Archive for the 'Food' Category

Food Week: Wild Game Ups His Chef Game

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017
Jack Gilmore says working with wild game helps him to "up" his chef game.

Jack Gilmore says working with wild game helps him to “up” his chef game.

This is Passport to Texas

Hunters call them feral pigs. Chefs call them wild boars. Names don’t matter as long as the end result is delicious.

We use wild boar for a lot of chilis and things like that.

Feral pigs cause millions of dollars in damage to cropland in Texas, and tear up wildlife habitat, too.

Chef and restaurateur, Jack Gilmore serves game dishes at his namesake restaurants Jack Allen’s Kitchen in Austin and Round Rock, and says cooking wild boar offers challenges and rewards.

You really can’t write a recipe for it, because each time it’s different because it’s wild. It might be a little gamier, or a little fatty – or it may not have enough fat in it. You really have to be a chef again and say: ‘Well, if it doesn’t have enough fat in it, we could add bacon to it. If it has too much fat in it, we have to render it.’ You never know what a wild boar eats. You just don’t know. But, if they’re raised in the Hill Country, you know they’re eating persimmons; you know they’re eating acorns; you know they’re eating pretty good. But, sometimes you just have to realize what you’ve got and make it taste good.

Braising feral hog meat in the oven on low heat over a long period of time creates a tender and tasty result.

Find wild game recipes on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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

Food Week: Christopher Kimball on Wild Game

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017
Christopher Kimball, host Milk Street on PBS

Christopher Kimball, host Milk Street on PBS. Photo Milk Street

This is Passport to Texas

Christopher Kimball, former host of America’s Test Kitchen (current host of Milk Street) on PBS TV, is a hunter. Yet, when he included an image of rabbits he shot on his TV show, it didn’t go over well.

Years ago, I had a photograph of me holding up two or three rabbits that I had shot – because I do a lot of rabbit hunting in the winter. America Public Television distributes our show, and I think they sent out a warning indicating the stations may want to gray out that particular photograph. So, most people are not prepared for that, probably.

If you are prepared, and ready to become a hunters, find information to get youstarted on the TPW website.

You see more women hunting now than you did. And, I think in certain parts of the country there’s more of it.

Kimball says when cooking game, you must know the optimal methods for each wild protein.

The tough, dark meat you braise slowly – like the back legs of the rabbit. But, the very lean tenderloin – or backstrap – that gets cooked in about five minutes. Some of that meat you can barely cook – like the tenderloin of a deer. You don’t want to cook it much over medium rare. But, if you have other cuts of meat that are tougher and really need a long, slow cooking – you really have to think about the cuts that way. Because, game meat isn’t fatty. And actually, that’s why they larded. And I’ve done it – larded venison, because it needed the fat. It’s not like a 300 pound pig that’s got a lot of fat in it.

Find game recipes on the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

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

Food Week: 1850s Texas Fall Feast

Monday, November 20th, 2017
Shelling peas for a meal at Barrington Living History Farm at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park and Historic Site.

Shelling peas for a meal at Barrington Living History Farm at Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park and Historic Site.

This is Passport to Texas Food Week

In 1850s Texas, when Anson Jones – the last President of the Republic – retired to his plantation in Barrington [at Washington-on-the-Brazos], Thanksgiving was not the nationally recognized holiday it is today.

But people certainly still had feast days, and they certainly celebrated fall.

Barb King, lead domestic interpreter at Barrington Living History Farm, says they celebrate fall on the farm with a feast, too. Everything’s cooked on a hearth, including dark meat heritage turkeys raised and butchered on site and fresh produce from their garden.

Right now we’re getting a lot of sweet potatoes in. We have some cucuzza gourds, which are an 1850s Italian delicacy that we’re growing in the garden for the first time this year. We have pumpkins, so we’ll probably do pumpkin pie. People in 1850 liked that as well. People ate much less sugar than we do today because you’d have to hunt a bee tree or go buy expensive sugar. So, we might do a spice cake or gingerbread is very popular, as is cider. Here, we might make pear cider. And, anytime Anson goes up north, he writes about bringing back barrels of apples.

The third Saturday of each month… Washington-on-the-Brazos presents Living History Saturday…which often includes a cooking demo.

Find more information in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

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.

Foraging for Food in the Wild

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017
Merriwether, from his Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ForagingTexas/

Mark “Merriwether” Vorderbruggen. Image is from his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ForagingTexas/

This is Passport to Texas

By day, Mark Vorderbruggen is a chemist who works in research and development in Houston. By night he is Merriwether – plant forager extraordinaire.

Foraging is how we used to get food before HEB or Krogers or agriculture.

Foraging involves finding and harvesting food from the wild plants around you. Merriwether teaches people how to identify edible plants via his website Foraging Texas, and during workshops.

The running joke for years [was] that my classes were 50% hippies and 50% survivalists. In both cases, they were people that had some concerns about their food sources. It spread out from that into people who are just looking for new experiences, new flavors – looking for new ways to impress their friends.

Before you head outdoors to forage your next snack…

First thing you have to keep in mind is in the state of Texas, it is illegal to take plant material from a piece of property without the property owner’s permission. I will tell you right now: state parks, city parks – you will never get permission there. They don’t want people ripping up the plants.

Yet, state parks, Like Washington-on-the-Brazos, invite Merriwether to facilitate edible plant identification walks.

He has two coming up November 4th, find details in the calendar section of the Texas Parks and Wildlife website or on tomorrow’s show.

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

Wild Game for the Holidays

Friday, October 6th, 2017
Wild Boar Chops

Wild Boar Chops


This is Passport to Texas

This time of year hunting seasons begin to overlap: quail….duck…deer…you get the picture.

As a result, hunters—and those of us who benefit from knowing hunters—end up with freezers full of game meat. There are worse problems to have.

With the holidays on the horizon, wouldn’t a dish featuring game be a nice addition to your feast? Heck, even the Great British Baking Show had their contestants bake festive game pies.

If you’re stumped when it comes to preparing wild proteins for the holiday table…perhaps a little hands-on cooking class can set you on the right course.

Texas Parks and Wildlife collaborates with Central Market Cooking Schools statewide to offer hands on wild game and fish cooking classes to the public. November’s class is all about dressing up game for the holidays.

Class participants will prepare: Grilled Quail with Red Chile Honey Glaze…Whiskey Spiced Duck with Swiss chard & celery root…and Venison Filet with Blueberry Pan Jus on Cheese Grits.

Tell me that doesn’t sound like a party waiting to happen. The next class is November 14, and takes place in Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Southlake, and Plano. All locations are currently accepting registrations.

Find more information at passporttotexas.org. 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.

___________________________________

Find A Central Market Wild Game Class Near You