For the most part, this weekly offering of recipes will feature one fish and one game dish. Occasionally though, as the case is today, I plan to throw in a recipe featuring some of the abundant wild bounty the hunter and fisherman encounters when afield or astream.
A wild fruit that is both widespread and delicious is the persimmon. Astringent as alum when not fully ripened, something magical happens when it softens and becomes sugary in the cooling temperatures of autumn. Sometimes called “nature’s candy,” persimmons can be used in a variety of cakes, breads, puddings, and even beer.
2 cups persimmon pulp
2 cups packed brown sugar
¼ cup butter, melted
1 ½ cups self-rising flour
½ cup light cream or whole milk
2 eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup raisins or nuts (optional)
Combine all ingredients and beat just until well blended. Pour into a greased 9 x 13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown and just beginning to pull away from the pan’s side.
Remove from oven and cool slightly. Cover and seal tightly with foil or plastic wrap. Cut into squares when cool and serve with whipped topping or cream.
TIPS: (1) If you like the flavor of bourbon, add a tablespoon to the mix at the outset; (2) You can substitute Oriental persimmons if you wish. They are much larger and require none of the effort involved with wild persimmons to remove the pulp from the seeds. They may not be quite as flavorful, but if not they come close.
VENISON MEAT LOAF
My standard approach with a deer is to save the backstraps and tenderloins whole, have the hindquarters cubed, and turn the remaining meat into burger. I normally add 10 percent beef suet to the ground venison. The options for ground venison are almost limitless, and it’s mighty fine in a meat loaf.
The “secret” ingredient is the applesauce. It gives added flavor and moisture.
1 ½ to 2 pounds ground venison
1 package dry onion soup mix
1 cup oats (regular—not instant)
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ cup applesauce
½ cup ketchup, divided
Black pepper, to taste
Thoroughly mix all ingredients (reserving half the ketchup). Place in a loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top with the remaining ketchup. Return to oven for an additional 10 to 15 minutes cooking (until top is browned and meat loaf is done).
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