/2 cup brandy
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp pickling salt
1 Tbsp ground pepper
1 tsp mace
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger

5 lbs venison
5 lbs fatty pork
4 eggs
2/3 cup gluten free panko
1 1/2 Tbsp pickling salt
1/2 tsp sage
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne

Almond Crusted Halibut

We served this tonight with spinach salad and gluten-free pasta with a light mushroom & veggie sauce. So delicious! 

4 serving sized pieces of halibut
1/2 cup almond slices, chopped finely
2 Tbsp millet flour
2 Tbsp corn meal
2 Tbsp tapioca flour
3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
zest of 2 lemons
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup melted butter
juice from the other lemon reserved for finishing

In a small bowl, mix finely chopped almonds, millet flour, corn meal, tapioca flour, parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and melted butter.
Pat the halibut dry with a paper towel and season with salt & pepper.
Preheat the broiler and set the rack a few inches below.
Heat a large oven-safe pan on high. Add a little vegetable oil, then sear the halibut for about a minute or so per side (depending upon thickness) until it is nearly done. 
Top each piece with 1/4 of the almond crust mixture.
Place the skillet in the oven to brown under the broiler. Do NOT walk away. It will go from uncooked, to perfect, to burned before you know it!
Squeeze the other lemon over the fish.
Serve right away.

Venison "Bradwurst"

nope, not a spelling mistake, this spicy sausage was made with venison that our friend Brad gave us, plus some pork fat from our last Wolfson Creek Farm pig.
This is like a bratwurst with a little bit of heat. We used dried hot peppers that did really well last year in the garden, fresh sage and fresh parsley that we managed to fence off from the chickens.

4 lb venison (cubed)
2 lb port fat (cubed)
1 Tbsp salt
4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp chopped sage
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp hot pepper flakes
1 carrot grated
1 potato, cubed
1 cup hard cider

Make a plan to keep all your utensils very clean, your work area sanitary and to keep the meat as cold as possible.
Mix the meat and fat and put it through a grinder using a plate with 1/4" holes, so it's not too fine. Add the rest of the ingredients and let set in the fridge for 1/2 hour or so.
Put this mixture through the grinder again, test for seasonings by frying up little patties.
You can stuff sausage casings or make 12oz packages of sausage meat for future meals. Freeze.

Spaghetti Squash Soup

We have been making creamy soup from our bumper crop of "Small Wonder" spaghetti squash, and loving it!
Small Wonders are orange, with darker flesh than the yellow ones, a little more dense without losing the crisp texture, and higher in beta carotene. We got the seeds from
Super easy to make and very filling.

1 cubic inch ginger chopped finely
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 carrots, chopped coarsely
4 cups broth (I used turkey broth)
1/2 small spaghetti squash (cooked)
1 can coconut milk
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
3/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp garam masalla
1 Tbsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
1 tsp basil
shredded spinach, toasted pumpkin seeds and/or sour cream

saute ginger in olive oil in medium saucepan. Don't let it brown. When fragrant add chopped carrots and broth. Simmer until the carrots are tender. Add the cooked spaghetti squash, coconut milk and seasonings.
Blend with an immersive blender.
Gently reheat and serve with optional shredded spinach, toasted pumpkin seeds and/or sour cream

Gluten Free Speculoos

One of my favourite cookies from my youth is the spicy crispy speculoos cookies we would get in the "imported foods" aisle of the grocery store.
After a lot of trial and error, we have perfected a gluten free version. This is NOT a recipe you can complete in an hour. Waiting times are important after mixing and after baking in order to develop the full flavour and texture of this amazing cookie.
"Five stars! Tastes like a traditional speculoos! cinnamon, spicy and crisp," says Will.
Makes 2 trays of small cookies.  

1 1/3 cup almond flour
2 Tbsp light buckwheat flour
2 Tbsp millet flour
2 Tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/8 tsp ground cloves

100 g butter (scant 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup demerara sugar
1 Tbsp fancy molasses
1 egg yolk

our first try.... not sliced.
1 egg white (lightly beaten with 1/2 tsp water)
sliced almonds (optional)

Mix dry ingredients: flours & spices in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Cream butter, sugar and molasses thoroughly. Add egg yolk and mix until just mixed.
Add the flour mixture in two parts.
Form into a log, cover and refrigerate over night. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cookie trays with parchment paper or silicon sheet.
(Although you can just make small balls of dough and press, we found that slicing the chilled dough works best.) 
Cut the log into thin slices, approximately 3/16" thick. Lay on the lined cookie sheets. Press each cookie (use a little bit of parchment paper to keep the press from sticking). You can use a traditional wooden cookie press, potato masher or like we did, a gnocchi press. Should be about 1/8th inch thick when you are done.
It's important that they are the same thickness so they cook evenly. Timing is critical.
Brush with egg white beaten with 1/2 tsp water. Press almond slices into the top of each cookie if you like.
Bake in the middle of the oven at 350F for 12 minutes.
Remove from oven. As soon as you are able to move them without breaking, transfer each cookie carefully to cooling rack. Let them cool completely to develop the full crisp.
So worth the wait!

Italian prune plum squares

We were very lucky to have another bumper crop of blue Italian prune plums this year, but what to do with the ones still in the freezer from last year?

I love date squares but find them super sweet, so adjusted my mother-in-law's Matrimonial Bliss recipe to these delicious plum squares.

Crispy bottom crust, gooey plum layer and topped with almond crumble crust.

Preheat oven to 400 F and line an 8x8 cake pan with parchment paper.

Oat mixture:
1/2 c butter
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c gluten-free flour
1 c rolled oats 
1/2 c quinoa flakes
Pinch of salt

Break this up with a pastry knife until crumbly. Pack about 2/3 of this mixture into the bottom of an 8 X 8 pan. Press it down a little so it's even and bake at 400 F for about 20 minutes until starting to brown.
Turn the oven down to 350 F.

Place a single layer of fully defrosted plums cut side down on the crust. (be generous)

To the remaining 1/3 of the oat mixture, add
1/3 c of sliced almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
Spread this topping evenly over the plums.
Place in the oven and bake about 25 - 30 minutes at 350. (if the plums are fresh instead of frozen, you should cook this dessert about 20 minutes longer.)

keto breakfast: egg muffins

We have friends on various diets and have explored quite a few ourselves, trying to work out a healthy lifestyle that uses local ingredients (whenever possible). Over the past year, I have been enjoying a low carb lifestyle that has helped me lose 30 pounds and bring my blood pressure back to nice low numbers!
One of my favourite fast foods on this diet are these "breakfast muffins".... so nummy and filled with the ingredients I need to eat.

10 slices bacon
1 Tbsp butter
3 cups baby kale and/or spinach, chopped
2 thinly sliced brown mushrooms
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
10 eggs
1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt, or full fat sour cream
green onion or parsley

Preheat the oven to 350 F. I use my silicon 12 muffin pan with a cookie sheet underneath. I recommend that you just make 10 muffins and leave the middle two spots of the muffin pan empty. They just don't cook as quickly as the ones around the outside and it creates problems for deciding when to take them out of the oven!
Cook the bacon over low heat until crispy. Crumble or chop the bacon slices, one into each muffin cup. Reserve the bacon fat in the pan and add butter. Cook the mushrooms a bit until wilted, divide among the muffin cups; then do the same with the kale or spinach. If there is any bacon fat left, you just add it to the eggs when you beat them.
Shred the cheeses and add to the muffin cups.
Beat the eggs with the yogurt or sour cream & reserved bacon fat until frothy. Season with pepper & your choice of herbs. Divide into the 10 muffin cups and top with chopped green onion or parsley.
Bake for about  35 minutes until firm.
Great hot out of the oven, but I like to have a few leftovers in the fridge for our hikes.