Archive for the 'Food' Category

Buy a License, Feed the Hungry & Help a Veteran

Monday, August 7th, 2017
You can help support Hunters for the Hungry and Fund for Veterans at the time you buy a hunting or fishing license.

You can help support Hunters for the Hungry and Fund for Veterans at the time you buy a hunting or fishing license.

This is Passport to Texas

When licenses go on sale August 15, Texas hunters and anglers may donate to one of two worthy non-profits.

You can make the voluntary contribution of either one dollar, five dollars, ten dollars or twenty dollars to either the Fund for Veterans Assistance, or to help feed Texas families with a donation to Hunters for the Hungry.

Justin Halvorsen is revenue director at Texas Parks and Wildlife, and says donating is voluntary and easy.

It’s through any one of our sales channels. Either online, over the phone, at a retail agent, or any one of our parks and wildlife locations.

The agency keeps close tabs the donations.

And then, at the end of every month, it’ll go into a separate pot, and we’ll send it along to those respective entities [nonprofits].

The program debuted last season and Texans were generous; Texas Parks and Wildlife distributed, $193-thousand to the Fund for Veteran’s, and $106-thousand to Hunters for the Hungry. You may ask: is my donation tax deductible?

That is a great question. And there will be a receipt that gets printed as part of this that specifically says that this is a donation to the Veteran’s Fund or Hunters for the Hungry. And then, really, it’s up to the individual and their tax preparer to make that ultimate decision.

Request an itemized receipt from retailers, and find more information on the TPW website.

That’s our show… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Alligator Ancho Relleno Recipe

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017
Chef Jeff Martinez preparing Alligator Ancho Relleno.

Chef Jeff Martinez preparing Alligator Ancho Relleno.

This is Passport to Texas

If you’ve never eaten alligator, its flesh is firm like pork, with a mild flavor of chicken and fish. Chef Jeff Martinez.

Most of the time when you get alligator meat, it’s going to be the jaw or the tail.

Using ground alligator tail meat, Chef Jeff prepares a recipe for ancho alligator chile relleno.

I’ve got a hot pan here. We’re going to add some extra virgin olive oil to the bottom. We’re going to add our white onion that’s been diced up. We’re going to let this sauté.

Next Chef adds diced garlic, tomatoes and ground gator.

Alligator is a very lean meat, so the cooking time is minimal. So, we’re going to add a little more flavor to this dish by throwing in some sliced green olives. And then we’re going to add some of these raisins. And we’re going to finish it off with slivered almonds that have been toasted, and fresh chopped parsley. And once you put that parsley in, you don’t want to leave it on the stove cooking for too long, because you still want that brightness, that freshness from the parsley.

He salts to taste and then stuffs the mixture into ancho chiles that he rehydrated in hot water and brown sugar.

I’m going to make sure it’s nice and full, but you want to leave enough room so you can take the ancho chile and wrap it back around the meat. And I’m going to set that into an oven proof baking dish.

That goes into a 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. When done, he garnishes them with crema and parsley.

Find the recipe and instructions at passporttotexas.org.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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Alligator Ancho Relleno Recipe

Preparing the Chiles:

8-10 large ancho chiles
10 qts boiling water
3 cups piloncillo or brown sugar
Add piloncillo to boiling water. Let dissolve, stirring occasionally. Slit the anchos down the side, lengthwise. Remove seeds from inside. Place anchos in container that’ll hold anchos and piloncillo water. Pour hot piloncillo water over anchos and let sit for 2 hours or until anchos are rehydrated. They’ll become softer to the touch and brighter red in color.

Once 2 hours have passed. Drain anchos from piloncillo water and allow them to cool.

Making the Stuffing:

2 lbs ground alligator tail meat
2 medium onions, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch parsley, chopped
1/2 cup green olives, chopped
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/4 cup raisins
Salt and pepper to taste
Sautée onions and garlic for about 3 minutes. Throw in tomatoes. Let cook for about 5 minutes. Add ground alligator tail meat and let cook for 5 minutes. Mix in olives, almonds, raisins and parsley. Remove from pan and let cool.

Assembling the Rellenos:

Divide stuffing into 8 equal portions and stuff them into the anchos, being careful not to rip the skin. Once stuffed, place all rellenos on a baking dish and place in preheated oven set to 400 degrees. Leave in oven for 15-20 minutes or until hot all the way through.

Remove all anchos from oven and place on a serving plate. Garnish with Honduran crema or regular sour cream and chopped cilantro. Serve with white rice and beans.

Some New Twists on Cooking Fish and Game

Monday, May 1st, 2017
Learning to cook wild game and fish at Central Market Cooking Schools

Learning to cook wild game and fish at Central Market Cooking Schools

This is Passport to Texas

When Texas Parks and Wildlife collaborates with Central Market Cooking Schools on Wild Game and Fish cooking classes, we like to keep it interesting.

Take the May 9th class, for example: attendees will make Crawfish Beignets; Salt-baked Striped Bass with Olive Oil, Herbs, Lemon & Garlic Salsa; and Prosciutto-wrapped, Maple-glazed, Roasted Turkey Breast.

The meats used in the recipes are farm raised. Yet, each has a wild equivalent available for harvest with the right licenses and gear. May 14 is the last day of spring turkey hunting in the north zone for Rio Grande turkey—and for eastern wild turkey, too.

Crawfish and striped bass live in freshwater throughout Texas. Find crawfish around ponds, lakes, rivers and streambeds; tricky to catch, but lots of fun. Also check out the Texas Parks and Wildlife website for best striper lakes in the state.

A few seats remain for the May 9th Texas Parks and Wildlife & Central Market cooking classes in Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Dallas, Plano and Southlake [Note: we just received notice the Southlake class has been cancelled.]

Let me know where you live and the kinds of game and fish dishes that interest you. Find a link for cooking class registration and my contact details on the Passport website.

That’s our show…Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

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Find a Central Market Cooking Class Near You when you visit their website.

Contact me and let me know what kinds of wild game and fish cooking classes you would  like to attend: cecilia.nasti@tpwd.texas.gov.

Suggestions for Preparing Your Spring Turkey

Friday, February 24th, 2017
Roasted Wild Turkey Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Roasted Wild Turkey Recipe photo by Taste of Home

This is Passport to Texas

If you harvest a wild turkey, you can find techniques for preparing it from online experts who are hunters and chefs. A wild turkey has a rich flavor—some say gamey—and is quite lean, which makes it a little tricky to prepare.

Steve Rinella, the outdoorsman known as The Meat Eater, recommends brining wild harvested turkeys to keep them juicy.

Fill a large pot—one big enough to hold the turkey and brine—with a gallon of water. Next add 1 cup of Kosher Salt, 1/2 cup of sugar, the juice of three lemons, and a sliced onion. Heat the mixture to dissolve the salt and sugar. Let cool, and then submerge the bird in the brine and allow it to soak for 24 to 48 hours in the fridge.

Remove it from the brine, blot the moisture from the bird with paper towels, and then place it in a shallow baking dish on top of a rack, or on a bed of root vegetables. Rub the turkey with oil, and sprinkle it inside and out with your favorite seasonings.

Place it into an oven, preheated to 375 degrees. Roast the bird until an instant read thermometer registers an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Let the turkey rest at least 10 minutes before carving.

Steve Rinella says a hunting license should say “all hunters must brine their turkeys before cooking them—no matter the cooking method.” I say that’s a good idea.

That’s our show for today… Funding provided in part by Ram Trucks. Guts. Glory. Ram

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Cooking up Cottontail Carnitas

Thursday, February 16th, 2017
Cottontail carnitas a la Evin Cooper

Cottontail carnitas a la Evin Cooper

This is Passport to Texas

I think the late chef and cookbook author, Julia Child coined the expression: Easter Bunny Syndrome. It’s when we decide which animals not to eat based on their perceived cuteness. Rabbits fall into that category.

As Central Texas writer, cook and mom, Evin Cooper tells us, rabbits are as delicious as they are cute, and even better than pork in carnitas. She says her first attempt using cottontails was a success, and began with two rabbits in a slow cooker.

And, I stewed them all day with some beer and some homemade salsa, and let them cook and cook and cook. And then, let them cool—and then I deboned the meat. Then, I let the meat sit in the fridge overnight, and the next day I seasoned it up a little bit more with chili powder and cumin and all those wonderful Mexican spices. And I fried them in some hot oil—just the shredded meat—almost like hash browns. It got really crispy on the bottom, and I flipped it over and got it crispy on the other side—almost to the point of burnt. Then, I put it in warm corn tortillas with avocado slices and lime juice. It was so good. I mean, I’ve given up pork for my carnitas. And I want to use almost entirely cottontail now. It’s just delicious.

Find Evin Cooper’s Cottontail Carnitas recipe at passporttotexas.org.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.
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Rabbit Carnitas
Evin Cooper says to make this flavorful dish is a two-day process, and well worth the effort.

Day One
• 2-3* good size jackrabbits/cottontails, skinned and cleaned
• 1 cup salsa
• 1 beer
Day Two
• Corn or canola oil
• taco seasoning**
• prepared rabbit meat
• corn tortillas
• cilantro
• diced onion
• avocado
• lime

For the meat:
The day before you want to serve the tacos, wash the rabbits and pat dry. In a crockpot or a large stock pot, add the rabbits, salsa and beer. Use both your favorite salsa and beer. (Stick with a lighter beer. Dark beers will overpower the flavor of the meat.) Cook the rabbits until they are fall-off-the-bone tender (3-4 hours on the stove, 4-6 hours in a crockpot) and allow to cool a bit. When you can handle the rabbits, pull the meat off the bone and discard the bones. Add the juices from the pot to the shredded meat and refrigerate overnight.
To prepare the tacos:
Heat about ½ inch of oil in a shallow, wide skillet. Toss the cold meat with the taco seasoning and the reserved juices until well combined – use your hands for even distribution. When the oil shimmers, grab a handful of the shredded rabbit and squeeze out most of the juice and put it into the hot oil. Repeat the squeezing process until there is an even layer of meat in the pan, and press down with a spatula once, then leave it alone. Let the bottom get crispy, then toss the meat and press the non-crispy side into the pan to crisp. When crispy, remove from the pan and drain, and repeat with the rest of the meat until all the rabbit has had a turn in the hot oil.
Meanwhile warm corn tortillas on a comal (or in a heavy skillet), dice red onions, chop cilantro, slice limes and cube some avocado, crumble some cotija cheese (optional)
Top a warm corn tortilla with about ¼ cup of the crispy meat, and the toppings of your choice.

*I got about 8 tacos per rabbit, but it really depends on the size of your kill and how stuffed you like your tacos!
**Please don’t use a packet from the grocery store! If you don’t already have a taco mix recipe that you love, find one! Or, you can just season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, Mexican oregano and chile.