Wild Cookery

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Ranch_Finished

This is a recipe I created today using some of the leftover fresh mayonnaise I created the other day. I knew I wasn’t going to use that much mayonnaise, so I had to come up with an alternate use for it.

Then it struck me: Ranch dressing. Yum

Recipe:

Janos’ Homemade Ranch Dressing

Ingredients:

1 cup fresh Mayonnaise

4 tablespoons crème fraîche

Juice from ¼ a fresh lemon

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Chopped fresh parsley, dill, and chives, equal amounts, about 2 Tablespoons combined total.

Equipment:

1 small bowl

Tablespoon for mixing

Instructions:

Combine the Mayonnaise and crème fraîche in a bowl, and mix thoroughly.

Add the herbs, mix.

Ranch_Mixing

Add the garlic powder, mix.

Lastly, add the fresh lemon juice. Mix. Taste.

Add more garlic powder or lemon juice to taste if you so desire.

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Categories: Cooking, Modern Cooking, Uncategorized, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Wild Cookery 4.0: The Rebranding

 

The name remains the same, but the purpose and content shall be very different from here on out.

Wild Cookery shall refocus more on cooking in all it’s forms, and not just using foraged cooking ingredients.

A large reason for this, is since moving to my present location, it’s extremely difficult to locate even basic forageables to use, and thus my main daily cooking has shifted away from that into more ‘conventional’ cooking.

The good news is, you’ll be in for some of the best cooking techniques and recipes of your life, as you join me in my journey of Epicurean delights.

We’ll be working with a few basics to start with, and moving onto a few more complex things later on, as well as using tools of refinement.

However, in my opinion, even the basics have been vastly overlooked by the majority of people.

For example, I’d been taught to make hard boiled eggs a certain way by my parents and had been overcooking them for 35 years, and thus did not care for them. The ones I made yesterday and today would blow your socks off.

Hardboiled_Perfect.jpg

Sometime in the future, I’ll likely do a few more Wild Cookery videos and share some fun recipes.

You should still strive to get the best food that you can. Sometimes this means Organic. Sometimes this means NOT Organic. It all depends on if you know the source of the food. Some people produce perfectly organic food and have for generations but simply haven’t gone through the rigmarole of being ‘certified’

Know your source, and you can make wise and informed decisions about the food you prepare for yourself and your family.

More to come soon!

As always, I can be reached at Wildcookery@yahoo.com

Categories: Modern Cooking, Organic, Uncategorized, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Brined Pork Roast and Mashed Potatoes

I’m currently taking Thomas Keller’s MasterClass on cooking techniques.

Even though it’s not technically ‘wild’ cookery, I figured I’d share some of the excellent tips, tricks, and dishes that I’ve made, and will be making here.

The first one is not in the MasterClass and is something I whipped up myself after scouring the net on a ‘how to’ properly brine a pork roast. After sifting through a bunch of garbage, I found a simple way that works, which I’ll be sharing with you below.

Tonight’s supper:

Brined_Porkroast_Potatoes.jpg

Brined Pork Roast and Mashed Potatoes. Reviews: “Succulent.” “Delicious!” “The best pork I’ve ever had!” And my favorite from my daughter: “Even better than the eggplant and garlic confit!” High praise, as that was her favorite dish ever before this. 😀

Everyone has their own way of doing this, this is what works for me. Feel free to adjust any recipe to your own preferences, as they are general guidelines only.

Everyone can figure out the mashed potatoes part with a simple internet search, so I’m just going to roll with the brined pork.

You will need:

(Brine stage)

A pork roast

1 gallon of cold water

1 dry measure cup of kosher salt

A big fricking mixing bowl and lid/plate to cover it. OR Aluminum foil.

A wooden spoon

Instructions:

This is going to brine for ten (10!) hours. Plan accordingly.

Pour the gallon of cold water into the mixing bowl, then dump the cup of kosher salt into it.

Stir until it’s 100% dissolved. If you have a kid who likes to help you cook, they’re great for this whilst you do other prep. Just have them stir SLOWLY.

Take something slim and pokey (a meat thermometer works great for this) and perforate the hell out of your pork roast on all sides, penetrating at least halfway though the meat. If you don’t have at least 50 holes on each main side of the roast, you aren’t trying hard enough.

Cover the top with lid/plate/aluminum foil.

Wait 10 hours. If you eat supper at 5 PM, yer gonna want to brine this about 6 AM.

You’ll need that extra hour for other prep.

(Cooking stage)

A 10” skillet or frying pan

Canola oil

Kosher salt

Cracked black pepper.

A roasting pan and roasting rack (A cookie sheet and cooling rack inside the cookie sheet work great for this!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/177 degrees Celsius.

Coat the bottom of your frying pan in a thin layer of canola oil, and set to medium high.

Heat until the oil reaches the smoke point.

Put some paper towels down on a cutting board.

Pull the roast out of the brine, rise thoroughly in cold water, then place on the paper towels, and pat dry with other paper towels. Move the roast to a plate to stage it, and replace the now soaked paper towels on the cutting board with new ones, and replace the roast on the cutting board on the new paper towels.

Let the roast set for 1 hour to come to room temperature. This is VERY important for even cooking and no weird under cooked spots in your roast.

(1 hour passes…)

Remove the paper towels from the roast, pat dry again with a new paper towel.

BPP_Set.jpg

Place the roast directly on the cutting board and season lightly with a dusting of kosher salt and cracked black pepper.

By now your oil should be hot and almost smoking.

Carefully put the roast into the pan and sear it. This will only take a few minutes. Flip it over and sear the other side.

(Searing the meat will lock in some of the moisture when you roast it, as well as make a lovely outer finish on the roast.)

When it’s seared, move the roast from the frying pan/skillet into the roasting pan and then into the oven it goes.

Depending on the size of the roast, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time.

The FDA changed their pork safety guidelines quite a few years ago from 160 to 145. I typically cook it to 150, though that may be more than necessary. It’s lovely at 135 too.

We’ve all been eating overcooked tough pork all our lives, and it’s such a wonderful meat when properly prepared.

I made two roasts and one was significantly smaller than the other. The smaller was done at 35 minutes, the larger at about 50 minutes, with an internal temp of 150. Be sure to stick the thermometer into the largest portion of the meat.

BPP_Done.jpg

It’s pink, and it’s supposed to be! It’s also tender, juicy, and delicious. As long as your meat thermometer read 145 degrees, you are 100% safe. Enjoy pork as it was meant to be enjoyed… juicy and delicious.

Plate and enjoy!

Or, if you’re like my daughter, have fun with your pork and potatoes!

BPP_Skull.jpg

More to come soon!

As always, I can be reached at Wildcookery@yahoo.com

Categories: How To, Modern Cooking, Recipes, Uncategorized, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Just Peachy

We had a lovely 4th of July. We went over to the inlaws for the day, and Dad bought some fireworks. The kiddos were very excited and insisted on picking out which one was to be shot off next.

An old family friend of theirs, a lady from Gambia stopped over for the celebration and to watch the fireworks.

She has fruit trees at her house and brought us something I hadn’t had in over 20 years… fresh, off the tree PEACHES!

Peach

The kind lady also extended the invitation that I could go over and pick some more off of the tree, if I so desired. If I can find a way to store them in my extremely limited storage space, I may take her up on the offer, as they are quite delicious.

Huzzah for peaches!

Categories: Uncategorized, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another year, another beer.

That would be nice, actually. Mmm… beer…

Not very good for you, but damn if good beer isn’t an awesome thing.

Well, again, a very long time has lapsed since my last post on this blog.

I’d pretty much given it up for dead, with the lack of actual foraging that I’ve been doing, or rather, not doing, over the past year or so.

Due to unforeseen circumstances I’m no longer in my little green garden of foraging goodness, and local foraging areas are incredibly inaccessible to me at the moment.

Seeing has how it’s been so long since I’ve posted or had an actual following of fellow foragers, I don’t expect anyone to really read and/or comment upon this, but it’s more as a cathartic for myself to type my thoughts down and be able to reread them at a later time for reflection and to track my own progress.

Categories: Primal/Paleo, Uncategorized, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Fall Foraging and Quincely Woes

Well it’s creeping into fall once again. That lovely time of year following summer, where all kinds of harvest fruits are usually available for preservation and nomming.

To that end, there is a bumper crop on my quince tree this year. This would usually be cause for celebration here, as we pick, clean, slice, and freeze the fruit for use over the winter.

The problem is that the weather has been very odd all year. Whilst this has resulted in beautiful fruit up until now, it’s now hot when it should be cold.

It’s 83 degrees and very wet today, and will also be thus tomorrow. In October. In Pennsylvania.

Why is this a problem?

Because quince is a fall weather harvest fruit. The week plus of 80 degrees and extremely wet has meant that the ground is too soft to safely plant a ladder to harvest the fruit, and said fruit is rotting on the tree from the heat instead of being all nice and preserved as it should be by cooler temps. The first week of October is usually the first time I pick any fruit from this tree. I’ve had tons of fruit drop on their own over the last two weeks. And it’s ripening unevenly. One side will be shock green and the other side will be literally rotten. Not cool. Literally.

The next semi dry day here is forecast to be four days from now. At that time I’ll be harvesting all I can. They have to be hand picked. If they fall the impact bruises them very easily and ruins wherever it impacts.

The warm weather has also put the kabosh on fall mushrooms thus far. I’ve only found a half dozen mushrooms the past month. The only things that have been coming up have been either unknown or toxic varietals. No boletus. Well, there was ONE stray slippery pine boletus, but it was so bug eaten by the time I found it that I didn’t bother. Slippery pine boletus usually require shade of some kind to come up in any kind of proliferation, and it’s typically in the form of leaves that fall from other trees. When the leaves from the neighboring maple falls on the area of the roots of the scotch pine, is when these things will be popping up en masse. But the leaves haven’t fallen yet. The warmer temps mean that all the trees in my yard (save the barren walnut tree that got the clue early as usual…), haven’t dropped very many leaves at all yet. Two of my maples are still 100% green! The one closest to the house, the oldest one, has gotten the hint and the leaves are starting to slowly turn yellow.

So what’s it like in your neck of the woods, and has the weather been good or horrible for your local foraging preferences?

Categories: Foraging, Green, Mushrooms, Nature, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Tabula Rasa – A Clean Slate

A significant change is coming soon to Wild Cookery!

Yes, we’ll continue to be about foraging and cooking up all things delicious and wild.

But we’ll be adding to our ‘menu’ so to speak.

In the past, there have been various other topics covered here, but I still strove to keep it focused primarily on foraging topics and the cooking of wild foods. Times have changed.

We’re going to be going a bit more ‘broad spectrum’ instead of ‘highly focused’.

There is a very important reason for this…Everything is interconnected. The audience for a 100% foraging focus is very slim indeed. In fact most people who prepare for other things unfortunately have learning foraging on the bottom of their list. I mean to change that through cross-exposure by discussing other topics that are important to people.

I’ve heard it many times that I should keep Wild Cookery! strictly about foraging, to the exclusion of most other topics. I disagree.

Here’s why…

Foraging is very interconnected to many other things. Or rather, a ‘lack’ of foraging is. Because most of us no longer forage for our food, we are very disconnected from nature. Nature is something which, to us, exists in isolation of, and removal from, the human condition. By encouraging discussion of other somewhat related topics, we will segue into discussion of foraging with people that would otherwise have not sought out information on foraging. We will reach a much higher number of people than we ever would just by continuing to endlessly ‘preach to the choir’.

The more good people who know the basic skills of foraging, the better off the whole of humanity is. And no worries, we all know that the number of foragers will never exceed a fractional percentage of the population. So fears that people will ‘over forage’ the world en masse if ‘everyone’ knows this knowledge are statistically unrealistic to the extreme.

So, fear not. You aren’t going to be training your competition if you teach a few more good folks how to forage.

There are many valid topics in these tumultuous times that deserve in depth discussion. If all I do is talk about foraging, then the many and varied topics of our time that need to be talked about get completely missed. I think this is a disservice.

I also think that most of the foragers I know personally will applaud this move, as the vast majority of them are very intelligent and dynamic people. They have wide and varied interests. In other words, they aren’t just interested in foraging. They’re interested in what’s going on in their world and how to make a positive difference. They also don’t oft get a chance to discuss these topics as they are afraid to talk about them in other places for fear of being ‘off topic’, or considered ‘fringe’.

I would like this blog, and the corresponding Wild Cookery! Forums to eventually become such a springboard for open and honest discussions.

All legal and lawful topics should be up for discussion in a healthy society. A mutual interest in foraging should be the start of an intelligent conversation, not the end all be all of a conversation.

Categories: Economy, Education, Food Health, Foraging, Green, Health, Preparedness, Social Unrest, Survival, Wild, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tasty Treats Wandering Into My Woodland Realm

Today I figured I’d share a collection of just a few things that have decided to make my yard and surrounding area ‘home’.

First up we have a ‘hare’ raising photo. There are a bunch of these around. I’ve identified at least four separate individuals. The largest of which will likely be in the stew pot come fall.

(Note: All pictures can be clicked on for a full sized version!)

Rabbit

Second, we have a rather snarky looking groundhog that loves to meander about and eat the tops off of my orange hawkweed. Considering those are my wife’s favorite flower, she has a special vendetta out for this creature and has made it known to me in no uncertain terms that the beast shall not survive the winter, even if she has to get out her bow and do it in herself. 😉

Groundhog

Next up we have a slither. Why did the slither cross the road? To end up battered and fried!

Eastern Rat SnakeEastern Rat Snake 2Snake and Wild Garlic

Also, being a bit of a wildlife haven, my yard tends to attract some of these fine folks:

Deer

They are always welcome on my property. Get fat, eat well, and come winter time they are a resource if I need them, right outside my back door.

Also not too far away, I found some of these the other day:

Geese 2

I love geese. Both on the table and as an animal in general. They’ve got personality. My favorite goose I ever had was named ‘squeaky’. He was awesome. I raised him from a tiny gosling swimming around in my bathtub to a full sized gander. He never once hissed at me and was very protective. He was also the only goose I couldn’t bear to eat. Had it been life or death survival, I’d have eaten him of course, but as it stands this was about ten years ago and availability of other food sources wasn’t an issue. This picture is of course just for illustrative purposes, as you can’t take deer, geese, and the like without all the proper permits, paperwork, and all that modern nonsense. Thus the geese were not on the menu, sadly. One would almost think that it was deliberately engineered to make it nearly impossible for you to find and dine on your own free wild food…

These however, were on the menu, and were taken from the same waters. (Yes, legally, proper licenses and all.) And they fried up lovely. First is a Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus), and below is a Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatum). Most people are confused as to what a Black Crappie is. A Black Crappie will have black SPOTS . A White Crappie (Pomoxis annularis) has stripes, or ‘bars’.

BluegillBlack CrappiePanfried Bluegill
I also have a full on herd of squirrels in my yard. They wouldn’t sit still long enough this morning to get a proper picture though. The idiot neighbor’s idiot dog likes to chase them to hell and back so they’re very skittish and they bolt at the slightest sound. (Such as the sound of a window opening to get a clearer picture…)

UPDATE: I finally got one to sit still for half a millisecond!

Squirrel

So, what’s in YOUR neck of the woods? 😀

Categories: Animals, Fishing, Food Health, Foraging, Green, Hunting, Nature, Nature Photos, Organic Meat, Uncategorized, Wild, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Forage! Episode III: Proper Identification

Ever wonder what happens to all those cavalier folks who think that nature is just another harmless and safe grocery store?

Forage 3 Proper Identification

Categories: Comedy, Education, Food Health, Forage!, Foraging, Funny Stuff, Green, Nature, Wild, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Forage! Special Edition: Green Bean’s Garden

This Special Edition of the Forage! comic strip is in honor of someone who’s given back tremendously to the foraging community through his tireless work, incredible foraging videos, and hands on effort.

Through his passion for many of our favorite hobby, he has taught and touched many people’s lives. Some through his foraging classes, which he still offers, and some through his incredible videos.

To that end let the roasting… err… the honorary cameo in Foraging! begin! 🙂

Green Bean
And in case you’re quite new to foraging and don’t know who we’re talking about here, he can be found at www.eattheweeds.com

Categories: Comedy, Education, Food Health, Forage!, Foraging, Funny Stuff, Wild, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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