SEATTLE - It took all of 10 minutes for the uber-talented lady at right - Chef Kirsten Helle of Mesa de Vida - to become a favorite with the Wild Country Crue.
Chef Kirsten is back on board with us this Saturday, Oct. 19, this time with more deliciousness running the gamut from crab (Oct. 1 reopener, folks!) to salmon to duck to venison. She'll be putting all of this together LIVE on air. Who needs Rachel What's Her Name, we have Check K.!
CHECK OUT RECIPES FROM CHEF KIRSTEN'S LAST APPEARANCE ON AIR and be prepared to take notes this Saturday.
SEATTLE - I had full intentions on focusing on kokanee when Bethy Rossos - former host of Adrenaline Hunter on Comcast Sportsnet Northwest and current competitor on MasterChef - joined us on Wild Country on Saturday. But there was the photo above, of the most ridiculously awesome-looking burger ever. Ever. Ever.
Memorial Weekend, though, so a burger seems just right. That's the Triple Meat Whiskey Burger above, a recipe for while you'll find HERE on Bethy's blog page.
We did eventually get around to talking about cooking kokanee, too. I swear.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST OF OUR CONVERSATION WITH BETHY as she chats about her experience on Fox's MasterChef, and shares some secrets to cooking rustic.
SEATTLE - LAST CALL! The Steelhead Nation Recipe Conest comes to a close this Friday, March 16!
And so do the esteemend judges of our "Steelhead Nation Recipe Contest", which I kicked off on Facebook lastweek. Ladies and gentlemen, meet your judges: longtime NWWC buddies Scott and Tiffany Haugen; food blogger Hank Shaw; and the MeatEater himself, Steve Rinella. They all share two things in common: 1). They're wizards in the kitchen; 2). They've served as in-studio guests on Wild Country!
JOIN IN THE STEELHEAD NATION RECIPE CONTEST HERE! Share your food, you can win some great prizes!
SEATTLE - We all recognize that Facebook has become the way to connect with people. But who knew that social networking could lead you into somebody's kitchen, too?
Chef Kirsten specializes in healthy recipes for people on the go, and what's healthier than fresh, wild-caught fish? Kirsten will "follow the fish" over the course of the year, with creative recipes for everything from salmon to shellfish. Welcome to the Wild Country Kitchen & Grill, ma'am!
CHEF KIRSTEN'S BRAISED STURGEON WITH CAPPONATA-STYLE SAUCE from her new "Local, Wild and Fresh" blog at Mesa de Vida.
LONGVIEW, Wash. - While we're always thankful for the awesome relationships we have with fish & game-cooking wizards like Tiffany Haugen, Hank Shaw, Georgia Pellegrini and Steve Rinella, it's also good to hear from John Q. Public. Or, rather, Steve Q. Public.
Q's ASIAN STEELHEAD/SALMON
Q SAYS: "I serve this with broccoli with carmel mushrooms with bacon (recipe follows)."INGREDIENTS
l 2 pounds salmon or steelhead filets, with skin off
l 2 tablespoons olive oil
l 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
l 2 tablespoons soy sauce
l 1-2 tablespoon packed brown sugar
l 2 cloves garlic, minced and one teaspoon of minced ginger
l 1 pinch ground black pepper
l 2 tablespoons minced onion
l 1 tablespoon sesame oil
l 2 cups long-grain white rice, I use wild rice
l 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
l 4 cups water
-In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, pepper, onion and sesame oil. Pour the liquid over the salmon, cover and refrigerate for 4 to 5 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium saucepan combine the rice, water and dill weed. Bring to a boil, and then cook over medium low heat until rice is tender and water has been absorbed, about 20-30 minutes, if you use wild rice.
- Remove cover from salmon, and bake in the marinating dish for about 30 minutes, or until fish can be flaked with a fork. Serve salmon over the rice. Mix in about 3 tablespoons of honey to the heated sauce and pour sauce over the salmon.
-BROCCOLI WITH CARAMEL MUSHROOMS AND BACON: Steam your broccoli for 8-10 minutes; in a sauté pan, sauté four pieces of bacon (cut into ¼-inch pieces) until it starts to brown; add 2 Tbs. of brown sugar and cook until the sugar starts to caramelize; when it starts to caramelize, add 8 oz. of sliced mushrooms and cook for 5-6 minutes; add broccoli and mix
SEATTLE - Waste not want not. And in a post-waterfowl-season world where many of you have freezers filled to overflowing with duck and goose meat, you're slipping into the danger zone of freezer-burnt (read: WASTED) fowl.
Enter Hank Shaw of Honest-Food.net. If you're not already a fan of Hank's blog, go there. Immediately. A two-time James Beard Award finalist for "Best Food Blog", Hank is a hunter/gatherer by trade and a wizard in the kitchen. He's also our guest this Saturday on Northwest Wild Country.
CHECK OUT SOME OF HANK'S OUTSTANDING RECIPES and bookmark Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook, Hank's award-winning fish/game food blog.
NWWC PRO-CAM: Smoke master Mikel McClaskey's dry-brine basics ...
SEATTLE - Eleventy jillion humpies headed back to Puget Sound rivers this month means eleventy jillion smokers fishing up throughout the Seattle metro area. Mikel McClaskey of McClaskey's Smokehouse in Camas joins the crew for a lesson on basic dry-brining for salmon and steelhead.
SEATTLE - Let me make this perfectly clear: I know my way around a grill/smoker/rotisserie/sautee pan/kitchen. I can flat cook.
But I found myself doing a two-hour mental "No sh*t?" as I sat and listened to food blogger Hank Shaw of Honest-Food.net explain to me that: 1). I've been grilling salmon all wrong; 2). Chicken broth is a halibut's best friend; 3). Doves + salt & pepper + a grill heated to n-u-c-l-e-a-r = heaven.
Shaw, a two-time James Beard Award finalist/chef, visited the Wild Country studios recently while on tour for his new book "Hunt, Gather, Cook".
CHECK OUT SOME OF HANK'S OUTSTANDING RECIPES and bookmark Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook, Hank's award-winning fish/game food blog.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST OF HOUR 1 WITH HANK SHAW as the crew gets an education on Fish Cookery 101.
CHECK OUT THE PODCAST OF HOUR 2 AS HANK SHAW talks about doves, duck, mushrooms and big game.
NWWC KITCHEN FOCUS: Hype up your SOSO (same ol' same ol') halibut!
Halibut is easily some of the most popular hunt/fish table fare on the West Coast, but it's also a fish that's prone to the SOSO preparation (same ol' same ol'): butter, lemon, dill, done. Here are a handful of recipes from the fine fishy folk over at Salty's that are perfect ways to hype up your halibut SOSO:
n Halibut Nuggets w/Wicked Tartar - I dare your mouth not to water. Go ahead. Try it.
n Halibut Cheeks w/Pico do Gallo - Don't forget the cheeks!
n Cedar Planked Halibut w/Bacon Vinaigrette - Halibut + bacon? If lovin' this is wrong, I don't want to be right.
n Seared Halibut with Tomato-Caper Dressing - Halibut and tomatoes are a naturally awesome combination.
n Halibut Romano-Asiago Cakes - Whenever I think I'm a pretty flashy home cook, I see dishes with sauces like this and am brought right back to reality.
By the way: Salty's deck opener is June 2. Just in time for the sunshine. Right? Right!
NWWC KITCHEN FOCUS: Try these Salty's recipes for spring Chinook
The best preperation for a Columbia River springer is straightforward and clean. Don't muck up the flavor of this fish with aggressive sauces! Grill or broil is simply and add a few whiz-bang flavors to complement it, but, PLEASE let the fish speak for itself! Here are a handful of recipes from the fine fishy folk over at Salty's that are perfect for spring kings:
n Cedar Roasted Salmon with Bacon Vinaigrette - Interesting preparation here.
n Bronzed King Salmon Salad - I can't lie, I've never made this ... but, my mouth is watering as I write this!
n Cedar Plank Roasted Salmon - Originally for Copper River kings, but perfect for springers
n Grilled Salmon Onion Marmalade - Is it "mar-muh-LADE" or "mar-muh-LAWD"? Who cares, it's freakin' awesome!
And if all else fails, do what we did five years ago when I brought a George Foreman Grill into the old KJR studio and fired up a fresh slab of springer, live on the air: Dust it with a little of your favorite spice and go!
More salmon recipes below.
The wild mushroom window, boys and girls, is officially closing.
I entered the fall as a rookie 'shroomer - I'm sure that's not what it's called, and the real mushroom hunters of the world are cringing - but found that it's damned addicting.
And easy. And delicious.
LEARN ALL ABOUT CHANTRELLE MUSHROOMS at Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, Hank Shaw's award-winning food blog.
SEATTLE - Former Seattle Mariners all-star reliever Norm "The Sheriff" Charlton once had this advice for me about cooking Canada goose.
"Hey, Shangle, you know how to make canned goose?" Norm asked one afternoon in the Sports Pit.
"Uh, no, Norm, how do you make canned goose?" I said (the word "sucker" apparently tattooed across my forehead).
"You go shoot a whole mess of geese, and then throw them in the back of your truck for a couple of days, right?" Norm went on.
"Uh ... right," I said, starting to wonder where this conversation was headed.
"After you let 'em stew in the back of your truck for a few days, you take a big ol' garbage can and throw 'em in there," Norm said. "Canned goose. Get it? Because, those things taste like sh*t."
Ba-DUM-bum. There's the punchline: Canada geese, to many hunters, do indeed taste like sh*t. However, if you pay attention to Hank Shaw - author/perpetrator of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook - you'll forget about Charlton's canned goose recipe and start thinking about stuff like seared goose breasts with poached pears or goose mortadella.
CHECK OUT HANK SHAW'S ODE TO CANADA GOOSE for some tasty advice on handling and preparing honkers.
FIND OUT HOW TO PROPERLY SEAR A DUCK OR GOOSE BREAST and find out what the term "jocular sizzle" means.
GET THE 4-1-1 ON GOOSE-NECK SAUSAGE (Warning! Warning! This is not what you think! And it's pretty damn cool!)
ROSEBURG, Ore. - That's several hundred pounds of prime elk venison on the hoof above. Fortunately, the lady with the gun - NWWC Kitchen advisor Tiffany Haugen - knows a little about turning wild game into exceptional table fare.
Good thing. Tiffany's husband, Scott Haugen of Trijicon's Game Chasers, is The Terminator come hunting season. Deer, elk, caribou, sheep, bear, what-have-you, Tiffany has 365 days of practice a year cooking wild game.
LISTEN IN TO THE PODCAST AS TIFFANY HAUGEN offers the NWWC crew some basic rules for preparing elk.
ON HONEST-FOOD.NET - The early-September dove shoot is a tradition among Eastside hunting families not unlike the county fair. With an end-of-summer blast of rain and cool weather hitting the lower Columbia Basin, though, you Yakima Valley/Tri-Cities dove gunners better enjoy 'em while you can.
Enter Hank Shaw, the perpetrator of one of my very favorite stopovers in WorldWideWebWorld, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. If you're scratching for ideas on how to turn a limit of doves into a meal to brag about, check out:
GRILLED DOVES TERIYAKI, which Shaw describes as "sweet, salty and flavorful all at the same time."
GRILLED DOVES FLORENTINE, which, according to Shaw, are "a riff off the classic Italian steak Florentine - that’s the giant porterhouse steak, grilled over charcoal and served with really excellent salt, olive oil and a lemon wedge."
ROSEBURG, Ore. - The NW Wild Country Wild Bunch has already heard elk bugling in our various corners of the Northwest woods. Some of the crew's most talented elk-hunters will be out in the field next week in pursuit of backstrap. We figured it was about time to bone up on some venison prep.
The following recipe for Triple Pepper Elk Steaks from Tiffany Haugen is an excellent place to start. Easy + tasty = right up our alley. If you have a saute pan and some pepper, you're golden. Check out more of Tiffany's big-game recipes in "Cooking Big Game".
TRIPLE PEPPER ELK STEAKS
TIFFANY SAYS: "This recipe can be made quickly as a stir fry if using a tender cut such as backstrap or tenderloins."INGREDIENTS
l2 pounds elk steaks
l1 tablespoon olive oil
l1 red pepper, chopped
l1 green pepper, chopped
l2 jalapeno peppers, diced
l1 onion, chopped
l2 tomatoes, chopped
l1 can tomato sauce
lSalt & Pepper
lMeat Tenderizer (optional)
- Add remaining ingredients and reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Serve over noodles, rice or sauteed polenta rounds.
CHEHALIS - Two months of planning, out the window. Or, more precisely, buried under a 34-degree snowstorm as Georgia Pellegrini - author of ESPN Outdoors' "The Kitchen" page - rolls into Spiffy's in Chehalis.
She's here (at my prodding) to tackle Columbia River spring Chinook, which I've sworn to her is the best-tasting fish in the world.
Which it is, of course.
However, Georgia's taste buds are probably a little more sophisticated than mine. She's a classically trained chef with some serious kitchen chops. She's worked in some high-powered restaurants in New York and Provence, France.
And now she's about to fire up my Coleman Road Trip Grill on a riverbank, in the middle of a hurricane.
Slight exagerration. By the time the afternoon's shore-lunch preparations start, the snow has abated to an intermittant, spitting rain, and it's only blowing about 10 miles per hour.
But we're on the wrong river.
Changing plans: Spiffy's is, obviously, nowhere near the Columbia. Mother Nature has taken a peek at my spring-Chinook shore-lunch plans and stomped them into oblivion. Ms. Georgia, meet Eli Rico, the Cowlitz River and winter-run steelhead. Don't mind the snow, wind and near-freezing April temperatures.
CLICK HERE TO READ GEORGIA'S TAKE ON SHORE LUNCH and see how "The Hunter Girl" viewed her experience in the wild and woolly Pacific Northwest.
SEATTLE - Here's a sneak peek at a cured/smoked salmon recipe that you'll find highlighting ESPN Outdoors "The Kitchen" this week, courtesy of Hunter Girl/chef Georgia Pellegrini.
Georgia, who cheffed it up with us Saturday, Feb. 27 in her Northwest Wild Country debut, was kind enough to forward this citrus-infused take on cured salmon, to help get us through early March. As we discussed with her in our NWWC Q&A, this is the time of year when many of us are freezer-diving in search of a creative late-winter/pre-spring-Chinook meal.
"One of my favorite things to do in these months is cure meat and fish," Georgia writes in her blog. "If I can manage to do it before it hits the freezer even better, but you do what you can."
This particular version of cured salmon can be eaten as gravlax right after it's done curing, or it can also be thrown in for a quick cold-smoke with cherry, oak or alder.
LISTEN IN AS GEORGIA PELLEGRINI JOINS THE NWWC CREW in a discussion of the finer points of preparing deer liver, heart
GEORGIA'S CITRUS-CURED SMOKED SALMON
GEORGIA SAYS: "I used citrus in my cure because it adds a little intrigue. You could also use fennel seeds, star anise, dill, coriander seeds, or anything else that floats your boat."
2). Mix the grated zest with the salt and sugar in a non-reactive dish, like Pyrex. The more snugly it all fits in the dish with the salmon, the better.
3), In a hot, dry pan toast the white peppercorns, until they exude their aroma, about 3 minutes. Put them on the counter or a cutting board, and using another heavy bottomed pan crush the toasted peppercorns. You could also use a mortar and pestle. Then add the cracked peppercorns to the salt mixture.
4). Thoroughly mix all of these ingredients then bury the salmon in this sandy mixture.
5), Cover the dish in plastic and store in the refrigerator for 48 hours to cure.
6), After two days, remove the salmon from cure, rinse with water and pat dry. You can slice it thinly and eat it this way, or let it sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours on a rack so the surface becomes tacky, and will absorb the smoke more readily. Then cold smoke it for 20 minutes.
WILD COUNTRY KITCHEN: Ring in 2010 with Tini Bigs' holiday drink o'choice
SEATTLE - We get tuna advice from Tred Barta, bass advice from Jimmy Houston and steelhead advice from Buzz Ramsey. Would we take our holiday libations any less seriously?
Here, from Wild Country FOS (Friend of the Show) Keith Robbins, owner of Tini Bigs and salmon guide extraordinaire, is a grand holiday-flavored cocktail to ring in the new decade: we present to you Tini Bigs' Dirty Girl Scout, one of the many, many ridiculously imaginative cocktails they proudly serve at Tini Bigs, the West Coast's best martini bar.
DIRTY GIRL SCOUT
KEITH SAYS: "This is a great holiday drink, with all the flavors you'd want in a drink for Christmas or New Years. One or two of these are great ... three or four and you'll be feelin' it."
ARLINGTON, Wash. - Finally, I've graduated from the kids table and stepped up to the big-boy world of smoked turkey.
We've done the deep-fried bird for several years here at Wild Country Central, but the October arrival of the new Bradley BTIS1 Smoker brought the Thanksgiving feast to a whole 'nother level. The bird is resting now, and I'll have a complete Crash Test rundown of the Bradley shortly, but here's a quick peek. Happy Turkey Day, everybody.
ROSEBURG, Ore. - Bonus limits of coho on the tributaries of the Columbia River. Almost 5 million humpies into the rivers of the Puget Sound. Can you smell the alder smoke now?
It's the heart of the smoker season in western Washington, and with a solid month silly-good humpy fishing on tap, we figured it'd be a good time for a little "Salmon Smoking 101", courtesy of Tiffany Haugen. Over the next three weeks, we'll feature several of Tiffany's best smoking recipes - from dry brines to super-tasty recipes featuring smoked salmon - and we'll hear from Tiffany LIVE on the show on Aug. 29, Sept. 5 & Sept 12.
TIFFANY SAYS: "Fresh herbal flavor througout, nice glaze. A dark, rich finished product."
- Place a weighted plate on top of the fish to fully submerge all fillets.
- Soak fish in brine 3 to 5 hours; the longer it soaks, the more intense the flavor.
- Place on racks and air dry until pellicle is formed (1 to 3 hours)
- Smoke to desired texture. Cooking time varies from 3 to 10 hours, depending on the smoker, volume of fish and outdoor conditions. Check frequently. Do not overcook!
ARLINGTON, Wash. - So we've been stumbling around with a half-tanked recipe/cooking page here on NWWC.com for a few months, and it suddenly hit me: We give you tuna fishing information from Tred Barta, bass-fishing information from Luke Clausen, and hunting information from Michael Waddell. Why, for the love of God, are we not dealing with a recognized expert in the kitchen, too?
As of today, we are.
It's my pleasure to introduce you to Northwest Wild Country's smokehouse savior, cookbook author/food columnist/recipe developer Tiffany Haugen. Actually, "introduction" probably isn't the right word, since most of you already know Tiffany from her cooking column in Salmon, Trout, Steelheader, and from the handful of must-have fish & game cookbooks she's authored with her husband Scott.
Regardless of wheter you've tried some of her recipes before, or if this is the first time you've heard her name, make sure you bookmark this page, because we have big plans with Tiffany. I guarantee your fish and game will be better on the table if you pay attention to her advice.
WILD COUNTRY KITCHEN: Super Bowl warmups from Tiffany's bag o' tricks
ARLINGTON, Wash. - I can't think of a better time to introduce our new kitchen savior Tiffany Haugen than the night before the biggest snacking weekend of the year.
Let's be honest here: most of our listeners are Seahawks fans (booo, hiss!) whose only rooting interests in Super Bowl XLIII is that the Steelers' team bus breaks down on the way to the game.
In other words, Super Bowl Sunday is all about the food.
We have a pair of recipes from Tiffany's Cooking Salmon & Steelhead and Cooking Big Game that will be great FOR the big game: Tropical Bacon Roll-Ups (at right, and featured in the January STS, by the way) and Meaty Black Bean Chili.
One takes 5 minutes to prepare, the other simmers on the stove (or in a crock pot) through the pre-game show.
TROPICAL BACON ROLL-UPS
TIFFANY SAYS: "When looking for hor d'oeuvres, these bite-sized appetizers are full of flavor and easy to prepare."
Originally seen in Cooking Salmon & Steelhead, from the Water to the Platter/www.tiffanyhaugen.com
MEATY BLACK BEAN CHILI
TIFFANY SAYS: "Chili is one of those dishes in which our ingredients can vary, depending on what's in the pantry. This recipe, however, was tested and followed several times to perfection. When it comes to chili, this is a favorite."
- Add spices, thoroughly combining.
- Add tomatoes and water and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer at least 30 minutes.
- Add black beans and simmer an additional 30 minutes.
- Garnish with sour cream, avocado and cheddar cheese, if desired.
Originally seen in Cooking Big Game/www.tiffanyhaugen.com
WILD COUNTRY KITCHEN: Clams + tomatoes + garlic = fall warmup
ARLINGTON, Wash. - I've always been fond of one-pot meals, especially in the fall. They're simple, satisfying and delicious: the perfect definition of "comfort food".
Thanks to my Italian great uncle, I'm of the opinion that garlic, basil, tomatoes and olive oil are the building blocks of any great meal. Throw in clams, panchetta or bacon, and a little bit of wine?
There are as many variations of clams and long pasta (spaghetti, linguini, etc.) as there are Italian grandmothers in the world. It's a flavor combination (tomatoes, garlic, basil, wine, shellfish) that bridges all regional borders, and, better yet, the dish is super-simple and takes about 15 minutes to prepare.
A little on clams: Go into any grocery store in the Pacific Northwest and you'll see either littleneck or manila clams for $6.99 to $7.99 a pound. These clams are one and the same: the manila is a sub-species of littleneck that you'll find on beaches in Washington and Oregon. The ones sold in the grocery store are typically pretty small, but fall brings some of the best clam digging of the year for many species. Fill a bucket with local hardshells from Penn Cove to Coos Bay and this dish is even better:
LINGUINI PICCOLI WITH TOMATOES AND CLAMS
INGREDIENTS (serves 4 to 6 people)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil
- Place a large roasting pan over two burners (or a large wok over a single burner) and heat over medium-high heat
- Pour olive oil into heated pan and add garlic, shallot and pancetta; saute until pancetta is rendered and garlic/onion are soft
- Add chopped tomatoes, peppers and basil to pan and mix briefly with garlic, onion and pancetta
- Add wine, chicken stock and clam juice
- Add clams to pan/wok and stir gently to settle clams into tomato mixture. If you're using a roasting pan, place it into the preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes, until clams open. If you're using a wok, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until clams open
- While clams/tomatoes are cooking, cook pasta in boiling water; drain.
- Remove clams from heat. If you're serving family style, empty pasta into a large serving bowl and spoon entire clam mixture over the top. If you're serving single portions, place pasta in individual pasta bowls and spoon a generous amount of clam mixture and broth over the top.
- Serve with roasted-garlic bread
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