Mark the Jaffa Show for February calendar

Commentary

January seems to be flying by and are we not so thankful as one of the biggest events in our outdoor lives are the after Christmas hunts, which have been impacted by the brutal weather?

Only the hardiest among us have ventured out in pursuit of rabbits or deer in this deep freeze. But it will break and one of the things we look forward to most is the local Jaffa Show and it is beginning to shape up nicely.

The dates are Feb. 22-24 and let us hope the weather cooperates. There will be many special attractions and seminar speakers and outdoor celebrities to meet and a great time of learning, purchasing things like new clothes, turkey calls, boots, and fishing gear of all types.

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From the day most of us got the recipe from The National Wild Turkey Federation, we’ve converted to this simple way of preparing wild turkey: deep-frying it.

Yes, there are other ways besides roasting to cook turkey. It begins by skinning the bird instead of plucking. Then filet the breast meat off the bone. You’ll have two sizable chunks of breast meat, which can be prepared separately if desired.

I slice the breast filet into half-inch slices. Soak them in a mixture of milk and egg, which helps to tenderize it, for an hour before cooking. Remove it from the egg mixture; roll in breadcrumbs and drop into hot oil in a skillet. Cook for one minute and 30 seconds on each side. Do not overcook. When breadcrumbs are golden brown, it’s ready. Remove it from heat with tongs, place it on a paper towel or a brown bag to drain and serve immediately. Most of us who have fixed turkey breast this way never again cook it any other way.

A friend who bagged an elk last fall in Colorado generously gave me a nice piece of it. I cooked it in my crock pot — a fool-proof way of insuring tender meat — just as you would any domestic meat.

Start with a base of water and brown gravy mix. Halfway through the cooking process, add your favorite vegetables: potatoes, celery, onion, carrots, etc. I added noodles to this elk stew, then added a little garlic powder, thyme, salt and pepper. It was a wonderful meal for a cold, raw day with a lot left over for the next few days.

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If you have trout caught during the extended fall season, it can be a simple and luxurious meal by simply slitting them open, and stuffing them with your favorite stuffing mix. I even use Stove Top stuffing mix.

One box will make enough stuffing for several trout, depending on the size. I actually prefer the pork-flavored mix for trout.

After stuffing the fish, skew each one on with toothpicks to keep it closed, or wrap a slice of bacon around and secure them. Put in a 300 degree oven for about a half hour, depending on how many fish you have in one dish. The more in the baking dish, the longer it will take to bake them.

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I prefer simple recipes and that may be because I live alone and don’t care much about fancy recipes that take a lot of ingredients and time to prepare.

I do not believe that wild meat needs to covered with all sorts of marinades or spices in order to hide some wild taste. I try to savor the unique flavor of whatever I am eating.

Here is a choice recipe from a cookbook I got at the Jaffa show — “A Taste Of Pennsylvania” — made available each year by Senator John Eichelberger. This book contains some dandy recipes and here is one I like especially.

CRESCENT-TOPPED

BEEF POT PIE

n You can easily substitute venison steak for the beef top sirloin steak the recipe calls for. It takes about a pound of cubed or cut up meat for this recipe.

n 1 pound cubed beef, venison elk, moose, bear or meat of your choosing.

n Vegetable cooking spray

n 2 tbsp. water

n package (1 pound) frozen potato, green bean, onion and red pepper mixture.

n jar (12 ounces) mushroom gravy

n 1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls.

n Heat oven to 375 degrees.Trim fat from meat. Cut steak lengthwise into 2 or 3 strips, and then crosswise into half-inch slices. Spray a 10-inch skillet with cooking spray

n Heat over medium-high heat until hot. Add cubed meat and stir-fry one minute. Remove from skillet, season with pepper and set aside.

n In same skillet, combine vegetables, water and thyme. Cook and stir 3 minutes or until vegetables are defrosted. Stir in gravy. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat and return meat to skillet and stir to continue.

n Separate crescent rolls into 8 triangles. Starting from wide ends, roll up halfway; arrange over meat mixture so pointed ends are directed toward center.

n Bake 17 to 19 minutes or until rolls are golden brown.

Sorry about that

Oops! A click of the mouse on my computer above the one I wanted and I had a 5-year old column on the way to the Mirror last week. I didn’t realize I had done that until I opened the paper last Sunday morning.

Obviously, there is no turkey calling contest in Claysburg coming in February. I am sorry for such an error.

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